A question

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LenaLoyd
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A question

Post by LenaLoyd »

Reading through the Rogue class I was wondering how hard is it to get off a back attack? A first level rogue would need to be hidden to get the advantage. Do you allow for a rogue to be flanking a character and the roll -10 hide to get off a back attack on target? It seems like it would be difficult to get off.

Also who is eligible for a back attack? Ooze no, but what about other creatures like elementals or undead who don't have clear anatomy?

Do you follow the 3.5 rules for who can be back attacked? Or the more liberal Pathfinder rules? Or something of your own creation?

What weapons can be used to back attack? No longer then arms length. Not knowing all the weapon sizes. I assume dagger yes, short sword no?

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mgtremaine
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Re: A question

Post by mgtremaine »

By the Book says...

When making a back attack, a rogue must use a close-quarters melee weapon. This weapon must be shorter than the character’s arm. A rogue can only use this attack on creatures with a discernible back.The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot, and then must be able to reach it.

So really DM choice on if you want 3rd edition style or something else. I personally do not allow Back Attack on Ooze, Undead or Elementals. Also remember that at 4th Level Sneak Attack becomes an option which is much more flexible (but still no Ooze etc...)

-Mike

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DMSamuel
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Re: A question

Post by DMSamuel »

In my game I make a judgement call regarding whether the target can get a chance to see/hear the rogue.

1) If the rogue is sneaking up on someone, outside of combat, to strike... if it is reasonable that the rogue could do so, based on the circumstances, then I let the rogue make the attack without having to do any kind of dexterity/concealment (hide + move silent) check

2) If the rogue is attempting this in the middle of combat and the target does not know that the rogue specifically is there, then the rogue has to make a conceal check (as per the Hide entry in the rogue class description) to hide and be silent. This check is made at a -5

3) If the rogue is attempting this in the middle of combat and the target DOES know that the rogue specifically is there, but the target is distracted, then the rogue has to make a conceal check (as per the Hide entry in the rogue class description) to hide and be silent. This check is made at a -10

It sounds way more complicated than it is. Usually I go by gut feeling about whether the target has a good chance of detecting the rogue's presence. Usually I rule in favor of the Rogue - why not let them shine?
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Captain_K
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Re: A question

Post by Captain_K »

In my history, back attacks and assassinations are rare... same for a Monk's Death Touch.

But I'm playing a game where the CK allows the thief to back stab anytime they are in the back or can get at the back, no surprise needed.
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Re: A question

Post by Lurker »

DMSamuel wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:53 pm
... Usually I go by gut feeling about whether the target has a good chance of detecting the rogue's presence. Usually I rule in favor of the Rogue - why not let them shine?
I lean toward that camp.

Thieves are weak in a stand up strait fight, so let them have their benefit as much as possible. That said, all those thiefy NPCs that the group faces have the same benefit. It is a 2 edged dagger being stuck in peoples back so it should cut both ways :lol:

As for weapons, anything short sword sized or shorter, or anything made for quick attacks (raiper, saber etc)
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Captain_K
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Re: A question

Post by Captain_K »

Speaking of Cutting both ways,

A) We were just playing a game where the head assassin (Ruke?) came out of a wall, natural 20 on his back attack with powerful poison on the blade, and the CK gave 2x damage (likely the FG machine did this) for everything.... the guy went from full h.p to negative with a slit throat... very dynamic...

B) My 8th lvl Cleric-Assassin (class and a half) half orc Priest of The All Father (Odin) got his first assassination... removed the kidney of a frost giant in a swarm of butterflies (great cover from a wand of wonder), also very cool. When the butterflies cleared he was eating the kidney of his enemies on the giant corpse, "My kill, don't touch." were his first words to sticky fingered battle-mage who always grabs the loot.
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DMSamuel
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Re: A question

Post by DMSamuel »

Haha - nice. That eating kidney imagery is great!
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Re: A question

Post by Traveller »

mgtremaine wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:05 pm
I personally do not allow Back Attack on Ooze, Undead or Elementals.
Why not undead or elementals? Both have defined backs while the oozes don't.

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mgtremaine
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Re: A question

Post by mgtremaine »

No "vital organs". [But I could see Vampire's being an exception because they have odd kill requirements]

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Captain_K
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Re: A question

Post by Captain_K »

Wait, Zombies have vital spots, head shot...
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serleran
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Re: A question

Post by serleran »

Back attack is many vectors easier than sneak attack.

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Re: A question

Post by Retrogamer_Meph »

serleran wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:51 pm
Back attack is many vectors easier than sneak attack.
See I really disagree there. Back Attack is basically the equivalent of the AD&D Backstab. So the Rogue needs to catch the victim unaware either by hiding in shadows or moving silently....or both depending on the situation. The attack must be from behind, must be small melee weapon, and must the victim cannot know they are there. Once the Rogue has been seen, generally a Back Attack is just about impossible.

Sneak Attack on the other hand has much fewer restrictions. The attack just has to be "unsuspecting". A Sneak or Hide role isn't necessary unless the DM specifically calls for it for some reason. A sneak attack doesn't have a weapon restriction so it can be as simple as a Rogue sitting in an upper window overlooking the street. The Fighter approaches the target in a friendly manner to talk and the Rogue shoots him in the back while he is unaware. Or maybe he shoots him in the face. Maybe while they are talking the Rogue in disguise walks past them in the street and as he passes he slides a dagger into his side. It much easier to perform and it really comes down to just catching them unaware. I mean even the Rogue could approach the victim in the street as a friend and then try to slide that dagger into his ribs from the front. There are a million ways you could accomplish a sneak attack.

Generally once either attack has been performed then it would be really hard to get another. The element of surprise is gone at that point and combat has ensued.

serleran
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Re: A question

Post by serleran »

Disagree as much as you like. Back attack is infinitely easier to achieve in the midst of an existing combat than a sneak attack. It may be the very first strike is simpler as a sneak, but if it doesn't kill, who cares.

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Captain_K
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Re: A question

Post by Captain_K »

Sneak Attack is so weak... might as well let the poor class do it all it can that's reasonable... back attack aka backstab is rare too.
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Captain_K
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Re: A question

Post by Captain_K »

Ask yourself has my mage cast fireball more than my thief back stabs?

Natural 20 on a back stab.... does it do extra damage?
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Re: A question

Post by Fizz »

Captain_K wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:40 am
Natural 20 on a back stab.... does it do extra damage?
In my games, yes. Backstabs may be rare, but they are to be feared. Though if you have assassins in your game, you need to be careful to not overshadow their instant-kill ability.

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Re: A question

Post by Fizz »

Retrogamer_Meph wrote: See I really disagree there. Back Attack is basically the equivalent of the AD&D Backstab. So the Rogue needs to catch the victim unaware either by hiding in shadows or moving silently....or both depending on the situation. The attack must be from behind, must be small melee weapon, and must the victim cannot know they are there. Once the Rogue has been seen, generally a Back Attack is just about impossible.
serleran wrote: Disagree as much as you like. Back attack is infinitely easier to achieve in the midst of an existing combat than a sneak attack. It may be the very first strike is simpler as a sneak, but if it doesn't kill, who cares.
I don't think it's one or the other. They are two different tools for different scenarios. Sneak attack is less useful in combat situations, as all enemies are alert and wary. But sneak attack gives you many more options outside of combat, since it doesn't require hiding or moving silently. Back attack requires more work, but has a higher payoff.

-Fizz

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