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Thread: Stealth and Observation.

  1. #1

    Stealth and Observation.

    Suppose a group of characters attempt to sneak past another group of characters. It doesn't seem clear to me how to handle this with the Icon system.

    Making each searcher make a separate observation roll means that (if the group of searchers is large enough) rolling a 6 on the drama die for someone is almost guaranteed. Similarly, if each hider makes a separate stealth roll, someone is almost guaranteed to roll badly. Comparing the worst hider to the best searcher means the stealth attempt will almost always fail as the team sizes get bigger.

    One could make the best searcher make an opposed roll against the worst hider, but this ranking seems unclear. For example, one hider might have a low co-ordination, while another has a lower stealth skill.

    How would you deal with this situation in gameplay?

  2. #2
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    I'm assuming you are discussing two sets of player characters. If so, the characters attempting to sneak make their stealth roll. I look at what level of success they achieve and invert it to generate a difficulty level for the observing party. The better the stealth result, the more difficult it is to detect them. If you want to get really into it, have each member of each party make a roll, using the worst stealth result and the best observation result, but I prefer to make overall rolls per party.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    I'm assuming you are discussing two sets of player characters.
    What if I wasn't? I'd imagine this would most often come up with PCs versus NPCs. How would you deal with this?

    If so, the characters attempting to sneak make their stealth roll. I look at what level of success they achieve and invert it to generate a difficulty level for the observing party. The better the stealth result, the more difficult it is to detect them.
    I'm really curious about how you do this. How do you make a stealth roll for a group of characters? My gut says to let the "best" person roll (and let the team define "best"), but then penalise them based on the worst person, and the size of the group. Maybe something like:

    -1 per 2 levels of difference between the leader's stealth and the lowest level of stealth.
    -1 for a group of 2-4
    -2 for a group of 5-9
    -3 for a group of 10 or more

    As a follow on, how do you make a group observation roll? Again, my gut says to have the best person roll, and then give a bonus for number of helpers, and a *penalty* based on the worst helper.

    -1 per 2 levels of difference between the leader's observation and the lowest level of observation.
    +1 for a group of 2-4
    +2 for a group of 5-9
    +3 for a group of 10 or more

    If you want to get really into it, have each member of each party make a roll, using the worst stealth result and the best observation result, but I prefer to make overall rolls per party.
    This seems the "obvious" answer. But the problem here is that if you (say) have 6 people searching, there are very good odds one of them will roll a 6 on their fate die, and suddenly you have an almost impossible task for one hider to pass, and once you start using the *worst* roll in a group, that's even worse than impossible.

  4. #4
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    If one group is made up of PCs and the other of NPCs, Make one roll for the NPCs based on the average skill, figuring in any Advantages that might apply, and allow all the PCs to make a roll, or a designated PC if the players so choose. Again, always make the sneaking party make the roll, taking into account any countermeasures that may be pre-planned by the observers. If the observers are PCs, they must make the decision about countermeasures (setting up alarms or traps) on their own or with minimal prompting. After the sneakers have succeeded or faile, the observers get their roll. As for the Drama Die, yes, it does tilt the odds in that group's favour, but that's part of the system. Courage points do the same thing, to a lesser degree. This is basic GMing stuff, going right back to the release of brown-book OD&D 47 years ago. The principle is based on what should happen realistically, not what a particular rules set dictates. Use your own best judgement. Of course I don't know your GMing style or the player/GM dynamic, all of which are applicable here, so any advice I can give you is a speculative guide at best.

    Personally, I like to run games with as little die-rolling as possible saving the die-rolls to build tension at important plot points. If the encounter is of little import plot-wise, just wing it. If, however it is a critical incident (as it so often is in an infiltrator versus defender situation) go as detailed as you think appropriate. One size doesn't fit all.

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