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Command information
GP Cost 40 + 10 per hit attempt
Learnt At 60 of covert.stealth & covert.items.weapons
Skills Used Melee, covert.stealth & covert.items.weapons
Items Needed N/A
Guild Thieves and Assassins

Backstab is a thief and assassin-only command, it is used to launch a covert attack on a target. It is used as a combat opener and thus cannot be used mid combat.

Ambush is a similar command, but ambush needs to be prepared while the target is not in the room before it can be executed.


  • On June 14 2011 GP usage of backstab has been reduced and now depends on the number of hits attempted. [1]
  • The backstab command has had a change on April 27 2011 which fixed a bug reducing the maximum number of possible hits for some daggers and possibly other weapons. A page was used to provide backstab ideas to make it better.
  • The backstab command has changed again on June 2 2011 to make the number of attack independent from the type of weapon or specials it has. It is said to instead use other properties of the weapon for the difficulty of the skillcheck that determine how many attack attempts are made.research


Backstab can be learned at 60 levels of covert.stealth and covert.items.weapons from the recruiter in any thief guild (for thieves) or from an assassin instructor (for assassins).

The Thieves' Guild does not teach covert.items.weapons above 50 levels, but this can be bypassed by advancing covert.items.weapons to 50, then advancing covert.items by 10.


To land a successful backstab, the attacker's covert.stealth and covert.items.weaponsresearch is checked against the target's adventuring.perception. Once the attack lands, the first attack should nearly always land, unless the attack is a near miss ("somehow avoids the attack") or no attacks are attempted at all. Zero attacks is a long standing bug of the command, but should now be quite rare. Hiding, sneaking or ambushing before a backstab will increase the chances passing the stealth check.research

Once a successful attack is launched, the target could receive stat damage; this varies from -1 in one stat, to -1 in all stats for a short period of time. A critical failure of backstab can also cause stat damage on the attacker. The check for this is covert.items.weapons vs covert.items.weapons.research

The primary skill for damage seems to be the melee of the attacker, the attacks themselves are checked against the target's defence. There is a maximum of four attacks.


backstab <person>



You skilfully sneak around <target> without being spotted and manage to catch him/her/it by surprise.


As you sneak around <target> to prepare the backstab, you make a slight noise. Unfortunately, she/he/it notices and turns around with malevolent intent.
You sneak around <target> and prepare to backstab her/him/it.  At the last moment she/he/it seems to sense your presence and turns around furiously.

The sneaky part:

  • You silently sneak around <victim> without being spotted and manage to catch him/her/it by surprise.
  • You sneak around <victim> with being spotted and manage to catch him/her/it by surprise.
  • As you sneak

There are also messages for the stat drop of the target.

  • <target> looks confused.
  • <target> looks quite confused.
  • <target> looks shocked and confused.

Backstabbing produces various messages for the attacks. The order, skillcheck and effect has not yet been determined.

  • You slice/stab/... at <target>, but despite the surprise they parry/dodge
  • Catching him/her/it off balance
  • Catching him/her/it by surprise
  • In the blink of an eye
  • Quick as lightning
  • With a blur of speed
  • With surprising speed
  • Moving quickly
  • Moving swiftly
  • Moving too fast to see
  • Striking like a cobra

External links