Someone who is very
good at remaining hidden. Security cameras? No problem. Camouflage? Got it covered. Usually they will have some sort of tranquilizers or equipment to jam electronics. In a wartime setting you will often find one of these. These people have stealth down to an art form, normally outclassing anyone in real life.
This ability often enables them to infiltrate areas while dressed in a ridiculously conspicuous costume,
rather than using camouflage like a
sane human being. If done too much, it make break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief
. Some stealth experts are also Masters Of Disguise
, although they do not use this skill as often as the audience might expect. They're often capable of Stealth Hi/Bye
and Offscreen Teleportation
Compare The Sneaky Guy
, who might or might not use stealth. Ninjas
are Stealth Experts, or not
. Contrast the stealth expert's mortal enemy, The Anticipator
. Stealthy Colossus
is this taken to its logical extreme.
- Laffitte from One Piece is capable sneaking into Mariejois with three Warlords of the Sea on the grounds...while wearing tap shoes.
- While Lupin III often gets into buildings via disguise, he is also an accomplished second story-man. He can sneak in in a black Spy Catsuit, or cause enough distractions that his bright yellow tie and bright red jacket aren't noticed.
- Invisible Boy of Mystery Men is great at being invisible - as long as nobody's looking at him.
- In The Film of the Book Clear and Present Danger the sniper Chavez was so good, in a controlled test he was able to sneak up on his instructor, using a cheeseburger wrapper as a decoy.
Sergeant Major: Soldier, how did you get so close to me?
Chavez: Sniper approached the instructor by being a sneaky bastard, Sergeant Major!
- Batman in most of his movie adaptations.
- This is shown subtly in The Dark Knight Saga. Whenever Batman is onscreen, the sound of his footsteps is simply not heard. Even at the end of The Dark Knight, when Batman has been shot and most likely has an injured leg, and the area is silent enough to hear his cape flutter, there is only one set of footsteps—from Gordon's young son running down the steps.
- The butler from the Adam Sandler movie Mr. Deeds.
"I fear you are underestimating the sneakiness, sir."
- In A Brother's Price, Jerin's younger siblings report to him what they found in their newly arrived guest's luggage. They tell him not to worry, as they didn't get caught. He scolds them for it, but later uses their findings to convince his older sister that the guests can be trusted, as, if they had anything suspicious with them, the little sisters would have found it. As the grandmothers were spies, this runs in the family, and seems to be a kind of hobby.
- The High-Elves in The Lord of the Rings were capable of moving silently and unseen in the woods. Hobbits were also capable of great stealth, or so it seemed to a big, clumsy human.
- The Animorphs naturally excel at this. Flies, fleas and even roaches are among their most common morphs.
- Corvin Wergard, a private detective from James H Schmitz's Federation of the Hub series, is an expert at lockpicking and staying hidden.
- In Masques the protagonist Aralorn is a spy. She's also a shapeshifter who can become a mouse. That's her favourite form, and she knows all the subspecies, too, so she avoids Misplaced Wildlife.
- In the X-Wing Series, Tyria Sarkin is brought into Wraith Squadron largely for her training in "silent movement in difficult terrain".
- Force-Sensitives, in much of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, are capable of this using the Force. Tyria herself is Force-Sensitive, though weakly so (her daughter, Jesmin, inherits both her Force sensitivity and her stealth skills - her son Doran, on the other side, only inherited the Force sensitivity).
- Borborygmus Gog in Galaxy of Fear has some aspects of this, due to being a Shi'ido.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, Garak. His identity in the Obsidian Order was "Agent Regnar" (a Regnar being a small animal capable of changing colour and texture so as to blend into its surroundings). Garak achieves his stealth through a meditative technique that allows him to "blend" his personal energy signatures into the background energy fields. It's hinted that all Cardassians could in theory learn the technique - if they were paying attention and weren't conditioned into ignoring the deeper realities of life around them. This is an important plot point in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — A Stitch in Time.
- The Shadow
- The key ability of Gaunt's Ghosts, with the scouts being even better at it. Oan Mkoll is their scouts' chief and is thus an expert among Stealth Experts.
- Ajatasutra, Narses personal henchman and Hitman with a Heart in Belisarius Series.
- In Discworld Lord Vetinari was so much of one at the Assassins' Guild School that he failed his classes in stealth for nonattendance despite being there the whole time.
- Every single member of ranger corps from Ranger's Apprentice. Bonus points for showing/explaining stealth realistically.
- In Wind And Sparks by Alexey Pehov elves are undisputed expert woodsmen. But plenty of humans can beat them in their own game. This includes two of the main characters: the Noble Savage scout Ga-Nor and Cold Sniper archer Ness.
- In the McAuslan series, set in a Scottish regiment shortly after World War Two, the author describes a typical night exercise, in which men are dropped miles from a "home base" and have to sneak through an opposing unit. The trope is invoked by Lance-Corporal MacRae, a former gamekeeper, and averted by nearly everyone else; the author notes that these exercises usually degenerated into an all-out brawl.
- Some of the hiders in the Monty Python's Flying Circus "How Not to be Seen" sketch.
- Kari Byron manages to fool a heat-detecting motion sensor using a bedsheet in Mythbusters.
- Sqweegel from CSI. This creepy serial killer in full-body latex suit can and will live inside the houses of his victims, without the victims noticing him.
- In The Protomen, the band member the Nightwalker is described as this.
- Vampires are believed to be this. Creeping and stalking their potential prey, is essential for their survival as traditionally they have many weaknesses which can kill them.
- Big Foot, The Abominable Snowman and all Yeti kind. For a creature believed to be a lot bulkier and taller than the average man, these often Gentle Giants hide even in places where humans can go like forests and mountains. But so far their has been no clear evidence if these creatures actually exist at all.
- The Yuki-Onna can count too. With the appearance of just a Geisha or Kimono girl, it would be hard to tell if this creature was the monster or not? (even in the Western Regions). Some are even believed to be kind and caring, further adding difficulty to their identity, but beware if you ever upset them.
- Jesus, in the canonical Gospels, would occasionally slip away from the crowds he taught to pray to God alone. Being able to escape the notice of thousands of people (while being quite popular) definitely qualifies him.
- Rogues in Dungeons & Dragons are the designated stealth specialists, though any character can put ranks in the "move silently" and "hide" skills. Furthermore, the Ranger class and some "prestige classes" get the "Hide in plain sight" ability.
- In the 4th Edition, several rogue utility powers allow things similar to Hide in Plain Sight, and the Cunning Stalker build is a master of this with ranged weapons, capable of breaking stealth, striking, and then going back into "stealth mode"... if an enemy is close by.
- Some 4th Edition monsters have similar abilities. Most of these are "lurkers".
- Exalted tends to have various splats with Stealth as a Favored Ability. Among the Solars, they're the Night Castes. Not only do they have Charms that allow them to go utterly unnoticed, but their Caste ability gives them the power to mute their Anima Banner, meaning they can do some tremendous things without lighting up like a Christmas tree like other Exalts.
- Vampire: The Masquerade has this as the main gimmick of the Nosferatu clan. Due to their unfortunate appearance and their talents in the Discipline of Obfuscate, they often serve as Knowledge Brokers and whisper mills, able to get in anywhere to dig up dirt.
- Vampire: The Requiem passes the gimmick on to the Mekhet, who have Auspex in addition to Obfuscate, meaning they can get in anywhere and dig up anything. The Nosfertau still have Obfuscate, but now it's more about being the monster lurking in the darkness.
- The "Stealth" special rule in Warhammer 40,000, logically enough, represents a modicum of stealth training and allows the unit to make better use of cover, therefore gaining improved Cover saves against shooting. "Infiltrate", on the other hand, is a more comprehensive rule that lets the unit set up on the battlefield after the enemy's units, representing it sneaking into the perfect position to counter the enemy's strategy. It can even set up outside of it's army usual setup zone, as long as it remains 18" away from an enemy (or 12" if it's out of sight, such as behind a building).
- A more powerful form of Infiltrate exists, beloved of true Stealth Experts such as Imperial Guardsman Marbo and certain Tyranid scouts. This rule functions exactly the same as its more common counterpart — except that the minimum distance it must stay away from enemies while setting up is a mere 2". (For scale, a grenade has an 8" range.)
- On the tactical level, this is the shtick of Lord Castellan Ursakar E. Creed. Not content to merely sneak up on enemies, he sneaks tanks up on enemies. Any one unit in his army may, after everything else is set up, make an immediate move, representing that he has fooled the enemy into thinking the unit was in one position, while all along they were in their new location. Fanon takes this Up to Eleven, giving him the ability to hide anything, even superheavy tanks, behind lampposts, in someone's bathroom while they aren't looking, or behind Internet users' monitors, and, as his crowning achievement, disguising a tank as a therapist.
- Mrs Hawking play series: The primary weapon in Mrs. Hawking's crime fighting arsenal is her stealth. She wears a black costume with a hood to pull down over her face to conceal herself in the dark. She regularly climbs into places where she cannot be detected.
- Sam Fisher and his colleagues from Splinter Cell.
- Garrett, from Thief. The Keepers who trained him specialize in stealth as well. Indeed, the first game shows him being recruited because he actually managed to spot (and attempt to pickpocket) his soon-to-be mentor in a crowd.
- Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series is definitely one of these.
- As is his father, Big Boss.
- Cyrus in Dawn Of War 2. The fact that he and his scouts can be cloaked and sent in and plant extremely powerful traps and explosives almost makes him a Game Breaker with the right upgrades (using him in one mission is also the only way to avoid killing marines who are loyal, but think you've turned traitor, thus assuring you get the Golden Ending).
- Master thief Kasumi Goto and assassin Thane Krios in Mass Effect 2. Infiltrator!Shepard gets the Tactical Cloak ability.
- The Spy in Team Fortress 2.
- The titular Assassins of Assassin's Creed.
- Unlike your typical example, Assassins are also quite adept at hiding in plain sight, blending into crowds of random people with ease.
- Batman, in the Batman: Arkham Series.
- The Commandos team.
- Rogues in Dragon Age: Origins get a Stealth score. Maxed out, they can enter stealth any time, which prevents enemies from seeing you until you attack. The expansion pack also gives a prestige class called the Shadow, which lets you stay near invisible all the time.
- Rangers and Snipers can become invisible in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, so that they can't be targeted by enemies until they perform an action.
- Rogues in World of Warcraft have the ability to go into "stealth" mode (which translates to very limited aggro radii in PvE and invisibility in PvP). They gain several ambush moves, as well as the ability to pick pocket. They get even more stealth related abilities if they specialize in the subtly talent tree (e.g. the ability to teleport straight behind enemies).
- City of Heroes has the Stalker archetype as well as the Concealment power pool.
- Deus Ex: JC Denton can be this or an One-Man Army (Or a hybrid), depending on the upgrades the player has chosen.
- Ditto for Adam Jensen, whose silent takedown ability means you don't even need weapons.
- Price and MacMillan during the All Ghillied Up mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
- SPARTAN-IIs are said to be this in the Halo universe, and some Elites are as well.
- SPARTAN-IIIs are part this. Instead of the super-expensive MJOLNIR Powered Armor, they are handed out the much cheaper (and unshielded) Semi-Powered Infiltration armor that gives them some stealth capability, although that becomes useless if the Covenant uses active sensors.
- You can become one in Knights of the Old Republic. Mission usually is one as well.
- The Scoundrel and Imperial Operative advanced classes from Star Wars: The Old Republic have stealth as one of their class abilities and can also Back Stab opponents, though the Smuggler uses a scattershot instead of a knife. The Jedi Shadow and Sith Assassin can do the same, using the force to hide themselves from sight.
- Some classes in Star Wars: Battlefront.
- The Burger King in Sneak King.
- In Mabinogi, the elf's hide skill could count as this.
- Kyle "Shadow" Simmons from Jagged Alliance 2.
- Joe in Devil Survivor 2, of the "socially invisible" kind. He doesn't even bother lowering his voice when playing The Peeping Tom.
- The sneak skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim allows you to move undetected, while running and wearing heavy armour. A high level perk means you can vanish into thin air by crouching. And all of that is without using illusion magic that can make you invisible and silent.
- Zer0, the assassin character in Borderlands 2. His playstyle encourages either picking off foes from a distance or sneaking close enough to stab them in the back, then vanishing with the help of a decoy hologram.
- The Poison Type from Pokémon are generally based off animals who are well known for their stealth (like a Spider or Scorpian). Bonus points for being used by various stealthy trainers most notably Janine and Koga.
- The Dark Type can also count due to using many underhanded moves and usually have thin and cunning appearances.
- The Electric Type would also fit, not notably strong but instead very fast their overall use is to paralyze and out-speed their opponents, don't be fooled by how cute or flashy they may look.
- Team Plasma and the Shadow Triad are unlike the other villain teams in the series. They play this trope essentially well, being among the most elusive of all antagonists. But they all bow to Ghetsis knowing fully well, that he outclasses them all in both cunning and superiority.
- The Titular character of SlyCooper.
- Agent 47 from the Hitman series prides himself on killing his targets with little issues to hinder him.
- America's Army has a couple missions where the goal is to be this.
- Grand Theft Auto V gives you the option to be this. Levelling up the stealth skill may take time, but is very useful whenever your trying to avoid the police, ambush someone, or prefer subtlety over strength in your missions and online.
- Surprisingly, Sakazaki Yuuya in Hatoful Boyfriend, despite being an enormous and pure white fantail pigeon. It's probably because he is a spy. He can move silently if he wishes and sneak around other birds undetected. In Holiday Star he watches Albert at Sakuya's mansion for three days and is undetected despite security and the fact that Albert himself is an assassin and was tasked to keep an eye out for stealthy white things. A page in the manga suggests he's more visible to humans.
- There was a strip in Brawl in the Family where Solid Snake, THE master of Tactical Espionage Action, gets out-stealthed by another Brawler... specifically, Mr. Game-And-Watch, who is two-dimensional and completely black, allowing him to literally become one with the shadows.
- Hella Jeff seems to have a great knack for hiding in vents and behind store shelves to observe Sweet Bro's shenanigans.
- The Niels webcomic by Humon brings us Agent 250, dubbed "The Stealth Monster" by Niels's men. A couple of strips reference his ability to go undetected and either catch mooks by surprise or mess with buildings.
- XRS A military sci fi webcomic about a deadly new super-weapon. The XRS can stealthily bypass even the most powerful and advanced detections systems including Radar, Infrared, acoustic, and visual.
- AvatarTheLastAirbender: Zuko (aka The Blue Spirit) has demonstrated a high level of stealth during the course of the series, sadly it didn't last too long.
- TheLegendOfKorra: Amon and the Equalists used many forms of stealth, to back up how serious and ominous their goal is. However Amon himself looked and even sounded, underhanded and cunning to the point of making even Korra fear him.
- Animals such as flounder and octopuses can do this (and make a cunning escape as well!). The aptly named mimic octopus can imitate 40 different species and change colour, pattern, texture, and shape at will.
- Cats (all sizes) are essentially made for this trope. They have mottled coats to blend in with foliage, padded paws to muffle the sound of their footsteps, antibacterial saliva which kills odours (and explains why they groom so obsessively) and they also possess night vision. It gets even better: they have a distinct gait which minimizes their profile (one side first, then the other), hypersensitive hearing and smell, and whiskers which act as feelers in the dark.
- Some cat owners attach bells to their cats in order to know where they are. This, of course, also negates the cat's stealth factor... until they learn to muffle the bell with their paw.
- Well, mostly these bells are to tell the birds where the cat is...
- When threatened, cats try to scare the enemy away by pretending to be another animal fitting this trope - a snake. They arch their backs, flatten their ears, open their mouths, and hiss. Most animals instinctively fear snakes and may think twice about tangling with something that may or may not be one.
- Bats (especially the smaller species) can fly incredibly fast that they literally, are swift enough to catch insects even in flight. The most impressive quality of their stealth is they use sound as a weapon to see in the a dark, and strike like flying Ninjas.
- Snakes are the reptilian equivalent of this. As mentioned in the Cat example, Snakes are both cunning and vicious strikers from the darker side of the animal kingdom. Their methods of survival is surprisingly similar to an Assassin, being that they track their prey then kill it by any means necessary, using camouflage, intimidation and powerful venom secluded in their knive-like fangs.
- Eels, while fish and not actually snakes, have similar methods to snakes; they lie still in a rock until prey wanders by and then dart out and grab it. The green moray is visible to humans (sometimes; don't go putting your Hand in the Hole underwater) but not all sea creatures have our level of color vision and might just think the non-moving eel is a piece of seaweed. Some eels have patterns that make them even harder to see than the green one.
- Snipers, often enough, in order to get the jump on their targets and avoid being killed in turn. Similarly to submarines, this means snipers often are employed as scouts, being sent out to discretely gather information rather than engage the enemy directly. Give them a radio, and they can call in air strikes and artillery fire as well.
- Between long-range night vision, pinpoint-accurate hearing and specialized feathers that muffle the sounds of flight, owls could be described as the airborne equivalent of cats.
- The Infamous Jack the Ripper from the Victorian Era of England. Killing and decapitating his victims so skillfully that his crimes are never forgotten. Stealth-wise nobody knew who he was and ultimately NEVER was caught, which automatically makes him a stealth master amongst criminals.
- Spiders, especially tarantulas, are partly feared for being this. Using web as traps and snares, is their most useful ability they have. However even without tools, their frightening appearance and ambush techniques both combined with an impressive speed, is the stuff of nightmares.
- Ninjas of Feudal Japan. These clever people were hired by the wealthy to commit masses of assassinations and espionage. In those times, Japan wasn't the high-tech land of machines it is now so extra praise to these cunning folk, who performed stealth attacks at times of little help and equipment.