Content of the article: "Though it seems like the community’s response to the rogue’s “Steady Aim” from Tasha’s has been positive, I’ve really not liked it in practice. Any other similar experiences?"
I've both DMed and played alongside 3 rogues now that have used the "Steady Aim" variant rule from Tasha's, and the result seems to be that the rogue, already one of the simplest classes to play with not as many tactical options as other classes, is even further dumbed down. The thought process that I've seen multiple players now go through is debating moving around, trying to find cover, disengaging and backing up, but then saying "oh yeah, Steady Aim", remembering that they can just take a bonus action to get advantage no matter where they are and attack whatever target they can.
Now the argument I've often seen in favor of allowing Steady Aim is that you don't need advantage to trigger sneak attack as long as you have an ally within 5 feet of the target, but why would you ever not roll with advantage, or even make it a question of if you will get advantage by attempting to hide, when you can just guarantee that your attack will have advantage, making it much more likely to hit/crit?
People have also brought up how it leaves the rogue open, since they can't move or use Cunning Action, but this "being left out in the open" is, in practice, the exception rather than the rule. For the rogue to be "out in the open" it would mean that:
-A melee opponent is able to reach them, meaning that it must have the speed to reach them in the first place (usually at the party's back line) and/or potentially eat an opportunity attack from frontline PCs
-Ranged attackers or spellcasters are able/willing to attack them. More encounters (in my experience anyway, as a player and DM) lack these kind of creatures more often than not, however
In addition, as I have seen some other posts address, it greatly incentivizes ranged rogues over melee, even though ranged rogues were pretty much already better to begin with. The only rogue I've played with in recent memory that wouldn't benefit from this is a Swashbuckler with Booming Blade, as they prefer hit and run tactics that wouldn't really benefit from the "staying still" part of Steady Aim.
For most players, guaranteed advantage is such an easy choice to make that it will be the choice that they always make. Even in encounters as DM when I've gone out of my way to make it feel like the rogue is left "out in the open" as a result of Steady Aim, they still will usually take the guaranteed advantage, even if it means taking an attack or two. Again, why wouldn't they? Free advantage, no check needed.
I was very open to Steady Aim when it was first announced as UA, as it sounded, on paper, like a fair trade off that makes sure that rogues still get to attack with advantage even in games that don't run stealth/hiding/sneak attack correctly. But, in every game I've played in or run since then, stealth has been run correctly, meaning that an agile, tricky rogue could find some cover, hide, then attack with advantage. To me, this kind of play, even though it may not be successful depending on the result of a stealth check (which literally every rogue I've ever played with has Expertise in anyway), it is still overall a more interesting, thoughtful turn than just "Steady Aim, advantage", which seems to be what every rogue is doing now.
I don't think this is in danger of being an overpowered tactic, as I definitely don't think rogues are even close to being overpowered. It is, in essence, just another way for a rogue to get advantage. But man, does it make combat as a rogue less varied and interesting in the games I've been a part of :/
TL,DR: Was originally onboard with "Steady Aim", but it has made rogues less interesting in games I'm a part of, and the "cost" of using it is, more often than not, not really a cost at all. It disproportionately helps ranged rogues more than melee rogues, even though ranged rogues were already better to begin with, and it becomes the default option every turn because guaranteed advantage is more desirable than any other option in combat.
- I calculated the average damage output of four classic character options accounting for AC over all 20 levels.
- Here’s a table showing what Cunning Action: Aim does to your DPR
- Dark, Obscured, and Blind: How they Actually Work
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