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thereaper
2008-07-05, 01:13 PM
So, there's been a few threads comparing the Fighter and Paladin. I've thumbed through the PHB a bit for the strikers, but it's not immediately obvious to me what the relative pros and cons of each is.

So, for the less number-crunchingly-inclined among us, comes this thread for the experts to spell it out for us with big bold letters. It begins...

(wait for it)



...NOW!!!

kieza
2008-07-05, 03:51 PM
Well, all Strikers are meant to deal lots of damage, stay out of the front lines, and be very mobile. The three classes do this in different ways that support slightly different styles:

Ranger: Damage bonus to a chosen target, More attacks than other classes (A lot of powers have multiple attacks, secondary attacks, etc.), bonus to AC against opportunity attacks that allows you to move without worrying as much. Good against normal enemies, since they can affect multiple targets in a round

Rogue: Damage bonus from combat advantage (harder to get than Hunter's Quarry/Curse, but more damage), lots of powers that let you move or force movement, lots of shifting powers like Tumble that let you move without taking OAs. Good against tough enemies, since their high damage can be overkill on normal ones, and at moving into and out of the enemy ranks.

Warlock: Damage bonus from Curse (weaker than Quarry/Sneak attack, but you can choose targets and get multiple Curses easily), concealment whenever you move 3 squares, lots of teleportation that doesn't provoke OAs. Good at hit-and run tactics and escaping combat.

Charity
2008-07-05, 04:22 PM
Damagewise (which is the strikes shtick)
I belive it goes Rogue > Ranger > Warlock
However Warlocks find it easier to defend themselves, and can lay some nasty effects on the enemy, the Ranger has good defensive capabilities and is the most adaptable. Rogues are short range and melee but can hit very regularly and can really put the hurt on.

Saph
2008-07-05, 04:48 PM
I haven't crunched the numbers, but I'm pretty sure the StealthCheese (TM) Rogue build comes out highest in terms of damage.

Take Deft Strike and Sly Flourish for your at-wills, and grab the Backstabber feat at level 1. Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance, and you should be able to get Sneak Attack on practically every strike. Either hide behind an ally and use Sly Flourish to shoot them, or if you can flank use Deft Strike for an 80% to 90% hit rate.

Kind of a one-trick pony, but effective. As you level up, add Fleeting Ghost, Chameleon, and Stealth-boosting feats and items to make your character outrageously difficult to detect.

"The StealthCheese Ninja is nowhere to be seen."
"What do you mean I can't see him! He's five ****ing feet in front of me!"
"The ways of the StealthCheese Ninja are inscrutable."

- Saph

Crow
2008-07-05, 04:52 PM
That is in fact, cheese. How did that make it through playtesting? Frost weapon + wintertouched + lasting frost is pretty good for rogues (or anyone else) too.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-05, 04:59 PM
That is in fact, cheese. How did that make it through playtesting? Frost weapon + wintertouched + lasting frost is pretty good for rogues (or anyone else) too.

I think it probably made it through because anything which relies on operating "without concern for believability or game balance" should be ruled out pretty much automatically.

Stealth Cheese is pretty good, but "hiding" behind an ally is only one step up from the old 3.X "Tower Shield Invisibility" trick (use your tower shield for cover, hide, concealing yourself and all your gear including, of course, your Tower Shield).

Crow
2008-07-05, 05:02 PM
I think it probably made it through because anything which relies on operating "without concern for believability or game balance" should be ruled out pretty much automatically.

Stealth Cheese is pretty good, but "hiding" behind an ally is only one step up from the old 3.X "Tower Shield Invisibility" trick (use your tower shield for cover, hide, concealing yourself and all your gear including, of course, your Tower Shield).

I hate RAW vs. RAI.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-05, 05:06 PM
I hate RAW vs. RAI.

That's fair. All I care about is RAIaDMIT: Rules As I as DM Interpret Them.

Strict adherence to RAW is always stupid, in any game (there's a famous example from Shadowrun in which somebody tried to wear a cardboard box as armour, on the grounds that it should block line of sight and make them effectively invulnerable.

Edea
2008-07-05, 05:49 PM
Or, as another houserule, simply ramp up enemy Perception mods by 10 points across the board. I have -ZERO- idea why they're so crappy on a per-level basis, but that's a large part of the exploit.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-05, 06:22 PM
I think it probably made it through because anything which relies on operating "without concern for believability or game balance" should be ruled out pretty much automatically.

Of course not.

Players should not have to concern themselves with game balance, since it is a major selling point that 4E is so extremely well balanced. Furthermore, players should not have to concern themselves with believability either, since the whole point of 4E is to be cinematic and quick to play, rather than purely realistic.

What Saph suggests is simply one of the default rogue builds in the very first player's handbook. You can't seriously suggest that should be ruled out.

SeraphKast
2008-07-05, 06:58 PM
As to the rogue question, they still have to be concealed/covered. I personally wouldn't allow allies to count for that, but anything else is intended. Mike Mearls came out and made a post stating that they expect rogues to have CA on almost every round, and it doesn't get much more official about intent than a designer. The question about warlocks being able to hide in plain sight is something else entirely, but I doubt it was supposed to work like the way people are abusing it.

Back on topic: Rangers are highly mobile and have very high 1-2 target damage. Ranged ones have the best reach in the game, while melee ones have quite a few close burst powers.

Rogues are sneakiest, pretty mobile, and have the best chances to hit along with damage on par/slightly less than rangers. The also have more attacks that target defenses other than AC than rangers, and can be very effective ranged attackers as well.

Warlocks are almost entire ranged and almost exclusively target non-AC defenses. The have a good number of defensive powers, but lack the damage of the other two strikers. Making up for that is the sheer number of status effects they can inflict, making them almost mini-controllers. They're less mobile in some respects, but do have a fair number of teleport powers.

Orzel
2008-07-05, 07:33 PM
Rogues are huge damage dealers. They set up and kill their foes.
Rangers are reliable damage dealers. They grind out good damage with low risk.
Warlocks are versatile damage dealers. They take a target out the fight with many methods.

SCPRedMage
2008-07-05, 07:46 PM
Stealth Cheese is pretty good, but "hiding" behind an ally is only one step up from the old 3.X "Tower Shield Invisibility" trick (use your tower shield for cover, hide, concealing yourself and all your gear including, of course, your Tower Shield).
Does your tower shield have cover? If someone were to attempt to sunder it, would the shield get a cover bonus? No? Then how can you hide it?

Seriously, this isn't a problem with RAW. It's a problem with how people UNDERSTAND RAW.

For anything to be hidden, it needs cover or concealment. A tower shield can grant YOU cover, but it can't grant ITSELF cover.

Vortling
2008-07-05, 07:58 PM
Actually, could someone explain to me what all the rogue stealth at-will utilities do? I've read them over and it really seems like they either overlap completely or do nothing at all.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-05, 08:00 PM
Does your tower shield have cover? If someone were to attempt to sunder it, would the shield get a cover bonus? No? Then how can you hide it?

Seriously, this isn't a problem with RAW. It's a problem with how people UNDERSTAND RAW.

For anything to be hidden, it needs cover or concealment. A tower shield can grant YOU cover, but it can't grant ITSELF cover.

But when you hide all your gear goes with you, not "all your gear that isn't giving cover."

SCPRedMage
2008-07-05, 08:15 PM
But when you hide all your gear goes with you, not "all your gear that isn't giving cover."
Your gear is hidden because it, too, has cover. Except the tower shield. The tower shield DOESN'T have cover, but everything ELSE you have DOES.

Bottom line: no cover/concealment, no cover. Tower shield can't grant itself cover, then it can't be hidden by virtue of it granting YOU cover.

Any claims otherwise are flawed logic.

EDIT: If it helps any, think of the tower shield as a piece of scenery you can move around. You could hide under a table, but you couldn't hide the table by holding onto it while you hide under it. Same principle.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-05, 08:22 PM
Actually, could someone explain to me what all the rogue stealth at-will utilities do? I've read them over and it really seems like they either overlap completely or do nothing at all.

Scenario: Start in view, sneak behind a pillar (pillar1), sneak from there to another pillar (pillar2) and kill a guy standing there (guy 1) (burn an action point so this is all in one turn. Trying to cover all cases.). There is an observer (guy 2) not getting killed whose line of sight is blocked by the first and second pillars but clear in the middle. Guy 1 has clear line of sight once you leave the first pillar.

Normal: full move (>2 squares) to get into cover behind pillar1. Stealth check is -5 versus guy 1 and 2.
Full move behind pillar2. Stealth at -5 vs guy 2, guy 1 automatically sees you, no combat advantage. Both guys saw you move between the pillars.
Guy 2 knows you're behind pillar 2, but you have effects of being hidden.

Fleeting Ghost (level 2): Stealth checks are full instead of -5, otherwise no change.

Chameleon (level 6): If you succeed in Stealth moving behind pillar2, Guy 1 does not see you until it's too late. Combat advantage and sneak attack.

Shadow Stride (level 10): after moving between pillar1 and pillar2, Guy 2 still believes you're behind pillar1 (maybe not in this particular example since you killed a guy back there, but in general.) Shadow Stride is completely better than Fleeting Ghost, use your retraining at level 10.

Moving outside of cover normally makes you visible immediately. Thus as far as I know you cannot make melee stealth attacks until level 6 (though you can get combat advantage other ways).

The New Bruceski
2008-07-05, 08:23 PM
Your gear is hidden because it, too, has cover. Except the tower shield. The tower shield DOESN'T have cover, but everything ELSE you have DOES.

Bottom line: no cover/concealment, no cover. Tower shield can't grant itself cover, then it can't be hidden by virtue of it granting YOU cover.

Any claims otherwise are flawed logic.

EDIT: If it helps any, think of the tower shield as a piece of scenery you can move around. You could hide under a table, but you couldn't hide the table by holding onto it while you hide under it. Same principle.
That was the entire nature of the bug in 3.0. I agree that's how it SHOULD have been ruled, but the way it was written that wasn't what happened. It was fixed in 3.5.

JaxGaret
2008-07-05, 09:14 PM
So a Rogue who maxes out stealthiness is pretty darn deadly - what's the problem here?

To think that the anti-4e folks were recently complaining that the Fighter was out-Strikering the Rogue; now the complaint is that the Rogue is still the damage champ. What's the next item on the agenda?

skywalker
2008-07-05, 09:25 PM
As to the rogue question, they still have to be concealed/covered. I personally wouldn't allow allies to count for that,

What if the rogue is a halfling and the ally is a massive dragonborn?

To the original discussion, I've not seen a ranger(nor read its powers, really) but as has been said, the warlock does good damage every turn while the rogue waits and then absolutely owns with CA.

EDIT: Jax, who was complaining?

Collin152
2008-07-05, 09:52 PM
Your gear is hidden because it, too, has cover. Except the tower shield. The tower shield DOESN'T have cover, but everything ELSE you have DOES.

Bottom line: no cover/concealment, no cover. Tower shield can't grant itself cover, then it can't be hidden by virtue of it granting YOU cover.

Any claims otherwise are flawed logic.

EDIT: If it helps any, think of the tower shield as a piece of scenery you can move around. You could hide under a table, but you couldn't hide the table by holding onto it while you hide under it. Same principle.

You do understand what RAW means, don't you?

Eldmor
2008-07-05, 10:27 PM
Rogues are the new glass cannons. When in the right situation, they can ream the ever-living crap out of a baddie. If he survives, he'll probably return the favor. Without support from allies, they fall flat on their face.
Rangers are a solid balance of damage and survivability. If something gets in their face, they can go toe-to-toe (2wep) or reliably retreat (arch). Less reliant on allies, but melee occupying baddies helps a lot.
Warlocks are survivalists. They'll never deal as much damage as the Rogue or Ranger, but they have a shopping list of ways to stay out of trouble. One of the best choices for a low PC party or one that consistently needs their rumps saved.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-05, 10:28 PM
Take Deft Strike and Sly Flourish for your at-wills, and grab the Backstabber feat at level 1. Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance, and you should be able to get Sneak Attack on practically every strike. Either hide behind an ally and use Sly Flourish to shoot them, or if you can flank use Deft Strike for an 80% to 90% hit rate.

This doesn't work at all. Where did you find it? :smallconfused:

You must remain in cover or concealment to become "hidden" (PHB 188). Every time you attack, you become revealed (Ibid). You can only gain cover from your allies when you are the target of a ranged attack (PHB 280) so even if Ready a Stealth Check for when you are the target of a ranged attack, you become revealed as soon as the attack has ended (PHB 188; if you are no longer in cover or concealed, you are immediately revealed).

EDIT: oh right, the OP!

So, Rogues are incredibly reliant on Flanking Buddies since there is no more "improved feint." Note that, without at-will Tumbling, it will be slightly harder for Rogues to move into optimal flanking position with every attack without being open to OAs. That said, they are fairly durable (not glass cannons by a long shot!) but should not ever wander into a melee alone.

Warlocks are single-target beasts. They attack well at range, and depending on your Pact Choice, are either decent brawlers (Infernal Warlocks getting free temp HP? Score!) or excellent boss snipers (Fey Warlocks can curse & frag minions to drop into the back ranks where they can Curse and Prime Shot the big bad to pieces.) I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with Astral Warlocks... I guess they're team-players, with all their debuffs. I think their Pact Power is by far the worst, though it can work very well if you use them as Mad Scientist Villains (Have 'em curse 20 peasants and then drop them all in lava at the same time - you now have a +20 to a Knowledge Check :smallamused:).

Moving on...

Rangers are the reliable strikers. They get tons of extra attacks, but are only able to use their Quarry once per round, so unless you give 'em big weapons (Dual-Wielding Bastard Swords or Longbows) the extra attacks just aren't going to be that neat. But they will hit nearly every time - which is great if you need some minion-killing machines.

JaxGaret
2008-07-05, 10:33 PM
4e Rogues are the new glass cannons [just like they were in 3e].

Fixed.

Except that they're a bit more survivable in 4e, so they're actually less of a glass cannon now.

huttj509
2008-07-05, 11:08 PM
Fixed.

Except that they're a bit more survivable in 4e, so they're actually less of a glass cannon now.


Pyrex Cannons?

Heavy duty glass cannons?

Corningware Cannons?

Safety Glass Cannons?

What shall the new name be? The world needs to know!

JaxGaret
2008-07-05, 11:13 PM
What shall the new name be? The world needs to know!

Fiberglass cannons?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-05, 11:15 PM
Pyrex Cannons?

Heavy duty glass cannons?

Corningware Cannons?

Safety Glass Cannons?

What shall the new name be? The world needs to know!

Glasswood (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82855) Cannons :smallwink:

I couldn't resist.

mikeejimbo
2008-07-05, 11:18 PM
Plexiglass Cannon?

skywalker
2008-07-05, 11:23 PM
So, Rogues are incredibly reliant on Flanking Buddies since there is no more "improved feint." Note that, without at-will Tumbling, it will be slightly harder for Rogues to move into optimal flanking position with every attack without being open to OAs. There are other ways to get CA, tho. Also, why wouldn't you have a flanking buddy?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-05, 11:32 PM
There are other ways to get CA, tho. Also, why wouldn't you have a flanking buddy?

Yeah, but it's not as easy as it used to be. Invisibility is hard to get or keep, and as soon as you get within clear line-of-sight you lose your "hidden" status. Plus, since Feinting is a Standard Action, it's risky to rely on it as your primary means of getting CA.

What this does mean is that the "Swashbuckler" types are going to rely more on Sly Flourishes and Easy Target to keep CA without Flanking Buddies.

My 3e Streetfighter can make do with a charge into position followed by Improved Feints, so long as he doesn't get hit too hard... or until I decide to swap into Mithril Breastplates or some nonsense :smalltongue:

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-06, 01:02 AM
Strict adherence to RAW is always stupid, in any game (there's a famous example from Shadowrun in which somebody tried to wear a cardboard box as armour, on the grounds that it should block line of sight and make them effectively invulnerable.

Hey, it works in Metal Gear. ::shrug:: But then again, in Metal Gear, NPCs have no memory and can barely see 10 feet ahead.

Foxtale
2008-07-06, 04:43 AM
Well the two strikers in our party are a rogue, and a fey warlock. The warlock's teleporting allows him to get into prime flanking positions with the rogue, while still doing damage with a pact blade and otherwind stride. In terms of armour, I've found the classes pretty close. A wizard or warlock's INT, a rogue's CHA to O.A.s work just as well as heavy armour when piled up with Hide armour.

Saph
2008-07-06, 07:41 AM
This doesn't work at all. Where did you find it? :smallconfused:

Worked it out myself, actually. I was playing the Rogue in the WWD&DGD adventure, we were about to be wiped out, and we needed an edge. Here, I'll explain.


You must remain in cover or concealment to become "hidden" (PHB 188). Every time you attack, you become revealed (Ibid). You can only gain cover from your allies when you are the target of a ranged attack (PHB 280) so even if Ready a Stealth Check for when you are the target of a ranged attack, you become revealed as soon as the attack has ended (PHB 188; if you are no longer in cover or concealed, you are immediately revealed).

PHB 280; "Determining Cover", bottom of page, says:

"To determine if a target has cover, choose a corner of a square you occupy and trace imaginary lines from that corner to every corner of any one square the target occupies. If one or two of those lines are blocked by an obstacle or enemy, the target has cover."

So, if an ally is between me and an enemy, I have cover from the enemy. PHB 280 also says "your allies never grant cover to your enemies", so it doesn't have cover from me. Note that nowhere does this say 'you can only gain cover from your allies when you are the target of a ranged attack'.

Now, you're quite right that I'll lose that cover as soon as the enemy gets direct line of sight on me, but that doesn't matter; as soon as I have cover, I make a Stealth check, then shoot the target, breaking stealth but doing Sneak Attack damage. Repeat.

Once you have the level 6 Rogue ability Chameleon, it gets outright ridiculous, because then as long as you can make the Stealth check the enemy can't see you even after you've lost cover or concealment. You can be standing in plain sight five feet away and they can't find you. Hence the 'StealthCheese Ninja' joke.

- Saph

JackMage666
2008-07-06, 08:00 AM
I'm playing a rogue in a Level 11 game, and it's turned out to be wholey effective. It managed to get close to the highest base AC, thanks to it's ridiculously high Dex (it's a High stat game, hits enemies on ever hit (save for 1s of course), and while his HP is low, it's still far from glass (75 HP, when the tanks have roughly 95). All his defenses are pretty good, rivaling all other party members. And of course, he's sneaky and quicker than all the others.

So, I don't think they're nearly as frail as others, but I wouldn't really know considering I haven't tried the others yet. The Warlock in the group seems a bit less effective, though has done some great things with status effects (when he manages to hit).

I will say, though, that a Rogue+Warlord=AWESOME TEAM!

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-06, 09:42 AM
PHB 280; "Determining Cover", bottom of page, says:

"To determine if a target has cover, choose a corner of a square you occupy and trace imaginary lines from that corner to every corner of any one square the target occupies. If one or two of those lines are blocked by an obstacle or enemy, the target has cover."

Don't you think the specific section above it, labeled "Creatures and Cover" might trump that, under the Specific > General Rule?


Creatures and Cover: When you make a ranged attack against an enemy and other enemies are in the way, your target has cover. Your allies never grant cover to your enemies, and neither allies nor enemies give cover against melee, close, or area attacks.

Combine that with PHB 188


Cover or Concealment: Unless a creature is distracted, you must have cover against or concealment from the creature to make a Stealth check. You have to maintain cover or concealment to remain unnoticed. If a creature has unblocked line of sight to you (that is, you lack any cover or concealment), the creature automatically sees you (no Perception
check required).


Once you have the level 6 Rogue ability Chameleon, it gets outright ridiculous, because then as long as you can make the Stealth check the enemy can't see you even after you've lost cover or concealment. You can be standing in plain sight five feet away and they can't find you. Hence the 'StealthCheese Ninja' joke.

Ah, Chameleon.



Trigger: You are hidden and lose cover or concealment against an opponent
Effect: Make a Stealth check. Until the end of your next turn, you remain hidden if a creature that has a clear line of sight to you does not beat your check result with its Perception check. If at the end of your turn you do not have cover or concealment against a creature, that creature automatically notices you.

This works once you are already hidden and lose cover or concealment. If you are out in the open, you must regain cover/concealment and hide first. Then, it passes at the end of your turn if you do not regain cover. This is hardly a "stealthcheese" situation (far less than "Hide in Plain Sight").

And lest you think that ducking behind a convenient piece of cover automatically makes life easier for you, recall that moving more than 2 squares will give you a -5 penalty to your Stealth Check.

Orzel
2008-07-06, 09:56 AM
If I were to give the strikers letter grades based on the many aspects of strikerdom, this would be my findings.

Base Damage: Damage without Striker boosts (sneak attack, quarry, curse)
Rogue: D
Ranger: A
Warlock: B

No one except the fighter can lay a basic beatdown than the ranger. The Warlock uses the big dice (d8, d10) often. The rogue suffers from low damage weapons. Deadly Riposte and Sly flourish help the at wills but the /enc and dailies beg for Combat Adv.

Boosted Damage: Damage with Striker boosts (sneak attack, quarry, curse)
Rogue: A
Ranger: B
Warlock: C

Sneak attack rules. Brutal Scoundrel and Back Stabber make it rule harder. Hunter's quarry is okay and has a booting feat. Warlock curse doesn't get a boost feat.

Pick off: Killing annying lone targets
Rogue: C+
Ranger: A
Warlock: B+

Rangers were made for killing annoying guys with ranged attacks. Quarry and kill. Warlocks can do the same but they kill slower but debuff while they work. Rogue problem No2 is that this setup power are usually 1W weaker than its pure damage powers.

Gang up: Killing a target your allies are targeting
Rogue: A+
Ranger: A
Warlock: C

Flanking. Rogue. Next Category.

Switch Targets: Jumping from target to target.
Rogue: B
Ranger: F
Warlock: A+

Warlock can have everyone cursed eventually if he wanted to. Combined that with ranged and debuffs. A Warlock can help a buddy well. Rangers have that lame 1 quarry thing dragging them behind and their multi target powers are weak.

Accuracy: Ease at hitting.
Rogue: B+
Ranger: B
Warlock: A

Rangers target AC but get many multiple attack and rerolls. Rogues are almost always going for CA. Warlocks can target multiple defenses.

Survivability: Delaying your date with the Raven Queen.
Rogue: B
Ranger: A- or C+
Warlock: A

Well 'locks are safe from melee 75% of the time and the other 25% are controlled. Rogues are a bit squishy but their targets are always marked, prone, dazed, or blind. Archer rangers are out of enemy range and TWF ranger can shift easy but they lack the control for fights in tight areas.

In conclusion, rogue killing their front line. Rangers clobber the back line. Warlock take dangerous people out the fight.

Antacid
2008-07-06, 11:15 AM
Once you have the level 6 Rogue ability Chameleon, it gets outright ridiculous, because then as long as you can make the Stealth check the enemy can't see you even after you've lost cover or concealment. You can be standing in plain sight five feet away and they can't find you. Hence the 'StealthCheese Ninja' joke.

Hey, wait 'till you hear about the way you can one-shot Orcus! :smalltongue:

If your DM lets you get repeated sneak attacks by hiding behind your party members, the problem is not with the rules. Stealth is supposed to be about creating uncertainty about your player's position, it's not a ninja invisibility-crouch-with-damage-bonus. If your DM treats it like one, it's gonna seem like one; that should be a no-brainer.

On a similar note, if you "flank use Deft Strike for an 80% to 90% hit rate" it only unbalances the game when your DM doesn't know how to position monsters so you can't flank without risking an AoO. I'm sure once he/she gets used to the strategy side of battlefield control, that build won't seem as unbalanced.


I'm playing a rogue in a Level 11 game, and it's turned out to be wholey effective. It managed to get close to the highest base AC, thanks to it's ridiculously high Dex (it's a High stat game, hits enemies on ever hit (save for 1s of course), and while his HP is low, it's still far from glass (75 HP, when the tanks have roughly 95). All his defenses are pretty good, rivaling all other party members.
In other words, the DM let you modify the character creation rules and make players with excessively high ability modifiers. Surprisingly, that screwed up the balance.

Obviously a lot of people don't actually play D&D for the game itself; it's solely a framework in which to escape your life and feel badass. Game balance can get in the way of that. But if you're going to do that, why use rules at all?

Saph
2008-07-06, 11:30 AM
Don't you think the specific section above it, labeled "Creatures and Cover" might trump that, under the Specific > General Rule?

It would, but that section only says "Your allies never grant cover to your enemies". If it said, "Your allies never grant cover to or from your enemies", I'd agree, but the way it's been written, allies give you cover, but don't give enemies cover from you. From what I've seen, it seems deliberate, not an oversight.


This works once you are already hidden and lose cover or concealment. If you are out in the open, you must regain cover/concealment and hide first. Then, it passes at the end of your turn if you do not regain cover. This is hardly a "stealthcheese" situation (far less than "Hide in Plain Sight").

And lest you think that ducking behind a convenient piece of cover automatically makes life easier for you, recall that moving more than 2 squares will give you a -5 penalty to your Stealth Check.

Only if you don't have Fleeting Ghost! Level 2 Rogue utility, usable at-will, allows you to move full speed and make a Stealth check without penalty. Basically, in between allies, obstacles, corners, concealment, low walls, trees, and rocks, there's pretty much always somewhere to hide. And it's not that hard to get your Stealth skill up to the point where you have a 90% chance or better or hiding from level-equivalent monsters.

The full StealthCheese (TM) combo is to combine Stealth, Skill Focus (Stealth) and stealth-boosting items with Fleeting Ghost, Chameleon, and a ranged weapon, while focusing on a single opponent. It goes like this:

Rogue: Attack enemy, hide behind nearest piece of cover/concealment. Take no penalty on stealth due to Fleeting Ghost.
Enemy: Moves until it has clear line of sight on you, but can't see you due to Chameleon.
Rogue's turn again: Attack enemy with your ranged weapon (doing Sneak Attack damage), move and hide around the other side of the piece of cover you used last turn.
Enemy's turn again: Moves until it has clear line of sight to you, but still can't see you due to Chameleon.

It's not an autowin, because you need some kind of cover (no matter how small) and enemies that outnumber you can box you in eventually. But it does all but guarantee Sneak Attack damage on every shot, and it makes you unbelievably annoying to hunt down. The enemies have to focus on you almost completely just to get a chance to make an attack.

If you get bored of making Stealth checks, just flank a monster and use a dagger with Deft Strike. Dex bonus + weapon bonus + combat advantage bonus + Rogue dagger bonus + Nimble Blade is quite likely to hit an enemy's Reflex on anything but a 1.


On a similar note, if you "flank use Deft Strike for an 80% to 90% hit rate" it only unbalances the game when your DM doesn't know how to position monsters so you can't flank without risking an AoO.

Hence why you use StealthCheese as well. Each turn, you have the option of flanking with Deft Strike, or hiding and shooting with Sly Flourish. This is how (re: the Mike Mearls quote) you get combat advantage with every attack.


I'm sure once he/she gets used to the strategy side of battlefield control, that build won't seem as unbalanced.

Eh, I don't actually care much. I do this sort of thing for fun. I only worked out the details of the build because I was put in a situation where I had to pull something out of my sleeve or die (we were playing the worldwide D&D game day adventure, I was playing the rogue, and I had to figure out a way for our damaged party to be able to beat the last two encounters simultaneously). Now that I've worked it out, I'm not really that interested in using it anymore.

- Saph

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-06, 11:56 AM
Rogue: Attack enemy, hide behind nearest piece of cover/concealment. Take no penalty on stealth due to Fleeting Ghost.
Enemy: Moves until it has clear line of sight on you, but can't see you due to Chameleon.
Rogue's turn again: Attack enemy with your ranged weapon (doing Sneak Attack damage), move and hide around the other side of the piece of cover you used last turn.
Enemy's turn again: Moves until it has clear line of sight to you, but still can't see you due to Chameleon.

It's not an autowin, because you need some kind of cover (no matter how small) and enemies that outnumber you can box you in eventually. But it does all but guarantee Sneak Attack damage on every shot, and it makes you unbelievably annoying to hunt down. The enemies have to focus on you almost completely just to get a chance to make an attack.

If you get bored of making Stealth checks, just flank a monster and use a dagger with Deft Strike. Dex bonus + weapon bonus + combat advantage bonus + Rogue dagger bonus + Nimble Blade is quite likely to hit an enemy's Reflex on anything but a 1.

Fair enough. Baring the use of allies as perma-cover (which is as bad as using buckets of water as cheap Rezzes) this sounds like how the Rogue was intended to function. Running all over the battlefield, dodging from concealment to concealment, and harrying enemies all the way - that's how a Rogue should fight.

And that's a huge step away from "Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance" as you said initially. I'm not certain it breaks game balance either, compared to Rangers and Warlocks.

Re: Piercing Strike
This is a very good attack (strictly better than Careful Attack) but it's not quite as good as you say. A 1st level Rogue with a Dagger and 18 Dex has a +10 to hit with CA and is likely to hit most of the time (most level-appropriate types seem to have Reflexes of 13-15). However, remember that Reflex also is affected by Shield Bonuses, so while it's not going to be as high as AC, it will be your AC - body armor, which for lightly-armored types, may not be optimal.

In short: Rogues are good at dealing lots of damage so long as they keep moving, have cover/concealment to use, or otherwise get the drop on their opponents. Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

Saph
2008-07-06, 12:07 PM
Fair enough. Baring the use of allies as perma-cover (which is as bad as using buckets of water as cheap Rezzes) this sounds like how the Rogue was intended to function. Running all over the battlefield, dodging from concealment to concealment, and harrying enemies all the way - that's how a Rogue should fight.

And that's a huge step away from "Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance" as you said initially.

Is it? I get the impression you and Jax might have been interpreting all this as some sort of attack on 4e, and you've been trying to defend it. If that's the case, though, you've got me wrong. The OP asked about Rangers vs Warlocks vs Rogues, and I detailed a build that IMO, puts Rogues slightly on top as damage dealers. That's all.

Every DM I've shown this trick to has responded with "That's ridiculous!" or "That's totally broken!", hence my initial presentation of it. If you think it's okay, that's great, but the opinion of my DMs is a bit more important from my point of view. :P


In short: Rogues are good at dealing lots of damage so long as they keep moving, have cover/concealment to use, or otherwise get the drop on their opponents. Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

You tell me! I've got no investment in 4e, so I don't care what Rogues are 'supposed' to do. All I care about is what I can do with them.

- Saph

JaxGaret
2008-07-06, 12:59 PM
Is it? I get the impression you and Jax might have been interpreting all this as some sort of attack on 4e, and you've been trying to defend it. If that's the case, though, you've got me wrong. The OP asked about Rangers vs Warlocks vs Rogues, and I detailed a build that IMO, puts Rogues slightly on top as damage dealers. That's all.


EDIT: Jax, who was complaining?

Saph, tell me that this isn't inflammatory (whether intentional or not), and I'll eat my hat:


StealthCheese (TM) Rogue

Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance




Every DM I've shown this trick to has responded with "That's ridiculous!" or "That's totally broken!", hence my initial presentation of it. If you think it's okay, that's great, but the opinion of my DMs is a bit more important from my point of view. :P

Likewise, don't hold the game system accountable for the shortcomings of your DMs. Rogues being stealthy heavy damage dealers is broken? C'mon. Blade Cascade cheese is broken, this isn't.


You tell me! I've got no investment in 4e, so I don't care what Rogues are 'supposed' to do. All I care about is what I can do with them.

- Saph

Rogues are supposed to be primarily Strikers, which means that they are capable single target damage dealers. Rogues are also the skillmonkey class, with powers that improve skills.

It's not at all surprising that one of the best uses of the Rogue is to synergize its Striker capabilities with its skillmonkey capabilities.

Antacid
2008-07-06, 01:23 PM
Saph,

I think the point of confusion is that you keep arguing as if all of these options are available to the Rogue at all times. When you phrase it like that, you make it sound like regardless of the situation, a Rogue will always be able to get CA for a Sneak Attack and a hit with a 2 or more. Like here:


Hence why you use StealthCheese as well. Each turn, you have the option of flanking with Deft Strike, or hiding and shooting with Sly Flourish. This is how (re: the Mike Mearls quote) you get combat advantage with every attack.

Actually, ally-cover cheese excepted, and assuming competent DM strategy, there will only rarely be more than one way to gain combat advantage in any given situation, and there may be no way to get it without an assist from another player. There will only be a certain number of positions with cover you can fire from; there will be times when no safe flanking (or no flanking at all) is possible, etc. You can fail Stealth checks (just because a lot of enemies have poor Perception by level doesn't mean they all do). And as long as your options are restricted by the encounter and the terrain, strategy is possible, and y'know, CA from that is fine and the whole point, as Mike Mearls said.

Something else:



Stealth: Part of whatever action you are trying to
perform stealthily.
Opposed Check: Stealth vs. Perception (see the
table for modifiers to your check). If there are multiple
observers, your Stealth check is opposed by
each observerís Perception check.

It reads as if to get CA using Stealth you have to beat the Perception check of every enemy with line-of-sight, not just that of the enemy who you're trying to Sneak Attack. That does kind of make sense given that most enemies would communicate, and might explain the low Perception of many monsters as a balancing decision. Even using an ally for cover seems less unbalanced if you have to beat the Perception check of every enemy with LOS :smallconfused:

Vikingkingq
2008-07-06, 01:29 PM
I
Take Deft Strike and Sly Flourish for your at-wills, and grab the Backstabber feat at level 1. Spam Stealth checks mercilessly without concern for believability or game balance, and you should be able to get Sneak Attack on practically every strike. Either hide behind an ally and use Sly Flourish to shoot them, or if you can flank use Deft Strike for an 80% to 90% hit rate.
- Saph

Leaving aside the stealth debate, this is not optimal. You'll lose out a lot of damage from your Encounter and Daily attacks if you just spam your At-Wills.

Yakk
2008-07-06, 01:52 PM
Every time you attack, you become revealed (Ibid)

Yes, but you have combat advantage for that attack (Ibid).


You can only gain cover from your allies when you are the target of a ranged attack (PHB 280)

Interesting!

Note that stealth-cheese works effectively with a mere forest or corner-of-a-pillar/wall terrain.


I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with Astral Warlocks... I guess they're team-players, with all their debuffs.

The ideal strategy in vanilla 4e seems to be "kill minions, then normals, then elites, then solos". So the Astral Warlock tries to curse as many targets as they can, and then use an AOE attack to get a huge attack bonus, and follow that up with a high-power kill shot...

---


There are other ways to get CA, tho. Also, why wouldn't you have a flanking buddy?

Because you want to go kill that annoying artillery that is hitting your tank with a bunch of damage against their reflex defense?


Now, you're quite right that I'll lose that cover as soon as the enemy gets direct line of sight on me, but that doesn't matter; as soon as I have cover, I make a Stealth check, then shoot the target, breaking stealth but doing Sneak Attack damage. Repeat.

I think your entire action has to be within cover -- this is sort of implied by the Rogue abilities that let you move "out of cover", so long as you start/end your move in cover. . .

---


Don't you think the specific section above it, labeled "Creatures and Cover" might trump that, under the Specific > General Rule?

*nod* -- so when the enemy makes a close or area attack, you don't have cover. That is what the specific rule says. . .

---


Leaving aside the stealth debate, this is not optimal. You'll lose out a lot of damage from your Encounter and Daily attacks if you just spam your At-Wills.

At 4 encounters/day, and a cap of 4 daily powers/day, you should expect to use on average 1 daily per encounter.

You have 1 to 4 per-encounter attack powers.

Encounters generally last 6 to 10 rounds.

So that's 8 to 2 at-will powers used per combat, on average. And your encounter and daily powers? Often have the ability to target reflex/weak defenses, or you use them when someone else gives you an attack bonus with their powers.

Ceiling009
2008-07-06, 02:52 PM
Isn't that what they did in 3.5 edition too? Basically hide and sneak around and stab people when they weren't looking? It's not like it's any less believable that a rogue consistently gets 10d6 extra damage when an opponent is being flanked... Wasn't it worse in 3.5 since basically instead of having to hide behind something, they basically stayed invisible the entire time? Or had some other ridiculous but manageable way to consistently have the sneak attach damage without flanking?

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-06, 03:10 PM
Combat advantage is pretty easy if you go crossbow. Hide in Plain Sight FTW. Who needs to move when you can shoot whatever you want to make dead? :smalltongue:

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-06, 03:59 PM
Does your tower shield have cover? If someone were to attempt to sunder it, would the shield get a cover bonus? No? Then how can you hide it?

Which is exactly the wrong question to be asking. The question you should be asking is "is that remotely sensible in character?" and screw what the rules say.


Seriously, this isn't a problem with RAW. It's a problem with how people UNDERSTAND RAW.

It's a problem with the concept of RAW. The idea that a rule must be interpreted literally as it is written down.


For anything to be hidden, it needs cover or concealment. A tower shield can grant YOU cover, but it can't grant ITSELF cover.

But if you have cover, your equipment has cover, because the game considers it part of you. Which is exactly the point. The solution to this kind of thing is not to say "that interpretation is not RAW" but to say "that interpretation is clearly stupid".

Saph
2008-07-06, 06:51 PM
Saph, tell me that this isn't inflammatory (whether intentional or not), and I'll eat my hat:

If that's enough to inflame you, you have a seriously low definition of 'inflammatory'. It was meant as a joke. But fine, I'll stop joking, at least for the duration of this post.


Likewise, don't hold the game system accountable for the shortcomings of your DMs. Rogues being stealthy heavy damage dealers is broken? C'mon. Blade Cascade cheese is broken, this isn't.

I don't care if you think it's broken or not. I don't care if people consider it unbelievable or not. I don't care whether people think it should be allowed or not. That's up to the players who read the thread. (See? Not joking now.)


Rogues are supposed to be primarily Strikers, which means that they are capable single target damage dealers. Rogues are also the skillmonkey class, with powers that improve skills.

It's not at all surprising that one of the best uses of the Rogue is to synergize its Striker capabilities with its skillmonkey capabilities.

Who are you justifying this to? I'm assuming it must be someone else, because I'm pretty sure I've spelt out quite clearly already that I couldn't care less about what the classes are 'supposed to be'.

Several of the posters on this forum seem to have taken it upon themselves to work as unpaid PR officials for 4e, hunting down every remark about the system they consider insufficiently positive. I make one silly comment about spamming skill checks, and you follow it like a bloodhound, and it's irritating. I have zero interest in getting into these "4e sucks!/4e is awesome!" arguments, but whenever I post on 4e threads, people keep trying to put me into either the pro- or anti- camps. I was interested in the debate over how Stealth works, but I'm not interested in this. Leave me alone.


Saph,

I think the point of confusion is that you keep arguing as if all of these options are available to the Rogue at all times. When you phrase it like that, you make it sound like regardless of the situation, a Rogue will always be able to get CA for a Sneak Attack and a hit with a 2 or more.

Can't I assume some common sense on the part of the reader? Of course they won't all be available at all times! That's the whole point of having both a melee and a ranged SA strategy; so you can use the other when the first doesn't work! I thought that was so obvious I didn't need to spell it out. Like the other poster saying that this strategy is bad because you're only using at-wills. Honestly, I need to tell him to use his encounter and daily powers?


It reads as if to get CA using Stealth you have to beat the Perception check of every enemy with line-of-sight, not just that of the enemy who you're trying to Sneak Attack. That does kind of make sense given that most enemies would communicate, and might explain the low Perception of many monsters as a balancing decision. Even using an ally for cover seems less unbalanced if you have to beat the Perception check of every enemy with LOS :smallconfused:

I read it as 'you make a separate Stealth check against each enemy's Perception, and you're hidden from the ones your check beats'. Enemies can still communicate and tell each other which square you're in, but that's not the same as spotting you (though it helps). I haven't checked thoroughly, though, so you might be right.

- Saph

Antacid
2008-07-06, 09:47 PM
Several of the posters on this forum seem to have taken it upon themselves to work as unpaid PR officials for 4e, hunting down every remark about the system they consider insufficiently positive.

IT IZ OUR BAYBEE!:smallwink:


Can't I assume some common sense on the part of the reader?

Not really. This is teh internets. We're not so smart.


Of course they won't all be available at all times! That's the whole point of having both a melee and a ranged SA strategy; so you can use the other when the first doesn't work!

That's actually quite an unusual position to take. Most of the charop stuff favours blinkered specialization. People aren't anticipating back-up plans, and so they assume a poster is attacking 4e and go bat**** insane. I've done it myself before, if you recall. :smallredface:

Reasonable conversation about the weirdness of the Stealth rules to start here.


I read it as 'you make a separate Stealth check against each enemy's Perception, and you're hidden from the ones your check beats'. Enemies can still communicate and tell each other which square you're in, but that's not the same as spotting you (though it helps). I haven't checked thoroughly, though, so you might be right.
Either way, you're only making one Stealth check, so sometimes you're going to be easier to spot, which kind of makes sense.

But I think you've found a genuine, unambiguous hole in 4e's design (well done!) Flanking with a light blade doesn't seem to have as many problems, because the Rogue has to risk melee; but when it comes to Rogues using Stealth to make ranged Sneak Attacks the RAW seems to imply pure, shrieking insanity.


Assuming each enemy has to spot you individually, you often won't get to pick who you can Sneak Attack. You're dependant on which enemy fails their Perception check.
Being more than 10 squares away from an enemy gives them a -2 penalty to spot you, but being in combat doesn't. So you might be spotted by a Goblin 10 squares away who's facing the other direction and is marked by your party's Paladin, and not one 2 squares away that you shot last turn and is actively looking for you.
If spotting and locating are different, an enemy can know what square you're in, have been hit by you on the previous turn, not be engaged with any other opponent, and still be vulnerable to a Sneak Attack from the same square. If you're using Chameleon, they can move adjacent to you with the intent of attacking in melee and still not "notice" you (although they can attack, at a -5 penalty because you're "concealed") until the end of your next turn.
This is especially likely, because situations will arise where there is only one possible area of cover. If you're fighting in a simple L-shaped turn of a corridor, there's literally only one square a Rogue can get cover in and still shoot, yet they can theoretically fire every turn and make stealth checks so their position is uncertain.
Even if not abused, ranged Sneak Attacks through a square occupied by an ally, at an enemy they are fighting in melee, don't make sense. The Rogue isn't getting a chance to aim carefully because there's an adventurer jumping around in front of the target, who is also facing the source of the sneak attack. The enemy is aware of a threat, and they're actively trying to avoid being hit from that direction. How does that work?

I'd tentatively suggest that the rule for Stealth granting a ranged Sneak Attack needs to be tightened so that after the first proper round of combat, the target has to be unable to place which square you're in, and that ranged Sneak Attacks are impossible after that until you move somewhere else. Or there's essentially no point in Rogues bothering to use melee weapons; they can get the +2d6 reliably on at least one target as long as there's cover to shoot from.

Having to roll handfuls of Stealth and Perception checks every time a Rogue moves seems to contradict WotC's whole faster-leaner 4e design philosophy. It would have been more in keeping with their attitude if they'd simply banned ranged Sneak Attacks. Might be a good idea.

wodan46
2008-07-06, 11:25 PM
If they'd wanted that they wouldn't have given Rogues the ability to land sneak attack damage using Crossbows and Slings in addition to Light Weapons.

Keep in mind that in the chaos of battle, try keeping track of more than 1 enemy at a time, from opposite directions. According to 4E rules, you could have PCs forming a triangle around an enemy but still not even get combat advantage, as the enemy is somehow able to defend itself in a 360 arc. However, even that pales when considering that you are hiding behind a tree and sniping at them from 50 feet away, while they are in the middle of a battle.

Generally, what I'd suggest making Stealth vs. Perception checks only when the Rogue attacks the target to see if they get combat advantage against it, and Perception vs. Stealth checks when the enemy tries to find them in order to attack back.

JaxGaret
2008-07-06, 11:38 PM
If that's enough to inflame you, you have a seriously low definition of 'inflammatory'. It was meant as a joke. But fine, I'll stop joking, at least for the duration of this post.

I'm not the only person here, Saph. If something is inflammatory - whether or not it specifically inflames me - it is inflammatory. I can't assume that just because I have a thick skin, everyone does.

You really don't think that what you said was inflammatory in the slightest?


I don't care if you think it's broken or not. I don't care if people consider it unbelievable or not. I don't care whether people think it should be allowed or not. That's up to the players who read the thread. (See? Not joking now.)

Your posting about it indicates that you care about it at least a little, no?


Who are you justifying this to? I'm assuming it must be someone else, because I'm pretty sure I've spelt out quite clearly already that I couldn't care less about what the classes are 'supposed to be'.

Saph, you specifically said "You tell me!", and I responded. I'm sorry that I'm reading your writing literally; apparently I need some kind of Saph-to-English translator to read your posts?

That last bit was humor, btw. See how I'm making sure that what I said is taken as the joke it is, and not the inflammatory comment that some may take it as?

It may be a personal quirk, but I try to keep serious posts and humorous posts separate, or at least make it obvious which is which. I'm not in the habit of being the one who starts flamefests. That's other people's "job", some around here do it well.


Several of the posters on this forum seem to have taken it upon themselves to work as unpaid PR officials for 4e, hunting down every remark about the system they consider insufficiently positive.

Before 4e came out, I was over on the Wizards forums being an "unpaid PR official" for 3e. That's what anyone who posts productively in a product's forum is - an advocate for that product, otherwise you wouldn't be there. If someone's entire purpose for entering a discussion is to tear the product down rather than discuss it reasonably, that is not productive (at least IMO it isn't), and I behoove those of you for whom that is your objective to take your business elsewhere.

For the record, I reply to remarks which I disagree with, whether due to their information value or otherwise, not simply because they are "insufficiently positive". Please don't project motivations into my head that are not there.

Also for the record, the sheer amount of misinformation-spreading and outright bashing I see about 4e and that I respond to is what may make it seem like I am a shill for WotC; believe me, I hold no special love for Wizard$ of the Coa$t. They killed the forums over at the Wizards site, for one.

But I do like me my 4e.

Admittedly, the level of deliberate misinformation-sowing and subtle bashing that the anti-4e crowd stoops to may have begun to lead me to jumping at shadows. I'll try and keep my judgments on a much longer fuse in the future. My apologies, and my thanks, Saph.

But please try and be clear about what is a joke and what is not :smallsmile:


I make one silly comment about spamming skill checks, and you follow it like a bloodhound, and it's irritating. I have zero interest in getting into these "4e sucks!/4e is awesome!" arguments, but whenever I post on 4e threads, people keep trying to put me into either the pro- or anti- camps. I was interested in the debate over how Stealth works, but I'm not interested in this. Leave me alone.

All you had to say in the first place was that it was a joke, and it would have been over with, period. I'm not some mindless pro-4e automaton.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-07, 12:40 AM
Being more than 10 squares away from an enemy gives them a -2 penalty to spot you, but being in combat doesn't. So you might be spotted by a Goblin 10 squares away who's facing the other direction and is marked by your party's Paladin, and not one 2 squares away that you shot last turn and is actively looking for you.


But that enemy is also "in combat." Just because it's not engaged in melee with anyone or using its standard action to attack that round doesn't mean it's not in combat.

Furthermore, it won't need to actively look for you because ...

"If you later attack or shout, you're no longer hidden." (Page 188, Stealth skill heading, "Success" section)

You're no longer hidden after you attack; therefore, even creatures with a -300 Perception modifier automatically see you if they're still at least able to see at all. No checks required. The Chameleon power is also of no use here because it only comes into play if you lose cover or concealment while hidden, not if you simply cease to be hidden altogether because you attacked.

Actually, it seems the new rules make it harder to remain hidden while shooting using just the Stealth skill alone, as there's no longer an option to shoot and then make another check immediately to remain hidden, even at a -10 penalty to the check. Instead, to do that you need certain powers, such as:

- The level 16 Hide in Plain Sight encounter power, which does make you invisible as long as you don't move from the square you're in, regardless of which attacks you then use. This also obviously has wonderful synergy with crossbows.

- The level 22 daily power Hide from the Light, which makes you invisible as long as you don't move more than 2 squares per turn, although it then limits you to basic or at-will attacks only to avoid breaking the invisibility effect.

So, I'm sorry, but did I miss something in the Stealth skill that somehow gets around the fact that attacking makes you no longer hidden?

Saph
2008-07-07, 05:24 AM
But I think you've found a genuine, unambiguous hole in 4e's design (well done!) Flanking with a light blade doesn't seem to have as many problems, because the Rogue has to risk melee; but when it comes to Rogues using Stealth to make ranged Sneak Attacks the RAW seems to imply pure, shrieking insanity.

(snip)

I'd tentatively suggest that the rule for Stealth granting a ranged Sneak Attack needs to be tightened so that after the first proper round of combat, the target has to be unable to place which square you're in, and that ranged Sneak Attacks are impossible after that until you move somewhere else. Or there's essentially no point in Rogues bothering to use melee weapons; they can get the +2d6 reliably on at least one target as long as there's cover to shoot from.

Having to roll handfuls of Stealth and Perception checks every time a Rogue moves seems to contradict WotC's whole faster-leaner 4e design philosophy.

Yeah, this is the main problem (which I forgot to mention earlier) with the Stealth-spam strategy; it slows combat down quite a bit as you do an opposed roll against every creature in sight while the GM looks up their Perception modifiers. So although it's tactically safest to do ranged Sneak Attacks, combat flows a lot faster if you forget Stealth checks and just flank.

Unfortunately, it's often impossible to get a flank without taking one or more AoO's in the process, which was why I had to come up with the ranged SA approach in the first place.


Also for the record, the sheer amount of misinformation-spreading and outright bashing I see about 4e and that I respond to is what may make it seem like I am a shill for WotC; believe me, I hold no special love for Wizard$ of the Coa$t. They killed the forums over at the Wizards site, for one.

But I do like me my 4e.

Admittedly, the level of deliberate misinformation-sowing and subtle bashing that the anti-4e crowd stoops to may have begun to lead me to jumping at shadows. I'll try and keep my judgments on a much longer fuse in the future. My apologies, and my thanks, Saph.

But please try and be clear about what is a joke and what is not :smallsmile:

Okay.


So, I'm sorry, but did I miss something in the Stealth skill that somehow gets around the fact that attacking makes you no longer hidden?

You didn't - but as a Rogue, you can generally start your turn hidden (Chameleon), take your attack action (probably ranged), then move and hide again (Fleeting Ghost). Catching you isn't impossible, but it's pretty difficult.

- Saph

Kurald Galain
2008-07-07, 05:34 AM
So, I'm sorry, but did I miss something in the Stealth skill that somehow gets around the fact that attacking makes you no longer hidden?

What gets around it is the fact that the rogue also gets a move action during his turn, which he can use to hide again. Technically, he can move zero squares and make a new stealth check.

Antacid
2008-07-07, 05:55 AM
Keep in mind that in the chaos of battle, try keeping track of more than 1 enemy at a time, from opposite directions. According to 4E rules, you could have PCs forming a triangle around an enemy but still not even get combat advantage, as the enemy is somehow able to defend itself in a 360 arc.

Everyone can shift once per turn and attack, so even in the triangular situation it should always be possible to flank. Unless the enemy has an anti-shifting ability - then it's a problem because it's supposed to be.


However, even that pales when considering that you are hiding behind a tree and sniping at them from 50 feet away, while they are in the middle of a battle.

There's nothing wrong with sniping. The problem I have is the idea of the Rogue being able to make Sneak Attacks every round from 30 squares away. It bothers me because it seems like the Rogue doesn't have to do anything tactical to make optimum use of the class feature.

It also renders the combat role of an Archer Ranger semi-redundant, as a Rogue with crossbow proficiency and Backstabbing can sneak attack with Sly Flourish (1d8+2d8+Dex+Cha = 4+9+4+3 = 20) for almost the same damage at the Ranger's Twin Strike (2d10+2Dex+1d6 = 11+8+3 = 22), get more flexibility about who to attack (as Hunter's Quarry must be directed at the nearest target), and also be more effective than the same Ranger in close combat.

But that enemy is also "in combat." Just because it's not engaged in melee with anyone or using its standard action to attack that round doesn't mean it's not in combat.
It's just a potentially weird dice result. I was responding to Saph's interpretation of the way spotting works on groups of enemies who can communicate.


You're no longer hidden after you attack; therefore, even creatures with a -300 Perception modifier automatically see you if they're still at least able to see at all. No checks required. The Chameleon power is also of no use here because it only comes into play if you lose cover or concealment while hidden, not if you simply cease to be hidden altogether because you attacked.

Clarification: it's not the idea that monsters can't attack on their turn which bugs me, it's that it's technically allowed for a Rogue with cover to sit in the same square making Stealth checks every round at the start of their turn purely to get bonus Sneak Attack damage. They can attack the same enemy every round from the same place and still be "sneak attacking". This just seems too easy, IMHO.


Actually, it seems the new rules make it harder to remain hidden while shooting using just the Stealth skill alone, as there's no longer an option to shoot and then make another check immediately to remain hidden, even at a -10 penalty to the check. Instead, to do that you need certain powers
Those powers are quite high-level, and they use the word invisible. Like I said, it's not that no one can attack the Rogue, or that I believe 4e is less logical than 3.5e. It's that the Rogue isn't limited enough in how they can employ their class feature from the outset. The Stealth rules, the Sneak Attack rules and the Ranged Combat rules aren't broken by themselves, but put together they they seem overpowered.

Saph
2008-07-07, 06:16 AM
There's nothing wrong with sniping. The problem I have is the idea of the Rogue being able to make Sneak Attacks every round from 30 squares away. It bothers me because it seems like the Rogue doesn't have to do anything tactical to make optimum use of the class feature.

Clarification: it's not the idea that monsters can't attack on their turn which bugs me, it's that it's technically allowed for a Rogue with cover to sit in the same square making Stealth checks every round at the start of their turn purely to get bonus Sneak Attack damage. They can attack the same enemy every round from the same place and still be "sneak attacking". This just seems too easy, IMHO.

Those powers are quite high-level, and they use the word invisible. Like I said, it's not that no one can attack the Rogue. It's that the Rogue isn't limited enough in how they can employ their class feature, starting from first level. The Stealth rules, to me, seem to be the problem.

Having tried it in practice, it's not so much the new Stealth rules as the new ranged/cover rules.

In 4e a Rogue can sit behind whatever cover's available and keep on sniping the monster the Fighter is in melee with, hiding and shooting, and there's pretty much nothing the monster can do to stop the Rogue getting stealth every turn. In 3.5 a character that tried this would be eating a -8 penalty (-4 for shooting into melee, -4 for allies giving the enemy cover). Both of these penalties have been removed in 4e - in fact, since allies give cover from enemies but not vice versa, you want to have lots of allies in your way when you shoot, because it makes it harder for the enemy to retaliate! (Note that this applies almost as strongly to Rangers and Warlocks as well.)

It's counter-intuitive for people used to 3.5, where the rule was "Give me a clear shot". In 4e it's the opposite - you want an unclear shot. :P

- Saph

Antacid
2008-07-07, 06:17 AM
Unfortunately, it's often impossible to get a flank without taking one or more AoO's in the process, which was why I had to come up with the ranged SA approach in the first place.
It depends on your party as well. You can do things like delay the action "move into flanking position and Sneak Attack" until after someone uses a power like Tide Of Iron or Wolf Pack Tactics (the Rogue's best friend). Might seem counter-intuitive but it works very well. Giving the Rogue opportunities to Sneak Attack is one of the main purposes of all of the forced-movement, "an adjacent ally swaps places"-type powers. That's all lost if the Rogue can just sit behind a corner and get the same benefit.


Having tried it in practice, it's not so much the new Stealth rules as the new ranged/cover rules.

If you put a limit on any of the three different rules that are interacting here, the problem wouldn't exist. That is, if SA's can't be used at range, or if you can't use Stealth every turn you have cover, or if Stealth can't be used to give ranged sneak attacks. Nothing wrong with using Stealth to get 1 Sneak Attack; it's using it every round that seems messed up.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-07, 06:34 AM
It also renders the combat role of an Archer Ranger semi-redundant, as a Rogue with crossbow proficiency and Backstabbing can sneak attack with Sly Flourish (1d8+2d8+Dex+Cha = 4+9+4+3 = 20)

Plus, if the rogue is a brutal one, he can add strength to that for another +2 or +3.

Of course, I'd be tempted to take Warrior of the Wild for such a rogue, to add hunter's quarry damage as well - but conversely, I'd also probably take Sneak of Shadows for such a ranger.

Antacid
2008-07-07, 06:38 AM
Plus, if the rogue is a brutal one, he can add strength to that for another +2 or +3.
Yeah. Strength damage with a crossbow. Someone screwed up there all right.


Of course, I'd be tempted to take Warrior of the Wild for such a rogue, to add hunter's quarry damage as well - but conversely, I'd also probably take Sneak of Shadows for such a ranger.
You can only use it once per encounter. I don't think there's any problem with that.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-07, 06:41 AM
Yeah. Strength damage with a crossbow. Someone screwed up there all right.

Yep :smallbiggrin:

Then again, how do you "slyly flourish" a sling?

Antacid
2008-07-07, 06:48 AM
Then again, how do you "slyly flourish" a sling?
If it hangs low, you can swing it to-and-fro. Or you can tie it in a knot, or you can tie it in a bow.

The Ninja-sniper Rogue seems like the most broken thing about 4e. Nowhere near 3e Batman-wizard level, but it's pretty surprising given how careful WotC were with all the other major class features. Glad I found out about this before I started DMing my campaign.

"3d8 + 8 damage, you say? From 30 squares away, every round? At first level? Of course, why not!"

Saph
2008-07-07, 06:49 AM
Yep :smallbiggrin:

Then again, how do you "slyly flourish" a sling?

You perform a dramatic figure-of-eight loop with your sling just before shooting, using your force of personality to impress the target so much that he can't help dropping his guard slightly, even though he can't see you. :P

- Saph

OneFamiliarFace
2008-07-07, 07:12 AM
I am liking the visualizations of sly flourish more and more.

I would probably houserule that one cannot hide when under the observation of another person. Is that no longer the case?

If not, then there is always my ol' stand-by: Anything the players can do, the monsters can do too! (Oftentimes this results in the players thinking of a very clever away around it, after which my more intelligent monsters can slyly put that plan into action.)

Kurald Galain
2008-07-07, 07:24 AM
I would probably houserule that one cannot hide when under the observation of another person. Is that no longer the case?
In theory, yes. In practice, you can break line of sight to that person, or have some amount of cover, or roll a bluff check, or use any of a number of rogue powers for this exact purpose.



If not, then there is always my ol' stand-by: Anything the players can do, the monsters can do too!
While that's a good idea in principle, it goes straight against the design philosophy of 4E.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-07-07, 08:02 AM
"3d8 + 8 damage, you say? From 30 squares away, every round? At first level? Of course, why not!"

Remember, though, that 3D8 + 8 damage is still not quite enough to drop the average Kobold, so it's not quite as insane as it sounds. Also, remember that while you're doing 3d8 + 8 damage at first level, you're not doing much more damage at 10th level. First level 4E characters are assumed to be a whole lot more competent than first level 3E characters.

wodan46
2008-07-07, 08:05 AM
According to 1 interpretation I have of the Stealth ability, if ANY enemy spots you with their Perception, you fail the Stealth check, and you gain combat advantage over no one, the idea being that the spotter alerts others to your location. Typically, this means even with a good stealth score, you will have difficulty getting those precious sneak attacks when sniping at a crowd of enemies. As a result, Ranged Rogues receive good survivability, at the price of sneak attacks being less reliable.

Saph
2008-07-07, 08:39 AM
According to 1 interpretation I have of the Stealth ability, if ANY enemy spots you with their Perception, you fail the Stealth check, and you gain combat advantage over no one, the idea being that the spotter alerts others to your location.

I'm pretty sure this isn't how it works. The Stealth skill says "Your Stealth check is opposed by each observer's Perception check". It doesn't say anything about one enemy spotting you causing the other checks to fail. There's nothing stopping them from communicating, but that's not the same thing.

Besides, if you go with that interpretation, failing a stealth check against one person automatically causes you to fail to hide from everyone else in line of sight even if they aren't communicating or don't know of each other's existence, which is far more nonsensical.

- Saph

wodan46
2008-07-07, 08:50 AM
which is about as nonsensical as an enemy specifically looking for you failing to spot you while another enemy 20 feet away looking the other direction while fighting several other people does.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-07, 08:54 AM
which is about as nonsensical as an enemy specifically looking for you failing to spot you while another enemy 20 feet away looking the other direction while fighting several other people does.

No, that is the result of using a resolution mechanic where the spread of randomness (1d20) is an order of magnitude larger than the difference in skill numbers, which means that the wimpy wizard indeed has a decent chance of beating the burly barbarian at arm wrestling.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-07, 10:56 AM
This is turning into another FOX ONLY NO ITEMS 3 STOCK (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys) discussion where everyone assumes that the crossbow rogue is going to be able to sit behind cover/concealment every round, in every combat, without his opponents being able to break line of sight.

This is not the case. Sometimes fights take place in open spaces, sometimes the enemies *gasp* have cover to hide behind too, and sometimes there are so many bad guys that one of them can walk up to the Crossbow Rogue and stop him from sniping his buddies.

We're not talking about "mind blank and dimensional anchors for everyone" here, we're talking about reasonable precautions by standard enemies against snipers in the trees. Is that really as huge a problem as y'all make it sound?

BTW: I like how the Ranger v. Rogue Sniper gives the Rogue a free feat and the Rogue Sniper still does less damage on average and its damage is situational. Nice work :smalltongue:

wodan46
2008-07-07, 11:57 AM
How So? At level 1:
Ranger does 2d10+1d8 damage (15.5 average) but only if they land 2 hits
Rogue will do 3d8+Dex+Str+Cha Mods (22.5 average) and does it in 1 hit.

The combat system rules are sometimes odd and nonsensical, but its ok because they do a good job of streamlining the game. However, using Stealth vs. Perception checks to gain combat advantage while fighting is not streamlined at all and suffers from countless situational factors, some defined, some not.

Antacid
2008-07-07, 01:37 PM
This is turning into another FOX ONLY NO ITEMS 3 STOCK (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys) discussion where everyone assumes that the crossbow rogue is going to be able to sit behind cover/concealment every round, in every combat, without his opponents being able to break line of sight.

Well, battlefields vary. But range 30 is at least two rounds of double-moves. A lot of the time, thanks to the 4e cover rules, you don't have an unobscured line of sight until you're in an adjacent square. The rest of the party ought to be able to complicate getting that close. And by RAW, a Rogue can just do a move action every turn and roll a new Stealth check from behind cover. Can an opponent keep moving towards his location if he can't see him? Don't ask me. Rogue's aren't the only ones who can get Stealth, either.:smalleek:


BTW: I like how the Ranger v. Rogue Sniper gives the Rogue a free feat and the Rogue Sniper still does less damage on average and its damage is situational. Nice work :smalltongue:
I didn't know off the top of my head that Rangers had a feat that increase the Quarry die to a d8. But I forgot the ability to add Strength to the sneak attack dice, so the difference is the same. If the Rogue boosts Dexterity and Charisma at every opportunity, he's going to pass the Ranger by level 14. And Ranger's HQ is 'situational' too - you can only mark the closest enemy. No maximum damage on the BBEG unless you can get close.


We're not talking about "mind blank and dimensional anchors for everyone" here, we're talking about reasonable precautions by standard enemies against snipers in the trees. Is that really as huge a problem as y'all make it sound?

3d8+8 isn't absurdly high by any means; the problem is what it does to the Rogue as a class. Why not do this all the time? You'll usually be able to avoid melee while doing identical damage, and retain the flexibility of being able to use your class feature in confined areas. Archer Rangers are vulnerable to marking, and in trouble if there's no square they can shift to and fire from without provoking an opportunity attack.

No, that is the result of using a resolution mechanic where the spread of randomness (1d20) is an order of magnitude larger than the difference in skill numbers, which means that the wimpy wizard indeed has a decent chance of beating the burly barbarian at arm wrestling.
It's clearly a specific problem with the Stealth rules. OneFamiliarFace suggested letting the monsters use the same tactics. I give you, then, the following nightmare scenario: a Rogue and a bunch of Adventurers fight a group of Stealth-cheesing Goblins at Twilight in a forest. All the Goblins use Stealth, and the Rogue uses Stealth, and everyone has to roll Perception checks to oppose the Stealth checks of everyone else. Every round. Scared yet?

For perspective, I don't think this is anywhere near as bad as the spell combos in 3.5e. It's more like the 3.5e AoO system: a mechanic that ought to work straightforwardly but winds up being bafflingly convoluted once you're confronted with all the implications.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-07, 04:11 PM
It's clearly a specific problem with the Stealth rules. OneFamiliarFace suggested letting the monsters use the same tactics. I give you, then, the following nightmare scenario: a Rogue and a bunch of Adventurers fight a group of Stealth-cheesing Goblins at Twilight in a forest. All the Goblins use Stealth, and the Rogue uses Stealth, and everyone has to roll Perception checks to oppose the Stealth checks of everyone else. Every round. Scared yet?

So, I agree that Sneak Attacks have always been a problem.
(Discussion)
In 3e it was impossible to play an Archer Rogue as an Archer Rogue. You needed to be within 30 feet, and could therefore only use cover that was within 30 feet to hide. I've sometimes seen it used that you can just hide once and then move about until you provoke a second spot check. It was weird, is all I can say.

In 4e, WotC clearly wanted to allow the Archer Rogue (AKA Sniper) to be a viable archetype. I think they've done it in a pretty decent fashion, since the Sniper is going to constantly have to be rehiding, and maintain concealment, and probably deal with attacking enemies who end up being concealed because the Archer is shooting through the very cover or concealment that he is using to remain hidden. I've not had to deal with an Archer Rogue yet, but somehow I don't think they're going to break the game.

As for the above scenario - shouldn't that be a scary situation? Fighting sneaky enemies in a jungle at night? That sounds like exactly the sort of situation that adventurers should be cautious about walking into!

If you were concerned about the dice rolling, I'd make it pretty easy.
Right before a given goblin attacks, I'd have its target make a Perception Check vs. its Stealth check. If the goblin wins, it has CA; if it loses, it doesn't. After the goblin attacks, it gets revealed anyhow.

If a PC wants to track down a given goblin, have him point to the area where he wants to check, and do a Perception v. Stealth. Success reveals the goblin; failure and it remains hidden.

How's that sound?

Finally, Rangers v. Rogues
Twin Strike v. Sly Flourish is a toughie, isn't it?

Twin Strike does 1d10+Dex+Quarry at a minimum (we'll call that 5+3+4 = 12 I guess) and 2d10+Dex+Quarry at a maximum (10+3+4 = 17). That's just the ranger smacking down at anyone he sees now. Oh and he'll be hitting at +5 at first level (assuming 16 Dex, like I've done above)

A Crossbow Rogue either does 1d8+Dex+Cha (unconcealed, so we'll call that a 16 Dex and a 16 Cha to be generous; 4+3+3 = 10), or 1d8+Dex+Cha+2d8 if concealed (4+3+3+8 = 18) and 1d8+Dex+Cha+2d6+Str if also Brutal Scoundrel (call it a 14 Strength; 4+3+3+8+2 = 20).

So, the Ranger does better on average than a Rogue every round, while the Rogue can do better if they manage to remain concealed and better still if they have also taken Brutal Scoundrel. That seems pretty fair to me - Rangers get a consistent high damage yield with only one ability score while Rogues get a situational higher yield that requires 2-3 ability scores to get. Sure, Rogues also have the ability to assassinate leaders in the back row, but isn't that why they have the Assassin PP? Because they're supposed to be stealthy killers?

I don't see why people are crying bloody murder about this discrepancy. Like I said, this isn't a "Scry and Die" or "Druidzilla" problem, this is a mild and understandable difference in power between two strikers.

PS - I agree that Brutal Scoundrel on ranged attacks is silly, and I'd probably houserule it to say it doesn't work with crossbows, though I'd allow it for slings, daggers, and (*sigh*) shuriken since these are all muscle-powered projectiles.

BTW, can someone point me the page that says making a Stealth Check requires a Move Action?

EDIT: Yakk is quite right about the +dex stuff. I was annoyed about that last time I rolled up a Ranger too, now that I think about it. :smallannoyed:

Yakk
2008-07-07, 04:31 PM
Stealth is supposed to be rolled as part of another action.

There seems to be a bunch of text that implies that regaining your "stealth status" after you have lost it is harder than just hiding behind a rock. As an example, the "run between cover while keeping stealth active" utility power -- if you read stealth broadly, you would be able to reveal yourself in the middle of your move, then roll stealth at the end of your move when you had cover!

I think that means that you might have to have cover/concealment/etc for your entire action, or you cannot roll stealth. That does away with lots of cheese sauce. . .

Looking at the Bluff skill description, I don't see how Bluff to Stealth works. If you don't have cover, you are spotted -- does Bluff let you Stealth while you have line of sight to someone even without cover? When does this end?

...


Twin Strike does 1d10+Dex+Quarry at a minimum (we'll call that 5+3+4 = 12 I guess) and 2d10+Dex+Quarry at a maximum (10+3+4 = 17). That's just the ranger smacking down at anyone he sees now. Oh and he'll be hitting at +5 at first level (assuming 16 Dex, like I've done above)

A Crossbow Rogue either does 1d8+Dex+Cha (unconcealed, so we'll call that a 16 Dex and a 16 Cha to be generous; 4+3+3 = 10), or 1d8+Dex+Cha+2d8 if concealed (4+3+3+8 = 18) and 1d8+Dex+Cha+2d6+Str if also Brutal Scoundrel (call it a 14 Strength; 4+3+3+8+2 = 20).

Where did you get that +dex on the ranger?

...

You should, in general, try to deal with hit/miss chances. Otherwise you miss alot.

Twin Strike longbow does 1d10+1 per hit (be smart, get weapon focus instead of boosting hunter's quarry), and +1d6 damage if either hit.

Suppose 18 in dex for both, and 14 in str/cha for the rogue.

Brutal Sly Sneak crossbow (backstabber) does 1d8+2d8+dex+cha+str.

At 50% hit chance on the Rogue produces a 55% hit chance if the Ranger can use Prime Shot.
6.5 * .5 + 6.5 * .5 + 3.5 * .75 for Ranger = 9.125 average damage per action.
or
6.5 * .55 * 2 + (1-.45^2)*3.5 = 9.94125 average damage per action with Prime Shot.

(13.5+8)*.5 for Rogue = 10.75 average damage per action.

This ignores crits, which bias it slightly towards the Ranger.

It is pretty damn close, even if we presume that gaining combat advantage is free.

(Note that if the Rogue gains combat advantage, but the Ranger does not, then the Rogue pulls well ahead.)

Crow
2008-07-07, 05:14 PM
If it was the designers' intent to have the rogue pretty much always have combat advantage, part of me wonders "Why bother?" Why not just say that he always gets +2 to hit and can use his sneak attack 1/encounter or something like that? If the designers intended CA to be gained so easily (which I think is BS...we're clearly looking at a loophole exploit), what's the point?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-07, 05:28 PM
If it was the designers' intent to have the rogue pretty much always have combat advantage, part of me wonders "Why bother?" Why not just say that he always gets +2 to hit and can use his sneak attack 1/encounter or something like that? If the designers intended CA to be gained so easily (which I think is BS...we're clearly looking at a loophole exploit), what's the point?

The point is that the Rogue has to work for it.

It is not trivial to maintain flanking every turn when you cannot tumble every turn. Nor is it trivial to maintain cover/concealment while still being able to draw a bead on your target. The bad guys can use cover, concealment, and spell effects to really mess up your game - not to mention taking cover behind their own allies or redirecting your attacks onto others (yes, several monsters do have this power). These are all factors the DM can use to his advantage (and yes, use against you!) and which monsters can reasonably take into consideration.

Yes, the Rogue has an easier time of it when his allies are working to help him out, but that kind of teamwork is what WotC wanted to bring about in 4e. This is not a problem, or a loophole exploit, in any sense that I can see. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to come bearing tales of Rogues soloing encounters while everyone else either threw a couple at-wills or broke out their DS's.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-07, 05:28 PM
You didn't - but as a Rogue, you can generally start your turn hidden (Chameleon), take your attack action (probably ranged)

(and are no longer hidden at this point ...)


then move and hide again (Fleeting Ghost)

(given suitable cover or concealment against all enemies is within range of your move)


Catching you isn't impossible, but it's pretty difficult.

I thought that was the point of playing what's basically a ninja? A ninja without ninja tricks is like a fighter without ... fight. :smalltongue:

This just in: wizards can cast spells! And they get ritual casting for free! :smalleek:

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-07, 05:33 PM
You perform a dramatic figure-of-eight loop with your sling just before shooting, using your force of personality to impress the target so much that he can't help dropping his guard slightly, even though he can't see you. :P

- Saph

You slyly ricochet the shot into him, catching him completely off-guard as the seemingly missed attack suddenly hits from an unexpected direction!

Come on, where's your sense of the dramatic, the flashy, the over-the-top and the just plain fun? :smallwink:

Antacid
2008-07-07, 06:18 PM
I was adding the Ranger's Dex bonus to both his Twin Strikes as well. The Rogue comes out better without that.


I think that means that you might have to have cover/concealment/etc for your entire action, or you cannot roll stealth. That does away with lots of cheese sauce. . .

That's not the problem. It's that you can sit behind the same cover getting Sneak Attacks by rolling Stealth every turn. Nowhere does it say you have to move from one place to another to roll another Stealth check. I agree that Stealth checks seem to be taken as part of an action, but the PHB just says "part of whatever action you're trying to perform Stealthily". That must include attacking, or Stealth wouldn't give combat advantage. It's after attacking that you're revealed. Having powers that let you retain concealment while you leave cover isn't the same thing - that's for when there's some advantage to changing position without being seen while you move.


It is pretty damn close, even if we presume that gaining combat advantage is free.
I agree. Actually, because a Ranger can also get Combat Advantage using Stealth (purely for the to-hit bonus), it's essentially even. The Ranger does slightly better against high AC enemies, because two weak attacks > a single strong attack as the chance of hitting goes down, and vice versa. But it's a small difference, and generally the Rogue will come out slightly ahead. Most of the time hit probability will be 60% or higher even without CA because of the way ACs are balanced (average = monster level + 14).

So... why play an Archer Ranger? You limit yourself exclusively to ranged combat, get fewer powers to choose from all the way up to 30th level, and wind up doing the same amount of damage as a Sniper Rogue.

And why specialise in close-combat as a Rogue, if you can do exactly the same damage from a distance while retaining the option to Sneak attack in melee if you have to? The "flanking Rogue" and the "sniper Rogue" ought to be equally effective, but currently the only compensation the flanker gets for putting themselves in harm's way is an extra +1 to hit from the higher melee weapon proficiency bonus; more than outweighed by a sniper's +2 AC for staying in cover.

So allowing a Sniper Rogue CA using Stealth almost every round makes the other builds mechanically redundant. He does what they do just as well, and can do other stuff more safely. And it's the source of easy CA from Stealth checks that screws everything up.

Antacid
2008-07-07, 07:05 PM
It is not trivial to maintain flanking every turn when you cannot tumble every turn. Nor is it trivial to maintain cover/concealment while still being able to draw a bead on your target. The bad guys can use cover, concealment, and spell effects to really mess up your game - not to mention taking cover behind their own allies or redirecting your attacks onto others (yes, several monsters do have this power). These are all factors the DM can use to his advantage (and yes, use against you!) and which monsters can reasonably take into consideration.
I agree about Rogues that try to flank in close-combat. That type of Rogue is generally fun to play and fun to have in your party. But a sniper doesn't have to worry about enemies having cover unless all of them have cover, because the relative position of him and his enemy doesn't influence his chance of getting a Sneak Attack off. Both the flanker Rogue and the archer Ranger have to worry more about who they're targeting.

The key thing your party can do is tie up the enemy in combat in a place that you can get repeated clear shots at from cover. That's very, very easy to do unless all the enemy forces are using similar Stealth/ranged attack builds. Spell effects and cover can't mess up a Sniper's tactics more effectively than any other ranged class.

It would be better if WotC had recognised that a ranged Sneak Attack depending on cover and stealth is a fundamentally different manouver than backstabbing someone who is five feet away and aware of you. Maybe they could have given them different names and made a Rogue specialize in one as for the TWF and Archer rangers.

wodan46
2008-07-07, 08:23 PM
The real problem is that we are discussing this at all, when what a crossbow rogue can do to get sneak attacks should have been as a clear and as bookwork efficient as a dagger rogue.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-07-07, 09:50 PM
While that's a good idea in principle, it goes straight against the design philosophy of 4E.

I don't think that's true. Things needed to perform this cheese (if it is true that it works): Stealth skill, Extra Damage with Combat Advantage.

First, there is no dearth of monsters with a stealth score and sneak attack with combat advantage, and you can always make more. In fact, some monsters have cool special abilities they can use only with combat advantage. Second, the books give rules for monsters gaining class levels. Third, under NPC creation, it actually says that you can, if you want, use PC classes for important NPCs, but they provide streamlined rules for quicker creation, not as the only way to do it.

But, even if I disregard what is specifically stated in both the DMG and MM, and just create a monster with the basic design philosophy of 4e, then the point is to create a monster with a few useful abilities to use in a combat. So I make the Drow Sharpshooter, he hides, he shoots, he slices and dices, he can cut through a lead pipe and still be sharp enough to cut a tomato. Well, actually, he only needs those first two abilities. I could add that he stays hidden when he misses if I wanted a particularly nasty guy. And blam, the PCs are doomed.

Also, a simple counter to the rogue problem: ranged troops with a readied action. If they know where he is, but can't see him, they can still ready an action to shoot him if he pops out.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-08, 12:19 AM
So allowing a Sniper Rogue CA using Stealth almost every round makes the other builds mechanically redundant. He does what they do just as well, and can do other stuff more safely. And it's the source of easy CA from Stealth checks that screws everything up.

You realize that even without getting into the extremely powerful rogue build that multi-classes ranger for Blade Cascade, a large number of strong powers such as Knockout can only be done in melee, right?

If you really want to compare builds, you can't think of this like 3.x where a rogue's attacks are all about sneak attack. In 4e, it's just as much a matter of what types of powers you want to use, and while it's possible to build a rogue who only does ranged combat (I know because I planned one to 30 for fun), it's actually rather difficult and limiting.

Edit: In fact, you should do this yourself. Build a rogue to 30, and make a conscious effort to build for only ranged combat. You can do it, but you'll find it's not at all easy and keeps you away from some very juicy choices.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-08, 12:33 AM
So... why play an Archer Ranger? You limit yourself exclusively to ranged combat, get fewer powers to choose from all the way up to 30th level, and wind up doing the same amount of damage as a Sniper Rogue.

Oh, and on this:

Gosh, hm, let me think ... because you wind up with the longest range available to player characters as your primary attack form? Because as an archer ranger, your other main ability score is probably Wisdom, and you probably trained Perception, meaning you probably spot the enemy before they spot you (and before anyone else in the party spots them), so you get to initiate combat with them from farther away than they can even attack if you like?

Because if you want to engage in a little cheese, you can multi-class cleric, get Cloud Chariot, and make melee-focused enemies cry crocodile tears? While losing nothing for doing this because Wisdom, your other high ability score, is the cleric's bread-and-butter score?

No, I ... I just can't imagine why anyone would want to play an archer ranger.

tbarrie
2008-07-08, 01:17 AM
So... why play an Archer Ranger? You limit yourself exclusively to ranged combat, get fewer powers to choose from all the way up to 30th level, and wind up doing the same amount of damage as a Sniper Rogue.


How do you have fewer powers to choose from? Here's a quick rundown of the number of Ranger and Rogue powers which work with ranged attacks:

Level 1
Ranger: 3 At-Will, 3 Encounter, 2 Daily; Rogue: 2 At-Will, 1 Encounter, 3 Daily

Level 3
Ranger: 4, Rogue: 1

Level 5
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 1

Level 7
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 2

Level 9
Ranger: 3, Rogue: 0(!)

Level 13
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 1

Level 15
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 2

Level 17
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 2

Level 19
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 2

Level 23
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 2

Level 25
Ranger: 3, Rogue: 2

Level 27
Ranger: 2, Rogue: 1

Level 29
Ranger: 1, Rogue: 3

No matter what you say about damage output, if your gameplan is to concentrate on ranged attacks, being a ranger gives you significantly more choice when it comes to powers. (The situation at level 29 is, admittedly, odd.)

CockroachTeaParty
2008-07-08, 02:12 AM
One thing that puzzles me about Rogues is their 'First Strike' class feature.

It claims that rogues have CA against any creatures that have not yet acted in an encounter. But I thought that everyone that was 'surprised' granted CA? Is this only for combats where there is no surprise round? Or for combats where only some of the enemies take actions during a surprise round (a few were sleeping, or something)?

tyckspoon
2008-07-08, 02:52 AM
One thing that puzzles me about Rogues is their 'First Strike' class feature.

It claims that rogues have CA against any creatures that have not yet acted in an encounter. But I thought that everyone that was 'surprised' granted CA? Is this only for combats where there is no surprise round? Or for combats where only some of the enemies take actions during a surprise round (a few were sleeping, or something)?

I think it lets them do roughly the same thing that happens in 3.5, where people are Flatfooted until they act: Everybody gets Combat Advantage in the Surprise Round/against surprised enemies who aren't participating in that round, if there is a surprise round. Then First Strike allows the Rogue to keep Combat Advantage against anybody who he beats in Initiative. Basically 4E removes the 'flatfooted' condition- everybody who is aware of the fight is considered ready to participate in it- and then First Strike lets the Rogue take advantage of it anyway.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-08, 03:54 AM
Looking at the Bluff skill description, I don't see how Bluff to Stealth works. If you don't have cover, you are spotted -- does Bluff let you Stealth while you have line of sight to someone even without cover? When does this end?
I believe it's supposed to be this: if an enemy sees you, and you step behind a wall, you don't get to make a stealth check because he knows where you are (except with certain rogue powers).
If you bluff ("look behind you, a three-headed monkey!") then step behind the wall, he doesn't know where you went (even if there's only one spot to hide to begin with).
If you bluff, and remain standing in his line of sight, that's pretty pointless.


You should, in general, try to deal with hit/miss chances. Otherwise you miss alot.
Yes. Based on that, it may be useful for the rogue to toss daggers instead of shooting crossbow bolts, since that gives him (iirc) a +2 to hit.

Antacid
2008-07-08, 05:01 AM
You realize that even without getting into the extremely powerful rogue build that multi-classes ranger for Blade Cascade, a large number of strong powers such as Knockout can only be done in melee, right?
A few misconceptions.

I'm not advocating for 3.5e. I'm unlikely to play more than a 1-off of 3.5e ever again. I'm not even attacking 4e, I'm just mulling over what I see as a single flawed mechanic in that system. Which, BTW, definitely still works better than the 3.5e Sneak attacks. I'd prefer to keep the Sniper Rogue as an option, allow some kind of Stealth system without making flanking redundant, and provide a way to determine who everyone can see quickly and logically.

I agree all Rogues should take some close-combat powers, and they can. But Archer Rangers can't: and so a Sniper Rogue gets more choice in total - he gets to choose from all the powers available to his class. But if a Rogue with Stealth and a crossbow = an Archer Ranger at ranged combat, and gets access to great close-combat powers, it makes the Rogue is a generalist who is as good at ranged combat as the ranged-combat specialist.

In that case, the only reason to use the specialist is for his Range 40 longbow. Which is pretty good, but much more situational than "has cover". Most battles won't be fought at that range, even outside - and fighting at range 40 effectively forfeits the Ranger's ability to choose who he gets to target with Hunter's Quarry, because he can't change who the closest enemy is by moving position.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-08, 07:48 PM
I agree all Rogues should take some close-combat powers, and they can.

Small correction: I didn't say they should (implying it would be a mistake not to); I said there are good reasons to and a lot of things lost by not doing so. A purely ranged rogue is very possible and (I think) viable (perhaps especially with ranger multi-classed). Rogues can be built as ranged specialists.


But Archer Rangers can't: and so a Sniper Rogue gets more choice in total - he gets to choose from all the powers available to his class. But if a Rogue with Stealth and a crossbow = an Archer Ranger at ranged combat, and gets access to great close-combat powers, it makes the Rogue is a generalist who is as good at ranged combat as the ranged-combat specialist.

Well, no, because no matter how many powers you can choose from, you only get the powers you actually pick. If the rogue selects even one melee power, he/she is logically going to end up with fewer ranged powers than the archer ranger.


In that case, the only reason to use the specialist is for his Range 40 longbow.

How is that not good? Range wins everything from individual fights to large-scale wars.


Most battles won't be fought at that range, even outside

Why not? What makes your statement any more valid than the following statement:

"Most battles won't be fought in areas with sufficient cover or concealment."


and fighting at range 40 effectively forfeits the Ranger's ability to choose who he gets to target with Hunter's Quarry, because he can't change who the closest enemy is by moving position.

Well, actually, in a three-dimensional battlefield, it's quite possible that you can (see especially Cloud Chariot), but even if what you were saying were unqualified truth, I'm not sure what else you'd expect when being a ranged fighter. The whole point of being a ranged fighter is to fight ... at ... range. I mean, if you rush into melee before you use your bow, you really deserve a big, fat *thump* on the top of your skull, and everyone else should probably step back and allow you to die for the good of the party.

Do you give up certain things for fighting at range? Sure. Do you gain certain things for it? Sure.

Melee specialists have the same problem in reverse. Ask fighters, not just two-weapon rangers.