Suppose the adventurer Alice is moving stealthily and using the Avoid Notice exploration activity, and then tries to sneak up on an enemy Bob. Alice rolls a Stealth check for initiative versus Bob's Perception check for initiative, but she gets a lower result.
If you’re Avoiding Notice at the start of an encounter, you usually roll a Stealth check instead of a Perception check both to determine your initiative and to see if the enemies notice you (based on their Perception DCs, as normal for Sneak, regardless of their initiative check results).
Assume that Alice had been unnoticed by Bob, prior to the initiative roll.
At the start of Bob's first turn, does he consider Alice to be undetected, hidden, or observed? Does the outcome depend on circumstances, such as whether Alice's Stealth check was a critical failure or normal failure?
For quick reference:
- Undetected = Bob knows Alice is nearby, but he doesn't know where she is. Bob is flat-footed to Alice. He can attempt Seek actions to make her hidden instead.
- Hidden = Bob knows Alice's location, but he does not perceive her directly. Bob is flat-footed to Alice. Depending on Bob's senses, he can attempt Seek actions to make her observed instead.
- Observed = Bob knows Alice's position and he can perceive her clearly.