Sassy behir is best behir. Except for my buddy Kazzat, of course. Dude was the finest bro a wizard ever had. Bodyguard, lowrider mount, and surprisingly comfortable mattress, the electrical burns were well worth the effort. As much as I love my snaky blue dragonkin though, they’re not really the subject of today’s comic. Rather, what say we talk about that far deadlier beast: the Stealth/Hide/Sneak/How-not-to-be-seen rules?

My first encounter with the difficulties of stealth came courtesy of my favorite tactical minis game: Mordheim. The lore is cool, the low number of models is cool, and the fact that it literally translates to “Home of Murder” in German is 1) hilarious, and 2) also kind of cool. What’s not cool, however, is playing the “Breakthrough” scenario as a melee-focused warband. You can see those cursed Reiklanders across the river. Their stupid helmet feathers are waggling back and forth in plain sight, mocking you, and you can’t wait to smack the stupid off of ’em when they try and charge through your line. They don’t have any other choice. They’ve got to reach your board edge to win, and sure as shit you aren’t going to sprint across open ground to get at ’em. That’s how you wind up looking like a pincushion. And so you wait, all of your dudes posted up in alleyways or behind piles of debris, a smattering of Hidden! tokens lying next to them.

“Dude… are you going to move?”

“Hell no! You’re the melee squad. You come to me.”

“But you’re the one who has to break through. It’s the name of the scenario.”

“What? I can’t hear you. You better come out of hiding and repeat that.”

And so you sit there like a couple of Zax, not moving and not really playing the game. Or at least, that’s what happens in the worst case scenario. My favorite Mordheim games had a bit of a gentleman’s agreement going on in the background: You’re there to fight like manly men (especially you, Helga), so get in there and mix it up!

In a weird sort of way, stealthing around in an RPG shares that mindset problem. The stealthy player thinks that hiding every round in every terrain is viable. It’s what the character is built to do after all. Meanwhile, the GM is sitting there like, “No, you can’t hide behind the halfling.” If you’re using a battle map of some kind, you can always try marking which terrain creates suitable hiding spots, but that only goes so far. You’re inevitably going to find a corner case where the wall isn’t quite high enough, the smoke isn’t quite thick enough, or the foliage isn’t quite dense enough (looking at you there, Thief). In these scenarios, I find that it’s best policy for the sneaker-to-be to play a little Mother May I. If you know your going to dash in, stab the monster, and then dive for cover, make sure to ask your GM if cover is available before you’re halfway through the maneuver. Anything else is asking for disappointment and, even worse, a sassy-behir style argument.

How about the rest of you guys? Have you ever had trouble adjudicating the stealth and hiding rules in a game? Let’s hear your tales of hide-and-seek gone wrong in the comments!


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