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Is it true that a I would auto-succeed any stealth check if I did the following each round:

Starting from prone behind any object large enough to grant total cover against the enemies in front of me. I stand up (a move action) and then shoot (standard action) then drop prone (as a free action).

On the enemies' turn, I have total cover and concealment from them, would I automatically succeed stealth check against them? So that when I repeat the above they would be unaware of me and so flat-footed?

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There is no "automatically succeed stealth check" -- stealth checks are opposed by perception checks. So that's out.

Let's see how it would work in general. Here are some rules from the stealth skill:

Breaking Stealth When you start your turn using Stealth, you can leave cover or concealment and remain unobserved as long as you succeed at a Stealth check and end your turn in cover or concealment. Your Stealth immediately ends after you make an attack roll, whether or not the attack is successful (except when sniping as noted below).

Okay, so you're starting and ending your turn with cover or concealment (in this case, it sounds like cover, fwiw). Good. Let's check the sniping rules.

If you've already successfully used Stealth at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack and then immediately use Stealth again. You take a –20 penalty on your Stealth check to maintain your obscured location.

So you're able to make a stealth check, because you have cover. But it will be at a penalty (after all, you just shot someone, so they have a pretty good clue where you are). If your stealth check is higher than their perception check, though, you are still stealthed, and will still treat them as flatfooted next round.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Then why ever go to the trouble of dropping prone for total cover? Are there any bonuses at all to being COMPLETELY concealed from view? Surely it's like being invisible, but better. And can't you make a stealth check simply by having cover between you and the enemy to make any stealth check, dropping down to have total cover must have some difference. But what? \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Apr 27 '16 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TREB Stealth isn't about not being seen, it's about not being noticed -- you can still make noise if you're behind total cover -- this is why an opposed perception check is used against your stealth check. Furthermore, cover isn't used just for stealth. It also provides protection from ranged attacks and many magical effects. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Apr 27 '16 at 17:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude surely cover is used for stealth, in combat rules "You can use cover to make a Stealth check." but what difference does it make if partial cover or total cover. Explicitly, is it TRULY worthless in terms of stealth to go prone to get total cover between turns? \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Apr 27 '16 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TREB I didn't say cover isn't used for stealth, I said it isn't used just for stealth. Partial cover and total cover come into play when you're determining the AC bonus granted from the cover -- partial cover grants a bonus and total cover means you can't even be targeted. Cover and concealment both allow you to make a stealth check. If going prone is the only way to gain cover or concealment to make your stealth check, why is that worthless? \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Apr 27 '16 at 18:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude because going prone is NOT the only way to make a stealth check using cover, the cover rules specify things like low obstacles allowing a stealth check which is very preferable as you have much more freedom of movement and don't have -4AC if anyone tries to melee you. Do the rules REALLY not distinguish between standing UP behind a waist high wall and being COMPLETELY PRONE behind it? As far as stealth goes. If it doesn't going prone is worthless. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Apr 27 '16 at 18:18

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