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View Full Version : What can the caster thief get away with? Sneak attack spells.



Olethros
2007-02-27, 02:20 PM
So there has been talk, at great length, about sneak attack and spell casting. Sneak Attack damage can be applied to any spell that requires an attack role, and results in normal damage, ability damage, or energy drain.

My question to the group is; how do you interpret the difference between the wording ability drain, and ability damage and, given that the sneak attack damage always results in negative energy damage from spells that would reduce ability scores or lvls anyway, is it a game balance problem to interpret ability drain as ability damage?

For my money, ability drain is ability damage. I have no problem letting my wis-rouge toss the sneak attack die in with the con drain, especially since it will not be additional points of con loss.

oriong
2007-02-27, 02:23 PM
No, Ability drain is not ability damage, whether you feel like allowing sneak attack along with it is probably fairly irrellevant, but the two abilities are very different.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-27, 02:26 PM
Damage heals. Drain doesn't.

Olethros
2007-02-27, 02:37 PM
I realise the very different mechanics of recovering from the ability loss. But the point is that both damage types cause the loss of ability points, through the aplication of negative energy in the case of spells (atleast thats the most common).

Im asking, is there a good reason that a spell that perminently removes ability points would not allow sneak attack but one you can heal from does?

Fax Celestis
2007-02-27, 02:46 PM
I realise the very different mechanics of recovering from the ability loss. But the point is that both damage types cause the loss of ability points, through the aplication of negative energy in the case of spells (atleast thats the most common).

Im asking, is there a good reason that a spell that perminently removes ability points would not allow sneak attack but one you can heal from does?

Er. Mechanically, it's a simplicity issue (ironically), so that the main rule is, "If it deals damage and has an attack roll, you can sneak attack with it". Drain, not being damage, doesn't apply.

As for would it be terribly unbalancing to let it apply? Not particularly.

Douglas
2007-02-27, 03:00 PM
RAW, ability drain and ability damage are two different things and only the latter qualifies for weaponlike spells. Balance-wise for house rules, I don't think adding drain to the list would be a problem, but it's up to the DM.

Indon
2007-02-27, 04:22 PM
Damage heals. Drain doesn't.

This made me think of a little quirk.

Say you have a negative-energy being that is somehow sneak-attackable (I think there's a cleric spell which can grant the ability to sneak attack undead somewhere, for instance...) hit him with a negative-energy attack. Sneak Attack would actually increase the healing that creature recieves from the attack.

Yet, convert Cure Light Wounds into a ray and it wouldn't do sneak-healing, but it _would_ do sneak attack damage against something harmable by healing spells.

...I think? I can't think of anything damaged by positive energy that can be sneak-attacked. Heck, maybe that's the metagame reason undead can't be sneak attacked in the first place.

SpiderBrigade
2007-02-27, 05:50 PM
Indon, there was a whooole long thread about this exact issue, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't actually work. There's a difference between "negative energy damage in general" and the Inflict spells. Undead and certain other creatures are listed as being healed by Inflict spells, not any negative energy damage.

Douglas
2007-02-27, 07:03 PM
Undead type, 6th bullet under traits: Negative energy (such as an inflict spell) can heal undead creatures. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#undeadType)

The "such as" is a pretty clear indication to me that Inflict spells are just one example of the general rule.

JaronK
2007-02-28, 02:40 AM
I believe a later ruling stated that sneak attacks can only add damage. If you sneak attack with a heal spell, you can do positive energy damage to a living target, and it will hurt them.

JaronK

Pocket lint
2007-02-28, 04:55 AM
Too bad you can't "sneak attack heal" your buddies then...

Yuki Akuma
2007-02-28, 05:31 AM
Undead can be damaged by negative energy damage. People can be damaged by positive energy damage.

Cure and Inflict spells are special.

And if you could "sneak attack heal", you'd deal positive energy damage to your friends... which would defeat the point of a healing spell.

Indon
2007-02-28, 12:23 PM
Undead can be damaged by negative energy damage. People can be damaged by positive energy damage.

Cure and [/i]Inflict[/i] spells are special.

And if you could "sneak attack heal", you'd deal positive energy damage to your friends... which would defeat the point of a healing spell.

Now, when a character is hit with a spell, they have the option to autofail their saving throw, knowing what the spell will do... would that include sneak attack damage?

Because I'm envisioning cleric/rogues with reach spell blasting people who voluntarily fail their save, thinking they'll be healed...

Lapak
2007-02-28, 12:27 PM
Now, when a character is hit with a spell, they have the option to autofail their saving throw, knowing what the spell will do... would that include sneak attack damage?

Because I'm envisioning cleric/rogues with reach spell blasting people who voluntarily fail their save, thinking they'll be healed...The combination of 'sneak attack' and 'aware target' is throwing me, there.

Indon
2007-02-28, 12:36 PM
The combination of 'sneak attack' and 'aware target' is throwing me, there.

When you're hit with a spell, even surprised with it or otherwise have never seen it before, your character is aware generally of what it would do if they failed to resist the spell. This is in order to give people a realistic option to resist spells, and to keep clerics from being all "Hey, I'mma heal you now." *SLAY LIVING!* and deny the target a save because he _thought_ he was being healed.

'Least, that's how I recall spell saving throws as working.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-28, 12:38 PM
When you're hit with a spell, even surprised with it or otherwise have never seen it before, your character is aware generally of what it would do if they failed to resist the spell. This is in order to give people a realistic option to resist spells, and to keep clerics from being all "Hey, I'mma heal you now." *SLAY LIVING!* and deny the target a save because he _thought_ he was being healed.

'Least, that's how I recall spell saving throws as working.

Uh, no, that's how SPELLCRAFT works.


Spellcraft (Int; Trained Only)
Use this skill to identify spells as they are cast or spells already in place.

Check
You can identify spells and magic effects. The DCs for Spellcraft checks relating to various tasks are summarized on the table below.

15 + spell level | Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spellís verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.

Indon
2007-02-28, 12:41 PM
So nothing prevents someone from getting a spell through without a save if they convince the target it's a different, harmless spell, Fax?

Fax Celestis
2007-02-28, 12:47 PM
So nothing prevents someone from getting a spell through without a save if they convince the target it's a different, harmless spell, Fax?

Just a contested Bluff/Sense Motive.

Indon
2007-02-28, 12:57 PM
Just a contested Bluff/Sense Motive.

Oh, I see. I was thinking of the part where it says that when something _makes_ a save against a spell, they become aware that they did so.

I have an interesting concept for a caster now...

Lapak
2007-02-28, 01:07 PM
Incidentally, I don't have any problem with sneak attacks doing more damage and sneak healing doing zip.

Sneak Attack with, say, Inflict Light Wounds might mean that I'm targeting a vulnerable point - channeling negative energy straight to your heart rather than killing a swatch of surface flesh, say.

But healing is already targeted at your injuries; you can't heal the heart if it isn't already damaged. (It wouldn't do any good, anyway.) So the healing is as effective as it can be, no more and no less.