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Noob Questions - thanks for being gentle


Advice


OK, as background I am an avid pc and boardgamer. Its been a couple of decades since I have RPGd. I have done a couple rounds of hour long D&D battles at GenCon but thats it.

For a few years I have been interested in getting back in and have been intrigued by Pathfinder. I have signed up for a couple of PFS sessions at GenCon and have been reading and researching trying to get myself ready.

My gaming group plays boardgames so I don't think I'll get another chance to play outside GenCon sessions each year. Besides that I don't have the time to pick it up regularly. I am looking to have a great experience, build a character, even if it is slowly over the years. I may only ever be playing lower level characters (below 10 or even 5).

Here are my questions:

1. I realize that there are many different kinds of players with different styles, skills, etc. I have been thinking about an archer rogue build. I have read several posts/blogs about how to optimize characters individually or with aspects/actions of other characters as well as critiques of these options. I am interested in a good, solid build, but as much as that want the flavor of the role, etc. I want to be capable and not be a liability to the party. Some of the criticisms go on about having to have multiple sneak attacks, etc - and that the character is worthless or a afilure if you can't get this or that right. I just don't know how big a deal that really is - is it a fatal error to play something like that or even a more vanilla character? I realize that I may not end up with the perfect 15 level progression build but how bad is that - does that mean that I really will have a bad experience or limit my party? I want to play a rogue, I want to be able to fight and do some damage, I don't want to die right away. I'd like to be a great archer but also will try melee sneaks as well. I don't really want to be a tank or a mage.

2. I plan on doing my homework and being prepared. All in I will probably have 40+ hours of reading and prep in before I sit down to play. Is there any reason I shouln't sit down ... or that I should only sign up for an intro game rather than one of the more interesting to me PFS level 1-3 or level 1-5 scenarios? I plan on factoring my knowledge into my character and play - sort of the unexpected hero, highly skilled but thrown into a situation they aren't used to, without the bestiary knowledge, etc ... forced to react.

3. At GenCon, for several of the scenarios there are spots for 48 people - how many people typically make up a party?

4. Any other general advice?

Sczarni

1. The reason a lot of us say archer rogues aren't optimal is because the biggest part of being a rogue and the damage for a rogue comes from sneak attack, and that goes away after the opening round because you can't get flanking with a bow. If you want the rogue "feel" and want to be an archer I'd go with a Ranger and focus on the archery feats. If you want to get some of the trap skills the Urban ranger is an option.

2. Make sure whatever you plan on using you have books for or printed pdf's. Other than that just show up and shoot bad guys with a bow! I'd suggest talking with people while you are there and getting some advice or simple thoughts to help make your ease into the game smooth. Play what you want man...you are a paying customer!

3. A PFS table has a minimum limit of 3 (with a GM controlled Pre-Generated character), and a maximum of 6 (I doubt they will do the accomidating ruling to allow any more).

4. Come up with a character. Post it here. Take all the advice you get, and make tweaks. A lot of us here are helpful and really do have A TON of great advice/ideas.


1. Of the archer builds out there, rogue is not usually considered one of the strongest. Archery is one of the most feat-dependent builds there is, so classes which allow you to grab tons of archery feats tend to be superior archers. I am partial to ranger archers if I want to have a skill-monkey archer. But having said that, so long as you invest the feats you need as a rogue, you can have a completely viable archer rogue if you want. Heck I have an archer druid that does pretty well.

2. Reading and preparing is generally a good thing. As a GM the only thing about "over-prepared" players that bothers me is when someone can't avoid meta-gaming after having read and apparently memorized the bestiary and every other splat book. But that's a play-style thing. Just do your best to have your character only act and react according to what THEY know, not what YOU know, and you should be fine.

3. No idea. Never been to a convention.

4. Don't get too hung up on what you read on these boards. Including this comment I am typing right now. Just build characters you think would be fun to play and then play them to the best of your ability. The boards are full of power gamers, rules lawyers and know-it-alls who can make a less experienced player feel intimidated or unskilled at building and playing characters. Just play what you like, learn what you can, and try to glean the rare gem out of the gigabytes of raw text that floods the internet.


1) This isn't really a question of a "vanilla" character or "perfect progression." Many people will try to steer you away from an archer-rogue because, while a common idea, it is mechanically very tough. There are few ways to get (any) Sneak Attacks from range after the first round, and fewer still that are easy or low level. At ultra-low levels this will be less of an issue (as your BaB and feats haven't fallen too far behind), but level 5 and beyond you may well be a worse archer than the fighter who just picked up a bow on a lark. If you are fine with this, all is well (though, unfortunately, some jerks might be jerks about it at a public table). If you want to be a bit more effective in combat and have the mechanics to contribute a bit more to a party, people around here can help you out.

2) It is up to you, but an introductory game might be useful. It will give you a feel and flow of the game, as well as table etiquette. These are things that can be tough to learn from looking at the books.

3) I'd randomly guess 4, given that that divides nicely with 48 and is the "traditional" party size. But I don't play PFS or go to GenCon, so I really have no idea.

4) You don't need to ask us to be gentle. As far as RPG boards go, I think this is a very friendly place. We just get a little... excited, at times.


1. My first advice is: Play what you want. You will have a lot more fun playing with a useless character you love, then a one man dragon killer you hate. Along with that, I have to caution you that if you don't focus, you get pretty useless as the levels rise. If you decide you want to do a little ranged, a little melee, maybe some mobility, it will work at lower levels, but if you keep it up, at higher levels you'll end up not hitting anyone and getting swatted every time you move.

In combat, a ranged rogue is going to do very little damage compared to other types. Assuming a short bow, we're talking about 1d6+1 maybe? if you get a composite bow with +1 STR). Compare that to a Greatsword wielding fighter/barbarian 2d6+6 (assuming 18 STR). You don't get flanking with a ranged weapon, so you won't get a lot of opportunities for sneak attack damage. If you accept that, and are okay with it, a rouge can be a fun choice. You have a lot of out of combat options. You'll typically be the scout, you have a lot of social options. Just understand that the non-combat stuff comes at the cost of being less effective in combat.

If you plan on playing PFS, a Rogue is an awesome choice. Combats are (generally speaking) not as difficult, and skills are VERY important in PFS.

2. If you sit down at a level 1-3 table and tell them this will be your first game, generally speaking, everyone will be very helpful. I've never seen where they weren't. You have the right attitude though, make sure you know how to make a PFS legal character is most important.

3. A PFS table is generally 4 players and a GM. I think a max table is 6 players and a GM (it may be 7 players can't remember).

4. When you're reading the forums and the guides always keep this in mind: Everyone plays differently. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen someone give out advice, where in my head I'm thinking "There's no way they use map and mini's", the other thought I have a lot is "There's no way they've ever played in a high level campaign." Some of the things people say, and even the guides say, are bad ideas, are some of the most awesome things I've ever done. A lot of people write guides based on theory, and mathematical equations, not practical application. So when you read something, or someone gives you advice, listen to it, but don't take it as gospel as the only right way to do it.


Whether you are playing a rogue, ranger or fighter, the best way to do damage as an archer is to focus on full attacks with the "rapid fire" and "manyshot" feats. The more arrows you shoot, the more damage you will do.

Since rogues have so many skill points you can invest heavily in "Use Magic Device" and that will allow you to use wands or other magic items which will help your archery output.

Spells like "gravity bow" or "true strike" are archery staples. Be prepared to invest some of your gold into wands. Spells which boost your dexterity (such as "cat's grace") will go a long way to make up the difference between your 3/4 and a full BAB progression. Spells like "haste" will help make up for the slower gaining of multiple attacks per round.

As a rogue you can also help with scouting so that you have an opportunity to apply two or three buffs before going into combat.

I have never played an archer rogue, but I have played many dagger, shuriken or starknife throwing rogues, and they have many of the same issues. But I have a blast with them.

So good luck. And have fun.


Thanks for the input.

How exactly does 'taking a level' in another class work.

I was thinking of being half-elven - favored class Rogue and something else - perhaps Ranger. If I start as a rogue, then do a level or two of ranger - mechanically how does that work?

I level up from 1st, and I want to go Ranger for 2 levels - do I take the additional HP for Rogue or Ranger at that time, do I take the bonus abilities as I enter the new level, meaning the Ranger special feats? So do I get the combat style feat at the 2nd level Ranger? And if so if I then go back to Rogue do I get to add the Arhcery Combat feats?

Thanks


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

Has anyone tried the Archer Rogue with three levels of Fighter (Archer)? Since that would allow you to feint at range.

Granted the -4 on the bluff isn't fun, but it seems to allow for feint, then sneak attack?

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BudFox wrote:

Thanks for the input.

How exactly does 'taking a level' in another class work.

I was thinking of being half-elven - favored class Rogue and something else - perhaps Ranger. If I start as a rogue, then do a level or two of ranger - mechanically how does that work?

I level up from 1st, and I want to go Ranger for 2 levels - do I take the additional HP for Rogue or Ranger at that time, do I take the bonus abilities as I enter the new level, meaning the Ranger special feats? So do I get the combat style feat at the 2nd level Ranger? And if so if I then go back to Rogue do I get to add the Arhcery Combat feats?

Thanks

When to take a level in a new class you get all the abilites, BAB, Saving Throw bonuses, Hit Die, and skill points from the new class, regardless of any other classes you may have. Every level in every class is incremental.

For example, a Fighter gets +1 BAB , +2 Fort saves, 2 skill ranks, a bonus combat feat, and a d10 hit die. So, at first level he looks like this:

+1 BAB
+2 Fort saves
2 skill ranks
1 bonus combat feat
1d10 hit die

Once you reach second level, if you take that level in Fighter, you get an additional +1 BAB, +1 Fort save, 2 skill ranks, another bonus combat feat, and a second d10 hit die for a total of:

+2 BAB
+3 Fort
4 skill ranks
2 bonus combat feats
2d10 hit dice

If, instead, you decide to take that level in Rogue, you gain all the benefits of a 1st-level rogue. That includes +0 BAB, +2 Reflex saves, 8 skill ranks, Sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding, and a d8 hit die. Your character would look like this:

+1 BAB
+2 Fort
+2 Reflex
10 skill ranks
1 bonus combat feat
Sneak attack +1d6
trapfinding
1d10 + 1d8 hit dice

I hope that makes sense.

Edit: The 48-players at Gen Con is probably to handle multiple tables of the same scenario, so there are 48 player "slots", with an appropriate number of GMs to handle it (probably 8 GMs scheduled for 6-player tables).

I'd recommend starting off with the Intro series as it's a good introduction to the overall storyline of the campaign and gives you a chance to become familiar with all of the factions, as well as being tuned specifically for 1st-level characters.


I have wondered peoples issue with the rogue archer. At low levels you can feint to get your sneak attack and at higher levels you can use invisibility, or better blur and then you can stealth and attack regularly. I mean if you do it right you can sneak attack most every round and when you make the enemy bleed you are very quickly doing a ton of damage... Unless I am confused.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

You can't normally use feint at range. Something of which I was unaware of in my home game until I decided to run a game as close to RAW a I could. Means I made an absolutely illegal pixie (not an actual pixie - or I would have had invisibility) rogue for a friend's game a few years ago.

Feint denies a foe's dexterity to AC for the next melee attack.


chavamana wrote:

You can't normally use feint at range. Something of which I was unaware of in my home game until I decided to run a game as close to RAW a I could. Means I made an absolutely illegal pixie (not an actual pixie - or I would have had invisibility) rogue for a friend's game a few years ago.

Feint denies a foe's dexterity to AC for the next melee attack.

Book only says against next attack, at least in the version I have. Next attack is not specified as melee or ranged


Ubercroz wrote:
chavamana wrote:

You can't normally use feint at range. Something of which I was unaware of in my home game until I decided to run a game as close to RAW a I could. Means I made an absolutely illegal pixie (not an actual pixie - or I would have had invisibility) rogue for a friend's game a few years ago.

Feint denies a foe's dexterity to AC for the next melee attack.

Book only says against next attack, at least in the version I have. Next attack is not specified as melee or ranged

here ya go. source: pfsrd combat section. NOT skill section.

Quote:

Feint

Note: Though the feint action is located here, near the rules for combat maneuvers, and while it seems like it might BE a combat maneuver, feinting is NOT a combat maneuver. The Paizo PRD is organized with the feint rules located in the same placement.
Feinting is a standard action. To feint, make a Bluff skill check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. If successful, the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

When feinting against a non-humanoid you take a –4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a –8 penalty. Against a creature lacking an Intelligence score, it's impossible. Feinting in combat does not provoke attacks of opportunity.


Ubercroz wrote:
I have wondered peoples issue with the rogue archer. At low levels you can feint to get your sneak attack and at higher levels you can use invisibility, or better blur and then you can stealth and attack regularly. I mean if you do it right you can sneak attack most every round and when you make the enemy bleed you are very quickly doing a ton of damage... Unless I am confused.

As has been pointed out, Feinting doesn't work. Blur and stealth requires a move action and a stealth check for sniping, meaning it is at -20. Not something that is likely to work consistently.

Beyond that, either system only gives you a single attack. No Rapid Shot or Manyshot, no haste or iteratives. The way the system is set up, taking a single shot in combat (even with Sneak Attack) just doesn't stay relevant at higher levels. It is less important at very low levels, but even at level 5 when Rapid Shot and Haste are in play you will start falling far behind.

This may not be an issue for all people, who will be fine with moderate to low damage combined with the skills and talents the Rogue brings, but many people find it to be a less mechanically effective style than they had initially hoped. Hence the warnings about it.

Sczarni

Even if Feint did work...it kills any kind of attack that round, and even Improved Feint counts as a move action so you won't get your Full Attack which is what you want as an archer.


Sniping is when you stealth shoot and STAY stealthed. It's also a full round action. You also have to be more than 10' away. So if you move and stealth with blur (which gives you concealment) you can move and shoot and sneak attack. You lose stealth after you attack and gain it again when you move. You do lose your full round attack but if you are doing sneak attack the. Your doing better damage per hit against a lower AC.

Thanks for pointing that out about feint.


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:


Beyond that, either system only gives you a single attack. No Rapid Shot or Manyshot, no haste or iteratives. The way the system is set up, taking a single shot in combat (even with Sneak Attack) just doesn't stay relevant at higher levels. It is less important at very low levels, but even at level 5 when Rapid Shot and Haste are in play you will start falling far behind.

This may not be an issue for all people, who will be fine with moderate to low damage combined with the skills and talents the Rogue brings, but many people find it to be a less mechanically effective style than they had initially hoped. Hence the warnings about it.

Thanks - this is just the type of input I have been looking for.

So - the Rogue Archer is technically akward to play with mediocre results, especially when compared to other builds.

So I should go with a straight forward Ranger or Fighter Archer or stick with a more pure Rogue - perrhaps a dual wielder or swashbuckler variant?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Urban Ranger is a better Rogue. You will get your flavor, and the numbers to back it up.


I would be tempted to take level one as a fighter. It would give you access to better weapons (Long bow) and you could pick up the point blank shot feat and the precise shot feat. which are, IMHO, quintessential to any archer. If you play a human you can also grab the improved initiative feat (or maybe weapon finesse to make the most out of a high Dex). Then for second level and beyond go with the Rogue.

Remember that if you go before your opponent in the first round they are "Flat Footed" which denies them their dex bonus to AC, which in turn means you get your sneak attack damage from any Rouge levels. After the first round your best bet might be to drop your bow and draw your rapier, and use a cunning series of 5 foot steps to flank your opponents.

IMHO, every character should have a ranged and melee attack they can use.

Also with a Ftr 1/ Rog x build, a glaive (or other reach melee weapon) can be fun.

So my $0.02 is that for an archer Rouge build, take level 1 as a fighter to get the most needed feats and a BAB +1, then go into Rogue.

Edit: If you go Fighter 1, then 2 levels or Rogue (never under estimate the power of evasion!) by that time you'll have the hang of the game and the PFS metagame to decide if you want to continue that character as a rouge or a fighter or try something else completely.


Bud... I think you've got it, but I do want to offer some caveats.

A rogue archer with all the right feats is still a fairly formidable damage dealer. Archer builds with rapid shot, manyshot and other key feats are recognized as powerful builds.

My archer druid at level 8 has the following feats:

Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot. She shoots four arrows per round on three attack rolls (manyshot fires two arrows on one attack). She has a +1 shocking bow and can cast "gravity bow" with a wand using UMD.

She does alright in most fights. She doesn't compare to the raging barbarian for pure damage, but she is very good at clearing out mooks and minions while the melee guys duke it out with the big boys. Plus she brings more to the table than bow damage, and rogues also bring more to the table.

Unless your group is heavy into power gaming, I wouldn't sweat the "limits" of a rogue as an archer. You'll get sneak attack on at least one attack, and with the right feats you'll do OK without sneak attack. Rogues should have very high dex which will give you a nice attack bonus too. And a rogue, unlike my druid, likely will have a nice str score too, for even more damage.

Andoran

Go to the convention. Have fun, make new friends, and don't obsess about all the intricacies of the game. Build the character you dream of/visualize- not necessarily the uberdestroyer. Cooperate with your adventuring group, and everyone will take care of one another and come back loaded with both treasure, experience points, and a great experience.

Andoran

"Rogue archer" is not a character concept. You may want to be an archer and you may like the rogue class that's fine. A character concept would be more along the lines of "highly skilled dude who relies on wits and his bow." That would give us a lot more freedom to help you optimize than what "rogue archer" does. Why do you want rogue? If its for the skills, a slight dip and then levels in another class should cover everything you want. If you want it for backstab you can get better dpr other places. Try not to think of concepts in terms of classes, classes are simply mechanical constructs that you use to get the character you want to play.

If you want to keep thing simple but still be very powerful the above mentioned urban ranger is probably the best way to go, its just as good at skills and significantly more powerful in combat than a rogue, and if you want to be a rogue in game just have your character refer to himself as a rogue.


Class is almost irrelevant for archers. If you have the archery feats, you're an archer, and it doesn't matter if you're really a cleric, a druid, or anything else.

If you don't take the feats, you're going to be really bad at archery, and it still doesn't matter what class you have.

3) Gen Con tables are six people, guaranteed. You will always have five allies at a Gen Con PFS event.

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