Watching From the Shadows:
Stealth and Sneaking in DDO

By Darkgolem

One of the least used and most powerful abilities for a href="">rogue
(and other classes) in Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) is stealth.
Stealth allows preparing a battlefield, gathering of information, and
bypassing obstacles. But this ability is underutilized by many players.
This is because it requires patience and different approaches to combat
that do not work for the majority of adventuring parties.

Uses of Stealth

The most useful result of stealth is information gathering. A stealthy
adventurer can tell the party what is around the corner without
alerting the enemies. This allows planning. The wizards can plan and
place crowd control spells, fighters can get out the proper weapons,
clerics can cast the appropriate defensive spells, and targets can be
assigned to different party members. A party is much, much more
effective with proper planning. See my href="">Guide
to Dungeon Discretion for more on the positive impact of
preparation. And without scouting, this can’t happen.

Stealth also allows a party member to get into position to fight
better. Only barbarians, rogues, and rangers have Spot and Listen as
class Skills. Most monsters have Skills of 2 + Intelligence modifier.
This means that a rogue can often sneak directly up to opponent enemy
and, when combat is initiated, attack without having to spend time
getting to the opponent. Why is this useful? For the same reason some
of your party members like to keep their opponents at a distance.
Wizards and sorcerers--and to some extent clerics--are vulnerable when
opponents are “in their face.” A stealthy character can prevent a spell
caster from casting successfully.

A stealthy character can also bypass obstacles because he can avoid
unnecessary fights. It seems obvious, but often parties of adventurers
will forget that the goal in adventure is not to defeat all opponents
within a quest but instead to complete the objectives. Sometimes, this
can be done without wasting effort and time fighting.

The Basics of Stealth

Stealth is formed of two Skills, Hide and Move Silently. Any time an
opponent is in a position where it can detect the scout moving around,
that enemy rolls Spot and Listen checks to see the scout. The scout in
turn rolls Hide Move Silently to oppose these checks. If the Move
Silently roll (d20 plus the scout's modified Skill) is higher than the
Spot roll (d20 plus the opponent's modified skill), then the opponent
does not see the scout. The same applies for Listen and Move silently.

Modifiers in DDO are based upon distance and lighting. A well-lit area
increases the modifier for Spot, and the modifier for Spot decreases as
distance increases . There is no indicator for distance (besides
experience) to show where your modifiers get worse. There is an
indicator for when lighting increases your Spot check. As you sneak
around, you will see a stack of “eyes” floating near your character.
The larger the stack, the more lit the area you are in is and the more
likely you are to be spotted.

If a creature detects a player with a Spot check, it can directly
attack the opponent. If a creature detects a scout with a Listen check,
it moves in that general direction (enemies who don’t see the player do
not attack) and attempt to find the noise again. The creature will
attempt to move directly next to the sneaking scout to maximize the
chance to find the player.

Maximizing Stealth

As noted above, stealth comes from the Hide and Move Silently Skills.
Both of these Skills receive a bonus from your Dexterity modifier.
Rogues should keep this in mind when planning their href="">DDO Builds. A high DEX
score and good DEX gear will make them better at sneaking and landed
Sneak Attacks. Since DEX also modifies the Open Lock Skill, this stat
will be put to good use.

Complications to Stealth

href=""> alt="snaeking around"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 240px; height: 200px;" align="left">Stealth
does not work uniformly well for all situations. All creatures can be
hidden from, with three basic exceptions; Undead, creatures with strong
scent, and creatures with tremorsense.

Undead are (it appears) able to see stealthy adventurers. There is no
reason that the author is aware of in rules for Dungeons & Dragons,
but regardless of the cause, a scout or rogue should never trust in
being able to Sneak past the undead.

Scent is an ability that certain creatures (mainly animals and some
giants) have. In DDO, it is clear that trolls have scent. Scent allows
creatures to locate hidden opponents within an area of about 30 feet
(about one and a half times the width of a fog spell, for a rough
measurement). A creature that has detected a player by scent will act
as if succeeding with a Listen check.

Tremorsense is possessed by vermin and oozes in general. Tremorsense
allows these creatures to know where you are without failure and
without needing to make a Spot or Listen check as long as you’re
touching the ground and moving. While a scout style="font-style: italic;">can attempt to avoid movement,
these opponents will see her as soon as she moves. As when dealing with
undead, do not expect to be able to Sneak at all around oozes or vermin.

Breaking Stealth

Stealth is broken by certain actions. Opening doors, turning valves and
levers, attacking, and casting spells all break stealth after the
action is performed. The most important of all of these items is
attacking. If attacking from stealth, the rogue or scout will only get
one attack--even if entitled to more than one attack in a round. Since
in DDO Sneak Attacks are based upon whether the is targeted by the
enemy or not (with some exceptions, such as bluffing one’s opponent),
the first attack against an opponent will be the most damaging. After
the first attack a rogue makes, the opponent will target the rogue. So
a rogue should always turn off stealth immediately before attacking a
target. This way the rogue will get a full round of attacks, all with
Sneak Attack damage, before the creature targets the rogue. This is not
intuitive, but it is important to realize: attack while in stealth
mode, and you will only get one attack; break stealth before attacking
to get all of your attacks for that round with Sneak Attack damage.

Head back to the Shadows

Stealth is a useful but often ignored ability for many characters. By
learning the uses of stealth and practicing it, a scout or rogue can
bring a great advantage upon a party. Take the time to use your stealth
abilities to help your party, and you will be rewarded by success (and
less debt) in your dungeon delving.

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live in the shadows? Discuss
stealth in our forums!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016