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Sneak attack

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Feat sneakattack.png Sneak Attack

Description

Rogues, Ninja Spies and Deepwood Stalkers may do additional damage when attacking an opponent if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The target is unaware of the character's presence.
  • The target is attacking another player (possibly under the influence of Intimidate from that player or Diplomacy from the passive character).
  • The target is under the effects of a successful Bluff.
  • The target is helpless.
  • The target is blind.
  • The target is under the effects of a Deception item or attack.

Targets immune to critical hits (such as an undead, slime, construct, elemental, or anything with high Fortification) are also immune to Sneak Attack bonus damage. Note: Fortification debuffs such as Improved Sunder and Improved Destruction, and effects that allow you to bypass fortification, can partially break this immunity. Some creatures appear to be completely immune to sneak attacks, and won't receive them even if a large portion of their fortification is being bypassed.

Ranged and missile weapons normally deal Sneak Attack damage only if the target is within 15 meters (49 ft) with one exception: the Deepwood Stalker, which can increase this range up to 25 meters (82 ft). (Note that the /loc chat command shows your current location in meters.)

Racial enhancements and weapon enhancements that add to your attack or damage rolls in Sneak Attack conditions apply to all characters, whether they're Rogues or not. Ninja Spies gain Sneak Attack enhancements and can also train Unbalancing Strike, which causes a Bluff effect that makes enemies briefly vulnerable to Sneak Attacks in direct combat. Halfings gain additional Sneak Attack training, while Rogues gains auto-granted feat improvements to their Sneak Attack prowess as they level, in addition to any class tree or racial enhancements.

Gameplay Implications

Allowing Sneak Attacks to work on targets attacking another player is an important change to DDO from the PnP rules. As long as someone else has "aggro", the Rogue gets a damage bonus of 1d6 per two levels. Even at level 1, that's an average of 3.5 more damage per hit. And you will get that bonus damage for at least two or three hits, typically, since it takes that long for a monster to turn aggro from another player onto you.

Although the +2 flanking bonus to melee attack rolls is especially useful to Rogues, who have a lower Base Attack Bonus than the warrior classes, attacking an enemy from behind is not required to score Sneak Attack damage.

Attacking while Sneaking isn't required either! In fact, it's counterproductive to take more than a swing or two in Sneak mode since your attack rate is so much slower than normal. Use it to help make sure someone else gets aggro first, then turn it off when you start swinging. Or simply let other members of your party charge ahead and don't join them until they're engaged.

The "helpless" condition is important to remember. Many spellcasters (including Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, and even Bards) can render enemies helpless through direct spell effects like Hold Person, or indirectly through ability damage. Some weapons' special effects can cause the "helpless" condition as well, such as Stonedust Handwraps or Shield of Reflecting (but not paralyzing weapons). This can lead to an unfettered flurry of Sneak Attack damage on that victim and defeat him in short order. One dark Monk finishing move, Freezing the Lifeblood, is a paralysis attack that also makes victims helpless.

The "blindness" condition is also significant to sneak attack. A blind monster receives sneak attack damage even if the player character has aggro. Blindness can come from spells such as Blind, or Sunburst, the dark finishing move Falling Star Strike, and is a special effect from a Green Steel Radiance II weapon and Radiance II Guard items, or the specific Dragontouched Armor's Sovereign Tier III rune. Radiance and Radiance Guard are also available as a suffix on high level loot-generated items.

A successful use of Bluff will make an enemy vulnerable to sneak attacks for six seconds, even if you're its target. Improved Feint allows you a second (and area effect) method of bluffing. Half-Elves have an additional racial bluff, and Monks can train Unbalancing Strike, an elemental ki attack which causes a bluff effect, from any of their class trees.

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