Pathfinder Rules Update – Changes to Stealth

Pathfinder 5.0 Rules update

Last week, Paizo introduced Pathfinder Rules Update 5.0. Typically errata for the standard rules is pretty boring. However, last week’s rules update introduced a  change worth reading about:

Changes to Stealth – download here

The biggest doozy to the game in this Pathfinder Rules Update is definitely the changes to stealth. First, lets look at what the words say.

“Creatures that fail to beat your Stealth check are not aware of you and treat you as if you had total concealment”

“Breaking Stealth: When you start your turn using Stealth, you can leave cover or concealment and remain unobserved as long as you succeed at a Stealth check and end your turn in cover or concealment. Your Stealth immediately ends after you make an attack roll, whether or not the attack is successful (except when sniping as noted below).”

If you’re like me, it wasn’t immediately obvious what this meant, but it was enough for them to print a special section in the errata about. What they’re getting at, I think, is the ability for Rogues to use Sneak Attack if they can attack from a successfully “stealthed” position. For a long time, the only way Pathfinder Rogues could get a sneak attack was to attack from a flanked position, as other flat-footed attacks were quite difficult to achieve. For some reason, the errata doesn’t go right out and add text to sneak attack to explicitly confirm this position, but reading forum & other blog posts about this rules update seems to confirm my suspicion. Here’s the main forum thread about Pathfinder Rules Update 5.0, sneak attack and stealth.  A lot of posts, but the general consensus is that this change does indeed grant Pathfinder Rogues (and Ninjas!) sneak attack on an attack from concealment.

This change isn’t out of the blue; Paizo has been toying with changes to Stealth for a while. They blogged about it a couple of times.

I think the changes in this Pathfinder Rules Update  (or at least the way the community is interpreting it) is quite positive for Rogues & Ninjas – it makes so much sense thematically that they should be able to execute Sneak Attacks if they’re completely hidden and surprise their opponents.

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