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Rogue Dipping Into Casting - Worth It?


Advice


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I know the subject line is a bit broad, so let me narrow the field a bit. I've got a standard level 5 rogue built for two-weapon sneak attacking and I'm considering taking a level in cleric or wizard. My question is whether or not a single level in either is really worth it.

We're using CRB and while I'm mainly focused on using spells in combat to augment the rogue's other talents, such as Grease, our party is a bit light on the casting front so utility spells are fine too.

What creative ways have you all dipped into spellcasting while playing a rogue?


Well, cleric could well add more armor, shield, and weapon proficiencies. Picking a deity with the travel domain would instantly add +10 to your speed (which would mean +5 during normal stealth). They also can heal, which every part is happy to have more of. It would also give you something to do when ghosts show up and laugh at your sneak attacks.

Of course, even at low levels, arcane casters can add utility. Oh, are you considering of becoming an arcane trickster? The prestige class continues to gain both sneak attack and caster levels and has some unique abilities such as turning invisible or casting without using verbal or somatic components a few times a day. They eventually can do sneak attack with any damage spell. The suggestion is certainly not creative, but it could be interesting the play.

The real question though is about your mental stats. What is your wisdom, intelligence, and charisma? The first two of course would determine how far you could get casting. Charisma is mostly brought up for channeling.


It can be worth it I think.

Cleric: Take the travel domain to get +10ft base movement and freedom of movement effect. Don't have a suggestion for a second domain off the top of my head. But that alone could be worth it.
For spells just use out of combat utility or 1min/level or longer spells so only being CL 1 doesn't hurt so much.
I think I remember that there is a domain or inquisition that lets you turn invisible for some rounds, but I'm not sure.

Wizard: Some School powers might be interesting for a rogue. I like the conjuration (teleport) one, that lets you teleport 5ft as a swift action. But it ends your turn. So it's only usable for positioning or to enter locked rooms you can look into. (Don't know how this works raw. But if the wall is thin 5ft should be enough to get to the other side.)

Some sorcerer bloodline abilities could be worth it, too but you need Cha 11 to get the 1st level spells.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
lemeres wrote:

Well, cleric could well add more armor, shield, and weapon proficiencies. Picking a deity with the travel domain would instantly add +10 to your speed (which would mean +5 during normal stealth).

Yeah I was looking into this. I have fast sneaking, which doesn't hurt either. But either way having better speed helps make up for his stumpy halfling legs.

lemeres wrote:


Oh, are you considering of becoming an arcane trickster? The prestige class continues to gain both sneak attack and caster levels and has some unique abilities such as turning invisible or casting without using verbal or somatic components a few times a day. They eventually can do sneak attack with any damage spell. The suggestion is certainly not creative, but it could be interesting the play.

It's not a bad suggestion at all! The sneak attack damage to spells is very nice, but I'm not sure we'll be getting high enough level to use that. Still, I'd essentially still be gaining levels in my sneak attack. I guess the real question is it worth the three level dip into wizard to get there (for the Ability to cast mage hand and at least one arcane spell of 2nd level or higher)?

lemeres wrote:


The real question though is about your mental stats. What is your wisdom, intelligence, and charisma? The first two of course would determine how far you could get casting. Charisma is mostly brought up for channeling.

I'm kicking myself for not having these in front of me! From memory, I think it's 17 intelligence, 11 charisma and 10 wisdom. The stats alone would point me towards wizard but to rule out cleric or sorcerer it would then become a debate of whether I'm dipping (taking a single level) or committing to a multi-class. I'm open to either just exploring my options.


A dip can definitely be useful for rogue. Detect magic helps you find traps and identify magic items. Shield keeps a hand free while protecting you. Grease as you say for all its beauty. Use arcane mark to denote trapped areas. Use prestidigitation for all kinds of wonderful little tricks.

If you were allowed APG spells and were only doing a 1 level dip, vanish also would be great.

Those are all arcane spells but of course several divine spells have their uses as well (and some you'd get either way, like detect magic.

Depending on the class you choose you could also get some additional class skills, which combined with rogue skill points can allow you to dabble in a lot of useful areas.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Umbranus wrote:

It can be worth it I think.

Cleric: Take the travel domain to get +10ft base movement and freedom of movement effect. Don't have a suggestion for a second domain off the top of my head. But that alone could be worth it.
For spells just use out of combat utility or 1min/level or longer spells so only being CL 1 doesn't hurt so much.

Travel is golden and there's a lot of options especially if my DM allows me to be a cleric of an ideal rather than a specific diety. Trickery with disguise self could be perfect for a sneaky, manipulative rogue.

Umbranus wrote:

It can be worth it I think.

Wizard: Some School powers might be interesting for a rogue. I like the conjuration (teleport) one, that lets you teleport 5ft as a swift action. But it ends your turn. So it's only usable for positioning or to enter locked rooms you can look into. (Don't know how this works raw. But if the wall is thin 5ft should be enough to get to the other side.)

This one intrigues me! I could see a lot of roleplay potential for a thief there... is the core rulebook? I don't see the teleport ability.


Dipping into Wizard is great, but the caster level will be a steep limitation - consider getting the Magical Knack trait, it will make the difference between your spells' duration being painfully short (with it) and so-short-it's-actually-worthless (without it).

Still, great utility. Having three cantrips to cast at will makes it almost worth it alone (Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation, Dancing Lights...). Then you get first level goodies such as enlarge/reduce person, silent image, vanish (with Magical Knack, it's three rounds of invisibility - not very powerful, but it has it's uses).

Also, you get a familiar with all your skill ranks - absolutely great for scouting, and a one level dip into Wizard is much better for it than getting it via Rogue Talent.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Use prestidigitation for all kinds of wonderful little tricks.

Lots of good information in your post but this part in particular has me intrigued. What kind of little tricks can you pull off with prestidigitation? I read the spell and to me it seems lackluster. However I keep seeing it mentioned in threads which forces me to consider that maybe my imagination is too limited.


I think it's from the advanced player's guide.
Teleportation subschool


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Umbranus wrote:

I think it's from the advanced player's guide.

teleportation subschool wrote:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/wizard/arcane-schools/pa izo---arcane-schools/classic-arcane-schools/conjuration/teleportation

Curses ! We're under strict orders... CRB only. Pity because it looks great.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You could do much of the same by simply taking the appropriate rogue magic talents. And you don't have to deal with arcane spell failure to use them.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
You could do much of the same by simply taking the appropriate rogue magic talents. And you don't have to deal with arcane spell failure to use them.

I did consider that, but it takes up 2 feats and limits my selection by a fair bit. With two feats, I could easily negate all armor check penalty to light armor anyway while keeping my selection broader.

The perks are also intriguing. For example, Enchantment School + a viper familiar means a +5 to bluff. +15 if you cast disguise self.

Hmmm. Yeah I'm starting to like this wizard idea. Maybe even as a full multi-class. It might be worth the three level Wizard dip into trickster. Right now I'm out-striping the fighters for damage and it'd be nice to let them catch up before I get more sneak attack damage.


Take some ray spells with attack rolls as your cantrips. If you play your cards right, you'll be making ranged touch attacks against opponents without their Dex bonus to AC (read: usually somewhere around AC 10) to deal Sneak Attack damage. Your DM may or may not use the rules from 3.5 regarding sneak attack and spells, where if the spell deals an energy damage, then the Sneak Attack damage is of the same type. So you could have a magical all-day-long Acid Splash at 1d3+5d6 Acid damage.

Take it a step further and be an Elemental Sorceror. Pick an element that doesn't match any combat cantrips you take; now when you switch an energy-damage spell to match your chosen bloodline's type. Between Acid Splash, Ray of Frost, and your chosen element, you might be able to deal Sneak Attacks with three energy types.

Not only does this allow you to skulk around without an obvious weapon, and continue attacking if disarmed, it also allows you versatility in dealing with creatures that have Damage Reduction. After all, just DR 10 can foil 3d6 of a Rogue's Sneak Attack as often as not.

As a disadvantage, at higher levels creatures get grab-bags of energy resistances and immunities -- particularly outsiders. You'll never really be able to 'enchant' your magically-generated Sneak Attacks, and without investing more class levels you won't be able to get more than a single Sneak Attack each round even with Improved Invisibility.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Troubleshooter wrote:
Take some ray spells with attack rolls as your cantrips. If you play your cards right, you'll be making ranged touch attacks against opponents without their Dex bonus to AC (read: usually somewhere around AC 10) to deal Sneak Attack damage. Your DM may or may not use the rules from 3.5 regarding sneak attack and spells, where if the spell deals an energy damage, then the Sneak Attack damage is of the same type. So you could have a magical all-day-long Acid Splash at 1d3+5d6 Acid damage.

What I like particularly here is that I hadn't even considered sneak attacking with rays. I guess my obvious follow-up question here would be this: are there many ways within the CRB to consistently deny an enemy his dex bonus so that I can keep using the rays?

Either way, I can at the very least get off a shot from sneaking or during the surprise round before diving into melee.


I'm pretty sure that while "Ray of Frost" targets Touch AC, and touch AC doesn't include Dex bonus, at the same time the target is NOT "denied it's Dex bonus to AC".

That's a big difference, and does not make ray spells automatically sneak attacking.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Quatar wrote:

I'm pretty sure that while "Ray of Frost" targets Touch AC, and touch AC doesn't include Dex bonus, at the same time the target is NOT "denied it's Dex bonus to AC".

That's a big difference, and does not make ray spells automatically sneak attacking.

Agreed in that I believe touch does not mean sneak attack. Armor, shield and natural armor bonuses do not apply to touch AC. Dex and Dodge bonuses do not apply to flat footed AC.

So I could still get a shot off from sneak or during surprise, but then it's business as usual. My follow-up question is more geared around whether or not there's a way for a low-level Rogue/Wizard to get a ranged opponent to be flat-footed.


I played a rogue and used UMD to supplement casting. You won't have to take another class, just use skill ranks and gp. Of course he didn't turn out to be the most dpr character, but he did ok.

I play an alchemist/visectionist now. The alchemist is sort of like a caster, and visectionist has the sneak attack ability which stacks with rogue. (Visectionist is an archtype of alchemist) Stealth isn't on the list of skills for the alchemist, but disable device is and you'll get more armor and strength/dex with mutagen for 10 min per level.

Have fun.


I suggest Acid Splash over Ray of Frost, since the acid doesn't allow for spell resistance. This won't be your normal mode of attack, of course, since a full-round two-weapon attack from flanking will do much more damage. But, when you have a surprise round and act against a flat-footed enemy, a sneak attack acid splash doesn't require you to move into a compromising position before dealing damage, and it has the advantage of not requiring you to draw a ranged weapon to use only one time before melee.

Another strategy available to a spell-casting rogue is a spell-storing weapon (or two). Rather than giving up a round of combat to cast a spell, load a level spell into your weapon outside of combat.

Suggest spells:
Daze (will save)
Touch of Fatigue (fort save)
Reduce Person, if you know you'll be fighting certain types of foes.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Good advice! Thank you. I did have one question... are there any melee touch cantrips that deal damage?


no melee I think, just ranged touch.

however if you want a Rogue/Wizard, you may as well work towards the Arcane Trickster

Arcane Trickster

It's a core prestige class, only thing is that you'll be at least level 9 before taking it (as you are now).

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sadronmeldir wrote:
Good advice! Thank you. I did have one question... are there any melee touch cantrips that deal damage?

If there were, you wouldn't have a single magus casting Arcane Mark.


Daze only get up to 4HD. So at level 6 for this guy it is not so great.

1 level of Wizard gives
+2 will save
More class skills
cantrip
1st levels spells
Bonded item or Familiar
abilty to use wands/ srcolls

Bonded item give 1 more spell per day of what ever is in your book minus banded school

Familiar give Alerness free and pick one +2 to fort, Reflex, 3 HP, +1 nat armor, +2 Int, or +3 to a skill.

1k buy pearl of power 1 for your 1sr level spells

Get bag full of them to always have low level spells ready to do your tricks over and over again.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tom S 820 wrote:

Daze only get up to 4HD. So at level 6 for this guy it is not so great.

1 level of Wizard gives
****
abilty to use wands/ srcolls

Not really an issue for a rogue with a decent UMD score. Remember that if you're using your wizard level straight for casting caster level checks apply for using scrolls above your level.


Sadronmeldir wrote:
I'm kicking myself for not having these in front of me! From memory, I think it's 17 intelligence, 11 charisma and 10 wisdom. The stats alone would point me towards wizard but to rule out cleric or sorcerer it would then become a debate of whether I'm dipping (taking a single level) or committing to a multi-class. I'm open to either just exploring my options.

Well, actually, that could still go either way. With your Wisdom, you would not be able to cast level 1 cleric spells, but that could be solved by any addition to wisdom...at all (from level up or magical enhancement). Even without level 1 spells, you'd still have a ton of useful abilities in your proficiencies, domains, and channel energy. Plus, it has better hit die and half 3/4ths bab (particularly useful in a fractional bab system)

An advantage of going cleric would be that once you have the needed wisdom, you can cast any spell on the list, at any time. If a remember correctly, you can take 15 minutes or preparation in order to get a single spell if you have not prepared the slot today. You could find something useful in any situation.

On the other hand, arcane bond could be great either way. Many would suggest to use a bonded item, since you are going for a dip, but familiars can be great too. Their health is 1/2 yours, and their skill ranks are yours. As a rogue, that means they likely would have great stealth (made better by the fact that they are usually tiny) and maybe sleight of hand. You would find something for it to do. Plus, bonded items are mostly liabilities if you do not have a ton of protection on them (which would require you to have the caster levels to cast such protection...sadly missing for a dip)


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I'm actually starting to warm up to a full multi-class instead of a dip. In that case, bonded item does seem the way to go.

I'm really intrigued by shocking grasp, of all things. For a sneak attack it isn't bad (especially if I find myself in a scenario where I'm unarmed). Let me make sure I've got this right...

From sneaking, it'd be a flat-footed melee touch attack, denying the opponent AC, shield, natural, dex and dodge bonuses. On top of that, if the opponent is wearing metallic armor I would get a +3 to hit. The chance to hit with shocking grasp would be far better than with a melee weapon for some time in most cases and the shocking sneak attack would far outstrip low level weapons... especially for a halfling. I realize that it is a severely limited use case but that's just one aspect.

While UMD could be used for wands, not having to rely on a check at all is just one less thing to worry about. Add to that some of the utility spells and there is a lot of potential flexibility. Disguise self plus the Enchantment school would mean at least a +12 to bluffs. Before battle, shield could be used for a +4 to AC. And of course I could leverage spells such as obscuring mist to fall back into sneak.

Does that all check out or am I tossing in some fuzzy math?


Sadronmeldir wrote:
Troubleshooter wrote:
Take some ray spells with attack rolls as your cantrips. If you play your cards right, you'll be making ranged touch attacks against opponents without their Dex bonus to AC (read: usually somewhere around AC 10) to deal Sneak Attack damage. Your DM may or may not use the rules from 3.5 regarding sneak attack and spells, where if the spell deals an energy damage, then the Sneak Attack damage is of the same type. So you could have a magical all-day-long Acid Splash at 1d3+5d6 Acid damage.

What I like particularly here is that I hadn't even considered sneak attacking with rays. I guess my obvious follow-up question here would be this: are there many ways within the CRB to consistently deny an enemy his dex bonus so that I can keep using the rays?

Either way, I can at the very least get off a shot from sneaking or during the surprise round before diving into melee.

There is a way for the character to gain a very good chance to sneak attack with rays using the CRB. The problem is that it requires the feats combat expertise and improved feint. Seeing that your rogue is a 2 weapon fighting rogue spending 2 feats for this may not be the most optimal use of feats, but it's an option.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
ChaiGuy wrote:


There is a way for the character to gain a very good chance to sneak attack with rays using the CRB. The problem is that it requires the feats combat expertise and improved feint. Seeing that your rogue is a 2 weapon fighting rogue spending 2 feats for this may not be the most optimal use of feats, but it's an option.

This is very creative! I like it... though I did have a question. Can you feint for ranged touch attacks? I thought feint only works for your next melee attack.


For cleric, the liberation domain gives you freedom of movement for one round which can be a life saver even for that short amount of time. Your spells aren't going to be super useful though.

A dip into wizard is always useful on a rogue. Ranged sneak attacks with acid splash is a good opener and might be a way you can kite things if you really need to (expeditious retreat helps with this). Shield is a good way to juice up your AC, silent image can provide you with cover to hide behind, the list goes on.

There's also the option to take a familiar which doesn't get powerful wizard upgrades but does get all the skill ranks you have. I'm willing to bet its going to be better at stealth than anyone else in the party for quite some time.

As far as school goes in CRB, I'd go transmuter. +2 to a physical stat is pretty good stuff, even if you're just bumping your con.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Okay, I'm opening up a huge can of worms here and I apologize because I think this might warrant opening up a completely new thread. Is a character blinded when the blinded condition is applied, or when the opponent literally can't see?

The reason I'm asking is whether or not I can use silent image to put an opaque bubble around a person's upper half or, more likely, just make a new opaque cube about 3 feet off the ground - high enough to be over the halfling's head.

Obviously, the opponent would identify the spell as an illusion but would he be able to see through it? Are illusions opaque all the way through or do they operate like a one-way mirror where you are able to see out but not in?


If he disbelieves he can see through the opaque bubble.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
If he disbelieves he can see through the opaque bubble.

Okay perfect. In such a case, the illusion is blatantly fake so he'd see right through it.

Following that logic, it would be difficult to use silent image to provide a flanking companion (regardless of whether or not he actually threatens... seeing a lot of semantics on the thread about the one). I imagine most enemies would at the very least notice the giant half-orc barbarian that appeared out of nowhere was mute and thus suspect an illusion.


That's clever, but so clever that it usually isn't allowed.

Illusions are a can of worms and they are usually really nerfed by DM's.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
sunbeam wrote:

That's clever, but so clever that it usually isn't allowed.

Illusions are a can of worms and they are usually really nerfed by DM's.

Yeah I don't want to do anything questionable that would piss off the DM (doubly so since she's my fiancee).

At this point, I'm just debatinc semantics and seeing if there's any way I can consistently deny my enemy his dex bonus so I can get all the sneak attack love I can. If anyone has thoughts feel free to weigh in but I've probably derailed the thread enough.

Thank you everyone for the feedback! It's been enlightening.


Sadronmeldir wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
If he disbelieves he can see through the opaque bubble.

Okay perfect. In such a case, the illusion is blatantly fake so he'd see right through it.

Following that logic, it would be difficult to use silent image to provide a flanking companion (regardless of whether or not he actually threatens... seeing a lot of semantics on the thread about the one). I imagine most enemies would at the very least notice the giant half-orc barbarian that appeared out of nowhere was mute and thus suspect an illusion.

If the enemy "interacts with" (By whatever definition your dm uses) then passes a will save to disbelieve, then yes. The illusion would provide no flank.

The "bubble on your head" is by any definition an auto-interact.

I'm of the opinion that most illusions (though not all) and Divinations (though not all) are generally useless.


Illusions are only useless if the DM ban them.
A silent image of a Stone Wall is perfectly fitting against anyone without enough spellcraft to identify the spell being cast. Except it's 4 levels earlier.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

Illusions are only useless if the DM ban them.

A silent image of a Stone Wall is perfectly fitting against anyone without enough spellcraft to identify the spell being cast. Except it's 4 levels earlier.

Until they touch it and get a will save. At most you've bought yourself a few round, which may be all you need.

Like I said they're not totally useless, just mostly. I've used an illusion of a door to really ruin a Manticore's day and prevent a party wipe. Illusions have their uses, but I've always found them to be very limited and very subjective. However, if that's your flavor then more power to you.


Sadronmeldir wrote:
ChaiGuy wrote:


There is a way for the character to gain a very good chance to sneak attack with rays using the CRB. The problem is that it requires the feats combat expertise and improved feint. Seeing that your rogue is a 2 weapon fighting rogue spending 2 feats for this may not be the most optimal use of feats, but it's an option.
This is very creative! I like it... though I did have a question. Can you feint for ranged touch attacks? I thought feint only works for your next melee attack.

Thank you for your kind words. I believe that there is no restriction for feint.

"Improved Feint (Combat)
You are skilled at fooling your opponents in combat.
Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise.
Benefit: You can make a Bluff check to feint in combat as a move action.
Normal: Feinting in combat is a standard action.

Feint
You can also use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. 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. For more information on feinting, see Combat."

Feint simply says your next attack, it does not limit it to melee from what I can tell.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
ChaiGuy wrote:

Feint

You can also use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. 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. For more information on feinting, see Combat."

Feint simply says your next attack, it does not limit it to melee from what I can tell.

Yeah that's what I read initially too. In the combat section, though, they elaborate further:

PRD wrote:

Feint

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.

Emphasis mine. I'm totally onboard if it doesn't have to be melee, just looking for clarification from the pros. :-)


Sadronmeldir wrote:
ChaiGuy wrote:

Feint

You can also use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. 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. For more information on feinting, see Combat."

Feint simply says your next attack, it does not limit it to melee from what I can tell.

Yeah that's what I read initially too. In the combat section, though, they elaborate further:

PRD wrote:

Feint

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.

Emphasis mine. I'm totally onboard if it doesn't have to be melee, just looking for clarification from the pros. :-)

It looks like your right about that, too bad I guess.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's one thing that I would like to see fixed in a future edition of Pathfinder... all the places where relevant rules are split up into different sections of the book like that.

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