Zadmar wrote:Freemage wrote:Having one person be Sneaky McSneakface works fine for those situations where you want to get some key bit of info or bypass an obstacle (and in fact, it's arguably MORE reliable than having two Sneaky McSneakfaces, since that really just doubles the odds of one of them rolling like ass and either burning through their bennies, or simply being unable to re-roll because it's a Critical Failure setting. Better for players 2-5 to spend that skill die on obscure Knowledges.
In my experience, it's usually the case that the entire party needs to get past a particular obstacle in order to continue with the adventure. For example, the characters need to sneak past a zombie-infested shopping mall, or slip past an enemy watchtower, or creep through a monster's lair to continue their journey, etc. If the other players want to participate in the adventure, they'll have to make their Stealth rolls as well.
In which case, by the math, either this checkpoint turns into a Bennie Tollbooth, or the rest of the adventure turns into a slugfest (or both, and the slugfest happens after the unlucky player has been soaked for last Benny and still can't make the roll).
If you have a four-person party, each with d4 Stealth, then the odds of at least one of them failing a non-opposed check with no penalties is around 85%. A 6-person party pushes that to 94%. Hell, even if everyone has a d6 Stealth, then the odds of losing at least one Bennie from a group of 6 players is over 80%.
And none of that even includes situations where someone is pretty much guaranteed to have a penalty. If anyone in your group is "Power Armor Dude" or "Ogre Lady", you're pretty much done out of the gate.
And the flipside to "if the other players want to participate in the adventure" is, "if the sneaky builds want to have their party along as back-up". In short, requiring a group to sneak past an obstacle is tantamount to saying, "Give me X Bennies, or we stop the adventure here." Frequently, if the obstacle is a choice between sneaking past or fighting past, the party is better off if everyone pumped their combat skills. At least if I miss an attack, that doesn't mean everyone else in the party misses, too.
The source for the difficulty here is that Stealth is the only group activity where, every time, if one person fails, the entire group fails. In every other endeavor, it's almost always possible for other characters to 'pick up the slack'. Statistics side with the idea that someone is going to roll well, and that good roll will carry the day, even if someone else fails horribly. Even things like Swimming and Climbing can be benefited with group action. (Alternately, there are several skills where, so long as you have one person who is good at it--say, a d6/d8 and an appropriate Professional Edge--you don't really need anyone else to even pick up the dice: Driving and Tracking, for example.) With Stealth, though, the worst roll is the only one that matters.
As a practical matter, this either means the GM must write to allow situations where Sneaky McSneakface is able to go on alone, accomplish some task and come back to the group, or accept that any significant Stealth challenge is going to be failed by someone. And in either of those cases, the process of character creation tends to move towards anyone who isn't going to be THE party Stealth-guy ignoring the skill entirely. The rest of the group is going to be better off, overall, if everyone takes out their d4 Stealth and turns it into a d4 Knowledge (of differing types)--because you only need one person to succeed at the Knowledge roll.
So, if you concur with my assessment, what's to be done?
Well, this is Savage Worlds, which has a fantastic workaround already in the rules, if the GM wants to use it. Want to sneak an entire party past a zombie-packed mall? Fine. It's now a Group Dramatic Task. One person takes 'lead', rolling Stealth (at a penalty based on factors like the number of zombies, and, to keep some semblance of realism, a flat -1 penalty for every second person in the party, round down). Other PCs can roll to assist as normal, in order to counter the penalty--but if one guy fails the roll, it doesn't mean instant combat. You can even allow creative use of assistance skills--if the party's wizard has an appropriate spell, he can roll Spellcasting to assist by creating a distraction on the far side of the mall. The party has to accumulate 5 successes in five 'rounds', same as always, and everyone benefits from Sneaky McSneakface's infiltration abilities. Everyone's still involved, but no one is the de facto goat for not being able to make the roll.