Sneak Attack for everyone

Sven

Mongoose
Hi.

I'm not sure if this was ever discussed before:

I think the ability to strike vital parts of an enemy who lets his guard down should a thing which everyone could make, not just thiefs and pirates and temptresses.

And not everyone wants to take a level or two in the thief class only to gain this ability.

This idea came to me after reading "The phoenix on the sword" where Thoth-Amon killed Dion with a single strike of a knife. Well, as a pure scholar he had never the opportunity to learn Sneak Attack, so I had some thoughts on this topic.

My idea:

Sneak Strike

Any character without the Sneak Attack Ability can still make a so-called Sneak Strike against anyone who is unable to use Dodge Defence or Parry Defense to defend himself, or who is being flanked. On a successful hit the character deals +1D6 damage. This works exactly like the Sneak Attack class ability, but does not stack with it. As long as a character has not the Sneak Attack as class or racial ability he can not take feats which have Sneak Attack as a prerequisite.
Zingarans have the Sneak Attack +1D6 as a Racial Ability. This effect does not stack with the Sneak Strike, but unlike other races they can take feats which have Sneak Attack as a prerequisite.

There are also two feats to improve Sneak Strike.

Improved Sneak Strike (General)
You have learned to make deadly strikes from behind.
Prerequisites: Base Attack Bonus +4, must not have the Sneak Attack as a class ability
Benefit: You add +1D6 to a Sneak Strike for a total of +2D6. You also count as having the Sneak Attack for Feats like Light-Footed or Sneak Subdual.
Special: Characters with Sneak Attack as a racial ability only (like Zingarans) can take this Feat.
Special: If the character ever gains Sneak Attack as a class ability the effects do not stack. He uses the better one.

Greater Sneak Strike (General)
When you strike from behind, they will soon die.
Prerequisites: Base Attack Bonus +8, must not have the Sneak Attack as a class ability
Benefit: You add another +1D6 to a Sneak Strike. This stacks with the bonus granted by the Improved Sneak Strike feat.
Special: Characters with Sneak Attack as a racial ability only (like Zingarans) can take this Feat.
Special: If the character ever gains Sneak Attack as a class ability the effects do not stack. He uses the better one.

Well, what do you think?
 

Crisippo

Mongoose
I like it too :D It appears to work well and your suggestion seems consistent with both the rules and the setting. I will seriously consider using it myself. :)
 

argo

Mongoose
Well, I suppose that since you propose giving everybody the ability it is, by deffinition, balanced. Though I will point out that although Thief's won't mind this much with their high sneak-attack progression Pirates, with thier slow progression, with be significantly weaker for this change.

However, I feel a need to quibble with you over your basic preposition
I think the ability to strike vital parts of an enemy who lets his guard down should a thing which everyone could make, not just thiefs and pirates and temptresses.

What in the world makes you think everyone can't do this now? Yes, a sneak attack is defined as striking at a particularly vulneurable/vital location but that by no means implies that it is the only ability to do so.

Consider the basic Power Attack. Yes you can descirbe it as swinging your sword really hard but it is also just as easy to describe it as ignoring the easy hits in favor of striking only at the vital organs. Or how about the Improved Critical feat? That is almost always described as striking for vital organs.

IME players catch on prety fast to how important it is to ambush/not be ambushed in Conan. You see the sort of pain that a charging, power attacking nomad can inflict on a DV 10 flat-footed opponent and you say to yourself - "self, its best we don't get suprised by anybody in this world."

Later.
 

Valaryc

Mongoose
i think i'm on argo's side. there are many many many feats you could explain with "hey...anybody can do it". so i would let it all how it is without sneak attack for free.

by the way...that would downgrade the zingarian racial ability.

if you want to kill people "properly" you have to learn it from a pro.... so get a few pirate or better thief levels :)
 

Sven

Mongoose
argo said:
Well, I suppose that since you propose giving everybody the ability it is, by deffinition, balanced. Though I will point out that although Thief's won't mind this much with their high sneak-attack progression Pirates, with thier slow progression, with be significantly weaker for this change.

However, I feel a need to quibble with you over your basic preposition
I think the ability to strike vital parts of an enemy who lets his guard down should a thing which everyone could make, not just thiefs and pirates and temptresses.

What in the world makes you think everyone can't do this now? Yes, a sneak attack is defined as striking at a particularly vulneurable/vital location but that by no means implies that it is the only ability to do so.

Consider the basic Power Attack. Yes you can descirbe it as swinging your sword really hard but it is also just as easy to describe it as ignoring the easy hits in favor of striking only at the vital organs. Or how about the Improved Critical feat? That is almost always described as striking for vital organs.

IME players catch on prety fast to how important it is to ambush/not be ambushed in Conan. You see the sort of pain that a charging, power attacking nomad can inflict on a DV 10 flat-footed opponent and you say to yourself - "self, its best we don't get suprised by anybody in this world."

Later.
The problem is this:

Thanks to the Dabbler Feat it is even possible for a soldier to learn some (very) basic sorcery and cast a spell once a month. But the mystical powers of the Sneak Attack are only available for Hyborias Fallen, and for no one else. And many people have problems with the powerful damage value of the Sneak Attack on high Thief levels compared to the abilities of classes like the soldier or the barbarian. Even with power attack the can seldom reach this huge amount of damage. The idea of the Sneak Strike is to balance this a little bit out.

Even I could attack someone from behind and would hit him usually worse then usual because he is not aware of the attack and I have the chance to hit him were it hurts. (And I'm a student, not a thief, so to speak :D )

Valaryc said:
i think i'm on argo's side. there are many many many feats you could explain with "hey...anybody can do it". so i would let it all how it is without sneak attack for free.

by the way...that would downgrade the zingarian racial ability.

if you want to kill people "properly" you have to learn it from a pro.... so get a few pirate or better thief levels :)

It does not downgrade the racial ability of the Zingarans. They have the advantage to take Feats like Light-Footed or Sneak Subdual at level 1 or 2, while other races could take these only after selecting the Feat "Improved Sneak Strike" (as described) which is available when they have Base Attack +4 or higher.
 

arnon

Mongoose
I agree that Sneak Attack shouldn't be for everyone. Sure if someone got his back to you and you hit him it'll hurt but you might not hit a good spot.

Thanks to the Dabbler Feat it is even possible for a soldier to learn some (very) basic sorcery

On the same token, why not just make a feat, something like this:

Sneaky Strike (or whatever) [General, Soldier]

Prerequisites: Bab +1

Benefits: You gain the Sneak Attack ability like the Thief or Pirate, dealing an extra 1d6 points of damage when target is flatfooted, etc. etc. Note that this does not stack with any other Sneak Attack gained from any kind of special class or racial ability.


arnon
 

Daz

Mongoose
What I'd do for this (if you have your heart set on it) is simply cap your total sneak attack damage (not including racial) at whatever a straight-thief would have at your level, that way pirates and multi-class thieves can take advantage of it as well.
 
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