If you looked at the Example of Play blog post, you saw that the prototype warrior character has 6 Health, and the prototype wizard and rogue have 4 Health. And in the video, the orc opponents have 10 Health. There are several things going on here.
1) First-level characters in Five Moons RPG are basically apprentices. To make a Harry Potter analogy, they’re probably third-year students at their school; they know enough to get into trouble and face off against some dangerous opponents, but aren’t “graduated” fully-trained members of their profession (which is about 3rd level in game terms, comparable to a 1st-level 3E/PF character).
2) That means they’re still pretty fragile.
3) However, it sucks to play a character who goes unconscious or dies with a typical hit. And you don’t want low-level character to only be able to fight rats and angry dogs (creatures that can only deal 1–2 points of damage on a typical hit).
4) The warrior was the first prototype character I built with the most recent version of stats, and 6 Health isn’t bad for an apprentice sort of character… but the other two characters (created later) really suffer by comparison because it’s reasonable for them to have less Health than the warrior.
5a) I didn’t want to boost the Health of the prototype wizard and rogue and not change the prototype warrior as well, as I didn’t want it to look like the warrior was getting hosed (yet again).
5b) However, changing the warrior’s Health after the fact would be confusing (“Didn’t she used to have 6 Health?”).
6) So I proceeded with the (low) values for the wizard and rogue, knowing that the Example of Play was a scripted scenario that I could control, and none of the characters would actually die.
7) I also wanted the Example of Play scenario to show what the PCs could accomplish when they didn’t need to spend boosts, when they could spend boosts for extra effects, and when they had to spend boosts to keep themselves alive. For that purpose, having the PCs have low starting Health values worked, as the orc encounter was very difficult for them.
8) The Example of Play is not intended to show the expected danger level of a typical game.
9) Overall, starting at 1st level, Health numbers will get a boost before the Five Moons playtest.
The Stealth rules in 3E/PF are a weird thing, mainly in that they don’t actually allow a character to use Stealth. Here’s why:
1) There’s no “facing” for a character in the game. It doesn’t track what your front and back are, so there is no “behind” you. All creatures are treated as if they can and are looking in any direction at any particular moment.
2) This means they’re observing their surroundings in 360 degrees at all times, including creatures within those surroundings.
3) Because you can’t use Stealth if you’re being observed, any creature who has an unobstructed line of sight to you means you can’t use Stealth: they’re automatically observing you.
4) So the only way to sneak up on someone is with cover, like being around a corner, or with concealment, like being in darkness or fog.
So, under most circumstances, you can’t use stealth to sneak up on someone.
Fortunately, Five Moons RPG is a new game, and doesn’t have to abide by strict interpretations of the 3E or PF rules.
(The following assumes a humanoid creature, of course.)
(And to make this discussion easier, let’s use “rogue” to mean “creature trying to use stealth,” and use “sentry” to mean “creature the rogue is trying to sneak up on.”)
(And this uses PF terminology, as that’s what you’re familiar with.)
The first step is to realize that all sentries are not constantly whirling in all directions so they can observe in all directions at all times. You don’t have to assign a “front” or “back” to a sentry for this to work, you just have to acknowledge that sentries do indeed have fronts and backs (or at least eyes on the front of the head, and no eyes on the back).
And unless that sentry is an automaton fixated on a single spot (like “the end of the one hallway leading up to my guard station”), that sentry is going to spend some of its time looking to the left or right, blinking, tying its shoes, and otherwise not looking exactly in the direction of the rogue.
So, unless the sentry has a very good reason to be looking exactly where the rogue is standing when the rogue comes into view, the sentry is not automatically observing the rogue.
This means the rogue can attempt a Stealth check against the sentry, even if there is open space between the rogue and the sentry.
- If the sentry wins, the sentry happened to look in the direction of the rogue, and the rogue is observed, which means no stealth.
- If the rogue wins, the rogue managed to time it so the sentry wasn’t looking in the right direction, and the rogue is still unobserved, which means stealth is working.
By discarding the “whirling observer” premise, you allow Stealth to work. And you still don’t have to specify which direction the sentry is looking, other than “not where the rogue is.” This allows a sneaky rogue to creep up next to, behind, or past the sentry without being observed… just like you can do in real life by taking advantage of the sentry being distracted or facing the wrong way.
A more detailed discussion of this will be in the Five Moons RPG playtest; for now, I just wanted you to know that the game’s stealth rules will actually allow you to use stealth.
(And it of course assumes the rogue is trying to be stealthy. If the rogue isn’t trying to be stealthy, you skip all of this stuff and the sentry can automatically observe the rogue.)