Awareness & Stealth



The Obvious keyword indicates that a character or creature is in plain sight, noisy or otherwise obvious to any other creature paying attention. Characters and creatures are assumed to be Obvious at all times unless they are making an effort not to be.


Characters or creatures making an effort to hide, using either skills or just situation bonuses, are assumed to be hidden. However a character must state they are hiding and Flip any cards they are using to hide.


Flip is used when the character is performing an ongoing action such as hiding. Cards used in the Flip action are not played but turned 180 degrees. They can then be used in relevant Resistance actions until the start of the character's next initiative turn when they return to the deck.


In their initiative turn, a character can make a Notice action (using 1 Flow if desired), plus any appropriate cards in their pool, to observe / sense / detect the area around them using all their senses. If the action beats the resistance of hidden creatures nearby, the hidden creature is noticed and no longer hidden.

How to Hide

For a creature or something such as a secret door not to obvious, a deliberate effort must be made to hide. For a character with no skills or suitable abilities, this may just be using cover and can be a simple as hiding around a corner.

Having declared they are hiding and stated what cover or similar situation bonuses the character is trying to use, the character Flips any cards they are using to hide. The character is now hidden.

At the start of their next initiative turn, any flipped cards return to the deck. Unless the character uses Flow to return them to the pool and then re-flips them, they cease to be hidden. For a character relying only on situation bonuses, they must state they are continuing to hide.

When a notice check is being made nearby, a hidden character must make a resistance check involving only flipped cards that are appropriate, cards with the Hidden keyword (normally only equipment or magic) plus any situation bonuses.

How To Notice Hidden Creatures & Things

Noticing something or someone hidden creatures requires a conscious effort in the form of an action. Unless the character has a card with the Notice keyword, a Notice check requires the use of 1 Flow.

The notice action is taken as performed as per any other action using any appropriate cards and 1d6 for the Flow. Additionally they may get situation bonuses.

The action is rolled and the score compared to the hiding creatures resistance. If the notice action is greater than the resistance, the hidden creature (or thing) is noticed and becomes Obvious.

It is only possible to notice creatures or things within range of one or more of the character's senses. The GM must arbitrate what the range is in the character's current situation and only hidden creatures in that area need make a resistance roll.

Situation Bonuses

What is hidden and what is obvious is highly subjective and dependent on the situation. Rather than slowing a game down with complex rules about range or line of sight, four simple situation bonuses are used.

The creature hiding can get the following bonuses:

Fully Obscured - 2d6

The hiding creature is totally obscured from the observer's main senses. For vision based senses, this is simply line-of-sight. Sound or even smell are harder to mask but have shorter range.

Mostly Obscured - 1d6

The creature hiding is partially but significantly hidden from the observers senses.

Characters or creatures observing can get the following bonuses:

Obvious - 1d6

When the creature hiding would normally be obvious, for example moving across open terrain, the observer gains this bonus.

Very Obvious - 2d6

Applicable when not only would the hiding creature be obvious, they would be hard to miss. Such as standing in plain sight 10' away from the observer.

In applying these bonuses, the hiding character's recent actions must be considered. Someone hiding around a corner 50' away may be considered fully obscured. But if they has just drawn a sword, an action that is noisy and normally obvious, they would be considered only Mostly Obscured.

Automatic Notice Actions

Out of combat, when doing nothing else or only a simple activity such as walking, it is assumed that a character is constantly spending 1 Flow on being aware of their surroundings.

If the character moves into an area with something hidden in it or a hidden creature moves into the character's area, they get an automatic Notice action. Rolling 1d6 for the Flow plus any situation bonuses. Under almost all circumstances, a character will get a Notice action before being attacked.

If the character is on-watch or otherwise alert, they can add any appropriate cards to the Notice action as well.

However, if the character is distracted, such as hurrying to get somewhere or engaged in some other activity, they do not get a notice action.

In combat, characters do not get automatic notice checks. It is up to the characters to decide when and how much attention they devote to looking for hidden foes.

Under the Bonnet

The game mechanics assume that everything takes place in 6 second rounds during which a character has a fixed amount of Flow. Most characters have 2 Flow per round. During non-combat periods, the 6 second rounds still take place, the GM simply merges them into a narrative sequence.

So, when walking along at a normal pace. The character is repeatedly using 1 Flow to move and 1 Flow to make notice actions. If the character is occupied with something (e.g. talking) whilst they are moving, they are using 1 Flow of movement plus 1 Flow for the other activity, leaving no Flow left for automatic notice checks. Similarly, a fast moving character is using both Flow for movement.

Characters with more than 2 Flow can move faster and still have Flow left over for Notice Checks.


Surprise happens when a character is attacked by an opponent that is hidden.

When surprised character immediately loses all the cards from their Dynamic Pool, including equipment and magical effects.

Initiating Combat

In an ambush situation, one party attempts to surprise another party when there is no initiative sequence in play. This attack initiates combat.

Before the initiative sequence is decided, the surprised characters lose the cards from their Dynamic Pool. The attackers, nominate one person to be the attack leader.

The initiative sequence is then decided as per normal except that the attack leader automatically goes first. After this, initiative and combat proceeds normally.

Surprise in Combat

In a large combat, it is possible for one character to remain hidden whilst combat takes place around them. The hidden character can then use this to their advantage to surprise an opponent.

To achieve surprise, not only must the character be hidden but the target must also be unaware of their presence.

For example, a character attacked by an invisible mage whilst fighting orcs would be surprised. But if the character has just seen the mage disappear, the character is aware that an invisible foe around and won't be surprised.

Just like surprise out of combat, surprised characters in combat lose their Dynamic pools before they make an resistance rolls. But in combat, only those characters or creatures targeted by the initial attack can be surprised. Other party members and allies are not and there is no alteration to the initiative sequence.

Resisting Hidden Attacks

Regardless of whether the target is surprised or not, they still receive a Resistance action against the attack. This can use whatever cards they have available to them. However, the GM may have to arbitrate about what cards are appropriate under the circumstances.

For example, can a sword be used in defense against the claws of the monster when the defender cannot see monster's claws because they are invisible?

The answer to this, like any question about what cards are appropriate, depends on the situation, the nature of the game being played and the individual players.

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open/awareness_stealth.txt · Last modified: 2011/01/16 12:43 (external edit)
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