The Ultimate Cleave

In an attempt to achieve the most amazing round of cleaving known to man, my players attempt to stack as many spells, classes, and effects together as possible.

A 5th level assassin is created or hired. Her backstab bonus should be x2.  she has +2 to strength, and 5th level should be +3.  She has the riding proficiency.  She wields a lance from Horseback.

Just before an outdoor fight, inaudibility is cast on her horse and 10' invisibility is cast on her.  Now she is guaranteed to backstab, which doubles damage.

Next, they cast growth on her, and the horse assuming a similarly sized creature is needed.  She is now doubling her damage due to growth.

For good measure, they imbue her lance with striking, dealing an extra 1d6 on a successful hit.

Finally, she charges with her lance, which when used in a charge from horseback, also double damage.

How many dice does she roll and what static modifier does she add to the damage?

Per this thread ( http://autarch.co/forum/double-damage-0 ) each doubling of damage increases the damage die by one factor. (The same rule as 3.X).

So this assassin has:
x2 (Backstab)
x3 (Charge with lance)
x4 (Growth)

ACKS page 104 (also cited in linked thread) tells us that bonuses to the damage roll, such as from Strength or magic, are not increased.

So this character’s charge would deal 4d10 (or 1d10*4) + 5 + 1d6.

(Not an Autarch, but I have citations!)

[quote="Aryxymaraki"] Per this thread ( http://autarch.co/forum/double-damage-0 ) each doubling of damage increases the damage die by one factor. (The same rule as 3.X). So this assassin has: x2 (Backstab) x3 (Charge with lance) x4 (Growth) ACKS page 104 (also cited in linked thread) tells us that bonuses to the damage roll, such as from Strength or magic, are not increased. So this character's charge would deal 4d10 (or 1d10*4) + 5 + 1d6. (Not an Autarch, but I have citations!) [/quote]

 

Brilliant! Even a line of trolls would be hard pressed to survive such a brutal onslaught.  Thanks for doing the math/finding the cites.

I should really put a disclaimer on my questions that I'm happy to get answers from people other than autarchs.  It's not like i'm obligated to follow statements Alex makes if I don't like them :-)

I just add the disclaimer because I feel like it’s a good habit in this forum :stuck_out_tongue: Threads here tend to get searched a lot and it might be relevant to some future reader.

So this character’s charge would deal 4d10 (or 1d10*4) + 5 + 1d6.

I’ve argued at https://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2013/11/acks-critical-error-also-thieves.html that there are compelling reasons to prefer the 1d10*4+… RAW interpretation. The important bits:

"Foremost, it makes thieves and assassins a lot scarier to targets above their weight class! In the most extreme case, you’re a 13th level assassin doing a backstab polearm-charge with Weapon Focus and a natural 20 (we could stack Vorpal on there too, but that’s silly - they don’t make vorpal polearms!). You’re looking at an x7 multiplier on a d10. In the multinomial case, the distribution of results is very strongly clustered around the mean of 38.5 (plus 5 damage bonus and some magic and strength), with a standard deviation of 7.6. Most of the time you’ll do about 50 points of damage; as a result, you carry a reasonable threat of instant death to 11th-level or lower fighters. Against an average 14th level fighter with 63 HP, your chance of an instant kill is a more-or-less negligible 0.5 percent or so, even in such a multiplier-stacked situation. By comparison, on 1d10*7+5, your chance of an instant kill against such a 14th-level fighter is 20%. Much scarier for that fighter.

Consider instead a 7th level assassin with x3 backstab, +3 damage bonus, and a d8 weapon in two hands. Consider also a 10HD adult dragon with 45 HP. With 1d8*3+3, you have a 1 in 4 chance of taking more than half of its HP in a single hit and forcing a morale roll in the opening round. On 3d8+3, you will tend very strongly towards 16.5… which is not bad, but probably not decisive, and your odds of forcing a morale roll with 23 or more damage are but 6.8%.

Backstab is not supposed to be a nice reliable source of bonus damage dice in the style of 3.x sneak attack. Backstab is supposed to be unreliable spike damage, built for hitting a high-power hard target and either generating a decisive advantage in the surprise round, or leading to an “oooh crap, that didn’t work, time to start running” situation, in true thief or assassin style."

[quote="jedavis"] > So this character's charge would deal 4d10 (or 1d10*4) + 5 + 1d6. I've argued at https://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2013/11/acks-critical-error-also-th... that there are compelling reasons to prefer the 1d10*4+... RAW interpretation. The important bits: "Foremost, it makes thieves and assassins a lot scarier to targets above their weight class! In the most extreme case, you're a 13th level assassin doing a backstab polearm-charge with Weapon Focus and a natural 20 (we could stack Vorpal on there too, but that's silly - they don't make vorpal polearms!). You're looking at an x7 multiplier on a d10. In the multinomial case, the distribution of results is very strongly clustered around the mean of 38.5 (plus 5 damage bonus and some magic and strength), with a standard deviation of 7.6. Most of the time you'll do about 50 points of damage; as a result, you carry a reasonable threat of instant death to 11th-level or lower fighters. Against an average 14th level fighter with 63 HP, your chance of an instant kill is a more-or-less negligible 0.5 percent or so, even in such a multiplier-stacked situation. By comparison, on 1d10*7+5, your chance of an instant kill against such a 14th-level fighter is 20%. Much scarier for that fighter. Consider instead a 7th level assassin with x3 backstab, +3 damage bonus, and a d8 weapon in two hands. Consider also a 10HD adult dragon with 45 HP. With 1d8*3+3, you have a 1 in 4 chance of taking more than half of its HP in a single hit and forcing a morale roll in the opening round. On 3d8+3, you will tend very strongly towards 16.5... which is not bad, but probably not decisive, and your odds of forcing a morale roll with 23 or more damage are but 6.8%. Backstab is not supposed to be a nice reliable source of bonus damage dice in the style of 3.x sneak attack. Backstab is supposed to be unreliable spike damage, built for hitting a high-power hard target and either generating a decisive advantage in the surprise round, or leading to an "oooh crap, that didn't work, time to start running" situation, in true thief or assassin style." [/quote]

I don't know if I told you this before, but I really love the sort of deep analysis you've done here (and elsewhere).

To be fair, with 1d10*4, you also have a 10% chance of doing only 4 points of damage.

From a lethality perspective, there are definite benefits and drawbacks to both. I feel like which one is used depends on what kind of campaign you’re running and how much randomness you want to be included in your lethality.

(I personally do prefer the *X version, instead of rolling more dice, but I’m not going to call someone wrong if they feel that XdY fits better in their campaign :p)

[quote="Aryxymaraki"] (Not an Autarch, but I have citations!) [/quote]

The unofficial motto of the Ask the Autarchs forum.

I don’t know if I told you this before, but I really love the sort of deep analysis you’ve done here (and elsewhere).

Thank you, Alex! I do too little math at work these days, so it helps me to remember.

“Not an Autarch, but I have citations!”: The unofficial motto of the Ask the Autarchs forum.

Ask the Autarchs: for all your exegesis (ACKSegesis?) needs.