15
\$\begingroup\$

A creature is Hiding by taking the Hide action.

The rules on unseen attackers and targets state:

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're [A] guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn't in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the DM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target's location correctly.

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, [B] you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

  1. Does [B] "you give away your location" refer only to [A] "guessing the target's location" -- in other words, the location no longer needs to be guessed so there is no miss chance. Are there additional implications of having your location given away?

  2. If the Hidden creature changes location is their new location also given away?

@MarkWells rephrased the question as "If you are hiding somewhere where you can't be seen, and you attack, are others now able to see you, or can they just infer your location?"

Note: A lot of people are saying that the benefit of Hiding is that your location is unknown, that if your location becomes known then you stop hiding. If someone has anything in the rules to support this position I would love to see some quotes. From what I have read the benefit of Hiding is that the character is unseen and unheard, and enemies need to pass a Perception check to detect the character. The only benefit of having an unknown location that I found is enemies have to guess the character's location, and the only disadvantage of having a known location is the removal of this bonus.

I would prefer answers regarding RAW supported by quotes from the rules.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ After some contemplation, I think what you're asking is something like "If you are hiding somewhere where you can't be seen, and you attack, are others now able to see you, or can they just infer your location?" Am I reading that right? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Oct 17 '19 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells correct, plus additionally “does this end your Hiding” (regardless of the answer to the first question). Thanks, let me know if there’s any way I can better clarify my question. Please note I’m looking for an answer supported by the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 17 '19 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of How does an NPC guess where an invisible PC is when attacking? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 17 '19 at 23:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @jgn Check out this meta on duplicate questions. I don't think it helps either your question or the site for this to be closed as a duplicate of that question. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Oct 18 '19 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I have removed the advantage-and-disadvantage and vision-and-light tags from this question, as I don't think any of the mechanics nor the question involve them. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 9 at 6:44
14
\$\begingroup\$

"Giving away your location" just means that enemies know where you are. It doesn't necessarily mean they can see you.

For example, you can be invisible but, due to drastically failing a Stealth check by sneezing, the enemy now knows there is an invisible creature standing somewhere by the bookshelf. Thus giving them something to aim at (despite not knowing the exact disposition of your body or whether you are armored or holding a shield or weapon etc).

If you were hiding using conventional means (say, in a shadow behind a wall) and then jump out and attack then enemies will now know your location and will be able to see you. Unless you duck back behind the wall of course, but even then they will know you are lurking around somewhere nearby. If you are a rogue you would get sneak attack on that first attack, but possibly not subsequently since enemies know you are around and will be on the look out. (The DM may allow you to make another Hide check to fool your opponents).

Regardless, your location has been given away and an enemy may just decide to walk around the wall to hit you.

If you are invisible and start without the enemy knowing you are there thanks to a successful Hide check - and let's say its Greater Invisibility, so attacking doesn't break the invisibility - then attacking "gives away your location" because, again, enemies know you are around and roughly where you are. You may be invisible, but if the enemy suddenly finds themselves with an arrow sticking out then they will know somebody is about ("the arrow came from over by that tree!").

You are still invisible so enemies attack with disadvantage, but they know roughly were to aim at unless you move. If you do move then the DM may require further Stealth and/or Hide checks to avoid the enemy being able to pinpoint your location now that they know an invisible enemy is around (whereupon, if they fail a Perception check, they will just have to guess your location and any attack may just miss anyway as per the rule you quoted).

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 17 '19 at 15:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "If you do move then the DM may require further Stealth and/or Hide checks to avoid the enemy being able to pinpoint your location now that they know an invisible enemy is around" How does this interact with the Hiding rules? Namely that you only make a stealth check once, and enemies must make search checks to find you after. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 19 '19 at 6:26
11
\$\begingroup\$

A hidden (PHB p.177) creature is “unseen and unheard” (and unsmelled, untouched and untasted: while not stated if you are actually licking someone you probably know where they are) - this is different (and better) than merely being unseen.

An unseen creature that is not hidden is “known” to everyone and can be freely targeted (except by things that require the target to be seen) albeit at disadvantage. There is no mystery about their location on the battlefield.

A hidden creature, however, is only “known” to creatures that have perceived them: by having a high enough passive Perception or by creatures that have taken the Search action and succeeded on an active Perception check. If you want to target them you have to guess where they are - if you guess wrong, you miss, if you guess right you can attack (with disadvantage). This might be easy (he’s in the wardrobe) or hard (she’s somewhere in that 60 foot radius sphere of darkness).

There are other subtleties. For example, if you are frightened of an unseen opponent you can’t approach them because you know where they are, if they are hidden from you you can approach them (not that you would know you are).

“Giv[ing] away your location" means that you are no longer hidden - everyone that can perceive you does perceive you and will do so until you get into a suitable place and take an action to Hide again. You may still be unseen if, for example, you are heavily obscured or remain invisible or, at the DM's discretion, are heavily camouflaged.

See What advantages does hiding have? for more information.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you provide some sources for your argument? Take a look at this FAQ: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8696/… \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 19 '19 at 6:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure that PHB p.177 says "unsmelled, untouched and untasted", and I would be interested to if you have a source saying “Giv[ing] away your location “ means that you are no longer hidden." - and if so could you address the discrepancy with the rules for Unseen Attackers and Targets? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 21 '19 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the extra information Dale, but I am still not seeing the connection "“Giv[ing] away your location “ means that you are no longer hidden.". Imagine if one of those hidden snipers fired a shot, you would know their location from the sound, but it would not help you see them as they remain camouflaged. What it would let you do is Search or Attack without having to guess their location (perhaps checking out the location with binoculars or calling for a mortar strike?) Does that seem like a fair assessment? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Oct 21 '19 at 5:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ In this podcast JC explains the intention behind the rule he wrote — dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/james-haeck-dd-writing (~39min) When you "gave away your location", you are indeed no longer hidden \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Nov 11 '19 at 12:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor: That would be good to quote and elaborate on in its own answer (since none of the existing answers have done so) :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 22 '19 at 6:01
7
\$\begingroup\$

Respectively: Yes. No. Yes. Or rather;

Hiding only causes you to be unseen (and gain that sweet disadvantage) whilst you do nothing to make yourself ineligible for hiding, and then stops until you make another Hide action.

When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

When we hide, we make a Stealth check that lasts until we stop hiding or are discovered. Logically, that then returns us to our normal state: Our enemies can perceive our location because they don't need to make a Perception check to do so, so they don't get disadvantage on their attacks against us. (Unless some other effect is in play).

So

What makes you illegible for hiding?

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding.

The rules then give the DM some guidance on that: you can't hide if the enemy can see you clearly - you can't make noise, you can't approach a creature, unless the DM decides to rule that it's distracted and...

Basically, the circumstances under which you can hide or not hide are all down to the situation and your DM (which I find, as both a player and a DM, to be incredibly annoying to discuss/argue at the table, but here we are.)

To break down your questions:

Does this mean enemies attacking the hidden creature no longer have disadvantage, as described in the preceding paragraph?

Yes. We gave up the benefits of our Hide action (the Perception check to find us) when we made our attack.

If the attacker then breaks line of sight and becomes unattackable...

(Notably at this point, presuming we've run behind a building or something; we're both out of line of sight AND unseen. If an enemy could shoot a magic spell through the wall, (or volley an arrow over it) ignoring that line of sight problem, but couldn't see through it, we'd get that sweet disadvantage bonus again.)

...then becomes partially visible the following turn, do enemies attacking the hidden creature once again do so at disadvantage?

Nope, not unless we took the time to do a Hide action behind that wall, at which point the enemies might not have noticed us becoming partially visible again; depends how our DM feels about how concealed we are.

To summarise:

The Hide action allows us to conceal our location. This also causes us to be "unseen"; a rule that happens to overlap with some other things that make you unseen (e.g. invisibility or being behind something).

Attackers have to guess our location to attack us. How the DM guesses a monster's attack for a situation they know everything about is left up to their discretion.

Revealing our location in any way, ends that Hide action, because the Stealth check to conceal us only lasted until we did so.


Addendum:

"I've hidden behind this 5x5 cube, so enemies don't know my location."

Sure, you could make that hide check now whilst your enemies are the other side of it. They don't know your location, so would have to guess it to attack you.

On the other hand, if an enemy walks to the other side of said cube, and you're just... standing there with no further cover. You're clearly visible. You're discovered, and your Stealth check ends.

"I've hidden behind this 1x1 tree, so enemies don't know my location."

Sure. But I'm about to guess that you're still behind that tree, since you haven't run into the open. I'll take the disadvantage to keep shooting you.

OR

"I'd like to hide behind this 1x1 tree."

Your enemies just watched you run behind that tree, which isn't wider than you. You cannot make a Hide check.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 17 '19 at 15:18
7
+500
\$\begingroup\$

To give away your location means... To give away your location

It means that somebody now knows where you are, that they have located you, that your location has been given away. So what does it mean for a creature to be located?


To me, a located creature is no longer hidden

The rules on hiding state that you are only hidden:

Until you are discovered or you stop hiding

If I have found a hidden creature's location, I have certainly discovered them. The very definition of discover is to "find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search."


A further possible justification is the mind spike spell which states (emphasis mine)

[...] On a failed save, you also always know the target's location until the spell ends, but only while the two of you are on the same plane of existence. While you have this knowledge, the target can’t become hidden from you, and if it’s invisible, it gains no benefit from that condition against you. [...]

Similarly the Shadow Sorcerer's Hound of Ill Omen feature states:

[...] The hound automatically knows its target’s location. If the target was hidden, it is no longer hidden from the hound. [...]

So even if the target of mind spike were unseen and unheard, knowing their location prevents them from being hidden. Similarly with the hound, when a hidden creature's location becomes known it stops being hidden.

If you know a creature's location, it is not hidden from you.


Hound of Ill Omen and mind spike could be interpreted the exact opposite way

I would personally say that these features are restating the general rule that a located creature cannot simultaneously be hidden and are another case of the rules being technically redundant.

That said, it is entirely possible that mind spike and Hound of Ill Omen are mlactually making an exception to the general rule which would mean that knowing a creature's location does not ordinarily prevent them from being hidden.

Both situations are possible and lead to exactly opposite conclusions. I would rule that they are restatements of the general rule because that agreed with my interpretation of the general rule I quoted at the start.


A located creature can still be invisible and/or unseen

This is more of an aside, or note to readers, knowing a creature's location does not mean they are no longer unseen; they can still benefit from everything an unseen attacker could. This is rather intuitive/obvious given that an invisible creature's location can be known and yet they remain invisible, but is worth being stated.


For completeness we can look at the differences between blindsight and blindsense (a Rogue ability):

A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius. [...]

[...] If you are able to hear, you are aware of the location of any hidden or invisible creature within 10 feet of you.

The first allows creatures to fully perceive (see) their world using this sense, heck, it's literally called blindsight.
The second allows a Rogue to know the location of creatures they otherwise might not know the location of. Note that it does not allow them to perceive (see) those creature and so they remain unseen.


For further completeness, the mind spike spell explicitly states that an invisible creature whose location is known due to this spell no longer benefits from the invisible condition - they are no longer impossible to see. This is a specific exception to a general rule.
The blindsense feature does not state such a thing, and so an invisible creature can continue to benefit from being invisible even while their location is known due to this feature (or nearly every feature besides mind spike).

This is actually somewhat problematic for my interpretation of the rules. The mind spike spell makes an exception to a general rule on being invisible and yet it also states that its target cannot hide because its location is known.

Is this interaction between having a known location and being hidden also an exception to a general rule? It's not entirely clear but the presence of another rules-exception in the same spell description could certainly point towards both of them being exceptions to general rules and thus my interpretation of the rules would be incorrect and in fact a creature whose location has been revealed would remain hidden.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like "While you have this knowledge, the target can’t become hidden from you, and if it’s invisible, it gains no benefit from that condition against you" is actually an argument for the opposite. Usually, invisibility has benefits, but under the effects of Mind Spike, it does not. Similarly, by saying that the target can't become hidden from you, doesn't that imply they usually would be able to hide from you? There is also no indication that the effects are a direct result of knowing their location, ie normally knowing someone's location wouldn't remove the effects of invisibility. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 10 at 1:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jun 10 at 1:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ As we discussed last week, I think you have found some great quotes on the subject. However,The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that Mind Spike and Hound of Ill Omen shouldn't be interpreted as redundant language. Would you like to make a separate answer exploring that idea a little more? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 15 at 1:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae Oh no I was just doing an update too... If you'd like me to revert that edit I just put through I can certainly do so \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jun 16 at 0:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ No worries, your edit is all good, thanks again! \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 16 at 1:20
4
\$\begingroup\$

If you attack while hidden then your location becomes known immediately afterwards. This just means everyone now knows where you are, or more specifically, where you were when you made the attack. It doesn't necessarily mean you are now visible. You might have been hidden because you were lurking quietly in a dark area which no enemy could see into. Or you could be under the effect of a Greater Invisibility spell. If anyone attacking you still can't see you, they get disadvantage on any attacks.

There is no real "partially visible" in 5th edition D&D. You could have cover because you are hiding behind a tree or because you are in an lightly obscured area eg. light fog. It doesn't matter. Enemies can either see you or they can't they get disadvantage on their attack rolls if they can't. If you have cover then you get an AC bonus in most cases.

The difference between being hidded and unseen

The disadvantage on attacks is only for being unseen. The main difference between unseen and hidden is that, for the latter, enemies don't know your exact location. If your location is known but you are unseen then enemies can try to attack you but their attacks get disadvantage. If you are hidden they also get disadvantage but they would have to guess at your location before making an attack. If they guess incorrectly they attack where you are not and thus you(the PC) are not attacked.

If you moved behind cover and use the hide action then you'd be hidden from everyone unless their passive Perception check beats your Stealth roll. T

  • To illustrate: you might try to hide but the noise of your armor and the sound of your breathing is too loud so they can hear you. They might not be able to see you, but they can locate you via your breathing. Not being able to see you might be a temporary situation as well. If you are hiding behind a tree they may be able to see you simply by walking around it. If you climbed up the tree and hid in the branches they might have a tougher time of it.

    Keep in mind, your enemies aren't (generally) complete idiots. If you pop out from behind a tree, shoot at them, then duck back behind again and hide they are going to have a fair idea where you are. They might need to search a bit if you've crawled under a pile of leaves, but they will still be aware that you are around and search for you or ready an action to shoot at you if you reappear.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

When you "give away your location" you are no longer hidden, but might still be unseen

Skip to the summary at the bottom if you don't want to wade how the above conclusion is reached.

Preface

I found this to be a very interesting question and one that was not easily answered. I suspect the reason for much of the difficulty is that

A) the designers expressed that they wanted to keep the rules of hiding simple, so that they didn't include a ton of rules for all the corner cases, which would have made the most common simple case hard to remember: (https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/james-haeck-dd-writing 42:54), and

B) they designers like to not repeat rules, and just expect you to know them all and combine them when appropriate (this is evidenced by anyone that has ever read the rules or seen the many questions on this site and other forums. Occasionally stuff is repeated, but that is more the exception.)

In order to unravel the answer to this question I'm going to list out all the rules I found relevant to my answer, as RAW and quotes were requested.

All rules quotations refer to the Basic Rules version 1.0, which is the version I'm using and are noted with (BR ###) where ### is the page number in that version's PDF.

Understanding hiding

One of the most important things to understand in order to answer this question is to know what hiding is, and to understand that it is not equivalent to being unseen.

Hiding requires that you cannot be clearly seen for some reason

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly (BR 63)

What is sufficient to permit being able to hide?

Here are just some of the various ways that a creature can try to hide:

A) Be heavily obscured. Technically this isn't actually listed in the rules, but most the remaining ways below support this.

B) Be invisible.

An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature’s location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves. (BR 171)

The bolded line (my emphasis) is what implies that being heavily obscured in and of itself is sufficient to be able to attempt to hide in most cases.

C) Have a feature/skill/ability that allows you to hide while lightly obscured. For example:

Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena. (BR 17)

Other skills, features, or abilities exist that also grant the ability to hide while lightly obscured, but I won't bother trying to list them all. Again, the phrase "only lightly obscured" implies that being heavily obscured is normally what is expected in order to be able to hide.

D) Have a feature/skill/ability that allows you to hide while obscured in some other way:

Naturally Stealthy. You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you. (BR 19)

E) The DM says you can try to hide.

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. (BR 63)

In fact, this last rule trumps all the others in that it requires the DM's agreement before a creature can try to hide. Therefore the other methods of hiding are subject to that requirement and serve to guide the DM's decisions, not overrule them.

The key point is that in all cases being invisible or obscured at least somewhat is generally required in order to hide.

Being unseen is a benefit of being hidden, not a requirement

In the hiding options above, only being heavily obscured or invisible makes a creature unseen.

A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A) when trying to see something in that area. (BR 68)

Blinded (BR 171)

  • A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.

The following rules generalize the benefits of blinded or heavily obscured to any situation where a target is unseen.

Unseen Targets and Attackers

Combatants often try to escape their foes’ notice by hiding, casting the invisibility spell, or lurking in darkness.

When you attack a target that you can’t see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you’re guessing the target’s location or you’re targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn’t in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the DM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target’s location correctly.

When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden—both unseen and unheard—when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses. (BR 76)

Note that being hidden according to the rule above grants a creature the benefits of being both unseen and unheard, rather than requiring being hidden for there to be any benefit from being unseen.

If being unseen were a requirement of being hidden, then only by being heavily obscured or invisible could a creature be allowed to hide.

You can be unseen for multiple reasons

If you are hidden, then you are unseen and unheard, and if you are heavily obscured you are also unseen from that, as well. If you then stop hiding for whatever reason, you are still unseen if you are still heavily obscured.

Therefore, if giving away your location by attacking removes the benefits of being hidden, you may still be unseen for other reasons. (See the next section for why a creature is no longer hidden after it attacks.)

This is why the rules do not say "you become visible" when you are discovered, as there may be some other status affecting you that is making you unseen (such as heavily obscured or invisible).

Instead it just says "you give away your location" after you attack (see the Unseen Attackers and Targets rules above).

A creature is not hidden if their location is known

This is one of the biggest sources of confusion in this question, but I think it is pretty simply answered by just looking at what a Wisdom (Perception) check is defined to be.

Perception. Your Wisdom (Perception) check lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. (BR 65 -- emphasis added)

To find a hidden creature the rules say to use a Wisdom (Perception) check to contest the hiding creature's Dexterity (Stealth) check.

When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check’s total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence. (BR 63)

If a creature's location is known, then obviously its presence has already been detected, as one of the definitions of presence is:

the fact of being in a particular place

So how could such a creature be hiding? That would mean that the DM would have to ask for a skill check to detect the presence of something whose location is already known, which doesn't make any sense.

As such, something cannot be hidden while its location is known. To argue that a Wisdom (Perception) check is still required is to ignore the definition of what that check is doing.

So why do the rules use phrases like "give away your position" instead of "you stop hiding"?

In the Unseen Attackers and Targets rules, an unseen creature's location being unknown means those attacking it might automatically miss. That creature may be unseen for reasons other than that it was hiding.

By explicitly pointing out that an unseen attacker has given away their position means that the creature's target (or its target's allies) no longer have to risk an automatic miss when trying to attack back.

As such, by saying "give away your location" those rules cover more situations than just ones where the target is hidden.

Summary

Putting all the above together lets us answer the question(s) posed.

Does attacking mean you give up the benefits of hiding?

If you attack while hidden you are no longer unseen and unheard as a result of hiding, but you might still be unseen and/or unheard for other reasons (like being heavily obscured, or invisible, near a noisy waterfall, etc.)

Since the only mechanical benefit of hiding (besides your location being unknown, see next question) is being unseen, then whether you lose the benefit of being unseen depends on whether something else is making you unseen.

What are the implications of having given your location away?

As stated in the question, if you gave away your position, that means your enemies do not suffer the risk of automatically missing if they target the wrong location, regardless of whether they can see you or not.

In addition, your enemies do not need to make a Wisdom (Perception) check to detect your presence, since as they know your location they are obviously aware of your presence, which is what such a check reveals.

Therefore you are not considered to be hidden once you give your location away.

If the Hidden creature changes location is their new location also given away?

As such a creature is no longer hidden, they would be treated the same as if they hadn't tried to hide in the first place. So their new location would still be known, unless they were to attempt to hide again (subject to the DM's approval.)

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I follow this "If a creature's location is known, then obviously its presence has already been detected." If you detect the presence of someone, then you know their location. However, does knowing someone's location necessarily mean you have detected their presence? There is a classic post showing a sniper in a gillie suit. Many people find it hard to point out the sniper, even when they are told where the sniper is hiding. A good example in 5e would be an invisible character in an area of silence. Even if you know their location, you can't possibly detect their presence. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 15 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae I added the definition of presence to that section. \$\endgroup\$ – Willem Renzema Jun 15 at 0:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am still skeptical. To me "detecting someone's presence" means you are detecting some perceivable clue, such as being able to see them, hear them, or smell them at least. The "detecting" part is what triggers "discovering" in hiding, I don't think knowing someone's location is enough. Also; "As such, by saying "give away your location" those rules cover more situations than just ones where the target is hidden." - I believe this phrase "give away your position" is actually in a rule that applies only to hiding, doesn't it? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 15 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae By saying it only applies to hiding, are you saying that being unseen, but where the enemy can hear you, if you attack you don't give away your position? \$\endgroup\$ – Willem Renzema Jun 15 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's kind of a moot question isn't it? If you can be heard, your location is already known. if someone can see you and hear you, your location isn't given away either. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 15 at 1:06
2
\$\begingroup\$

With the new questions and mention of context, here is what I hope will be a more concise answer, but first I should elaborate on the key three rules you are looking at, as I believe there is some confusion there with how they all interact:

The "Hiding" rule

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

This part of the rule clearly states that it's up to the DM to decide when you can, and can't, attempt to hide. It also points out that after you make a Stealth check, that is contested by the Perception check of any creature actively searching for you.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

The part referencing that you can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly may answer your first question about giving away your location, as that concept would refer to you being clearly visible, making an audible noise, or anything really that the DM considers giving away your location.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

The first part of this final paragraph of the rule states that most creatures would be aware, therefore if you were hiding in a bush, or behind a wall, and you suddenly moved out from behind the object or obstacle, you would be making yourself visible once more. I would rule that this is overt enough it does not require a check, however, it could be argued that if you are doing this behind someone to attack them, it's surprise, and if it's not to attack them but rather to move, it would prompt a Perception check per the first paragraph's explanation.

As a point of addition, there are many MANY conditions that go into whether or not a creature is visible or not beyond them hiding, as mentioned in the rule itself:

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in chapter 8.

The "Hide" action

When you take the Hide action, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check in an attempt to hide, following the rules for hiding. If you succeed, you gain certain benefits, as described in the "Unseen Attackers and Targets" section later in this section.

As you can see, the "Hide" action is simply the method in which you enter hiding, all the rules for the "Hide" action are described in the "Hiding" rule, rather than the "Hide" action itself, the benefits gained from "Hiding" are the benefits gained from successful use of the "Hide" action, which are yet to be explained...

The "Unseen Attackers and Targets" rule

Combatants often try to escape their foes' notice by hiding, casting the invisibility spell, or lurking in darkness.

Mention of "hiding" may very well be a reference to the "Hiding" rule and "Hide action".

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn't in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the DM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target's location correctly.

This section focuses on what happens with creatures attacking an unseen target, or you if you are using the "Hide" action successfully, so all the effects and rules for that condition have already been covered and are based on those rules and not the rules purely discussed in the "Unseen Attackers and Targets" rule.

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

This section focuses on what happens when you are unseen, or "Hiding" and attack a creature. To clarify on the rule a bit, as you make the attack, you are still considered to be "Hiding" and therefore benefit from the advantage, you give away your location after you've made the attack, regardless of whether it hits or not.

The Questions

If you're still wondering about those questions and why I just unloaded those rules on you, it's mainly to give you context to my shorter answers that will make reference to them:

  1. Giving away your location can mean many things, I would refer to the "Hiding" rule and the "What can you see?" segment for that. If the location no longer has to be guessed, there is no disadvantage in play and it is a wholly ordinary attack process. There are no other implications beyond losing the benefits or conditions granted by these three rules mentioned.
  2. If you change location, you are likely going to have to reference the "Hiding" rule for confirmation as to whether you are no longer considered to be hiding or not. This is a case by case thing and is ultimately up to your DM.

I hope this answer has explained all you need and I'll provide further clarifications if I've been unclear.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't use the comments to debate. If you have concrete suggestions for improving the answer, please use the answers for those. If you have an idea as to what the right answer should be, feel free to leave your own answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 17 '19 at 14:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "If the location no longer has to be guessed, there is no disadvantage in play and it is a wholly ordinary attack process." I believe the rules for "Unseen Attackers and Targets" says "When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll." and "When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it." - don't these both still apply? \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jun 9 at 2:51
2
\$\begingroup\$

Giving away your location refers to the removal of you "being hidden" from the enemy.

tl;dr

Being hidden requires being both unseen and unheard. By attacking you have given away your location, which means you have either become seen, heard, or both. In rare circumstances you may automatically become hidden again post attack due to environmental effects (like a confluence of the darkness and silence spells). Even in that situation though, they still know where you are if you don't move, because you attacked them with something (be that an arrow, or a dagger) and that something came from a direction/location.

Before reading on, I would like to add a quick note, unless otherwise specified all emphasis in the various quotes of this answer is mine. Now, back to our regularly scheduled answer.

What is hiding and what does being hidden mean?

What is Hiding, according to the rules?

HIDING

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

[...]

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in chapter 8.

Taking the hide action (and succeeding) gives you the following benefits:

When you take the Hide action, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check in an attempt to hide, following the rules for hiding. If you succeed, you gain certain benefits, as described in the "Unseen Attackers and Targets" section later in this section.

The "Unseen Attackers and Targets" section states:

Combatants often try to escape their foes' notice by hiding, casting the invisibility spell, or lurking in darkness.

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn't in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the DM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target's location correctly.

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Being invisible was mentioned as part of the rules on hiding, what does that mean?

Invisibility is a condition, the effects of which are:

  • An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.

  • Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature's attack rolls have advantage.

So, if you are invisible, you automatically fulfill the "unseen" portion of hiding.

What does all this mean when we bring it together?

Benefiting from being hidden requires a few things:

  1. You cannot hide from a creature that can see you clearly, so you need to either be invisible, or behind total cover to attempt to hide.
  2. Being hidden requires you to be both unseen and unheard
  3. If you successfully hide, then unless you are discovered (either by searching, or giving away your position), whatever the total for your stealth check is compared against your "opponents" perceptions scores (whether passive or active) to determine whether or not they notice you (either through sight or sound).

So provided you meet all of these criteria, then you are hidden. So, what happens when you are hidden and then make an attack?

  1. If you come out of hiding in combat, creatures will usually see you as they are alert for signs of danger all around [them] (provided you aren't invisible).
  2. Whether or not you are unseen when you give away your location will largely depend on the creatures in combat can see well in the combat area (ie whether or not the area counts as lightly or heavily obscured for them), or on whether or not you are invisible.
  3. If you attack in combat, then you are no longer hidden (ie post attack you are either seen, heard, or both):

    If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Conclusion: I've made the attack, what does that mean for the other participants in combat?

If you remain "unseen" after the attack, either due to you being invisible, environmental effects, or being in a heavily obscured area, then the attacker will have disadvantage on attack rolls against you having disadvantage or not on the attack roll requires you to be unseen by them. If you are a rogue you may be able to re-hide, if you are still unseen, using your cunning action ability to hide as a bonus action.

By virtue of attacking, you have given away your location. This means that the attacker now knows where you are (either because they have seen you, or because they have heard you). The attacker only has to guess at where you are located if they don't know where you are requires them not to know your location (if you are both unseen and unheard then by definition they don't know where you are). As a result, the attacker no longer needs to guess at your location, though they may still have to attack with disadvantage.

It is possible, that due to specific and somewhat rare environmental effects, you will automatically become re-hidden after the attack as you are both unseen and unheard. For example, fighting a creature without darkvision, when you have it, in an unlit (and otherwise unilluminated) hallway, with a silence spell in effect, you are automatically hidden. You attack will still have given away your location if you don't move after it (eg because they know which direction that arrow that grazed their cheek came come).

To answer your specific questions:

Does [B] "you give away your location" refer only to [A] "guessing the target's location" -- in other words, the location no longer needs to be guessed so there is no miss chance. Are there additional implications of having your location given away?

You have given away your location, therefore they know where you are, and can direct their attack at your (now known) location. They may still have to attack with disadvantage if you remain "unseen". As a result, the answer here is "sort of". Disadvantage still increases the chance of them missing you when they attempt to attack you. There will no longer be a chance of missing due to an incorrect guess.

If the Hidden creature changes location is their new location also given away?

Since they are no longer hidden post attack (as they have lost one of the unseen or unheard qualifiers for being hiddne), then, unless they have explicitly rehidden as a Rogue (or Monk), then the enemy will automatically know the new location, unless there is some confluence of environmental factors that prevent it (eg being invisible and in a zone of silence).

If you are hiding somewhere where you can't be seen, and you attack, are others now able to see you, or can they just infer your location?

They are not necessarily able to see you, but if they cannot see you (during and after they attack) due to environmental effects (or invisibility effects), then they will still know your location due to being able to hear where you move to (or see traces of your movement, like a wet invisible person leaving a trail of watery footprints).

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
-7
\$\begingroup\$

Revealing your location does not affect Hiding, only whether enemies have to guess your location.

Hiding

When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

When you Hide you become unseen and unheard. Because of this, enemies will not know your location.

Unseen Attackers and Targets

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn't in the location you targeted, you automatically miss

If they want to attack you they have to first guess your location, if they guess wrong the attack misses. If they guess right then they roll to hit at disadvantage.

Unseen Attackers and Targets

If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Hiding

you give away your position if you make noise

If you make noise or attack then you reveal the location you were at when you made noise or attacked from. Enemies could attack the location where you attacked from/made noise, if you are still there then the attack will not automatically miss, and they have to roll at disadvantage.

There are no other effects, if someone knows your location they cannot automatically see/hear you, you still remain hidden.

Examples:

  1. A group of stealthy goblins ambush the party at night. An arrow whizzes out of the dark and the Warlock shoots off a blast of eldritch energy back where it came from. (ranged attacking from hiding reveals location, not the attacker)

  2. A stealthy thief creeps through a dark hallway, but oops! They knocked over a vase, it crashes to the floor loudly! A guard yells from nearby "someone's there!" (making noise reveals location, but not the character)

  3. A heavy mist descends on the village. A something scurries out of the fog and passed a townsperson. Before they can react the rat has scurried back into the grey out of sight. (moving into line of sight does not end hiding)

  4. An assassin is sneaking into a room when suddenly a servant opens the door. The assassin, standing on the edge of the room, holds its breath and stays perfectly still. The absent minded servant goes about their business cleaning up while muttering to themselves then leaves. (hiding in plain sight is allowed)

  5. A soldier is standing guard a few feet from a door at night when a strong wind blows our their brazier and blows a cloud across the full moon. In the darkness a silent rogue approaches, and with a quick and decisive movement stabs the guard in the back. The soldier spins around but can see nothing. They fall to their knees squinting, and just as their vision adjusts they spot the rogue opening the door as their consciousness fades (attacks reveal your location, but do not reveal you, even if they are melee, an active search is required)

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 13 '19 at 6:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.