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Class Acts: Rogue Archetypes (PFRPG) PDF

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The Class Acts PDFs introduce new class options for the base classes and core classes featured in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Every PDF contains two full pages of high quality content (no fluff or filler)!

Class Acts: Rogue Archetypes includes four new rogue archetypes: the Hoodwink, the Lookout, the Urban Stalker, and the Wormtongue.

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Making the Thieves' Guild more deadly...

****( )

Disclaimer: This is a review of a complimentary review copy of the product.

Four Archetypes: Hoodwink, Lookout, Urban Stalker, and The Wormtongue.
(I think sometime I'll create a rogue's Guild that contains at least 1 of every archetype, it would make for a unique, albeit, complicated guild-crawl...heh)

Hoodwink - The hoodwink is a slippery sneak with an uncanny ability to stay one step ahead of stronger or more powerful opponents. This tricky scoundrel excels at frustrating and harrying opponents with assorted tricks and traps. It consists of 2 class abilities, Bag of Tricks (ex), and Addling attack (ex). Bag of Tricks is about bonuses to bluff, craft(traps) and disguise as well as caltrop attacks, giving up trapfinding. Addling attack switches out sneak attack damage for rounds of confusion, with a Will save. Great archetype.

Lookout - Lookouts are wary rogues with an emphasis on scouting, keeping watch, identifying danger, and taking point positions. Truly an asset to any team of adventurers or dungeon-delvers, the lookout’s job is simple: to keep his allies alive in the field. This archetype also swaps out 2 abilities, gaining Eye for Danger and Nose for Trouble for 4th and 8th level rogue talents. Good archetype for possibly thwarting enemy rogues.

Urban Stalker - Urban predators and serial murderers, these deranged and deadly rogues earn a deservedly-fearsome reputation. A gruesome breed of sadistic killers, the urban stalker takes perverse pleasure in the fear he inspires and the pain he inflicts. This is the archeytpe you want if you're wanting to create a brutal antagonist, Infamous Deeds, Urban Predator, Bloody Senak Attack, and Heartless capture the feeling of the homocidal serial killer.

Wormtongue - Truly a master of deception, the wormtongue is a consummate liar and a manipulator without peer. Blending subtle magic with expert skills and slippery social graces, the wormtongue is a dangerously skilled schemer. This archetype is the polar opposite of the Urban Stalker, the silvertongued manipulator. Five abilities make this a very different feel. Web of Lies (ex) makes them amazing liars. Betrayer (ex) grants a feat in place of evasion, minor enchantments (ex) is nice because it lets the rogue select minor and major magic multiple times with enchantment spells, while Talented Enchanter (ex) makes those same enchantments harder to resist. The final ability, Sow Dissent (su) lets the wormtongue influence enemies with great effectiveness. My favorite archetype in this supplement.

17 of 20...+1 for GMs looking for some great archetypes to throw their players off-balance. For more reviews come to Epic RPG Blog


Archetypes that could use some development/expansion

***( )( )

This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content for new rogueish archetypes, so let's check them out!

The first archetype, the Hoodwink, replaces trapfinding and trapsense with a bag that improves his bluffing/diversion creating effects and confuse enemies by forgoing sneak attack damage.

The Lookout replaces a talent for the ability to add his traps sense bonus to perception to notice hidden beings as well as to sense motive to judge volatile social situations. Nose for trouble also replaces a talent and feels more like a rogue talent in my mind - it's cool, however: The ability lets you determine a 15-ft. space and concentrate on it to determine if there's danger (if you can't see it) or what kind of danger there is (if you have line of sight). What's rather cool and prevents abuse of this powerful sixth sense - if the lookout does not perceive a danger, he is shaken and loses access to the ability for 1 hour. Very cool balancing factor there! Generally a cool ability, though the wording could have been slightly more precise.

The third archetype is one for either the "Way of the Wicked" or NPCs - the Urban Stalker is essentially a serial-killer archetype that treats urban environments as favored terrain, becomes infamous for his deeds, gets hardened against emotion spells and can deal additional sneak attack damage when hitting foes under the bleed effect. Why the archetype gets no free access to the "Bleeding Attack" rogue talent, which is rather essential to have this ability make any sense, though, is beyond me - as written, the ability is useless sans the talent or a magical bleeding weapon. More abilities focusing on bleeding sneaks would also have been awesome.

The final archetype is the wormtongue, a consummate liar and puppet master who not only can add his class level to bluffs, but who can even evade magical truth-telling spells and gain additional options to learn minor enchantment magic. Losing evasion and the trap-related abilities, the archetype instead also enables the wormtongue to sow dissent via a subtle aura - very cool ability. All in all my favorite archetype herein.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, but not perfect . I noticed e.g. a blank space-typo. Layout adheres to a two-column standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Honestly, I was rather disappointed by the archetypes herein - they are not bad per se, but apart from the Wormtongue, they feel rather boring and could have easily been better - the urban stalker has potential galore, but should gain access to dealing bleeding damage and additional tricks like blending in the crowd, alter self etc. would have made the archetype much more compelling. The Lookout's cool sixth sense could also have used some expansion/additional abilities to complement the cool idea. In the end, this is still an ok buy, though not an obligatory one - due to the sixth sense and the well-made wormtongue, I'll settle for a solid 3-star verdict, though I would have wished they were more complex -less would have probably been more here.

Endzeitgeist out.


A Mixed Bag of Awesome

*****

As always, I just want make it known I was offered on the EnWorld forums (and did accept, obviously) a review copy of this product, if anyone finds that relevant. Now on to the review.

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.
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First of all, the formatting, layout, spelling and grammar, and overall appeal are all spot-on, as all the Class Acts PDFs typically are. There is one small typo (an errant spacebar keystroke) in the text of the first archetype.

There are four rogue archetypes to review here (more than in any of the other three archetype products that Abandoned Arts has released as of the time of this writing), and they're all quite good. Let's dive in.

We start with the Hoodwink. There's not much to say about this archetype. It's short, it's sweet, and it's decent. Also: Abandoned Arts seems obsessed with caltrops. My only criticism is that I have a sneaking suspicion that the ability to cause the "confused" condition so readily might be a tad broken, even if only for a very short time and at the expense of most (or all) of your sneak attack dice.

Then again, you have to be able to sneak attack, then you have to hit, then they have to fail a save, and then they have a 25% chance to act normally anyway... so maybe it's fine. I would like to say that "hoodwink" is an excellent name for a rogue archetype. Me gusta.

But the hoodwink is only the appetizer for what turns out to be a buffet of awesome. The Lookout is next, and this archetype features one of the best mechanics I have ever read. On the first read-through you may not understand why, so allow me to explain.

The lookout is basically designed to be a paranoid party spotter and point man. His signature class feature, Nose for Trouble, gives the rogue a chance to "sense" danger around the corner or in the next room, even if he would have no way to be aware of the danger, normally. A sixth sense for trouble, basically. This is a cool class feature, and it can detect any type of danger, not just traps and obstacles. So what's to stop the lookout from spamming this ability everywhere he goes? At every door, and around every corner? Well, that's the beautiful part.

If you use this ability and you detect some kind of danger, you can use it again any time you want. If you use this ability and detect no danger (because your check failed, or because no such danger exists), then this ability goes on a long "cooldown," and you can't use it again anytime soon. This means that you actually have to reserve the use of the ability for when you, the player, actually suspect trouble around the corner. Your own, real-life genre-savvy and sense of danger translates into your in-character decision-making without requiring you to meta-game. Beautiful!

Next to that, the Urban Stalker (basically a "serial killer" rogue) seems fairly ordinary. Don't skim this one, though. There are a couple of gems here, too. The first is a "freebie" class feature that is both a blessing and a curse: the infamy of your deeds makes your actions easier to learn about with "gather information" type skill checks, but it doesn't make it any easier for others to learn about you, per se. This could be good (assuming "sowing fear and building up an infamous reputation" are on your to-do list of character goals) or bad (as others might be able to use the knowledge of your evil deeds against you).

Bloody sneak attack is also a great class feature (as are the urban stalker's other two class features), incentivizing rogues to take rogue talents which cause enemies to bleed without requiring that they do. I like archetypes which motivate players to make flavorful choices when character-building without simply forcing those choices on them. Good job, here.

Lastly, we have my personal favorite archetype: the Wormtongue. This is a sort of magical master-of-deception, and after talking with the author (Daron Woodson), my suspicions about the inspiration for this archetype were correct: the Tolkien character of the same name! Nice.

This archetype gives the rogue some very cool, very sneaky social abilities, a very good and appropriate bonus feat, and enables the rogue to take the Minor Magic and Major Magic rogue talents several times each, as long as he takes enchantment spells (with which he gains a significant bonus). The last ability, sow dissent, allows the wormtongue to radiate an insidious little "social debuff" that is almost impossible to detect, and allows him to cast a hard-to-ID-with-Spellcraft suggestion spell-like when the aura is active.

If "nose for trouble" is the coolest class feature here, the wormtongue is the coolest archetype overall. Well-balanced and pretty original, too, with brownie points for the LotR nod.

In conclusion: Class Acts: Rogues Archetypes is an excellent PDF. Flawless, I might even say... I'm truly impressed, and I want to play all of these rogues. Well, maybe not the urban stalker (unless I could convince my GM that a Dexter Morgan-inspired character isn't evil). If the cleric archetypes isn't the best Abandoned Arts archetype PDF to-date, this one is. Five whole stars. *****

- Sara McLean




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