Courtyard > The Art of Stealth

Welcome, apprentice. As Keepers we must remain hidden to the world, often passing through it unseen and unheard. It is here, in this room, that you will learn the skills which enable you to do this. You will learn to embrace the shadow, for it offers protection. You will also learn the importance of sound and its behavior. And lastly, you will learn how to mask your presence by removing evidence of your passing. Let's begin, shall we?

The first and most important skill you must master is that of the shadow. A sound may be overlooked, and evidence may be ignored, but sight will always betray you. If you are seen by a guard or other witness, they will be alerted to your presence. Those that are capable of violence will most likely search for you. Those that are not... well, they will most likely alert those that are. Thus, either way, it is better that you are not seen at all.

As you move, you must learn to pay attention to the shadows. Areas of shadow will make you less visible to those around you. For instance, I will show you two rooms. One of these rooms will be easy to hide in, the other will not. You must determine which by studying the shadows available in each room. Here are the rooms:

Now -- which one of the two would be easier to hide in? Very good, the right one. It has an excess of shadow. Now, keep in mind that it is highly likely you will find it necessary to pass through a well-lit area without shadows. Sometimes this is unavoidable. Usually, however, you will be able to rid yourself of light sources with a well-placed water arrow. Fireplaces, torches, and oil lamps can all be extinguished with these. This will increase the amount of shadow in the area. In the two cases above, the right room has a single apparent light source - the fireplace. Of course, you will also be taught to maximize the effect of what shadow already exists. Allow me to explain...

As a Keeper, you will learn to meld into shadow, becoming one with it. Once you have mastered this skill, it is possible to stand a few feet from a passing individual and not be seen. However, it is sometimes difficult to tell how visible you are from a distance. Thus we have the crystals, a subject which brings us to the next topic of this discussion - the light crystal.

Upon passage of the trials, you will be given what we call a "light crystal". The light crystals are naturally-occurring, but extremely rare. Only we Keepers know of their existence, and only we understand their use. A light crystal absorbs and reflects any existing light in the area. The more light that passes through the crystal, the brighter the crystal glows. Thus a Keeper can tell how visible he or she is by watching the glow of the crystal. Allow me to demonstrate with my own crystal. I am now standing in complete shadow. As I move into the light, notice the effect it has on my light crystal...

As you can see, the intensity of the crystal's glowing increases as I move further into the light. When I am completely visible, the warning jewel mounted beside the crystal turns red. This is to warn me that I am visible to anyone nearby. Through practice and experience, you will learn the thresholds of visibility inherent in your crystal and then be able to determine on your own how visible you are. You must then ascertain whether or not visibility is an accepted risk at that moment.

Of course, in a situation where zero visibility is required, there may seem no hope for safe passage. Such despair is unfounded, however, and does not befit a Keeper. The invisibility potion is intended for exactly such situations. The potion renders the drinker completely invisible for several seconds, allowing him or her to traverse a well-lit area and yet still remain unseen. However, do not allow overconfidence to be your undoing, apprentice. Even an invisibility potion does not mask sound, which is the next phase of your education - sound and its properties.

Embracing the shadows may be the most important aspect of stealth, but it is certainly not the only one. Sound may also betray you, as it will alert others to your presence and attract potential threats to your location. To minimize the amount of sound you make, you must learn how it is affected by different materials. Metal, for instance, will make a distinctive sound when stepped on or struck, but carpet will not. There are five primary types of material you must learn, and they are shown here...

Grass and Carpet


Stone and Concrete


Marble and Tile

The materials are shown here in order from the least amount of sound to the loudest. Care must be taken when crossing any of the last three, as the sound they give may alert others to your presence. Of course, you will encounter other types of terrain and material in your travels. Gravel, for instance, is a common material found in industrial areas and on rooftops - one that will produce a noticeable crunching noise when walked upon. Snow, on the other hand, makes almost no sound when stepped on, while walking through shallow water may produce splashing noises. Again, experience shall be your most thorough instructor in such matters. You will have an advantage, however, against noisy surfaces - the moss arrow.

Moss arrows are a simple wooden shaft with a moss crystal mounted on its tip. Upon impact, the moss is released and begins to spread. A single moss arrow will cover an area of ground nearly the length of a man, and will muffle any sound raised by stepping on it. A marble floor, for example, would normally echo footsteps throughout a building. If, however, a moss arrow is applied first, it makes almost no sound at all. It is, in effect, as if you were walking on carpet or grass. The application of several moss arrows as shown here would allow one to pass over a marble floor without sound.

Of course, the noise you make is not your only concern. You must also learn to control the noise that others make as well. In your dealings with others, it is important to keep in mind the effect of your... dealings. Here are a few guidelines to remember:

  • An individual knocked unconcious with a blackjack makes very little noise at all.
  • Someone shot with an arrow from afar may either cry out in pain or simply fall to the ground.
  • An alerted commoner will likely cry out for help upon spying you, and may even run to alert the nearest guard.
  • An alerted guard may cry out for reinforcements before attacking you -- certainly so if you prove their match in combat.
  • Individuals dropped into dangerous substances (water, fire, etc.) after being knocked out will quite possibly make loud noises while in their death throes.

Now you see that your actions will control noise as much as the surrounding environment. Arrows may bounce, moved objects may fall or break, and disabled targets may still betray your presence if not careful. And this brings us to our last discussion - that of evidence.

The final lesson of stealth is that no one is a ghost. Regardless of how proficient you are at stealth, there will be occasion where your presence affects the environment. After all, we may pass through this world in secret, but we still pass through it nonetheless. It is therefore important that we acknowledge the fact that evidence is sometimes left of our passing. Extinguished torches, missing items, and certainly unconcious or dead bodies -- such things are all noticed by others and may be cause for alarm.

Although an extinguished light source or missing item may be ignored, a body or other signs of violence will not. Therefore it is vital that any bodies, unconcious or otherwise, are moved to a location of deep shadow or low traffic. Blood or other incriminating stains can be washed away using a water arrow. If necessary, torches and other fires can be re-ignited using a fire arrow. Thus your presence remains undetected, and you shall pass without any indication of your existence.

These skills you have learned are the secret of the Keepers, and should remain as such. It is by using such methods that we do not exist, and it is by these skills that we must survive. Go now, to the next part of your education, and remember that which you have learned here. Farewell, apprentice.

Return to the Courtyard

Armory Courtyard Library Livery Treasury Return to Main
Return to Omegacron