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Arcane trickster?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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hi guys. are there any guides out there for making one? i have no idea where to start


josh hill 935 wrote:
hi guys. are there any guides out there for making one? i have no idea where to start

Start by managing expectations. The AT works best as a sneak-meister; you'll be losing melee combat capability (wizard levels and AT's lower BaB progression) and out-and-out spell power (rogue levels /= caster levels). You also lose some skill points (vs a single class rogue). Avoid spells that have saving throws (stick with battlefield control and ranged touch attack spells) as you will probably have lower INT than a straight wizard (thus lower DCs). Your high DEX could make you viable as a ranged rogue, but it's feat intensive to make it effective.

Like many combo PrC, life sucks until you hit 9th-10th level. Be aware of this, especially if you're in a small group (3-4 PCs), as you can't fill a space in the melee line and won't have enough casting oomph to be competitive as a wizard in the party. You CAN act as a straight Rogue replacement, however, as you'll have enough skill points even through your Wizard levels to keep up with the important skills (Perception, Disable Device, Stealth).

Your job is to scout, find traps and open locks. You have spells that a Rogue does not to help in this regard - Detect Magic, Knock, Dispel Magic, Erase, Invisibility, Darkvision, so you can excel in this regard - and if you're excellent doing at least ONE (useful) thing it'll help mitigate the weaknesses of the build-up to the PrC. Highly recommend taking Skill Focus: Perception ASAP, especially if your Wisdom isn't too high - your job is to find stuff.

Osirion

josh hill 935 wrote:
hi guys. are there any guides out there for making one? i have no idea where to start

Take a look at the magical traits. Magical Knack gives you a +2 to your caster level as long as you caster levels don't exceed your current hit dice. Helps offset the levels of rogue.


Arcane Tricksters make excellent close range archers and can deal out a good bit of damage this way.

Make generous use of Improved Invisibility to get sneak attacks on every attack, and then use a bow to make full round sneak attacks at range.

Unfortunately your BAB suffers considerably, so it limits the amount of attacks you can make in a full round attack. But rapid shot + haste or a speed weapon helps a lot. Getting 3 to 4 sneak attacks in a round is not an unlikely result.

Other than that, the AT's primary role is finding and disabling traps and opening doors...roguish stuff...while providing magical support to the party via spells. As was said, buffs and battlefield control spells are best.

Shadow Lodge

Do a search, there are several threads talking about it.

The essence is it's a bumpy ride until you get greater invisibility.


Wizard 4, Rogue 1, Assassin 1, Arcane Trickster 10

That's your joy ride right there.

Not going into melee is rubbish. You got mirror image -- use it. Displacement too. Just don't be stupid about getting into melee. Use things like glitterdust or grease to give yourself the edge and don't be afraid to back out. A mithral buckler and the mage armor spell with a good dex means you'll be fine on AC for a long while (a wand of shield can work instead of the buckler for the first while). Chill touch is a great spell for delivering sneak attack at low levels due to it's possibility for strength damage and the lack of need to keep recasting it.

For those first four levels just play it like a wizard (i suggest divination specialization) and I would suggest the monkey familiar too (he can do just about everything you can do and gives you alertness to boot).

My favorite race for the arcane trickster is the half elf -- with skill focus going to perception and the monkey giving your alertness by the time you take that rogue level you'll be able to find those traps when needed.


Undefeatable has a bunch of feats for arcane trickster. The Street Mage feat is the best because it let's you enter arcane trickster without having to take a level in assassin. I highly recomend convincing your DM to let you use it. The undefeatables are only 1.25 each anyways so it's totally worth it.

I use them for NPC's. They're great.


cheers guys. yeah i think i will make him a halfling and make him the face of the party, secondary caster, damage dealer / sneaker and lock opener. i was thinking it would be realy useful for the ranged lockpicking to get out of jail e.c.t . i could open other peoples cells and let them kill the guards lol. the main concern is what type of caster. for flavor i was thinking bard as i can see him preforming a dance in a bar to distract people while picking their pockets from a distance. but if i take wizard i can take less levels. because he is the partys diplomat i might go bard for the extra class skills. including bluff wich i will use for feint.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Wizard 4, Rogue 1, Assassin 1, Arcane Trickster 10

That's your joy ride right there.

Not going into melee is rubbish. You got mirror image -- use it. Displacement too. Just don't be stupid about getting into melee. Use things like glitterdust or grease to give yourself the edge and don't be afraid to back out. A mithral buckler and the mage armor spell with a good dex means you'll be fine on AC for a long while (a wand of shield can work instead of the buckler for the first while). Chill touch is a great spell for delivering sneak attack at low levels due to it's possibility for strength damage and the lack of need to keep recasting it.

For those first four levels just play it like a wizard (i suggest divination specialization) and I would suggest the monkey familiar too (he can do just about everything you can do and gives you alertness to boot).

My favorite race for the arcane trickster is the half elf -- with skill focus going to perception and the monkey giving your alertness by the time you take that rogue level you'll be able to find those traps when needed.

With LESS than half BAB progression (+7/+2 @ 16th level?), I don't see how you are going to be hitting anything short of using touch attacks.


The main problem IMO is the hurt caster level.

My opinion of the best build is Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer (Complete Mage) 1/Swordsage (ToB)2/Arcane Trickster 10

You're only losing 1 CL, your BAB is rubbish, but focus on rays and you're laughing.

Intersperse the 2 lvl dip to get maximum initiator level. It gives you Wis bns to AC, +1 to Initiative, +2d6 SA, and other cool maneouvres (Island of Blades: flanking from any position). Plus you can get Shadowblade feat - add Dex bns to dmg.

You're basically a primary caster with bonus sneak attack damage. As has been said, use Mirror Image, Blur, Displacement liberally, but always have a dimension door handy to get out of melee (especially if grappled).

The only other thing, is take Illusion as a specialized school. Gtr Invis at will rocks.

Also, get Craven feat from Champions of Ruin Forgotten Realms book if possible.


Just be a bard!

:D


Tanis wrote:


The only other thing, is take Illusion as a specialized school. Gtr Invis at will rocks.

You'd only get that if you were an 8th level Wizard (Illusion School), not just if you were an 8th level caster. Choice of school for the AT is pretty irrelevant, other than the choice of opposed schools, any benefits gained will only be minor. Illusion is still a good choice, as bonus illusion spells are a good thing.


Ravingdork wrote:


With LESS than half BAB progression (+7/+2 @ 16th level?), I don't see how you are going to be hitting anything short of using touch attacks.

If you are attacking and not using touch attacks with an arcane trickster you're not doing something right (with the exception of times you can use the capstone with AOE spells).

Helic wrote:
Tanis wrote:


The only other thing, is take Illusion as a specialized school. Gtr Invis at will rocks.

You'd only get that if you were an 8th level Wizard (Illusion School), not just if you were an 8th level caster. Choice of school for the AT is pretty irrelevant, other than the choice of opposed schools, any benefits gained will only be minor. Illusion is still a good choice, as bonus illusion spells are a good thing.

You are right about the school powers, I'm just wondering why anyone would want the greater invisibility spell after they get the ninth level power:

"At 9th level, an arcane trickster can become invisible, as if under the effects of greater invisibility, as a free action. She can remain invisible for a number of rounds per day equal to her arcane trickster level. Her caster level for this effect is equal to her caster level. These rounds need not be consecutive."


Abraham spalding wrote:
If you are attacking and not using touch attacks with an arcane trickster you're not doing something right (with the exception of times you can use the capstone with AOE spells).

I agree. The thing is though, people are (for reasons unknown o me) recommending archery builds on a character that has less BAB than a wizard.


Ravingdork wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
If you are attacking and not using touch attacks with an arcane trickster you're not doing something right (with the exception of times you can use the capstone with AOE spells).
I agree. The thing is though, people are (for reasons unknown o me) recommending archery builds on a character that has less BAB than a wizard.

Well at higher levels the investment of two ~ three feats to be able to use rays while under greater invisibility isn't a bad thought just as weapon finesse would be a good option too (for this character specifically). The interesting thing about the AT is most of your damage from this character is going to come from lower level spell slots (not always there are a few nice higher level slots) which means your higher level slots are generally open for more wizardly like pursuits.


You can get more leverage out of spells like acid splash once you add in sneak attack damage.

There's no reason NOT to use touch attacks. In fact, I'd ask if you can go looking for more, or invent your own spells to do so.

I mean, if we can have scorching ray, can't we have a freeze ray?


ProfessorCirno wrote:

Just be a bard!

:D

I know you're just being silly, the only thing is that you don't get the ranged legerdemain and sneak attack that way. :)

But you got me thinking... qualifying for Arcane Trickster through Bard isn't a horrible idea, especially if you're thinking of being a party face and are planning to play a support character (not a heavy hitter) anyway.

It's almost a shame you need 2d6 sneak attack to qualify for the PrC. It would be interesting to see an Arcane Trickster whose base class was Bard alone.


rkraus2 wrote:

You can get more leverage out of spells like acid splash once you add in sneak attack damage.

Such thoughts are really a trap.

Sure you can do say 1d3+5d6 with a cantrip.. but what you're really spending here is a standard action under favorable circumstances at high level to deliver very little damage.

Consider what reasonable damage is at that level and you're behind the curve for what an iconic should be delivering in this instance.

-James


Ravingdork wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
If you are attacking and not using touch attacks with an arcane trickster you're not doing something right (with the exception of times you can use the capstone with AOE spells).
I agree. The thing is though, people are (for reasons unknown o me) recommending archery builds on a character that has less BAB than a wizard.

The archery build works with Greater Invis, as all your attacks become against flatfooted AC and with a +2 bonus (assuming the target does not have uncanny dodge or can see invis). Bonuses to attack from weapon enhancements will help to mitigate the differences between touch attacks and bow attacks, and in some circumstances can actually make the bow attacks have a higher chance of hitting (i.e. when the bonuses from using the weapon exceed the armor/shield bonus of the target).

The big benefit is getting more sneak attacks off in a round and at range. Using Rapid Shot + haste/speed weapon, the AT can get 4 sneak attacks off in a round, 3 of those attacks at his highest BAB. Against appropriate targets this does significantly more damage than a single ray spell getting sneak attack. Against targets with high flatfooted AC he can still use touch attack spells. And if wanting to use spells to deliver status conditions as well (sneak attack Enervation for instance) the archer AT can still choose to do this.

This also does not require casting spells to attack, so using the bow requires less overall spell usage even though the archer will probably use more buff spells (e.g. flame arrow).

Against targets that have uncanny dodge or that can see invis, both the bow shots and the touch attack spells lose their sneak attacks, so thats a wash.

All thats required of the archer AT is to pick up Rapid Shot as a feat selection and grab a shortbow. Even the touch attack AT will want Pt.Blank/Precise shot, so theres very little difference between the two builds.


james maissen wrote:
rkraus2 wrote:

You can get more leverage out of spells like acid splash once you add in sneak attack damage.

Such thoughts are really a trap.

Sure you can do say 1d3+5d6 with a cantrip.. but what you're really spending here is a standard action under favorable circumstances at high level to deliver very little damage.

Consider what reasonable damage is at that level and you're behind the curve for what an iconic should be delivering in this instance.

-James

So true.

Spending a standard action to deliver such little damage is a waste of a turn at that level.

Shadow Lodge

It would be curious to see an arcane trickster witch... I'll have to poke around and see how viable that is. Lots of the witches powers are level dependent though so might not work well. Her spell list combined with rogue abilities would make her an extremely versatile character.


Father Dale wrote:


The big benefit is getting more sneak attacks off in a round and at range.

All thats required of the archer AT is to pick up Rapid Shot as a feat selection and grab a shortbow. Even the touch attack AT will want Pt.Blank/Precise shot, so theres very little difference between the two builds.

The problem here is that the Arcane Trickster's BAB is so bad, that this isn't as viable as it sounds.

-James

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
Father Dale wrote:


The big benefit is getting more sneak attacks off in a round and at range.

All thats required of the archer AT is to pick up Rapid Shot as a feat selection and grab a shortbow. Even the touch attack AT will want Pt.Blank/Precise shot, so theres very little difference between the two builds.

The problem here is that the Arcane Trickster's BAB is so bad, that this isn't as viable as it sounds.

My suspicion is the best tactic for arcane trickster is the aberration bloodline, and/ or the lunge feat with chill touch or other touch attacks and flanking. Once you get improved invisibility things are a bit better but more and more enemies have detect invis.

The obvious problem with that is sorcerer is one more level further out.


james maissen wrote:
Father Dale wrote:


The big benefit is getting more sneak attacks off in a round and at range.

All thats required of the archer AT is to pick up Rapid Shot as a feat selection and grab a shortbow. Even the touch attack AT will want Pt.Blank/Precise shot, so theres very little difference between the two builds.

The problem here is that the Arcane Trickster's BAB is so bad, that this isn't as viable as it sounds.

-James

Its target dependent.

Against lightly armored targets who are denied their dex (due to invisibility) the AT archer has sufficient attack rating to hit consistently.


How about an example? I'll keep it simple and straight forward

Halfing Rogue 3/Wizard 3/AT 6

20 Dex seems reasonable given racial boost and likely magic items/spells (base 14 in dex, +2 racial, +4 enhancement). Potentially could be much higher.

BAB = +6/+1

+1 size
+2 weapon
+5 dex
+1 point blank shot
+1 haste
+2 invisible
-2 rapid shot

total attack: +16/+16/+16/+11 at 12th level

Looking at the flatfooted AC for opponents around that level in the bestiary, the heaviest armored monsters will have a flatfooted AC in the mid to high 20s (things like dragons and some outsiders at the CR 12 to 14 range which have high natural armor.) He'll have a reasonable chance of hitting them (50% with three attacks to hit flatfooted AC 27). More common opponents, such as multiple creatures in the lvl 8-10 range will have flatfooted ACs in the teens possibly reaching 20.

Against more humanoid targets he'll have a real good shot at hitting them unless they are wearing magical full plate and wielding a shield, or can combat his invisibility. A typical human two handed fighter at 12th level probably has a flatfooted AC in the low to mid 20s. Non-armored humanoids will get obliterated almost as much as they would when flanked by a 2 weapon fighting rogue.

Also not counting the benefits of other things such as Reduce Person (+2 to attacks), bless, prayer, weapon focus, etc.

Is he going to sneak attack BBEGs shot after shot. Not likely, as most BBEGs are well defended against sneak attacks. But he'll plow through most minions, and he can rely on his spells/touch attack spells against the tougher opponents. Is he going to dish out as much damage as a two handed weapon using fighter? Of course not, thats not his thing. But he can contribute useful damage in a fight as well as providing substantial benefits to a party through skills and spells.

And thats the trick with the Arcane Trickster, providing the party with access to useful skills and spells while also being able to provide damage support. Usually while being undetectable by the enemies.


Father Dale wrote:

How about an example? I'll keep it simple and straight forward

Halfing Rogue 3/Wizard 3/AT 6

BAB = +6/+1

total attack: +16/+16/+16/+11 at 12th level

That's the problem, you have the BAB of a wizard of your level.

A pure rogue with the same buffs could be using Deadly Aim and get those attacks, with an additional sneak die! So you're talking another d6+6 damage (close to 3d6 extra).

A fighter archer will blow that out of the water. He will have 7 more to hit than the pure rogue while using deadly aim, and will deal +12 damage which while less than your 5d6 (average 17.5) it really isn't when you figure in the extra attack the fighter will have, and the insanely higher to hit they will have available.

In short, the AT is not an archer. You are correct that to deal reasonable sneak dice you want more than one attack. The AT just doesn't lend itself to this.

-James


Hm... could you finish the arcane trickster as an archer though? That would be an interesting question...

You could do the following:

Wizard 4
Rogue 1
Assassin 1
AT 10
AA 4

That eats up 3 caster levels but leaves you with 9th level spells still, you have 7d6 sneak attack damage, the last 4 levels each give a point of BAB which puts you at +11 to hit total. The imbue arrow feature means you could shoot an arrow at a target get sneak attack on that then get sneak attack on the spell it releases and possibly get sneak attack damage on the spell stored in the arrow too.

If your GM doesn't throw a fit at this you'll get two spells in an arrow and deal 21d6 of sneak attack damage -- heck might as well quicken a spell at that point to stack in a little more.

Overall I don't think this will add enough BAB or bonuses to be viable but it is a thought and would be an easy entry to meet.

Bard for entry into AT is honestly a horrible idea -- the loss of the increase in bardic performances, the lack of BAB the need for the sneak attack added into the lack of spells that synergize well with sneak attack means that over all you have bonus damage with nothing to add it too and not enough BAB to attack with normal weapons with.


james maissen wrote:


That's the problem, you have the BAB of a wizard of your level.

A pure rogue with the same buffs could be using Deadly Aim and get those attacks, with an additional sneak die! So you're talking another d6+6 damage (close to 3d6 extra).

A fighter archer will blow that out of the water. He will have 7 more to hit than the pure rogue while using deadly aim, and will deal +12 damage which while less than your 5d6 (average 17.5) it really isn't when you figure in the extra attack the fighter will have, and the insanely higher to hit they will have available.

In short, the AT is not an archer. You are correct that to deal reasonable sneak dice you want more than one attack. The AT just doesn't lend itself to this.

-James

The rogue doesn't have access to all the buffs all the time. He either needs to rely on his party members for them, or he has to spend not insignficant amounts of cash to get them. Thats why people play arcane tricksters, to get the spells that come with it.

The only games I've seen where rogues were almost always greater invis'd were games where the rogues were assassins or arcane tricksters who had the spell.

So yes, the rogue archer will have a better attack (or could use deadly aim) and have more sneak attack. He also won't be greater invis'd or have flame arrow or hasted or reduce person'd in almost every fight too.

Fighter archer will of course do more 'DPR' than an arcane trickster of any variety. Fighter archer will do more DPR than any character aside from another fighter. Fighters do more DPR than wizards...does that make fighters better than wizards?

Nobody has said that if you are making an archer make an arcane trickster. That's absurd. What is being said is that if you are making an arcane trickster, archery is a solid way to benefit in the class without the inherent risks of melee or the weakness of once per round touch spells. Its a way for an Arcane Trickster to CONTRIBUTE useful damage output in a fight, not outshine the greatsword fighter or archer ranger or TWFing rogue or smiting paladin. The Arcane Tricksters true talents lie in his skills (rogue/wiz/AT has every skill as a class skill except for handle animal, heal, ride, and survival) and his large number of skill points, and his enviable access to spells.


Father Dale wrote:


The rogue doesn't have access to all the buffs all the time. He either needs to rely on his party members for them, or he has to spend not insignficant amounts of cash to get them. Thats why people play arcane tricksters, to get the spells that come with it.

That's the problem imho.

If you are going to play in a solo game that's one thing, but to discount the party is quite another.

Consider it this way, the AT who greater invis's himself does 0 damage in the first round.

The rogue who gets a greater invis from another gets his full round from the start, and it's much higher and more reliable.

If your group is 'every man is an island' then the balance is indeed different. But I find that for thought experiments like this its more often the case that people just don't consider the rest of the party.

And for sure the AT is not a prime archer. He doesn't reasonably compete with a pure rogue archer for damage.

In general the AT is just not there for damage. He's a wizard that has given up 3 casting levels, school bonuses and PrCs. For it he's gained some skills that tax his skills/level, 0 BAB, and the ability to deal some extra damage per attack in the right situations. In many situations those extra 3 casting levels could deal that extra damage outright.

If you're looking for damage, this class doesn't bring it.

As to flavor, the Unseen Seer delivers more of it than the trickster which really should have had more of the legerdemain angle than it was given.. let alone skills and a rogue BAB.

All in all it's a patch where it needs a redesign from the ground up.

-James


My own opinion is that the Arcane Trickster isn't worth it.

Pathfinder has made it much easier for anyone to get good at skills. Take a straight wizard, use 2 traits to take perception and stealth as class skills, and that's most of the flavor of an arcane trickster right there.

Ken


DeathQuaker wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:

Just be a bard!

:D

I know you're just being silly, the only thing is that you don't get the ranged legerdemain and sneak attack that way. :)

But you got me thinking... qualifying for Arcane Trickster through Bard isn't a horrible idea, especially if you're thinking of being a party face and are planning to play a support character (not a heavy hitter) anyway.

It's almost a shame you need 2d6 sneak attack to qualify for the PrC. It would be interesting to see an Arcane Trickster whose base class was Bard alone.

In all honesty I was only half joking.

Arcane Trickster is a bit of a trap. Just be a straight bard. Maybe a bit of rogue for trapfinding. What's arcane trickster? A rogue/wizard, a sneaky guy who casts spells. You could very easily make that a bard! :D

Also I really like bards.


james maissen wrote:
Father Dale wrote:


The rogue doesn't have access to all the buffs all the time. He either needs to rely on his party members for them, or he has to spend not insignficant amounts of cash to get them. Thats why people play arcane tricksters, to get the spells that come with it.

That's the problem imho.

If you are going to play in a solo game that's one thing, but to discount the party is quite another.

Consider it this way, the AT who greater invis's himself does 0 damage in the first round.

The rogue who gets a greater invis from another gets his full round from the start, and it's much higher and more reliable.

So now the Wizard does 0 damage in the first round. Good job!

james maissen wrote:

If your group is 'every man is an island' then the balance is indeed different. But I find that for thought experiments like this its more often the case that people just don't consider the rest of the party.

And for sure the AT is not a prime archer. He doesn't reasonably compete with a pure rogue archer for damage.

In general the AT is just not there for damage. He's a wizard that has given up 3 casting levels, school bonuses and PrCs. For it he's gained some skills that tax his skills/level, 0 BAB, and the ability to deal some extra damage per attack in the right situations. In many situations those extra 3 casting levels could deal that extra damage outright.

And how is a Arcane Trickster's Save or Suck spells any worse than a strait God Wizard? Int will still most likely be his highest stat. The spells are all the same level, he just doesn't get them as early.

james maissen wrote:
If you're looking for damage, this class doesn't bring it.

And do you know what someone who is looking to play an Arcane Trickster is not looking for? Damage! They just need to be able to do enough to contribute. Invisible archery or ranged touch attack spells contribute. It's not going to win any contests, but it contributes. Plus I think that a Disintegrate Sneak Attack would be fun!

james maissen wrote:

As to flavor, the Unseen Seer delivers more of it than the trickster which really should have had more of the legerdemain angle than it was given.. let alone skills and a rogue BAB.

All in all it's a patch where it needs a redesign from the ground up.

-James

I'm not familiar with Unseen Seer. It is not in the Pathfinder core book, but Arcane Trickster is. It works well enough for what it sets out to do. They will be just as good as a Rogue in the skills department but with different special abilities, namely spells.


Lord Twig wrote:


And how is a Arcane Trickster's Save or Suck spells any worse than a strait God Wizard? Int will still most likely be his highest stat. The spells are all the same level, he just doesn't get them as early.

Well let's see he's taking feats like point blank shot and precise shot instead of spell focus.

The pure wizard could hieghten his spells should he wish to be that inefficient and still be able to cast the same spells an AT could due to the AT loosing 2-3 casting levels.

In general though higher spells become better and more powerful than the lower level ones.

Sorry, it's just not there.

A rogue with a decent UMD and reasonable INT score is going to do better in most of the role here and do more than just dabble.

-James


Three feats at most is going into combat for the AT. That leaves 8 at least for spell focus and greater spell focus. As mentioned even the "simple" AT can have ninth level spells so he really isn't losing any spell levels.

A rogue with a Decent UMD and reasonable INT is still going to suck on SOD's which the AT will not. The rogue will either have to use scrolls, wands or staves. The scrolls and wands have crap for DC and the staves will need recharged which he can't do and are expensive.

The AT will have the same DC's as the Wizard (if slightly later) will have access to all the spells the wizard has access to and will have other features as well (in fact the greater invisibility class feature is better than a quickened greater invisibility since it is a free action to use and leaves the AT a swift action to still cast a quickened spell with).

The AT will also have better skills than the wizard has. Now his BAB is going to be one less than the wizard but that really shouldn't matter due to his reliance on touch attacks and the occasional SoD.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Three feats at most is going into combat for the AT. That leaves 8 at least for spell focus and greater spell focus. As mentioned even the "simple" AT can have ninth level spells so he really isn't losing any spell levels.

So if you start at 20, it's all good. If you actually have to play through the low levels, it's a huge difference. The AT is casting glitterdust while the wizard is casting Cloudkill, and at a higher DC. And the wizard will have more spells/day. Don't downplay this. If there's a wizard in the party, the AT is going to really feel his shortcomings. If there's not, it probably won't be as painful.

AT is not terrible, but it's prereqs are higher than necessary imo. If non-PF material is allowed, 2 levels of Unseen Seer make the AT quite potent.


Vestrial wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Three feats at most is going into combat for the AT. That leaves 8 at least for spell focus and greater spell focus. As mentioned even the "simple" AT can have ninth level spells so he really isn't losing any spell levels.

So if you start at 20, it's all good. If you actually have to play through the low levels, it's a huge difference. The AT is casting glitterdust while the wizard is casting Cloudkill, and at a higher DC. And the wizard will have more spells/day. Don't downplay this. If there's a wizard in the party, the AT is going to really feel his shortcomings. If there's not, it probably won't be as painful.

AT is not terrible, but it's prereqs are higher than necessary imo. If non-PF material is allowed, 2 levels of Unseen Seer make the AT quite potent.

I would say if there is already a Wizard AND a Rogue in the party then this class may not be very fun. But if there is no Rogue then the AT will be the best Rogue in the party, possibly even better than a strait rogue at rogue stuff. Sneaking is easier when your invisible, opening stuff is a lot easier with Knock, finding and disabling traps is easier with Detect/Dispel Magic and, of course, Ranged Legerdemain.


Vestrial wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Three feats at most is going into combat for the AT. That leaves 8 at least for spell focus and greater spell focus. As mentioned even the "simple" AT can have ninth level spells so he really isn't losing any spell levels.

So if you start at 20, it's all good. If you actually have to play through the low levels, it's a huge difference. The AT is casting glitterdust while the wizard is casting Cloudkill, and at a higher DC. And the wizard will have more spells/day. Don't downplay this. If there's a wizard in the party, the AT is going to really feel his shortcomings. If there's not, it probably won't be as painful.

AT is not terrible, but it's prereqs are higher than necessary imo. If non-PF material is allowed, 2 levels of Unseen Seer make the AT quite potent.

You are vastly overstating the difference in spell level.

As my build shows you'll be at most 1 spell level behind the wizard -- not 3.

So maybe show black tentacles to cloudkill.

In fact lets look at 6th level:

Wizard 6

and

Wizard 4/ Rogue 1/ Assassin 1

The wizard 6 is going to have 4 3rd level spells, 5 2nd level spells, and 5 (maybe 6) first level spells. That's all he's got.

The AT in training has 5 (maybe 6) first level spells and 4 second level spells. However he also has trapfinding which gives him use beyond magic, more skills and skill points which again expands his out of combat abilities and the potential to get lined up well before combat begins. In addition he has poison use and a death attack with a DC in the 15~16 range. Set with invisibility at this level and that is very potent. In addition the synergy of the familiar's traits with the AT is huge. Alertness means your perception is higher and the familiar can use your skill ranks which means that it could be going into tight spots (literally tiny creatures fit almost anywhere) and disarm traps that you can't reach (or retrieve goods) in addition to all the benefits you can use a familiar for already. Combined with his sneak attack on touch spells the AT will get great damage out of the spells he chooses to use for this purpose and if traits are available even his caster level is equal with the wizards.

Next level the straight wizard has 4th level spells and the AT has 3rd. However the AT doesn't need to approach doors anymore to disable traps which means failure has less sting in general. After this point the AT takes off just fine and over his levels he'll gain:

Free action greater invisibility, the equivalent of a greater combined rod of still/silent spell (almost two of them at 9th level) and more damage out of his direct damage spells through his capstone in addition to twice a day simply choose to deal extra sneak attack damage with impromptu sneak attack.

Now I'm not saying that the AT is better than a straight wizard -- I'm simply saying he's rather good by himself.

He'll end up with every spell the wizard will have, almost as many per day, and he's got other things to boot that helps him substantially.


Abraham spalding wrote:


stuff

First, I was responding more to the 'intended' path for the AT, not your assassin build. Your build is definitely the only way to go if one is playing a PF only game with a liberal DM.

The problem with your build is that you're requiring a second PRC to make AT work. That sorta illustrates that AT is not terribly good. Also, Assassin has some strict requirements that most players won't be able to swing (evil, kill somebody for money), or that won't fit thematically. I'm willing to bet most people who want to play an Arcane Trickster aren't going to want to take a level of Assassin (from a thematic perspective. Obviously it's the best choice mechanically), and some GM's will flat out veto it. I would, but I would let them take a level of another class that grants SA. (Spellthief fits better thematically, imo. Unseen Seer is more potent)

Also, a couple nitpicks: Everyone gets trapfinding. Your AT gets +1. Nothing to write home about. Death attack DC will quickly fall to the point of uselessness. Poison use is rather meh. Not to mention that every advantage you listed is gained from the 1 level of rogue or Assassin, and has nothing to do with the AT itself.


The statement was, "AT is weak at lower levels."

Now yes the drop offs will happen for these abilities. But at low levels, and at the point we are talking about they are good (Trapfinding allows the disabling of magical traps so that is something).

At higher levels all the points of the AT still stand and work.

Having played multiple AT's through the lower levels into the higher levels I've not had a problem surviving or contributing. Even using the rogue instead of assassin which still means at most you are 2 spell levels behind -- which isn't killer -- just something to note. Effective spells are still effective spells. No you won't cloudkill at the same time the wizard will but you can stinking cloud which is almost as good. You can delivery better damage with the spells you do have and IMO it all works out.


Father Dale wrote:
The Arcane Tricksters true talents lie in his skills (rogue/wiz/AT has every skill as a class skill except for handle animal, heal, ride, and survival) and his large number of skill points, and his enviable access to spells.

You only need 1 level of rogue and 1 level of wizard to have those skills. Which means you can play a real PC class, for example a Rogue 1/Wizard N-1 or a Rogue N-1/Wizard 1 : in both cases you have a little hit in your class power, but you have essentially the power expected for the level.

Or, you can play a bard. No sneak attack, but more skill (we are talking of a 10+th-level character ? 3 free skills from the versatile performance, Cha-based acrobatics and sense motive, more knowledge than straight wizard - even without any skill point in knowledge... When the AT gains her capstone, everything is a class skill for bard).

If you want skills, you make a bard or a rogue (depending of whether you prefer passive infinite abilities or spells). AT is just a poor NPC class to get some magic and some sneak attack. Wizard's BAB, no armor, no HP (less than a straight wizard, great) and no range (it's so much fun to be in a 30 feet range when you have no armor and no HP), less skills than bard or ranger, 3 levels lost in every classes (if you don't want to play an evil character... Or you can use 3.5 class in your build, then let's compare the AT to a random efficient 3.5 base class or PrC) : that's just a no-no option.

Abraham is proving it magnificently : you can't play an AT with the obvious path (rogue 3/wizard 3). That's completely inefficient. You need to use an evil PrC, or use a bunch of 3.5 classes, or...

Put the same energy to optimize a rogue, bard or wizard, and the AT is still underpowered.

kenmckinney wrote:
Pathfinder has made it much easier for anyone to get good at skills. Take a straight wizard, use 2 traits to take perception and stealth as class skills, and that's most of the flavor of an arcane trickster right there.

Or use a cat familiar. +2 Perception, +2 sense motive, +3 stealth.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
james maissen wrote:


The problem here is that the Arcane Trickster's BAB is so bad, that this isn't as viable as it sounds.

-James

The problem is not the Arcane Trickster but the method of entry that's advocated here.... mainly the preservation of the all mighty caster level. Adding a couple of rogue levels to the local cookie-cutter build impacts melee capability significantly and adds to the bag of tricks.

People here are hung up on the Arcane Trickster as a caster. That's not what he's meant to be.... he's a magical rogue. Entering in as a rogue 3 or 4, makes a big difference. It also requires a rethink of what the magic aspects are used for... they should be used in tandom with the rogues's strengths, not competing with the party Merlin, if one's present.


Bard is a magical rogue. At low level (1-7), he has more arcane power than the AT, and at higher level (6-20), he's far more efficient in skills than the AT.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
People here are hung up on the Arcane Trickster as a caster. That's not what he's meant to be.... he's a magical rogue. Entering in as a rogue 3 or 4, makes a big difference. It also requires a rethink of what the magic aspects are used for... they should be used in tandom with the rogues's strengths, not competing with the party Merlin, if one's present.

Bingo. This is actually the key to multiclassing any melee/caster combo; you have to construct a spell repertoire that directly benefits your other class.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stéphane Le Roux wrote:

Bard is a magical rogue. At low level (1-7), he has more arcane power than the AT, and at higher level (6-20), he's far more efficient in skills than the AT.

But he's not the precision combatant, he's not the trickster, he's not the guy who evades fireballs, and he's not nearly as skilled as the ideal AT build which is clearly a rouge/wizard path, although rogue/sorcerer is a good second choice.


The PostMonster General wrote:
The problem is not the Arcane Trickster but the method of entry that's advocated here.... mainly the preservation of the all mighty caster level. Adding a couple of rogue levels to the local cookie-cutter build impacts melee capability significantly and adds to the bag of tricks.People here are hung up on the Arcane Trickster as a caster. That's not what he's meant to be.... he's a magical rogue. Entering in as a rogue 3 or 4, makes a big difference. It also requires a rethink of what the magic aspects are used for... they should be used in tandom with the rogues's strengths, not competing with the party Merlin, if one's present.

Have to agree with this, I am playing an AT in training right now and while I haven't gotten the PRC yet my reason for choosing it is two fold. First, the party did not have a rogue or a mage. Second, the best reason, it just looks like a blast to play. If having the highest DPR is your idea of fun then play a fighter, that's fine, if being the worlds most powerful Merlin is your thing, then go for it. The versatility of this class appeals to me. There will really never be a situation where you are of limited usefulness. Throw a swarm at a rogue archer and they are fairly useless, a mage who runs out of spells, or is in a null magic room, is quite gimped, the AT will never be useless. I am going to go thrown daggers with improved two weapon so I will get 4 attacks per round with 7d6 sneaks and be an illusionist specialist. I know, have to get rather close, that's OK with spells like mirror image and greater invis, I am not afraid to be right behind the tanks in the second rank. also I can use silent image to create a wall of fog to shoot through, and various other creative uses. Oh and don't forget tricky spells, I love the idea of spells just manifesting on the enemy while I am greater invis'd without them having any idea where they are coming from, sure a wiz can take those feats, but I get them for free. All in all, there are so many choices of what this class can do in different situations, I think the the creative possibilities are realty what its all about and what makes this class so great for a P&P game, its just fun


LazarX wrote:


The problem is not the Arcane Trickster but the method of entry that's advocated here.... mainly the preservation of the all mighty caster level. Adding a couple of rogue levels to the local cookie-cutter build impacts melee capability significantly and adds to the bag of tricks.

People here are hung up on the Arcane Trickster as a caster. That's not what he's meant to be.... he's a magical rogue. Entering in as a rogue 3 or 4, makes a big difference. It also requires a rethink of what the magic aspects are used for... they should be used in tandom with the rogues's strengths, not competing with the party Merlin, if one's present.

It sounds good in theory, but in practice if you do this it pushes the wizard spells so far back you may as well just stick with wands since you're not going to go over 4th level spells until higher levels than most campaigns last. You're basically selling some rather potent rogue class abilities for wands. Not a very good trade imo.

Abraham spalding wrote:
The statement was, "AT is weak at lower levels."

I didn't say it was weak, I said it was weaker, can be somewhat painful, and that you're downplaying the difference in spell levels from the real wizard. At 5th level, 2 spell levels might not be a big deal, but at 9th it is, because those levels take a lot longer to get through. And the AT most certainly is weaker. He's weaker than the straight rogue, and he's weaker than the straight wizard. He's even weaker than the rogue1/wizardX. Some of the 8th level wizard abilities are fairly potent, and the rogue has several good abilities you forgo to take AT. Overall, I just don't think it's worth it for a thematic concept that can be arrived at other ways...

If one wants to play a wizard with a rogue flavor, you're better off picking up one level of rogue. If they want to play a magic rogue, you're better off using wands & wondrous items.


LazarX wrote:
But he's not the precision combatant, he's not the trickster, he's not the guy who evades fireballs, and he's not nearly as skilled as the ideal AT build which is clearly a rouge/wizard path, although rogue/sorcerer is a good second choice.

More skilled than the bard, with his versatility (free skill at level 2, 6, 10, 14), his bonus to all knowledge, and the other bonus at higher levels ? And being more skilled while also being MAD (AT need to max Int and Dex - thanks for the poor BAB, the armor failure check, the poor HP and the poor range : AT can't survive with max Int and medium Dex), having a skill tax in spellcraft, having less base skill points and having less flavored class bonus ? No, it's not possible.

Rogue is great for skills, because he has 8 point per level, flavored class bonus, talents, and trapfinding. AT is not. Perhaps the wizard AT can compare to the ranger, but that's the most he can do. A class with no more skill points than a barbarian and no bonus to skills (except for the familiar bonus) isn't good at skills.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vestrial wrote:


It sounds good in theory, but in practice if you do this it pushes the wizard spells so far back you may as well just stick with wands since you're not going to go over 4th level spells until higher levels than most campaigns last. You're basically selling some rather potent rogue class abilities for wands. Not a very good trade imo.

4th level spells is not a bad place to be. It gives me options like invisibility, dimension door (I've used that a few times to bail out a party member or two, as well as some quick battlefield rearrangement) Haste, a couple of offensive spells, and some utility tricks. With some supplementary wand use, you have a lot of options. The options get better true as you go in levels, but for the most part PrCs do tend to show their flavor in high level campaigns especially those that try to unite two disparate classes.

With PrC's if the campaign is going to be low level, ones that work off of single classes like loremaster, duelists, etc are the way to go. Split-class PrCs aren't going to show thier true flower unless you give them the development they need.


DeathQuaker wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:

Just be a bard!

:D

I know you're just being silly, the only thing is that you don't get the ranged legerdemain and sneak attack that way. :)

But you got me thinking... qualifying for Arcane Trickster through Bard isn't a horrible idea, especially if you're thinking of being a party face and are planning to play a support character (not a heavy hitter) anyway.

It's almost a shame you need 2d6 sneak attack to qualify for the PrC. It would be interesting to see an Arcane Trickster whose base class was Bard alone.

A bard variant that lost out on some party support and gained some rogue-ish abilities instead could be really cool.

I'd imagine him gaining sneak attack 1d6 every time he'd otherwise gain/improve inspire courage, and a rogue talent or a bonus spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list every time he'd gain/improve inspire competence. Losing out on such a large part of the bard class would probably leave him weaker in the end, but it'd be cool for people wanting a trickster base class.

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