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Shaman Bond's Guide to the Pathfinder Rogues


Advice

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Given the frequency with which rogue questions are brought here, I've been eagerly anticipating a current guide to the rogue for some time. Since one hasn't been forthcoming, I've decided to put some of my newly acquired free time to work and make one. While I'm certain this is woefully lacking in places, I hope this will be a good starting point for any aspiring rogues.

This currently touches on all of the published Paizo source books, but doesn't currently address any of the non core races. I intend to rectify this during my next expanse of free time, as well as correct whatever various errors I made during the initial draft.

As ever, any comments, suggestions, and general input is greatly appreciated.

Best,
Bond. Shaman Bond.

Never Tell Me the Odds: A Guide to the Pathfinder Rogue

Liberty's Edge

1. Nonproficiency with armor does not double the ACP. It means that the ACP applies to rolls to hit. Since the rogue will be wearing (most likely) a mithral chain shirt (ACP 0), the Armor Expert trait is not good. If the rogue chooses mithral breastplate, the ACP is -1, so Armor Expert might be reasonable. The rogue is still not proficient with breastplate, even if it is mithral.
2. Reactionary is a good trait for a rogue. You want to go first so your opponents are flat footed. Anything that improves your initiative is very good.
3. Forlorn is a good trait for an elf. +1 to Fortitude saves.


In the ability scores section you state that you do not get more skill points for an increase to INT. This is a 3.5 rule that specifically didn't carry over into PF. The rule is now that you get retroactive skill points, and even a new language, when you bump INT.


Pale green Prism Ioun stone may be worth a mention for late game rogues.

Link

Sczarni

You mentioned that Elves get Curve Blade proficiency, but they actually just treat it as a martial weapon, and rogues don't have martial proficiency. They do get longswords though, which seem to appear as treasure a bit more often than rapiers.

Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read. My old GM loved rogues, so sometimes I'd try and play one to keep things fun for him too, but could never build a good one. After reading this, I wouldn't mind another shot at it...


Terrain Mastery shouldn't be red. It stacks with itself so if you devote a few rogue talents to it - and why not, rogue talents aren't that great - it gets high fast. Here's a build which reaches +14 from Terrain Mastery alone by 9th level.

Edit: also, you're seriously underrating gunslinger. I get that you prefer debuffing to damage, but for those who do go for damage, touch attacks let you survive all the penalties from Rapid shot etc, and the mysterious stranger archetype lets you add charisma to damage for a few rounds a day.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
avr wrote:
Terrain Mastery shouldn't be red. It stacks with itself so if you devote a few rogue talents to it - and why not, rogue talents aren't that great - it gets high fast. Here's a build which reaches +14 from Terrain Mastery alone by 9th level.

Yeah, if you go the horizon walker route, every rogue talent and every feat should be going to Terrain Mastery.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Also, you state a Sanctified Rouge's augury allows you to take Arcane Strike. It doesn't.

Grand Lodge

Cool to see a new guide for Rogues, but you've left out my favourite Rogue feat chain/combat style:

Dodge -> Mobility -> Spring Attack

Rush in and hit that flanking sweet spot w/ no attacks of opportunity from the movement (so long as you take a swipe at them).

Con is less important for this build (cuz you're not sticking around for the counterattack). Oh, and Barbarian makes a good 1st level dip: +2 Fort save, martial weapon proficiencies, and a +10' for movement.


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I think you are seriously discounting the Strength Rogue a bit too much. First of all, you save a feat, or two feats if you want to do combat maneuvers without a weapon.

With Armor Expert and the Comfort Enchantment, You can wear Hellknight Plate with no penalty. Enchant that sucker for a +14 Armor bonus then add all the rest of your goodies. Then get ye a Mithril Buckler, they aren't just for casters anymore. +20 to AC with stuff you don't have to invest feats into is not bad. Not bad at all.

Your Reflex saves are pretty good anyway, and you can still rock a +3 to your Dex with this, but it does make the Str Rogue a bit more viable. I think Red is a bit harsh, especially since there isn't a feat tax and you can hit and kill things early on. Add Intimidating Prowess and you all of a sudden have an Intimidation machine, the higher you pump this score, the more rounds you tack on with your Thug build.

I have a friend who is doing Scout, Shadow bloodline and Spring attack to snipe with a longspear, hit and stealth in the same turn without provoking and being able to generally murder anything that doesn't have reach. A Strength build can also work with a level dip in Barbarian for extra oomph as well as the to hits and to the CMB. Urban Barbarian is actually good for Dex based feats too.

Enough of that soapbox. But I got one more! Gnomes are fantastic Rogues for a particular Racial feat you didn't include. Master Tinker! These handy little guys have the ability to be proficient in any weapon they craft for themselves. All of a sudden, you are proficient in any weapon you want to be proficient in. Make a net, bolas, whip, fauchard, scizore, swordbreaker dagger and a falcata. Sure it takes a few days, but you are proficient and you never used one feat for it. Have a buddy cast Masterwork Transformation on it later on, then enchant. It's still proficient because you made it.

Sczarni

Also, you rated Finesse Rogue, Combat Trick, and Weapon Training highly, on the basis that they're feats, and it's better to spend talents than feat slots. You then go on to rate Hide in Plain Sight as red, arguing that it costs you two talents when you can get the ability through Shadowdancer or Improved Eldritch Heritage-- three feats. Which is more valuable-- feats or talents?


What would be really useful would be a guide to Pathfinder rogueoids. When your character concept is best served by the various skilled classes and rogue actually has managed to hang on to a good trick.

Also, you're underestimating druid/rogues.

Storm Druid 4 is nothing to sneeze at.

With the storm domain you get to cast obscuring mist and fog cloud spontaneously and [i]see through 10' of magical fog. 10' of fog gives you full concealment. You can now sneak attack freely with a reach or ranged weapon. Your first level domain power is a ranged touch attack that you can use to sneak anything that takes nonlethal damage from your cloud without having to pull out your shortbow.

With Shaping Focus you get pounce as early as druid 4/rogue 2. Turn into a deinonychus and pounce out of the fog for 4 sneak attacks, three of them primary. This is also when you get large forms. Like the Dire Hyena for that handy dandy 10' reach to melee sneak attack in the fog.

By druid 4/rogue 4 if you're a scout you can sneak with 5 primary natural attacks without having to set up a fog cloud first.

There's also Frostbite. You can plan on devoting all your first level slots to it that you don't spontaneously convert to obscuring mist. It's a multi-touch like chill touch but with a no save fatigue rider. The caster level doesn't keep going up like minor magic, but 4 (6 with a trait) touch attacks per casting isn't shabby. Or you can use produce flame to get a more lasting lethal touch attack without the fatigue rider. Or flame blade or Gozreh's trident out of a second level slot.

For 2d6 sneak, two rogue talents, 16 skill points, and a four level delay on rogue abilities you get the ability to generate concealment you and only you can see through and touch attacks that add fatigued to shaken and sickened. And you can still do shaken. Bite attacks can do bludgeoning damage even if claws can't. Oh, and you get scimitar proficiency if you want to dervish dance instead of waiting for the agile enhancement.

There are downsides like losing metal armor and being pigeonholed into the scout skillset since you usually won't have a mouth or hands if you're wildshaping, but it's hardly red without comment.


Correction to my previous post:

10' reach from a longspear or dire hyena only puts 5' of fog between you and your opponent, which is only partial concealment. This means you have to use stealth and make snipe checks or move and re-stealth to keep sneak attacking in melee unless you go strength based and at level 8 use huge animal forms.

You can get around this with a whip, though the chain to do lethal damage is expensive or using ranged attacks.

Silent Saturn wrote:
Also, you rated Finesse Rogue, Combat Trick, and Weapon Training highly, on the basis that they're feats, and it's better to spend talents than feat slots. You then go on to rate Hide in Plain Sight as red, arguing that it costs you two talents when you can get the ability through Shadowdancer or Improved Eldritch Heritage-- three feats. Which is more valuable-- feats or talents?

Hide in Plain Sight for one terrain type when you can't even take the talent multiple times is red at one talent. Hide in Plain Sight whenever there is shadow nearby when there is naturally shadow all the time in a number of environment types, it can be produced with a spell, and if you have a cavalier in the party his horse produces enough shadow for you to use to hide is blue at three feats (one of them skill focus stealth). Well, maybe. It's awfully expensive to less than duplicate a second level spell that isn't self-only but the author thinks it's worth it and it's certainly better than the rogue talent.


I can give my help for the non races if you want :3 just let me know.
I was just looking yesterday at the guides and noticed there wasn't one complete for the rogue.


Look through this thread.

Seriously, there are many many good ideas (interspersed between all the crap) that could benefit this guide. Touch spell rogues in particular is just one of the ideas off the top of my head that work well. Also natural attack rogues.


I also noticed that you spoke against power attack, but you have to remember that strength based builds don't use TWF so it won't be an additional penalty on top of TWF.

Sczarni

wraithstrike wrote:
I also noticed that you spoke against power attack, but you have to remember that strength based builds don't use TWF so it won't be an additional penalty on top of TWF.

I think he did indeed remember that. I read it not as assuming you'd have Power Attack on top of TWF, but as Power Attack being bad for rogues for the same reason that TWF is-- because rogues have poor to-hit and can't afford penalties to it.

The guide seems to be strongly against both TWF for rogues and STR builds in general.


Unless your GM rules that armor weight doesn't count against carrying capacity you need 13 or so strength just to carry gear if you're medium and furious focus negates the power attack penalty on your first attack. That makes a strength rogue pretty tempting.


TarkXT wrote:

Look through this thread.

Seriously, there are many many good ideas (interspersed between all the crap) that could benefit this guide. Touch spell rogues in particular is just one of the ideas off the top of my head that work well. Also natural attack rogues.

I can't agree with the Natural Attack route enough. Yay, a bunch of attacks all at full BAB (because as a Rogue you need it), each of which can generate Sneak Attack.


I'm pretty sure in the dip area that crypt breaker and viv. Both stack on the alchemist making it a much better dip

Sczarni

TarkXT wrote:

Look through this thread.

Seriously, there are many many good ideas (interspersed between all the crap) that could benefit this guide. Touch spell rogues in particular is just one of the ideas off the top of my head that work well. Also natural attack rogues.

I feel I should point out that the guide already links to and credits that thread in places. The OP has already read it, though it's certainly possible he missed something from it.


Silent Saturn wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

Look through this thread.

Seriously, there are many many good ideas (interspersed between all the crap) that could benefit this guide. Touch spell rogues in particular is just one of the ideas off the top of my head that work well. Also natural attack rogues.

I feel I should point out that the guide already links to and credits that thread in places. The OP has already read it, though it's certainly possible he missed something from it.

I must have missed that. Apologies. I just feel its worth referencing since I see any guide as an opportunity to make that information easier to disperse adn digest.


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Thanks to you folks, I’ve fixed most of the monkey-brained mistakes. (I have no idea why I blanked on some of these things, but I never would have guessed the Int thing. Thanks again to all of you.) Also, Pale Green Prism is a great suggestion, Covent.

With regards to an early conversation, the ability to hide in the middle of combat should be highly valued by all rogues, since it’s one more way to generate sneak attacks, and it’s far better than invisibility at later levels since it isn’t automatically undone by spells like True Seeing or even the level 2 See Invisibility. The talent version of Hide in Plain Sight is pathetically situational, and even fighting in a favored terrain offers nothing the rogue needs besides a small initiative boost, meaning that the feats spent to gain some form of HiPS elsewhere at least also give you something beneficial individually.

Atarlost: I never considered dipping Druid that far, let alone the Tempest Archetype (which is like just like storm, but better). It’s a pretty significant dip compared to the other options, but you’re right. It does have some serious potential, and I’ve reassessed it. Lunge seems to solve the reach problem for fighting inside Obscuring Mist, although that tactic seems like it could create some problems for the rest of the party.

Oterisk: Red is probably a bit harsh, but I do think Dexterity eeks a little more mileage out of the point-buy array. Frankly, my familiarity with Strength based rogues comes only from forum theorycraft and low-level play, so I’m even less qualified to speak to the benefits of Str rogues than I am on the builds I’ve outlined here, however since my focus has been on generating reliable sneak attacks and debuffs, I hope my advice won’t lead anyone too far astray should they try to adapt the general ideas into a strength based array. The buckler suggestion was absolutely on the money, but (and this may well be a stupid question) is there any allure to HK full plate for Dex builds? Even with no ACP, it looks only 1 AC better, as mithral helps both equally (9 + 1 Dex vs. 5 +4 Dex) and in full plate you have a slower movement speed and you can’t avoid AoOs. Having established my general ignorance here, if you know your friend’s general build and feel so inclined, I’d love to see it and how it compares to a Dex-based Infiltrator build from the guide. Regardless, it sounds frightfully effective.

Also, thankyouthankyouthankyou for the Master Tinkerer reminder. I don’t know how I missed that, but it’s brilliant.


Violent Display is an excellent feat for a dazzling display rogue, especially a ranged one in a party of people helping you out on intimidate. Once you get that first sneak attack this can keep it rolling through the whole fight.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Since you reassessed Druid, you may want to reassess Oracle as well. Waves Mystery will let you cast Obscuring Mist and see through it with the Water Sight revelation with a one level dip. It's the same trick the druid uses, with far less investment.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I'd also mention Pyromaniac for gnomes. +1 CL on fire spells can be great if you take Major Magic, and Produce Flame is arguably better than Chill Touch as you can use it at range or touch and against undead.


Imbicatus wrote:
Since you reassessed Druid, you may want to reassess Oracle as well. Waves Mystery will let you cast Obscuring Mist and see through it with the Water Sight revelation with a one level dip. It's the same trick the druid uses, with far less investment.

While this is great if you are on your own it is a great way to make your group very annoyed at you.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
andreww wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Since you reassessed Druid, you may want to reassess Oracle as well. Waves Mystery will let you cast Obscuring Mist and see through it with the Water Sight revelation with a one level dip. It's the same trick the druid uses, with far less investment.
While this is great if you are on your own it is a great way to make your group very annoyed at you.

Perhaps, but it's the exact same trick as the storm/tempest Druid with better range and it only need one level to pull off instead of four. If the Druid gets a green rating for the trick, the oracle should get that as well.


The niche builds I refer to under the Oracle evaluation are precisely what you're referring to, Imbicatus. The tempest druid is a sizable investment, but in return you get quite a few options. Andreww is right that the Obscuring Mist shtick alone rarely works as well in reality as it does in theory. As for Pyromaniac, having taken it for RP purposes in the past, it's not bad and it is a lot of fun, but it's simply not as good as Chill Touch since it has no secondary effect (even bosses roll low on occasion) and fire is the most commonly resisted element. If you want a cheap ranged touch attack, I suggest a wand of Acid Splash hidden in a spring-loaded wrist sheath.


the issue with dipping for obscuring mist is that it is a first level spell and as a Elven Rogue, you can take as your favored class bonus a +1 to the number of times per day that you can cast a first level spell from the wizard spell list for a two trait cost. Thus for two traits and a few levels worth of losing a hit point you can then cast obscuring mist for yourself without dipping 5 or 6 times a day. Also you can go with the swashbuckler archtype if you want to get that elven curved blade since you get a martial weapon. Then there are these two great magical items called an ever smoking bottle and gas cutter glasses and presto you can see and do all this wicked sneak attack from the mists around 5th lv with your elven curved blade from concealment with a room filled with a cloud.


If your entire group gets fog sight (buying Goz Masks seems to be the easiest way), casting Obscuring Mist all the time will protect rather than annoy your allies.


I'm not sold on halflings being yellow. You say they are slow but every single one I have seen played ever takes Fleet of Foot. I can see why a race without bonus feats or SLA's would be green, but these guys have a dex and cha bonus, small size, 30 ft move, +1 to all saves, and keen senses. How that is rated worse than a gnome or half-orc with your criteria in mind I don't know.

Shadow Lodge

Nicely done, and I always appreciate some rogue love. Added the to Comprehensive Guide to the Guides


Nice work, nice work, really enjoyed the read and an honest attempt at re-thinking the Rogue. I urge you to reconsider keeping Wizard Green (as it is now), but moving Divination (and of course Foresight & Scyer schools) to Blue. If the Never Miss a Surprise Round ability isn't enough, surely the Prescience (which you'll likely use 4 times per day) SU pushes it into Blue. You're essentially getting 4 uses of a Witches Fortune Hex per day. Some good.

Also, you may want to reconsider Moonlight Stalker as a Red in those situational cases where you're either getting Combat Expertise free or buying it en route to other feats along the CE tree. You basically pay 2 feats in those cases (Blind-Fight and Moonlight Stalker), but you essentially get +2/+2. There's all sorts of inexpensive ways to work this to your advantage and again, it's not something every build will use, but it's pretty awesome for those who can. Surely Dwarf and Half-Orc rogues with their Darkvision can find plenty of opportunities for concealment.

Anyway, great guide, just my 2 coppers.


Very nice work, i am still reading through it but i have to ask how the eldritch heritage shadow (which gives you shadowstrike) is a debuff that increases your to-hit chance?


Shaman Bond wrote:
The buckler suggestion was absolutely on the money, but (and this may well be a stupid question) is there any allure to HK full plate for Dex builds?

Well, I thought I had read somewhere that Full Plate was already masterwork, but now I can't find it. That's why it was important to go with Hellknight Plate because of the slightly lesser ACP. Come to think of it, we may have houseruled that one in our group. In any case it looks like you are right.

And don't worry about missing some things. There's so much nowadays, we all do it.


Ok i finished it (again great work).

Now some things i noticed:
1) Jaunt boots aren't a good item (or rather as good as you might think) especially for it's price, you see in order to activate the boots you need a standard action, so you end up spending your standard action in order to use a free action (5 foot step) to move 15 feet without provoking AoO, i am sure that there are uses but i believe that we could do better.
1b) And that brings us to the daredevil boots (who you mention on the guide), those boots give you +5 to acrobatics in order to move through an enemy's space and give you either +1 or +2 to your attack roll against that enemy, in addition they cost 5 times less than jaunt boots.

2) Moonrod and sunrod, for someone with low light vision those two items do exactly the same thing, the issue is your party might have members that do not have low light vision, sure the moonrod is probably cooler and it has the benefit that it emits only 30 foot of light instead of the 60 of the sunrod but still it is something to think about.

3) How come you don't mention the tanglefoot bags? it's a pretty nice debuff (-2 to attack rolls and -2 AC) with no save and a (albeit low) ref save for staying in one place.

4) About the sanctified rogue, although i agree with you and your rating, i wouldn't call uncanny dodge minor for a rogue with high DEX and that's becuase a large portion of your AC comes from DEX, sure with your initiave it's won't happen very often but still i don't think i would call it useless. (uncanny dodge it's way better for barbarians though).

5) You could consider a 3 lvl magus dip (i know it's a lot but bear with me), that way you can get the close range arcana which lets you turn your acid splash to a melee touch attack or gain a familiar or get wand weilder/wand mastery , or even all of them through the extra arcana feat, and as you pointed out to me the mordant spire magus is a very good dip for rogues (even though it is pretty much elf only).
I know chill touch is better but there is the issue that you pretty much have to be a gnome or elf to really make use of this trick and more importantly there is the issue of undeads, which are immune to chill touch and to non lethal damage (which ruins the sap builds), yes there are the Deliquescent Gloves to solve the above issues but they cost money and occupy your hand slot.

6) I think that you underevaluate black market connections. Let's look at Golarion for a moment, Golarion uses the rules in GMG for determing magic item availability on settlements, that means that the absolute best for a city's base value is 30200gp (which means anything below that price has a 75% chance to be up for sale), now this talent makes metropoli have all medium magic items available in addition to all minor magic items (remember that a metropolis might have a lot less than 30200gp base value, which means that some medium item might fall outside of the price range), and if you manage to make a DC 35 diplomacy check (which is high i agree) you get ALL magic items available for sale. So you see why this talent might be useful at nearly any level, sure the party can craft them (which saves them money) or just custom order the items they want but both methods take up A LOT of time, which the party might not have. The last part of the talent (which starts from the whole selling stolen items) is part of the regular screw the rogue BS.
So maybe this talent should be yellow instead of red?

7) There is no esoteric knowledge talent, the correct name is esoteric shcolar.

8) I am not sure that distracting attack should be red (maybe yellow?), the way i see it is that you give up the vast majority of your damage from your single attack to lower the AC of the opponent in order for your big fighty friend to hit him more accurately, yes it requires the opponent to have high DEX/dodge bonuses and on top of that full BAB classes don't have a big issue of hitting but still i think that the talent shouldn't be in the same category as esoteric scholar, powerful sneak etc. I see it used in the same way as butterfly sting.

9) Are you sure that dispelling attack allows to choose which spell to try to dispel?

10) I am not saying that you are wrong on the issue of moonlight stalker/moonlight stalker feint, but there is another way to get concealment without giving up your claok of resistance, there is mist mail.

11) How come you didn't rate the feats mobility and gang up?

12) Improved eldritch heritage shadow is all fine and good but how do you deal with the CHA 15 prerequisite, isn't it a little too much on a rogue's already too much spread ability scores?
12b) On the same line of thought, what do you think on 1 level of the shadow dancer PrC? yes the HiPS granted by shadow dancer is worse than the HiPS granted by improved eldritch heritage shadow and it doesn't have the weird, but useful, switch places thingy but it doesn't require CHA 15.

Shadow Lodge

Since you recommend Combat Maneuvers, I'd put in a good word or three for Dirty Trick. It is the only combat maneuver that can grant you sneak attack other than grapple. It also gives the most options of the combat maneuvers. The only downside is you can't use a weapon with it, so Dex builds need an extra feat and noone gets enchantment. It still is nice.


Shaman Bond wrote:
The niche builds I refer to under the Oracle evaluation are precisely what you're referring to, Imbicatus. The tempest druid is a sizable investment, but in return you get quite a few options. Andreww is right that the Obscuring Mist shtick alone rarely works as well in reality as it does in theory. As for Pyromaniac, having taken it for RP purposes in the past, it's not bad and it is a lot of fun, but it's simply not as good as Chill Touch since it has no secondary effect (even bosses roll low on occasion) and fire is the most commonly resisted element. If you want a cheap ranged touch attack, I suggest a wand of Acid Splash hidden in a spring-loaded wrist sheath.

Not to mention that produce flame is on the druid list and you have to pick a spell from the wizard list for major magic.


Fast learner is actually not a particularly useful feat. It doesn't allow you to pick 2 favored class bonuses, it allows you to pick (+1 HP and +1 SP) or an alternate racial option. Link.

Even though most people will houserule it to be not worthless, it won't be much use in PFS or for rules intense GMs.

Sczarni

leo1925 wrote:
Shaman Bond wrote:
The niche builds I refer to under the Oracle evaluation are precisely what you're referring to, Imbicatus. The tempest druid is a sizable investment, but in return you get quite a few options. Andreww is right that the Obscuring Mist shtick alone rarely works as well in reality as it does in theory. As for Pyromaniac, having taken it for RP purposes in the past, it's not bad and it is a lot of fun, but it's simply not as good as Chill Touch since it has no secondary effect (even bosses roll low on occasion) and fire is the most commonly resisted element. If you want a cheap ranged touch attack, I suggest a wand of Acid Splash hidden in a spring-loaded wrist sheath.
Not to mention that produce flame is on the druid list and you have to pick a spell from the wizard list for major magic.

Actually, the Pyromaniac trait gives you Produce Flame as a SLA, in place of a gnome's usual SLA's. Major Magic is only relevant because of Pyromaniac's other effect (+1 CL for fire spells, etc.)

Produce Flame and Chill Touch both give the same number of touch attacks. Fire resistance is more common than resistance to negative energy, but undead are actually HEALED by negative energy and they're a pretty classic enemy, so whichever one you pick, someday you're going to have to fight the thing you didn't want to have to. The main argument for Chill Touch is that it does STR damage, while the main argument for Produce Flame is that it can be used to make ranged attacks as well as melee.

I'd also appreciate it if you were to mention your opinions on what sort of magic items/spells/other situations can allow a rogue to sneak attack reliably. Any spell that grants concealment should, in theory, allow a rogue to sneak attack every turn without flanking or feinting. Blur is the most commonly cited example, but I'm curious how viable such a trick would be considering that the rules for concealment seem to suggest you'd just be rolling a Stealth check as a move action and making one attack each turn-- functionally similar to feinting, only having traded one skill for another.


I've seen a couple of people talk about chill touch being useless against undead, but no one has mentioned that it forces undead to flee as if panicked. That seems like it would be fairly useful to me.


hgsolo wrote:
I've seen a couple of people talk about chill touch being useless against undead, but no one has mentioned that it forces undead to flee as if panicked. That seems like it would be fairly useful to me.

Yes it does so, but after a failed will save, and since rogues aren't going to have a sky high INT (and even if they did it still has the DC of a 1st level spell), nor take feats in order to increase the etc. then it pretty much it's useless against undead.


leo1925 wrote:
hgsolo wrote:
I've seen a couple of people talk about chill touch being useless against undead, but no one has mentioned that it forces undead to flee as if panicked. That seems like it would be fairly useful to me.
Yes it does so, but after a failed will save, and since rogues aren't going to have a sky high INT (and even if they did it still has the DC of a 1st level spell), nor take feats in order to increase the etc. then it pretty much it's useless against undead.

Fair enough. Still remains useful at lower levels though. Then again fire resistance isn't usually coming in at level 1 either so I guess it comes back to finding some way to shore up weak points later on.


Sorry for the belated responses. I really do appreciate all of the comments and queries. I've just been underwater with paperwork this week. Thanks again for all of your help. In no particular order:

EvilPaladin: I wanted to find a way to make dirty trick viable, I really did. The problem I ran into is that disarming and feinting (which the SRD pedantically refuses to call a maneuver) are both reliable because the rogue uses her skill levels and not her default CMB. Also, neither needs Agile Maneuvers. Not only is there the AM feat tax for Dirty Trick, you’re also still a ¾ BAB with no easy way to get bonuses (Skill ranks, Disarm weapons, etc) and with the way that CMD skyrockets, landing a high level dirty trick is often less likely than hitting with a weapon. Without a magus dip, or some other judicious use of True Strike, I can’t see a good way to pull it off. Even Lore Warden 3 doesn’t seem good enough by my admittedly rough estimates. I’ve certainly been wrong before though, so if you think of anything, let me know.

hgsolo: Good gods, that’s terrible. Thank you so much. I’m not sure I would have believed you were it not for the link, which is no reflection on you, but just… I can’t fathom anyone wasting that page count so intentionally. It’s not like it’s any different from the free scaling skill focuses humans get. I’ve just cut mention of it for the time being. If I can find a good place to mention a homebrew note, I’ll stick it there. Thanks again.

scadgrad I forgotten that I had only really weighed in on Divination wizards anyways. I think you're completely correct about a blue rating being warranted. I changed that, but didn't bother re-rating the wizard in general since not much changes, but green sounds about right.

leo1925: Thanks for all the great tips (and the accompanying links).

Shadowstrike improves your to-hit de-facto because it’s a touch attack. The debuff element comes from the dazzled condition it applies without a save. (Which yes, only affects creatures/things without special vision. So it goes. At least humans tend to be prevalent.) Also, try this stat array for Eldritch Heritage(before modifiers): 10, 16, 12, 13, 10, 14. One of your level increases goes to CHA and the rest go into DEX.

I actually ended up cutting the Daredevil Softpaws from the guide at the last minute (clearly I missed a reference or two) simply because everything about the flavor text seems to suggests that they only work for Catfolk. I know a lot of the ARG can be used by all races but softpaws seemed like it could be a sticking point at individual tables. I put Jaunt Boots in as a replacement because it does offer some new options, but you’re right: it’s not a great return on investment. If you know any rulings that suggest the Daredevil Boots can be used by everyone without a houserule (PFS might have something, somewhere) I’d definitely recommend them wholeheartedly.

The moonrod gets a nod from me because the light from a sunrod also improves lighting conditions for enemies, and more readily gives your position away when scouting. I figure it’s cheap enough to justify its wildly circumstantial nature. I think I recommend carrying an Ioun Torch too, for all of the reasons you mention.

I ignored Tanglefoot Bags simply because I thought the DC was too low to reliably use. They’re generally useful, but they’re no better for you than for any other class. EDIT: Aaaaaaand then I looked at Earth Elementals and their reflex saves. Those alone justify specifically packing a few Tanglefoot Bags. I’ll correct this oversight.

As you say, Uncanny Dodge isn’t bad, it just doesn’t/shouldn’t come up frequently.

Even without Spire Defender, Magus is a solid dip and could well be taken for three levels. Unfortunately for my organizational system, there are at least some benefits to almost every multiclass option. Since I know I’m wildly unqualified to list all the viable multiclass permutations, I’ve instead tried to keep that section as general as possible and just offer possible direction. For what it’s worth, I just tripped over a preview of a new wand wielding rogue archetype from the ACG, which may make Magic Touch builds more accessible to other races.

Kudos for the breakdown of Black Market Connections. You raise an interesting point. My problem stems in part from the fact that the rogue needs so much to keep herself alive, useful, and combat viable that there isn’t a lot of room to spare, in general. In particular, BMC simply expedites things you could already do. In a campaign with heavily limited resources and time sensitive goal, I’ll concede that this could be yellow.

Distracting Attack is definitely not the worst of the red rogue talents (although, to be fair, I probably should have found a new color to better emphasize how terrible Powerful Sneak et al really are). The trouble is, with Butterfly’s Sting, not only are you not getting much mileage from crits anyways, but it’s also not dependant on sneak attack. Most classes don’t have nearly the challenge in hitting enemies that the rogue does, and certainly not enough so to justify spending a talent for the privilege of sacrificing your best combat ability. (Also, Distracting Attack means you’re not using Offensive Defense, Dispelling Attack, etc.)

Dispelling Attack doesn’t let you choose what to dispel, but you do have iterative attacks, and the examples I gave are all low-enough level to plausibly be the first thing removed. If your enemy has more buffs than you can strip in a round or two, you may have larger problems.

Mistmail creates almost as many problems as it solves since unless you can’t also see through fog, you run into the same problem as with Obscuring Mist. Plus, it’s still once per day. Ironically, I think it’s worth a nod more for Infiltrators and rogues who want an additional panic button.

Mobility, Spring Attack, Gang Up, and several other traditional options were omitted because I’m dim and forgot about them, since none of the guide suggestions relied on them. They’ve been added.

I love shadowdancers, but in spite of all in-game logic, they seem to work better for classes that aren’t rogues, since even a 1lv dip requires as many feats as the Eldritch Heritage chain and progressing further means forsaking both your primary source of damage and the actually interesting high level rogue talents.

Shadow Lodge

Shaman Bond wrote:

Sorry for the belated responses. I really do appreciate all of the comments and queries. I've just been underwater with paperwork this week. Thanks again for all of your help. In no particular order:

EvilPaladin: I wanted to find a way to make dirty trick viable, I really did. The problem I ran into is that disarming and feinting (which the SRD pedantically refuses to call a maneuver) are both reliable because the rogue uses her skill levels and not her default CMB. Also, neither needs Agile Maneuvers. Not only is there the AM feat tax for Dirty Trick, you’re also still a ¾ BAB with no easy way to get bonuses (Skill ranks, Disarm weapons, etc) and with the way that CMD skyrockets, landing a high level dirty trick is often less likely than hitting with a weapon. Without a magus dip, or some other judicious use of True Strike, I can’t see a good way to pull it off. Even Lore Warden 3 doesn’t seem good enough by my admittedly rough estimates. I’ve certainly been wrong before though, so if you think of anything, let me know.

Well, the Skulking Slayer was what I was thinking of. While its a bit hazy on how it works, I believe it means that you get your normal attack in addition to the free Dirty Trick added to it, with the bonus that goes up to +10 and surpasses what Full BAB would be getting[5 more by level 20].

Also, on an unrelated note, I think you underrated the sleeves of many garments. Might be worth quite a bit, considering the potential need for a Swarmsuit on the fly [though mention table variation].


Good point, EvilPaladin. I forgot about that bit in my response. In my defense though, I do allude to the Skulking Slayer and the dirty trick bonus in the archetype section, but that's a tiny and easily glossed-over segment that could probably stand to be expounded upon. The main problem is that it while the bonus is solid, it allows you to make a Dirty Trick attempt in lieu of a sneak attack, and if you already have the opportunity to sneak attack, it's usually in your best interest to take it. Also, there's still that infernal(/abyssal, whatever) feat tax, but it is doable with the archetype, especially as you gain increasingly higher levels. Personally, I'd be happier if it wasn't so race dependent and/or played nicer with other archetype options, but so it goes

Shadow Lodge

2 levels of Inquisitor might be worth mentioning. An Infiltrator with the Conversion archetype would in let you make an ultimately stronger character due to being less MAD[remove CHA need, though might cost the Pragmatic Activator trait], giving a stronger will save, getting you 1 stat to Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Bluff twice, and getting more initiative.


I think you might have understood a few things wrong about mistmail, first of all although it's once per day but it can stay at mist form pretty much indefinetely, secondly the mist generated by mistmail doesn't impede your melee attacks but it might (the rules aren't 100% at least for me) impede your range attacks.
To break it down:
The mistmail transforms into a mist (that means that you lose your armor) that covers your space only, now that means that anyone can attack you because they can see you (just not clearly) but attacking you (either melee or ranged) will suffer the 20% miss chance because you are concealed BUT when you attack you won't suffer any miss chance because you can see them and they aren't concealed, you can read the rules on concealment here.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Sorry for the necro, I just reread your guide, and you are seriously undervaluing gang up. Flanking is the bane of a rogue's existence, and anything that makes that easier should be better than red. In many situations, flanking will either be tactically unsound (you are also flanked), or impossible (enemy is in a corner). If you have at least two other melee fighters (including animal companions and summoned monsters), then it's well worth the feat.

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