Large group Stealth

The standard group check “the best skill & characteristic” doesn’t apply well for Stealth. RAW says each PC rolls individually, and may pool extra successes—the good ones help the noisy ones. But that can take a long time for large groups, and if you have them leading NPC minion groups it doesn’t logically work for the minion group to roll once, since it’s harder for large groups to hide.

So I have the following house rule:
Large group at Short range: Take group check (best rank + best Agility) vs opposed Perception . Add Setback for each N/PC with no ranks in stealth, and upgrade difficulty once for each N/PC with Agility of 1, and add Boost for each other N/PC with the same “best” Stealth rank. Note: Minion groups count individually, since larger groups are hard to hide.

  • Modifiers: +1 Ability die for Med Range; +2 for Long, +3 Extreme. Upgrade if out of Ability dice. [edited per below] See limits of dice via Foolproof rule below.
  • Downgrade difficulty if perceiving target must guard 360 degrees, or outside their ocular field.
  • Consider if target using scanners.
  • Standard environmental difficulty modifiers also apply for crowds, concealment, etc.
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Yeah, this is a toughy. I generally just make it a single check, highest skill and lowest Characteristic, adding Setback as the group gets bigger.
That won’t work in all circumstances, as some characters might go very heavily into Stealth. In my case, it’s maybe 2 ranks at most and there’s generally a character with 2 Agility or less, so sneaking a group past anybody is hard.

I agree with the philosophy of making it a single check; making it several small checks is basically just stacking the odds extremely heavily against the PCs. If you have to roll 4 times and have a 75% chance of succeeding each time, that means you’ve only got a ~30% chance of getting everyone past, and 75% each is a rosy view.
Only real issue I spot at first glance is that you say it gets harder when they’re farther away. Unless you’re talking about distance travelled?

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You’re right. I applied it the wrong side (as if the perceiving NPC were making the roll). Hmm…

+1 Ability die for Med, +2 for Long, +3 for Extreme. Upgrade when running out of Ability dice.

I’ve expanded on Assisted Checks a bit. Not sure how well this will copy and paste.


Skilled Assistance: If multiple Skilled characters may attempt the check, use the best Skill and best Characteristic from those involved. The referee may put limits and requirements on who may assist.

Unskilled Assistance: Each Unskilled assistance may provide BONUS if the referee determines their assistance could actually help. Unskilled assistance knocking down a door will of course help. Unskilled assistance repairing a hyperdrive won’t. The referee may put limits and requirements on who may assist. The maximum unskilled assistance bonus is BBB.

Hindered Assistance: Sometimes the extra help may actually hurt. Other times the other person may not be helping, but their mere presence hurts the check. A dominant NPC may force his “help” into assisting with the computer repairs even though he has no idea what he is doing. Or, a Scout leading a group through the wilderness will have any Stealth checks hindered by the blundering urbanites with him. Each Hindered Assistance adds SETBACK for each. The maximum hindered assistance setback is SSS. The referee will decide when the hinderers actually affect the check.

These can be combined. For example, two Scouts (one rolls, the other provides Skilled Assistance) leading a pack of people through the wilderness (with setback added).

You don’t define your terms for what’s “Skilled” and “Unskilled,” so I’m going to take it literally.
In the first case, you could have one character who is more skilled and has a higher Characteristic, which means he’d get no bonus from assistance by your rules.
In the second case, I disagree with you about not being able to help with something like a hyperdrive. Even if he lacks mechanical expertise, he can still help the acting character. Sometimes you just need an additional pair of hands, or someone to hand you a tool when you’re in a tight spot. I think that warrants a Boost.

I also, as a default, only allow 1 Boost from Assistance. Occasionally, I will make an exception, and that’s generally for physical activities, typically involving volume (such as unloading a truck) or moving a single large object (such as five people trying to lift a log).

As for Hindered Assistance, that’s good in most cases but I think it falls short in Stealth. If you have one person with 4 Agility and one person with 3 Stealth, and two people who are Sil 2, Brawn 5, Agility 1, it’s going to be a lot more difficult than just 2 Setback.
That’s why I say you take the lowest Agility.

Come to think of it, it might be worth saying you take the lowest Agility and Upgrade by the highest Stealth skill. So with Agility 1 and Stealth 3, you’re looking at YY.

I’m pretty iffy on adding Ability dice. I’d suggest either Boost or if you do add Ability dice, capping it at “6” and making it an “Foolproof” check, meaning you have to flip a DP in order to make them test it. Basically just flipping “Impossible” difficulty on its head.
The other way would be to have the sentries roll their Perception against Stealth, and thus difficulty increases are applicable.

I suppose that could happen with a very stealthy character at Extreme range (+3 dice). Not clear why you’d require the DP; I’d just as GM waive requiring the roll if it becomes clearly impossible to fail.

Yes, that works too, but I generally try to have the PCs roll since Ability/Proficiency dice have better odds than the Difficulty/Challenge.

Impossible difficulty is Formidable plus a DP to attempt the check at all. A very skilled character might be willing to take a gamble on the DP to attempt the check.
Likewise, when flipping it around to “Foolproof” ability (ONLY applicable with this sort of situation where you’re increasing the difficulty this dramatically), a GM might still want them to test, even though they would easily get by most (note “most”) opposition. This would happen in the case of a particularly important roll, a Nemesis character, or some other situation where the opposition has a decent chance of causing failure, even at such a high bar. That’s because this is purely based on a specific side’s value, not on the comparative values. So you’d have a “Foolproof” check at YYYGG+DP, but it might be opposed by RRRP, in which case there’s still a pretty good chance of failure if you flip a DP.
The suggestion is just to avoid a situation of 7 Ability dice or something ridiculous like that. Sure you can always handwave it, but it’s good to have a metric.

Sort of… There’s a little bit more to it than that. You also have to get NET success, which shifts the odds back towards the center. That’s why 2v2 is a 45% chance of success. The more dice you add, the farther towards success the average shifts, but it isn’t purely in favor of Ability/Proficiency.

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Who’s flipping the DP, the PC or the GM? If you mean the GM, I understand.

The GM flipping a DP to force the PCs to check when they otherwise would not have to. A complete inversion of Impossible difficulty.

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OK, so to write up the rules for a “Foolproof” skill check that P-47Thunderbolt proposed, which can apply generically for any check not to just this house-rule:

Foolproof : when the Ability/Proficiency pool for a group Stealth check is expanded to 6 dice , it becomes a Foolproof stealth check that always succeeds (and need not be rolled), unless the GM decides to spend a dark side destiny point to force the roll with 6 dice. The spent destiny point does not change the dice pool, but allows the roll to be made, which the GM may decide to do if they deem there is still a decent chance of a failure or at least a Despair.

Yes, mechanically this is the exact opposite of Impossible checks.

Based on max 5 of a Characteristic +1 cybernetic to 6, shouldn’t the trigger to Foolproof be when going beyond to 7 dice?

Nonononono, that’s not what I’m suggesting. As you state below, too easy to increase Characteristics to that level per RAW, and even to 7 technically.
I’m specifically talking about situations where adding Ability dice to the pool pushes it up to or past 6. And I chose 6 because that’s where Formidable stops.
So in this situation, you’ve got 4 dice because you’ve got Agility 4. Now since you’re at Long range, you boost it to 6. So it becomes “Foolproof” and the GM has to flip a DP to force you to make the check.

This is specifically for opposed checks and intended to be very, very narrow, not applied to more than just this and maybe some other situations I’m not thinking of.

Sorry, as I thought about it more, agree trying to make this generic can run into too many problems.

I will edit above post with suggested for-this-check Foolproof limit.

I really like the balance of this, even if I understand the tweaks other folks are offering.

I’ll just chime in with my own shorter house rule for this situation (and others like it):

Group HAS to pick the lowest Agility in the group but GETS to pair it with the highest Stealth ranks in the group.

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I’ve been going over how to change this since you made some good points.

Unskilled Assistance is the RAW method - Give bonus when able. Skilled Assistance I would like to use the easy method of using the best Characteristic and best Skill. You pointed out that if the skilled helper has both a lower Characteristic and lower Skill, they would provide no benefit. In that case, they are somewhat “unskilled” compared to the roller and thus could still add a Bonus?

As for the Hindered Assistance, why not do the opposite of Skilled Assistance - use the worst Characteristic and worst Skill of the group? Too damning? For example, a group trying to stealth through a forest by some guards might be forced to use the worst Stealth (commonly none unless they all have Stealth) and worst Agility (commonly a 2). Part of me wants to think a stealth master may be able to help guide the group though, but in this case the ninja would mean nothing if there is a bumbling idiot in the group. This would force the skilled stealthers to commonly break off from the bumblers to attempt ninja stuff, which I guess is realistic.

The “bumbling idiot” is what I attempt to allow for with my rule “upgrade difficulty for each N/PC with 1 Agility”. At first I was going to say “for each N/PC with Agility -2 of the highest” but seems mean to penalize a group for it’s group of average Ability vs. the guy with 4 or 5 Agility.

In the RAW, “Unskilled Assistance” is just assistance where the assisting character has an equal or lower Characteristic and Skill, so you simply add a Boost.
Further, the RAW for multiple assistants is limit 1 Boost except at GM discretion.

This is far too punishing and makes it borderline impossible to sneak groups of people anywhere. Even against average (pardon the pun) opposition, we’re looking at a ~45% chance. Buff that up at all, and your chances go rapidly downhill.
I think allowing the highest skill to upgrade the pool makes sense. So with your 2 Agility and a character with 3 Stealth, you’ve got YYG. Bump it to 4 Stealth, and it’s only YYY. Someone who is really good at stealth can direct the others and help them move around without getting spotted.

Now if you’re looking at Hindered Assistance for something else (Mechanics, for example), it’s definitely not going to be lowest-lowest. Setback makes sense there.

Another go (sorry ignore me if ya need to) at hindered assistance. With house rules, I like trying to make them as simple as possible while related to RAW as much as possible.

Given RAW Skilled Assistance best stats and Unskilled Assistance, one Boost, force Hindered Assistance would make sense to be the opposite of one or both of those. Completely opposite of Skilled Assistance, yes I agree is too penalizing (just ran so numbers myself). Opposite of Unskilled Assistance would be to simply add a Setback. But, that doesn’t seem like enough especially with multiple hindering peeps. So kinda use both? Skill of the best character, Characteristic of the worst, but still add a Setback? That way the master stealther will still be able to always contribute, but there’s also always a penalty if those he’s guiding somehow have Agility as good as his. Not too complicated to get used to?

Please see my first post here which offers mechanics exactly for this.