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I recently had a game where there was some uncertainty, so I'm here to ask you how this interaction works.

I have a character, a Shadowdancer. This character has also got the Hellcat Stealth feat. The character sneaks in pure darkness, no light at all, on an enemy with Darkvision. There is no cover. Does the character stealth with Hide in Plain Sight, Hellcat Stealth, or the character cannot attempt to stealth? Or does the character stealth with Hide in Plain Sight but with a penalty similar to Hellcat Stealth?

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Shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight works "As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light". Complete darkness is not dim light.

Hellcat Stealth works "in normal or bright light". Complete darkness is not normal or bright light.

Without cover, this character can't hide in complete darkness from someone with Darkvision.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh I'd always kind of assumed Shadowdancer HiPS worked in complete darkness, but you are correct that it's specifically dim. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 26 at 1:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Darkvision interacts weirdly with light levels, and it gives me a headache thinking about it. \$\endgroup\$ – BaconyRevanant Feb 26 at 4:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ You've got to love the rules. The character is more visible to a character with Darkvision in total darkness than they would be in Normal or Dim Light. Want Stealth? Light a Candle... \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Feb 26 at 11:36
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"Darkvision is the ability to see normally in total darkness." Seeing normally is what other creatures do in "normal or bright light". As such, Hellcat Stealth should work as stated.

Hide in Plain Sight, however, wouldn't work. In total darkness, you can't have brighter and dimmer areas, and as such, there is no way to have any shadow or dimness affect a Darkvision user in total darkness. (Maybe in some extremely contrived circumstances there might be a way to make it work, but I think that would be outside the scope of this question.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The rules on light and visibility say "A creature can’t hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover." Hellcat Stealth doesn't change this, only your ability to hide in normal or bright light. Even the description says you can hide in the light. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Feb 26 at 11:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's definitely RAW, but I very much doubt that that's RAI. It's a very weird interaction, and sticking to the literal word-by-word makes for a very strange ruling. In fairness, I think your position is 100% valid, but it's very much a matter of interpretation. (It's also not very RAF, but I guess that's beyond the scope of the question.) \$\endgroup\$ – João Mendes Mar 1 at 13:00

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