Being that a large creature is larger than most things on the battlefield (and even in normal circumstances), how can one reasonably say that they were unable to see it? Even if it moves quietly, its sheer size should give away its presence (not to mention "a giant shadow is suddenly cast over you" would be a dead give away!

So, how could a large creature reasonably sneak about without being seen or heard, without breaking "suspension of disbelief?"

(note, I'm excluding things like the spell Invisibility)


2 Answers 2


According to the size chart, large creatures take a -4 to stealth checks.

This can be explained by they can still move quietly but have a harder time locating cover such as trees. Now open terrain this is far more difficult to imagine than in say a forested area where size would not affect you as much because there is so much more cover.

Basically put, if a medium creature is allowed to sneak up on you in an open field, then a large creature can use those same tricks, its just a bit harder to hide themselves. So things like camouflage could be one example.

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    \$\begingroup\$ RL analogy -- you are walking through the desert, come over a sand dune, and WHAM there's a MBT in front of you in hull-down position. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shalvenay
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it also would have to do with lighting conditions, as well as in not expecting something to move (for instance a large Warforged or animated suit of armor in an armory of identical things or a boulder that happens to be a dragon but you don't notice because of the fact that it's lying perfectly still) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay MBT? There's several things that show up with that google search \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JesseCohoon -- main battle tank \$\endgroup\$
    – Shalvenay
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Fering, but I'd like to clarify that the the large size represents the fact that you're going to have a harder time finding enough cover/concealment around you to use the stealth skill in the first place (think ogre standing in a street- he could hide against the walls of buildings, but would be sorely pressed to find much to hide by further into the middle of the road. The -4 to hide represents the fact that it's harder to keep your size and weight from giving you away, ie. twig breaking and the large bulky shape behind the curtain there... \$\endgroup\$
    – Dharenis
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 16:50

Using Large cover or concealment

The cognitive dissonance you are experiencing is addressed in the rules. In order to attempt to stealth, you need to not be Observed.

Being Observed If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth.

Cover is much harder to come by for Large creatures. Where a Medium creature may be able to find a single tree to provide Cover, a Large creature would need at least a few to prevent lines of sight to its 4x4's corners. These difficulties increase (as does the Size Penalty on Stealth) as you look at larger creatures.

Concealment can be a little easier to come by (a heavy fog is enough to do it) and a person or creature using fog/smoke/etc. to strike its foes unaware is a fairly frequent trope in media.

It may help to remember that Large represents creatures between slightly larger than large humans to creatures about 4x our size. Even massive men can be rather stealthy, and a Large creature putting in the same effort can be nearly as much so given the correct environment.


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