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.


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.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaniel
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 20:33

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).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Those books are 3.0, though. and Song & Silence has been obsoleted by Complete Adventurer. Still, welcome to the site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 1:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I'm gonna peruse through Complete Adventurer now. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I may be confused. How does this answer the question about how Coup de Grace works? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 2:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 This is unrelated to the question about coup de grace. Any usefulness aside, it's not an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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 \$\endgroup\$
    – Gaxx
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 9:28

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

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    \$\begingroup\$ -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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 19:31

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