10 January 2019

Stealth, Light, and Surprise

My light and surprise rules are mostly adapted from Gus L at Dungeon of Signs.

Highlights

  • A PC can behave as a scout to increase the party's chance of surprising whomever they might encounter or fleeing before the encounter begins.
  • Darkness is scary.
Read about Boons and Banes if you're not familiar.

Stealth

  • Stealth = 5 + Dexterity Mod.
  • In a group, use the Stealth of the least stealthy character.
  • Check Stealth to move silently, hide, or pickpocket.

Light

In light, PCs may not surprise monsters or NPCs except in special circumstances, such as when ambushing or when stealthily moving through a jungle.

Darkness


  • Monsters and NPCs can be surprised with a 2-in-6 chance.
  • All rolls, including defense rolls, gain two Banes.
  • In the dark, Hired Hands must make a Morale check every turn.

Dimness


  • The final 10' of any light source is dim.
  • Some light sources provide only dim light. (Example: covered lantern, candle)
  • Monsters and NPCs can be surprised with a 2-in-6 chance if all members of the party are in dim light (monsters may also surprise PCs with the same chance.)
  • All rolls, including defense rolls, gain one Bane.
  • Henchmen and Hired Hands suffer a Bane to all Morale checks when in dim light, unless they are skilled in Stealth (5 or better) and are used to operating in such conditions.
  • A stealthy character (Stealth 6 or better) suffers no Banes from dimness and gains a Boon to stealthy actions.




Light ConditionPenalties
Darkness2 Banes
Dimness1 Bane (unless stealthy)
Light--

Surprise

A party that has surprise will act 1st on round 1 without need for an Initiative check and gain a Boon to all rolls for round 1.

If there is a chance that either party is surprised, roll 1D6.



1D6Result
1PCs Surprise in Dimness or Darkness or when opening a door
2PCs Surprise in Dimness or Darkness or when opening a door
3--
4--
5Enemies Surprise
6Enemies Surprise

Make sure your players understand how a stealthy character in dim light can scout ahead to prevent surprise.
Often, instead of attacking on a surprise round, foes should change the battlefield (throw nets, spring traps, set a fire, hide and snipe, send one of their party to bring reinforcements), or deprive the party of a resource (smash backpacks, extinguish torches.)

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