Massive Damage & Thieves

A

Anonymous

Guest
With Massive Damage taking place whenever a character takes 20 Hit Points of damage (after DR) in one shot , isn't a Thief with Sneak Attack of 5d6 or greater too good a killing machine? Even at 3d6 Sneak Attack, a flanking Thief or one attacking a flat-footed opponent has a good chance of outright killing his target.

Example:

A thief with 2 short swords and 5d6 sneak attack wins the initiative and gets 2 sneak attacks against his flat-footed opponent. The opponent wears armor that grants DR6 but each attack, which easily hits the DV of 10, does an average of 21 points of damage. Both shots would have the victim roll a separate Massive Damage save.


PS: I don't have the book handy, I think it's 20 HP of damage
 

Bailywolf

Mongoose
Er... I don't see any problem with this at all.

Thieves are SUPPOSED to be this deadly... and look at your example. A guy suckers his enemy and then stabs him bodily in an especially vulnerable point with TWO swords (one in the lungs, one in the kidney say) ... and you don't think it Massive Damage saves are in order?

And 5d6 sneak attack means you are talking about a 9th or 10th level thief anyway.

A Scholar at an equiv level of power use Death Touch to even more easily slay his victims.

The shource material is filled with thieves sneaking up on unknowning victims and slaying them with one stab or strangling them to death easily and quietly. I'd say the Massive Damage rules were all but made for thieves.



If you want a different dymanic however, set the Massive Damage Save equal to HALF the victim's CURRENT hit points. This will let more stand-up fighters wear down an oponent before delivering the deathblow.




-B
 

Johannixx

Mongoose
Don't forget, thieves have to forego armor to get the most benefit from their sneak attack ability, and they don't get Uncanny Dodge either. If a Thief gets into melee range, he's most likely going to get mulched.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
It seems like fighter-types damage capacity sort of stagnates - they get extra attacks over time, but don't get increases in damage like thieves do with sneak attacks - are they supposed to select Weapon Specialization feat to accomplish this? BTW, what's the difference between Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization, did I miss something?
 

Johannixx

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
BTW, what's the difference between Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization, did I miss something?

Well, I didn't look too hard at the Conan write-up, but in standard 3.5 D&D, they stack. So, when you get GWS, you add +4 to all attacks with that weapon, instead of the +2 from just WS.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Johannixx said:
slaughterj said:
BTW, what's the difference between Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization, did I miss something?

Well, I didn't look too hard at the Conan write-up, but in standard 3.5 D&D, they stack. So, when you get GWS, you add +4 to all attacks with that weapon, instead of the +2 from just WS.

Yeah, I just took a look back, it seems you buy either multiple times, but they don't stack with themselves, but WS and GWS stack, so basically you can get a max of +4 damage for a weapon with these.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This is what I mean....

A level 10 fighter with a 22 STR and a greatsword does an average of 22 points of damage (with weapon specialization) for each of his 2 shots per round.
2d10+9+2 averages 22 points x 2 shots = 44 points of damage.

If this same fighter dual-wielded broadswords (with weapon specialization) does an average total of 37.5 points of damage with his 3 shots.
1d10+6+2 averages 13.5 x 2 shots = 27 points of damage.
1d10+3+2 averages 10.5 x 1 shot = 10.5 points of damage.

A level 10 rogue with 2 short swords and a 14 STR does an average total of 59 points with his 3 shots.
1d8+5d8+2 averages 20 x 2 shots = 40 points of damage.
1d8+5d8+1 averages 19 x 1 shot = 19 points of damage.

Ouch!

Yes, this depends on flanking or winning initiative, but a Thief (being DEX based and having good REF saves) should win initiative fairly often and should fight intelligently (using flanking/surprise) or die quickly.

At higher levels, this difference grows even greater...
 

Bailywolf

Mongoose
I still don't really see the problem here...

This looks just fine to me... in fact, if it were much different I would be disapointed. A thief flanking you is supposed to be serious brown-trousers time. Those guys are DEADLy in a dirty fight.

-B
 

InsomNY

Mongoose
I agree that a mace to the noggin or a sabre to the spleen should make people die fast, and thieves/pirates must give up melee prowess and protection to be efficient murderers. Somebody must be able to make a good assassin, so let these folks be.

The only thing I would consider changing – and I would change this for ALL D20 games including D&D – is allowing sneak attack damage on just one attack per target per round. If you flank two people, you can sneak attack each one if you have enough iterative attacks, but you can't inflict a double whack on one person. Somebody could stick a sword between my shoulder blades once, but you'd better believe I'd react after that. Of course, my reaction would be to cough up some blood and die, but I'd react, dammit! :D
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
InsomNY said:
I agree that a mace to the noggin or a sabre to the spleen should make people die fast, and thieves/pirates must give up melee prowess and protection to be efficient murderers. Somebody must be able to make a good assassin, so let these folks be.

The only thing I would consider changing – and I would change this for ALL D20 games including D&D – is allowing sneak attack damage on just one attack per target per round. If you flank two people, you can sneak attack each one if you have enough iterative attacks, but you can't inflict a double whack on one person. Somebody could stick a sword between my shoulder blades once, but you'd better believe I'd react after that. Of course, my reaction would be to cough up some blood and die, but I'd react, dammit! :D

I get what you're saying, or at most allow for single attacks with 2 light weapons, e.g., I stab you with each of my daggers once in the back as a sneak attack...
 

argo

Mongoose
A level 10 rogue with 2 short swords and a 14 STR does an average total of 59 points with his 3 shots.
1d8+5d8+2 averages 20 x 2 shots = 40 points of damage.
1d8+5d8+1 averages 19 x 1 shot = 19 points of damage.

Ouch!

This issue has been hanging around since 3.x was released and, after playing several rogues over the last several years, I think I can say that it is really not as bad as it seems on the surface. Yes, a dual wielding sneak attacker has awsome damage potential, but that potential is limited by two factors:

The thief has only 3/4 BAB and not a lot of extra feats with which to buy combat abilities. It's true that they will probably win initative and get to attack their opponents flat-footed, but after the first round they are probably going to have a hard time hitting the DV of any meele-oriented character who pays any attention to their defense at all. My experience with rogue-types is that combat looks a lot like this:
miss
miss
miss
EXPLODE FOR A FUCK-TON OF DAMAGE
miss
miss
Those itterative attacks especially, are probably not going to hit. In short, a thief's damage output is unreliable at best. And if you are going to step into the middle of meele combat reliable damage output is essential. Which brings me to my next point.

The thief has average DV, little/no armor (DR) and lousy hit points (compared to meele classes). This translates directly into low combat endurance. And if a dual-wielding thief intends to stand still and trade full round attacks with a meele monster, low combat endurance is something he cannot afford to have. Again, it is my experience that if a rouge-type goes for a full round of sneak attacks it is because he is betting that the critter will drop before the end of the round. Because if it doesn't that means that on its next turn it is going to turn around and rip the thief a new one. Even a d8 hit die is not going to be enough for a theif to stand up for a couple of full round attacks from a power attacking barbarian or a meele monster (imagine a thief getting grappled by a Man-Ape :shock: ) There is a reason why the spring-attack rogue and the "feint/throw a dagger at you rogue" are both popular builds. Its called survival instinct.

What this boils down to is that sneak attack allows a rogue/theif to really bring on some pain .... once in a while. Which is how it should be IMHO. The thief who shoots for the brass ring in every combat is probably not going to live that long. Now, I will admit that the lowered Massive Damage threshold throws a curveball at this equation, but I don't imagine that a thief will prompt many more massive damage saves than a two-handed power attacker (let alone a two-handed power attacker with Wep Spec and Imp Crit! :twisted: ) If you find that too many people are falling to massive damage then consider using an easier save. I am considering giving 15 + (1/2 damage over 20) a try. But that is another thread. At any rate, my advice is to leave sneak attack and dual wielding alone, the damage will work itself out over the long run.
 
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