Can you retroactively increase your Stealth roll while hiding?

The rules for hiding (PHB 177) has an interesting clause, which makes it distinct from many other contests.

When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check’s total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

Here we have a contest where you make a roll at one point in time, then at later points in time that roll’s result is contested by another party’s roll.

Is it possible for someone who is already hiding to increase their Dexterity (Stealth) check total without re-rolling their check? Possibly by application of guidance, pass without trace, Epic Boon of Fate, or a similar ability? Or is the check total immutable once the initial check has been made?

What are the mechanics for hiding something that is not yourself?

How can a cleric hide a living body? asked for cleric spells that would keep the body of an unconscious but live comrade unseen.

I considered Pass without Trace, since it targets creatures with no requirement that the creatures be conscious, but then realized that if the companion was unconscious, it could not make a Stealth check, so a +10 bonus to no roll is still no roll.

That got me thinking of the larger issue of hiding things that don’t get their own checks. Hiding a conscious character (as in preparing an ambush) would be the Help action, providing advantage on the other character’s Stealth roll. But what would you do to represent a character trying to hide something that didn’t get its own rolls?

  1. Is there an established mechanism for this? (I haven’t found any). Looking for something would be a Perception or Investigation, but what would this be contested against?

  2. I am thinking this would be a Survival check, possibly Sleight of Hand for anything small enough to fit in one hand but that might presuppose active observation while trying to hide it. Thoughts?

  3. What sort of conditions would be sufficient for giving the character hiding something a circumstances bonus (advantage)? One would be abundant time…so how long?

Animal Companions hiding, searching, and readying an action

The PHB has this to say about Animal Companions:

The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. If you don’t issue a command, the beast takes the dodge action.

My question is, although it specifies that movement takes no action while a list of actions take your actions, can a Ranger also verbally command the beast to hide, search, or ready an action (that isn’t in the list of actions that take your actions)? Nothing in the feature specifies that you can’t order the beast to take any of the other actions listed.

Hiding in a crowd / Hiding behind multiple creatures

When it comes to stealth, 5e is very vague on what can or cannot be done.

If we refer to the rules as written:

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you,… (PH. p177)

This means that being in partial cover doesn’t grant you hiding potential since others can still “see” you.

So following this thinking, you couldn’t hide behind a target since you would get half cover and could still be seen. What about hiding behind two consecutive targets? Could a DM rule that it would provide an improvement toward 3/4 cover? But then again, one could still be seen since it’s partial cover… But what if you are behind multiple (3+) consecutive targets? At what point can we say that you are behind enough covering targets to provide a total cover?

Imagine an Assassin’s creed type of scene where the hero is concealed and breaks line of sight by hiding in a massive crowd. It would definitely be an interesting scenario but the rules on hiding as they are make it difficult.

So my question is in two parts:

  • Do you think by some DM ruling, it would be appropriate to allow multiple creatures to provide enough cover to completely hide someone?
  • What would be a balanced ruling to permit such stealth play?

If I am hiding and moving silently at the same time, what is my total movement penalty?

In D&D 3.5, according to page 79 of the PHB under the move silently skill:

You can move up to one-half your normal speed at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one-half but less than your full speed, you take a –5 penalty.

And, according to page 76 of the PHB under the hide skill:

You can move up to one-half your normal speed and hide at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one half but less than your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty.

Assuming:

  • I have no special abilities that have any relevance to this circumstance

  • I am able to move silently and hide in the same round

  • I wanted to do this without incurring a penalty on my skill checks

  • My normal movement speed is 30ft

Would my speed, which I have opted to reduce, be to 15ft or would it be 7.5ft?

Passive Perception or Active Perception Check to detect hiding enemies?

I’m DMing for a party that constantly says stuff like we’ll walk slowly and carefully, or we’ll look around as we walk, to make sure there’s nothing threatening or out of the ordinary.

Say there’s a monster hiding near the PCs (stealth check 14). All the PCs have a passive Perception lower than 14.

Given the above statement by the PCs, should I now ask for an active Perception check to see if they spot the monster hiding? Should I always ask for an active Perception check from now on, since they’re always being careful? On one hand, they did say they were being careful and looking at their surroundings. But on the other hand, I feel like that’s already assumed, as a party of adventurers wouldn’t just nonchalantly walk into a dungeon – therefore I feel like this is exactly what passive Perception is for.

Does hiding variables work in terms of blocks or line-by-line?

Let’s assume I have the following code:

declaration of a declaration of b ..a..b {   ..a..b   declaration of a    declaration of b   ..a } 

In this code {} represent the inner block. declaration represents binding occurrence, and .. represent applied occurrence.

So my question is that is it legal to use the outer scope variables inside an inner scope and then redeclare them ? If so how does the hiding of outer variables system work (Does it start to work when it sees a redeclaration)? Thanks in advance.

When spotting a hiding creature, is hearing useful?

If you were playing hide and seek, you would expect to find people by spotting them visually (toe sticking out), looking for clues (footprints), or by sound (hearing them moving around).

It’s not clear to me exactly how spotting someone in 5e works. Broadly speaking 5e divides senses into “vision” (normal vision, darkvision, blindsight, truesight), hearing, and other senses (taste, tremorsense).

From reading the rules for hiding it seems to me that you are assumed to be completely silent, and thus hearing is useless for detecting hidden creatures.

Hide

The hide action states:

When you take the Hide action, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check in an attempt to hide, following the rules for hiding. If you succeed, you gain certain benefits, as described in the “Unseen Attackers and Targets” section later in this section.

There are two parts to hide. First, successfully use the rules for hiding to hide, then you will become “unseen”. Right from the start, we are talking about being “unseen”, not “unheard”.

Hiding

The rules for hiding state:

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

This clearly divides the mechanics:

  • You can’t hide if you can be clearly seen
  • You have to stay quiet, or you give away your position

This implies if you are hiding, you are assumed to be quiet unless you are making noise. What’s more, there are special rules for if you do make noise (you give your position away). Whereas if you can be seen, you can’t even hide.

The rules go on to say:

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

Again, the rules say “seen”, not “sensed” or “detected”. It seems to me the rules continue to assume that a hiding creature is not making any noticeable noise, and thus cannot be detected by hearing.

The rules continue:

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in chapter 8.

This is very clear text. What you can or can’t see affects whether you can find a hidden creature. Specifically lightly or heavily obscured areas.

Lightly or heavily obscured areas

The rules for lightly or heavily obscured areas says:

A given area might be lightly or heavily obscured. In a lightly obscured area, such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

A heavily obscured area–such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage–blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.

Both of these conditions are purely visual. That once again seems to indicate that searching for hidden creatures is a purely visual check. Otherwise these conditions would have no effect in the vast majority of cases since most creatures have ears or other senses. The rules say this is “one of the main factors”, so it’s unlikely they meant “in the rare event when a creature relies purely on sight”.

Perception

We can also look at the description for Perception:

Your Wisdom (Perception) check lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the keenness of your senses.

Here we have the division: – spot: vision – hear: sound – otherwise: stuff like tremorsense or other exotic senses

The rules go on to give examples:

For example, you might try to hear a conversation through a closed door, eavesdrop under an open window, or hear monsters moving stealthily in the forest. Or you might try to spot things that are obscured or easy to miss, whether they are orcs lying in ambush on a road, thugs hiding in the shadows of an alley, or candlelight under a closed secret door.

We have here an example of both “hearing” stealthy monsters, and “spotting” hiding thugs. Hiding is a specific mechanic with its own unique mechanics, a subset of stealth although it requires a stealth check. This again seems to imply that “hearing” isn’t useful for detecting a hiding creature. As further reinforcement we have the mention of “in shadows”, which is visual.

Unseen attackers and targets

At the start we mentioned the benefit of hiding is that you are an unseen attacker, let’s investigate what that means:

Combatants often try to escape their foes’ notice by hiding, casting the invisibility spell, or lurking in darkness.

When you attack a target that you can’t see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you’re guessing the target’s location or you’re targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn’t in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the DM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target’s location correctly.

When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden–both unseen and unheard–when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

There are several things to note here: – It gives the example of “lurking in darkness”, which is purely visual. – If you can’t be seen, there is disadvantage on the roll. – If you can’t be seen or heard, you have to guess the location, and then you have disadvantage – Hidden is called out as “unseen and unheard”, once again matching up with our expectation that hiding means you aren’t making sound.

In conclusion

After a careful reading of Hide, Hiding, Stealth, Perception, and the Light and Vision rules the conclusion seems clear to me.

This has lead me to believe that it is expected for readers to understand that for normal humans without any special senses, detecting a hiding creature is a purely visual perception check. Thus things like dim light or darkness would affect these rolls.

I have investigated every rule discussed in all sections relating to hiding, but there may be something else somewhere. Is there any other information (features, monsters, official adventures) which indicate that you can detect a hiding creature with hearing?