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Thief/Rogue Powers

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How would you build a backstabbing power? Traditionally in either OSR or many modern variations, the thief, if undetected, can do lots of damage on an undetected strike with a melee weapons. Obviously the first notion is hit locations, and perhaps buy some penalty skill levels to hit vital stuff, but that doesn't require stealth. Maybe extra DC's, requires a weapon, only from stealth? 

Any thoughts? I don't see anything in Fantasy Hero and a quick search of the forums got me not much. 

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Backstab:  (Total: 16 Active Cost, 9 Real Cost) Deadly Blow:  +1d6 ([limited circumstances](by surprise or from behind)) (16 Active Points); Requires A Roll (Skill roll, -1 per 20 Active Points modifier; Must be made each Phase/use; -3/4) (Real Cost: 9)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Note, you cannot get behind a palindromedary; it has no behind to get.

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 Well, if the stealth rolls are successful, then the rogue could initiate an attack against a 0-3 DCV, Unsuspecting victim, with all hit locations available. But it's dependent on that stealth roll succeeding.  Any other "powers" that a Rogue would have after that initial first strike, don't map to HERO combat, so that may be the extent of it.

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Good stuff. I like that after the first stab the victim would no longer be unsuspecting. Lucius' build would allow further strikes as long as you could remain behind/flanking and succeed at stealth. Hrm. I was just thinking that anyone used to D&D would want to see that available, and wanted to try to build it. 

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Be careful with "behind" in a turn based system, it's very easy to have two people each circling the other for constant backstabbing.  Likewise, there's very little a character can do to restrict enemy movement in HERO so you get 1v2s having constant backstabbing. 

 

Just to offer an alternative to Lucius's excellent suggestion, you could build the backstab as a Martial Arts maneuver or power with a bunch of extra DCs but a stiff OCV penalty: They would then be encouraged to use it only when they had surprise or some other advantageous circumstances. 

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Attacking a target by surprise out of combat puts them at 1/2 DCV, halves any hit location penalties, and causes them 2x Stun damage before hit location modifiers.  

 

That aside, maybe a level or two of a naked Armor Piercing Advantage?  Representing the idea that you're choosing a weak spot in their defenses.  

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I really like the naked AP advantage. I guess I'd have to think about what constituted surprise or hidden; just rolling stealth again after you gank someone in the kidney is totally not going to get you off their radar. I don't think I'd like them to be able to backstab at will, although as noted by Christopher and Gnome it's pretty situational and tough to arrange if anyone's aware.

Maybe once per fight; must be from stealth, and first attack of the combat? 

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Let us look at some rules. In particular the ones for Surprise. Because getting that is what stealth is about:

Suprised enemies do not get to act on Phase 12 of the first "Turn" 6E2 18

"Characters who are Surprised normally cannot Abort their next Phase; they have, afer all, been taken unawares (see Surprised, 6E2 50). However, the GM may, in his discretion, allow them to Abort." 6E2 22

That means they also do not get to use their CSL. It is still a Free Action to apply the CSL. It is usually trivial to do that as part of a Abort/before your previous attack, but they do not get either of those.

If Dodge or CSL are applied from a previous maneuver aginst another enemy, they are also halfed.

 

6E2 50:

"Attacked from behind (Surprised) out of combat" (the first strike of a combat) means: 1/2 DCV, 1/2 Hit Location Penalties, x2 STUN damge taken. Wich can of course cause the "Stunned" effect too.

"Attacked from behind (Surprised) in combat" 1/2 DCV

 

Deadly Blow covers all thse things from D&D: Weapon Specialisation, Favoured Enemy, Sneak Attack, Lawfull/Chaotic Weapons and even Paladins Smite Evil attack.

Edited by Christopher

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I haven't quite gotten to Backstab in my AD&D conversion yet. I'm still working through spells but Classes are next on my list.

 

So this is my current thinking:

 

Fighters are like bricks. SUPER cost efficient. You buy some STR and a little DEF and off you go. You don't need to spend all those points on powers. So Fighters (and to a less extent Paladins and Rangers) are going to be swimming in points and probably ridiculous skills just because they have nothing else to spend their points on. So I was thinking was that to really represent their 'Art' of war (see where I'm going here?), I think all fighters should spend points on Martial Arts. This gives them the versatility that kind of cropped up in later editions of AD&D/Pathfinder with Weapon/NonWeapon Proficiencies, Sweep, etc.

 

To this, I'm thinking that the ancillary combat classes (clerics and thieves) should spend some points on Martial Arts to reflect their skill and focus. So I was honestly thinking that instead of being an extra Skill/Talent/Power that I would just include it as part of the thiefly martial art (called Skullduggery). Offensive Strike: -2 OCV, +1 DCV, +4 DCs sounds a lot like a Backstab to me, +4 DCs is an additional 1d6+1K. That's a good sized chunk of damage. Alternatively, there is always Find Weakness...but part of me likes the simplicity and one-stop-shopping of having all the abilities stacked there on the martial arts tab.

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5 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Be careful with "behind" in a turn based system, it's very easy to have two people each circling the other for constant backstabbing.  Likewise, there's very little a character can do to restrict enemy movement in HERO so you get 1v2s having constant backstabbing. 

 

Just to offer an alternative to Lucius's excellent suggestion, you could build the backstab as a Martial Arts maneuver or power with a bunch of extra DCs but a stiff OCV penalty: They would then be encouraged to use it only when they had surprise or some other advantageous circumstances. 

 

8 minutes ago, Rapier said:

 

To this, I'm thinking that the ancillary combat classes (clerics and thieves) should spend some points on Martial Arts to reflect their skill and focus. So I was honestly thinking that instead of being an extra Skill/Talent/Power that I would just include it as part of the thiefly martial art (called Skullduggery). Offensive Strike: -2 OCV, +1 DCV, +4 DCs sounds a lot like a Backstab to me, +4 DCs is an additional 1d6+1K. That's a good sized chunk of damage. Alternatively, there is always Find Weakness...but part of me likes the simplicity and one-stop-shopping of having all the abilities stacked their on the martial arts tab.

 

I approve of this thinking.

 

And I am

 

Lucius Alexander

 

For Palindromedary Enterprises

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Yeah AP works well too if you want them to avoid armor.  In real life a backstab works well because you can place it so well and put all your attack into it, where in regular combat you have to be careful and rarely get a nice, square hit.  How do you represent that in hero?  The surprise helps some, but other than that its up to you.  

 

The only drawback I can think of with the martial arts maneuver approach is the positioning issue and surprise -- how do you limit a maneuver so it only works in x circumstances?

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah AP works well too if you want them to avoid armor.  In real life a backstab works well because you can place it so well and put all your attack into it, where in regular combat you have to be careful and rarely get a nice, square hit.  How do you represent that in hero?  The surprise helps some, but other than that its up to you.  

 

The only drawback I can think of with the martial arts maneuver approach is the positioning issue and surprise -- how do you limit a maneuver so it only works in x circumstances?

 

My current back-of-envelope idea is that there will be Maneuvers/Proficiencies/Skills that characters can buy (like AP, Penetrating, etc). There were some introduced in some of the Survival Guides and became more of a thing with 2nd+ edition. Since i can convert whatever I want, my intent was to include this kind of thing in with my conversion. When I start getting to that point I'll look into the current version of Pathfinder and see what they are calling things and what kinds of things are out there.

 

I have no problem what-so-ever with calling an "Offensive Strike" Backstab and declaring you must be behind someone. There used to be (last time I was around here a lot, like 10 years ago) a thread on creating martial arts as powers. I think Martial Arts are already pretty aggressively priced for their utility. I haven't fully developed Skullduggery as an Art yet, but it may be the only Offensive Strike in the package. If, for some reason, I want another Offensive Strike I'll just make them buy it twice. :)

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah AP works well too if you want them to avoid armor.  In real life a backstab works well because you can place it so well and put all your attack into it, where in regular combat you have to be careful and rarely get a nice, square hit.  How do you represent that in hero?  The surprise helps some, but other than that its up to you.   

 

The only drawback I can think of with the martial arts maneuver approach is the positioning issue and surprise -- how do you limit a maneuver so it only works in x circumstances?

For the first question the answer is:
Depending on severity: 1/2 DCV or 1/2 DCV, 50% Placed Shoot Penalties, x2 STUN damage

Also use the "Partial Armor Coverage" rules (IIRC 6E2 111)

 

Second Question:

The "Choke Hold" Martial Maneuver can only be used if you got a Grab already. That is "limited Circumstances". 6E2 91

HSMA lsits maneuvers with such limitations as "Must Follow Block" and "Must Follow Grab". And later lists similar restrictions in the "Build your own maneuvers" part.

 

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HSMA lits maneuvers with such limitations as "Must Follow Block" and "Must Follow Grab". And later lists similar restrictions in the "Build your own maneuvers" part.

 

That's a good take on the build.  I still wouldn't do it as a martial arts move, but it is a valid way to build it.  I prefer stuff like that go under the 'special powers' system Aaron Allston used for Ninja Hero.  You get your martial arts maneuvers, then you get powers that are part of the training like Dim Mak.  Stuff like "vanish with a puff of smoke or when not observed" and "jump behind the target for a strike"

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On 1/20/2019 at 8:23 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah AP works well too if you want them to avoid armor.  In real life a backstab works well because you can place it so well and put all your attack into it, where in regular combat you have to be careful and rarely get a nice, square hit.  How do you represent that in hero?  The surprise helps some, but other than that its up to you.  

 

The only drawback I can think of with the martial arts maneuver approach is the positioning issue and surprise -- how do you limit a maneuver so it only works in x circumstances?

 

You give it such OCV and or DCV penalties that the only practical use for it is from surprise.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

surprise, it's a palindromedary

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