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As I was reading about the Assassin rogue at higher levels, this question occurred to me.

Does a surprised target (that fails the Constitution save from Death Strike) take 4 or 3 or 2 times the regular damage against it?

Because under Assassinate, any hit you score against a surprised target is automatically a critical hit (which is double the damage). Then under Death Strike, if the target fails a Constitution save, then it says the damage is doubled.

If this is the case, and a Rogue attacks a surprised target (with a rapier attack and 10d10 Sneak Attack damage), how much damage would it do?

  1. (20d10 + 2d8 + Dex mod)*2
  2. 40d10 + 4d8 + Dex mod
  3. The double bonuses don't stack, so just 20d10 + 2d8 + 5
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't this be d6's for sneak attack? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31, 2021 at 16:48

1 Answer 1

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Critical hit means, for each damage die you would roll for a non-critical, you roll it twice instead of once.

Death strike means you take the damage you would have dealt if it were not a death strike (which would still be a critical hit), and you double that.

The order of operations is:

  1. Decide which damage dice, and how many of them, to roll.
  2. Roll them and add them up.
  3. Add any relevant damage modifier, e.g. your dexterity modifier or the +10 modifier from the Sharpshooter feat.
  4. Multiply that sum by any relevant multiplier, e.g. multiply by 2 for Death Strike.

Therefore:

  • Normal rapier damage = 1d8 + dex mod
  • Rapier damage + sneak attack = 1d8 + 10d6 + dex mod
  • Critical (rapier damage + sneak attack) = 2d8 + 20d6 + dex mod
  • Death strike (critical (rapier damage + sneak attack)) = 2 * (2d8 + 20d6 + dex mod)

Assassin is a highly specialized class archetype, and it is a huge investment to put 17 levels into it that you could have put into other classes. The reward for that investment is that the assassin is unmatched in the amount of damage it can inflict on a surprised target. If you ask me, an average of 168 damage (on a failed save) is the least the game could do to reward that investment.

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