Possible sneak attack alternatives

Let's face it, damage is hard to contend with.  Still, here are some
ideas that might be neat alternatives for the rogue to chose instead
of "I prick you and you explode."

I think one of the original ideas may have been to allow these to be
mixed and matched, so that is how I attempted to craft them.  Some
obviously give you more bang for your buck in small doses.
Also, while these look similar to fighter CS dice, remember; CS is a
pool you can do lots of things.  With these "talents", you can only do
what you are locked in to do.  They likely need lots of balancing so as not to step on toes and such.

Base: each level the rogue gets 1d6 of rogue talent.  Certain Schemes
may synergize better with different talents, (thug and sneak attack)

Sneak attack - if the rogue is attacking with advantage, he may apply
each die of sneak attack to the damage roll of a successful hit.

Uncanny Dodge - for every d6 of uncanny dodge the rogue has, he may
deny an enemy a reaction roll against him.  (maybe melee only,
modified by a scheme to encompass range)

Distracting Ploy - instead of attacking, the rogue may spend his
action to apply disadvantage to any enemy's attacks until the end of
the rogue's next turn.  You can affect 1 enemy per d6 of this talent.
(possible scheme synergy that allows you to dodge while you perform
this action)

Hide in Plain sight - some people have an uncanny ability to be
overlooked or ignored or perhaps blend in where others couldn't.  This
not an easy ability to master, but in time, it becomes second nature.
If you have 1d6 in "Hide in Plain sight" roll a d6.  On a 1, you can
make a stealth check as if conditions were proper.  If you have 2d6,
you may hide in plain sight on a 2 or lower, and so on, until at 6d6
there is no need for a roll.  Each additional success beyond the first
adds +1 to your stealth check, (so a rogue who has 10d6 hide in plain
sight may always attempt to hide in plain sight, and automatically has
+9 to his stealth roll)

Acrobatic Speed - for every 1d6 of acrobatic speed you have, you can
flawlessly climb or jump 5 feet (horizontal or vertical), (not an
additional 5 feet) as your movement. If a rogue focuses all of their
talent here, they will be making supernatural leaps of 50ft straight
up by tenth level.

Use Magic Device - for every 1d6 of Use Magic Device, a rogue has a
class level equal to the number of Use Magic Device dice to allow him
to use certain items and scrolls.  So if a scroll of fireball requires
a wizard level 5 to use, then a Rogue with 5d6 of Use Magic Device
could also use this scroll.

Detect Noise/Counter Stealth - each 1d6 gives the rogue +1d6 to spot
something hidden, or +1d6 to hit an invisible target (added to the
final roll if disadvantage is applied.)

True lies - each 1d6 gives the rogue the ability to deny a target an
insight roll vs. his bluff. (scheme bonus - Can't snow the snow man:
the rogue can spend a die to automatically detect a lie)

So the idea with this is at level 10, you can be Mr. hyper-focus and
have 10d6 sneak attack, or you could have 4d6 sneak, 1d6 true lies,
3d6 hide in plain sight, and 1d6 Detect Noise.

Thoughts, comments, better ideas?
Wait, so... is this Combat Superiority, done Roguish? None of these are good Sneak Attack alternatives. This looks like it would make for a completely different kind of class, not just a minor swap with Sneak Attack. Because you're trading out your extra damage (Which is all a rogue has for dealing decent damage) in exchange for hiding or whatever. It doesn't address the "what if I don't play a Rogue that stabs people in the back but still fights well" situation at all.

I mean, it's a nice idea (and the Rogue Talent concept would work well with a Combat Superiority-style system), but I think it's either too robust for its intended purpose or you've misnamed it. 
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
I think Austinwulf's suggestion has some real merit.  As stated, it does have some balance issues (replacing overpowered sneak attack with rogue talents that are even more over powered), but this is adjustable.  Although superficially similar to combat superiority, the mechanic is different.  (I'm not sure how many drastically different combat mechanics are possible).  Austinwulf has captured a number of traditionally roguish combat abilities and encapsulated them nicely. 

My biggest worry is about the system's compatability with the pre-third edition styles that depended heavily on imigination and improvisation.  Why couldn't anybody attempt, say, a specific distracting ploy as an improvisation?
Essentially, both CS and SA should be usable (with perhaps minor modifications) in the non-combat pillars. One approach could be to allow both fighters and rogues add a CS/SA die to an attribute/skill check, up to a maximum of 2x total di[c]e before needing a short rest.

Magic Dual Color Test
I am White/Green
I am White/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
Yeah, I don't think the dice is a good idea. 

Honestly, if people want alternatives to sneak attack, I think there are better ways to go about it:

Sap - allow Rogues to substitute damage for a 1-round stun, with each +d6 acting as +1 to the DC of the victim's Con save, and people who've been Sapped before get advantage to warding off subsequent Saps. This gives a good alternative to damage, but gives a decent chance of resisting the stun and preventing stunlock, while giving out of combat utility so that the Rogue can attempt to disable the guards so the party can sneak buy.

Garotte - ditto for a 1-round silence, which gives an anti-magic-user potential.

Distracting Flourish - for rogues who want to get away from the Assassin-style combat and instead have a more swashbuckly feel, you could also have an ability that allowed Rogues to add damage by succeeding on a contested Int or Cha roll as part of an attack.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The real issue, in my mind, is that mega-damage is hard to top.

When a rogue can one-shot most of the Bestiary with their sneak attack damage*, what is the point of trading that attack away?  To let them keep it alive but stunned?

Rogues (ok, all of the characters) do way too much damage (by comparison, a fighter does three times the average damage in 5N than he does in AD&D but monsters only have around 20% more hit points). 

So (assuming they don't fix this problem) - the rogue either needs to lose their megadamage or they need to be getting something so good it is better than just killing the monster.

Carl


*a bit of math (note, these are all based on the sniper halfling rogue with a sling.  If the rogue actually steps up and uses a melee weapon they can do a little more damage - but not enough to affect these numbers significantly):
At L1, a rogue does 3d6+3 (1 die from weapon, two from sneak attack; average 13.5) on a sneak attack hit.  This average damage one-shots just shy of half of the Bestiary (17 of 35 monsters).  Of those it does not kill, six are so wounded that an average hit by a fighter or warlock will kill them.  (23 of 35 dead in two hits)
At L2, a rogue does 4d6+3 (aveage 17) on a sneak attack hit.  This one-shots 20 of 35 monsters in the Bestiary.  Of those it does not kill, eight are so wounded that an average hit by a fighter or warlock will kill them. (28 of 35 dead in two hits).
At L3, a rogue does 5d6+3 (average 20.5) on a sneak attack hit.  This one-shots 22 of 35 monsters in the Bestiary.  Of those it does not kill, eight are so wounded that an average hit by a fighter or warlock will kill them. (30 of 35 dead in two hits).
At L4, a rogue does 6d6+3 (average 24) on a sneak attack hit.  This one-shots 22 of 35 monsters in the Bestiary. Of those it does not kill, nine are so wounded that an average hit by a fighter or warlock will kill them.
 (31 of 35 dead in two hits).
At L5, a rogue does 7d6+3 (average 27.5) on a sneak attack hit.  This one-shots 27 of 35 monsters in the Bestiary.  Of those few it does not kill, four are so wounded that an average attack by a fighter or warlock will kill them.  (31 of 35 dead in two hits).   Of the four remaining - two are 'bloodied' by the rogues sneak attack and unlikely to survive the rest of the round.
Megadamage is always the best status effect to apply.

I created a prestige class roughly based off of the Assassin for 3.5 called the Spectre (an organization in my game world), whose draw was that they could study their opponent for three rounds and make certain types of attacks (analagous to the Assassin's Death Attack), including hamstringing, paralysis, and kill shots, by forgoing certain amounts of sneak attack damage. They were thoroughly versed in anatomy, and by studying any creature with a discernible anatomy they could accomplish the same goal.

I also recall being relatively annoyed by noticing an official PrC or something with a similar mechanic, so maybe someone remembers what that was.

Anyway, I was thinking attacks like that might be decent CS-style alternatives to sneak attack damage?
My D&D Next Philosophy: In this age of user created content, Wizards needs to take a step toward embracing that. Modularity is certainly a start, but the best possible way for Wizards to encourage homebrew is to strip the mechanics of flavor, and to ensure that they are as balanced as possible. Players today should be able to start with a concept and build that character. They should not have to force it into narrowly-defined classes that restrict the ability to play the character you want.
The real issue, in my mind, is that mega-damage is hard to top.

When a rogue can one-shot most of the Bestiary with their sneak attack damage*, what is the point of trading that attack away?  To let them keep it alive but stunned?

Rogues (ok, all of the characters) do way too much damage (by comparison, a fighter does three times the average damage in 5N than he does in AD&D but monsters only have around 20% more hit points). 

So (assuming they don't fix this problem) - the rogue either needs to lose their megadamage or they need to be getting something so good it is better than just killing the monster.

Carl




Yikes. Yeah, that seems like too much damage, not enough HP, or both.

Definitely something the devs need to dial in.

EDIT: just thinking/spitballing here for a second about how much damage the Sneak Attack should do, given the relative squishyness of the Rogue and the desired rounds/combat on the part of the devs. 

I think 1-shotting mooks is fair, but Sneak Attack probably shouldn't do more than 1/4 to 1/3 of an elite/brute type's HP, and definitely only 1/4 of a leader type's HP.

Does that sound about right? 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I think 1-shotting mooks is fair, but Sneak Attack probably shouldn't do more than 1/4 to 1/3 of an elite/brute type's HP, and definitely only 1/4 of a leader type's HP.

Half a midboss, third an endboss.  Heatshot Boom! everything else.

 Austinwulf has captured a number of traditionally roguish combat abilities and encapsulated them nicely. 



All I did was grab the classic "thief skills" we used to toss those percentages per level into back in 2nd and 1st ed.  I agree completely with CarlT, (hillarious all things considered) that it is very hard to compete with Mega-Damage, which is why I didn't try to directly compete.  If you want to be super damage rogue, then yes, you absolutely should dump all of your points into backstab (the very Assassiny rogue).  If you want more utility, possibly serve as an off tank, or have more movement options, or just the ability to play with a wizard and cleric's toys, you dabble or focus in the other areas.

What likely may end up happening is that Backstab gets severly neutered, so if they are going to make optional powers, they do not need to make them very powerful to be tempting.


My biggest worry is about the system's compatability with the pre-third edition styles that depended heavily on imigination and improvisation.  Why couldn't anybody attempt, say, a specific distracting ploy as an improvisation?



The difference here would be how many can you effect with improvisation, and would  a roll or very specific circumstances be required.

In general, I would like to see an options for rogues who don't necessarily fight well or stab you in the back, but they win (or help their party win) by manipulating the battlefield in the first place.

They're the ones who think ahead, not in a tactical manner like a fighter would, but in a sneaky, underhanded manner. Tripwires, feints, things of that nature - if you're fighting one of these guys, you're at a disadvantage the second you step into a battlefield they've prepared.

I don't have anything specific mechanics-wise as a suggestion (at least not at the moment), but that's something I'd like to see, concept-wise, in one manner or another (rogue talent, a Background/Specialty, something).

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

In general, I would like to see an options for rogues who don't necessarily fight well or stab you in the back, but they win (or help their party win) by manipulating the battlefield in the first place.

They're the ones who think ahead, not in a tactical manner like a fighter would, but in a sneaky, underhanded manner. Tripwires, feints, things of that nature - if you're fighting one of these guys, you're at a disadvantage the second you step into a battlefield they've prepared.

I don't have anything specific mechanics-wise as a suggestion (at least not at the moment), but that's something I'd like to see, concept-wise, in one manner or another (rogue talent, a Background/Specialty, something).



The problem with this is that you are trading in-combat abilities for out-of combat abilities.  It can be done - and if it is done some will complain that the utility of the scheme is dependant upon the DM allowing their traps to work (true, but not really a valid objection in my opinion).

Essentially you make sneak attack damage a part of a scheme rather than a base class feature (probably a good idea anyway - for one thing it would allow thug to be balanced; they could have a reduced sneak attack to compensate for its being much more frequently applied).    Then you create a scheme with these tricks you want to see and a reduced sneak attack.

Carl
I think that lowering the sneak attack damage is a good idea, but in exchange give them optional abilities that can be applied on your sneak attack. Something like sneaky tactics(needs better name) that you get when you level up.

examples below

Mob
When sneak attack deals damage to a target within reach of two or more creatures that are friendly to you, those friendly creatures get a basic melee attack against target.

Precise Strike
Add 1d6 to sneak attack damage. This tactic can be taken multiple times.

Sap
sneak attacks gain chance to stun

Garrote
requirement hidden/ deal sneak attack damage to target, on target's turn make strength check. If check fails garrote continues, and sneak attack damage is dealt. On both the target's and your own turn make strength check until target breaks free or dies. If rogue is damaged in any way during garrote than target breaks free.

These are just some ideas for what could be implemented.
I think that lowering the sneak attack damage is a good idea, but in exchange give them optional abilities that can be applied on your sneak attack. Something like sneaky tactics(needs better name) that you get when you level up.

examples below

Mob
When sneak attack deals damage to a target within reach of two or more creatures that are friendly to you, those friendly creatures get a basic melee attack against target.


Way too powerful; this pretty much ensures 1-round kill for every monster in the bestiary atm. 

Precise Strike
Add 1d6 to sneak attack damage. This tactic can be taken multiple times.


Uh...giving up Sneak Attack damage to increase Sneak Attack damage? I don't get it.


Sap
sneak attacks gain chance to stun


Agreed here. 


Garrote
requirement hidden/ deal sneak attack damage to target, on target's turn make strength check. If check fails garrote continues, and sneak attack damage is dealt. On both the target's and your own turn make strength check until target breaks free or dies. If rogue is damaged in any way during garrote than target breaks free.
These are just some ideas for what could be implemented.



A bit too powerful. I think it would be more interesting if Garrote was either an anti-wizard Silence attack, or a slowly increasing damage over time, with both allowing Strength/Dex/Con checks to break free each round. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I've never been a fan of how garrote has worked in DnD.  Its really not a combat weapon, its an "I sneak up on you and murder you from behind" weapon.

Maybe sneak attack should be more of an exploration pillar technique.  Its used for dropping guards or during the surprise round before combat truly starts.  If used this way, I wouldn't mind seeing sneak attack dice be the damage you do, with the weapon not being a factor.  If you pull sneak attack out of combat, it makes it a bit easier to come up with alternate techniques to take instead of "I try to explode things every round".
If you pull sneak attack out of combat, it makes it a bit easier to come up with alternate techniques to take instead of "I try to explode things every round".

Huh.
Why the hell not, eh?

However, to make it work, the rest of Thiefy's murder-suite needs to be elevated a bit.  If Gary put Thief at half thac0 because of backstab, it's time to move Rogue up to at least Cleric-level combat ability, in to-hit and hit-points.

"Go pick the lock open, and then hide with wizard until you can stab someone in kidneys" needs to stop being all the rogue can really do.
The problem with this is that you are trading in-combat abilities for out-of combat abilities.  It can be done - and if it is done some will complain that the utility of the scheme is dependant upon the DM allowing their traps to work (true, but not really a valid objection in my opinion).

Essentially you make sneak attack damage a part of a scheme rather than a base class feature (probably a good idea anyway - for one thing it would allow thug to be balanced; they could have a reduced sneak attack to compensate for its being much more frequently applied).    Then you create a scheme with these tricks you want to see and a reduced sneak attack.

Carl



While the set-up would have to be done out-of-combat, the net effect would then directly affect combat. So I suppose it might exist in some sort of grey area in between the two. It's not quite a "in-combat ability" and not quite an "out-of-combat ability." Just to somewhat throw something out there off the top of my head:

Rogue Scheme: Battlefield Manipulator

Level 1: Mobility Reduction. In any battle, the side that has the advantage of mobility is often the victor. The Battlefield Manipulator plays on this by reducing her party's opponents while not hindering her own side.
Benefit: If the Manipulator has at least ten minutes (and suitable materials) to prepare a known battlefield up to 20' x 20', any opponents entering that battlefield have their Speed halved. By adding trip wires, choke points, and the like, the Battlefield Manipulator makes the field a hazard to enemies. The Manipulator's allies are unaffected, as they have been briefed on the particulars, or have helped install the hazards.

Level 2: Distractions. An enemy can't hit what an enemy can't pay attention to. By utilizing light, sound, or other more esoteric methods, a Battlefield Manipulator reduces enemy accuracy.
Benefit: Through whatever means available to him, the Manipulator uses loud noises and bright lights to distract and/or daze his enemies. Any enemy creature attacking in these conditions must make a Constitution Saving Throw against a DC equal to 8 + the Rogue's level each turn or have Disadvantage on their attack.

Level 5: Retribution. A skilled Battlefield Manipulator makes her enemies pay for attacking her or her allies. Now, her manipulations to the battlefield are dangerous and potentially lethal.
Benefit: The Manipulator has learned how to add damaging elements to her traps. When they take an action, any enemies within the affected area must make a Dexterity Saving Throw against a DC equal to 8 + the Rogue's level or take 4d6 damage from traps in the immediate area. (Narrative Rule Module: If the enemy has not moved since taking damage, that trap has been sprung and cannot damage the enemy again. Tactical Rules Module: Any given 5' square may inflict damage only once, after which the trap must be reset to deal damage again.)

------

I'm fully aware that those items no doubt would need some math to them before being in any sort of hypothetical final product, but that hopefully gets the idea across. (And I had a quick "lightbulb moment" and added what I would imagine would be some quick and small modular rules. Which no doubt will not be what they actually look like, by hey - maybe!)

The idea would be that there would be definitive mechanics to each ability, and the only real "DM May I?" moment (although I agree with your assessment of the objection's validity, so long as I'm reading you right) would be whether or not the party has the time to set up the affected area. Although, that may just as easily be something that the PC's could control to some extent (by holding off an enemy force at the door, perhaps, or various other things depending on circumstances).

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

My sneak attack alternative would be . . .

Fighting Dirty


The rogue keeps their sneak attack dice, but can trade them for effects other than damage.

Here's mud in your eyes!: The rogue hurls sand, mud, or fine powder into the eyes of her enemy, blinding them for 1 round for every 4 dice spent.

Going somewhere?: The rogue attacks an enemy's knee, hip, foot, or leg, hindering their movement by 5 feet per die spent.

Oopsie daisy: The rogue trips or otherwise imbalances an enemy causing them to fall prone.  Costs 4 dice.

Taking advantage: If the rogue has any sneak attack dice left over, after applying non-damage effects, they can be applied as damage considered to have come from a follow-up attack.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I too think the rogue's sneak attack damage is too high.  I would rather see the rogue as a character that keeps critters from acting at their full capacity,  a debilitater of sorts.  I envision the rogue as having dirty tricks, abilities to redirect attacks at him to other enemy NPC's, and many other things like that.  Some Sneak Attack I want, just not that much.

Dude. This idea is freaking awesome and I really hope the devs are watching this thread.


I agree that you run the risk of writing a bunch of stuff that nobody will ever use on the grounds that they'd rather just do a lot of damage but the fact that it creates a platform for expansion and has even gone so far as to inspire people in the thread to submit new ideas just makes it too good to ignore.


Clear winner; if the final version doesn't include something like this it's likely I will borrow it and integrate it myself.



Edit: Course, I guess the real question if they were to do something like that is what stops rogues from just being dex based fighters? The overlap would be hard to avoid if they're both using very similar systems and focus on combat (melee or ranged). The ideas submitted are definitely more "roguey" but I could see some crazy flame war going on over why a rogue shouldn't be able to take the swashbuckler fighter scheme or whatnot.

As I pointed out elsewhere - the problem is that they decided to give fighter's a cool 'thing' controlled by dice, which could occasionally be rolled and added to the attack for extra damage - ignoring the fact that they already had a class whose 'thing' was extra dice which they could add to the attack for extra damage.


But I don't think this has to be a problem.


Both wizards and clerics cast spells.  But they have different rules for memorizing those spells and when they cast those spells they have (mostly) different effects.


So there is no reason fighters and rogues can't both use dice for their 'thing'.  And as long as they both have different conditions for when they can use those dice and as long as they have (mostly) different effects - they will be as different as wizards and clerics.


Sure - there will be some overlap.  Extra damage, for sure.  Knocking the target prone - probably.  Knockdown, Shift and Tumble - perhaps.


But the fighter is more about making extra attacks, blocking damage, etc.   As long as we stay away from those kind of abilities and focus on ways of really hamstringing the target (slow, blind, weaken, daze, even stun) they will each have their place.


It is also possible that they will decide to reclaim some of the powers from the fighter.  Does the fighter really need Tumble and Shift?  Maybe change Shift to be a rogue thing and leave Tumble for the fighter so they each have a different mobility move.  Or let them both have shift but leave Tumble for the fighter.  



And if the fighters complain about the rogues stepping on their toes with their dice-based mechanics - well, the rouges can just point out that they had them first.


Carl 
If you pull sneak attack out of combat, it makes it a bit easier to come up with alternate techniques to take instead of "I try to explode things every round".

Huh.
Why the hell not, eh?

However, to make it work, the rest of Thiefy's murder-suite needs to be elevated a bit.  If Gary put Thief at half thac0 because of backstab, it's time to move Rogue up to at least Cleric-level combat ability, in to-hit and hit-points.

"Go pick the lock open, and then hide with wizard until you can stab someone in kidneys" needs to stop being all the rouge can really do.



Oh I agree.  You can't go from, "excuse me?  :tap tap poke EXPLODE:" to, "stab....4 damage".

They will still need something to keep combat interesting for them, IF they went that route.  I would imagine though that in combat sneak attack is safe.  Soon to be weakened, maybe, but not going anywhere. 

and has even gone so far as to inspire people in the thread to submit new ideas just makes it too good to ignore.





This is exactly why I start these threads.  Its definitely part, "I think this is a neat idea and want it out of my head" but its also, "let's get other people vocal about this, cause someone might spitball something that may catch a developer's eye and help improve our game."  Granted, I don't like every idea (and that's okay) so if they happen to be reading and latch on to one of those, know that I will be shaking my fist towards the heavens and cursing that inovator's screen name.

The other thing with only having a backstab or sneak attack power in your combat toolkit means that people try very hard to get as many sneak attacks in a round as possible. That leads to all manner of wrangling every time anything comes out that could possibly be construed as a way to get another attack in that might be considered a sneak attack.


By expanding the options, the need to push really hard for more sneak attacks diminishes along with the rulemastery.


As for diminishing the damage of sneak attack, I've just been having a think and actually I don't mind that it's so high because 1) it requires you to play the field to ensure you have a tactical advantage and 2) quite a few monsters are immune to it.


Which leads to another thing about how awesome this is 'cause your rogue can be helpful in a situation where you're in a skeleton infested crypt. The DM isn't bound by a need to throw the rogue a bone and let 'em sneak attack now and then if they've got a whole toolbox of stuff to use in situations where sneak attacks aren't working.

Idea For Garrote 

Garrote feels like something that should be done out of combat when there is a lone enemy that you can sneak up behind. You would already be able to sneak attack this target, so in order for Garrote to be interesting and useful it would have to reliably do more damage that a regular Sneak Attack. Since you are not in combat you are not bound by combat rules (initiative, turns, etc.) so I came up with an idea for Garrote that I think is fun and inuitive and would get a lot of use.

Garrote: When you are adjacent to a creature that is not aware of your presence, you may make a melee attack with advantage. If this attack hits, deal damage equal to your sneak attack damage and begin a Dexterity contest. The attacker and target each make a Dexterity check, the attacker has advantage on these checks. If the attacker wins the contest, they deal damage equal to their sneak attack damage and the contest conitnues. If the target wins, they break free and may immediately take an action.


This feels the way garrote should feel, and it averages out to more damage than a regular sneak attack, so it is the better option in this scenario. I did the math and it doesn't seem OP, but if it is then perhaps change it so the attacker only has advantage on the first Dex Mod contests (including the initial attack), or they only have advantage on the initial attack and not on the contest (although this might make SA a better option and that defeats the purpose of having a garrote option.

Also this contest could theoretically go on forever, so maybe putting a cap on how many rounds you can garrote. Maybe your Str Score (not Mod) or something like that.
The trick here is you don't want the high priest of orcus dropping to a garotte maneuver. Usually.
The trick here is you don't want the high priest of orcus dropping to a garotte maneuver. Usually.



Yeh that is why I mentioned possibly capping it based on Str Score. Half Strength Score would be about 5-6 contests, that seems like a pretty good cap. And Strength seems right for how long you can stangle someone, maybe Constitution.

Perhaps make the Rogue fatigued or weakened after a garrote ends for a short period of time (number of contests = number of rounds fatigued). So if the Rogue somehow manages to sneak up on a boss and garrote them, when the garrote ends and combat begins, the boss won't be a full health, but the party won't be at their full capacity since the rogue will be fatigued or weakened for a few rounds, not to mention starting combat with the rogue adjacent to A BOSS and no one else close by.


This makes it a reliable option for taking out a lone guard (rogue will be back to normal by the time you open the next door), while not being a great option to use on bosses. 
Not gonna read everything right now, just gonna respond to OP.


Take your basic idea and replace it with:


Sand in the Eyes: The target takes Dex or Str damage, and is blinded for either 1d4+2 rounds, or until they use an action to clear their vision.

Box the Ears: (must have at least one hand free) Target takes unarmed damage and is deafened for 1d6 rounds, and disoriented (maybe has disadvantage on checks? there needs to be something less brutal than stunned, but similar in nature).

[cool name for a throw/trip move]: The target falls prone, and takes 1d6 extra damage.

Various others: Various other useful things.


Some moves would be in addition to an attack, some would replace an attack, and most, but not all, require advantage to work.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Thinking of calling them Tricks/Trick Points.  Adding skill mastery into this bag as suggested by others in another thread.  Have Tricks that only cost a few points, (or 1).  Dropped the damage on Sneak with the consideration that an Assassin speciality or class would be much better at it, or perhaps that it works best out of combat.

Sneak attack - current standard.  Every Trick Point spent on Sneak attack grants 1d4 damage when sneak attacking. (I would see the Assassin, class or specialty, up this damage to 2d4, specifically when attacking out of combat, like dropping a Sentry.  Damage can always be given a hard cap...or not.)

Uncanny Dodge - for every Trick point of uncanny dodge the rogue has, he may
deny an enemy a reaction roll against him or deny advantage against him.  (maybe melee only,
modified by a scheme to encompass range)

Distracting Ploy - 

Hide in Plain sight - 

Master of Skills - Every trick point grants the rogue mastery in a skill she knows.  The roll of this skill is never lower than a 10 and the attribute modifier to the skill is never lower than +3

Acrobatic Speed - for every Trick Point of acrobatic speed you have, you can
flawlessly climb or jump 10 feet (horizontal or vertical), (not an
additional 10 feet) as your movement so long as you have advantage (someone helping you) or a specialized tool, (climbing claws, pole for vaulting, etc) . You can only spend a max of 3 Trick Points on this.

Use Magic Device - for every Trick Point of Use Magic Device, a rogue has a
class level equal to the number of Use Magic Device dice to allow him
to use certain items and scrolls.  So if a scroll of fireball requires
a wizard level 5 to use, then a Rogue with 5 trick points of Use Magic Device
could also use this scroll.

Detect Noise - the rogue does not have disadvantage vs. Invisible targets that still make noise.  Only 1 trick point can be spent on this.

True lies - 

Silvertongue - When the rogue has advantage in a social situation and succeeds on the skill check, the target is also charmed/ frightened (depending on the skill used).  He may effect 1 target per Trick Point.

Slippery Mind - the rogue gains advantage on a save vs any charm or other mind control effect.  Only 1 Trick Point need be spent on this.



Ok, first of all
The Battlefield Controller Scheme is a very good idea! We need one of those.

With regards to Sneak Attack: I do not believe that we need to lower the damage it does. I think we need to make it very much less likely to work. Rogues hiding, sneak attacking, hiding, sneak attacking is not really that fun, specially when they hide so easily. So I would enforce that once you have sneak attacked someone, everyone else around is too aware of you, even if they can't see you, that you can't do full SA damage (or none at all) to them. Essentially make the sneak attack damage encounter based.
Hiding to get advantage still works though, as you get some kind of debut attached to your sneak attack (say... stunning, disarming, knocking back). 
I preffer not to reduce the damage, because I often have a hard time imagining how the hell do people survive to what the Sneak Attack constitutes. Killing most it hits sounds like what sneak attack is.

Having debuffed SA, I would add the following options for those who don't want to backstab. Some of those options might be combat oriented and defensive: maybe every time you are attacked you can react (if you have a free hand) and steal something from the attacker. Others might be offensive, such as feinting. I don't think we should allow it to be replaced by a noncombat characteristic. I am ok with people creating characters that are specialized in one pillar or two, but not ok with characters that have nothing at all to contribute to one pillar (in this case combat)
One of the better ideas I've seen on thees forums in the last few days (and, sorry, I don't recall who suggetsed it) was:



Any time a rogue has advantage, they can give up that advantage to do sneak attack damage.  In other words - they can either make an attack with advantage - and do normal damage (although the chance of a crit is nearly doubled) OR they can make a normal attack and do sneak attack damage if they hit.


I think this principle can also be tweaked to something like:  A rogue does 'base' sneak attack damage if they attack with advantage (say, 1d6/odd level  - like 3.x).  If they give up the extra die roll (give up the advantage) they can do an additional few d6s (i.e. do current sneak attack damage).  So it's not all or nothing - it's some extra damage with advantage or lots of extra damage but they only roll once.


The addition of status effects could stand in for the second part of that formula:  So you do your 2d6 base sneak attack damage and can give up advantage to either do more damage or [daze| slow | blind | prone | etc.].


  
Carl
One of the better ideas I've seen on thees forums in the last few days (and, sorry, I don't recall who suggetsed it) was:



Any time a rogue has advantage, they can give up that advantage to do sneak attack damage.  In other words - they can either make an attack with advantage - and do normal damage (although the chance of a crit is nearly doubled) OR they can make a normal attack and do sneak attack damage if they hit.



Carl



That's not a bad idea at all.

If Action => Advantage (eg Stealth)
Advantage => Accuracy =>(/+) Damage (Rogues only)
Is Advantage proportional to Accuracy / Damage?
ie 1 Advantage == 1 Damage or 1 Accuracy
So Action == 1 Damage or 1 Accuracy 

==> Action == Advantage == Accuracy == Damage

So is Sneak Attack damage equal to an action?
Can we spend more actions/advantages/accuracy to get more damage? 
http://collectingrealities.blogspot.co.nz/
If Action => Advantage (eg Stealth)
Advantage => Accuracy =>(/+) Damage (Rogues only)
Is Advantage proportional to Accuracy / Damage?
ie 1 Advantage == 1 Damage or 1 Accuracy
So Action == 1 Damage or 1 Accuracy 

==> Action == Advantage == Accuracy == Damage

So is Sneak Attack damage equal to an action?
Can we spend more actions/advantages/accuracy to get more damage? 




Mongoose traveller allows you to spend up to six uninterrupted minor actions (the equivalent of two rounds) to gain +1 per aim action for a total bonus of +6. 


So allowing multiple actions to gain additional accuracy has been done before (and I like it for snipers).

They also at one point in early 5e development suggested that anyone, not just rogues, might be able to do more damage with  a sneak attack like attack.    I don't think that idea when over well - although I dont know what they net balance of comments was.


But there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing increased accuracy to result in greater damage.

THerefore there is nothing inherently wrong or illogical with allowing mulitple actions to result in increased accuracy or increased damage.

It is just a question of:  good mechanics (not too much tracking) and not stepping on the toes of the various classes.  


What, specifically, would you propose?


However the flaw in your math is that:


Action = Advantage; 2 Actions = Advantage; 10 Actions = Advantage; etc - because Advantage + Advantage = Advantage.  

Carl 
I didn't see this thread before I posted on the subject in another one.

I'm in favor to remove the high risk/high reward dimension from the rogue class. Swashbucklers and other profiles that goes directly in the heat of melee to spam heavy hitting weapon attacks should be reserved to fighters or rangers IMO.

The actual sneak attack feature could replaced by a special feature directly determined by the Rogue Scheme.
Examples I see are :
• Assassin: sneak attack strictly requiring stealth (not advantage) or one round for perfect aim, coupled with an evasion feature to go away and create a condition to hide again.
• Trouble maker: Targets a foe and enables an adjacent ally to attack it, or trick a foe adjacent to it into attacking the target with a specific check. Immunity to opportunity attack when not using his enabling ability.
• Engineer: Uses alchemical bombs and instant complex mechanical traps or weapons to control or damage foes, restored during a short rest from a reserve similar as a spellcaster component pouch and the ability to retrieve some components after a battle.
• thief-acrobat: special acrobatic moves without skill checks and a special dodge check against any attack, with a melee retaliatory strike when the attackers are adjacent to him.
• Disabler : uses his environment and any means at his disposal to hinder the enemies actions. During his turn, he designates a target as an action and act against it until his next turn. Any action taken against the target is rolled twice and use the highest roll to determine the result. And any action from the target is rolled twice and use the lowest roll to determine the result. If the target is a spellcaster, saves against its spells are rolled twice and use the highest rolls to determine the result. This ability is not cumulative with any advantage or disadvantage effects.