Author Topic: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak  (Read 298 times)

nauta

  • Posts: 2239
New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« on: December 06, 2017, 09:46:58 AM »
New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak, Version 1.0

(New Players often ask about how to RP a sneak and how the various commands work.  This Guide is meant to be a goto for them.  I welcome comments below on it, and how it can be improved!  Thanks to Nao for reading a draft.)

So you are a sneaky sneak and have these skills like hide, sneak, scan, and watch on your skillsheet.  How do you go about using them?  How does the world see or not see what you are doing while you are slinking about? This guide will walk you through the commands and common pitfalls and questions that people have related to playing a sneak on Armageddon MUD.  I've divided this guide into five sections: (1) how to emote while hidden; (2) what breaks hide; (3) moving while hiding; (4) detection of hidden activities; and (5) other RP tips.

First, and foremost, avail yourself to the help files, especially:
hide
sneak
scan
watch
hemote
semote
See the Thief's Bible for some further information about stealing in particular.

1.  Emoting while hidden.

In Armageddon MUD there are three forms of emote: emote, hemote (for 'hidden' emotes), and semote (for 'silent' emotes), as well as their possessives (pemote, phemote, psemote).  As the Communications page puts it:
Quote

Hemote is a hidden emote, something that wouldn't be seen unless someone is looking at you very closely, perhaps with the >watch command.  It could be something you're doing under the table, or a minute detail that wouldn't be apparent to everyone.  Semote is a silent emote, for actions that have no sound.  Semote is only visible to those who can see you, so it is often used by players who are hiding, or magickers.
Now, let's suppose you are hidden (type >hide).  What would other people see if you decided to emote/semote/hemote?

A.  emote will replace your short description with 'someone':
Code: [Select]
> emote winks
What others see (if successfully hidden): Someone winks.
What others see (if not): The blue-eyed woman winks.

You should rarely, if ever, use emote while hidden (use hemote or semote instead).  However, on occasion, the judicious use of emote can add flavor to a scene:
Code: [Select]
> em A large rat scurries out from behind the curtain as @ shifts from foot to foot.
What they see: A large rat scurries out from behind the curtain as someone shifts from foot to foot.
> em bumps up against ~victim in the busy market crowd. 
What they see: Someone bumps up against you in the busy market crowd.

B.  hemote will replace your short description with 'someone':
Code: [Select]
> hemote winks
What others see (if you are hidden and they pass their watch check): You notice: Someone winks.
What others see (if you are not hidden and they pass their watch check): You notice: The blue-eyed woman winks. 
What others see (if they fail their watch check, regardless of whether you are hidden or not): Nothing.

Note: hemote ('hidden emote') is a bit of a misnomer, as you should more often than not use semote ('silent emote') while you are hidden.  However, as with emote, judicious use of hemote can set the scene nicely.  Remember that one detects hidden emotes (regardless of whether you are hidden or not) by way of the 'watch' skill --- the higher one's skill at watching the more likely one is able to see an hemote.  For more on watch, see below, Section 4.

C.  semote will not show up at all to other people if you are successfully hidden.  If you are not, then it will be an ordinary emote, with your short description included.

In general, I prefer to use 'semote' exclusively when I am hidden, since the code will decide if others see that emote or not; I use hemote and emote to add some flavor while hidden, but usually I use these when I am not hidden.

2.  What breaks hide?

Hide never expires.  However, there is no way of knowing whether you are still hidden or not, and hence the question often arises: What breaks hide? The command 'visible' will break hide, and any coded action that is not 'silent' will also break hide.  Silent commands should be more or less common sense (e.g., steal, plant, backstab, palm, unlatch, etc.).  However it is worth clarifying a few borderline cases:

A.  There are sleight of hand  commands that won't break hide (if successful):
stow / ready
slip / palm
latch / unlatch
You can assume that their non-stealthy alternatives (sheath, draw, put, get, open, close) will break hide.  However see cases E (sheaths) and F (change hands) below.

B.  'whisper' (see help whisper for more details), 'emote' and 'change ldesc' do not break hide, although for 'change ldesc' see below in Section 4.

C.  'stand', 'arrange', equipping and unequipping an item ('hold', 'remove', 'wear', etc.), and raising/lowering a hood do break hide.

D.  Certain movements will break hide (see section 3 below). 

E.  Drawing from and sheathing into an equipped sheath object probably does not break hide (judging by the echo that you receive about silently extracting from the sheath).  Note: The help file on stow and ready is misleading.  You cannot stow or ready into / from an equipped sheath object.

F.  'change hands' will check against sleight of hand (if you have the skill) and thus it is considered a silent action (if successful).

G.  While equipping or lighting a torch will break hide, you can successfully initiate hide with a lit torch in your hand.  This sometimes causes confusion about realism (see Section 5: RP Tips below). Basically, if you are hidden with a lit torch, you can assume you are blending into the virtual crowd; if there is no virtual crowd, you can assume the room won't allow you to hide in it.

H. Some rooms will also be set to break hide, such as well lit rooms without any virtual population or areas where one could hide.  In general, when you hide you should look at the room and decide where you are hiding.  (See Section 5: RP Tips below.)

3.  Moving while hidden, and sneaking.

If you move while hidden, there is a chance you will be detected (and that hide will break).  If you set your movement speed to 'sneak', however, this chance is the smallest compared to 'run' and 'walk'.  As well, if you 'shadow' someone else, this will be treated the same as sneaking, even if codedly you will be set to whatever speed your prey is set at (hence: you can even be hidden while running, if your prey is running).

If you are not hidden, you can still sneak into and out of a room undetected, if you set yourself to sneak before you move.  Note: You can use command emotes while sneaking, and these will only show up if someone detects you, e.g., north (slipping under the tarp).  Sneak never expires (and never breaks) and you can tell if you are sneaking in your prompt (see help prompt).

4.  Detecting hidden people: scan and watch.

You can use scan, watch, and look to interact with hidden people.

A.  Scan.  If someone has scan engaged and types 'look' there is a chance that a hidden person might be detected (although this will not break their hide).  Hidden persons that are detected show up in the room to the scanner as *a strange shadow*.  While you may spam 'look' with scan engaged, it is probably better to toss out an emote or hemote about looking closely in a certain area, so that you can interact with the sneak in a more nuanced way.  You can also do 'look shadow' or 'watch shadow' to look at or watch the detected hidden person.

Note: If you show up to a scanner as *a strange shadow*, your ldesc will be set to a default: *a strange shadow is here*.  No custom ldesc is possible while you are hidden, and so 'change ldesc' is pointless (unfortunately).  I still change my ldesc whenever I hide, however, since it helps me remember where in the room my PC is hiding.

B.  Watch.  There are two forms of watch: passive watch and active (or targeted) watch.  Your watch skill affects your chance of picking up on hidden emotes (hemotes) as well as stealthy actions (e.g., steal attempts) in the room, and it will do so in a passive manner (you do not need to type anything).  However, you can also target someone with watch, and this will not only improve your chances of detecting their hidden emotes (hemotes) and stealthy actions, but it will also make it harder for them to hide from you, and it will make it easier to target them.  However, you cannot scan and actively watch someone at the same time.  Often, to detect a sneak, you will scan, and then look several times, and then watch the shadow.

5.  Other RP tips.

Hide (both city and wilderness variants) can be two different things: (1) it can be literally hiding in a closet or cleaving to a shadow; or (2) it can be blending into a crowd, or hiding in plain sight.  This allows for a lot of creativity and flexibility for the sneak: hiding is not just slipping under a bed or lingering in a shadow.  However, you should try to be realistic.  One thing I do is look at a room carefully and decide where my PC is hiding.  I then use semote to 'move' them there, e.g., up to a rafter, behind a closet, among a crowd of virtual grebbers in the corner, and toss out an semote every few minutes indicating that I am still hiding there.  Another trick I use: I pretend that there *is* someone who can see my PC in the same room, so I continue to emote (using semote) as normal.  Finally, while 'change ldesc' seems to have no effect (see Section 4), I still like to set my ldesc to where I am hiding as a reminder to myself.

While certain gear will increase your chance of hiding, you should also recognize that some of the onus is on you to make sure things are realistic: if you are the only one at the Fale dinner party wearing a ninja outfit, and there is no indication in the room description that there is somewhere you could hide in a shadow or behind an object, perhaps this is not an appropriate place to be hiding.  Likewise, bright clothing does not give you a negative to hide (codedly), but it perhaps isn't the most appropriate thing to be wearing if you are trying to blend in with a crowd of dusty grebbers.  (However, in some cases it might be the better outfit, for instance, if you are trying to blend into the crowd at a Fale dinner party or among a pack of Sun Runners.)  Similarly, while there are rooms that will not allow you to hide in them, and which will break your hide, such as well-lit rooms with no virtual population and no shadows to hide in, you can always use 'visible' to make yourself visible if you feel that the area you are in is not one that it makes sense to hide in. 

In general, the game has attempted to be balanced between a sneak and their potential victims.  However, you will be able to get a lot more out of a scene if you try to engage with your victim: use emotes to indicate that they have been bumped up against when stealing, for instance, or toss out an semote every few minutes to indicate where you are hidden, in case someone can see you. The same goes in the other direction: those attempting to ward off a sneak can get a lot more interaction from the sneak if they add a few emotes to their 'watch' and 'look' commands, indicating to the sneak what is going  on.  There are two situations that often come up worth highlighting.  (1) On the end of the sneak, it is especially important to know what others see and how your sneaking might come off as jarring.  For instance, while it is codedly possible to hide after you say something to someone, or pop out of hide and say something right away, this can often come across as jarring; there is a small lag when you initiate hide, but it might be better to ease into and out of hide with an emote, indicating to the victim your location in the scene.  Or perhaps you can slink off (with 'sneak') to another room before engaging the 'hide' command.  (Note: You can use command emotes on direction commands even while you are sneaking.)  (2) On the end of the victim, the scan help file insists that the information you receive from a successful scan and look at *a strange shadow* is 'incomplete'; however, in reality you will see their entire mdesc, and while it might be sometimes possible to get a good bead on someone who is hidden, it might be better to operate under the assumption that you did not get a complete look, and RP accordingly.

Some examples.  Example 1: I have decided to engage hide after someone I don't like walks into the room.
Code: [Select]
> hemote slinks off to a group of grebbers gathered in the corner of the busy bar
> hide
> change ldesc is mingling with a group of grebbers in the corner
> semote mingling with a group of grebbers in the corner of the busy bar, @ peeks over towards ~victim
Example 2: I have decided to pop out of my hide and talk to someone.
Code: [Select]
> semote shifts out from among the group of grebbers in the corner of the room, approaching ~victim
> hemote approaching ~victim, @ slides past a table
> vis
> hemote approaches ~victim from behind
> tell victim (approaching ~victim from behind) Busy day, isn't it?

The bottomline is that Armageddon MUD prides itself on offering the coded ability to RP in a meaningful and realistic manner: roleplay is paramount, and the above guide should help you understand the code better so that you can roleplay a sneak to its maximum potential.  Nothing, however, beats experience.[/code]
« Last Edit: Today at 10:59:17 AM by nauta »
as IF you didn't just have them unconscious, naked, and helpless in the street 4 minutes ago

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 244
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 10:16:26 AM »
Does raising or lowering a hood break hide?

puella

  • Posts: 481
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 10:17:43 AM »
[oops misposted]

deskoft

  • Posts: 148
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 11:20:02 AM »
I really like your emphasis on how RP is paramount even to sneaking. This guide is appreciated!

KittenLicks

  • Posts: 29
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 11:29:06 AM »
This is really fantastic! :) Pretty much all the newbie questions I had about this type of thing are in here. Great job, nauta!
Quote from: Armageddon
You can't wear the spider.

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 244
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 11:30:30 AM »
Yes, it's very cool! It's great that you put so much effort into helping newbies in general--sorry I didn't say so in the first place!

nauta

  • Posts: 2239
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 11:59:31 AM »
Does raising or lowering a hood break hide?

It does, I updated the file and added it as a borderline case.  Thanks!
as IF you didn't just have them unconscious, naked, and helpless in the street 4 minutes ago

Is Friday

  • Posts: 6182
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 11:27:16 PM »
Good job on the guide. This is stuff that takes most players a while to learn over time but most should know before they play their first sneak-type.
Quote from: shadowspeak discord
did you just meet a ridiculously unfuckable psychotic female character? It's 75% likely that Is_Friday is playing it! unfuckable, unwantable, unloveable, poorly played, stereotype-driven, abusive, and shallow!

Kankfly

  • Posts: 1201
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 05:54:14 AM »
Great guide! Thanks for putting it together!

I didn't know whisper <target> doesn't break hide. I always thought it did.
I ruin immershunz.

redkank

  • Posts: 85
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2017, 04:50:09 PM »
Does pull quiver, break hide?

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1335
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2017, 05:06:33 PM »
Does pull quiver, break hide?

I have no idea, but you could palm an item from the quiver, and then silently equip it.

KittenLicks

  • Posts: 29
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2017, 06:02:14 PM »
Does pull quiver, break hide?

I have no idea, but you could palm an item from the quiver, and then silently equip it.
Is there actually a way to silently equip items that are in your inventory, and not in a sheath or something?
Quote from: Armageddon
You can't wear the spider.

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1335
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 06:13:18 PM »
After going over the helpfiles, you can use the STOW and READY commands to silently equip and unequip things using the slight of hand skill, so yes, yes there is.

Grogerif

  • Posts: 36
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 06:31:18 PM »
And according to the helpfiles, stow and ready only work with sheaths or belts.  So it doesn't look like you can silently equip from inventory.  Unless you slip into a sheath, then draw or ready it from there.

Nao

  • Posts: 1845
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2017, 07:34:51 PM »
If you try to ready something from your inventory, you get the message "You don't have that weapon sheathed". If there is some other way to do this, I'd really like to know.
A rusty brown kank explodes into little bits.

Someone says, out of character:
     "I had to fix something in this zone.. YOU WEREN'T HERE 2 minutes ago :)"

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1335
Re: New Player's Guide to Playing a Sneak
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2017, 07:40:58 PM »
I guess the solution would be to preemptively sheath a pair of arrows on your belt, Idk.

That being said, it would make sense to be able to ready and stow an arrow straight from the quiver to some degree. So someone idea that.