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I've seen arguments going both ways on this so I don't know how to rule this.

If a rogue with Offensive Defense gets multiple sneak attacks in one round does the bonus AC stack?

Example: A level 5 rogue with sneak attack 3d6 uses two weapon fighting while flanking and gets two sneak attacks. Does this rogue gain +3AC or +6AC?

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3 Answers 3

Best I can tell, Paizo hasn't made an official ruling on this. The last reference I can find of an official statement on this is from an FAQ post on their blog:

http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5ld6h?Bride-of-the-FAQ-Attack

Two, it doesn’t specify whether the dodge bonus stacks with itself, and because this creates a strange place in the rules where bonuses don’t stack from the same source but dodge bonuses always stack. While we haven’t reached a final decision on what to do about this talent, we are leaning toward this solution: the dodge bonus only applies against the creature you sneak attacked, and the dodge bonus does not stack with itself. This prevents you from getting a dodge bonus to AC against a strong creature by sneak attacking a weak creature, and prevents you from reaching an absurdly high AC by sneak attacking multiple times in the same round.

Allowing it to stack would be a bit overpowered, and I would imagine most GMs would rule this way in absence of an official ruling.

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So, by the RAW, dodge bonuses always stack. So the +6 is the correct answer.

However, @Steve G points to an indecision on the Paizo forums about this very rule. And I personally agree that this can become very abusive. At level 8 with two-weapon fighting, I'm rolling 4d6 sneak attacks and I can reasonably get 3 or 4 hits, which amounts to a +12AC bonus.

Again, @Steve G points to some possible solutions, but I think they're both sub-par. Tracking the "creature hit" is a real pain, especially in a big fight. And good rogues are sneak attacking all of the time, so this becomes a constant thing to remember.

The "does not stack with itself" is better, but I'm not sure how to convey this cleanly. I think the best way to rule this is simply to add a max bonus. I would say, take your pick on that number, see which one works best.

  • Max = sneak attack damage dice
  • Max = rogue levels
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Given the way it's written, there's no argument to be made. In your example, the level 5 rogue with 3d6 sneak attack who uses the Two-weapon Fighting feat while flanking, hits with both attacks, and inflicts damage with both attacks gets a +6 dodge bonus to Armor Class for 1 round.

Perspective in necessary, however, when saying this option is too powerful. At low levels, this is a lot of resources to devote to a relatively benign trick that improves the rogue's otherwise low survivability (2 bad saving throws, multiple-attribute dependency, a nonspellcasting combat-oriented class with d8 HD and medium Base Attack Bonus) and forces the low-level rogue into taking the full attack action for maximum benefits. This means, given the general inability to sneak attack at range after the first round of combat, putting half the party into direct confrontation on opposite sides of the foe, thus often limiting the ranged attackers abilities to target the foe (e.g. a wizard's area attacks have to be carefully placed, an archer might still suffer at least a -4 penalty to attack rolls for his allies granting the foe cover). Further, just navigating into such a position, with Pathfinder's unforgiving stance on moving within enemies' threatened areas, can lead to a dead rogue before he's even had a chance to get the bonus.

At high levels, navigating threatened areas is extremely difficult, the number of feats devoted to the rogue's Two-weapon Fighting style goes from a lot to all, and the number of foes who are immune to sneak attacks--not because of their types but because of what they own, cast, or do--means the handful of times the rogue can use his trick, he'll have earned it, which is, I assume, what most folks want to happen anyway.

If you play with it the way it's written the Offensive Defense talent is nice occasional treat for a specific kind of rogue who desperately needs the assist.

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