[RPG] Do multiclassing rogues need the Craven feat?


I've always been under the impression is that if you multiclass out of the rogue class into a class that doesn't progress sneak attack, you need to take the Craven feat if you want it to be at all relevant. But now I'm debating whether or not this is true. Does a multiclass character need Craven for sneak attack to be effective or no? By that I mean does a character need their sneak attack damage to be particularly high for it to be effective? And If not then how would such a character stealth take down someone? Should such a situation arise?

Best Answer

Craven is a great damage boost to a sneak attacker, especially one that is behind a single-classed rogue in sneak attack damage dice. A single-classed rogue expects approximately 1¾ damage/level from sneak attack. Craven boosts that to 2¾, which is +60% damage, and it scales on character level, so the boost is easily double or more for a multiclassed rogue (in the extreme case, 1d6 sneak attack damage, the boost is nearly 6×).

Certainly, 1d6 damage is not significant at 20th level (or indeed, at many levels prior to that point), while 1d6+20 damage is (or at least is more so, as long as you’re making enough attacks). But context is crucial here: how much damage are you doing otherwise? How many attacks are you making?

If you were a charger without pounce, but with Shock Trooper, Spirited Charge, a lance, et al., you could easily have a single attack dealing upwards of +100 damage at 20th level. Is another +20 on top of that, that also requires you to awkwardly ensure your charge target is eligible for sneak attack, going to make a big difference? No, it is not.

On the other hand, if your build is a hodgepodge of things that gets fifteen attacks, adding +20 to each of them is a big deal, especially since you probably haven’t otherwise scored a lot of damage bonuses in your devotion to simply having more attacks.

Generally speaking, sneak attack is an awkward and difficult form of damage-dealing. Setting it up is difficult and capitalizing on it is arguably more so. That takes a lot of investment, and Craven alone isn’t going to save things if you aren’t in a position to make the most of sneak attack to begin with. And even with that investment, you won’t keep up with dedicated two-handed weapon damage dealers.

Finally, this all assuming we are talking solely about damage. Rogues, particularly multiclass ones, may not care about damage in combat. They may be social characters, mostly ignoring combat, or they may focus on battlefield control or debuffs, or what have you. For such rogues, sneak attack is an incidental feature that doesn’t matter much (and should maybe be replaced with feats).

The last thing to consider is that, in addition to the difficulties that sneak attack itself has, Craven adds a massive drawback—you lose the feat if you are immune to fear. Which also means you lose the feat if you are immune to mind-affecting. And since these immunities are extremely valuable, almost critical, at mid-to-high levels, giving up on them is a really big deal. That alone is a really good reason to question the need to take Craven.

But in the end, if you have your heart set on dealing damage specifically via sneak attack, Craven is too large a damage booster to ignore.