Awareness & Stealth

Adventures face three types of danger during their lives:

  • Obvious Danger
  • Known Danger
  • Unknown Danger

The critical difference between each type of danger is how well the character can defend themselves against it. The less a character knows about a danger, the harder it is to protect themselves from it.

The different types of dangers apply to equally to things that are not in fact dangerous. Allies can be just as obvious, known or unknown to a character as an enemy. Inanimate objects such as secret doors or hidden treasure are not at all a threat to the character. However the process of finding a secret door or spotting an ally is the same as spotting a danger.

Obvious Danger

Any threat that character can clearly see, hear, or predict with a high level of accuracy, is an Obvious Danger. For example, an orc charging towards a character scream war cries and waving a sword is an Obvious Danger.

Obvious Danger is the normal situations for combat and all the normal rules of attack and resistance rolls are use.

Noticing Obvious Danger

No effort is required to notice an Obvious Danger. It is automatic and even without line of sight or close proximity the observer knows exactly where the danger is even if it moves.

Known Danger

A Known Danger is a threat that the is not an Obvious Danger but the character can be reasonably certain is present and is within a small geographical area and is likely to happen within a short space of time.

For example, if a character is warned by another adventurer that a specific dungeon corridor has a trap, it becomes a Known Danger even if the character does not know exactly where the trap is. This is because the character can be reasonably sure the danger is present (because the warning came from a trusted source), that the danger is in a small area (a specific corridor) and when it is likely to happen (when the character is in the corridor).

Similarly, if a character chases an assassin into a dark room, the assassin is a Known Danger, even though the character does not know exactly where in the room the assassin is. The character knows the danger is present (she saw the assassin), she knows the danger is in a small area (the room) and that the attack is likely to happen within a short space of time.

Attacks From Known Dangers

Characters attacked by Known Dangers are prepared to be attacked so they are not Surprised when it happens. However they are not able to anticipate or notice the attack until it strikes so the character must defend themselves against an Unseen Attack.

Noticing Known Dangers

To convert a Known Danger into an Obvious Danger, a character must take an Awareness Action in an attempt to precisely locate it. Once the danger has been noticed, it will remain an Obvious Danger until the GM decides circumstances have changed.

Attacking Known Danger

Characters can attempt to attack a Known Danger but not knowing exactly where the target is puts them at a great disadvantage.

With melee weapons, the attacker has to swing or thrust their weapon all around to have any chance of string. The Unknown Danger gains a Situation Bonus to their resistance against such attacks. In Open Melee (i.e. the attacker and defender are in adjacent 5' squares) the defender gains 1d6. In Extended Melee in grants 2d6 and the attacker must have an Extended Melee weapon.

For range weapons the attacker must nominate one or more squares they believe the Known Danger occupies. The defender then gains a 1d6 bonus per nominated square. It the danger is not within those squares the attack automatically misses.

In addition to Situation Bonuses, the Known Danger can include any cards flipped due to stealth in their resistance rolls against attacks.

For blast or area of effect weapons the defender gains no situation bonuses nor any stealth bonuses against the attack.

Unknown Danger

An unknown danger is a situation where the character is unaware of a specific danger. For example, when a character is relaxing at home, the assassin in the bedroom is an Unknown Danger.

This is not the same as being aware of danger. A powerful character can be aware that someone wants to assassinate them but that doesn't mean they are aware of a specific threat to them at this point in time.

Similarly, when walking down the corridor of a dungeon, a character knows that there may be danger from traps. However they do not know where the traps are or if there are any traps at all so the traps are Unknown Dangers.

Attacks From Unknown Danger

Anyone attacked by an Unknown Danger suffers a moment of confusion known as Surprise. Additionally the attack counts as an Unseen Attack. This combination of Surprise and Unseen Attack is often fatal for the defender.

Noticing Unknown Danger

Generally, character's will not look for Unknown Danger because they do not know it is there. The character relaxing in house has no reason to carefully search there bedroom before going to bed. However there are a few situation where it is appropriate to hunt for Unknown Danger, such as when on guard duty or whilst cautiously moving down a dungeon corridor.

Spotting or sensing unknown danger requires an Awareness Action. If successful the character does not automatically pin-point the danger. Instead it becomes a Known Danger as the character spots movement out the corner of their eye, hears a twig break or becomes suspicious about an uneven section of floor.

However, if the Awareness Action beats the resistance by 7 or more, a character instantly spots the danger. The Unknown Danger is now an Obvious Danger.


When a character is surprised by an attack, they are momentarily confused and stunned. Losing concentration on anything they are doing.

The surprised character, before the attack is resolved, loose all their cards from their Dynamic Pool. The attack is then made normally and the defender can play any Static cards that are appropriate. However, most Surprise attacks also qualify as Unseen Attacks.

Unseen Attacks

To defend themselves, a character must be able to sense and / or anticipate exactly where an attack is coming from. Without this, the character cannot move their shield into position or know whether to dodge left or right.

When the defender does not know exactly where the attacker is or when the attack is coming, they cannot anticipate the attack. This is called an Unseen Attack.

Unseen Attacks are resolved normally but the GM should restrict which cards are appropriate for the defender to use.

Cards such as armour are obviously appropriate because they do not require any awareness to work. Other static cards are also generally acceptable as these tend to be instant, reflexive or instinctive actions.

However cards in the Dynamic Pool are conscious actions requiring time to employ effectively. Generally, dynamic cards are not usable against Unseen Attacks.

Opportunity Actions

A character cannot normally take Opportunity Actions against Unknown or Known Dangers as they don't know exactly where the target is or what they are doing.


Moving quietly through a wood or hiding behind in the shadows requires stealth. Any character can attempt to be stealthy by playing a Flip Action with appropriate cards.

Being stealthy does not automatically make a character an Unknown Danger or even a Known Danger. For example, a character walking quietly down the middle of a road is being stealthy but is also in plain sight so an Obvious Danger to anyone watching the road. As with any decision about Obvious, Known or Unknown Dangers, the GM must assess the situation and decided what is appropriate.

Generally stealth a helps character to remain an Unknown or Known Danger for longer. Without magic or advanced technology, it is impossible for character to go from being an Obvious Danger to an Known Danger because it is assumed that all characters and creators keep a mental track of any Obvious Dangers all the time. Unless a stealthy character moves beyond the line of sight or easy detection of other senses, they remain an Obvious Danger.

Stealth ends, and the character becomes an Obvious Danger, the moment they either act or end their initiative turn ends without any flipped cards in their pool.

Whilst an Unknown or Known Danger, flipped cards can be used as part of a resistance roll against an attack (see Attacking Known Dangers). The attackers uncertainty over the target's location makes it hard to make an effective attack. This applies even when an attacker knows (or can reasonably deduced) which square the target is in.

Awareness Actions

An Awareness Action is a deliberate attempt to spot, hear, detect or otherwise notice something that is hidden.

Awareness Actions are Flow Actions like Movement. Unless the character can play a card with the Awareness keyword, 1 Flow must be used to perform the action The Flow can be combined with other cards (e.g. Environment cards) and can gain situation bonuses.

Anyone (or thing) hidden within range of the character must make a resistance roll. For hidden creatures or characters any appropriate cards, especially cards flipped as part of a Stealth Action, can be used. Inanimate objects, such as secret doors, will have a fixed resistance set by the GM.

If the Awareness Action is successful, any Unknown Dangers become Known and Known Dangers become Obvious. If the action beats the resistance by 7 or more, Unknown Dangers become Obvious Dangers.

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 for Awareness Actions

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open/awareness_stealth_version_3.txt · Last modified: 2011/01/16 12:43 (external edit)
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