Sneak Attack

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cbarchuk
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:22 pm

Ah okay. So it sounds like you make your thief have have to be hidden or outta sight prior to the party engaging in combat. For example a party approaches a door. Before opening it, the thief decides to hang back about 5' or so. The rest of the party opens the door and moves in to engage a group of hostiles. Once the engagement starts the thief on his next turn can move in for a backstab.

Sound about right?

How about this scenario...the thief in my party wanted to slip into a room unnoticed to set up an ambush against monsters that were perceived to be in the room. Once the thief decided the door wasn't trapped or locked he quietly cracked the door to peek in. I rolled a move silently check for this. Success. The thief then decides to dart into the room and hide in the corner. I rolled a move silently and hide check. Amazingly enough he succeeded. The rest of the party storms through the door. In this case I rolled allowing the party to surprise on a 1-4 since they were setting up an ambush. The monsters rolled a 6 and were not surprised. The party engages and combat begins. On thief's next turn he jumps out of the shadows and backstabs the closet target. No check made.

Did I play that out right?
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Dimirag
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:28 pm

cbarchuk wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:22 pm
Ah okay. So it sounds like you make your thief have have to be hidden or outta sight prior to the party engaging in combat.
He has to be "undetected" for each attempt at backstabbing, doing it before combat is easier than once you have attacked someone.

For example a party approaches a door. Before opening it, the thief decides to hang back about 5' or so. The rest of the party opens the door and moves in to engage a group of hostiles. Once the engagement starts the thief on his next turn can move in for a backstab.

Scenario 1: If the party knows what the thief will attempt an is willing to help then yes. I assume they move and help by creating a distraction from the door.

Scenario 2: Yes, the thief was hidden and came out from an unsuspected place, beside, they have surprised their opponents.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:16 pm

cbarchuk wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:06 pm
But I admit I am biased and hope all backstab during combat attempts fail because its such a meta thing to do and a dumb idea in real life. You are separating yourself from your team and, IMO, once you attack you are now in melee and can't break away without giving up a parting shot.
Interesting so you're not a fan of the whole backstab or sneak attack mechanic? I actually can understand that in some ways. Well what are your thoughts on the assassin class? His whole schtick is assassinating the target which is done in a similar way as a thief setting up a backstab. How would you play him in a game? In the assassin's case I would probably mandate that the assassin has to achieve surprise since killing a target outright is quite powerful. So to me the assassin would have to sneak ahead of the party and wait in ambush against his unsuspecting foe causing him to operate alone a lot. Not sure if other party members would like that. Anyhow I've got someone that wants to play an assassin so that's why I mention it. At this point I'm not sure what I think of it.
I have no problem with the sneak attack and backstab. I just have a problem with metagaming to use it. ie. the bad guys see you and then you suddenly disappear from their sight and they go, "oh never mind that little guy he probably ran away in fear". And then none of the 6 orcs see you creeping about along the wall of the 20 x 20 room nor tip-toeing up behind their buddy.

Backstab is suitable for creeping silently down a passage toward a guard facing the other way. You just have to move silently.

Or if you hide in shadows or a crevice or behind a secret door and the enemy passes you, then you are now behind them and can backstab if they stop very close to you with a simple hide check. If they move past you you will then have to sneak up on them. You have to pass hide for them not to see you when they pass and you have to pass move silently to move from your hiding place to attack without them hearing you coming. Now that is where noise of combat comes in. If there is combat they probably won't hear you so no roll is needed. But if they are just standing there looking at your buddies then there is a chance they will hear you coming to stick a sword in the butt.

IMO if you ever have a question about whether you should allow a player to do something think about what they would say if you let the bad guys do it to them. I have never played with a party that would think its ok for a DM to take a non-magical creature standing in from of them in a 20 x 20 room but then suddenly appear behind them with their sword point sticking out your belly. "oh, that goblin was a 1st level thief who snuck around all of you and then stabbed one of you in the back."
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cbarchuk
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:13 pm

Hywaywolf wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:16 pm
I have no problem with the sneak attack and backstab. I just have a problem with metagaming to use it. ie. the bad guys see you and then you suddenly disappear from their sight and they go, "oh never mind that little guy he probably ran away in fear". And then none of the 6 orcs see you creeping about along the wall of the 20 x 20 room nor tip-toeing up behind their buddy.

Backstab is suitable for creeping silently down a passage toward a guard facing the other way. You just have to move silently.

Or if you hide in shadows or a crevice or behind a secret door and the enemy passes you, then you are now behind them and can backstab if they stop very close to you with a simple hide check. If they move past you you will then have to sneak up on them. You have to pass hide for them not to see you when they pass and you have to pass move silently to move from your hiding place to attack without them hearing you coming. Now that is where noise of combat comes in. If there is combat they probably won't hear you so no roll is needed. But if they are just standing there looking at your buddies then there is a chance they will hear you coming to stick a sword in the butt.

IMO if you ever have a question about whether you should allow a player to do something think about what they would say if you let the bad guys do it to them. I have never played with a party that would think its ok for a DM to take a non-magical creature standing in from of them in a 20 x 20 room but then suddenly appear behind them with their sword point sticking out your belly. "oh, that goblin was a 1st level thief who snuck around all of you and then stabbed one of you in the back."
I agree completely with everything you said and in your examples Hiding and Moving Silently seem very intuitive and simple to understand. All of this makes sense to me outside of combat. My confusion mainly comes from how it works in the middle of combat. I agree in 20 x 20 room it's hard imagining a thief being able to sneak around the group of orcs to backstab one. But it may be possible if the Orcs are on the far side of room sitting at a table drinking with their attention elsewhere as opposed to just standing there with their thumbs in their butt staring at the door waiting to see who enters it. So I can see a thief possibly sneaking into a room ahead of the party...maybe. But even still it comes down to what the monsters in the room are doing and what direction they are facing with is entirely up to the DM. Anyways, sneaking and backstabbing in the middle of combat creates the most ambiguity for me. I'm trying to find a happy medium so my player can use his abilities but at the same time he's not backstabbing every target in sight like a 5th edition rogue.
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:52 pm

The easy solution is to allow NPCs to do the same thing your thief does and get away with it the same way. The players will bitch about how unfair it is and then you can take that nonsense out of the game.
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Dimirag
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:32 pm

My confusion mainly comes from how it works in the middle of combat. I agree in 20 x 20 room it's hard imagining a thief being able to sneak around the group of orcs to backstab one. But it may be possible if the Orcs are on the far side of room sitting at a table drinking with their attention elsewhere as opposed to just standing there with their thumbs in their butt staring at the door waiting to see who enters it.
It would be more than possible as this situation is not a combat.
I'm trying to find a happy medium so my player can use his abilities but at the same time he's not backstabbing every target in sight like a 5th edition rogue.
Your middle ground would be something between "backstab freely" and "no backstab", which would be a "limited backstab". It would be a matter (and not an easy one) of setting some ground rules of how this works inside combat.

It seems you don't want the thief to go freely from one opponent to another doing backstabs, but don't want to rely on situational judgment, and not depend on his low skill values so he can be "useful" in combat...

Backstabbing at low levels is risky due to skill values, and at higher level is good against low HD opponents due to higher HD resisting the attack.
Making backstabbing a core combat ability moves the thief's role more in line with later editions.

If you use individual initiative per round, how about requiring that the thief get a higher ini value than his intended target and making him act after the target: the thief must analyze the target's movements and has to attack once this has dropped his guard (after attacking or doing his action).
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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cbarchuk
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:18 pm

If you use individual initiative per round, how about requiring that the thief get a higher ini value than his intended target and making him act after the target: the thief must analyze the target's movements and has to attack once this has dropped his guard (after attacking or doing his action).
Mmmm. So essentially the thief on his turn would "wait" (P.44) for a monster of lower initiative to act. At that point the thief would move and roll a hide check. Assuming he succeeded he could backstab the target? Am I understanding you correctly?

Somewhat off topic but how would you rule on Assassins using their Assassinate ability? I imagine they should have a much harder time setting it up since it's so powerful. Would you require that the target be surprised?
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Dimirag
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:41 pm

Mmmm. So essentially the thief on his turn would "wait" (P.44) for a monster of lower initiative to act. At that point the thief would move and roll a hide check. Assuming he succeeded he could backstab the target? Am I understanding you correctly?
No roll required, the waiting cost is to compensate not using the thieving skills, which seems to be the one giving you trouble.
Somewhat off topic but how would you rule on Assassins using their Assassinate ability? I imagine they should have a much harder time setting it up since it's so powerful. Would you require that the target be surprised?
Same as for backstabbing, no special extra considerations. His lower skill values and extra xp cost compensate for this. Note: I don't use the save vs death rule, I use a rule similar to backstabbing in advanced+ editions.
Some games require that the Assassin spends like from 10 minutes to a day or more analyzing the victim in order to enable this special ability which makes it almost impossible to use in combat.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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cbarchuk
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:28 pm

No roll required, the waiting cost is to compensate not using the thieving skills, which seems to be the one giving you trouble.
Sounds good I will give that shot. Should I limit the thief to one backstab per combat and only on the first combat round?
Same as for backstabbing, no special extra considerations. His lower skill values and extra xp cost compensate for this. Note: I don't use the save vs death rule, I use a rule similar to backstabbing in advanced+ editions.
Some games require that the Assassin spends like from 10 minutes to a day or more analyzing the victim in order to enable this special ability which makes it almost impossible to use in combat.
Interesting. I like the whole death save but I may play it that the Assassin must achieve surprise. That brings to mind another question: Does a thief or assassin using MS or HS automatically achieve surprise against a target? When I say surprise I mean a surprise round.
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Dimirag
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Re: Sneak Attack

Post Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:43 pm

Should I limit the thief to one backstab per combat...
The above idea is to allow as many backstab as wanted, the thief not will be able to do it always, and could end up spending time just waiting...
If you want to limit it, once per combat per opponent sounds ok and is how its done on some games, once per overall combat, i.e. on one opponent only, its a little severe to my taste, but its ok.
...and only on the first combat round
I don't recommend this, specially if using the "waiting" rule.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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