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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    I understand that the Search action is to discourage (or at least make a little bit more realistic) of doing things like solving puzzles, looting monsters or finding hidden exits in the thick of combat.

    Is there, however, and interaction between the Search action and hostile creatures, such as those attempting to hide?

    I usually just have the player move out of direct line of sight, roll a stealth. Now, if the player isn't complete obscured, could an enemy use the search action to spot him through, for example, the foliage?

    Is there any other way to use the search action to one's advantage in a combat situation proactively, meaning in a way the dungeon master didn't specifically plan for?
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-09-20 at 01:13 PM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Search action is used to find something in combat. That's it. It may be a trap, it may be a hiding creature, it may be pretty much anything. It doesn't need to be only Perception check either: using Investigation to identify illusions could also be interpreted as being Search action. It's also not just visual... attempting to find the location of a hidden, invisible creature would also fall under Search.

    RAW, you must use your action (or BA) to Hide if you want to use Stealth in combat. Merely breaking line of sight isn't enough.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Eye for Detail - Inquisitve Rogue
    Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action to make a Wisdom (Perception) check to spot a hidden creature or object or to make an Intelligence (Investigation) check to uncover or decipher clues.

    ------------

    So normally, to see a creature hiding under a table , I'd have to use my action?

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    So normally, to see a creature hiding under a table , I'd have to use my action?
    Well, that depends on circumstances. If the creature is hidden... which means you can't see it, and the table must provide concealment, through long enough tablecloth, for example... you may use Search to detect the creature's presence. You still won't see it, but you'll know it's there.

    Or you can just lift the tablecloth. No obscurement, no stealth.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    That, makes sense. Thanks.
    I added a stealth-rule resource in my signature that also helped a lot :D

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    It should be noted that being hidden means your position is not known, and the enemy has to guess what square are you in to attack you (at disadvantage, and assuming you don't have total cover). Being unseen (i.e. heavily obscured) is pre-requisite to being hidden (ignoring specific exceptions that allow you hide while only, partially obscured, like lightfoot halfling and wood elf racial abilities), but you can be unseen but not hidden. Invisible, non-hidden creature is unseen, so you attack it at disadvantage, and you can't target it with many spells, but you don't have to guess its location, presumably because it still make noise and otherwise leaves signs of its presence. Taking care to avoid that noise and covering the signs is what Hide action represents.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2019-09-21 at 10:57 AM.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Hiding/stealth in 5e is one of those rare things that's significantly simpler than it seems at first glance.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Being unseen (i.e. heavily obscured) is pre-requisite to being hidden (ignoring specific exceptions that allow you hide while only, partially obscured, like lightfoot halfling and wood elf racial abilities),
    Well, no.

    The requirement in the PHB, pg 177 is that you can’t hide from creatures that can see you CLEARLY (emphasis mine)

    Now, early copies of the PHB lacked that critical word “clearly”, however this was corrected in errata.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritchaser View Post
    Well, no.

    The requirement in the PHB, pg 177 is that you can’t hide from creatures that can see you CLEARLY (emphasis mine)

    Now, early copies of the PHB lacked that critical word “clearly”, however this was corrected in errata.
    Which doesn't tell you much. The errata doesn't remove the aforementioned racial abilities of wood elves or halflings, which means only they are able to hide under appropriate circumstances (when lightly obscured by natural phenomena or when there's bigger creature between you and the observer, respectively). If anyone only required light obscurement to hide, those abilities would be pointless just like the parts of Grappler and Tavern Brawler feats that were removed in the errata.

    Wood elf isn't clearly visible when he's lightly obscured by unnatural effects, like smoke, yet he can't hide. Halfling isn't clearly visible if he's behind another halfling, yet he can't hide.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Which doesn't tell you much. The errata doesn't remove the aforementioned racial abilities of wood elves or halflings, which means only they are able to hide under appropriate circumstances (when lightly obscured by natural phenomena or when there's bigger creature between you and the observer, respectively). If anyone only required light obscurement to hide, those abilities would be pointless just like the parts of Grappler and Tavern Brawler feats that were removed in the errata.

    Wood elf isn't clearly visible when he's lightly obscured by unnatural effects, like smoke, yet he can't hide. Halfling isn't clearly visible if he's behind another halfling, yet he can't hide.
    This comes up rather a lot.

    There is no lack of clarity or confusion here. The RAW simply says what it says.

    If the RAW criterion is that, absent one of those features, you must not be seen clearly, then that and that alone is the requirement.

    You are lightly obscured, and do not possess a feature that would permit you to hide while lightly obscured.
    Can you be seen clearly?
    No: you may attempt to hide.
    Yes: you may not hide

    You are lightly obscured, and yes, you do possess a feature that would permit you to hide while lightly obscured (or wherever)
    Can you be seen clearly?
    No: you may attempt to hide.
    Yes: you may still attempt to hide (edit: provided you meet the requirements for that feature)

    Being seen clearly encompasses far more than just cover and obscurement.

    It includes distance, camouflage, backlight and silhouette, shadows and relative brightness, distracting motions or images nearby, conditions affecting the observer, etc. etc.

    A power that allows you to hide when lightly obscured does exactly what it says it does.

    It does nothing to reduce the relevance of these other factors for everyone without such a trait.

    Edit: I acknowledge that there’s obviously a huge, table-specific grey area around that term “clearly”. Given that it would not have taken much time or space for them to add a table of examples, I have to think it’s more than just possible that WotC may have wanted this to be a flavour element of a campaign that was table specific.
    Last edited by Spiritchaser; 2019-09-21 at 06:35 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritchaser View Post
    Being seen clearly encompasses far more than just cover and obscurement.

    It includes distance, camouflage, backlight and silhouette, shadows and relative brightness, distracting motions or images nearby, conditions affecting the observer, etc. etc.
    Here's the thing: that sort of stuff falls under obscurement. Dim light and anything else that worsens your ability to see provides light obscurement, while being unable to see entirely (and it doesn't matter if it's because the thing you want to see is behind a solid wall, in darkness (which, notably, include even "most moonlight nights", but there's another thread arguing about that already, let's not go there), or because you're blind) provides heavy obscurement. Heavy obscurement means you automatically fail any sight-based Perception check, while light obscurement gives you disadvantage on such checks. It's hard to argue you can "see the creature clearly" if you have disadvantage on checks to see it.

    Yet, only specific exceptions allow you to hide while lightly obscured.

    The errata actually made the rule less clear than it was.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    The search action can also be used to see through some illusions, as they need a check against spell DC if i remember right

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Search and Hide Actions (HALP)

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Here's the thing: that sort of stuff falls under obscurement. Dim light and anything else that worsens your ability to see provides light obscurement, while being unable to see entirely (and it doesn't matter if it's because the thing you want to see is behind a solid wall, in darkness (which, notably, include even "most moonlight nights", but there's another thread arguing about that already, let's not go there), or because you're blind) provides heavy obscurement. Heavy obscurement means you automatically fail any sight-based Perception check, while light obscurement gives you disadvantage on such checks. It's hard to argue you can "see the creature clearly" if you have disadvantage on checks to see it.

    Yet, only specific exceptions allow you to hide while lightly obscured.

    The errata actually made the rule less clear than it was.
    For the record, I would not count bright moonlight nights as "darkness" whatever the PHB says... ok, done going there.

    I also agree that having dim light place a disadvantage on searching definitely places some unexpected limits on what "clearly" can mean, which is arguably a good thing. At least we have some kind of guidance (I'll grant this is pretty miserable guidance).

    All that said

    light obscurement is patchy fog, sporadic foliage, dim light... not distance, that would be different. Distracting visual information nearby would also not be obscurement and would surely limit how clearly a character could be seen. The delta in lux between the bright lights and shadows (presumably where the character is) would also not count as obscurement but most assuredly impacts the ability of human vision to clearly see things... though we might have to take it on faith that goblinoid eyes work the same way... The presence or lack of a silhouette or hard visual edge could depend on obscurement, but it doesn't need to. Many factors impacting the observer are not obscurement.

    Raw describes the two things separately, and while many things will obviously impact both simultaneously, if we evaluate them separately, the RAW makes sense.

    Maybe a thing that is lightly obscured can be seen clearly, maybe it can't. Maybe the dim light lets a creature hide. Maybe it doesn't. Make the call and it all works.

    While closely related, trying to fully conflate clearly/not clearly seen and obscured doesn't seem to me to be helpful.

    What would be really helpful would be a nice little table of what does and doesn't count... but again I get the feeling that this could be a deliberate omission.
    Last edited by Spiritchaser; 2019-09-22 at 07:20 AM.

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