There are no other options left. Your party needs to fan out and stealthily surround the castle, looking for ways to commit a little B&E. The DM asks everyone if they’re ready to take the hide action. You glance around the table, nod, and pick up your d20… wait, how does hiding work again?
Don’t worry about the mechanics; we’ve got you covered here. Save your stress for bad rolls and role-playing!
How Hide Works
Although many actions are restricted by class, there are a few universal options that any character can take. Hiding is one of them. Of course, the nature of a tabletop role-playing game is that anyone can always attempt something of their own creation, but there is a specified hiding mechanic in the rules.
When a creature chooses to hide, the player must make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. This involves rolling a d20 and adding the number to their Dexterity (Stealth) modifier. If you are proficient or have expertise in Stealth, you can add your Proficiency Bonus (or twice your Proficiency Bonus) to the roll.
For example, if a character with a Dexterity score of 14 decides to hide and rolls a 12 on the d20, they would also add their Dexterity modifier (+2) for a total of 14. Okay, so what is that 14 going up against? Well, that’s where your knowledge of the situation comes into play.
If you are trying to get close to a castle sneakily, you are trying to meet or beat the Difficulty Class, or DC, that the DM has set for the challenge. Assuming that the castle is located in a city with plenty of guards patrolling the boundaries, the DC will be much higher than if it is an unguarded castle in the middle of nowhere.
The hide action’s DC is based on the observational skills of the person or people who would try to stop or harm you. Continuing our example, the DM might rely on the guards’ Passive Perception skills. However, if someone in your party fails the initial check or purposefully makes a distraction, the DM might decide to have the guards make Wisdom (Perception) checks and rely on the dice to see if they spot your approach.
GameCows Tip: Passive skills refer to adding a character’s skill modifier to 10, the average roll on a d20. If your Perception modifier is +4, your Passive Perception would be 14.
Bonus Action Hide?
Most people must spend their whole action hiding, but some characters can use their bonus action to hide. Rogues gain the feature Cunning Action at 2nd level, which lets them hide as a bonus action. Rangers gain a similar ability at level 14. Additionally, if you play as a Goblin, they begin with a racial feature called Nimble Escape which allows you to hide as a bonus action.
Hiding as a bonus action makes it a plausible strategy for combat. When you have to spend an entire action to hide, you don’t have much left to do with your turn, but a bonus action leaves you with your attack ready.