Is Sneak Attack ever worth it?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Check it.

Thanks Omega. I saw those. They are guidelines, but not rules about what a DM is supposed to make available in any specific campaign. That is why I put rules in quotes in that last post. You never know what the DM has in mind (unless maybe it is a PFS game).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yes, but what else are you going to use when the player asks 'is X available?'


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's a guideline in a book of guidelines. In a system of guidelines.

Yes, it's even more of a guide than most of the rules, but still. GM is the decider of all these rules.

For me, as a GM, I always try to give people staples and then a) combat items for those who are lagging behind in terms of combat capability and b) utility/party utility items for big ol' fighters who could use something to do outside of combat. Splash of everything else to keep the magic item hunt interesting.

In the case of a Rogue, I'd probably help him in the combat area. Therefore, any combat items he requested of me, I'd be likely to have fall his way.


This was more from the standpoint of mapping out equipment as part of a build. Unless you know a GM is going to give you everything you want then equipment planning is a hard thing to do. When sharing a build with other people it becomes harder because there are no rules that every DM follows for equipment. This was discussed a few posts back, and I see why people want to have some kind of standard in terms of equipment. It just extra work trying to decipher if a build is good or if the player put together a good set of items.

I believe the quote I have heard is "gold makes every build good."

This would be less of an issue if there were hard fast equipment rules, rather than the guidelines that are currently in place, but there aren't (nor would I want them).


Xethik wrote:

It's a guideline in a book of guidelines. In a system of guidelines.

Yes, it's even more of a guide than most of the rules, but still. GM is the decider of all these rules.

For me, as a GM, I always try to give people staples and then a) combat items for those who are lagging behind in terms of combat capability and b) utility/party utility items for big ol' fighters who could use something to do outside of combat. Splash of everything else to keep the magic item hunt interesting.

In the case of a Rogue, I'd probably help him in the combat area. Therefore, any combat items he requested of me, I'd be likely to have fall his way.

There are real rules in this game. A DM can disregard rules in favor of house rules, but that makes the game rules no less valid. Treasure availability are guidelines, since they vary wildly from campaign to campaign.


Bladelock wrote:
Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:
It is worth noting that Sneak Attack was designed nearly fifteen years ago, and has not changed since 3.0.

Good points. As Bladelock points out, there's no longer a ton of enemies that are immune to sneak attack, but it definitely didn't get boosted like a lot of other things.

Mattastrophic wrote:
-Change flanking to be corner-to-corner rather than center-to-center, with the caveat that the "line" has to actually pass through the enemy's square.
I still say changing flanked into a condition is a lot better. If a target is flanked, he's flanked for everyone. This means highly mobile & ranged rogues can still get their sneak attacks off much more frequently. Plus it encourages teamwork as everyone benefits from flanking rather than just the flankers.

change it to a condition and remove the positioning requirement, any foe that has 2 or more characters attacking or threatening it, counts as flanked, which would apply to ranged attacks as well

also, allow an Arcane Trickster whom fires multiple rays in a volley, to sneak attack with each ray. and allow sneak attack with any spell or effect that has a hit point damage roll, such as fireball or magic missile. or hell, flasks.

I'm not 100% sold on making flanking a condition. The only good rogue would be an archer... and a very powerful one at that. There is no question that Multi-ray sneak attacks would be very over powered.

I do agree with Matt's Concealment and flanking suggestions if it was Rogue and Ninja only.

archer rogues are at least more thematic than half orcs with falchions whom mimic barbarians, but would still have difficulty hitting, and multi ray sneak attacks are no more powerful than sneak attacking with a full attack, just replace weapon damage with ray damage and apply energy resistance instead of damage reduction. Arcane Tricksters need a bone too.

Archer Rogues aren't that powerful, and with flanking as a condition, would be that overpowered, they still depend on allies to provide the flank, and rogues don't really have the BAB to make archery that dangerous to begin with. Archery Fighters and Quinggong Zen Archers still laugh at them..


Half-orc rogues with falchions? Really? Since rogues tend to not be able to afford to power attack the extra 1.5 damage per swing from a great axe is probably a better deal.


Bladelock wrote:
Xethik wrote:

It's a guideline in a book of guidelines. In a system of guidelines.

Yes, it's even more of a guide than most of the rules, but still. GM is the decider of all these rules.

For me, as a GM, I always try to give people staples and then a) combat items for those who are lagging behind in terms of combat capability and b) utility/party utility items for big ol' fighters who could use something to do outside of combat. Splash of everything else to keep the magic item hunt interesting.

In the case of a Rogue, I'd probably help him in the combat area. Therefore, any combat items he requested of me, I'd be likely to have fall his way.

There are real rules in this game. A DM can disregard rules in favor of house rules, but that makes the game rules no less valid. Treasure availability are guidelines, since they vary wildly from campaign to campaign.

This is also the standard Golarion runs on. Just FYI. Cities with statblocks include a Base limit and Purchase limit which defaults to the rules located here.


@Bladelock
You can call them whatever you like* but those rules, along with the rules in GMG about settlements, are the rules Paizo uses in modules, APs and pretty much every setting book it uses them (when we get city statblocks). In addition those are the only rules in PF that we have for determing magic item availabity, and since Paizo also uses them on their setting (which many of us use), we can generally assume that those rules are in place.

PS. There were similar (but not the same) rules in 3.5 DMG (iirc), and the GP limit (the base value) could shoot at least up to 250000gp (maybe it could go up more, i don't remember) where in PF the base value caps out at 30400gp.

*by the way the CRB calls them guidelines because you will have to adjust them if you want different magic level in your campaign.


Atarlost wrote:
Half-orc rogues with falchions? Really? Since rogues tend to not be able to afford to power attack the extra 1.5 damage per swing from a great axe is probably a better deal.

um...why do rogues tend not to be able to afford power attack? If you're not going TWF, there's a lot of flexibility with feats.

Second, a falchion is also two-handed, so would benefit from the 1.5 multiplier.

Third, the falchion doesn't require a feat as a half-orc whereas a great axe would for most races or multiclassing.


Tormsskull wrote:

um...why do rogues tend not to be able to afford power attack? If you're not going TWF, there's a lot of flexibility with feats.

Afford *to* power attack. The problem isn't really picking up the feat but rather that the PA penalties are an issue for a class with 3/4th BAB, moderate MADness and no real way to improve their attack bonuses.

The 1.5 damage difference is the gap between 2d4 (average of 5) and 1D12 (average of 6.5).

I'm reasonably sure half-orcs are proficient with both falchions and greataxes.


Kudaku wrote:

Afford *to* power attack. The problem isn't really picking up the feat but rather that the PA penalties are an issue for a class with 3/4th BAB and no real way to improve their attack bonuses.

The 1.5 damage difference is the gap between 2d4 (average of 5) and 1D12 (average of 6.5).

I'm reasonably sure half-orcs are proficient with both falchions and greataxes.

Thanks for clarifying. I was reading Atarlost's post completely wrong.


Tormsskull wrote:
Thanks for clarifying. I was reading Atarlost's post completely wrong.

Happy to help! :)

For what it's worth I think the high strength THF rogue is one of the more viable approaches to the class, since you're less dependent on sneak attack for dealing damage. There's a pitspawned tiefling in my S&S campaign doing pretty well for himself with Furious Focus and a greatsword. Of course it probably helped that the GM insisted on rolling stats and the rogue got the equivalent of a 37 pb...

It's a bit of a shame that the "traditional" rogue (ie low to moderate strength, high dexterity, TWFing or one-handing a light weapon) is one of the least effective ways to make a rogue though.


Kudaku wrote:
For what it's worth I think the high strength THF rogue is one of the more viable approaches to the class, since you're less dependent on sneak attack for dealing damage.

Agreed. I was always a fan of the 3.5 alternate fighter class that gave up bonus feats for sneak attack. TWF + decent AC + sneak attack was a lot of fun.

Kudaku wrote:
It's a bit of a shame that the "traditional" rogue (ie low to moderate strength, high dexterity, TWFing or one-handing a light weapon) is one of the least effective ways to make a rogue though.

Agreed again. Some house rules can assist in this, but in a hypothetical Pathfinder 2.0, it would be nice to see the traditional rogue boosted to a more appropriate power level with more thematic abilities.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tormsskull, I like the suggestion on extra thematic abilities. Sure, you could buff everything a Rogue has, but I think throwing in something new would work just as well. Rogues are one of the few classes that seem to not have a strict secondary stat (Fighters come to mind, too). Certain optional class abilities work with Charisma and others Int.

Having something like a Ki Pool or Grit pool would be great for Rogues. Of course, doing so would make them very similar to Swashbucklers. Something unique and different to set them apart from other classes would be awesome. Chameleon does this with the stealth pool, but it's incredibly weak and doesn't add much thematically. Getting points that can be spent for utility in combat and are regained from disarming/noticing traps or stealing items (to GMs discretion) or vice versa would be fantastic.


I think rogues are hurting for a luck based mechanic. Then again, I think all non magic based classes should have some kind of luck, fate, or destiny sort of reason for not getting turned into a grease stain by the average dragon.


Trogdar wrote:
I think rogues are hurting for a luck based mechanic. Then again, I think all non magic based classes should have some kind of luck, fate, or destiny sort of reason for not getting turned into a grease stain by the average dragon.

Anger?


leo1925 wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Maybe rogues would work a lot better if the entire party's fighting style was more built towards long combats with lots of fake withdrawals, and kiting the monsters. If you need time to set up your sneak attack, but the barbarian is trying to get the most out of limited rage rounds per day, you have a conflict of preferred party tactics.
And why should the entire party play in a different way (that takes more time and involves more risks), just so one character, might, get to contribute a little more?

Because easily defeated encounters that last 2 or 3 rounds are incredibly boring?


Erick Wilson wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Maybe rogues would work a lot better if the entire party's fighting style was more built towards long combats with lots of fake withdrawals, and kiting the monsters. If you need time to set up your sneak attack, but the barbarian is trying to get the most out of limited rage rounds per day, you have a conflict of preferred party tactics.
And why should the entire party play in a different way (that takes more time and involves more risks), just so one character, might, get to contribute a little more?
Because easily defeated encounters that last 2 or 3 rounds are incredibly boring?

Well kiting doesn't exactly work against intelligent creatures.

Key note in your sentence is easily.

You can have an encounter last 2 or 3 round that is still difficult.


Something everyone fails to consider when making the, "Crafting is totally OP" arguments:
If you fail your crafting check, you lose all the time and materials spent. So if you fail the check one time, you essentially lose your discount. If you fail a second time, you're now paying *above* market costs for a third attempt.
Also, if you're (for example) trying to bump a +3 weapon to a +4 weapon, and you fail... Well, that +3 weapon counts as lost material... Oops!

(Just to note - I do agree that crafting can, in fact, be totally OP. I just want to see a little more honesty in the arguments. For example, I wonder how many crafting rolls C.I.N.B.A.A. failed? :) )


Neo2151 wrote:

Something everyone fails to consider when making the, "Crafting is totally OP" arguments:

If you fail your crafting check, you lose all the time and materials spent. So if you fail the check one time, you essentially lose your discount. If you fail a second time, you're now paying *above* market costs for a third attempt.
Also, if you're (for example) trying to bump a +3 weapon to a +4 weapon, and you fail... Well, that +3 weapon counts as lost material... Oops!

Considering you calculate the DC before creating the item and you can take 10 on the Spellcraft check, you'd have to screw up pretty badly to fail to make a magic item. Assuming you do your homework the craft check itself is basically a nonissue.

Liberty's Edge

my approach to making the rogue more viable on his own is to play a Tengu with the claws alternate giving you three attacks at full BAB with str-16 and dex-16 and a 2 level dip into Warpriest use the free weapon focus for the claws and when you can take take it again do so for the bite attack. That way your doing 3 attacks at full BAB 1d6 damage each and the free weapon focus makes up for loss of to hit. Pump str all the way and get a Mithral breastplate for higher AC when you can. you get a few orisons to aid in disable device and some 1st level buffs spells so you can buff yourself. You can even take the forgepriest archetype and get the shield spell added to your list which is a beautiful AC buff. Use a ranged weapon if you win intiative and an enemie is close and cast shield if not. war priest buffs up your will saves even.


my 2 cents @ OP:

eh.

sneak attack CAN be worth it if you can get it regularly (large party, summoner or wizard/cleric/druid teammate, animal ally feat, dimensional savant via HW dip, ninja ki stealth, hiding in smoke or a tiny hut spell, etc. etc.) but on the rogue chassis it's rather lackluster.

namely because its the only thing they bring to the table in combat, is terribly conditional, and can make your party resentful of the amount of slack they're having to pick up for you.

that fighter is fine where he is, full attacking away. stopping this to move and let you flank somewhere that isn't 'let's instagib the squishy rogue with bad saves on our next turn' territory can get him or others killed, since dropping an enemy removes them from the situation entirely. unless your party has AoE buffs (like a bard), your casters are spending precious actions buffing you to break even when they could be shaping the battlefield or taking an enemy (or group of enemies) out of the fight entirely with a save-or-suck or save-or-lose spell.

the slayer has the right of it in that he's not reliant on forcing your team to tailor their playstyle around you--he HAS sneak attack, but doesn't NEED it (though it is certainly welcome if he happens to get it). the investigator has it right as well, with a stable means of accessing his bonus damage (int to attack (!!!) and damage with studied combat) and still being able to throw a fistful of dice at the enemy when he wants as a finisher (with studied strike).

while those two are self-reliant, by comparison the rogue is terribly selfish. to play a rogue and be effective in combat, you have to not only optimize yourself, but also force your teammate's plans and actions to revolve around you or else you're mostly dead weight in the combat-centric system that is pathfinder. (that you're also dumping most of your feats into trying to eke some manner of stability out of it hurts too)

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