[RPG] Does sneak attack from both sides of a gestalt character stack

dnd-3.5egestalthomebrewroguesneak-attack

If both sides of a gestalt character were classes that grant +5d6 sneak attack by 9th, would I have +10d6 sneak attack at 9th?

(For reference, the classes I am considering for this are both homebrew, but their sneak attack both work like the rogue.)

Best Answer

So if you are a rogue//sneak-attack fighter, for example, the answer is no. Each level, you gain the “best value” from each class. For example, a 3rd-level rogue has a +1 bonus to Fort while a 3rd-level fighter has a +3 bonus to Fort—a 3rd-level rogue//fighter has the +3 from fighter, the better number, but not +4, adding the two together. Sneak attack works the same way: at 1st level, both give +1d6, so you take the “better” value (which is +1d6 since they’re tied).

The argument starts when you consider dipping a level of something else on one side. For example, consider a rogue//barbarian/sneak-attack fighter. At 1st level, rogue give +1d6 sneak attack damage, and barbarian gives none. OK, so that’s fine, you get +1d6. At 2nd level, rogue gives no sneak attack damage, but fighter, if you’re now taking your first level of it, give +1d6—so now at 2nd level you have +2d6. At 3rd level, now rogue gives another +1d6 while fighter is “off.”

This “staggering” technique tends to be considered rather poor form, and many DMs won’t allow it. Many will argue that both rogue and sneak-attack fighter give half a sneak attack die each level (rounded up), so you don’t really gain +1d6 on one level and +0 on another, but rather gain “+½d6” each level. From this perspective, they wouldn’t stack, because there is no staggering.

On the other hand, you can do this kind of “staggering,” so to speak, without using gestalt at all (by taking 1 level in a whole bunch of classes that get +1d6 sneak attack at 1st level; yes, there are enough), which might be a point in favor of being able to do it with gestalt.

But ultimately, gestalt is a variant ruleset that is not exactly fully fleshed out, and requires DM adjudication. You need to ask your DM this question, really. For example, Unearthed Arcana doesn’t consider the ninja or scout, with their “skirmish” and “sudden strike” damage bonuses that are quite similar to sneak attack. Do those stack with sneak attack, e.g. on a rogue//scout? They are very similar, and count as one another for requirements, but by Unearthed Arcana’s rules, as written, they would. Should they? That I can’t answer—I have played games where it would be fine, I have played other games where it would be overpowered. Ask your DM.