Group sneaking?


1. How do you calculate the obstacle if one of the characters want to sneak the whole party past some enemies? My players love to do this, and it seems like its a move that fits with Torchbearer’s theme of outwitting the monsters instead of trying to kill them all.

I gather that the Scout skill should be used, and it also notes that it should be done as a versus test (Scout vs. Nature/Scout). However, the skill factors don’t say anything about leading an entire party past enemies. In comparison, the Dungeoneer skill explicitly mentions that you raise the Ob for traversing if you’re taking a whole group along.

I thought about having each person test in succession (same as for a trap, so it counts as only one Turn), but since at least one of the players are bound to blow the roll and alert every enemy it doesn’t seem fair. Alternatively, tacking on an extra +X Ob for guiding his unstealthy friends along also seems like it’ll be nigh impossible when it’s added to what is already a versus test.

2. Assuming there is a way to test for this, how do you determine help? Can another character with Scout help the main character with the test?

  1. For Cook, making a meal to feed the whole party is +1ob, Dungeoneer lets you test for the entire party at +2ob. As I think it’s the role of the Scout to make sure the way is clear and safe and not to physically move people around quietly, I would make it +1ob to Scout for the party.

  2. And yes, anyone with Scout or appropriate Nature (elfs and halflings) could help.

Thanks, makes sense!

I’m probably not the first to think of this, but would it be possible to use the conflict rules for a more elaborate sneaking encounter? However, I’ve stumbled on what should happen to the characters who run out of disposition during the conflict - do they just get left behind in a dark corner while the rest of the party successfully sneaks away, and then they eventually regroup?

Thor and Luke beat you to it. p70.

Scout is used in Pursue and Flee conflicts. And you would allow the “sneaking” Nature descriptor if appropriate.

In my group we rule it as +1Ob for the whole group.

Stay cool 8)

This is accurate.

and alert every enemy
this is not.

Ah yes, good point. I thought the Pursue/Flee conflict was used only when the characters and monsters were aware of each other (one trying to chase the other one down).

Also, I just remembered that monsters only use half their Nature rating (rounded up or down?) when acting outside their Nature descriptors. That would mean doing a versus test with sneaking by some monsters would not be that hard even if the Ob was raised - unless the monster had a descriptor like “Listening”. In fact, this means it would be quite trivial to tip-toe past most sentries if I understand the rules correctly. Though I suppose the monsters could help each other with the roll.

Yeah, I guess you could give out a condition instead of a twist. Or have a short Fighter test to silently take down the guard before he raises the alarm.

The whole group is deliberately omitted from sneaking around. Sneaking is too core, too central to be abstracted. And there are so many variables in a group that’s sneaking. So everyone sneaks on their own. Count it as a group vs environmental hazard test and only tick off one turn.

And remember that this is not D&D (or really any other RPG). Having the group test does mean that one of them will likely fail, but that doesn’t mean they get caught. You can apply conditions to the failure and simply wave the whole group through. Or you can ratchet up the tension with some juicy twists. Did the magician fail? Well, he was to slow and the Orc sentry lumbered out of the tower to take a piss. Now he’s between the group and their straggling magician. What do you do?

Use twists to increase tension and insert obstacles in the path. Don’t use them to just blow up the group’s plans. Well, at least until it’s time to blow up the plans!

There’s not much I can add that Luke didn’t post. Failure is a great opportunity for the GM to make things really intense. Of course, players will quickly realize that if they all sneak as a group, they’re basically throwing you a narrative ball to play with, but if they don’t all sneak somone may be separated from the others. Great decision moments. You can just sit back and cackle maniacally while they weigh the risks.

I’m working in a Scooby-Doo hack of Torchbearer, where group sneaks are incredibly common.

Let me add a giant exception: Use individual sneaks for independent tests; use group helping when making a vs test, especially for group vs group. If you need to assess penalties for sneaking around with large sacks full of coins, just toss in a -1s or two.