D&D 5E Bringing back the thief/rogue damage multiplier.

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Again with a question (I'm on a roll tonight)!

I cant do maths, but I'd like to know if there was a balanced way of bringing back damage multiplier for rogues instead of the pile of d6s.

I think it went like this: Lv1-4:x2, Lv5-8:x3, Lv9-12:x4, Lv13+:x5.

But back then it wasnt every turn, you opened with a backstab and that was that.

Now, since sneak attack is assumed, how would I go to implement multiplier ?

Multiplying the damage+mod or only the result of the damage die itself ?

And what to do with critical hit?
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
There is probably a reasonably balanced way ... that can be both abused and mismanaged. Pretty much any direct multipliers can be. If you are looking just for your table and talk to them up front, Abused can be handled. But it's also easy to underperform. A dagger with a high multiple will be doing a lot less than a rapier.

A static amount per level (or two) works out to be fairer in allowing PCs choice of what weapons they use to apply, instead of limiting the effective field to just the highest damage ones.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
If you are looking just for your table and talk to them up front, Abused can be handled.
yeah, we are talking for my table only. And my players are so bad that even with a fool-proof step-by-step IKEA booklet on how to abuse rules, they would fail miserably :p
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Rogues generally use d6 weapons, and sneak attack adds d6s to damage, so multiplying damage instead probably wouldn’t make that huge of a difference. Obviously it would benefit light crossbow and rapier rogues over hand crossbow and shortsword rogues, but that might help balance out the fact that the latter get two shots at landing a hit. The main concern is that multiplying damage would compound the effect of Dex mod to damage, and any magic item bonuses to damage. So, maybe slow down the progression to every 3 levels instead of every other level? Otherwise, seems reasonable to me.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
You’d need to specify that it’s weapon damage, or else Booming Blade becomes even better for rogues than it already is.

Assuming a normal 5e tier progression, so x2 at 1, x3 at 5, x4 at 11, x5 at 17.

Worst non-BB case is rapier with 20 stat, so 1d8+5. Each multiplier adds another 9.5 average damage. So stronger at low levels, and at start of tier, but smooths out a little at higher levels. At 19, rapier plus sneak attack is 44.5 damage, x5 rapier is 47.5.

Definitely can work, might need a little smoothing.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Worst non-BB case is rapier with 20 stat, so 1d8+5. Each multiplier adds another 9.5 average damage. So stronger at low levels, and at start of tier, but smooths out a little at higher levels. At 19, rapier plus sneak attack is 44.5 damage, x5 rapier is 47.5.

Be careful though, because contrary to sneak attack, any bonuses to damage will be multiplied, and think about crits as well.

But honestly, go for it, it should bring back the old thief, where it was about tactics and really sneaking around rather than whining about DPR...
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
The issue with the multiplier was that it encouraged fighter thieves to backstab with 2-handed swords.

The flat bonus means that a rogue using a dagger--which makes sense as a backstabbing/sneak attacking weapon, does almost as much damage as one using a sword.

I think the question is, why bring back the multiplier?

You may actually want to do something else, but I don't know what that is.
 


Again with a question (I'm on a roll tonight)!

I cant do maths, but I'd like to know if there was a balanced way of bringing back damage multiplier for rogues instead of the pile of d6s.

I think it went like this: Lv1-4:x2, Lv5-8:x3, Lv9-12:x4, Lv13+:x5.

But back then it wasnt every turn, you opened with a backstab and that was that.

Now, since sneak attack is assumed, how would I go to implement multiplier ?

Multiplying the damage+mod or only the result of the damage die itself ?

And what to do with critical hit?
I would do it exactly like that.
But not as a replacement for sneak attack but as a replacement for the assasin ability to do an auto critical hit.

Edit:
If you really want to get rid of sneak attack entirely, you could change sneak attack to:

After rolling initiative you gain the ability to deal extraordinary damage.
The forst rime you hit an enemy with advantage, you deal proficiency bonus times damage to that enemy.

If you start your combat sneaking, that is the first time you do damage with advantage.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Limit it to finesse weapons anyway.



For me, it's to give a real devastating attack but one that can be performed only occasionally, after good positioning.


Thats about making it harder or more conditional, but with more damage. But that doesn't really have anything to do with using a rapier vs a dagger, or rewarding magic weapons or higher dex even more, which would be the point of the multiplier.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
And if we only multiply the weapon damage die, not the +mod or the possible magic item extras?

Could it be usable each turn?

Like a rogue with a magic flametongue shortsword hits a creature already engaged in battle with an ally (usual Sneak Attack conditions), he deals 1d6 x2 +5 +1d6 fire.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Best way I think to figure it out and determine if it is balanced is to find the most applicable and comparable spell or magic item whose mechanics match up to what you are thinking of. Then refluff said spell or magic item to be something your Rogue/Thief/Assassin can do.

That's what I did in my Curse of Strahd campaign, when the party found the ancient and anachronisitic "rifle" in one of the tombs beneath Castle Ravenloft. As I find the standard gun rules in the game to be rather underpowered I wanted to make this rifle really have punch. So I just decided to refluff a Wand of Lightning Bolts as the rifle-- same 8d6 damage (with DEX save), same ability to hit several people lined up in a row. Changed the damage type from lightning to piercing, added a Bonus action requirement to "reload" after each firing, and kept the "7 charges" idea by saying that the rifle had to be cleaned thoroughly after 7 shots (which required a Long rest).

As the "rifle" was pretty much just exactly like the magic wand, I knew the game was balanced and set up to accommodate it... and it gave that player something more powerful and interesting to fire than the typical "uber-crossbow" the DMG makes ballistic weapons.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
And if we only multiply the weapon damage die, not the +mod or the possible magic item extras?

Could it be usable each turn?

Like a rogue with a magic flametongue shortsword hits a creature already engaged in battle with an ally (usual Sneak Attack conditions), he deals 1d6 x2 +5 +1d6 fire.
If you only multiply the weapon damage die, it's a crappier version of sneak attack, except at level 1.

Rogues have sneak attack +3d6 at level 5, so that's already a x4 weapon damage multiplier.

It's certainly doable, but you have to decide upfront how much you want to vary from the traditional rogue damage progression.
 


ECMO3

Hero
Again with a question (I'm on a roll tonight)!

I cant do maths, but I'd like to know if there was a balanced way of bringing back damage multiplier for rogues instead of the pile of d6s.

I think it went like this: Lv1-4:x2, Lv5-8:x3, Lv9-12:x4, Lv13+:x5.

But back then it wasnt every turn, you opened with a backstab and that was that.

Now, since sneak attack is assumed, how would I go to implement multiplier ?

Multiplying the damage+mod or only the result of the damage die itself ?

And what to do with critical hit?

The balanced way to do it is make sneak attack work like monk martial arts in that there is a specific die (d6) you use and then multiply that dice by half your level rounded up plus 1.

So a sneak attack at level 1 is 1d6*2. This is the sneak attack damage whether you are using a blowgun or a heavy crossbow, it is 1d6*4 at 5th level ..... You get no weapon damage other than the sneak attack. This will make average damage equal what a Rogue with a short sword would do, although there would be a much higher variance and no mode.

If you limit this to 1 attack with the attack action only I would use a larger die (probably a d8, maybe a d10).
 

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