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What do I need to know about D&D 5e?

Weebles

Active member
Validated User
I feel like often it’s not even just the DM, if the entire group is like “ooooOOOOOoooh!!!!” or the like after a player’s actions, that’s s good time to reward some inspiration.
 

Hituro

Eager Critmouse
Validated User
It's the job of the GM to run the game, not to judge the players' role-playing.
There are many systems that disagree with that, offering XP or other benefits when players Roleplay a flaw, or make the group laugh, or other subjective measurements.

Regardless of that, having the GM award Inspiration is only one of the many options. You can have players award it to each other, or even to themselves, if your group feels comfortable with that. You can have it be automatic whenever there is a "cool moment" by group consensus. Indeed, nothing stops you making it entirely mechanical — mention a Bond/Flaw etc. get Inspiration, though I'm not sure that would be the best idea. Other ways to get Inspiration are also presented at various points in the rules, like praying at shrines, or taking other Downtime actions.

Character traits, and the Inspiration that comes with them, are a part of 5E, whether you personally like them or not.
 

Dog Quixote

Registered User
Validated User
There are many systems that disagree with that, offering XP or other benefits when players Roleplay a flaw, or make the group laugh, or other subjective measurements.
So...?

Regardless of that, having the GM award Inspiration is only one of the many options. You can have players award it to each other, or even to themselves, if your group feels comfortable with that. You can have it be automatic whenever there is a "cool moment" by group consensus. Indeed, nothing stops you making it entirely mechanical — mention a Bond/Flaw etc. get Inspiration, though I'm not sure that would be the best idea. Other ways to get Inspiration are also presented at various points in the rules, like praying at shrines, or taking other Downtime actions.
Yes the rules are so sloppy you can do anything you want with them. You have the reward (Gain advatantage) so disconnected from any situation that may prompt it that you can award it for anything. You could even just give it out for free at the start of each session and be done with it. (This way you can go with the assumption that everyone's just going to role-play their character to the best of their ability and that they therefore don't need to be treated like Pavlov's dogs)

Or if you do it by flaws you've got to stop the game to point out to the GM that you've just played according to one of your flaws. You should probably choose your flaws carefully too. "Inveterate gambler" might sound good for how you envision your character but you might find there are long stretches where it's not relevant. "Rude" is probably a good one - you can be rude to just about anyone.

Character traits, and the Inspiration that comes with them, are a part of 5E, whether you personally like them or not.
Barely...in the sense of "hey this looks like a rule that supports role-playing let's toss it in. Let's not bother to think about how these could be well done and actually integrated with the rest of the game in a meaningful way."
 
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Hituro

Eager Critmouse
Validated User
Barely...in the sense of "hey this looks like a rule that supports role-playing let's toss it in. Let's not bother to think about how these could be well done and actually integrated with the rest of the game in a meaningful way."
Did I say they were done well? Are they FATE? No.

But I suspect that S StreetBushido 's thread about starting 5E is not the place to express how much you dislike Inspiration. Maybe we should take the discussion to another thread?
 

Epicurean DM

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Validated User
Stealth: Stealth and hiding is a hot mess (or so says I). When 5E came out the majority of rules threads had some variant of "how does stealth work anyway" especially in combat (when can you hide, how far do you have to move to be both unseen and of 'unknown location'). After running 5E weekly since Phandelver came out I'm still not 100% clear on all the edge cases — I'd recommend making your own assessment of how it works before you start and sticking with it.
On the off-chance that anyone else shares this confusion, this is how the Stealth and Hiding rules work in 5e. ;)
The stealth rules in 5e are difficult to understand because WotC doesn't connect them with the foundational rules elsewhere in the game that make stealth work. It spreads the answer across several different sections of the PHB. To understand 5e's stealth rules, you first need to understand 5e's vision and light rules along with its combat rules. And you need to understand how one particular spell works: Invisibility.

5e describes three different types of vision, depending on the environment:

  • Lightly obscured: dim light, patchy fog, moderate foliage. It applies disadvantage to Perception checks to see things.
  • Heavily obscured: darkness, opaque fog, dense foliage. Creatures suffer from the Blindness condition. Remember this point.
  • Unobscured: Not explicitly mentioned in the PHB, but you can infer it. A sunny day with no visual impediments.

In 5e combat, we get a description of the actual Hide action (notice it's not in the description of the Stealth skill) and how hiding works within 5es rules. You've actually got to drill down to the "Unseen Attackers and Targets" section of the Combat chapter. When you attack a target that you cannot see (in other words, a target that is "hidden"), you roll with disadvantage. When you attack a target that cannot see you (in other words, you are "hidden"), you roll with advantage.

Notice how this section of the Combat chapter basically restates the Blindness condition, which reads in part:

"Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature's attack rolls have disadvantage."

So think of the Hide action (and 5e Stealth in general) as someone trying to apply the Blindness condition on their enemies. If they succeed, meaning their opponent can't see them, then, under 5e's rules, it's like their opponent is "blind" to that particular character.

Now we loop back around to 5e's visibility rules. When a player asks if their character can hide, they're really asking, "Can I become heavily obscured to my opponents?" Remember that an opponent "effectively suffers from the Blindness condition when trying to see something in that area." So trying to hide becomes, "Can I become heavily obscured so that my opponent suffers from the Blindess condition when trying to see me?"

Now you just need to figure out if the situation allows for the player to become heavily obscured. The rules state that a heavily obscured area "blocks vision entirely." So if an enemy's view of a character is entirely blocked (the character is in darkness or behind a wall or pillar), then the character can try to become hidden with a Stealth check.

Notice that in the examples of vision types above, “opaque fog” and “dense foliage” also create a heavily obscured area. We can imagine a scene where a character in opaque fog might reveal a faint outline for a brief moment. Opponents might theoretically catch a fleeting glimpse of the silver pommel of the rogue’s dagger through a small gap in dense foliage. The character should still get the benefit of being heavily obscured. DM’s should be careful not to nitpick until the ONLY options for being heavily obscured are complete darkness or being entirely behind a solid structure.

Now we get to why the Invisibilityspell helps unlock the puzzle. If you cast Invisibility, you gain the Invisible condition. The Invisible condition says that "for the purposes of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured."See how it works now? If you're invisible, you get the benefit of the rules found under "heavily obscured." If you're "heavily obscured," opponents are considered blindedwhen trying to see you and interact with you. Use the rules in the blindedcondition to figure out what to do.

The pillar example is the hardest to get your head around using 5e's rules because it requires a very specific, almost legalistic, understanding of how 5e's rules work. It requires that you allow the rules to overcome your common sense. If a character uses their move action to get behind a pillar and their bonus Hide action (we're assuming a Rogue in this example) to hide, then pops out to shoot a bow with advantage, that's OK under 5e's rules. In situations where the enemy has seen where the character went (behind the pillar), using the Hide action is better understood as "unpredictability." Yes, they know where the character is, but they don't know when and where the character will emerge to take the bow shot. Being good at Stealth in this situation means the character is able to fool their opponent with the timing of the attack. You can also describe the character as shooting the arrow through a hole in the pillar or through the gap in the edge where a piece of the pillar broke off. Once the character attacks, they aren't hidden any more. They need to take the Hide action again in order to get the benefits. The important thing is to accept that these peculiar set of rules interactions are very important to making Rogues unique and fun to play. You should try to stick to them as much as possible.

If you're standing out in the open under daylight, you aren't "heavily obscured." You've got to reach a place where you are (behind a big tree) or create a heavily obscured area (like the Darknessspell). This is why Invisibilityis a good spell. It lets you create a "heavily obscured" area anywhere you want, even on a bright, shiny day in the middle of a field. You still might have to make Stealth rolls to avoid being noticed by sound. Remember that being in a "heavily obscured" area imposes blindness, not blindnessand deafness. But your DM might give you advantage on the Stealth roll if your opponent can only hear some noises but not see what's making them. On the other hand, most intelligent creatures in a fantasy world know that invisibility is a thing and it's not unreasonable for some of them (the smarter ones) to think that an unexplained sound is connected to an invisible foe.
 

Hituro

Eager Critmouse
Validated User
Thanks for the post E Epicurean DM , but I think it is emblematic of the state of the stealth rules that I think your summary is wrong :)

A target needs to be unaware of you when you make your attack for you to get the benefits of your hiding. The example frequently given is whether a hidden rogue sneaking out into the open behind someone gets advantage to stab them. Out of combat you compare your stealth roll to their passive perception (possibly giving them +5 if they are alert) to see if you do it. The PHB says that a target "in combat", however, is aware of what's around them (i.e. they basically have 360 vision), so you can't sneak out of hiding and stab them with advantage.

That leads into the question of whether merely being unseen is enough to gain benefits, as you point out, it is not. You need to also make a Hide check, but it is up to the DM whether you can hide in a place where the enemy knows where you are and gain any advantage. Can you get advantage from popping out from behind a pillar they saw you go behind? You say yes, I'd say no. I allow players to gain advantage only if they can move away after hiding sufficiently that the target can no longer anticipate where the attack is coming from. (Now I'm not with my books, so I can't quote the rules text that led me to that interpretation).

There are benefits to being "unseen". There are other benefits to being "undetected". If you hide behind a pillar an enemy can still target your location (with something that doesn't need line of sight obviously). If you make a successful hide check and then move, they have to guess your location — they may guess your starting point for example.

My real issues surround group stealth though. If a group moves together and makes stealth checks, which stealth check do you compare to the passive perception of foes? The best? The worst? The median? The average (which maybe no one rolled)?
 

StreetBushido

Registered User
Validated User
Oh, geez. Am I going to have to ban stealth at my table?! o_O

Unrelated to the topic of stealth: how important is alignment in 5e? I know that alignment is one of the core aspects of D&D, but I've never liked it. The idea of absolute morality and "always evil orcs" is just weird to me. Is it possible to if not strip it out completely than at least minimize its presence in the game?
 

Manitou

Emperor of the Americas
Validated User
RE:Group skill checkes...
Did most of them succeed? Then the group succeeded, did most of them fail? then the group failed.
 

Hituro

Eager Critmouse
Validated User
Oh, geez. Am I going to have to ban stealth at my table?! o_O

Unrelated to the topic of stealth: how important is alignment in 5e? I know that alignment is one of the core aspects of D&D, but I've never liked it. The idea of absolute morality and "always evil orcs" is just weird to me. Is it possible to if not strip it out completely than at least minimize its presence in the game?
You are only likely to get into knots over stealth if you have a Rogue in the party, and even then it will mostly be easy unless they have Skulker, or some of the magic items that let them hide in semi-plain-sight, then there are some judgement calls — but you should only have to make them once. Also, plenty of people don't find Stealth hard, don't be put off by my issues :)

Alignment is very unimportant. The Detect Good and Evil family of spells now only detect outsiders, devils, demons, fey, undead, elementals and the like, so there is no direct way of telling if someone is good or evil. Similarly there aren't alignment restrictions on classes, even Paladins (who are bound by a code that depends on what sort of Oath they take). The Protection from ... family of spells similarly don't interact with alignment. Alignment does help suggest character traits and flaws, but that isn't hard and fast. Personally I wish that they had dropped alignment entirely, but since this is the edition of the familiar I understand why they didn't
 

Hituro

Eager Critmouse
Validated User
RE:Group skill checkes...
Did most of them succeed? Then the group succeeded, did most of them fail? then the group failed.
So you have them roll, record the results, wait for them to run into something while sneaking, and then see if the majority of rolls beat its Passive Perception? I guess that works.
 
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