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bbugg
2010-02-26, 01:50 PM
Questions about ranged sneak attacks...

As I understand it, you can apply sneak attack damage if:
a - the target is denied its dex bonus to AC, or
b - you flank the target

If you're using a ranged weapon, you don't threaten anyone, so you can't flank them. That means, you can only get the bonus if they're denied their dex to AC. Seems like it wouldn't happen all that often... Does that sort of gimp a a ranged rogue?

Another question - if my two friends are flanking a baddie 20ft from me, is he considered flanked for my attack also, or just their attacks? Or, in melee terms, if my friends are on the right and left sides of a bad guy, then they flank him. If I'm directly in front of the same bad guy, am I flanking him too? There's nobody on the opposite side, so I'd think technically I'm not. However, he's certainly distracted enough that I'd rule him flanked!

Any other thoughts about ranged sneak attack damage and/or flanking??
Thanks a lot!

magic9mushroom
2010-02-26, 01:53 PM
Questions about ranged sneak attacks...

As I understand it, you can apply sneak attack damage if:
a - the target is denied its dex bonus to AC, or
b - you flank the target

If you're using a ranged weapon, you don't threaten anyone, so you can't flank them. That means, you can only get the bonus if they're denied their dex to AC. Seems like it wouldn't happen all that often... Does that sort of gimp a a ranged rogue?

Another question - if my two friends are flanking a baddie 20ft from me, is he considered flanked for my attack also, or just their attacks? Or, in melee terms, if my friends are on the right and left sides of a bad guy, then they flank him. If I'm directly in front of the same bad guy, am I flanking him too? There's nobody on the opposite side, so I'd think technically I'm not. However, he's certainly distracted enough that I'd rule him flanked!

Any other thoughts about ranged sneak attack damage and/or flanking??
Thanks a lot!

Yes, you have to make them lose Dex to AC. No, this isn't all that hard, given that the range allows you to attack from outside the range at which they can see you.

Beelzebub1111
2010-02-26, 01:56 PM
Yes, you have to make them lose Dex to AC. No, this isn't all that hard, given that the range allows you to attack from outside the range at which they can see you.

Well you do have to be within 30 ft. but you also should focus on improving your initiative as much as you can.

Quirp
2010-02-26, 01:56 PM
For your flanking question: no, he is not flanked for you. The flanking rules and some neat examples are in the PHB.
If your opponents do not have 5 ranks in balance a well placed Grease or marbles can do the trick (UMD+wand of Grease=a good idea for every rogue)

tyckspoon
2010-02-26, 01:57 PM
You can also deny Dex by attacking from total concealment, such as acquired with a very good Hide check (and usually some form of Hide In Plain Sight), attacking from invisibility, or Blinking. You can also blind your opponents for the same effect.

It's near-impossible to flank somebody from outside your melee threat range. I think there's an ACF or two that does it for a couple of classes, but other than that there is no way for a ranged attacker to benefit from a flanking bonus.

Douglas
2010-02-26, 01:58 PM
Yes, ranged weaponry is usually a bad choice for rogues for this exact reason.

No, having your buddies flank for you doesn't count. You have to be one of the flankers.

Eldariel
2010-02-26, 02:00 PM
How to SA at range:
- Use Invisibility, Blinking (Ring of Blinking), Hide+Move Silently+Darkstalker [LoM]+HiPS or similar to maintain ability to Sneak Attack at range constantly.
- Remember that characters that have not yet acted in the combat are Flat-Footed. Sneak Attackable.
- Characters Balancing without at least 5 ranks in Balance are treated as Flat-Footed. Nothing in Monster Manual has those ranks IIRC. Grease-spell is a Rogue's best friend, and a fairly good Wand to pick up once you can afford 1st level Wanded spells and have Use Magic Device to activate them. Marbles [Arms & Equipment Guide] as a 1 silver piece equipment that enables making people Balance.
- There are ways to threaten with a bow, such as Peerless Archer's [Silver Marches] Threaten-ability, Arrow Mind-spell [Spell Compendium] or the Ranged Threat-feat [DR350]. Do note though that as these require being really close, they tend to remove the primary advantage a bow has and thus are subpar.


And no, people aren't considered Flanked for ranged attacks, only for the melee attackers actually doing the flanking. A melee attacker not in flanking position compared to the other two wouldn't gain flanking-benefits either.

Some abilities (notably one of Tome of Battle School Feats) enable your allies to consider people flanked without limitations though. But those are always specifically spelled out, and rare.


Oh, and note: Crossbow Sniper-feat [PHBII] increases your Sneak Attack-range to 60' with Crossbows. Sniper's Shot-spell [Spell Compendium] removes range caps on Sneak Attack.

Finally, you may want to peruse Rules of the Game: All About Sneak Attacks (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20040217a) if you find them confusing. Do note that if opponent has e.g. Concealment from you, you cannot Sneak Attack them.

Curmudgeon
2010-02-26, 02:05 PM
Ranged sneak attack is extremely important at the beginning of almost every battle.
A high Spot check means you probably won't be surprised. You get to apply sneak attack on the surprise round.
A high initiative means you'll get a full round of attacks before most foes have acted yet. You get to apply sneak attack against all such flat-footed targets.
After that, Use Magic Device and a wand of Greater Invisibility are your friends.

bbugg
2010-02-26, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the quick answers!

This is actually for an Iron Heroes game, so it's very low magic. Most of the 3.5 rules still apply though. There's an archer (class) in the party who's taking feats to qualify for sneak attack damage (same wording as in the PHB). It just seems it will be infrequently used to me... He may get a few shots off in the first round, but after that it'd be difficult.

Do you think it would be unbalanced if I ruled that you get SA damage if you are attacking an opponent who is engaged in melee with an ally and you're on the opposite side? I would not give the flanking bonus to either player. My logic is that the SA damage represents the fact that you can aim more carefully when your opponent is engaged and not paying full attention to you. This would apply in this case... Otherwise, there really isn't a good way to increase ranged damage output...

A little more info, hidden from my party. KEVIN -DON'T READ THIS!

The party is about to come up against a whole bunch of low level SA capable baddies - this might make them more of a threat too. I apply rules evenly to both sides...

Frosty
2010-02-26, 02:26 PM
Haley is indeed unoptimized.

Eldariel
2010-02-26, 02:50 PM
You could offer the Wilderness Rogue (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rogueVariantWilderness Rogue) variant that gets Camouflage on level 10 and Hide in Plain Sight on level 13; that will enable him to Hide practically anywhere.

Combined with Darkstalker, that's a completely non-magical way to pretty much always get your SAs as long as an opponent doesn't actually beat your Hide-check. Of course, being level 13, it's a long time before that solves anything. And that's the fastest way to gain non-magical HiPS as far as I know.


@The suggested houserule: No, it wouldn't really be a problem. It may be just fine, actually. Older editions with facing (one of the dumbest exclusions in 3.5, btw) Sneak Attack was Backstab and thus worked pretty much exactly like that, and it never broke anything (though it did deal insane damage for the game).

LichPrinceAlim
2010-02-26, 02:54 PM
My fave Sneak Attack from a mile away is:

Dark Wild Elf (+1LA)
Wilderness Rogue/Warlock/Spellwarp Sniper

Eldariel
2010-02-26, 03:02 PM
My fave Sneak Attack from a mile away is:

Dark Wild Elf (+1LA)
Wilderness Rogue/Warlock/Spellwarp Sniper

I vastly prefer Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer 10/X 5. Persists all the Sniper's Shot/Guided Shot/Golemstrike-line things, casts Hunter's Eye, has unlimited range with about 20d6 crits on every hit, and can crit most things (without Greater Fortifications; that needs to be Dispelled first). Hell, Arcane Disciple and Metamagic School Focus Persist Divine Power and you'll be a damn good archer too. And with all the persisting, the final 5 levels may just as well involve Incantatrix 3 to Persist stuff.

Runestar
2010-02-26, 07:07 PM
Have the wizard blind them with glitterdust. :smallbiggrin:

ericgrau
2010-02-26, 07:19 PM
Triggers:
Get a surprise round
Go before any monster in round 1 (even after a surprise round)
Grease
Glitterdust
[Greater] invisibility (from the spell or be a pixie)
Ring of blinking
Start range for the free round 1 sneak attacks, then switch to melee
Get an ally to grapple the monster (requires improved precise shot)
Get an ally to stunning fist
Get an ally to paralyze the monster (you kill him to keep him from getting a save next round)
Hide in plain sight <shudder>

Um... I'm sure there's more. Point is denying dex is extremely common. You just need to go find a method and use it.

Curmudgeon
2010-02-26, 08:16 PM
Go before any monster in round 1 (even after a surprise round)
That's optimal, of course, but hardly necessary. The advantage of having a ranged weapon is that you don't have to beat all opponents' initiatives; you can simply choose opponents who haven't acted yet. That's the big advantage of a ranged weapon over melee combat: you're not committed to fighting just the opponents in reach. And if your first shot doesn't seem to do much damage (maybe they've got Uncanny Dodge), you can pick other targets for subsequent shots. Ranged beats melee twice over here: you don't have to forfeit a full attack chance by closing, and you can adjust targets if your first choice was poor.

Frosty
2010-02-26, 09:26 PM
You don't get a full-attack on the surprise round. Standard or move action only. Manyshot will work though.

Runestar
2010-02-26, 09:30 PM
You don't get a full-attack on the surprise round. Standard or move action only. Manyshot will work though.

Or even better, use greater manyshot. You can apply sneak attack to all arrows fired, even if they target the same foe. :smallbiggrin:

Splendor
2010-02-27, 10:30 AM
Deadeye Shot (PHB 2 pg 78) is also a good feat to take for ranged sneak attack. "If you ready a ranged attack to occur when an ally strikes a particular target, and your ally succeeds, that target loses his Dexterity bonus to AC against your attack."

Eloel
2010-02-27, 10:47 AM
You don't get a full-attack on the surprise round. Standard or move action only. Manyshot will work though.

Not if you don't know how to get it.
Pounce & partial charge gives you your full-attack, so does a +move action from Belt of Battle.

PhoenixRivers
2010-02-27, 11:15 AM
Not if you don't know how to get it.
Pounce & partial charge gives you your full-attack, so does a +move action from Belt of Battle.

+move won't do it.

Nothing in belt of battle's text suggests that the action it grants can be combined or seperated.

1 charge is a move action. Take one.
2 charges is a standard action. Take one.
3 charges is a full round action. Take one.

Nothing in the text indicates that you can burn 3 charges to take a move and a standard. You get a full round action. Not 2 lesser actions.

Eloel
2010-02-27, 11:17 AM
+move won't do it.

Nothing in belt of battle's text suggests that the action it grants can be combined or seperated.

1 charge is a move action. Take one.
2 charges is a standard action. Take one.
3 charges is a full round action. Take one.

Nothing in the text indicates that you can burn 3 charges to take a move and a standard. You get a full round action. Not 2 lesser actions.

A fullround action is a standard + a move action.
If you have a standard, and add a move, you get a fullround action.
I fail to see the problem here.

ericgrau
2010-02-27, 11:53 AM
You don't get a full-attack on the surprise round. Standard or move action only. Manyshot will work though.

Ya but an extra shot is an extra shot. Which you can follow up with a full round sneak attacks in round 1. You only get sneak attack on 1 shot out of a volley, so manyshot still only gives 1 sneak attack if it hits at all. Greater manyshot OTOH fixes this.

Hawk7915
2010-02-27, 12:26 PM
It relies on another member of the party to do a huge favor to the rogue, but one thing that might work is to have a party ranger give up his animal companion in favor of "distracting attack" from PH2, which makes any enemy the ranger hits be considered flanked until it is hit again (or the ranger's turn comes back around). Have the rogue delay to after the ranger and just shoot whatever the ranger hit...we used this tactic to great effect in our hideously unoptimized, low-magic Steampunk campaign :smallbiggrin:.

Yucca
2010-02-27, 01:00 PM
The "sneaky shot" ranged attack trick from the Master Thrower PrC lets you deny a target's Dex-bonus if you win a slight of hand vs spot opposed skill check. It takes your move action, so you can't full-attack, but you can still use manyshot.

Fizban
2010-02-27, 02:23 PM
Just wanted to point out: a standard Wand of Grease is actually pretty dang useless for a rogue. Duration 1 round means that they aren't balancing anymore by the time you can attack them. You'd need at least 3 or 4 rounds to make the action worthwhile, and that means 3 or 4 times the price.

ericgrau
2010-02-27, 03:07 PM
Ya better to either have either allies cast the spells or find another source. Like be a pixie, beat anything's initiative, etc. Other than wands of acid splash for easier surprise round hits, UMD doesn't get you very far here.

Pluto
2010-02-27, 03:15 PM
Ya better to either have either allies cast the spells or find another source. Like be a pixie, beat anything's initiative, etc. Other than wands of acid splash for easier surprise round hits, UMD doesn't get you very far here.

Nerveskitter! Summon Nature's Ally! Blink! Greater Invisibility! Black Tentacles!

Curmudgeon
2010-02-27, 03:17 PM
Just wanted to point out: a standard Wand of Grease is actually pretty dang useless for a rogue. Duration 1 round means that they aren't balancing anymore by the time you can attack them. You'd need at least 3 or 4 rounds to make the action worthwhile, and that means 3 or 4 times the price.
More. really. What you'd really like is a wand of Grease with Widen Spell preapplied (which makes it a 4th level spell), and appropriate caster level (7) for full combat duration. Hitting 4 times the number of squares lets you trigger the wand once to cover a bunch of enemies, and then get on with the combat.

ericgrau
2010-02-27, 03:18 PM
^ EDIT: Also too expensive. A wand of a level 4 spell is 21,000 gp. By the time you get it (without seriously gimping your character from the expense), half the enemies are flying or have balance or some such.


Nerveskitter! Summon Nature's Ally! Blink! Greater Invisibility! Black Tentacles!
Immediate action so you still have time for something else. Dies too easily and 1 round casting time when surprise round is only a standard action. Too expensive. Too expensive. Too expensive.

Get a ring of blink at high levels, have allies cast the last 2 and grease. Nerveskitter is okay but as pointed out you're bound to beat something's initiative even without a boost.

Pluto
2010-02-27, 04:38 PM
Immediate action so you still have time for something else. Dies too easily and 1 round casting time when surprise round is only a standard action. Too expensive. Too expensive. Too expensive.You play a different game than I do.


Anyway, if you have a spellcaster doing the Batman/Support thing, you should have sneak attack nearly every round. That's what Sculpted Greases, Glitterdusts, Tentacles, summons, etc. do.

Runestar
2010-02-27, 07:02 PM
It relies on another member of the party to do a huge favor to the rogue, but one thing that might work is to have a party ranger give up his animal companion in favor of "distracting attack" from PH2, which makes any enemy the ranger hits be considered flanked until it is hit again (or the ranger's turn comes back around). Have the rogue delay to after the ranger and just shoot whatever the ranger hit...we used this tactic to great effect in our hideously unoptimized, low-magic Steampunk campaign .

You can't threaten with a ranged weapon, so the rogue won't get any benefit there.

Greenish
2010-02-27, 07:15 PM
You can't threaten with a ranged weapon, so the rogue won't get any benefit there.Distracting Attack causes the target to be considered flanked "for the purposes of adjucating your allies' attacks." It specifically mentions that rogues can use their Sneak Attack on such targets.

It only lasts until your allies attack though, so the rogue will only get one sneak attack.

Runestar
2010-02-27, 07:31 PM
Distracting Attack causes the target to be considered flanked "for the purposes of adjucating your allies' attacks." It specifically mentions that rogues can use their Sneak Attack on such targets.

It only lasts until your allies attack though, so the rogue will only get one sneak attack.

To be more precise, it mentions rogues may add their SA on melee attacks, so I assume the rogue in question must still be in a position to threaten the foe.

Distracting attack simply lets the ranger be treated as flanking the foe from whatever position his party deems most convenient. It does not lift the normal limitations on flanking, such as you actually needing to threaten and flank the foe yourself.

So still no ranged SA for the rogue. Next best thing might be telling blow, though the chances are fairly low. :smallyuk:

Greenish
2010-02-27, 07:38 PM
To be more precise, it mentions rogues may add their SA on melee attacks, so I assume the rogue in question must still be in a position to threaten the foe.Hmm, Crystal Keep list omitted that, my bad.

Distracting attack simply lets the ranger be treated as flanking the foe from whatever position his party deems most convenient. It does not lift the normal limitations on flanking, such as you actually needing to threaten and flank the foe yourself.Are we even talking about the same ability? :smallconfused:

The version up in Crystal Keep (http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf) (p. 94) lets your allies consider an enemy you have attacked as flanked.

Runestar
2010-02-27, 07:47 PM
Are we even talking about the same ability?

The version up in Crystal Keep (p. 94) lets your allies consider an enemy you have attacked as flanked.

To paraphrase the ability from the book (because I believe copyright rules prevent me from reproducing the entry in its entirety), it makes a foe hit by distracting attack be treated as being flanked by the ranger.

Because flanking a foe typically requires at least 2 PCs, you will still need another player flanking the foe to get the desired benefit, and even then, the benefits of flanking would still apply only to those doing the flanking, IMO.

If anyone thinks any of our interpretations is incorrect, please feel free to jump right in. :smallsmile:

Greenish
2010-02-27, 08:13 PM
To paraphrase the ability from the book (because I believe copyright rules prevent me from reproducing the entry in its entirety), it makes a foe hit by distracting attack be treated as being flanked by the ranger.On rereading the description, it appears that you're correct. Meh, so much for that, then.

Raltar
2010-02-27, 08:24 PM
Master Thrower's sneaky shot should help you in getting ranged sneak attacks. Doesn't help with a bow, of course. At least, I don't think it helps with a bow since the class is focused on throwing things, not shooting things.

Curmudgeon
2010-02-27, 08:27 PM
As a rule of thumb, it's extremely hard to flank someone without being in melee combat. It would take something like the Distracting Attack ACF from a Ranger character, plus the Ranged Threat feat (Dragon # 350, page 90) for your Rogue, and that only works within 15'. Possible, but so difficult that you might as well state that it's really not, for all practical purposes.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-02-27, 08:36 PM
Swift Hunter build works well, because it uses Skirmish instead of Sneak Attack. With Improved Manyshot, it is quite a monster ranged damage output build, particularly since it lets you to apply precision-based damage on favored enemies, and advances favored enemies. So it is perfectly viable to choose Undead, Constructs, Plants, Oozes, and Elementals as your favored enemies, and just about guarantee precision-based damage on every opponent you run across.

Sophismata
2010-02-27, 10:28 PM
A fullround action is a standard + a move action.

Sadly, that's not true. There is nothing to suggest that you can "trade in" a Standard plus Move for a Full-Round action.

PhoenixRivers
2010-02-27, 10:37 PM
A fullround action is a standard + a move action.
If you have a standard, and add a move, you get a fullround action.
I fail to see the problem here.

Not quite.



Action Types

An actionís type essentially tells you how long the action takes to perform (within the framework of the 6-second combat round) and how movement is treated. There are six types of actions: standard actions, move actions, full-round actions, free actions, swift actions, and immediate actions.

In a normal round, you can perform a standard action and a move action, or you can perform a full-round action. You can also perform one or more free actions. You can always take a move action in place of a standard action.

In some situations (such as in a surprise round), you may be limited to taking only a single move action or standard action.
The rule states that you may take a move action in place of a standard. However, it does not state that Full-Round actions are interchangeable with Move+Standard. Only that in a standard round, you may choose between the two.

That doesn't give you the ability to combine them in other ways, outside of the normal choice you have for your actions.