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This is part 2 of the 'Backstabbing' article written by the god Shadowfax.

This part of the article discusses 'kaoken' freak backstabs, as well as a number of strategies for successful backstabbing.

Kaoken Attack!

A kaoken or freak multiplier applies an extra damage multiplier above and beyond your normal thief level multiplier. These freak backstabs are some of the most exciting events that a thief can experience, where a well placed backstab can do damage far beyond the wildest expectations. On rare occasions, a kaoken backstab has allowed a thief to put to rest immediately even large dragons. Far more typically however, the thief is eaten in his quest for freak multiplier glory. The exact mechanism for calculating the freak multiplier is unknown, however it is said to be strongly correlated to dexterity.

A kaoken will send a distinct, colorful message when it occurs. We won't spoil it for you, you'll have to see for yourself! If you have the notify channel on, you can see other players' kaokens. You will get a message that looks something like:

(notify) Tarrant backstabbed Don Milano for 31264 damage, freak 32.

The freak number indicates the number that the original damage (before the kaoken multiplier) was multiplied by. There are x2 and x4 kaokens, but these do not trigger any special sends. A normal kaoken is x8, but there many, more powerful permutations, such as the notify example above. Kaokens award gigantic amounts of experience, or for higher freaks even a free practice.

Backstab Strategies

Presented here are some tried and true methods for effective backstabbing:

Switching weapons
Backstabbing weapons are usually not the best melee weapons because they are specifically designed to be used with this skill and have lower dierolls than weapons of comparable level. As soon as you recover from stab lag, and if you intend to press on with the attack, you should wield a weapon better suited for melee, such as one that is faster, has more hitroll and/or a higher dieroll. Players often use an alias or client trigger to accomplish this.

A strategy often used by a lone thief, the thief backstabs an opponent, flees combat as soon as possible, and then re-enters the room and backstabs again. Repeat until the enemy is dead. Thieves with some warrior levels can use the retreat skill in lieu of recklessly fleeing. This works best with non-aggressive mobs. Remember that you will take damage while you recover from stab lag: use regen equipment to accelerate the healing process or your opponent may out-regen your ability to dish out damage.

Backstab/Summon or Backstab/Defend
These strategies work exactly like those found in our High Level Attack Strategies article. The stabber is summoned out of combat or rescued by a tank, protecting him while he recovers from stab lag.

Aggro Stabbing
Since you cannot backstab a mob already fighting you, backstabbing aggressive monsters can be tricky business. Fortunately, thief skills synergize well in this department, and this is where investing some practices in stealth skills such as sneak and hide can pay off. Using these skills can allow you get the drop on monsters and land a backstab before they notice you. This also works against mobs with memory.

Damage Type Selection
Some enemies, such as ghosts or elementals, are naturally resistant to backstab because their magical nature. You may need to use a magic dagger in order to harm an ethereal opponent, or a flaming dagger may work best against an ice elemental.

Hide Before Stabbing
While hiding before attempting a backstab does not improve your odds of successfully landing a strike on the victim, it does do a bit more damage. You should backstab from hidden whenever possible for maximum damage.

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