I'm building a rogue swindler, and taking the card sharp rogue talent at lvl 2. As far as I can tell, a deck of cards isn't a weapon, but a card becomes a weapon when thrown. I'd like to take the Underhanded talent at a later level.

It seems like the rogue could be talking to a guard, with his cards in hand, maybe to show him a magic trick. As far as the guard knows, Those cards are just playing cards. The rogue unexpectedly flicks a card at the guard's face/throat. Would the unexpected attack be a surprise round and sneak attack? And would this be enough to trigger underhanded?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oof. It's really hard to use the talent underhanded. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 12 '18 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yes it is. I'm hoping I've found another legitimate way to make use of this feat. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Bennett Feb 12 '18 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this question hinges on Can there be a surprise round when a creature is aware of your presence? That's a loaded question that's alluded to here and here, but I don't think has ever been asked directly about Pathfinder (although it has about 3.5e). You might want to pose that question, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 12 '18 at 22:34

The Card Sharp talent allows the rogue to gain the Deadly Dealer feat, even if they do not otherwise qualify by having Arcane Strike and 5 ranks in Sleight of Hand. Deadly Dealer allows a rogue to treat a card as a dart, which is a piercing, ranged weapon with a range increment of 20 feet that deals 1d3/d4 damage for Small and Medium builds, respectively.

Sneak Attacks are allowed to rogues whenever they are within 30 feet of range so they can spot a vital part of their target's body (the face/throat you mentioned), and at least one of:

  • the target must be flanked by the rogue or
  • the target must otherwise be deprived of a dexterity bonus to AC, such as being caught flat-footed during the surprise round

Underhanded allows you maximum sneak attack damage if the opponent is attacked with a concealed weapon (a deck of cards should appear as a mundane item to an average, run-of-the-mill guard and is therefore concealed until revealed to be a weapon during an attack on said guard) during the surprise round. As the surprise round is defined by who is aware of their opponents, only an unsuspecting guard would be an applicable target. Your rogue approaches, aware they want to kill the guard; and the guard must decide if the rogue belongs there, is just part of the passing throng of rabble, or if he's a recognizable enemy. The efficacy of this build seems heavily dependent on the situation and is subject to some GM discretion. Also, you've an initial damage roll range of 7-11 (1d4 + 6(max sneak attack damage due to Underhanded), and only if you hit the target's armor class. The maximum range increment for sneak attacks is 30 feet and the guard, or his partner, will easily close the following round.

Otherwise, it is a fun idea with a lot of storytelling and flavor potential and I think you should go with it. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The classification as a mundane item was what was missing, thanks! An additional note, underhanded can't come till lvl 3 at the earliest, at which point sneak attack gives 2d6, so damage range of 13-17. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Bennett Feb 12 '18 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the Concealed weapon magic special ability sets a tone that allows for this, but is not actually rules that indicate how this has to be played out. Make sure your GM agrees that the descriptive text of the Concealed magic weapon trait justifies your 'hidden in plain sight' method before using it in-game. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 12 '18 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Otherwise you may need to roll a Sleight of Hand vs DC 10 or the guard's Perception to 'hide' the card the moment before you throw it. In roleplay it would be the equivalent of 'look the card is gone... nope its here and throw ouch it looks like that hurt' \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 12 '18 at 18:02

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