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I had a question about Coup de Grace.

It says you can use it against a helpless opponent. Helpless opponent is defined as "Paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy."

Now, if I was invisible and behind an unwary opponent, could I use a Coup de Grace because he'd be 'completely at my mercy'?

I've read things in places that this might indicate a yes, but I wanted a definitive answer.

Thanks!

EDIT: I was just using invisibility to set the stage. The point was that the victim has no idea I'm there. Invisible, or not, I just wanted to know if this situation counted as a coup de grace.

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You do get free sneak attack when invisible, so a competent rogue will be able to instantly kill most people that way. And the assassin prestige class grants the ability to study someone for several rounds and then finish them with a decisive strike. –  starwed Sep 2 '12 at 20:37

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The text you quoted refers to any other thing the GM might consider appropriate. Being the exact meaning of completely at opponent's mercy never otherwise defined, there's no official rule on this AFAIK.

I'd rule, being all the other options about a target who's unable to move, not being detected does not put an opponent under sufficient conditions for a coup de grace.

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I was thinking about Assassin's Creed when I made this question, I didn't see why it wouldn't work the same in D&D. Thank you for clarifying. –  Zaniel Sep 2 '12 at 20:33

No. You don't even automatically hit when invisible, it does not count as a coup de grace.

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-1: You don't automatically hit when an opponent is pinned, sleeping, paralyzed, bound or unconscious. Please consider not using the ability of hitting automatically as a motivation for your answer. –  Zachiel Sep 2 '12 at 19:31

No, being invisible does not allow you to coup de grace.

  • If being invisible allowed this, the rules would specifically say as much. There are detailed descriptions of the advantages of being invisible, and being able to coup de grace is not one of them.

  • In every listed state of helplessness, the creature is exactly that: helpless. They have no way of threatening you, and no way of warding off harm.[1] If you're invisible, this isn't the case!

    • Their actions are less limited: They have a chance of hearing you strike, or feeling the air move, and they can react even after being hit by twisting away from your attack or grabbing the weapon. And that's all assuming they are standing still -- in combat they'll be in constant motion, and even a guard standing at his post might happen to move right when you strike.
    • Your actions are more limited: There are a lot of things you could do to a truly helpless foe that you can't do just because you're invisible; as soon as they feel your touch they know something is up.

[1] Well, except for bound psions or wizards with mental only actions available.

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Thank you. That does make sense, I guess. –  Zaniel Sep 2 '12 at 20:36
    
I agree. Every benefit of invisibility is clearly listed out in the rules. If it granted coup de grace, it would say so. Otherwise Ninjas and similar classes would be incredibly powerful, and would as a rule wield Scythes, not knives. –  Melon Mar 18 '13 at 2:07

Here is a mini-build I use when I want to get more out of invisibility(or greater invisibility).

1:Be invisible (greater invisibility works best)
2:Locking Garrote (will show reason below for the expensive choice further down)

I have an assassin styled character and the few benefits he gets with invisibility (other than the obvious spell bonuses) is being able to initiate garrote attacks as melee touch attacks to multiple foes (NOT in a single round). Using the rules in Song and Silence a guidebook to bards and rogues.by Wizards of the Coast.(not sure if its 3.0 or 3.5 though).

Look especially close to "Move In" and "Strategies" on (page 87). Locking garrote lets you "release him" while maintaining to strangle him, which is good If you don't like to stick around.

Oh, and to be clear. The attacks are NOT auto hit (just melee touch).

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Those books are 3.0, though. and Song & Silence has been obsoleted by Complete Adventurer. Still, welcome to the site. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 18 '13 at 1:38
    
Thanks, I'm gonna peruse through Complete Adventurer now. :) –  Michael Annan Mar 18 '13 at 1:48
    
I think I may be confused. How does this answer the question about how Coup de Grace works? –  SevenSidedDie Mar 18 '13 at 2:29
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-1 This is unrelated to the question about coup de grace. Any usefulness aside, it's not an answer. –  Jonathan Hobbs Mar 18 '13 at 8:38
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I can see where you're going here Michael but Coup de Grace is a specific mechanic in 3.5e and I think that Zaniel wanted help with the technical details of that rule. That said - your solution may offer what Zaniel wants if the CdG rules don't –  Gaxx Mar 18 '13 at 9:28

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