Some rules questions regarding a Rogue (Thug) build...


Rules Questions


I've been playing around with a build designed to hit really hard once per round (among other things), trying to maximize it through non-lethal damage. The current build is listed below for the curious, but the reason I'm posting is that a number of questions have come up with regards to how non-lethal damage interacts with a variety of abilities, specifically:

Does Offensive Defense benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

Does Underhanded benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

Does Hunter's Surprise benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

Does Corngon Smash activate when damage dealt is non-lethal?

Does Dreadful Carnage trigger when a creature is reduced to 0 hit points by non-lethal damage?

When foregoing a sneak attack die for Brutal Beating, do you lose 1 die from sneak attack and as a result 1 die from Sap Master or just 1 die total?

The confusion arises from some basic wording throughout, specifically whether 'non-lethal damage' counts as 'damage', whether being brought 'below 0 hit points' counts if you're below zero due to non-lethal damage and whether or not the bonus dice in Sap Master count as 'sneak attack dice'. Any help would be much appreciated.

Current build:

Spoiler:
Human 4th level Two-Handed Fighter / 16th level Thug & Scout
Focused Study, Favored class option for Rogues (3rd - 14th level)

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 16 (+2 racial bonus)
DEX - 12
CON - 13 (+1 at 4th level)
INT - 12
WIS - 8
CHA - 14 (+1 at 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)

Traits:
Defender of the Society
Carefully Hidden

Feats & Rogue Talents:
F1 1st - Power Attack
F1 1st - Furious Focus
F1 1st - Skill Focus: Survival
F2 2nd - Bludgeoner
R1 3rd - Sap Adept
R2 4th - Strong Impression
R3 5th - Eldritch Heritage Feat (Orc Bloodline) - Touch of Rage
R4 6th - Combat Trick: Cornugon Smash
R5 7th - Sap Master
R6 8th - Skill Focus: Intimidate
R6 8th - Offensive Defense
R6 8th - Weapon Training: Earthbreaker
R7 9th - Vital Strike
R8 10th - Underhanded
R9 11th - Improved Eldritch Heritage (Orc Bloodline) - Strength of the Beast
R10 12th - Hunter's Surprise
R11 13th - Iron Will
R12 14th - Hard to Fool
R12 14th - Opportunist
R13 15th - Dreadful Carnage
R14 16th - Unwitting Ally
R14 16th - Skill Focus: Bluff
R15 17th - Greater Eldritch Heritage (Orc Bloodline) - Power of Giants
F3 18th
F4 19th - Improved Vital Strike
F4 19th - Weapon Specialization: Earthbreaker
R16 20th - Feat: Greater Vital Strike

* If your GM allows Quicken SLA for Touch of Rage or Power of Giants, take it in place of Weapon Specialization. Also, consider taking Unarmed Strike to be able to use your non-lethal abilities without a weapon

Skills: (10 ranks/Rogue level, 4 ranks/Fighter level, all skills are class skills)
Survival (1-20)
Climb (1)
Swim (1)
Ride (2)
Handle Animal (2)
Bluff (3-20)
Diplomacy (3-17, 20)
Intimidate (1-20)
Acrobatics (3-17, 20)
Stealth (3-17, 20)
Perception (3-20)
Sense Motive (3-17, 20)
Sleight of Hand (3-17, 20)
Knowledge: Local (3-17, 20)


Damocles Guile wrote:
The confusion arises from some basic wording throughout, specifically whether 'non-lethal damage' counts as 'damage', whether being brought 'below 0 hit points' counts if you're below zero due to non-lethal damage and whether or not the bonus dice in Sap Master count as 'sneak attack dice'. Any help would be much appreciated.

Damage is damage, so yes, non-lethal is still damage.

Being at 0hp is being at 0hp no matter how you got there. Dreadful Carnage doesn't specity needing lethal damage. It could be just as scarry to see a guy's face smashed in with a sap as it is to see him sliced to pieces.

There are NO bonus dice from Sap Master. It doesn't say double your Sneak Attack dice, or add this many bonus dice to Sneak Attack. It says "roll your sneak attack dice twice to determine damage," which is not the same thing as getting legitimate bonus dice.

PRD wrote:

Sap Master (Combat)

You knock the sense out of foes with a well-timed surprise attack.

Prerequisites: Sneak attack +3d6, Sap Adept.

Benefit: Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage to a flat-footed opponent, roll your sneak attack dice twice, totaling the results as your nonlethal sneak attack damage for that attack.

...

With that in mind I will try to answer your specific questions:

Damocles Guile wrote:
Does Offensive Defense benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

I would say no, because Sap Master doesn't give "bonus dice" to sneak attack. You just roll your existing SA dice twice to determine damage.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Does Underhanded benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

Underhanded is based on SA damage, not total SA dice and Sap Master adds to SA damage, not SA dice, so I think it works. Disgustingly, I would say yes here. Sap Master says if you attack a flat-footed opponent you get to "roll" sneak attack dice twice. Underhanded says you "don't have to roll" you just treat the damage as if you had maxed all your rolls. Effectively, you are getting a regular Sneak Attack using Sap Master, but Underhanded allows you to act as if you had maxed out all of the rolls to total your damage.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Does Hunter's Surprise benefit from the additional Sneak Attack dice provided by Sap Master?

I would say no. Sap Master depends on attacking a flat-fooded opponent. Hunter's Surprise doesn't make someone flat-footed. In fact it specificly says you can add SA even though they may not be flat-footed.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Does Corngon Smash activate when damage dealt is non-lethal?

I would say yes. Damage is damage, you just have to do it with a power attack.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Does Dreadful Carnage trigger when a creature is reduced to 0 hit points by non-lethal damage?

I would say yes. 0hp is 0hp and the feat doesn't specity a specific method of getting someone there.

Damocles Guile wrote:
When foregoing a sneak attack die for Brutal Beating, do you lose 1 die from sneak attack and as a result 1 die from Sap Master or just 1 die total?

One die from SA which means there is one less SA die you will be rolling twice. So, you lose one from SA and one from SM.


I appreciate the responses - you see where things can get confusing. To clarify a couple of your remarks:

Shadowlord wrote:
Underhanded is based on SA damage, not total SA dice and Sap Master adds to SA damage, not SA dice, so I think it works. Disgustingly, I would say yes here.

Disgustingly?

Shadowlord wrote:
I would say no. Sap Master depends on attacking a flat-fooded opponent. Hunter's Surprise doesn't make someone flat-footed. In fact it specificly says you can add SA even though they may not be flat-footed.

If someone was in fact flat-footed, would you think it applied then?


Dreadful Carnage doesn't proc off nonlethal damage, as it does not actually deduct from your HP. When nonlethal equals current hp, the target falls unconscious, but they are not at 0 hp, and so Dreadful Carnage doesn't proc.

Source


Brotato wrote:

Dreadful Carnage doesn't proc off nonlethal damage, as it does not actually deduct from your HP. When nonlethal equals current hp, the target falls unconscious, but they are not at 0 hp, and so Dreadful Carnage doesn't proc.

Source

Guess it'll have to wait for the inevitable Coup de Grace, eh?

So if something is unconscious and I hit it with a Coup de Grace but the resulting damage and save aren't enough to kill it, I assume that it doesn't wake up ready to fight (its lethal damage is still reduced to 0 or below), correct?

Dark Archive

For the record, you could grab the Enforcer feat instead of Cornugon Smash. It's got less requirements (except it ONLY works with Nonlethal Damage) and does the same thing, except you aren't required to use Power Attack.


Seranov wrote:
For the record, you could grab the Enforcer feat instead of Cornugon Smash. It's got less requirements (except it ONLY works with Nonlethal Damage) and does the same thing, except you aren't required to use Power Attack.

You know, I could have swore I saw Enforcer in the build, but you're right it's not there.

Enforcer only works on nonlethal, it's true, however if you succeed at the Intimidate check, you make the opponent shaken for 1 round per point of damage you dealt them, instead of 1 round +1 per 5 you beat the DC by. It's insanely good if you're building an demoralize style character (which you, OP, appear to be).

If a creature somehow manages to pass the CDG save or die (trust me, it won't happen on anything but a nat 20), being knocked out by nonlethal is not the same as being put magically to sleep. Such a creature can only become conscious if its nonlethal damage is reduced under its current hp. So CDG away.


Seranov wrote:
For the record, you could grab the Enforcer feat instead of Cornugon Smash. It's got less requirements (except it ONLY works with Nonlethal Damage) and does the same thing, except you aren't required to use Power Attack.

You know, the entire time I was working on the build, something in the back of my mind was bugging me, like I'd forgotten something very simple but very important - this, obviously, was it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

To Brotato - yes, the basic goal of the build is to make a character that hits very, very hard once a round and has some debuff tricks (Brutal Beating and the various Intimidate options all essentially as free actions). Plus, he's got plenty of skills and a few other little tricks up his sleeve... thanks again for the input.


Damocles Guile wrote:

I appreciate the responses - you see where things can get confusing. To clarify a couple of your remarks:

Shadowlord wrote:
Underhanded is based on SA damage, not total SA dice and Sap Master adds to SA damage, not SA dice, so I think it works. Disgustingly, I would say yes here.
Disgustingly?

As in, it's disgusting how much damage you would do, HOWEVER, I still think it's legitimate.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Shadowlord wrote:
I would say no. Sap Master depends on attacking a flat-fooded opponent. Hunter's Surprise doesn't make someone flat-footed. In fact it specificly says you can add SA even though they may not be flat-footed.

If someone was in fact flat-footed, would you think it applied then?

Then you don't need to use hunter's surprise because you're already getting SA on every strike.

...

What book is Enforcer in?


Shadowlord wrote:
Damocles Guile wrote:

I appreciate the responses - you see where things can get confusing. To clarify a couple of your remarks:

Shadowlord wrote:
Underhanded is based on SA damage, not total SA dice and Sap Master adds to SA damage, not SA dice, so I think it works. Disgustingly, I would say yes here.
Disgustingly?

As in, it's disgusting how much damage you would do, HOWEVER, I still think it's legitimate.

Damocles Guile wrote:
Shadowlord wrote:
I would say no. Sap Master depends on attacking a flat-fooded opponent. Hunter's Surprise doesn't make someone flat-footed. In fact it specificly says you can add SA even though they may not be flat-footed.

If someone was in fact flat-footed, would you think it applied then?

Then you don't need to use hunter's surprise because you're already getting SA on every strike.

...

What book is Enforcer in?

Hunter's Surprise lets you deal sneak attack damage multiple times in a single round - that's the only circumstance I believe that can happen under. If a foe was flat-footed you'd still only get to use your sneak attack damage once under normal conditions.

Enforcer if from the Advanced Players Guide I'm pretty sure.


Damocles Guile wrote:


Hunter's Surprise lets you deal sneak attack damage multiple times in a single round - that's the only circumstance I believe that can happen under. If a foe was flat-footed you'd still only get to use your sneak attack damage once under normal conditions.

Enforcer if from the Advanced Players Guide I'm pretty sure.

Then you're in for a treat my friend. Pathfinder did away with that silly nonsense of 1 SA per round. Every time a rogue attacks, if he meets the conditions of fulfilling a SA (target denied Dex or flanked) he gets to add SA damage to every hit he makes. Hunter's Surprise is designed for those cases when you really, really need a full attack SA but can't get into position for one.


Damocles Guile wrote:


Hunter's Surprise lets you deal sneak attack damage multiple times in a single round - that's the only circumstance I believe that can happen under. If a foe was flat-footed you'd still only get to use your sneak attack damage once under normal conditions.

Enforcer if from the Advanced Players Guide I'm pretty sure.

Thanks, I'll take a look at Enforcer.

To answer your other question... Sneak Attack lets you deal Sneak Attack damage multiple times in a round. If your foe is flat-footed, Flanked, denied his Dex bonus to armor for ANY reason, if you have greater invisibility, or any number of other things that could qualify you... and if you have a full attack, you deal Sneak Attack on EVERY attack that qualifies for it. In those cases, every attack deals SA damage.

Cases where you would only deal SA damage in one attack of a full attack action would be if you had basic invisibility, you only get the first attack as an invisible attacker, after that the opponent can defend normally. Coming out of Stealth with a full attack is the same. There are probably a few other situations where that could happen, but that's it off the top of my head.

If you are in the first round of combat, and your opponent hasn't had his turn yet and if you can get a full attack on him, he is flat-footed for the entire full attack and you get SA on every one that hits.

PRD wrote:

Sneak Attack: If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

Hunter's Surprise is for situations where your opponent is not flat-footed and you can't get into flanking position. You don't have any other way to gain Sneak Attack and you really need to pull of a full attack with SA damage on every strike. Then you pull out Hunter's Surprise and unload on someone who wan't expecting it.

Brotato wrote:
Then you're in for a treat my friend. Pathfinder did away with that silly nonsense of 1 SA per round. Every time a rogue attacks, if he meets the conditions of fulfilling a SA (target denied Dex or flanked) he gets to add SA damage to every hit he makes. Hunter's Surprise is designed for those cases when you really, really need a full attack SA but can't get into position for one.

Exactly right. Except, Brotato, even in 3.5 you could do that. If you weren't allowed to it was due to houserules or someone's misunderstanding.

d20srd / 3.5 Rogue wrote:

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty.

A rogue can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

The 3.5 rules for Sneak Attack have the same wording and the same intent. The 3.5 Rogues could Sneak Attack multiple times per round as well. I do think that 4th Eddition changed it to once per round, if that's what you were talking about I mistook what you were saying.

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