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Stealth Expert

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Lady Roberta: I understand, Havelock, that you scored zero in your examination for stealthy movement? ... And you never attended his lessons, he said.
Vetinari: Oh, I did. Religiously.
Lady Roberta: He says he never saw you at any of them.
Vetinari: And your point, Madam, is...?

Someone who is very good at remaining hidden and moving silently and without raising attention, and at getting into high security areas. Vault or Black Site filled with security cameras? No problem, they move in the camera's blind spot or hack the security system. Need to blend into the background and sneak into a secured area? Their stealthy camouflage makes them invisible to sentries. Usually they will have spy gear like tranquilizer darts or high tech equipment to jam electronics.

In a wartime setting you will often find one of these with a dagger, taking out sentries.note  They have stealth down to an art form, outclassing anyone in real life. Snipers, reconnaisance scouts, and spies qualify here as well.

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 may 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. Weapon-Based Characterization means that their weapon will most often be an easily-concealable knife that can inflict an Instant Death Stab, and/or a gun equipped with high-tech cylindrical suppressor, so they can shoot people with only a quiet "pfft" sound.

For obvious reasons, the protagonist of a Stealth-Based Game will usually be one of these. Also figures in Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth situations.

Supertrope of Stealthy Cephalopod, when this applies to octopuses or other cephalopods. Compare The Sneaky Guy, who might or might not use stealth. Ninjas are Stealth Experts, or not. The Native Guide often falls under this trope as well. Contrast With Catlike Tread, and the stealth expert's mortal enemy, The Anticipator. Stealthy Colossus is this taken to its logical extreme, when someone who should not be able to hide their bulk is still quite good at doing so.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Assassination Classroom, all the students of Class 3-E are strong in different ways, but the most dangerous one is Nagisa because of this trope. He's so good at looking meek and inconspicuous (because he genuinely is, most of the time) that he frequently wins fights against people physically stronger than he is, even if they know about his nature beforehand. It comes from a combination of factors; skill, talent, his naturally delicate appearance, and a childhood spent with an abusive mother whose notice he rightly feared attracting. The element of surprise may be all he has going for him, but in the business of assassination, surprise is really all you need.
    • Akari/Kayano is this trope in a different way. She's a prodigious actor, so what she does is act- very deeply- like a nondescript sort of person.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency has SS Commando Donovan, a minor villain who claims to be sneaky enough that even bats can't sense his presence. He's even able to sneak up on Joseph in the middle of an open desert. However, once he initiates a straight fight, Joseph is able to take him down very quickly.
  • While Lupin III often gets into buildings via disguise, he is also an accomplished second story-man. He can sneak in wearing a black Spy Catsuit, or cause enough distractions that his brightly colored tie and jacket aren't noticed.
  • Himiko Toga of My Hero Academia has a vaguely explained ability (completely unrelated to her Quirk) to disappear from people's perceptions by clearing her own mind. Chapter 266 shows that this only works against the five normal human senses, and characters with sensory Quirks can still detect her.
  • One Piece:
  • Kazama squad from World Trigger specialize in stealth. Chameleon trigger makes them invisible to the naked eye.

    Comic Books 
  • One of Batman's calling cards is to be as hard to pinpoint as the animal he modeled his guise after. He is silent and takes advantage of the dark both to not be seen and to instill fear in those he hunts down. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake also fit this, being two of his sneakier protégés. Tim in particular was able to follow Batman and Robin (Jason) around and take photos without being caught before he ever received any Bat training.
  • Nightcrawler is a flamboyant swashbuckler at heart, but when he needs to be sneaky, he's very good at it. The fact that he can cling to walls and vanish into the shadows at will certainly helps, but beyond his powers, he is quite good at moving in complete silence.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Infinite Loops, the Stealth Loopers are Loopers that can easily hide the fact they are Looping, even from people from their own universe (that thus should notice the personality changes). The most notable are almost every single Looper from the Star Trek branches, as they just don't want to deal with Starfleet's Temporal Investigations, and the Mystery Looper from the Winx branch, that is only known because he delivered a wedding gift for Flora and Tecna (there is a few people who know who he is, but four of them are from the Original Seven branches, thus just too experienced for him, and how Diaspro found out is currently unknown).
  • Rajotel in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, though this is an Informed Ability, as everything he does is offscreen.
  • In Revelations, Túrante has perfect stealth. In the backstory, she used her vampire powers of Super-Speed and Super-Senses to spy on the characters of The Lord of the Rings and to secretly aid them.

    Films — Animation 
  • Caesar's spy in Asterix and Cleopatra appears to have a literal "cloaking device" in his cloak, giving him the chameleon-like ability to blend with his background.
  • In The Transformers: The Movie, Laserbeak (another one of Soundwave's cassettes) plays this role. He enters, films and leaves Autobots' Moonbase 1 totally undetected. The information he filmed allow the Decepticons to catch the Autobots off-guard and put in motion most of the events of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman in most of his movie adaptations. This is shown subtly in The Dark Knight Trilogy. 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.
  • In The Film of the Book Clear and Present Danger the sniper Chavez is so good, in a controlled test he is 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!
  • The butler from the Adam Sandler movie Mr. Deeds.
    Butler: 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.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): Anthony's first ever skill purchase is Stealth, but he never really becomes a master of it, especially once he's coated in diamond and the size of a minibus. There are ants who properly specialize in it, though:
    • The nameless ones can operate in total darkness, and use a network of tunnels hidden even from the other ants, allowing them to strike from ambush to snatch away ants who have worked too long without rest. Typically the only sign of their presence is that their target is no longer there when you turn around (until they return eight hours later, bright eyed and bushy tailed, but also mildly traumatized).
    • Operation Silent Shield utilizes a special organ that allows them to vanish from everyone's senses; they literally can't be noticed by most mechanisms unless they allow it. They use it to surround Anthony in shifts as unceasing bodyguards. Unfortunately, the trade-off is that their raw power is limited, especially since the constant hiding limits their opportunities for Level Grinding, so their ability to actually help Anthony increasingly falls behind.
  • 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.
  • Edgedancer (a novella of The Stormlight Archive): Lift is definitely one; she first manages to sneak into Nale's house and eat his breakfast while he's in the next room over, then leave with him none the wiser, and later successfully tails a pair of his acolytes across an empty, straight-as-an-arrow corridor without them realizing that they're being followed.
  • Corvin Wergard, a private detective from James H. Schmitz's Federation of the Hub series, is an expert at lockpicking and staying hidden.
  • In The Gallagher Girls, this trope is why Cammy is nicknamed "Chameleon" by her friends. She frequently does things like feign innocence and sneak through secure areas- not by staying out of sight so much as by being Beneath Notice. Most of her story takes place with no one around, and she's notably surprised and impressed when a civilian notices her, because so few do. This trait also makes her an ideal narrator; she's constantly assessing the people around her so she can fit into them better.
  • 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.
  • The High-Elves in The Lord of the Rings are capable of moving silently and unseen in the woods. Hobbits are also capable of great stealth, or so it seems to a big, clumsy human.
  • 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 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.
  • Every single member of ranger corps from Ranger's Apprentice. Bonus points for showing/explaining stealth realistically, using concealment and camouflage (including adapting their iconic cloaks to the terrain, using black and white in a snowy region instead of their usual forest tones).
  • In the Ryanverse, former Navy SEAL and CIA agent John Clark is one, having the codename "Snake", the one whose footsteps the enemy never hears. He demonstrates this by, during a training exercise, sneaking up to the observation post and "killing" the Marine general in charge and several CIA observers...and then waiting around for them to complain that he never showed up before revealing himself to them. He served as a mentor and inspiration to two other members of this list, Chavez fromClear and Present Danger and Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell.
  • Six of Crows: Inej Ghafa, nicknamed the Wraith, is so stealthy that she manages to sneak up on Kaz while half-naked, wearing bright colors and body paint, with bells around her ankles. This lands her a job with his crew, where she becomes the best spider in the Barrel and one of the most deadly criminals in Ketterdam.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars:
    • Force-Sensitives, in much of Star Wars Legends, are capable of this using the Force.
    • In the X-Wing Series, Tyria Sarkin is brought into Wraith Squadron largely for her training in "silent movement in difficult terrain". 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 Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, the members of the prophet's doomsday cult specialize in this. They capture several members of the Traveling Symphony so quickly and silently that others mere feet away don't see it happen.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Because she spent her childhood undergoing classified military training that simultaneously broke her psychologically and gave her amazing abilities, River Tam from Firefly is gifted at stealth. Sometimes it's plot-relevant and sometimes it's just used to emphasize how damaged and weird she is, or played for comedy. There's even a scene where she glues herself to the ceiling and watches her brother and a crew member having sex.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Locke displays some impressive stealth skills to gather intel on Craster's Keep.
    • It has been remarked that Varys has a nearly supernatural ability to sneak in and out of any place both inside and outside of the Red Keep. In the books, Varys often uses a intricate secret tunnel network that runs through all of the Red Keep and King's Landing, and he's also a master of diguise who can fool even Tyrion.
    • Euron is a nautical one. Several characters point out how he managed to outmanoeuvre and catch by surprise the Lannister fleet at Lannisport, catching them entirely flat-footed in a flanking maneuver. He likewise manages to ambush Yara's fleet without being ever detected until he's already attacking.
  • 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.
  • In See, in which humanity has gone blind, Shadows are stealthy spies who can move without being heard, control their own heartbeats and cleanse their minds of thoughts to avoid being detected by even people with Super-Hearing and Sensor Characters. They are practically undetectable to anyone who cannot see and very few people know about their existence and the ways to train them.
  • Inej in Shadow and Bone, a former acrobat who now works for the criminal gang The Crows. In "Otkazatsya", during the Kribirsk Archives heist she's shown walking directly behind a suspicious guard, deftly turning each time he turns so she's always behind him.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "The Impossible Box", the Romulan guards don't notice at all that Elnor is on the ceiling above them until he leaps down and lands just behind them, taking them by surprise. He carves up all three of them with his tan qalanq before they can fire single shot from their disruptors.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2", Elnor can out-stealth two spies. Narissa and Narek, who are Zhat Vash operatives, aren't aware that Elnor is listening to their conversation off-screen, and when Narek departs from the Artifact, he's clueless that Elnor is tailing him. Later, Elnor sneaks into a room on La Sirena and startles Rios, Raffi and Narek; they don't notice Elnor's presence until his tan qalanq is right next to Narek's throat.

  • In The Protomen, the band member the Nightwalker is described as this.
  • Sabaton: "A Ghost in the Trenches" is about Francis Pegahmagabow, the most accomplished sniper of World War I. It describes him as a ghost roaming the battlefield making his way freely from trench to trench without being detected.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Rogues have always been the designated stealth specialists of the character classes, though since third edition, any character can put ranks in the "move silently" and "hide" skills. Feats such as "Hide in Plain Sight" can make certain characters particularly stealthy.
    • Some 4th Edition monsters have similar abilities. Most of these are "lurkers".
    • In 5th edition a high level rogue, though a combination of features, can get a minimum stealth check result of 27 and a maximum of 38. To put that in perspective, a check of thirty is considered nearly impossible.
  • 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.
  • Various Fate executions have different ways of doing this: anyone with Intrigue as their top Mode in Atomic Robo, for example, or anyone who puts Sneaky as their +3 in FAE.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade gives this power to vampires through the discipline of Obfuscate. The Nosferatu rely on this discipline for survival, since they all look like Orlok. Consequently, they tend to become Knowledge Brokers and whisper mills, able to get in anywhere to dig up dirt.
  • Vampire: The Requiem has the Mekhet, who have Auspex in addition to Obfuscate, meaning they can get in anywhere and dig up anything. The Nosferatu still have Obfuscate, but now it's more about being the monster lurking in the darkness, though there is nothing stopping a Nossy from excelling at stealth and making a profit out of what he or she can find out.
  • Warhammer:
    • The hat of all Clan Eshin units from Night Runners to Assassins, Ninja rats whose stealth is represented in some way by special rules. For instance, the Night Runners are infiltrators and can move once before the start of the game whereas the Gutter Runners have the Scout special rule allowing them to appear as reinforcement from anywhere on the table.
    • Chameleon Skinks, thanks to their color-changing skin and extensive training, are unmatched specialists in stealth and hidden guerrilla warfare. They can move unseen through the jungle, following unsuspecting targets and cutting them down with poisoned darts from close range while remaining entirely unnoticed.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The "Stealth" special rule, 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 Sly 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.)
      • One game famously hinged on this, pitting one Rules Lawyer against another. The first depended on keeping all his units in reserve until the second turn to deep-strike his entire army onto the field , the second lined up all his infiltrators along the enemy's edge. When the deep-striker's turn started, he was informed that he'd just lost, as he could not place any units along his table edge due to the infiltrators' presence (stretched out in a tactically suicidal position that left nowhere for the deep-striker to deploy).
    • Even da Orks have their own stealth experts — the Kommandos. Yes, really. One of the most famous examples of this kind of Ork is Boss Snikrot of Armageddon, who is said to be better than most Eldar at sneakin' about. Because sneaky Orks distinctly lack the aiming ability for one-shot sniping techniques and are often physically weaker than most of their kin (which isn't saying much compared to humans), they tend to prefer to Throw Down the Bomblet. Spookums from Dawn of War II: Retribution is a Kommando Nob who specializes in grenades and explosives — imagine being a Guardsman at a fortified checkpoint or position, when suddenly an Ork jumps out of bush shouting at the top of his voice "I AM SNEAKY!" and showering the area around you with grenades and rockets.
    • 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 gives 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.
    • The Raven Guard and Night Lords Space Marine Legions excelled at this, with Raven Guard veterans able to wraith-slip past even very observant guards (although not Salamanders, who have incredible night vision). The Raven Guard generally use their powers for good, preferring to confuse the enemy and strike at key targets, while the Night Lords fell to Chaos and evolved into sadistic murderers who use their stealth as an aspect of general terror tactics. In one of the Horus Heresy novels, Sergeant Lethicus of the Ultramarines is trying to hunt Gendor Skraivok of the Night Lords:
      Lethicus: They could be staring right at us.
      Skraivok: We are. [Night Lords appear out of nowhere and start murdering Ultramarines]

  • 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.
  • West Side Story: As a supporting player in a conflict between adolescent gangs: Anybodys is real large with shadows. She can slip in and out of them like wind through a fence.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • In Atlas Reactor, the characters Nix, PuP and Kaigin have cooldown abilities that turn them invisible and lets them approach the enemy team unseen.
  • Most ships in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 can use the Silent Running stance to make themselves semi-invisible and untargetable while outside the enemy's detection radius. Drukhaeri, Aeldari and Tyranids, however, are the true stealth experts. Their fleets start out stealthed by default, and the former two can very easily slip back into stealth at a moment's notice even during open combat, allowing them to strike with impunity if the enemy lacks the means to detect or chase them.
  • 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.
  • Cyrus in Dawnof War II. 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).
  • Dead by Daylight:
    • Michael Myers, who uses a unique Evil Within system that radically alters how he plays compared to other killers. At Evil Within I, Myers is slower than other killers and has a pitiful lunge range... but he's permanently Undetectable, with no Terror Radius or Red Stain to give away his presence. In Evil Within II, which puts Michael physically on par with other killers, he gets immunity to all survivors' killer detection perks. That said, you are a big guy in a bright white mask, so stealth will only get you so far.
    • The Hag also qualifies, as her Terror Radius is 24m, and she is a short killer with a slight frame so she is much harder to spot.
    • Danny Johnson, the game's version of Ghostface, relies heavily on stealth. His exclusive skill, Night Shroud, makes him Undetectable and completely deactivates both visual and audio signs of his presence: the Terror Radius and Red Stainnote . He can also stalk survivors from cover, marking them as Exposed and as such down-able in one swing of his knife. That said, Night Shroud needs a full power gauge to be activated and if a survivor can see enough of his body for 1.5 second, Danny is revealed and cannot use Night Shroud for a full 30 seconds even if his power gauge is full. To his luck, thanks to his darker clothing, reduced size and the rare ability to crouch, he's also harder to pick out than Myers.
  • There are several heroes in Defense of the Ancients and its sequel Dota 2 who rely on stealth, but the best example from these games is Riki, the Stealth Assassin. Whereas other stealth heroes need to use an ability to turn invisible, costing mana and being limited by cooldowns, Riki's invisibility is passive: if he doesn't attack for a few seconds, he automatically turns invisible, allowing him to roam around the map with impunity in search of backs to stab.
  • 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 Deus Ex: Human Revolution, whose silent takedown ability means you don't even need weapons.
  • Joe in Devil Survivor 2, of the "socially invisible" kind. He doesn't even bother lowering his voice when playing The Peeping Tom.
  • Among the Dirty Bomb playable mercenaries is Phantom. He has a katana for lethal sneak attacks and can turn invisible for short durations thanks to his Refractive Armor.
  • 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spartan-IIs are said to be this in the Halo universe, and some Elites are as well, the latter largely using active camouflage to aid them in such.
    • 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. Really, bio-augmentations aside, they’re only a step up from ODSTs.
      • Spartan-III Headhunters, on the other hand, are this to a T. They still wear SPI armor, but theirs is upgraded with reverse engineered active camo. Headhunters are deployed deep behind enemy lines in two man squads, as opposed to the three hundred soldier companies the rest of the IIIs are deployed in.
    • The ODSTs themselves can be stealthy... when they want to be. Dropping from orbit behind enemy lines, in drop pods easily mistaken for meteor showers, dressed in all black combat armor, and equipped with suppressed SMGs... or drop directly on an enemy position, assault rifles and rocket launchers blasting. The player can even approach the hub level, "Mombassa Streets" of Halo 3: ODST this way, if it suits their play style. There's also nothing stopping them from ditching the silenced starting weapons in favor of louder and more powerful ones, and tearing up the war torn roads on a Mongoose, either. Interestingly, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx seems to imply that the ODSTs have something not unlike the aformentioned SPI armor themselves, as when Kelly is revived on Onyx after suffering life threatening injuries in the previous book, she mistakes the Spartan-IIIs for ODSTs.
  • Agent 47 from the Hitman series prides himself on killing his targets with little issues to hinder him.
  • You can become one in Knights of the Old Republic. Mission usually is one as well. Juhani can also cloak herself in the Force to remain unseen until she wants to attack. If you attack from stealth you get a massive stealth-attack bonus.
  • In Mabinogi, the elf's hide skill could count as this.
  • Master thief Kasumi Goto and assassin Thane Krios in Mass Effect 2. Infiltrator Shepard gets the Tactical Cloak ability.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the Anubis scout Humongous Mecha carries unique stealth armor that makes it very hard to detect on radar, at the cost of being unable to to dump coolant to alleviate Over Heating. An Anubis can use its low profile and stealth armor to sneak right up on enemy snipers before being detected. The sneaky Stealth Armor, like the more mundane Guardian ECM module, also renders the user's mech entirely invisible to enemy radar if the enemy is also trying to be sneaky by running their own radar in Silent Running Mode.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Solid Snake and Big Boss are iconic examples of this trope. Though the specifics vary between games (and the playstyle of the person controlling them), generally they prefer infiltration and evasion to simply shooting everything that moves.
    • Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2 is this to a lesser degree, though he's mostly abandoned the stealthy approach by the time of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Rising.
  • Styx the intelligent goblin in Of Orcs and Men and the spinoff stealth game Styx: Master of Shadows is this, though it is more fleshed out in Master Of Shadows due to the lead character Arkail in the first game Of Orcs And Men favors attacking head on a lot more. He is probability the first stealth expert in video game history that happens to be a goblin.
  • Pokémon
    • The Poison Type are generally based off animals who are well known for their stealth, such as spiders or ambush predators. 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 Thief can be played as this with a strong enough Stealth stat in Quest for Glory.
    • In Quest for Glory I it becomes possible to outright avoid any enemy encounter thanks to it, and this makes the game a whole lot easier. At one point, you can even steal a key from a Kobold wizard, with the key hanging from the guy's neck!
    • In Quest for Glory II, especially the Fan Remake, you become able to pull the same in the desert. You also avoid palace guards and eunuchs
    • By Quest for Glory V you have such insane stealth boosts you can rob silly a bank twice even with guards patrolling if you do it right.
  • Rise of the Third Power:
    • Sparrow tails the party for the first two chapters without them noticing, allowing the Arkadyans to intercept them at Telindra. Sparrow later follows the party to Evenheart so she can assassinate the royal family and pin the crime on the party. Natasha reveals that she taught Sparrow how to be a spy and that the latter surpassed her.
    • Natasha, a Resistance spy, is skilled enough at stealth to eavesdrop on a conversation between Viktoriya and Phillip. She's so good at her job that most Resistance members have no idea she exists.
  • 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.
  • The Spy in Team Fortress 2. Able to cloak himself, disguise his figure as any other class, his team's or otherwise, and with the strongest melee attack on a Back Stab in the game, he's Paranoia Fuel personified when in the hands of a competent player. In custom servers where Friendly Fireproof is off (taking out the chance of Spy-checking), even a good Spy is a nightmare.
  • Garrett, from Thief. The Keepers who trained him specialize in stealth as well, though even they will readily admit that Garrett is the most skilled sneak they've ever known. 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.
  • In The Walking Dead: Season Two, Clementine's the one everyone turns to if they need something done involving being sneaky. One of the advantages of still being a kid is that she's smaller, lighter and more agile so she's less likely to get noticed while moving around.
  • Rogues in World of Warcraft have the ability to go into "stealth" mode (which translates to very limited aggro radius in PvE and invisibility in PvP). They gain several ambush moves, as well as the ability to pick pockets. They get even more stealth-related abilities if they specialize in the subtly talent tree (e.g. the ability to teleport straight behind enemies).
  • XCOM 2
    • The titular organization has become this out of necessity, since they've gone from an elite multinational task force to a band of guerillas fighting to liberate Vichy Earth. In most missions your squad starts in Concealment, and so long as you make good use of cover and don't step into the enemy's sight, you can position your units around an enemy patrol unawares to spring a devastating ambush. Your Rangers can further specialize in stealth with the Scout skill line, allowing them to always start in Concealment even if XCOM came in hot to the current battlezone, re-enter Concealment once per battle, or get bonuses to hit and damage when attacking from Concealment.
    • The Reaper faction in the War of the Chosen expansion take this even further. Their main ability is Shadow, an even less visible form of Concealment than that of usual XCOM soldiers. When in Shadow, a Reaper moves faster while drastically reducing the enemy's detection radius – a Reaper in unaffected Shadow can only be spotted if an enemy is literally on the adjacent tile to them. They can also fire their Vektor rifles with only a chance of being revealed, though even if the first shot doesn't reveal them, it widens the enemy's detection radius against the reaper and increases the reveal chance for the next shot. Abilities at higher ranks exploit Shadow concealment even further, such as allowing the Reaper to set off environmental explosives without being revealed (Remote Start), pick off enemies at low health without an increase in reveal chance (Silent Killer), or get a kill with their Claymore bombs that puts them right back in Shadow if they're revealed (Distraction). As a tradeoff, they're pretty poor at open combat: the Vektor rifle deals less damage than even an assault rifle of comparable tech level, let alone the sheer firepower of a Sharpshooter's Sniper Rifle or a Ranger's shotgun.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: While he doesn't always utilize stealth, Dr. McNinja is proficient in it. Perhaps his most notable accomplishment was when dozens of clones attended years of schooling to attain advanced degrees, all without being seen.
  • 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.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures demonstrates that it is possible to overdo it.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Madeline from Rusty and Co.. It's hard to notice someone a few inches tall sneaking around, which she takes advantage of to steal Derek's artifact.
    Anti-Madeline: [thinking] Well, if there's one upside to being beneath notice, it's being beneath notice!
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: Hella Jeff seems to have a great knack for hiding in vents and behind store shelves to observe Sweet Bro's shenanigans.
  • Bandit from The Whiteboard is capable of sneaking up on just about anybody on the paintball field and good enough to even pull off the occasional Stealth Hi/Bye. Not only can he hide Behind a Stick, but he manages to hide behind himself in this strip.
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • The TierZoo video "Optimizing Stealth Builds" describes animals as if they were video game characters, and explains various strategies used by stealth players.
  • Critical Role: In the first campaign, Vax and, to a slightly lesser degree, his twin sister, Vex, were able to post absolutely absurd stealth scores. At one point near the end, with the additional buff of Pass Without a Trace, Vax rolled a stupidly high 47 on a stealth check. Vex herself rolled an almost equally absurd 43 in the same roll.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko (a.k.a. The Blue Spirit) has demonstrated a high level of stealth during the course of the series; sadly it didn't last too long.
    • The Legend of Korra:
      • Amon and the Equalists used many forms of stealth, to back up how serious and ominous their goal is. However, Amon himself looks and even sounds underhanded and cunning to the point of making even Korra fear him.
      • From Season 3, The Red Lotus have all proven to have a level of stealth. However, Zaheer and Ming-Hua seem to be on higher level of swift action, than brute force P'Li and Ghazan. Their theme even sounds stealthy.
  • In Centurions, John Thunder's area of expertise is sneak attacks and infiltration. He even manages to make his way into Doc Terror's Elaborate Underground Base, which the heroes had been searching for the entire series.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat, since he is a cat, can sneak up on anyone in any way without being noticed.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Due to how naturally quiet she is, a couple of times Fluttershy has been the one chosen on a stealth mission (to defeat Trixie with the Alicorn Amulet, and later to bring down Starlight Glimmer). Both time she succeeds with flying colors. She's less successful in "Sparkle's Seven" despite taking the precaution of gliding and not flapping, but then again the geese guarding the throne room make for a very efficient alarm system.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: While his shapeshifting abilities would naturally make him this, Imp has also proven quite adept at stealth even in his normal form. He's quite capable to sneaking into Brightmoon Castle and the Rebel Base in Whispering Woods, two places that are supposed to be warded against such activities.
  • Total Drama: Ezekiel becomes an expert at hiding during his time in World Tour, where he moves around undetected in the Total Drama Jumbo Jet for most of the season. Furthermore, he becomes a pro at abducting people following his feralization. It starts with his role as Jack the Ripper in "I See London...", at which time he manages to abduct six out of nine contestants before he is captured himself. In "A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste", he leaps from the shadows to abduct Anne Maria with a speed that leaves him unseen and disappears with her underwater. And in "Zeek and Ye Shall Find", he abducts Chris to finally take revenge on the sadistic host, but is made the target of a challenge to rescue Chris by Chef. Of the seven campers that enter his domain, he sneaks up on and abducts five before being taken down.
  • The Transformers: Would you believe a giant alien robot can be one of these? Soundwave has a reputation for being able to sneak into all sorts of secret locations by hiding out as a 'harmless' tapedeck, though he's no slouch in getting into secret areas as a robot either. In one particularly humorous instance, he managed to remain undetected next to his Autobot nemesis Blaster... while inside Ironhide, another Autobot who had easily detected Decepticons in the past. Also counts as a Stealthy Colossus due to his robot mode size. More traditionally, Soundwave's most favored cassette, Ravage, is all kinds of sneaky, quiet, and hard to notice, thanks to the ability to nullify the sound of his footsteps and blend into shadows.
  • TRON: Uprising: Beck excels at being able to get around without being seen, even in situations that ought to preclude stealth.

    Real Life — Animals 

  • 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 color, pattern, texture, and shape at will.
  • Cats of 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 (those adorable "toe beans" actually serve a purpose), antibacterial saliva which kills odors (and explains why they groom so obsessively) and they also possess better night vision than virtually all other animals. 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.
  • Crocodilians (Alligators/Crocodiles/Caiman) are the aquatic version of this. They are capable of hiding in shallow water and can blend in with vegetation on the banks of bodies of water. An unaware prey can easily be snatched away in a second just by drinking water at the edge. By the time an animal or even a human spots one, it is usually too late to react or even escape.
  • Bats, especially the smaller species, can fly fast enough to catch insects in flight. The ultrasonic quality of their echolocation means they can strike undetected in total darkness.
  • Snakes are the reptilian equivalent of this. Snakes are both cunning and vicious strikers: their methods of survival is similar to an assassin, in that they track their prey then kill it by any means necessary, using camouflage, intimidation and powerful venom in their hollow fangs.
  • Eels 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.
  • 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.
  • Spiders, especially tarantulas, are effective ambush predators for this reason. Using webbing to create traps and snares provides them versatile tools for hunting their prey. Even without webs, their impressive speed is the stuff of nightmares.
  • The Tasselled Wobbegong is this among sharks. This incredibly patient creature camouflages on the sea floor waiting for its victim, then strikes mercilessly. When all else fails, it hides in other areas then uses its tail as a decoy to attract fish.
  • Foxes are the canid equivalent of this. While canines (i.e. dogs, wolves, jackals, coyotes, etc.) use teamwork and brute force to hunt, foxes hide and scout their terrain, ambush their kills by pouncing, and are especially effective at night. Their skills of purging prey had put many generations of farmers in a state of paranoia, though actually they shy away from humans as much as possible and keep to their natural prey.
  • Stick bugs (a.k.a. stick insects) are notoriously hard to find in a natural setting. These bugs are often so slender that they literally look like sticks or leaves. Don't think you can spot them by color either, they are almost always brown or green and camouflage perfectly in the plant life around them. You're only liable to spot one if it wanders into a civilized location away from any plants.

    Real Life — Humans 
  • Ninjas were hired by the wealthy in Feudal Japan to commit assassinations and espionage. However, they probably spent less time skulking about in black stagehand costumes and more time Hidden in Plain Sight in disguise as peasants or servants.
  • The infamous Jack the Ripper. Infamous for both the apparent surgical precision evident on his victims, and for never being apprehended. His identity remains unknown to this day.


Video Example(s):


Kasumi Goto

Master thief Kasumi Goto is *very* fond of sneaking about while cloaked, as this mission intro indicates - to the point that she spends most of the following mission completely invisible.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / StealthExpert

Media sources: