I know this seems like a question you can simply Google but the answers vary and my clan is under the impression that I can only use it on my first attack (once per round) and not on my second attack.

From Googling, I've understood that as long as the monster / enemy is flat-footed, flanked or caught off-guard, I can apply sneak attack on both my first and second attack in a round.

Is this correct?

Is it normal if the clan simply decides that that gives me an unfair advantage in combat and gives me only one sneak attack per round?


4 Answers 4


You can sneak attack whenever you are eligible to.

d20SRD's opinion on the topic:

The rogue’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target.

There are some additional restrictions (immunity to critical hits or fortification, miss chance or concealment, improved uncanny dodge), but those are always a target's ability, lacking which you can sneak attack many times in a round, if the target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC during each attack. Of course, if the target is denied Dexterity bonus to AC only against first attack (as is the case with striking from under invisibility, for example), only the first attack would be sneak attack.

As for your second question - no, it is not normal (as in "to my knowledge average gaming group does not use this houserule"), and no, it will just nerf the poor rogue, who cannot really brag about excessive combat ability in the first place.


Yes, you can and frankly must if you want to be relevant in combat

There is minimal reason to play a Rogue in the first place if you cannot get multiple Sneak Attacks per round, on almost every round. Rogues have to be built for doing so if they want to contribute in combat. The typical Rogue needs options for

  • movement-without-a-move-action (so they can always full-attack)
  • improvements on their ability to flank (island of blades from Tome of Battle is a great thing to get for a couple of feats or a dip)
  • methods of causing flat-footed status on their own (wand of grease, ring of blinking, marbles, etc.)
  • more attacks in a full-attack (Two-Weapon Fighting, Rapid Shot, etc.)

Without these, a Rogue will have very little ability to contribute in combat. Even a fairly simple charge-based Barbarian or Fighter build can out-damage a Rogue (use a Lance in two hands and Power Attack), usually with fewer restrictions on how easily he can apply his damage (nothing is outright immune, usually easier to Charge than it is to Flank, and so on). The above bullet points are just for keeping up to an extent and not being useless. Most Rogues also focus on skills, particularly stealth, party face, and Use Magic Device, to shore up the fact that the damage they bring to the table is not as good as the others.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for going into some of the in-combat difficulties of the Rogue class. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 17:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Which makes sneak attack far superior to sudden strike - why would WotC think that a weaker version of sneak attack was a good idea? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 2:39

It depends. In non-flanking situations, whenever the target is denied his/her Dex bonus to AC, your attack against the target qualifies for sneak attack damage. If your initial attack (main hand) somehow alerts the target such that the target gains his/her Dex bonus to AC again, then your off-hand attack would not gain a sneak attack bonus. This situation might occur when attacking while under the spell of Invisibility. The first attack would cancel the Invisibility, so subsequent attacks would not catch the target without his/her Dex bonus to AC.

From the d20 SRD:

The rogue’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target.

Also note that two-weapon fighting does not necessarily mean that both attacks occur simultaneously.

Again, from the d20 SRD:

If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon.

There is nothing in that statement that suggests that the extra attack occurs simultaneously. The rules only states that the extra attack occurs on the same round, which is a 6 second-long span of time.


If your group is more seasoned and informed than most on the fine points of a rogue they could be thinking of the opportunist special ability of the rogue which allows a rogue to make an attack of opportunity on a creature that has taken melee damage from a source other than yourself this round, doing so counts as your only attack of opportunity for the round even if you were otherwise able to make multiple within 1 turn

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain how this answers the question? It seems to be more of an aside or parenthetical note on sneak attacking. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Insofar as implicit questions have value, this answer does explain why his group may have this mistaken belief, as well as equipping him to make a diplomatic correction by showing them that they are not just arbitrarily wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eikre
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 1:41

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