D&D 5E Sneak Attack: Is it broken?

I've seen comments on several threads, which basically boiled down to "X would be fine, if it weren't for Sneak Attack." Warlord attack-granting. Greenflame Blade. Damage on a miss. Multiclass combos. Feats, core and custom. A few other places. It shows up really often--like, in nearly every thread where an attack-related feature gets discussed, somebody comes in and says, pretty much point-blank, "Wow that is/would be SUPER BROKEN with Sneak Attack."

So, as the title says. Is Sneak Attack broken?
 

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Uchawi

First Post
It may be a spotlight effect, where when it does work well, it does work well, but overall it is meh or average. If I would point to anything, it is how easy is it to get advantage in the game. Since advantage is useful for every class, it becomes a primary mechanic that is sought at every turn.
 

Azurewraith

Explorer
If anything i would say sneak attack could use a little help to keep up with SS/GWM but then that's more those feats over preform.

You want Op sneak attack try looking at 3.5sneak attack where it applied to every attack and you could be making 5attacks around for like 10d6
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
I think they could of gotten away with applying it to every attack and give them Extra Attack. Obvious SA itself would do less.
 


Psikerlord#

Explorer
If you dont use optional rules such as feats or MCing, SA is fine. What turns out to be broken then is paladin smite. But that is fixable by making smite cost a bonus action. Then, if you want to use feats, change the -5/+10 for GWM and SS into +1 stat.

And you're good to go, damage ballpark wise.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Not by itself. But at a particular table with a particular makeup of characters and a particular DMs playstyle? Sure. Could be.

But then again, most abilities could be considered broken given those parameters.

And then... it's up to the DM to adjust things if the particular "broken" thing is causing issues at the table and it is not making the game fun for everyone. Pretty much what the DM is doing all the time anyway.
 



So what if a warlord grants extra attacks? You get sneak attack damage ONCE per turn and thats that. Granting an extra attack wouldn't add to that at all.
 

mellored

Explorer
So what if a warlord grants extra attacks? You get sneak attack damage ONCE per turn and thats that. Granting an extra attack wouldn't add to that at all.
Per turn is not per round. Sneak attack happens on anyone elses turn.

Though "the ally can make 1 additional attack on it's turn" could solve a warlord + rogue issue.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
So what if a warlord grants extra attacks? You get sneak attack damage ONCE per turn and thats that. Granting an extra attack wouldn't add to that at all.

Yes, but the trick is: there are multiple turns in a round. The text says "once per turn" not "only on your turn"

So if the Warlord grants you an attack on his turn and then you take a reaction on another turn, you get to use Sneak Attack again and again.
 

mellored

Explorer
To be fair, the rogue doesn't do a massive amount of damage with sneak attack.

even adding the 2d8 of green flame blade means he only caught upto the baseline fighter. no including GWM or other feats.
 

Scorpio616

First Post
To use your one example- sneak attack wasn't designed to work with a (non-existent) warlord class giving extra attacks.
Yeah. Pretty much this. Even stuff that could be interpreted (Command:Flee, Dissonant Whispers) to cause foes to draw OAs would still cost the rogue their Reaction, which is pretty valuable for most of them to 1/2 an attack's damage.

So at least if the Warlord's action granting cost the benefactor their reaction, that would help mitigate that issue.
 

Yes, but the trick is: there are multiple turns in a round. The text says "once per turn" not "only on your turn"

So if the Warlord grants you an attack on his turn and then you take a reaction on another turn, you get to use Sneak Attack again and again.

Note that the Battlemaster can already do this with Commander's Strike. And the rogue can do it himself with Sentinel or Mage Slayer. Opportunity cost: Uncanny Dodge.
 

To be fair, the rogue doesn't do a massive amount of damage with sneak attack.

even adding the 2d8 of green flame blade means he only caught upto the baseline fighter. no including GWM or other feats.

But it is very consistent damage, because as long as you hit at least once. A fighter 11/rogue 9 will do more average damage against high-AC targets than a fighter 20 will, if sneak attack applies, because his first hit does double damage.

It's not OP, but it's not trash either.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Note that the Battlemaster can already do this with Commander's Strike. And the rogue can do it himself with Sentinel or Mage Slayer. Opportunity cost: Uncanny Dodge.

True, and I hadn't considered those feats.
 

lets take a look at damage in a vacume... (yes I know dpr takes AC and to hit into it, but I'm not a big beliver in dpr)



at 11th level a fighter with a 20 str and a +2 great axe Vs a rouge with a 20 dex and a +1 dagger Vs a warlock with eldritch blast +1 imp and +cha (20) to eldritch blast Vs wizard with disintegrate

wizard 1/day can do 10d6+40 damage min 50 max 100 average 75
Fighter makes 3 attacks each does 1d12+7 so min 24 max 57 average 41
Rogue makes 1 attack and does 1d4+6+6d6 so min 13 max 46 average 30
Warlock makes 3 attacks each does 1d10+6 so min 21 max 48 average 35

now here is why I used the wizard first with his daily compaired to everyone else at will... 2 rounds the fighter is up to the disintegrate, three for the rogue and warlock...
 

Hi GMForPowergamers,

I'm a programmer professionally, so I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way and I apologize if it does, but I think there's a problem with your analysis. It makes the Rogue look weaker than it actually is.

lets take a look at damage in a vacume... (yes I know dpr takes AC and to hit into it, but I'm not a big beliver in dpr)

at 11th level a fighter with a 20 str and a +2 great axe Vs a rouge with a 20 dex and a +1 dagger Vs a warlock with eldritch blast +1 imp and +cha (20) to eldritch blast Vs wizard with disintegrate

wizard 1/day can do 10d6+40 damage min 50 max 100 average 75
Fighter makes 3 attacks each does 1d12+7 so min 24 max 57 average 41
Rogue makes 1 attack and does 1d4+6+6d6 so min 13 max 46 average 30
Warlock makes 3 attacks each does 1d10+6 so min 21 max 48 average 35

now here is why I used the wizard first with his daily compaired to everyone else at will... 2 rounds the fighter is up to the disintegrate, three for the rogue and warlock...

By neglecting hit probability, your analysis renders itself meaningless. It's not enough to say "I'm not a big believer in DPR." Specifically, you cannot compare disintegrate with direct attacks because they have different hit probabilities; you cannot compare Rogue sneak attack with the direct attacks unless you are assuming that it's a sneak attack without advantage (i.e. neglecting Cunning Action Hide), because the increased reliability makes the sneak attack better than the raw damage numbers would appear. You can compare fighters to warlocks, since they will have similar hit probabilities against any given opponent, but 50% of your analysis is questionable including the part (sneak attack) that you really wanted to analyze.

BTW, why is the warlock doing d10+6 instead of d10+d6+5?
 
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