(5e) Should Rogues be able to sneak attack with all light weapons?

S'mon

Legend
Would it do any harm to let a Rogue sneak attack with a club (d4, light, bludgeoning)? Coshing the victim seems appropriately thematic! How about hand axes? Are there any balance issues?
 

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i_dont_meta

Explorer
The only reason I see for the omission of Bludgeoning weapons from the Rogue is that a number of creatures that are resistant to Slashing and/or Piercing were also typically immune to Sneak Attack in previous editions (undead, oozes, etc.) This might help give it a shout back to the old school, if even in a minor way.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
I think the reason for the restriction is a legacy one -- this was once the "backstab", and so piercing weapons are conceptual fits.

Three solutions I have toyed with to increase the scope of the rogue:

1. let all simple light weapons be eligible (as you suggest)
2. have a (homebrewed) archetype that at level 3 allows all simple melee weapons to be used with sneak attack (the "Thug" -- a strength-favoring archetype)
3. add to the eligible rogue weapons: the sap--1 hp damage, bludgeoning simple weapon, finesse.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Are there any balance issues?

There are 9 monsters in the entire game that have a vulnerability to Bludgeoning Damage, and most of them are skeletons. There are exactly Zero that have a vulnerability to Slashing Damage Also, there is exactly one monster in the entire game that is resistant to both Slashing and Piercing damage, while not being Resistant to Bludgeoning, and I am 99% sure that's just a typo. More importantly, Rogues can already use Slings (and Boomerangs), which means they can totally exploit Bludgeoning Sneak Attack Damage if they want to! What's more, if they somehow get Scimitar or Whip Proficiency , they can use that for Sneak Attack without house ruling as well. It begs the question of why they know how to use Longswords but not Scimitars.

Even if you look at potential new magical weapons, the only one of note is Berserker Axe. And I doubt a Rogue will be clamoring to wield such a weapon any time soon.

So in short, no there aren't any balance issues. Go ahead and make your Axe Gang.
 

5ekyu

Hero
Imo as long as it stays on light, I dont see a problem with subbing finesse out for light for sneak. Personally, I would have liked to see a thug sub-class that gave a more strength bashed tough guy rogue option. Of course it can happen now, finesse doesnt require dex after all, just gives the option.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Would it do any harm to let a Rogue sneak attack with a club (d4, light, bludgeoning)? Coshing the victim seems appropriately thematic! How about hand axes? Are there any balance issues?

None at all. I'd also allow a club to be used as a finesse weapon, because canes don't need a whole extra line in the weapon table.

I say no, because "blunt object" and "finesse" do not go together.

Any study of cane fighting disproves this notion entirely.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I think it's both a thematic and a balance restriction, but the latter is more about excluding big weapons with a larger base damage. So I don't think there is a balance problem at all if you allow this with a club, which is an inferior weapon, if you are ok with it thematically. Besides, there is no explicit restriction to bludgeoning weapons, in fact I think you can sneak attack with a sling.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I was thinking allow it with a STR attack.

You can make STR attacks with finesse weapons, if you so choose.

On that note, rather than change Sneak Attack to work with clubs, I’d add a Sap weapon that does bludgeoning damage and has finesse.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I say no, because "blunt object" and "finesse" do not go together.

But "finesse" and "sneak attack" are not the same at all. Think about hitting someone with a cosh (a heavy stick, bar, or such - definitely a bludgeoning weapon), blackjack or sap to knock them out -- that's a classic real world application that fits sneak attack.

So, starting from the point that sneak attack as a concept works just fine with bludgeoning, what are your thoughts about allowing any light weapon to sneak attack?
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I see the restriction to finesse weapons as a thematic choice rather than balance one. Though to my mind it ignores the thug/brute type of STR-based rogue archetype. (Though perhaps correctly, thinking that would retrod ground already covered by other classes and the Criminal background.)

From a balance perspective, I don't see a problem. Of course, I'm also the person who played with the idea that proficiency with all martial weapons would up the die of simple weapons by 1 - just to give them parity and let us see them in play by martial characters to enable more character concepts. So I acknowledge a bias.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I see the restriction to finesse weapons as a thematic choice rather than balance one. Though to my mind it ignores the thug/brute type of STR-based rogue archetype. (Though perhaps correctly, thinking that would retrod ground already covered by other classes and the Criminal background.)

From a balance perspective, I don't see a problem. Of course, I'm also the person who played with the idea that proficiency with all martial weapons would up the die of simple weapons by 1 - just to give them parity and let us see them in play by martial characters to enable more character concepts. So I acknowledge a bias.

Given that the light weapons with the biggest damage is the scimitar & shortsword (1d6), and the rogue can already use them for sneak attacks—not to mention the rapier (1d8) and crossbow (1d10), I'd say that there's nothing mechanically unbalanced in letting rogues use other, non-finesse, light weapons.

Go for it.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
This scenario sounds like the rogue is attempting to sneak up on someone and knock them out? I would argue that until a fight breaks out the combat rules don't apply, so sneak attack damage/weapons/finesse etc are moot until that point.

One thing the rules don't describe is a non-combat knockout scenario. To me asking for the attacker to reduce the target to zero HP is ridiculous because the target is not fighting back (which is what HP models). So to knock an unsuspecting target out I'd say it's simply a Str vs Con contest. The Rogue (assuming they successfully sneaked into position) wallops the target with the cosh, bam. Roll Str + ability bonus + bonus for the heft of the cosh (+2, +3?) compare to the target's constitution. If it beats the target the target is knocked unconscious (and takes the bludgeoning damage) or if it fails, target takes damage and a fight probably breaks out.

Attempting to knock out a creature one size larger (or same size but wearing a helmet) is done at disadvantage. 2 sizes larger and it's not possible. Smaller creature is done with advantage.

If I've misread the scenario my apologies, but I posted this in case it's relevant (or at least it's useful to others :) )
 

Satyrn

First Post
Would it do any harm to let a Rogue sneak attack with a club (d4, light, bludgeoning)? Coshing the victim seems appropriately thematic! How about hand axes? Are there any balance issues?

It is my belief that 5e is so loosely - broadly might be a better word - balanced that no small change like this will affect it at all.


So no harm that way. It might change the flavor of rogues, give them a new favorite standard weapon.
 

Would it do any harm to let a Rogue sneak attack with a club (d4, light, bludgeoning)? Coshing the victim seems appropriately thematic! How about hand axes? Are there any balance issues?
I straight-out removed the Finesse requirement for Sneak Attack, so it can be performed with any weapon.
I have yet to see any balance issues. Rogues get much less out of a large damage die than say, Fighters do.

I say no, because "blunt object" and "finesse" do not go together.

Any study of cane fighting disproves this notion entirely.
I think that there might be some confusion between the common use of "finesse" - to handle with skill (or similar) and D&D's usage of "Finesse weapon" - a weapon whose damage may not be determined by the speed and force that it strikes with, but rather the grace and balance of its wielder.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Would it do any harm to let a Rogue sneak attack with a club (d4, light, bludgeoning)? Coshing the victim seems appropriately thematic! How about hand axes? Are there any balance issues?

Honestly, I don't think rogues should be able to sneak attack with all light weapons, I think they should be able to sneak attack with all weapons.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Honestly, I don't think rogues should be able to sneak attack with all light weapons, I think they should be able to sneak attack with all weapons.

Cool, I was going to say this (or something similar) if no one else had.

Even when you think about the biggest weapons' damage (2d6) compared to 1d6 weapons, you are only adding 3.5 points of damage. Since Sneak attack isn't a multiplier of the base weapon damage, I see no issue at all with allow a Rogue to sneak attack with any weapon really. It would hardly break anything IMO.
 

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