Our group is about to start up a new campaign in Exalted, and no less than three of the party came to our character creation session with, “I want to be the stealthy guy!” Now anyone that’s ever broken into a drow matron’s vault or crept through the slave pits of the undercity knows that having a sneaky guy in the party is a good idea. He can scout ahead, set up ambushes, create diversions, and spy out all kinds of useful intel. The problems come creeping in, however, when you try to turn your lone infiltrator into a commando squad.   

For the sake of argument let’s say that everybody in the group is average at sneaking, and can succeed in going undetected 50% of the time. If any one of these characters attempts to creep through a sleeping dragon’s lair, they’ll get away with the Bilbo impersonation half the time. If all four of them attempt the trick, however, they’ll only avoid detection in 1 out of every 16 attempts. Even if a party designed for stealth tries to burgle Big Red, with each master ninja enjoying a full 90% success rate, at least one of them will biff the roll about 35% of the time.

All of the above makes a certain amount of sense from a simulation standpoint. It’s harder to get a squad of dudes behind enemy lines than a single operative. But from a narrative standpoint, I’ve always felt that this sort of thing bites. Why the crap can’t we sneak into one freaking cultist den without setting off alarm bells?

Do any of you guys have a good system or house rule to fix this one? Because this issue has honestly stumped me for years.