Sneak Attack

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Solomoriah
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:41 pm

Assassination only applies to creatures that have and need vital organs.
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Longman
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:15 pm

Encounter distance is critical factor. I can't see anything in Core Rules determining this (is there anything?). There's some info in the Outdoor Adventuring Supplement in the showcase about when one or both parties might become aware of each other (4d6 yards). Underground, this might be halved to 2d6 feet? That might give the thief a chance to get behind a pillar, tree, etc and wait for the baddies to come onto the scene a round or two later.

Many GMs I have played with will simply say "you see the monsters on the edge of the battle-grid, roll for initiative." Unless the thief was already hiding in a good spot, the chances of effecting an old-school sneak attack are pretty much zero in that situation. That's a problem because the sneak attack was supposed to be an iconic thing for the thief class.

Recognising this, the designers of 5e have made it so the thief can get a "sneak" attack any time the opponent is preoccupied, even if the thief is in plain sight. Otherwise, they hardly ever get to use this skill, unless they spend a lot of time skulking about on the outskirts of an encounter waiting for someone to happen by. Most players crave action and won't do this just do get an extra d6 damage on one attack.

If the thief in your game really wants to use old-school sneak attacks then you need to put some thought into how the encounters start. If they are used to 5e they will think it is a natural right in melee rather than something they have to work for to get a tactical advantage.
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