Skill Stunts and Epic Skill Stunts IX – Stealth Skills

Basic Stealth skills – whether they’re called Hide, Move Silently, Camouflage, or Evade Pursuit – are fairly straightforward; you escape detection. If you’re a door-to-door salesman, that’s generally a bad thing – but in settings where many of the creatures you meet will be trying to kill you, it’s generally a very good thing indeed. It may not be quite up to the gold standard of “not being there”, but – barring area effects – it can come pretty close.

Regardless of which such skill you are employing, the following list is just going to refer to it as a “stealth skill”. When it comes to stunts and epic stunts there really isn’t a lot of difference between them.

Sample Stunts for Stealth Skills (Hide, Move Silently, Stealth, Etc):

  • DC 10 (normally no stunt required):
    • Break Trail: You may increase the DC of Survival checks to track you and up to a dozen nearby allies by 5 when moving at full speed and by 10 when moving at half speed.
    • Camouflage: Given a few minutes to adjust your clothing to an environment, you may give yourself a +4 circumstance (equipment) bonus to your stealth-related checks. This bonus increases to +6/+7/+8/+9/+10 at DC 20/35/50/75/100.
    • Conceal Object: You may conceal other objects or creatures somewhere in the area, using their size modifiers. Creatures concealed this way must remain still to remain concealed. Objects at least two size categories smaller than you may be concealed about your person, although there is a penalty of -5, -10, or -15 for being scantily/minimally/un- dressed. There is a +5 bonus if you are wearing clothing designed to conceal things.
    • Forgettable: You may make yourself look bland and ordinary, gaining a +4 circumstance bonus to resist being Scryed upon and allowing you to oppose any attempt to pick you out of a crowd with your stealth skill whether you are aware of the attempt or not. Unfortunately, since this will normally involve hiding your weapons and supplies you suffer a -1 penalty on your initiative on any day you choose to employ this ability.
  • DC 15 (May or may not require a stunt):
    • Conceal Thoughts: Instead of opting to save you may roll your stealth skill against an opponents Perception skill to create false results when they attempt to read your mind, sense your emotions, detect your alignment, or detect truth.
    • Espionage: You may substitute your stealth skill for a Gather Information check, albeit at -10.
    • Exploit Distraction: You may make a Sneak Attack or use Precision Damage against a creature that is currently Dazzled, Entangled, or Nauseated.
    • Inner Stillness: You gain a +5 bonus to your stealth skill if you opt to simply remain still and let potential observers pass by. At DC 30 you may pretend to be a statue, piece of furniture, or other item that belongs in an area – allowing you to employ your stealth skill even if there is no place to conceal yourself as long as you remain still (At DC 30 this is, however, definitely a stunt).
  • DC 20:
    • Shifting Shadows: You may move at normal speed without penalizing or negating your stealth for the next 3d6 minutes.
    • Spiritwalk: Exotic senses (Darksight, Tremorsense, Scent, Greensight, Blindsense, Detect Magic, and other direct detection effects) no longer automatically pierce your stealth skills for the next 3d6 minutes. Their users must instead make a perception check, although they may make one per applicable special sense.
    • Subtle Venom: You may use your stealth skill to hide poisons, whether from magical detection or in food or drink. Detecting it will require an opposed perception check against your stealth skill even with occult aid or special senses and is effectively impossible without such aid or senses.
  • DC 25:
    • Battlefield Exploit: On a real battlefield there is always SOMETHING to get behind. As a move action you gain Partial Cover for 3d6 rounds.
    • Cloaking Weave: You generate the effects of a Cover Scent, Chameleon, Vanish, Hide from Animals, Hide from Undead, or similar first level stealth-boosting spell or power. At DC 40 this extends to second level effects (Hide Campsite, Nondetection, Invisibility, Hidden Presence), at DC 75 to third, and at DC 100 to fourth (Greater Invisibility, Mask From Divination),
    • Subtle Touch: You may conceal the components of your spellcasting, power manifestation, or similar tells, causing many observers to miss them entirely. Attempts to identify what you are doing suffer a -(check/2) penalty. If you wish to hide that your attention is diverted so that you do not provoke Attacks Of Opportunity or trigger Readied Actions the DC increases to 40.
  • DC 30:
    • Air and Darkness: You may expend a use of a spell, psionic power, or similar ability to gain a +(3 x the ability level) Circumstance bonus to stealth-related checks for 3d6 minutes. If you expend an effect of fourth level or higher, you may employ your stealth skills even if you are under observation.
    • Backstab: When you sneak attack a target that is unaware of your presence you may double your sneak attack damage. At DC 60 you can triple it and at DC 100 you can quadruple it.
    • Obscurity: If you choose to exercise this ability at least once each month, any attempts to investigate your activities, gather information about you, or profile you suffer a penalty of one half your base stealth skill. At DC 100 you may actively erase information about your presence from reality, becoming anonymous to anyone who is not directly in contact with you.
  • DC 35:
    • Abyssal Cloak: You may roll your skill in an attempt to dispel a revelatory spell or power such that would affect you, including Faerie Fire, Glitterdust, Detect Thoughts, Know Alignment, Invisibility Purge, any form of Scrying, and similar effects. This does not require an action.
    • Smugglers Pouch: You gain an innate ability equivalent to a Handy Haversack for a week. You may have up to (Con Mod) instances of this ability operating at any one time.
    • Whispers: As a part of casting a spell, using a spell-like ability, or manifesting a power you may make a stealth check to render it Still and Silent.
  • DC 40:
    • Arcane Camouflage: Given an hour and 100 GP worth of exotic ingredients you may create an effect similar to Mages Private Sanctum which will remain effective for up to (Check Result/2) days. Working without the ingredients or in only ten minutes increases the DC to 50, doing both increases it to 75. Creating this effect as a standard action without ingredients is DC 100.
    • Living Shadow: If you have concealment the targets of your melee attacks lose their Dexterity bonus to AC. Creatures that cannot be caught flat-footed are immune to this ability, it otherwise lasts for 2d6 minutes.
    • Still The Wind: You may selectively dampen sound and vibration in a thirty foot radius. You may reduce screams or cries for help to whispers, reduce sonic damage by (check result/2) points, give spells or bardic performances with verbal or musical components a (check result)% chance of failure, and become invisible to Sonar, Tremorsense, and similar methods of detection. This does, however, require a move action every round it is maintained and cannot be maintained for more than 3d6 minutes.
  • DC 50:
    • Crack In The World: You may slip into the gaps in reality, “finding” an extra dimensional space – in reality a lost bit of the cosmos – capable of holding up to a dozen creatures of any size. Once found, access to such spaces acts like a Rope Trick effect, although there is no hazard in bringing in other extra dimensional spaces. Typically such spaces are dusty old rooms from long fallen manors, abandoned campsites, forgotten shrines, lost crypts, or other long-vanished places. They are fairly secure places to stay or to stash things and may even (at the game masters option) contain something interesting – but such contents are always relatively passive; there might be some wraiths in the back of the forgotten crypt, but unless a group intentionally breaks the seals and forces open the door, they may camp there in safety.
    • Wardpact: You may create an Scrying Guardian – a level six Astral Construct that will warn you of any attempt to scry on you and which may then be directed to move through the scrying link to do something (most often attack) on the other end.
    • You Weren’t Looking: You may accomplish the equivalent of an hours worth of work within a thirty foot radius by claiming that someone was not looking. Thus you could, for example, free a small swarm of prisoners who had been chained up behind a guard while telling him or her that “I already set them free while you weren’t looking!”.
  • DC 60:
    • Ectoplasmic Camouflage: You may pull a thin layer of quasi-living ectoplasm from the astral plane, imprinting it with traces of thought and personality as well as a desired appearance and wrapping it around everything you wish in an area of up to one acre. This does not actually change any game statistics or sizes, but it can change the description, apparent race, and the results of detection or divination effects directed at anything the camouflage covers. Since the stuff is quite real, and not actually “magical”, this will even fool Scrying, True Seeing, and spells such as “Detect Alignment”. You might thus camouflage a pirate ship and its crew as a respectable naval vessel, or as a merchantman. A hallowed temple full of halflings? You could camouflage it as a ruin full of kobolds. Unfortunately, such camouflage only lasts for twenty-four hours, will quickly slough away in the face of significant physical stress, and tends to be a bit vague; a perception check against one-half your score will reveal that something is very much “off” about the entire affair. Creatures, vehicles, and objects, can, however, move around or leave the area without losing their camouflage.
    • Phantom Strike: You make an attack, whether physical or supernatural, undetectable. If you stab someone, they will neither see nor hear the blow, and will feel no pain – although they may feel the blood sticking their clothing to their skin. Anyone slain or knocked unconscious by such an attack will simply collapse as things “go black”. At DC 75 you may conceal an area effect attack, such as a Fireball – causing it’s victims to simply mysteriously collapse.
    • Pricking Thumbs: For the next twenty-four hours you will always know when you are under observation. You cannot be Surprised or Flanked and you are always aware of it when someone is using Scrying or other forms of Divination Magic against you.
  • DC 75:
    • Deep Concealment: You may absorb up to (Con Mod) magical items into your body. They will still occupy the usual item slots and function normally, but cannot be found by any search or be targeted apart from you. While this may be maintained indefinitely, the Mana spent activating this stunt will remain committed to the items and cannot be regained until after they are released once again.
    • Immersion: You may camouflage your mind among a myriad other minds, creating a Mind Blank effect for yourself. At DC 100 you may do this for someone else.
    • Shadow Dance: You may move through the shadow realm to produce an effect equivalent to the Greater Blink spell.
  • DC 100:
    • One With Darkness: You may generate a Shadow Walk effect.
    • Stalking Void: You gain total concealment for 3d6 minutes.
    • The Great Evasion: When you (should) die you may attempt to conceal yourself from Death itself – remaining alive for up to (Check Result) hours. During that time you can be healed from any amount of damage and – if your death was the result of a failed saving throw – may retry the failed save every twenty-four hours, with a success negating your “death”. Unfortunately, using this stunt leaves Death more or less “out to get you”. For the next week any damage inflicted on the user is doubled and his or her saving throws suffer from a -6 Circumstance modifier.

Epic Stunts For Stealth:

  • Whispers Of Neverwhere (Research Level 7, DC 38): You may project your voice to any known location, individual or described group, or set thereof, within a radius of one mile. You may make your voice sound like anyone you please, make it audible to who you please (and to them alone), and make it sound like it’s coming from anywhere you please. For the next 3d6 minutes you may whisper ominous threats, encourage rebellion, tell of unimaginable horrors, give confusing orders, and make a general pest of yourself.
  • Communal Stealth (Research Level 8, DC 42): For the next 3d6 hours whenever someone within sixty feet needs to make a stealth check you may make it for them. This does not require an action, although if you wish to intentionally fail such a check they may make a Will save to use their own check.
  • Etheric Archer (Research Level 9, DC 46): For the rest of the day you may snipe without breaking concealment. In addition, you may ignore the effects of partial cover and may fire (if blindly) through compete cover.
  • Stalking Wind (Research Level 10, DC 50): For the next twenty-four hours the target may vanish into Greater Invisibility as a free or immediate action.
  • Clandestine Weave (Research Level 11, DC 54): You may “trade” points off of your stealth skill for stealth-related magical items at a ratio of 2500 GP worth of items per +1 given up. Unfortunately, such items will vanish as soon as you reclaim your bonuses, although they will remain in existence until you opt to do so.
  • The Sounds Of Silence (Research Level 12, DC 58): All sounds of alarm (as well as flashing lights and other alarms) are silenced within a radius of (10 x Check Result) feet for the next hour. Shouts of pain, cries for help, emergency sirens, warning lights, and similar warnings will pass unseen and unheard until the effect ends.
  • The Wells Of Silence (Research Level 13, DC 62): You may lay Silence across an entire battlefield or city, exempting those you please when it pleases you.
  • Unwitnessed Deeds (Research Level 14, DC 66): You may relocate a confrontation into a pocket dimension. Said dimension may either simply copy the relevant layout of the area within one mile or less or it may have any theme you specify. It can also have up to seven CR 10 Hazards or Creatures, and will contain only those opponents who were nearby when it was cast. Once the confrontation is completed, the pocket realm will dissipate and everyone within it will be returned to reality. This is very useful for keeping enemy reinforcements from arriving, preventing secondary damage from the battle, and preventing de facto hostage taking.
  • The Secret City (Research Level 15, DC 70): You may move an entire city and its environs into a pocket dimension. While several well-concealed, and possibly dangerous, access routes will remain, all will be hidden by your stealth skill. The area said city once occupied will be filled with untamed wilderness. There is always some method of returning the city to reality, but it will generally involve some sort of quest.
  • Walk The Hidden Ways (Research Level 16, DC 74): During the next twenty-four hours the user may step through shadow to use effects equivalent to Greater Teleport as a free action three times, Dimension Door as a free action seven times, and Dimension Step as a free action twelve times.
  • Ectoplamic Veil (Research Level 17, DC 78): You may apply Ectoplasmic Camouflage across a radius of up to sixty miles, it lasts for up to a month, takes considerable effort to destroy (piecemeal), and allows you to “tweak” or modify up to three of the areas Planar Traits – although the game master must approve of such alterations.
  • Stepping Between The Shadows (Research Level 18, DC 82): You and those you lead may reach any location that CAN be reached by sub-epic means, bypassing guards and random encounters, via a brief stroll.
  • Mists Of Time (Research Level 19, DC 86): You may conceal major chunks of the past. If you feal that the Dread Empire of a thousand years ago is best forgotten… then you may conceal memories, rewrite tomes and records, and render it forgotten on a global basis. Even those who save will remember little more than rumors and even hints will only remain in the most obscure and exotic tomes. Surviving sites will be hidden away or misattributed.
  • Overlay Of Identity (Research Level 21, DC 94). You may wrap yourself in a shell of another identity for the next twenty-four hours, adding up to (Int x 2) Character Points worth of abilities appropriate to the new ability. The effect is real and physical, and so True Sight and similar spells will not reveal it, although they may reveal that something “is not right”.
  • The Hidden Kingdom (Research Level 22, DC 98): Moves an entire nation into a pocket realm, otherwise as per The Secret City.
  • Walk The Dark Lands (Research Level 24, DC 106). See Eclipse, PG 151).

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