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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    How do you other DMs out there rule sneak attack?

    From the way I view it, there are two ways to interpret the sneak attack ruling.

    1) Any attack the Rogue makes in a round where an opponent is flat-footed/flanked is adds sneak attack dice. Meaning that a TWF Rogue hitting with both weapons is getting sneak attack dice on all attacks as long as they have a buddy on the other side. This is the insane way to rule it, but there could be some interpretation of that.

    2) You add sneak attack dice once per round, regardless of the number of times you attack. This is what I do.

    Is there any other interpretations available, how do you guys do it?
    Last edited by TempusCCK; 2008-12-28 at 01:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Number one is the actual application of sneak attack. Number two is a crippling houserule.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    In 3.5 edition, the former is the correct ruling. In 4th, the latter.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Guess my way is kind of a holdover from Second Edition, then again, we don't play very high power games, so sneak attacking for huge amounts of damage hasn't really held our Rogues back at all.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by TempusCCK View Post
    Guess my way is kind of a holdover from Second Edition, then again, we don't play very high power games, so sneak attacking for huge amounts of damage hasn't really held our Rogues back at all.
    It's not huge amounts of damage. It's any damage at all. Look at the most recent comic for example. Compare my very simple example of two 10th level characters:

    Fighter 10, STR 20 (with items), Power Attack, +3 greataxe, flanking

    Assuming the Fighter takes a -5 on his Power Attack, he'll have a +15/+10 to hit for 1d12+20 damage for an average of 26.5 damage on a successful hit.

    Rogue 10, STR 14, DEX 20, Weapon finesse, TWF, Improved TWF, +3 Shortswordx2, Flanking

    +12/+12/+7/+7 to deal 6d6+5/6d6+5/6d6+4/6d6+4 for an average of 26/26/25/25

    Looks like a lot of damage, I know.

    There are fourteen CR 10 monsters in the Monster Manual. Three are immune to sneak attack, four are spellcasters, three are hydras, two of the non-constructs have DR 10 which is going to hurt the TWF rogue more than the fighter. Most of them have an AC of 22/23.
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    {table]Name|Armor Class|Extra
    Animated object|AC 11|construct, DR 5(wood)
    Bebilith|AC 22|DR 10/good
    Couatl|AC 21|(spells)
    Formian, mymarch|AC 28|hive mind
    Fire giant|AC 23|
    Clay Golem|AC 22|construct
    Hyrdra|AC 21, 19, 19|
    Guardian Naga|AC 18|(spells)
    Rakshasa|AC 21|(spells)
    Noble Salamander|AC 18|(spells)
    Gray Slaad|AC 24|DR 10/lawful
    Garg. Mons. scorpion|AC 24[/table]

    Just looking at the AC 22, this means that even power attacking for 5, the fighter has a 70%/45% to hit for that average 26.5 damage.

    The rogue has 50%/50%/25%/25% to hit for an average of 26/26/25/25.

    Assuming I remember that little bit of statistics I took, this works out to an expected return of 30.475 damage on a full-attack from the fighter and an expected return of 38.5 damage from the rogue. The rogue fares slightly better against a flanked opponent who can be affected by sneak attack with no damage reduction. No, this is not huge amounts of damage.

    But what about the lower AC monsters? Well I could fumble through some rough math, but remember that the fighter can up his power attack all the way to +20 damage and still have a +8 to hit even without flanking in order to carve up that AC 11 Animated Banquet Table.

    Also bear in mind that while the rogue requires three feats to do the above, the fighter requires only one and has many extra feat slots.

    Given that in ideal conditions a rogue compares in damage output to a fighter and that in many MANY situations a rogue will not be able to apply sneak attack whereas the fighter will ALWAYS be able to power attack, I cannot help but feel that #2 indeed is a crippling houserule in a game that is almost completely about combat.

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    Last edited by Irreverent Fool; 2008-12-28 at 06:07 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Yes, but a Rogue isn't supposed to hit near as often as a fighter or nearly as hard. But yes, I see your point, however, this is only applicable in games where the MM enemies are going to come into play. Personally, I prefer humanoid enemies with class levels for multiple reasons, and that's usually what I use as enemies.

    As I've said, it's kind of a hold over from Second Edition and since we generally do very low powered games, I've never really given it much thought, hence, the thread asking how other people do it, hence, me now learning more about it.

    (Actually, this was in response to me playing my first online game and not quite knowing what the majority ruling was. I understand that the way I play my games isn't exactly the way others play theirs. Good to get a little perspective sometimes.)

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    The "majority ruling" is to follow the actual D&D rules. I'd never consider crippling the only possible way a Rogue character can contribute in fights. Without sneak attack they're just part of the scenery. Maybe some players are content with only the skill monkey aspect of the class, but D&D spends a great deal of time on combat, as Irreverent Fool pointed out. Forcing Rogue characters to be irrelevant to most combats is an insult. Please give your Rogue players the same respect you give to other classes, and just play according to the RAW.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    In the campaigns I master, Sneak Attack is a Standard Action and Flanking doesn not allow to make one.
    This is different from what the PHB says, but in my games, the rogue is not a combat class but a utility class. (Also the Priest is a support class opposed to the combat class that the Cleric is and there's not much resting for the wizards and druids, so I don't think it unfair.)
    Last edited by Neithan; 2008-12-28 at 09:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Please give your Rogue players the same respect you give to other classes, and just play according to the RAW.
    Whuh? Because RAW is so well-balanced, you mean?

    Seriously, I've never been in a single D&D campaign that didn't use some kind of houseruling.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    The Rogue in 3.5E and 4E(don't really know it from earlier editions, the rules about sneak attack I mean) also gets a sneak attack in the surprise round or if the enemy/target hasn't noticed the rogue. According to my memory...could somebody please confirm/deny?
    Last edited by Dallas-Dakota; 2008-12-28 at 09:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Yes, when enemies are flatfooted (haven't had their initiative come up for the first time in a combat) they're vulnerable to sneak attack.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    With the house rules in this thread any rogue which goes into melee without having very low intelligence is metagaming, because that is just not a very smart thing to do. "Utility" classes shouldn't be in melee ...
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2008-12-28 at 09:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Seriously, I've never been in a single D&D campaign that didn't use some kind of houseruling.
    Usually the houseruling is to level the playing field, not to completely nerf one class in favor of another.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by TempusCCK View Post
    How do you other DMs out there rule sneak attack?

    From the way I view it, there are two ways to interpret the sneak attack ruling.

    1) Any attack the Rogue makes in a round where an opponent is flat-footed/flanked is adds sneak attack dice. Meaning that a TWF Rogue hitting with both weapons is getting sneak attack dice on all attacks as long as they have a buddy on the other side. This is the insane way to rule it, but there could be some interpretation of that.

    2) You add sneak attack dice once per round, regardless of the number of times you attack. This is what I do.

    Is there any other interpretations available, how do you guys do it?
    Heh, heh. This was one of the first topics that I was involved in on GitP a couple of years back. I was also surprised to find that people thought a sneak attack should apply to more than one attack per round. The majority internet opinion does indeed appear to be that restricting its applicability in this way significantly handicaps the rogue relative to the fighter, scout, ranger, etcetera. Obviously, comparing them to high level clerics and wizards is a waste of effort.

    I ran the numbers at the time, and found that I do not consider it a big deal either way, but the RAW is fairly clear that you can apply sneak attack to any and all attacks you make in a round so long as the conditions are met.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    1) Utility classes? Please don't hurt my brain. There is no such thing as a utility class.

    2) Tempus, when you say a carry over from 2e, do you mean 2e backstab rules, or the retarded concept that some characters shouldn't be allowed to fight well, because if they were actually useful they'd be real characters instead of a burden?

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Even with sneak attacks as written, the rogue falls behind true martial classes. You don't need to hurt him further. And anyway TWF is a trap for a class that is already highly fragile and low AB, especially if you don't have massive splatbook cheese to go with it to insure invulnerability and hits. In fact I'd recommend that a rogue often go range (if you can still pull of the SA's via surprise/initiative/invisiblity) or use a mithril buckler in melee (no armor check penalty = no non-proficiency penalty) or only TWF targets that suck at AC & fighting back. That second one with the buckler is straight from one of WotC's early guides, still on their website archives. Aww, I miss the days when they actually understood their own product better than the masses. As a wild guess I'm blaming the massive layoffs, or maybe it depends which employee is talking at the time, who knows.

    House rules are great but when people cut or add massive chunks of the system without even testing - at best using mocking & ridicule - it shows a certain level of arrogance. Even on the off chance the system really were so horrendously screwed up, you really expect massive changes simply off the top of your head to be better? I'm speaking in general here; the OP merely made a common mistake. But others take their common mistakes, elevate them to absolute truth and use them to engage in bashing.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-28 at 10:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Seriously, I've never been in a single D&D campaign that didn't use some kind of houseruling.
    Here are my top 3 house rules:
    • Monks are proficient with unarmed attacks.
    • Each ranged shot of a full attack provokes an attack of opportunity. (By RAW, no full attack ever provokes.)
    • Feather Fall (redefined as an immediate action spell) can be cast when flatfooted.
    Beyond fixing those obvious screwups that should have been handled by errata, I try to live with the RAW.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Feather Fall was already fixed, I'd change the monk one to: Improved Unarmed Strike grants proficiency, and the full attack one, I'd never noticed, because it seems like common sense. Who tried to abuse that?

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlWiPig View Post
    Feather Fall was already fixed
    It was? Where? Complete Arcane includes this:
    Casting feather fall is an immediate action (instead of a free action, as stated in the spell description in the Player’s Handbook), since the spell can be cast at any time.
    ...
    You also cannot use an immediate action if you are currently flat-footed.
    Spell Compendium Errata added this for Nerveskitter:
    “Unlike other immediate actions, you can cast this spell while flat-footed.”
    I haven't seen anything like that for Feather Fall.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    house rules:[LIST][*]Monks are proficient with unarmed attacks.
    .
    ok explain. is there some form of different attack bonus involved? maybe focus?
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Ah, I hadn't seen the Errata on Nerveskitter. An easy and completely reasonable house rule, then, my bad.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noneoyabizzness View Post
    ok explain. is there some form of different attack bonus involved? maybe focus?
    Huh? No. It's just that if you look at the Monk class description under "Weapon and Armor Proficiency", there's no mention of either "unarmed strike" or "all simple weapons". So RAW says that Monks would incur the -4 penalty for nonproficiency on all their unarmed attacks.
    Simple Weapon Proficiency [General]

    Benefit
    : You make attack rolls with simple weapons normally.

    Normal: When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

    Special: All characters except for druids, monks, and wizards are automatically proficient with all simple weapons. They need not select this feat.
    Hence my house rule.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Here are my top 3 house rules:
    • Monks are proficient with unarmed attacks.
    • Each ranged shot of a full attack provokes an attack of opportunity. (By RAW, no full attack ever provokes.)
    • Feather Fall (redefined as an immediate action spell) can be cast when flatfooted.
    Beyond fixing those obvious screwups that should have been handled by errata, I try to live with the RAW.
    On the unarmed attacks, I couldn't find a rule one way or another on this. But it seems strongly implied that there's no such thing as unarmed strike proficiency. Or basically everyone has it, right down to commoners, if you prefer to think of it that way. That and the ranged attack one seems like "Okay, if you want to get that technical then fine just house rule it back to what it was supposed to be anyway."

    Feather fall OTOH, really surprised me. Can't use a spell made for surprise falls when you're surprised? Huh?? That one seems like an oversight.

    Anyway kudos for basically running a campaign by the rules. And house rules that clarify the rules even better are A-OK in my book.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-28 at 11:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Letting sneak attack hit several times per turn works out okay. Smart enemies will avoid the flank. Most of the time the rogue has to tumble into a flank and then he'll only get one attack anyway. If he hits a full sneak attack once or twice per combat, it's not that big a deal.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    If all the conditions are met for Sneak Attack, then it can be done as many times in a round as the Rogue can attack. Simple and effective.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Huh? No. It's just that if you look at the Monk class description under "Weapon and Armor Proficiency", there's no mention of either "unarmed strike" or "all simple weapons". So RAW says that Monks would incur the -4 penalty for nonproficiency on all their unarmed attacks.
    Hence my house rule.
    wow never noticed that before.
    how very odd.
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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Just thought to mention:

    If you use the ye olde invisibility, and then make a full attack, only the for the first attack the opponent is considered flatfooted, and to the others no.

    The improved invisibility allows flatfootedness on all attacks.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    The improved invisibility allows flatfootedness on all attacks.
    Correction: being visually undetectable does not make a target flat-footed; it merely denies them their DEX bonus to AC. There's a big difference. Flat-footed characters can't take immediate actions, can't take AoOs, and are vulnerable to special attacks that won't work on characters just denied their DEX bonus.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    True, my mistake.

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    Default Re: Sneak Attack- A question to DM's.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    On the unarmed attacks, I couldn't find a rule one way or another on this. But it seems strongly implied that there's no such thing as unarmed strike proficiency. Or basically everyone has it, right down to commoners, if you prefer to think of it that way.
    Nope! Unarmed strike is listed as a simple weapon. Druids, wizards, and monks are not given proficiency with unarmed strikes by the rules.

    The rules may not specifically say that a character is only proficient weapons she is explicitly given proficiency with, but duh! There are lots of things the rules don't tell you you can't do, like giving your character a +10 bonus to all rolls just because you feel like it. Things not explicitly permitted are implicitly disallowed.

    (On the other hand, when the rules do give you permission to do something, they by default give you permission to do it however you please, barring explicit restriction. You are allowed to attack orcs named Steve, even though this specific case is not covered directly. Really, both of these concepts are pure common sense, yet I've seen discussions where people ask, apparently sincerely, whether the rules are meant to be permissive or restrictive.)

    So it's an oversight that monks do not receive unarmed strike proficiency by RAW, and also that the Improved Unarmed Strike feat neither requires nor grants proficiency with unarmed strikes.
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