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Combat stealth?


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#1 katheb

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 02:41 PM

As you may know , I have never played any P&P RPGs [not that I don't want to]

But a question crossed my mind on the use of NON combat skills in combat.

Grapple Acrobatics and Stealth or other things .

for Example Could a Rogue Hide and go into stealth In combat while the "monsters" are distracted and strike from the "shadows"

Or a Ranger Could he/she do a backflip off of a ledge and land on an unsuspecting foe.


or Tumble behind cover and stealth and appear elsewhere to land an arrow in a "monsters" back
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#2 Daniel

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:06 PM

It depends on the system. Some systems allow the above examples, others don't.


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#3 Snappyapple

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:14 PM

Since this is in the d20 forum, I'll assume you mean to ask about third or fourth edition of D&D. In which the answer to the specific questions below are all yes, I believe.

-A rogue can certainly take advantage of the environment or certain spell effects to find cover and hide, possibly escaping the notice of enemies and delivering a sneak attack.

-A ranger finding himself on a ledge 20 foot above an unsuspecting foe could certainly try to use acrobatics or tumble to drop down and attack the foe without breaking a leg or landing in a mess.

-Some DMs may certainly reward creative use of acrobatics and tumbling in place of Bluff or some skill to feint or creating a distraction for the character to go into hiding.

Many skills can eventually find their way into combat situations other than the character's attack bonus or armor class. Other examples for 3.5 include:

-Balance, when fighting on precarious ledges, a rocking ship, or when a mage dump a Grease spell under your legs.

-Bluff, can be used to feint in combat so you can catch your opponent off-guard, or send a hidden signal to your allies

-Craft, yes there are some spells using this skill that can be used creatively in combat.

-Escape Artist, as a method to counter grappling.

-Intimidate, to threaten foes and demoralize them

-Perform, aside from their use in bardic music, there are a few abilities that use this skill to distract foes in some manner

-Sense Motive, mainly used to oppose the usage of Bluff

-Sleight of Hand, concealing a weapon for an infiltration, or even stealing a small item in combat when the opportunity arise like loosely hanging weapons, wands, or a wizard's component pouch! :twisted:
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#4 katheb

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:23 PM

Interesting~

Sounds good to me.

I think doing things other than just attacking would be alot more fun =]
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#5 Telemergion

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:30 PM

The simple answer is "yes, it is possible."

However, it tends to matter greatly what system you're using, what version of the system, whether or not your GM has read the rules and/or is up to date on errata, or whether it's Tuesday, sunny, and so on and so forth.

Let's use 4th Edition D&D, since that'll cover most of your questions pretty well. Previous editions all had these skills and classes, but the mechanics differed to varying degrees so don't assume it's the same for all of them.

Grapple
I'm curious why you consider Grapple a non-combat skill. :P

Stealth
In 4th edition, it's a lot easier to use stealth at the start of a fight than in the middle, which makes a bit of sense. However, there are ways to use it during combat (and the latest book with rogue stuff expanded on this) it's just that it's not always easy.

Without getting too mechanic heavy, basically you have to break line of sight between you and your enemies. It can work against just one, but then someone might point at you and that accomplishes nothing, so you need to duck behind a wall or in a ditch where nobody hostile can see you. Then you make some rolls, usually take a movement penalty to go anywhere, and the bad guys can try to find you. Then, if you can manage to keep even just partial cover or concealment you have the chance to sneak attack. The instant you do, however, your cover is blown so you want to make sure it hits.

Course it's a lot easier and faster to just flank the guy with a buddy and stab him in the back.

Acrobatics/Athletics
Your example of backflipping onto an enemy is also possible, and such antics are always encouraged in my games. This one's pretty simple, as basically it just requires the GM to decide how hard he wants the stunt to be and then he tells you to roll your skill. If you succeed, you perform whatever it was you were trying to do. If you wanted to include some form of attack, that'd be an attack roll but the GM may decide either penalties or bonuses apply.

Your other example is just a combination of the above so yeah, that one's possible too.

Social Skills
"Social skills?" you say. "But Tom, I don't want to talk to monsters; I wanna stab 'em!" Well, you can, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you can use such skills as Bluff, Intimidate, or Diplomacy in combat too.

The mechanics are different for each one but usually you sacrifice your option to attack for some sort of benefit. Bluff can distract enemies, throwing them off guard and making it easier to hit (and/or sneak attack) them. Intimidate can be used to make enemies surrender if they've been beaten enough or the GM decides they're smart enough to comprehend their impending doom. Diplomacy is boring because it ends fights peacefully, but it's an option, I guess.

Knowledge
Yes, even Knowledge skills are occasionally useful in combat. I don't follow the book's guidelines for this, but they can be used to gain useful information about the opponents you're facing. The book suggests doing it to the degree that you can basically just hand over the monster's stat block, but I am not a fan of that. I just give people the little Lore blurbs, weaknesses or resistances, and hints about what to expect in terms of attacks.

So there you go, ktb, a whole bunch of combat-applicable non-combat skills. Other games have a larger or different list, and I've seen some crazy attempts to justify using them in inappropriate situations (Streetwise is not an option for disabling a trap!), but the bottom line is that even if the book doesn't cover it, the GM may decide it's such a good idea that he'll let you give it a try.

Just don't expect it to be easy.
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#6 Telemergion

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:31 PM

Damn you, Snappyapple! You beat me to it!
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#7 Snappyapple

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:32 PM

:P Well at least I did third and you did fourth.
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#8 Telemergion

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:37 PM

You sir, just succeeded on a diplomacy roll to avoid combat.
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#9 katheb

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for the clear explanation , this helps me think of the possibilities that could arise in a game.

As for grapple in the mp3 recordings I don't see it mentioned much so I assumed that there are no characters that can Focus on using Grapples in combat.
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#10 popper

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:00 PM

It's mostly because the grapple rules are a bit arduous and bog the game down to the point where people leave the table and come back twenty minutes later to see that the situation still isn't revolved.
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#11 Telemergion

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:49 PM

And until recently in 4th edition, where it's much easier but accomplishes a lot less, the only people who would really want to bother already had better ways to stop movement.
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#12 Snappyapple

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:12 PM

Well there is a 'weapon mastery' chain of feats for grabbing and garroting rogues in one of the Dragon magazine articles. Of course, then I noticed that grabs don't get an attack bonus through equipment or through feats such as Weapon Expertise (as grab isn't clearly listed under a weapons group). This means grabbing lags waaaay behind in attack compared to normal attacks at paragon and epic tier.

So, since the garrote weapon included in that article was designed to be used for grabbing, I e-mailed wizards to see if I can apply the garrote's bonus from enhancements and feats to the related grab attack. But, unfortunately, they gave the bland and useless reply of "No, there's no problem, you can't. But, you're the DM so you can do what you want in your game."
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#13 Telemergion

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 12:06 AM

But honestly, would you really want to try and garrote the Tarrasque? :P

Good ol' Wizards being helpful.
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#14 popper

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 01:27 AM

But honestly, would you really want to try and garrote the Tarrasque? :P


If I were an elder dragon with abnormally dexterous limbs, yes. If I were a giant with a death wish, yes. If I were a monk of epicish levels, yes. If I were Charlie Akins, and I am, yes, fuck yes, a thousand times yes! While the very forces of the cosmos told every fiber of my being this is a bad idea I would do it not just once but twice. A third time though, that's right the fuck out.

God, just imagine the forethought that would be required to properly set the noose. Almost certainly it would require a high voltage power line, helicopters, and an army of willingly sacrificed trea- I mean soldiers for the Tarrasque to be occupied with . . . Of course who ever was flying the helicopter would die. So too the soldiers. The power line would probably just piss it off.

But hey, you only live once right?
So I guess what I'm saying here is; kids, the question isn't who wants to garrote the Tarrasque and die, but who wouldn't want to garrote the Tarrasque and die?

Elves and pussies kids. Elves and pussies.
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