Would You Allow a Tiny Animal to Get Sneak Attack Damage on a Player Character?


Advice

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:


More generally, I wouldn't advise any GM to attempt to impose "realism" based on anatomical knowledge if s/he doesn't have any.

True, but I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital. Usually, this would be with really weird monster anatomy or special situations like a rogue slashing at a roper's tentacles because they're within reach rather than the roper's body, which is not.


As impressive as the mantis shrimp is, I would not classify that as a sneak attack.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

So you are saying a mantis shrimp with sneak attack would be worse?

Silver Crusade

I can't look up the link right now, but this conversation has me thinking about a flash animation involving Naked Snake of Metal Gear Solid 3 fame getting involved in a pitched battle with a small, apparently innocuous, cave crab.

"Augh. CRAB BATTLE!"

Jokes aside.
If you're sapient, you're dangerous. As combat is an abstraction, its entirely possible that the sneak attack from the small ferret consists of stuff like crawling up Rip Torn's clothes, or the pixie is zipping around behind your knees.


Mantis punch to the finger or... your eye? Temple? Unmentionables?

You pick :P.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So when I go walking the dog at night in the summer, is the reason I am not killed by the myriad of tiny unseen mosquitos that said pests lack rogue levels, or that they're simply not trying to kill me?

I would say there would be a level of size difference between two creatures that would essentially render the much, much larger one essentially immune to anything the much, much smaller one would be. I don't know if tiny vs. medium is a big enough gulf though.

But as always, if it's more fun one way, do it that way.

Both. Regular mosquitoes don't have levels, and you would need a solid cloud of mosquitoes to even make a swarm. Also, if the mosquitoes were intelligent enough to make sneak attacks, they wouldn't want to kill you, they can harvest way more blood by keeping you alive. They would protect you as long as you allowed them to drink from you.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
So you are saying a mantis shrimp with sneak attack would be worse?

Imagine that on your eye, your genitalia, or dead center on a superficial artery.

Ecaterina Ducaird wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Set wrote:


So, GM's call if the tiny animal can 'reach such a spot.'

True. But as a hypothetical player in this hypothetical game, I'd want a good reason why I couldn't reach "such a spot" given that they're damn near omnipresent in any realistic anatomy.

Rat stealthily walks up to ogre.

Rat climbs up ogre's leg.
Rat stops at top of leg.
Ogre gets bitten in the 'vulnerables' (you know where I mean)
Rat proceeds to vomit violently at the thought of what it just did, but that is only of slight consolation to the ogre who is bleeding out.

What consolation? The rat just covered his wounded vulnerables with stomach acid and half digested food. He'll probably get some new disease in his vulnerables from that. At this point I'm just feeling sorry for the poor ogre :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
VM mercenario wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
So you are saying a mantis shrimp with sneak attack would be worse?
Imagine that on your eye, your genitalia, or dead center on a superficial artery.

That was my point.


Just imagine wasp from avengers or bumble bee from teen titans/joung justice

The Exchange

Beopere wrote:

Mantis punch to the finger or... your eye? Temple? Unmentionables?

You pick :P.

I don't get the luxury of picking. The shrimp does. ;)

I was going to bring up the hookworm, a particularly horrendous example of nature's plot against us, but honestly the mantis shrimp works better. And can't be vaporized by remove disease.


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Yes, we need to find another reason to nerf the rogue and make it even weaker and less playable.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


More generally, I wouldn't advise any GM to attempt to impose "realism" based on anatomical knowledge if s/he doesn't have any.
True, but I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital. Usually, this would be with really weird monster anatomy or special situations like a rogue slashing at a roper's tentacles because they're within reach rather than the roper's body, which is not.

I would agree, provided the GM has actual knowledge of the anatomy of a roper's tentacles.

Based purely on an analysis from first principles, if the roper's tentacles have sensation, they have nerves, which can be targeted.

Based similarly on first principles, if the tentacles can be moved, they have something to impart motion to them, something that can be targeted.

If the Game Master wants to rule otherwise -- that there are neither nerves, nor muscles, nor tendons in a roper's tentacles... well, he's certainly not doing so in an attempt to impose anything I recognize as "realism."


Spook205 wrote:

I can't look up the link right now, but this conversation has me thinking about a flash animation involving Naked Snake of Metal Gear Solid 3 fame getting involved in a pitched battle with a small, apparently innocuous, cave crab.

"Augh. CRAB BATTLE!"

Jokes aside.
If you're sapient, you're dangerous. As combat is an abstraction, its entirely possible that the sneak attack from the small ferret consists of stuff like crawling up Rip Torn's clothes, or the pixie is zipping around behind your knees.

Found it.

Damn cave demons!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-afvT9DhBU8


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You know, I would be tempted to use this question as a means of determining whether a DM is likely to view the game in a compatible manner to myself.

The type of DM who didn't allow a rogue a sneak attack against a much larger target is probably going to disagree with me on many fundamentals of narrative and game design. That's fine - differences of opinion make society function and all that - but I may not be signing up for his campaign quite so eagerly either.

More seriously: a 'david and goliath' style fight between a larger target and a smaller, more nimble one is so common in mythology you almost expect it to come up at least once per story. On top of this, the rogue has enough trouble keeping up in combat as it is. Making this kind of 'ruling' a) has no precedent and b) is simply cruel. I can't imagine why you ever would.


Can't sneak attack big things? I didn't sign up for this!

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say there would be a level of size difference between two creatures that would essentially render the much, much larger one essentially immune to anything the much, much smaller one would be. I don't know if tiny vs. medium is a big enough gulf though.

But as always, if it's more fun one way, do it that way.

The game Mouse Guard works like that. Basically, anything two or more size categories larger than you are (you are a mouse) can't be killed in a fight. You can still try to fight them, but the best you can hope for is to drive them off.

If you want to kill a Bear (the equivalent of a Colossal creature), you have to muster an army of something like 10,000 mice, and wage war on it using the warfare rules.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say there would be a level of size difference between two creatures that would essentially render the much, much larger one essentially immune to anything the much, much smaller one would be. I don't know if tiny vs. medium is a big enough gulf though.

But as always, if it's more fun one way, do it that way.

The game Mouse Guard works like that. Basically, anything two or more size categories larger than you are (you are a mouse) can't be killed in a fight. You can still try to fight them, but the best you can hope for is to drive them off.

If you want to kill a Bear (the equivalent of a Colossal creature), you have to muster an army of something like 10,000 mice, and wage war on it using the warfare rules.

I just got Mouse Guard. I am really excited about it.

The Exchange

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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

If you want to kill a Bear (the equivalent of a Colossal creature), you have to muster an army of something like 10,000 mice, and wage war on it using the warfare rules.

This sentence is delightful.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

If you want to kill a Bear (the equivalent of a Colossal creature), you have to muster an army of something like 10,000 mice, and wage war on it using the warfare rules.

This sentence is delightful.

In the graphic novels, there is a scene where a mouse fights a Bear.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:


True, but I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital. Usually, this would be with really weird monster anatomy or special situations like a rogue slashing at a roper's tentacles because they're within reach rather than the roper's body, which is not.

I would agree, provided the GM has actual knowledge of the anatomy of a roper's tentacles.

Fortunately, because ropers are entirely fictional, the GM gets to define the anatomy of a roper's tentacles and whether or not they do, in fact, have any targetable vitals. Maybe they break off and regenerate fairly easily like a some lizard species's tails.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Complicated, and contrived, ever-changing houserules that harm a martial PC's effectiveness, is a poor DMing.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:


True, but I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital. Usually, this would be with really weird monster anatomy or special situations like a rogue slashing at a roper's tentacles because they're within reach rather than the roper's body, which is not.

I would agree, provided the GM has actual knowledge of the anatomy of a roper's tentacles.

Fortunately, because ropers are entirely fictional, the GM gets to define the anatomy of a roper's tentacles and whether or not they do, in fact, have any targetable vitals.

In other words, the GM has the authority arbitrarily to nerf characters. This is true. It's also the mark of an extremely poor GM. If you simply want to disallow people the use of their character abilities, don't pretend that you're doing it for the sake of "realism."

Basically,

Quote:
I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital they're not very good at running games.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:


True, but I could imagine a GM might rule a sneak attack impossible in certain situations because of being unable to reach something vital. Usually, this would be with really weird monster anatomy or special situations like a rogue slashing at a roper's tentacles because they're within reach rather than the roper's body, which is not.

I would agree, provided the GM has actual knowledge of the anatomy of a roper's tentacles.

Fortunately, because ropers are entirely fictional, the GM gets to define the anatomy of a roper's tentacles and whether or not they do, in fact, have any targetable vitals. Maybe they break off and regenerate fairly easily like a some lizard species's tails.

The principal reason I wouldn't allow a rogue to sneak attack a roper's tentacles without attacking the roper directly is due to the nature of threating attacks. You can't attack a creature if you don't threaten its space, no matter if it's hitting you with its reach attack. So the rogue can't Sneak Attack a roper's tentacles unless he can also make a melee attack into the roper's space.

Edit: the same holds true for anyone. A wizard couldn't use shocking grasp on a roper's tentacles, either...

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You try to stab the Owlbear, but you are wearing purple, so you are deafened for 1d6 rounds, and the dirt beneath your feet mocks your existence.

You know, for realism.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Not a fair comparison BBT.

I personally would find a GM defining the roper as unable to be sneak attacked as more of a house rule than just a clarification. We already have rules about what can and can't be sneak attacked due to anatomy.

I had much the same problem hearing a new player say undead being vulnerable to sneak attack was a stupid change. I had to keep walking in order to avoid a pointless argument.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You know, I bet there wouldn't be a "it's raining, so your Fireball spell fizzles" from the same DM.

The Exchange

Funny you should say that - just the other day I was wondering how a fireball reacts when it strikes a "solid object" such as an ordinary hailstone - or a snowflake.

Which is not to say I'm about to institute a house rule.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

You try to stab the Owlbear, but you are wearing purple, so you are deafened for 1d6 rounds, and the dirt beneath your feet mocks your existence.

You know, for realism.

I knew a homosexual fencer that fought with a pink lion keychain bouncing outside of his pocket. That was distracting. He was clearly on bonuses thanks to that lion. Good fighter.

Purple is OP, nerf. Nerf the rogue while you are at it.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Funny you should say that - just the other day I was wondering how a fireball reacts when it strikes a "solid object" such as an ordinary hailstone - or a snowflake.

Which is not to say I'm about to institute a house rule.

This has actually come up and playing according to the rules isn't house ruling, but a demonstration of player cunning! Do you know that if you hold your action it is conceivable by the rules to throw something and detonate that sucker just after it leaves the caster's hands? One of my assassin chars popped a wizard like that.

Oh noes, my maximised fireball blows my arms off.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

You know, I bet there wouldn't be a "it's raining, so your Fireball spell fizzles" from the same DM.

Thanks to rain, your bat guano is type 7 according to the Bristol stool chart, your spell fails.


Rogues are already garbage enough, you don't need to make them worse regardless of how much sense it makes. You're basically turning the rogue into a glorified Expert.

The Exchange

DM Under The Bridge wrote:
...Do you know that if you hold your action it is conceivable by the rules to throw something and detonate that sucker just after it leaves the caster's hands?...

Let's see... +8 size bonus, high speed, straight-line trajectory - call it, oh, AC 23 - no hardness, 1 hp... No, that never occurred to me. More lethal (and funnier) than simply disrupting the casting, too.


Yeah I've had throwers that can make AC 23. It isn't that hard. Archers certainly can. My high level assassin didn't have any trouble.

It also doesn't just disrupt them, it can blow them to pieces. Which is funny, and I'm here for the fun!

A good use of ranged. If you are a faster spellcaster you could also try to seal them in and get them to blow themselves up by moving around the environment. If you dropped one down a pit just as he cast, the damage and inconvenience is going to be hilarious. Smoke may rise.

Shadow Lodge

I would absolutely allow it, since there's real-world precedent for it.

Scarab Sages

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
I would absolutely allow it, since there's real-world precedent for it.

I'm so glad I live in Flordia. We get hurricanes, sinkholes, and now mutant mosquitos.

Grand Lodge

Everytime I sneak attack anything he complains about how I outdamage everything even though our ranger consistently does more damage than me. Don't even get me started about if I happen to hit something more than once a round.

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