Leveling Rog4 to Rog 5 is boring

BAB? Same
Fort? Same
Ref? Same
Will? Same
Extra feats? None.
HD? Increases. But it does that every level.
Skill point total? Increases. But it does that every level.
Special abilities? Gain 1 more sneak attack die. Woo.

Even with my Steps System for leveling this would be a boring transition.

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48 thoughts on “Leveling Rog4 to Rog 5 is boring

  1. I mean, jeeze, I started this character at 4th level, already with his ability score bump in place. If I were leveling him from level 1, the things I’d be looking forward to for levels 2-5 are:

    * Evasion (2nd level). And mind you, we haven’t had any AOE effects for me to evade yet.

    And that’s it. Extra sneak attack dice? Nice, but very conditional (though this campaign is atypical, I’ve gotten ONE sneak attack in so far). Trap sense? Sure we’ve had traps but they weren’t big threats. Uncanny dodge? How often are you flat-footed or attacked by someone invisible, especially if YOU are the rogue and you’ve probably gone for a high-initiative build that means you’re going first so YOU can sneak attack on the first round?

    Most of where the rogue shines is in skills, and that requires the other PCs to have enough patience to let you sneak and search and disable. Hyrum’s character calls me “not so sneaky rogue” because so far I haven’t snuck up on anyone (I’m not out in front) and I get disparaging remarks about not finding traps (because everyone runs ahead before I get to search). Meh.

    And it’s not that I don’t like playing rogues … both of my long-term 3e characters were multiclassed rogues (Rog/Ftr, in fact). It’s just their abilities are very situational (the ranger has the same problem) and reactive (ditto).

    • I’m playing with a guy who made a super-min maxed beguiler. Every time we run into undead or constructs, he whines about how he can’t do anything.

      Ya, no shit. Rogues are even more situational, especially when it comes to skills.

      Strangely, I have no problems playing my cleric!

  2. As a longtime rogue player, I NEVER poo-pooed an extra sneak attack die. But on the whole, you’re right, 5th level is a bit of a drag. Turns out that’s true for the monk as well … the only bump I got (other than HP and skills) was a +1 to my Flurry of Blows … which IS cool, but not very sexy.

  3. At least you get something, in the editions before D20 you really never got anything other than THAC0 bumps and more Hit Points from level 2 through 20… Yeah, you’ve got a few dead levels now, but they don’t last terribly long.

      • Perhaps Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, and all the other designers and all the others credited as “Design Contribution” (including yourself) could have seen that coming back in 1999… I mean, its not too hard to spot the blank lines in the Special Abilities column of the class charts, is it?

        Or, perhaps, back then before a decade filled with Complete Whozits and Ultimate Whatchamacallits, players of the game were more willing to put up with a few levels of waiting. Yes, the dead level is lackluster, but doesn’t it make the payoff next level sweeter?

        I don’t think you need a “new toy” every level, but that’s just me.

      • When D&D has to compete with games like WOW, or any video game that gives you level-based rewards, and when D&D rewards you with a level-up typically once a MONTH of weekly play, then yes, you really need a new toy every level.

        If my character isn’t getting any better after a month of play, I wonder if my character is retarded. If I (Sean) play guitar for a month, I get better at guitar. If I work out for a month, I get stronger or in better shape. If I paint minis for a month, my technique should get better (or I’ll at least have more completely-painted minis). All of these things are things I can do with my friends.

        Yet If I play D&D for a month, there’s a reasonable chance that IF my character manages to level up (and depending on the encounter pacing and difficulty, I may not level up), I may not have anything significant to show for it. Yes, I had fun playing D&D with my friends, but I’d also have fun painting minis, playing board games, or doing other with-friends activities.

        If you’re only going to level once a month (and note that they built 3e so you’d level more often than in 1e/2e because the leveling rate for 1e/2e was even slower and you were lucky to ever reach the mid-levels), it should be a real WOOT experience when you do it, not a “meh” experience. I mean, look how supercritical people are of their television shows. Unless every WEEKLY episode of LOST or Heroes is really tight and advances the story and answers pressing questions, they are disappointed. D&D rewards you less frequently than that.

        I don’t want to be disappointed when I get my D&D rewards.

        If your employer gave a random bonus once a month, and sometimes it was $100 and sometimes it was $5, you’d be disappointed every time your bonus was just $5. You’d be even more disappointed if you KNEW that your next bonus was going to be just $5 but that $100 was on the horizon. You wouldn’t really care much about that $5 bonus at all.

      • I think you are forgetting that D&D isn’t a videogame, it isn’t a television show, and it isn’t a boardgame. The reward that a good session of roleplayign shoudl give is the story, the experince (not XP!), and the time spent with freinds.

        Consider the widly acknowledged forefathers of fantasy roelplaying, fantasy novels like “Lord of the Rings” or “Lankhmar” (Did I spell that right? I digress…) Every chapter of those novels is good, fun to read, and fills the mind with wonder. Most advance the story, and yet very few answer any pressing questions… and the characters almost never gain anything in the way of “kewl powers” or “phat lewt.”

        Yes, we all expect more action and adventure in our games, and I’ve never met a DM who could spin a tale like Tolkien… and I’ve had the pleasure of sitting a tables with some great GMs.

        But I expect to be “rewarded” witht he stasfaction that I saved the village, rescued the damsel, solved the riddle, or just plain kicked some orcish butt. The story should be the reward, the memories that I’ll be boring my fellow gamers with ten years from now (“Remember that time with Marcus the Paladin fought that Black Dragon…”)

        Otherwise, why bothe with this whoe roleplay business at all? It’s a long drive over to my buddies house for our regular game, I could just stay home and play Diablo.

        I’m in it for the “sizzle” not the steak.

      • The originators built RPGs based on table-top wargaming; it was a reflection of its contemporaries. D&D of today needs to be a reflection of *its* contemporaries, otherwise there will be no new blood.

        There is no sizzle without the steak. Otherwise, you just have smoking oil and eventually a housefire. If the gamemaster is the same in any equation, then the system should reflect the group’s preferred playstyle. Let’s face it, 3rd ed doesn’t provide any tools for developing (or participating in) plot; that’s up to the human element. All Sean’s talking about is how the players accomplish the plans they’ve come up with.

        People seem to forget that, on the average, books don’t fade away. If you like 3rd ed, you may continue to play 3rd ed for as long as you can sit at a table. Same thing for 1st ed and even Chainmail if you have an original copy (yup). But chances are that people want change and growth, and they will always contrast and compare to other experiences they’ve had.

      • Numbers Are Fun Too.

        Yes, story is great and spending time with your friends is fun. I love those things too. I also really like the numbers of D&D. They’re as much a part of the game as anything.

        Comparing D&D to a novel is an invalid comparison; D&D is not a novel. It is a roleplaying game. These are different forms of entertainment, and frankly, the “spend four months walking through Middle-Earth nearly starving to death and occasionally wondering if Gollum will murder you in your sleep” campaign would be a really, really dull one.

        -E

      • I can have a good story, experience, and time spent with my friends outside the context of D&D. Or gaming altogether. Part of the reward of D&D is that your character improves over time.

        LOTR has no “cool powers” or “phat lewt”? Boromir teaches the hobbits the basics of swordplay. Galadriel hands out magical gifts. Aragorn discovers unique powers as heir of the Numenorians (commanding the dead spirits, a king’s hands are healing hands). No pressing questions are answered? I think you’ve read a different LOTR than I have. And in any case, D&D is not Lord of the Rings. I’m not playing the LOTR RPG, I’m playing D&D, and D&D is built for character powerups over time.

        And while I’m not as familiar with Lankhmar, those stories are about two VERY experienced and famous heroes who don’t have much room for improvement in their skills and abilities (ditto several of the LOTR heroes, mind you), which is VERY different than the D&D experience of starting as a guy who only yesterday was mucking out stables to get the last few coppers to pay for his armor and sword, the promise of adventurer’s riches and power dangling in front of him.

        As yes, you are rewarded for the experience of playing with fun and stories. But I can get that from any fantasy RPG. So why play D&D instead of RQ or T&T or whatever? Why do most of the fantasy RPGs have a system where your character gets better at things over time? Because D&D did it and that’s what people expect: incremental power rewards.

        Let’s argue the hyperbolic extension of your point. Why bother with mathematically rewarding characters at all? The satisfaction should be in the storytelling. If you’re not in it for the game-mechanics rewards, take them out entirely. Now if you play a character weekly from Jan 1 2007 to Jan 1 2008, mechanically your character is exactly the same the entire time. Is that appealing to you? Ten years from now are you going to be telling stories of Fight With Orcs Number Forty-Three (because you can’t handle more powerful creatures)?

        I wouldn’t play that game. That’s why I stopped playing Traveler (no character improvements during gameplay, all improvements actually happen before you actually start playing your character).

        D&D is a roleplaying game. There are aspects that are about roleplaying, and aspects about getting more powerful. You need to reward the players with roleplaying so they don’t feel like they’re just playing Diablo, and you need to reward them with mechanics so they don’t feel like they’re just making up group stories.

      • Players decide what they enjoy most out of a game, regardless of medium or underlying system. D&D has a shitload of mechanics for making your character more powerful. Ignoring that is like playing Clue and engaging in debates on justifiable homicide instead of trying to figure out who the killer is and what weapon he or she used — you can do it, but it seems bizarre to criticize others for not doing the same.

        In my campaign, I play a character who is, for practical combat purposes, very weak. He is a role-playing character in a power-gaming group. I appreciate gaining more abilities, but it’s not my focus. Most of the other players don’t role-play very much. And that’s fine, because it doesn’t interfere with how I’m playing my character. They take something different out of the game than I do, and D&D supports both of our play styles.

      • The first decade of Complete Whozits and Ultimate Whatchamacallits was the 90s. And man, some of that shit was terrible. The Complete Book of Elves was responsible for some system-wrecking that would put mercurial greatswords to shame.

        WotC learned a pretty clear lesson from TSR: settings sell like shit, splat books sell like hotcakes.

  4. Yeah, you definitely get my sympathy. I’ve been slowly improving a swashbuckler/rogue character up, and some of what both classes get is pretty lacking in luster. I know it’s supposed to be a roleplaying game, but I like having the “game” part be really rewarding as well.

    The steps system thing sounds interesting though; is it unpublished house rules, or do you have it posted somewhere that I’d not spotted?

    • He mentioned the idea in this journal somewhere, I think… And it’s an optional system in Monte Cook’s World of Darkness.

      Basically every session, instead of XP, you level up one of the following (and forgive me if I get the exact steps wrong):

      1. BAB and hit die
      2. Skills
      3. Saves (and Defense in McWOD)
      4. Special abilities

      You have to get all four before you can pick a step again (so if your saves don’t go up at all, you still have to eat a session where you pick “saves” for levelling up.)

      -E

    • The steps system is something I was kicking around for d20, and then MCWOD came along and I suggested using it there and they agreed. I’ll pull out the rules (they’re only a page) and post them on my site perhaps by this weekend, they’re open content.

      Short form: you divide a level’s benefits into four categories:
      1: HD/hp/BAB
      2: Saves
      3: Skills
      4: Class abilities.

      Instead of leveling once every 4 game sessions (on average, 3-4 encounters per session x 1 level every 13 1/4 encounters means 1 level every 4 sessions or so), your character gains one “step” after every game session (perhaps 2 steps for a productive night, or 0 for an unproductive night). You can use this step to gain any one of the four categories of your next character level, in any order. So if you’re a Ftr1 and your next planned level is Ftr2, after session1 you could get the Ftr2 HD/hp/BAB, OR Ftr2 saves, OR Ftr2 skills, OR Ftr2 class abilities. After session2 you could grab one of the remaining three categories for Ftr2, after session3 one of the remaining two, and after session4 you’d get the 4th one and be officially level 2. You can’t switch target classes in between steps (like grab the HD/hp/BAB of Ftr2, then skills of Rog1, then class abilities of Clr1 … once you get 1 Ftr step you have to get the other 3 before you can change).

      This method means you get to improve after every session, not once a month (or less, if you play every two weeks).

      • Oh, cool. I like this idea a lot (and I’d never really looked at MCWoD, because much of the new WoD doesn’t interest me – a fluff issue, not a crunch one).

        While we’re on the topic; what do you think of KnightofPholtus’ idea of offering stunts, or the articles Kolja Liquette wrote for the WotC site a while back (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cwc/20061013a is the core class article), as a way of making dead levels maybe not quite so dead?

      • I applaud any attempt to give players more things that they can do in combat. I haven’t given any thought to the game balance of the ones you linked, but certainly it gives a little zing to the dead levels.

  5. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m looking forward to 4th Edition, as I have every nev version of the game. I enoy getting a new toy when I level up, just as much as the next guy.

    I just take issue with the idea that D&D needs to become more like MMORPGs. I’ve met many folks who have come into the roleplayign hobby from the computer. I’ve never known anyone to leave the table for the keyboard. If anything, I think the computer games shoudl be striving to become D&D, not vice-versa.

    Delayed gratification is alright with me. Sean used the example of bonus wages, I prefer to think of it as Christmas presents… That new ability at level X is something to lookforward to as you slog throug dead level Y.

    Like taking “Endurance” to get into that cool PrC you want, sometimes havign a dead fourth level is the price you pay for getting cool stuff at fifth.

      • Because I have a huge ego, and the entire industry should cater to me!

        But in all seriousness, I’ve seen a marked trend towards increased levels of interactivity, player control, fewer plot-on-rails stories, and social interaction. If I recall correctly, one of the thigns that helped WoW standout was it has a plot, and that it pus (less) emphasis on the “level grind.”

        I’m not knocking CRPGs, they aren’t my cup of tea but thats besides the point. The point I was attempting to make was two-fold. First, I have no problem with delayed gratification in D&D or the level progression as it stands in 3.0/3.5; Second, I play the game for more rewards than numbers on my character sheet and would hoe the rest of my group does too.

        I’m not trying to start a flamewar or an argument. Like I said originally, jut don’t think you need a “new toy” every level, although they certainly are fun.

      • {But in all seriousness, I’ve seen a marked trend towards increased levels of interactivity, player control, fewer plot-on-rails stories, and social interaction.}

        Yes, while maintaining all the mechanical bells and whistles that computers handle so easily.

        {If I recall correctly, one of the thigns that helped WoW standout was it has a plot,}

        Well it’s set in an ongoing franchise with a long history, so … yes.

        {and that it pus (less) emphasis on the “level grind.”}

        Much of WOW is a level grind. Fortunately it’s a grind that’s easy if you’re a casual (rather than hardcore) player, which makes it more popular than the requires-more-work MMOs out there. Certainly there is a significant e-penis aspect to WOW (“my guild has cleared Karazhan!” vs. “So what, we’re on Black Temple!”)

        {The point I was attempting to make was two-fold. First, I have no problem with delayed gratification in D&D or the level progression as it stands in 3.0/3.5;}

        A lot of people had no problem with many parts of 1e, yet we’ve gone through two revisions of the game to get past what we now consider obvious flaws.

        {Second, I play the game for more rewards than numbers on my character sheet and would hoe the rest of my group does too.}

        That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that the game is going to appeal to younger gamers with a different play history. If you don’t make some attempt to appeal to the next generation of gamers, the current audience is going to gray out and eventually die.

      • So why have levels at all? Just hand out +20 BAB, +14 Saves, and 9th level spells from the get go! The kids will love it, its like D&D with “God Mode!” Phat lewtz forevar!

        What’s wrong with having to work a little to get what you want? Is it so terrible about having to wait through level four to get to level five? By the system laid out in the DMG it’s only 13-some-odd encounters, which is about 3 to 4 average play sessions. Although it is the easiest thign in the world for the DM to just reach into their Bag of Tricks and just toss out some extra XP to get everyone to level ahead of schedule.

        I’m not disputing that D&D should change, in fact, I’m a fairly vocal advocate for 4E in my face-to-face circles. Just as I was for 3E, AD&D2E, AD&D, and so on and so forth. I am just… wary, I think is a good word, about any claim that D&D should become more like a videogame.

        That doesn’t mean I flat out refuse to acknowledge that the designers can’t learn a thing or two from the medium. But if it were me in that hallowed conference room, I’d be fairly cautious about possible dangers or problems that could crop up.

      • {So why have levels at all? Just hand out +20 BAB, +14 Saves, and 9th level spells from the get go! The kids will love it, its like D&D with “God Mode!” Phat lewtz forevar!}

        Hmm, don’t the rules already give you the option to start play at level 20? Sorta the point of the wealth-by-PC-levels table.

        Yes, there are going to be “little Timmies” who want to run around with it ALL and RIGHT NOW. I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about a regular sort of player who merely wants to look at his new level and say “cool, I get a new ability, or even a choice as to which new ability I want.” Is that so unreasonable? Is it unreasonable to not have players be DISAPPOINTED when their character doesn’t change?

        {What’s wrong with having to work a little to get what you want?}

        Like, working through four weekends of gaming to level up and hope that your new level gets you something interesting?

        {Is it so terrible about having to wait through level four to get to level five? By the system laid out in the DMG it’s only 13-some-odd encounters, which is about 3 to 4 average play sessions.}

        Yes, and as we’ve said many times in this thread, that’s a MONTH of gaming. If my character doesn’t change in a month of play, I might as well be playing Halo. If the only change to my character in a month is that I have a new piece of gear, I might as well be playing Halo.

        {I’m not disputing that D&D should change, in fact, I’m a fairly vocal advocate for 4E in my face-to-face circles. Just as I was for 3E, AD&D2E, AD&D, and so on and so forth. I am just… wary, I think is a good word, about any claim that D&D should become more like a videogame.}

        Well, technically I’m not saying that [i]D&D should be more like a video game[/i]. I’m saying that [i]players enjoy frequent rewards[/i] and that D&D should do that, and it just so happens that video games do that already.

        If you’re playing Monopoly, the goal of the game is to earn money so you can win (by having the most money). You have the opportunity to earn money every time it’s your turn. If you don’t earn money on your turn, you’re disappointed. If you go all the way around the board and you’ve (a) earned no money, or (b) earned less money than all the other players who went around the bored, you’re going to feel gypped.

        If you’re playing D&D, the goal of the game is to have adventures (usually involving killing monsters) so you can get more powerful to have greater adventures (usually involving killing more powerful monsters). Characters have the opportunity to gain power (by leveling up) every time they play a session. If you don’t level up on your session, you may be disappointed. If you go through four sessions (and get your 13 1/3 encounters) and (a) you still haven’t gained power, or (b) your relative power gain is negligible compared to the other players, you’re going to be disappointed.

        Again, to repeat the question you still haven’t answered: Is it unreasonable to design a game so that players are not DISAPPOINTED in their character’s progress or lack thereof? Why is it so bad to scale out smaller rewards on a more frequent basis?

        Would you rather be paid $52,000 once a year, $4000 every 4 weeks, or $1000 a week? You’re getting paid the same amount, but if you choose option #1 it’s going to be a long dry spell in the middle where you’re going to regret your decision.

      • I see where you’re coming from, and if 4E adopts the Saga/D20 Modern model of giving a feat or bonus ability each and every level it will solve the problem. In fact, [b]it is a change I loook forward too[/b].

        I’m just saying that “dead levels” do not disappoint me… So long as the ability that I’m riding out that dead level for is something worthwhile. I’ll suck it up and blow a feat on Endurance to become a Horizon Walker; I’ll do a one level dip into Fighter from Wizard to unlock Eldritch Knight; I’ll put up with d4 HP and [i]magic missile[/i] until my Wizard can learn [i]fireball[/i].

        [i]”If you go through four sessions (and get your 13 1/3 encounters) and (a) you still haven’t gained power, or (b) your relative power gain is negligible compared to the other players, you’re going to be disappointed.”[/i]

        Concerning (a), in games I run I increase the “story award” of XP by about 200% the recommended DMG values. This cuts down on the number of encounters required, I’d wager I average about 6-10. Of course, I have a tendancy to stick to low CR critters for extended periods. I just like letting my players cut through mobs of cannon-fodder Orcs. ^_^

        With regard to point (b), this wouldn’t happen if all classes gain abilities at the same levels. Fighter 4 is a “pay day” level, while Rogue 4 is (according to Sean) a “dead level”* If the classes all had an equal progression, this wouldn’t happen.

        * Although, imho, an extra +1d6 damage is about on par with Weapon Specialization.

      • K I think we’re in agreement that it would be better if no class had dead levels, you just don’t sweat it as much as I am.

        Technically Rog4 isn’t a dead level (you get +1d6 sneak attack), it’s just not a very “sexy” level. :p

      • Hey Sean … with Rogue 5 getting lots of skill points, couldn’t it be argued that skill tricks are a slightly sexy addition for a character? That is, if you use that option …

      • I actually was thinking about this last night.
        See, rogues ALWAYS get skill points when they level. Just like fighters ALWAYS get BAB, and just like every class ALWAYS gets hit dice. So there’s nothing about gaining skill points at level Rog5 that’s any different from gaining skill points at level Rog4 or Rog6. Thus, gaining skill points isn’t really “sexy.”

        And what it really comes down to is that some classes (like monk and druid) get something NEW they can do at every single level. A player can look at his character sheet and say, “I can now do something that I could not do before.” Spellcasters are like this, too … even though they only get new spell levels every other level, every new level is a “sexy” level for them because they’re getting at least one more spell slot per day, and one more spell slot means one more thing they could do each day compared to the previous character.

        Whereas with skills, most of the time you’re just adding to skills you’re already good at. Yes, there are times when you decide to pick up a language or throw a couple points into jump, but the way D&D works it rewards big numbers to a few skills rather than small numbers to a lot of skills. So a rogue, who gets a lot of skill points, is usually just “topping off” her key skills ever level; she doesn’t get anything NEW out of skills. And even if she’s putting points into zero-ranks skills, with only a couple exceptions she could have used those skills untrained, so unless she’s going from +0 to +7 in Jump, or +0 to +7 in Disable Device, adding skill points doesn’t let her do anything new.

        Coming back to the original point of this thread, that’s why Rog4 to Rog5 isn’t very sexy. I make my HD better (like always), but not enough to get an iterative attack. My saves don’t improve. I get more skills (like always), but I always get that and I’m just improving existing abilities. And my class feature for this level is +1d6 sneak attack, which is just making my sneak attack better, not giving me a new ability. Nothing really new, which is why this isn’t a sexy level for rogues.

      • Too true.

        BAB increases are only cool when you get your second attack. Skill increases are marginally cool when you get a synergy bonus, or as you said, make a big jump in a skill total, not just a +1.

        HD increases are increased survivability, nothing more. Definitely not a cool feature.

        As a side mention, clerics and wizards and sorcerers get very little in class abilities. Would you say that gaining a new level of spells is a cool/sexy feature?

        But my original point was Skill Tricks being mini-feats that you can pay for with 2 skill points are slightly sexy (at least in my opinion). This is a game feature that I feel WOTC should have explored more fully. In fact, in my home game, I’ve added about 10 new skill tricks in the context of mini-feats, to give small weapon maneuvers, cinematic action stunts, and the like. What’s your opinion on them?

      • {As a side mention, clerics and wizards and sorcerers get very little in class abilities. Would you say that gaining a new level of spells is a cool/sexy feature?}

        Definitely. Gaining a whole new level of spells is a new WORLD of cool. A wizard gets TWO new spells at their new spell level. A cleric or druid gets TONS of spells to choose from at a new spell level. It can change the dynamic of your character.

        {But my original point was Skill Tricks being mini-feats that you can pay for with 2 skill points are slightly sexy (at least in my opinion).}

        Ah, I read “skill tricks” and interpreted that as “skills” (it was late when I got home). I’m not familiar with them other than from your two posts, and yes I think that can help. Some.

  6. Sneak Attack is 1d6 damage, which averages out to 3.5 per die. As a fifth level rogue you’ve just gained your third sneak attack die. That’s what… 10.5 dmg on average?

    True, sneak attacks are conditional, but even if you get to use it on a mere 1/3 of all your attacks it’s going to blow Weapon Specialization out of the water over the lifespan of your character.

    I still think you’re selling Rog5 short.

    • That’s a false equivalence.

      If “+3d6 sneak attack” were a feat, and accepting your premise that 1/3 of your attacks are sneak attacks, then yes, the average damage is +3.5 per attack, which beats the +2 of Weapon Specialization.
      However, +3d6 sneak attack is not a feat. +1d6 might be equivalent to a feat; I’m getting a mere +1d6 for the transition from Rog4 to Rog5, just as the fighter is getting a WS as a 4th-level feat. Thus, we’re comparing my +1d6x33% to +2×100%, which is +.5 for rogue and +2 for fighter, clearly weaker.

      And sneak attacks don’t multiply with crits, WS does.
      And sneak attacks don’t apply to undead, constructs, or oozes, WS does.
      So +1d6 SA is weaker than +2 from WS.

      • I’m not saying they are equals, I’m saying they are comprable…

        But you aren’t getting “1d6” you are getting “an _additional_ 1d6.” So the proper comparison would be Greater Weapon Specialization, instead of basic Weapon Specialization.

        If 1d6 = 3.5 average, and useful about 33% of the time, then each level of it is an extra 1.15 damage. So we really are comparing +3d6x33% to +2×100% for the Fighter. +3.15 Sneak Attack, +2 Weapon Specialization.

        And sneak attack isn’t limited to one singular weapon.

        Yes, over the long haul the Fighter is going to pump out more damage. That, of course, is his job… His _only_ job. Everythign he’s got is about adding to damage or adding to hit. But Sneak Attack with a few choice feats and some devious movement on your part, and the Rogue can make one dandy of a damage dealer.

      • I don’t see why you’re comparing it to Greater WS. It’s 5th level, you’re gaining an extra +1d6 on sneak attacks. Compared to WS which is fighter 4th level, which is an extra +2 to your weapon’s attack. We’re comparing the IMPROVEMENT in the character’s damage output to its previous, unimproved value. The idea of comparing the +1d6 increase to a 12th-level feat (GWS) is just silly.

        So liku I said, we’re comparing a +.5 improvement (1.5×33%) to a +2 improvement (+2×100%) that occurs around level 4 or 5 for the two classes.

        And while sneak attack isn’t limited to a single weapon, any fighter who doesn’t use his WS weapon is an idiot or has a jerk DM, and both are irrelevant to the math. 95% of the time, the fighter is using his WS weapon, often enough to discount the 5% (or whatever) statistical subtraction for the times he isn’t using that weapon. Compared to the rogue, who not only always has to deal with the conditional 33% (your estimate), she is also crippled against the many, many, many common unsneakattackable foes out there, which means her actual ratio of SAs drops below 33%. Comparing flat numbers, the rogue is worse.

        Yes, the fighter deals more damage because the fighter is supposed to. That wasn’t my argument (it’s yours). My argument is that the Rog4 to Rog5 transition is boring. :P

  7. {And what it really comes down to is that some classes (like monk and druid) get something NEW they can do at every single level.}

    Situational bonuses to saves, while useful, aren’t exactly my idea of exciting.

    The character getting better at something they can do may not be as thrilling as a new ability, but it is an increase in power. If the rogue got something new along with the sneak attack increase, you can start running into balance issues. What would be ok to do so? What would be alright for the fighter’s dead levels?

    Trollbait

    • 1) Mine neither.

      2) Big whoop. If all your character gained at each level was 20 hit points, the class would be boring as hell but roughly on par as other classes. Nobody wants to play a boring character.

      3) and 4) Clearly you’d want to keep balance in mind and not just dump extra abilities into the “dead levels.”

      • Getting better at what you can do, but not getting something new makes the character boring?
        Rog5 is a lackluster level. Other classes have those too. Getting new sparklies takes second seat to keeping the game balanced and fun for everyone. Unfortunately, the lining up of babs, saves, and sneak attack left the rogue with a dull level.
        How specificly would you fix it?
        Would switching the sneak attack with another ability work?
        Give sneak attack interesting names?
        Are the limitations on sneak attack too much?
        Perhaps some thing small to further differentiate the rogue as the skill expert class beyond raw skill points, like a half strength skill focus, or the abilities to take 10 or even 15 a certain times of day no matter the circumstance?

      • I believe it is possible for all classes to get something new at every level and still have it be balanced. Not easy, but possible.

        Am I going to work all of that out in an old blog post? No.

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