Stealth rules - clarification needed

As I find the stealth rules to be rather confusingly written, some clarifications would be greatly appreciated (I am going by the print rules, btw; if this has been addressed in the pdf version, I apologize):

  1. In the description of the hidden state (p. 104) it is written that other characters cannot make “Reactions against a hidden opponent’s actions”. Does this prevent characters from opposing neccessary stealth tests with Observation, as this counts as a Reaction (P. 105)? This would make hidden characters very hard to find (e.g., there would be no reactions to sneaky actions at all).

  2. On p. 105, under “Stealth State Test”, the rules state that using a Standard Action to find someone in a stealth state is “forcing an opposed stealth test”. Under the “Detecting Stealthy Characters” heading, on the other hand, it is written that stealty characters “can perform a Reaction” (emphasis mine), which sounds like an opposed test is optional, not forced/mandatory. What is the correct interpretation?

My reading of this is that normally a character in the Hidden state may not have actions or reactions taken against them, unless they try and do something that requires a Stealth State Test. Once the Hidden character attempts something classified as Sneaky (ie: they are trying to do something which may be heard or detected, but are trying to do it quietly), then the opponent can react to that test (with normal associated costs), forcing it to become a face-to-face test opposed by Observation.

My reading would be something like the following:

Bill is hiding in a dark alcove, while two Celestial Guard start searching the mausoleum (why not). Currently Bill is Hidden - the Celestial Guard cannot take an action like trying to shoot him, or any reaction to Bill. They can actively search for ‘someone’ if they choose to though (a D1 Observation Test) in which case Bill could react by being sneaky and trying to remain undetected (switches the D1 Observation test to a face-to-face test - Observation vs Stealth).

The Celestial Gaurd are poking about in a nearby coffin, when Bill decides to take out his gun and fire on them. The GM might decide that getting his gun out and training it on the Celestial Guard could create noise that might alert the them (they are close by after all), so the GM says - ok, that’s a sneaky action. This requires Bill to make a Stealth State Test (D1 Stealth). At this point, because Bill is doing something that could alert the Celestial Guard to his presence (a sneaky action), they may react to his sneaky action, turning it into a face-to-face test (Stealth vs Obersation).

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Rules as written, while Hidden (capital H to indicate it refers to the defined game status), an enemy can make no Reaction at all. So technically, your last sentence would be in violation of the rules. I don’t exactly like this interpretation, either, and that’s why I would like an official clarification. Are there errata/faqs for Infinity? I have not found anything yet.

I would argue that the reaction an opponent can make against a hidden character is written in the rules - if the action taken is sneaky or noisy then the reaction is to notice them.

It does say that a character cannot take actions or react to to a hidden character. Noticing the hidden character however is, to me, a special case as defined in the rules - which allows the others to notice the hidden character.

I see your point. Do you have any experience how powerful hidden characters are in-game (I haven’t played yet)? The answer to this question will problably determine how I will handle the reaction rule.

An official clarification would be best, though.

It’s entirely permissible, as a minor house rule for the table to make the reaction to a stealth state test an exception to this - that is, that reaction is the only reaction a character can make against a hidden enemy. As long as you can’t make a reaction against a hidden character’s attacks, then things work fine.

But, rules as written, that’s not entirely necessary. That reaction turns a stealth state test into a face-to-face test (Stealth vs Observation)… but a character can still fail a stealth state test by themselves when they’re making a sneaky action (yeah, it’s only D1 basic, but all test difficulty gets adjusted by circumstances). A noisy action doesn’t allow a stealth state test - it allows opponents to make an Observation test (D0 at Close range, +1 Difficulty per zone distant) and that isn’t a reaction, but it then allows a reaction to force the sneaking character to attempt a face-to-face stealth state test.

Yeah, it’s tricky to find a hidden character, but at least part of that is in how the GM adjudicates which actions which come in what categories, and the difficulty of those actions.

Go with the version under Detecting Stealthy Characters - the searching character makes an Observation test, and the sneaking character can use a reaction to make that face-to-face with their Stealth test. The text about forcing a stealth state test as a standard action is in error.

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Thank you for answering those questions! I like to test rules as written before introducing house rules, so I really appreciate your input.

What have I ever done to Yu Jing to make them so angry? Oh yeah, THAT…


There’s also the momentum spend to make a sneaky action silent. If someone does that, good luck ever being able to do anything until you actually find them or the gm runs out of heat and consequently messes up on a stealth state test.

The sniper in our party has used this plus the d(0) Exploit to devastating effect.

Conversely, a Ninja Hacker used the Hidden state to swipe data from our socialite/Hacker without any sort of resistance whatsoever due being unable to detect him in time. :wink: