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D&D Rule Clarification


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#1 DeTheGreat

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:17 AM

In 3.5 edition, do rogues get backstab damage on all their attacks if made on an unwitting or flanked opponent, or merely on the first attack? Or is it on the first hit?

I ask because in one of my games I have a player who had never done two weapon fighting. He decided to try it with his halfling rogue. 9 levels into the character and we now have a buzzsaw who can potentially do 20d6 from 4 sneak attacks per round along with the normal damage from the weapons. (hey, 4d4 + 8 isn't anything to sneeze at.) This seems broken but the rules seem to suggest that this is correct when he is flanking at least. Any input is appriciated.
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#2 Daniel

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 03:19 AM

Rogues gain their sneak attack bonuses at any time their opponent is denied their Dex bonus; or when the Rogue is flanking.

So is the rogue fits into the above bill then I'm afraid that if my memory is correct he would get a sneak attack on all his attacks.
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#3 Lindsay

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:16 AM

I played a high level rouge in WLD and while I cant remember the specifics, I know that with the right circumstances, I rolled an obscene number of dice!
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#4 Keener

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:58 AM

I think if a monster is backstabable and is flanked all attacks get the damage. :D
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#5 Ieqo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 09:06 AM

The PHB does not explicitly say that sneak attack damage can only be applied to one attack per round, it simply lists the criteria for determining when one is possible. This is no surprise, since we already knew that high-level rogues are extremely lethal. There is an archived discussion (from 2004) regarding this very topic over on the WotC forum, though I point out that all of the participants of this discussion are fans; no designer ever weighed in.

My own worthless opinion on the topic is this: A rogue with multiple attacks gets multiple sneak attacks when flanking an opponent. Theoretically, he/she could take multi sneak attacks against flat-footed opponents as well, but since the opponent would have to begin the encounter within a five-foot step of the rogue's initial position (remember, the rogue still needs to take the full-attack action, and this precludes any other movement actions), I doubt it comes up as often as you'd think. When attacking from concealment or invisibility, ONLY the first attack in the series is eligible for sneak attacking since (in my ruling), the conditions change immediately after that attack to one where the target is aware of the threat.
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#6 Daniel

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 03:03 PM

When attacking from concealment or invisibility, ONLY the first attack in the series is eligible for sneak attacking since (in my ruling), the conditions change immediately after that attack to one where the target is aware of the threat.

This would be dependant on whether, or not, the Rogue suddenly appearing from Invisibility would promote a surprise round.
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#7 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:07 PM

Two-weapon fighting rogues are awesome for this reason. Plus, it is cheaper to have two +1 flaming daggers or what have you then a single +1 flaming axiomatic dagger. That's why even a low level rogue's damage potential is higher than a fighters.

This website is quite useful for comparing damage awesomeness:
http://www.distancee....com/ddcalc.php

My favorite two-weapon fighting combination? Greataxe and spiked armor.
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#8 Ieqo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:21 PM

When attacking from concealment or invisibility, ONLY the first attack in the series is eligible for sneak attacking since (in my ruling), the conditions change immediately after that attack to one where the target is aware of the threat.

This would be dependant on whether, or not, the Rogue suddenly appearing from Invisibility would promote a surprise round.


Honesly in this scenario you wouldn't want a surprise round. A surprise round works against the rogue in this situation, since it only gives you a standard action, not the full round you'd need to make multiple attacks (cf. PHB page 137). So in the scenario you describe, the Invisorogue ™ creeps up on the slobbering baddie and does his thing, initiating combat. He gets his "surprise" attack. His ONE surprise attack, which does sneak attack damage. The rest of the party (presumably huddling round a corner or something) also gets a standard action, which they can use to move into the area. Normal round commences, and if the rogue has initiative over the baddie (ie, he's still flatfooted when Sneaky Bob's turn comes up), then we can do the multi-sneaky-slicey-dicey doofer. After that, unless he gets a flanking buddy in place he can't sneak attack at all (though he can still take the full attack action). Now... I hear you asking, "What if the rogue then readies an attack pending a flanking condition?" Perfectly valid tactic. Then he passes his turn and the instant Joe the Fighter steps in to flank, BAM!, the rogue can make his sneak attack. His ONE sneak attack. Why not the multi-sneak? Because you can only "hold" a standard action (cf. PHB page 141, Table 8-2).

Bottom line, yes this a tremendously-damaging ability, but it requires some brains and teamwork to achieve a situation where it can be used, therefore Ieqo says [DING!], "Not broken."
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#9 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:27 PM

Quickdraw and multiple thrown weapons can help too, so you don't need to be adjacent, as long as you're within 30 feet and they are flat-footed.
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#10 Ieqo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:33 PM

Quickdraw and multiple thrown weapons can help too, so you don't need to be adjacent, as long as you're within 30 feet and they are flat-footed.


That's a workable solution right there. Fear the Halfling Dart-throwing League!
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#11 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:37 PM

Mounted, on riding dogs.

EDIT: Why? on a ride check, dog can move and halfling still gets a full-round attack, with no penalty unless the mount is double moving or running.

Riding dog is a medium creature too, so easy to fit in a dungeon.

Halflings also get +1 to thrown weapons, and +1 due to size.
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#12 Balgin

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:43 PM

Rogues gain their sneak attack bonuses at any time their opponent is denied their Dex bonus; or when the Rogue is flanking.

So is the rogue fits into the above bill then I'm afraid that if my memory is correct he would get a sneak attack on all his attacks.


Diusturbingly, barbarians can still sneak attack whilst in a berzerk rage. fear the stealth berserker! Fortunately I don't think many gm's would let you get away with it as it's bloody stupid.
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#13 Ieqo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:57 PM

Diusturbingly, barbarians can still sneak attack whilst in a berzerk rage. fear the stealth berserker! Fortunately I don't think many gm's would let you get away with it as it's bloody stupid.


Sneak attack, yes. Sneak, no. The good news there is that if the player is diluting his rogue levels with barbarian, then there's not going to be an enormous impact either way. From a "power-gaming retard" perspective it is an inefficient combination.
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#14 DeTheGreat

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:21 PM

Thanks everyone for your input. That's the way that I read it as well, but I wanted another opinion or 50 before allowing the insanity to continue. Oh well. They're about to have to deal with a rather nasty vampire soon anyways. :-)
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#15 Ieqo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:29 PM

A syphilitic ninja vampire, perhaps? +50 geek points if you get the reference.
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#16 Daniel

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:22 AM

Tonight the Syphilitic Ninja Vampires return an over-due video!
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#17 Mordion

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:51 AM

When attacking from concealment or invisibility, ONLY the first attack in the series is eligible for sneak attacking since (in my ruling), the conditions change immediately after that attack to one where the target is aware of the threat.

This would be dependant on whether, or not, the Rogue suddenly appearing from Invisibility would promote a surprise round.


Honesly in this scenario you wouldn't want a surprise round. A surprise round works against the rogue in this situation, since it only gives you a standard action, not the full round you'd need to make multiple attacks (cf. PHB page 137). So in the scenario you describe, the Invisorogue ™ creeps up on the slobbering baddie and does his thing, initiating combat. He gets his "surprise" attack. His ONE surprise attack, which does sneak attack damage. The rest of the party (presumably huddling round a corner or something) also gets a standard action, which they can use to move into the area. Normal round commences, and if the rogue has initiative over the baddie (ie, he's still flatfooted when Sneaky Bob's turn comes up), then we can do the multi-sneaky-slicey-dicey doofer. After that, unless he gets a flanking buddy in place he can't sneak attack at all (though he can still take the full attack action). Now... I hear you asking, "What if the rogue then readies an attack pending a flanking condition?" Perfectly valid tactic. Then he passes his turn and the instant Joe the Fighter steps in to flank, BAM!, the rogue can make his sneak attack. His ONE sneak attack. Why not the multi-sneak? Because you can only "hold" a standard action (cf. PHB page 141, Table 8-2).

Bottom line, yes this a tremendously-damaging ability, but it requires some brains and teamwork to achieve a situation where it can be used, therefore Ieqo says [DING!], "Not broken."


Not to quibble, but instead of the rogue readying an action to backstab pending a flanking condition, he could just delay, jump back into the initiative count immediately after the fighter, and take his full attack, no?
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#18 Ieqo

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 08:29 AM

Yes, that is correct.
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#19 Balgin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:27 PM

Diusturbingly, barbarians can still sneak attack whilst in a berzerk rage. fear the stealth berserker! Fortunately I don't think many gm's would let you get away with it as it's bloody stupid.


Sneak attack, yes. Sneak, no. The good news there is that if the player is diluting his rogue levels with barbarian, then there's not going to be an enormous impact either way. From a "power-gaming retard" perspective it is an inefficient combination.


I never claimed as to it's efficancy. Just that it's a pretty stupid situation where common sense should clearly trump the rules (the berserk flanking "shockingly effective smack" really isn't that much of a surprise).
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