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The Genius Guide to the Talented Rogue (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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Rogues are the iconic masters of stealth and subterfuge, with access to both a number of powerful set class features (primarily relating to traps, evasion, and sneak attacks) and a flexible set of customizable talents. While this gives them a wide range of options, it can also lead to characters with specific sneak, criminal, or adventurer concepts having abilities they don’t need, such as a wilderness scout being a master of urban traps, or an entirely scholarly researcher and archaeologist gaining a huge number of sneak attack dice. Rogues are supposed to be masters of picking up tricks of the trade, but half their class abilities are static bonuses with little customization.

The Genius Guide to the Talented Rogue rewrites the classic rogue class to use a system of edges and talents, rather than static class abilities alternating with talents. Edges represent the “core” features of each rogue, areas of study so intense and specialized that no rogue can master all of them, while the classic talent system has been expanded to include any rogue-like ability a character could reasonable pick up at any time with study. This allows the rogue, ninja, and all their archetypes to be covered by a single class that is far more flexible than the versions in the core rules, without allowing overpowered combinations.

To make this system as flexible as possible, and to keep players and GMs from constantly having to check multiple sources for talents, this product includes talents, advanced talents, archetypes, the assassin, and the ninja alternate class for its abilities (as well as including new talents to expand its breadth). Because some abilities (such as a ki pool) are not appropriate for every campaign, and some GMs dislike allowing abilities from multiple archetypes to be taken by a single character, when an ability is adapted from another class or an archetype, the name of that source is given as a descriptor.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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A must have

*****

If you play Pathfinder for the options available at character creation this is a must have. You're not re-inventing the Rogue you just get to design the exact one you want. No more cookie cutter rogues.


Rogue Genius

*****

Talented Rogue

I have enjoyed the entire talented line. It allows you the flexibility (even more than archetypes) to play the character concept you want while still being the core Pathfinder/D&D class-based system.

The rogue always felt like a flexible, but underpowered class to me. Talented Rogue amps up the flexibility and effectiveness. It also just subsumes the Ninja (which to me is really just a flavor of rogue).

With Talented Rogue, you could build a no sneak attack, no trap-finding rogue and have it be a strong niche character. While not my style, it is cool that you could do it.

Buy this and More Rogue Talents. You’ll be happy you did.

Rogue Genius..... ’nuff said.


What character creation *should* look like!

*****

I just staggered my way through "The Genius Guide To The Talented Rogue" by Owen Stephens. There is not a lot of necessarily new material in this. What is staggering - in a very GOOD way - is the concept behind it and the presentation itself. Nothing is set in stone, now. Everything is an option and it will take an astronomical number of character before you start repeating them. In fact, as I was reading thru it, I was mentally designing James Bond, Indy, the A-Team, Aragorn, Stormshadow, & Snake-eyes. Yes, you totally can.

I say I staggered thru it. That's because this product and its "More Talents" follow-on will give you ideas for more characters than you could possibly play in a mighty long time. You can focus with laser-like intensity on a limited core concept and become *very* good at one thing. You can concentrate on being good a set of related abilities. You can spread out and be competent at a little bit of everything. My gaming group has often threatened to make an all-rogue party. Well, now they can, and can do it with NO overlap. Assassin, burglar, diplomat, scout - all doable from here.

THIS is the way character creation should look. It is familiar. It is straightforward. It is complex without being complicated.

It is genius.

(also reviewed on DTRPGNOW and Facebook)


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This re-imagining of the rogue is 27 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 25 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

All right, as the regular rogue, the talented rogue gets d8, 8+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good ref-saves and proficiency-wise, talented rogues get proficiency with all simple weapons, the crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow and short sword as well as light armor, but not shields.

Now unlike regular rogues, that's about where the fixed part of the class ends and where a cornucopia of options begins: At the first 4 levels, talented rogues have to choose an edge each- and they better think carefully, which one they take: After that, no new edges can be acquired in any way! When applicable, the respective edges include the information from which archetype they were taken in brackets. A massive total of 30 such edges are yours for the taking and from evasion, uncanny dodge, trap sense etc., there are a lot of different edges to choose from - special mention deserves the fact that there's also a ki pool tied to int or cha in here - allowing for a more versatile choice than via the standard ninja's options. But more on that one later - follow up, effortless sneak etc. - all the favorites from archetypes we've come to love are in here, yours for the combination and to make your rogue a truly unique individual.

Edges are the one component and a rather strong one that mirrors well the more powerful abilities rogues get at low levels. Beyond that, at first level and every level after that, the talented rogue gets one rogue talent - and yes, sneak attack is now a rogue talent, but one of the few that can be taken multiple times to allow you to truly customize how far you'd want to go with the respective sneak attack power. From the Sniper's Accuracy to the Ninja Acrobatic Mastery, combat feats to grit (via the amateur gunslinger feat and only after learning firearm training), fast stealth, hidden weapons, a small wis-based ki pool (or 1/2 wis-mod ki points as bonus to an existing one) to wall climbing, there are a lot of talents - unless I have miscounted 111 of them! And no, I'm not going through them piece by piece - neither will I go through the 42 advanced talents which are added to the list at 10th level - though, as always, some (like the assassin's angel of death at level 15) require higher levels - or edges. If you don't have the evasion edge, there'll be no improved evasion advanced talent for you - and yes, others require specific talents.

The same counts for the 3 capstone grand talents that are available at 20th level. At the end of the pdf, we get an extremely useful list of talents organized by category (e.g. Offensive [sneak attack] or movement), helping you find just which talent you wanted at first glance.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any crucial glitches. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column, full color standard and the artworks are fitting. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Owen K:C. Stephens second talented class is interesting in that it is more complex than the fighter - while being less complex than the monk - and yes, I've read this after the monk. And one can see a progression - the monk has been the harder to get right in my opinion, with the rogue already featuring talents and all. Still, the breaking down of all those static abilities into edges and talents is awesome, minor modifications adding to the value of them and how difficult abilities like ki pool etc. are handled make this so much nicer - also, it should be called "Talented Rogue/Ninja" - since all the tools to customize the ninja are in here as well - with options to make ninja that are not dashing scoundrels, but rather cold killers - which makes much more sense to me than the weird cha-mod-based ki pool of the original class. Modular, well-organized, cool - this pdf is glorious and well worth the investment for the sheer amount of customization and options it allows you to explore: 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


So. Beautiful. Can't. Even. Question It.

*****

Normally I start with some sort of clever pun or silly question, but I can't for this one. Not for this one. It is stupendous. Exceptional. Read on to find out why.

Crunch
There is a reason that Owen is referred to as a "Crunch-Master." The man is darn fine at designing and balancing such things, and as I mention in all of my Talented line reviews, Owen's history with character talents in RPGs allows him to shine in this role. This product is roughly 30 pages long, not including its title and ending page. It has a small explanation section, but after that its 100% crunch. And wow, the Talented Rogue goes far beyond any expectations that the two current Talented Fighter products set for me. This product has nearly everything, EVERYTHING you could possibly want or ask for. Almost every core Rogue Talent is present in this product, and the beautiful thing is that their power levels aren't altered very much, making it easy to just slap in whatever new talents other publishers (including Paizo) make into the Talented Rogue model. The class is divided into edges, which represent powerful rogue abilities like trapfinding and uncanny dodge, and talents, which represent everything from existing rogue talents to sneak attack. Yes, sneak attack. You can build a rogue without sneak attack, which I know is something that many people look for.

The sheer scope of this product is incredible. Unlike the talented fighter, I couldn't find a single rogue archetype that wasn't accounted for in this product; you can even mix and match with the ninja with this product, allowing you to make a trapmaster ninja or one of a hundred different unique rogues. If you like the Core Rogue, you will love this product just because of how flexible it makes the Rogue class. 5 / 5 Stars.

Flavor
This is a tough category to talk about. As a revision product, there isn't much flavor in here. Most of the abilities are reprints or reimaginings of rogue archetypes and talents already produced by Paizo. However, the spirit of the product shines through, which is to make a fully customizable rogue. I don't really think flavor is very applicable in this product, and when you buy a Genius Guide, its not often you're doing so for the flavor anyway. — / 5 Stars.

Texture
This product follows the standard Paizo layout and it is absolutely huge. 27 pages of content, most of it rules. One of the things I HATED about the Talented Fighter was that it didn't include a table or some other way to sort the huge amounts of content it presented. Fore Fighter Talents didn't solve this problem either, and I despaired. But then, a light shone through and parted the clouds surrounding my irrational love of organization, and lo, the Talented Rogue contents a list! An honest-to-goodness LIST at the end of the product that sorts all of the talents by their purpose! It was amazing! Stupendous! Spectacular! And I loved every second I spent reading it. Thank you, Owen. Thank you. 5 / 5 Stars.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 5 / 5
Flavor: — / 5
Texture: 5 / 5
Final Score: 5 / 5 Stars

This is the first Talented product that I have given a 5 of 5 to. Not because Paizo's messageboards prevents me from awarding fractions of stars, but because this product has truly earned it. I am firmly in the camp that the rogue is not a bad class as designed in the core Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I don't think that of any class, actually. But when I look at the Talented Line, especially the Talented Rogue, I see customization that is simply not available in the core game. I see the pieces of myraid unique characters learning in every talent and in every edge, waiting to be placed together by a loving player with a specific style, flair, and heart in mind. I honestly thing that this is not only how Rogues should be, but how character creation itself should be. Not a premade package that is exactly the same for everyone, but a thousand real, hard choices that allow you to make the character that you have always been searching for. I would consider this product a staple in the library of any fan of the d20 system.

— Alexander "Alex" Augunas


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