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I have been trying to find an official ruling on this. In our campaign currently the DM says that one of the sneak attack die will do max damage, and I roll for the other one.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 26 down vote accepted

Yes, Sneak Attack and other striker damage abilities (Hunter's Quarry, etc.) are maximized. The only dice you roll are those dice that you get specifically because of the critical hit. For example, bonus dice from a magical weapon. Everything else is automatically maximized. See here.

From Critical Hit [ddi]

Maximum Damage: Rather than roll damage, determine the maximum damage you can roll with your attack. This is your critical damage. (Attacks that don’t deal damage still don’t deal damage on a critical hit.)

Extra Damage: Magic weapons and implements, as well as high crit weapons, can increase the damage you deal when you score a critical hit. If this extra damage is a die roll, it’s not automatically maximum damage; you add the result of the roll.

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Thanks for clearing this up! –  Ted Ballou Nov 24 '10 at 22:01
    
Mike Mearls once confirmed it on Twitter: twitter.com/mikemearls/status/2134206722 –  Jonathan Drain Nov 27 '10 at 2:37

Critical hit notes:

Maximum Damage: Rather than roll damage, determine the maximum damage you can roll with your attack. This is your critical damage. (Attacks that don’t deal damage still don’t deal damage on a critical hit.)

Extra Damage: Magic weapons and implements, as well as high crit weapons, can increase the damage you deal when you score a critical hit. If this extra damage is a die roll, it’s not automatically maximum damage; you add the result of the roll.

"Maximum damage you can roll for your attack" is refreshingly unambiguous. All dice are part of the "damage roll" in 4e, there's no concept of "precision damage." The line on extra damage amplifies the meaning neatly, explicitly noting that you only roll dice for "high crit" and "magic weapon crit."

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The difference is damage dice that you were owed before you rolled the die and scored a critical ("maximum damage you can roll with your attack") and damage dice you are owed after you rolled ("the damage you deal when you score a critical hit"). –  Adam Dray Nov 28 '10 at 1:05
    
Correct :) Or is there an error in my explanation? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 28 '10 at 2:31

Ted Buddy, the last thing you need is an extra 1d6 damage on all of your sneak attacks...

Reading the links, the only dice that aren't maxed are dice you gain BECAUSE the hit was a critical hit. You get the sneak attack damage regardless of if the hit was a critical or not, therefore they are in fact maxed when you score a critical.

Dagger: 1d4 (4), Sneak Attack: 2d8 (16) = 20 Damage on a Critical hit, period.

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Per the Dungeon Master's Book, p. 118, the damage from the power itself is maximized, while "extra damage," which seems to include Sneak Attack damage, are rolled normally.

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This is incorrect. Damage from sneak attack, hunter's quarry, and other striker abilities, count as damage "normally rolled" without the crit. The only dice you roll on a crit are those dice that are a direct result of the crit (i.e. bonus dice from your weapon, etc.) See here: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19686342/… and here: wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg/php/enduser/… –  Mike Riverso Nov 24 '10 at 20:13
    
@MikeRiverso: Makes me wonder what p.118 of the DMG actually says. If it says what Jim claims, that would be interesting. –  Mooing Duck Mar 20 at 19:22
    
Not the DMG. The "Dungeon Master's Book" that came with ... some 4e boxed set or another that I don't have right at hand. That's why I said "Dungeon Master's Book," rather than "DMG." –  Jim Kiley Mar 26 at 2:10
    
Even then, in the context of a crit, sneak attacks aren't extra damage. You would get it regardless of whether or not you had rolled a crit. –  Mike Riverso Mar 29 at 14:36

Sounds like a house rule to me. The P.H.B. says that a sneak deals extra damage if the attack hits. This damage is based on character level. PHB1 page 117.

The game mechanics of an attack are a chance of hitting using a power or basic attack, and on a hit, a random damage roll. Sneak attack gives you a bonus 2d6 at first level or 2-12 damage possible. Sounds like the D.M. is giving a base 6 + 1d6 for you sneak attack. Makes your rogue a little more lethal.

No where in the rules does it say. Max one die and roll the other.

I had a similar discussion with my players and we came up with the idea that if you roll a natural 20, it doesn't affect the Sneak Attack bonus, just like it doesn't affect the critical hit damage roll. See page 225 PHB1 - Critical section.

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I realize the max one die and roll the other is a house rule. Its what we came up with because we did not know if there is an official rule on it. –  Ted Ballou Nov 24 '10 at 18:37
    
No official rule for that. I'm curious as to why you would want to use this? –  Acedrummer_CLB Nov 24 '10 at 18:41
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My rogue uses a dagger, so if a critical hit only does max weapon damage, I would still only be doing 4 damage, with an average of 8 extra damage from my sneak attack (2d8). If the sneak attack can also critical, then I will be doing at least 20 damage. (all of this is not counting other contributing factors) –  Ted Ballou Nov 24 '10 at 18:53
    
So: 1d4 (Max of 4) + 2d8 (Sneak Attack) + 1d6 (Critical bonus roll). This would 7 - 26 with an average of about 16. So your D.M. is upping that average to 20. Cool, go with it. –  Acedrummer_CLB Nov 24 '10 at 18:59
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OOPS!!! my bad, you only get the d6 on magical weapons or implements. Sorry. –  Acedrummer_CLB Nov 24 '10 at 19:14

I have to tell you that your players are a special breed. They purposely and consciously nerf themselves.

An attack is anything that begins with an attack roll and ends with a miss or damage.

A critical hit has the following property: Maximum Damage: Rather than roll damage, determine the maximum damage you can roll with your attack.

Note that this does not (any longer) say POWER. It says attack.

Rogue Lvl 21 with 10 Dex and Blood Iron Dagger +5

Basic Attack (1 attack) Crit: 9 + 5d10 damage

BA + Sneak Attack[5d6] (1 Attack) Crit: 39 + 5d10 damage

BA + SA[5d6] + Shadowdancer's Gloves (hidden) (1 attack): 45 + 5d10 damage

BA + SA[5d6] + SGloves(hidden) + Serpentine Bracers(hidden) (1 attack): 53 + 5d10 damage.

Anything that adds damage to the original attack, instead of making a new attack, is maximized as part of the original attack. Bonus damage added specifically due to a crit is the only damage not maximized. As also stated in the definition of crit.

I'm not sure how anyone thinks this is subject to interpretation, or why they'd want to nerf themselves.

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Welcome to RPG.SE. Struggling to figure out what this adds. The information is already present and the tone is a bit disrespectful. Could you make it nicer and add something new? –  wax eagle May 8 '12 at 12:19

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