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Knife Master rogue build


Advice


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Human rogue, 15 point build. Str 11 Con 12 Dex 16 Int 12 Wis 12 Cha 14. This is not optimized, but I don't like dump stats. If someone else is the party face, maybe switch Cha and Wis.

Knife Master archetype: you roll d8s for sneak attack damage with daggers or similar weapons, d4s with anything else.

Traits Reactionary (you believe in the divine right of kings... no wait, +2 on Init) and River Rat (+1 damage with daggers, +1 to Swim). Feats, Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting. Skills, max Stealth, Perception, Acrobatics, and the usual rogue stuff. You can make one attack at +3, or two attacks at +1, for d4+1 damage. Not a lot... but if you can get a sneak attack in, that jumps to d4+d8+1. If both attacks hit, you'll do average 16 points of damage, which is not too shabby for a first level rogue.

Assume this is the concept for your rogue going forward: he's a 2WF dagger master who tries to either surprise or flank in order to get heavy sneak attacks. How best to build him?

2 Talent: Underhanded? I'm still not sure how this works, but a reasonable interpretation is that it can be used in a surprise round when the victim is unaware of you. In which case it synergizes nicely with Knife Master.

3 Feat: Improved Initiative. Gotta take this sometime, might as well be now. +8 Init means you'll be catching lots of enemies flat footed.

4 Talent: Offensive Defense; every time you hit with a SA, your AC jumps by 1 for every SA die you roll for one round. Also, boost Dex to 17.

5 Feat: Weapon Focus (dagger). Now you're attacking at +7 with one dagger or +5 with two, for d4+3d8+1 on each sneak attack.

6 Talent: Fast Stealth. You're sneaking around a lot, so full speed Stealth with no penalty seems pretty desirable.

7 Feat: Point blank shot. Because sometimes, you want to throw a dagger.

8 Talent: Slow Reactions. If you sneak attack something, it gets no AoOs next round. Situational, but this is incredibly useful when dealing with creatures with reach, and a lot of things are getting reach at this level. You sneak up, SA it, and then the rest of the party charges. Boost Dex to 18, huzzah.

9 Feat: I'm open to suggestions here. The default choice would be a save-boosting feat -- either Iron Will to spackle up that glass jaw of a Will save, or Lightning Reflexes to make sure that you never, ever take damage from a Fireball. Skill Focus (Stealth) is also a possibility, depending on how much you're using Stealth. I'm sure there are better choices; these just seem like decent defaults.

10 Talent: either Snap Shot or Bleeding Attack look attractive. However, the efficacy of these talents is starting to decline, because you can only apply one to any given SA. So it's tempting to consider (for instance) Terrain Mastery: Urban or Underground, depending on the campaign -- hard to argue with +2 to Initiative, Perception and Stealth.

-- Okay, I'm sure there are better ways to build this out. Suggestions?

Doug M.


I'm thinking about a similar build myself.

One thing I usually find attractive is Quick Draw. For those moments when you don't happen to have a weapon drawn, but you won initiative in a surprise round. Better to draw & toss a dagger than charge, I say.

Underhanded is confusing to me as well. If there were some way to draw a concealed weapon as a free/swift action, great, but I can't find any way to do that in Pathfinder.


The APG has a spring-loaded sheath which lets you draw a concealed dagger as a free action. Just 5 gp!

But other than that, no, there doesn't seem to be any way.

Doug M.


A few suggestions:

Seconding finding room for Quick Draw. With your high initiative, you should be able to act before many enemies. Instead of wasting your action moving to them and taking a single attack, take your full attack by two-weapon throwing daggers!

There are probably better choices than Slow Reactions for you. As you say, it is situational. Plus, you already have Offensive Defense to protect you from enemies you have hit with a Sneak Attack. Maybe use the slot for Combat Trick?

Iron Will is a very good choice for 9th level. Failed Will saves are no fun. And your Reflex is more than good enough already.

Why are you looking at regular Talents for level 10? That is where you get to break out the Advanced Talents! Crippling Blow would be amazing for you. Two-weapon Fighting = double the Strength damage.


It might also be a good idea to look into the Gang Up feat which allows you to count as flanking when two allies are threatening an enemy.


Oh, and what about Improved TWF for a lvl 9 feat - or lvl 8 combat trick talent? I haven't played much with TWF, but I think of that style as being fairly feat-heavy, just making sure you can make as many attacks as possible.


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:


Seconding finding room for Quick Draw. With your high initiative, you should be able to act before many enemies. Instead of wasting your action moving to them and taking a single attack, take your full attack by two-weapon throwing daggers!

Can you fling two daggers in a single round with TWF?

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:


Why are you looking at regular Talents for level 10? That is where you get to break out the Advanced Talents! Crippling Blow would be amazing for you. Two-weapon Fighting = double the Strength damage.

Right you are -- for some reason I thought they kicked in after 10th. So a rogue built out to L20 would have 4 basic and 6 advanced talents... got it.

Here's a thought: Hide in Plain Sight. Only works in the favored terrain, but awfully nice when you have it. Hunter's Surprise is also a nice daily power; being stuck in combat with no SAs is this guy's worst nightmare, and this insures against that.

Doug M.


CountMRVHS wrote:

Oh, and what about Improved TWF for a lvl 9 feat - or lvl 8 combat trick talent?

That gives you an iterative attack with your off hand. You're already getting an iterative attack with your main hand, so it doesn't seem to be adding a lot of value here -- especially since these attacks will be at -7 (-2 for TWF and -5 for iterative) and you're a 3/4 BAB character. I'd say leave this for the fighter types.

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Can you fling two daggers in a single round with TWF?

Indeed you can!

Two-Weapon Fighting wrote:

Thrown Weapons

The same rules apply when you throw a weapon from each hand. Treat a dart or shuriken as a light weapons when used in this manner, and treat a bolas, javelin, net, or sling as a one-handed weapon.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Here's a thought: Hide in Plain Sight. Only works in the favored terrain, but awfully nice when you have it. Hunter's Surprise is also a nice daily power; being stuck in combat with no SAs is this guy's worst nightmare, and this insures against that.

Your talent slots are pretty filled as it is, so you are going to have to drop something to get Favored Terrain before Hide in Plain Sight. And for a Two-Weapon Fighting build, hiding so you can get one Sneak Attack off is even worse than usual. As for Hunter's Surprise, I find the once/day thing really limiting. While it is not a bad talent, I don't find think it stands out when up against options like Opportunist.


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Can you fling two daggers in a single round with TWF?
Indeed you can!

Nice! I did not know that.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Your talent slots are pretty filled as it is, so you are going to have to drop something to get Favored Terrain before Hide in Plain Sight.

Taking Favored Terrain twice gives you double the benefits in your first terrain, which is pretty sweet -- +4 to Init, Perception, Stealth, etc. So it's definitely a plausible build. Whether it's a good build for this guy is a separate question, sure.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
And for a Two-Weapon Fighting build, hiding so you can get one Sneak Attack off is even worse than usual.

? Can't you strike with both your weapons as a standard action?

Doug M.


Not normally, as I understand it. You may be able to accomplish that through feats... there were lots of ways in 3.5 I recall.

Hitting with 2 weapons usually requires a full action.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/combat#TOC-Surprise

Quote:

The Surprise Round

If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each take a standard or move action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Emphasis mine.

Unless your DM is doing it differently, you are normally only afforded either a standard OR a move action in a surprise round, after that it goes down to normal actions. So unless you have a weapon drawn or a way to draw as a free action, drawing a concealed weapon is normally a standard action and with Quickdraw a move action. So, you know, check with your DM on how he wants to handle it.


CountMRVHS wrote:


Hitting with 2 weapons usually requires a full action.

I'm pretty sure that's not right. Iterative attacks require a FRA, but hitting twice with 2WF is a standard action.

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
CountMRVHS wrote:


Hitting with 2 weapons usually requires a full action.
I'm pretty sure that's not right. Iterative attacks require a FRA, but hitting twice with 2WF is a standard action.

No, sorry. Only one strike with the "Attack" standard action.

Attack wrote:

Making an attack is a standard action.

...
Multiple Attacks

A character who can make more than one attack per round must use the full-attack action (see Full-Round Actions) in order to get more than one attack.

Full Attack wrote:
If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks

It was like this in 3.5 as well, though there were feats that let you get around it. Right now, the only way to pull it off in Pathfinder is to be a level 9 Two-Weapon Warrior. Not really something that will fit in your build, I think.


Oh, yuck. I did not realize that!

That makes this build a lot less attractive -- you can only get one attack in the surprise round.

Doug M.

Grand Lodge

I know you said you wanted to be a Human Rogue, but I always liked this feat and Half-Elf gets Skill Focus for free. I feel is even superior to Hide in Plain Sight of the Shadowdancer, because it can be pulled off at noon, under guard, atop the gallows with a crowd watching.

Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils wrote:

Hellcat Stealth Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 6 ranks.

Benefit: You may make Stealth checks in normal or bright light even when observed, but at a -10 penalty.

Normal: You cannot make Stealth checks while observed.

So, if you took Skill Focus (Stealth) at 7th, using 8th with Combat Trick (Point Blank Shot) you could pick up Hellcat Stealth at 9th. Or even the same thing at 5th S.F. (Stealth) 6th Talent Weapon Training (dagger) 7th Hellcat Stealth. This also could open up Hellcat Pounce allowing 2 sneak attacks in the surprise round, check for SA

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