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Help with Core PFS Rogue


Advice

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I have a core PFS rogue
Level 1 (He has only played The Beger's Pearl)
Race: Dwarf
Abilities: Str: 11, Dex: 16, Con:12,Int:14, Wis 14, Cha: 10
Skills: Acrobatics: +7, Appraise: +6, Bluff: +4, Climb: +4, Diplomacy: +4, Disable Device: +10, Perception: +7 (+8 Traps), Sense Motive +6, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7, Survival +7
Feats: Combat Expertise
Traits: Observant, Poverty Stricken
Weapons: Dagger, Light Crossbow, Morning Star, Sap, Short Sword, Sling,
Ammo: Crossbow Bolts 20, Sling Stones 10
Armor: Leather Armor
Gear: Alchemist fire X5, Backpack,Bedroll,Belt pouch, Caltrops, Chalk, Crowbar,Flint and Steel, Grappling hook, hammer,Mess kit, Mirror, Pickpocket outfit, Piton, Pot, Rope, Soap, Thieves Tools Masterwork, Torch, Trail Rations X5, Water skin.

Cash: 370gp

Magic: Wand of Cure Light Wounds ( Spent 2 Prestige Points for it)

A friend helped me put this character together using hero lab. I don't quite understand everything. I would like to try and focus primarily on trap finding and disarming. As a secondary focus, I would like to be able to to some pick pocketing conning etc....like a classic thief. A tertiary focus some combat ability.

In terms of planning ahead and character advancement what would you recommend?
I hear you can rebuild your character at 1st level.
Are there some better choices I could make?

Thank you


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Don't do this to yourself.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you really must:

- Dump INT. You get nothing out of it.

- Get more STR. You need damage and to survive combat maneuvers sometimes.

- Pump CON like you are dumb.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:
A tertiary focus some combat ability.

Considering there are 3-4 encounters per PFS scenario, usually combat, you're going to need to change that priority. You should always be able to say: "I can do X in combat and when I can do X, I do Y. When I'm not in combat, I do Z." In PFS you need to be able to contribute both in and out of combat, especially in later seasons.

Here is a good guide to the Core Rogue -- this should help you considerably.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The best core rogue is high strength with a big weapon. Dex gets you very little. Skills and AC are the cheapest things you can make up for with gold. Attack and damage are the most expensive

Do not be lured by the math of two weapon fighting. It will not work out as predicted. You do not always full attack. You do not always flank. You get into flanks by moving.. which means not full attacking.


I also play a Core dwarf rogue in PFS. I am having a great time and more than carrying my weight. Level 9 now. Similar role to yours (though sometimes gets stuck as frontliner by default, with Mithral Breastplate and Heavy Shield; Armor Expert trait).

I disagree on dumping Int. There are a lot of skills that are useful in PFS. My rogue has lower Dex, higher Str and Con than yours, but there's no one right way to do it. With your stats, you might do well to take Weapon Finesse instead of Combat Expertise.

Trap Spotter is a great talent for the role you say you want to play. Minor and Major Magic can give you some touch-attack combat options (I took Acid Splash and Chill Touch).

You can get by with a lower level of optimization if you are clever in the application of your abilities. The kick-in-the-door style isn't really suitable for a Core rogue, of course. Stack the deck in your favor at every opportunity.

Shadow Lodge

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Aldizog wrote:
You can get by with a lower level of optimization if you are clever in the application of your abilities. The kick-in-the-door style isn't really suitable for a Core rogue, of course. Stack the deck in your favor at every opportunity.

When you try to apply this advice to specifics, what it mounts to is a lot of wasted action economy, and a lot of time spent in the spotlight. Time you are NOT going to get in PFS where the DM is trying to herd the group through the dungeon.


Aldizog wrote:


The kick-in-the-door style isn't really suitable for a Core rogue, of course.

Isn't this how pretty much every pathfinder society group runs? o_0

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
magispitt wrote:
Aldizog wrote:


The kick-in-the-door style isn't really suitable for a Core rogue, of course.
Isn't this how pretty much every pathfinder society group runs? o_0

Mostly, since you're kind of at the mercy of your least patient party member whi

SQUIRREL


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OK.
1. Rogue is the weakest class in the core rule book (and probably the game). This doesn't mean don't play one, but understand they have lots of other classes stepping on their toes

2. You have stated this is for PFS. So think what does my character contribute. Perception is the most useful skill in and out of combat.
a) Out of combat Appraise is seldom of help in PFS length adventures, Picking pockets (Slight of hand) is very very situational. Disable device (lock picking and disarming traps) does come up but not a lot. The social skills Sense Motive, Diplomacy and Bluff all have their uses
b) What is your role in combat? This something you need to consider at the start.

Peronally I love skill points, so do play rogue. The other disadvantage is you need to understand how many of the skill in the game work instead on concentration on just a few.

On your specific character I would move the skill points in appraise and slight of hand skill. I would also question why you have combat expertise feat. If this is to lead to improved feign then fine, otherwise pick a feat which build on your chosen combat preference.

Hope this is of help


BigNorseWolf wrote:


When you try to apply this advice to specifics, what it mounts to is a lot of wasted action economy, and a lot of time spent in the spotlight. Time you are NOT going to get in PFS where the DM is trying to herd the group through the dungeon.

That hasn't been my experience at all in my lodge, even though most of our Core scenarios are run in a fairly short slot.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seriously Ninja'ed

"Trap Spotter is a great talent for the role you say you want to play."

Trap Spotter and Fast Stealth" Great talents for any style of play in my opinion


Actually I just noticed you have traits so this isn't PFS CORE; if you're remaking your character an Archeologist Bard will make you much better at performing "classic rogue" duties.


Aldizog wrote:
magispitt wrote:
Actually I just noticed you have traits so this isn't PFS CORE; if you're remaking your character an Archeologist Bard will make you much better at performing "classic rogue" duties.
There are traits in PFS Core; just the ones from the web enhancement.

Ah, didn't know that - thanks :)

*Edit: where did your post go? But yeah, even if it is PFS CORE I'd still recommend a bard; bards are much better at skills than rogues (they end up with more skills and have higher bonuses) & contribute more to combat (inspire courage ftw)!


ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Are there some better choices I could make?

Yes, don't play a rogue.

Okay seriously, the rogue is the weakest class in all of pathfinder, and anything they can do, another class can do just as well if not better. So if you want to play something that can sneak around, and act like a classic thief, take a look at the ranger, slayer, and alchemist classes. But if you must play a rogue, at least go for the unchained rogue.

With the way PFS is designed, you don't get a lot of freedom on what to do next because it is railroaded and very linear. And you will be in combat roughly 70% of the time, so I would recommend changing your priorities there. In my experience, PFS is mostly combat/rollplay, and very little roleplay.

Here is a recent thread about another beginner who decided to play a core rogue, and several people shared their thoughts and advice.
Rogue starting noob questions


Azurespark wrote:


Yes, don't play a rogue.

Okay seriously, the rogue is the weakest class in all of pathfinder, and anything they can do, another class can do just as well if not better. So if you want to play something that can sneak around, and act like a classic thief, take a look at the ranger, slayer, and alchemist classes. But if you must play a rogue, at least go for the unchained rogue.

None of these exist in PFS Core except the ranger, and it doesn't get the trapfinding archetype (nor does the bard).

There is something extremely rewarding for me in so regularly succeeding with my Core dwarf rogue (including Bonekeep 1 & 2) against all this naysaying.

It's a challenge, no doubt. But worth it.

Edit: I will say that in my local lodge, the Core campaign does NOT play just like the Classic campaign. Many of the low-level power builds just don't exist so you have to do things a bit differently. (And for some reason almost all the local Core casters are multiclassed.)

Silver Crusade

I think a lot of people above are being overly negative. A Core rogue is a quite viable class.

If you want to be quite effective in combat, I'd seriously consider playing a Rogue/Ranger. A 2 level dip into ranger gets you two weapon fighting without a huge dex investment, some useful spells useable in wands, medium armor proficiency and a favoured enemy.

At that point, raising rogue OR raising Ranger are both effective with fairly balanced trade offs.

If you want to play a pure rogue then I'd consider trying to build a sniping rogue. You'll do a lot less damage but you'll be a lot safer while doing it :-).

Getting flanks isn't that hard as long as your group cooperates. It doesn't have to be you that moves. Two weapon rogues ARE effective. Their biggest weakness is that they draw lots of attention and can't really handle that attention well. Be ready to run away and hide when things get bad.


Core rogue is one of the more difficult classes to make work very well. Yo have a lot of defensive gaps and not a whole host of options to fill that. I would not recommend combat as being your tertiary ability, the one thing you can almost guarantee in every PFS game is that you will end up in a fight at some point, often three or four.

Having said that, if I was going for a core dwarf rogue I might do something like this at first. You have enough dex to make use of your skills, you need strength to engage in melee and you still have plenty of skill points. You abandon any attempt at the face role for more exploration and scouting skills.

Dwarf Rogue 1:
Dwarf rogue 1
N Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +6 (+8 to notice unusual stonework)

--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities defensive training

--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.

Melee battleaxe +3 (1d8+3/×3) or
heavy mace +3 (1d8+3) or
longspear +3 (1d8+4/×3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with longspear)
Special Attacks hatred, sneak attack +1d6

--------------------
Statistics
--------------------

Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 5

Base Atk +0; CMB +3; CMD 17 (21 vs. bull rush, 21 vs. trip)

Feats Dodge

Traits indomitable faith, reactionary

Skills Acrobatics +6 (+2 to jump), Appraise +4 (+6 to assess nonmagical metals or gemstones), Climb +6, Disable Device +7, Knowledge (local) +4, Perception +6 (+8 to notice unusual stonework), Sense Motive +6, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +6

Languages Common, Dwarven

SQ trapfinding +1

Gear studded leather, battleaxe, heavy mace, longspear, thieves' tools, 68 gp


By level 6 you look something like this.

Dwarf Rogue 6:

Dwarf rogue 6
N Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +18 (+20 to notice unusual stonework)

--------------------
Defense
--------------------

AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 natural)
hp 45 (6d8+12)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +6; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities defensive training, evasion, trap sense +2, uncanny dodge

--------------------
Offense
--------------------

Speed 20 ft.

Melee +1 longspear +10 (1d8+7/×3) or
mwk cold iron battleaxe +9 (1d8+4/×3) or
mwk cold iron heavy mace +9 (1d8+4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with +1 longspear)
Special Attacks hatred, sneak attack +3d6

--------------------
Statistics
--------------------

Str 19, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 5
Base Atk +4; CMB +8; CMD 23 (27 vs. bull rush, 27 vs. trip)

Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Weapon Focus (longspear)

Traits indomitable faith, reactionary

Skills Acrobatics +14 (+10 to jump), Appraise +4 (+6 to assess nonmagical metals or gemstones), Climb +8, Diplomacy +8, Disable Device +17, Escape Artist +7, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +4, Knowledge (local) +9, Perception +18 (+20 to notice unusual stonework), Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +12, Swim +8, Use Magic Device +8; Racial Modifiers +2 Appraise to assess nonmagical metals or gemstones, +2 Perception to notice unusual stonework

Languages Common, Dwarven

SQ rogue talents (combat trick, trap spotter, weapon training), trapfinding +3

Gear wand of bless (50 charges), wand of comprehend languages (50 charges), wand of faerie fire (50 charges), wand of longstrider (50 charges), wand of shield (50 charges), +1 mithral chain shirt, +1 longspear, mwk cold iron battleaxe, mwk cold iron heavy mace, amulet of natural armor +1, belt of giant strength +2, cloak of resistance +1, eyes of the eagle, ring of protection +1, masterwork thieves' tools, masterwork tools (acrobatics, perception, use magic device, diplomacy

At level 6 your BaB is still +4 so you are mostly making single attacks. As such you never want to remain standing next to an enemy making spring attack a viable route for you. It will also help you get into flanking positions to enable your sneak attack damage. Combat Reflexes may dissuade the enemy from coming after you.

You add a little versatility with some investment in UMD although it is far from certain at this level. You want to keep longstrier up as much as possible to help with spring attack movement distance. Shield offers a little extra protection, Bless is something you want to use before fighting begins and the other wands offer some extra options. You will probably also want to invest in some utility scrolls and/or potions. I recommend spending your prestige to buy the level 1 wands as well as 3rd level potions and 5 copies of 2nd level spells. Good picks include see invisibility, lesser restoration and mirror image.

I have invested a bit into diplomacy at this point, it is the second most common skill you will encounter in PFS and while you wont be making any primary checks you should at least be able to aid reliably, even with Cha 5.

You can scout effectively at this level with enough perception to notice most traps at this level with trapspotter (28 taking 10) and your disable should sort out removing them.


My Core rogue started with:
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 13 (15), Int 13, Wis 12 (14), Cha 12 (10).
First 3 feats were Alertness, Great Fortitude, and Iron Will.
First 3 rogue talents were Trap Spotter, Minor Magic, and Major Magic.
I can say it's worked out for me without him being a drag on the party in any way. He's a major contributor to the success of most missions (The Boston lodge Core players can attest to the character's contributions.)


As others have said, you probably want to be fairly combat competent in PFS (or really anytime, since combat is very much life or death). Rogues are naturally going to be good at dealing with traps and general skill use regardless of how they're set up, so they've got some freedom to pick combat options.

Here's a simple, straightforward possibility if you want a dextrous, intelligent Rogue type character: rebuild as an Elven Fighter at level 1, with something like 13STR, 16+2DEX, 14-2CON, 12+2INT, 10WIS, 10CHA. For feats, take Weapon Finesse and then Power Attack with the bonus Fighter feat; as an Elven Fighter you get proficiency with the elven curved blade for free. The elven curved blade is a very strong weapon when wielded with Power Attack, and having very high dexterity and Weapon Finesse will mean that your attack bonus and AC are strong.

As soon as you reach level 2, you go Rogue for good. You don't lose much by being a level behind in Rogue, but you start out much stronger with that single level of Fighter. As you go up levels, you can grab Weapon Focus and a belt for more DEX. Sneak attack still works fine with a big elven katana, but you're going to do way, way more damage than you would with a dagger or short bow.

Edit: if you don't want to be an Elf, you can do the same thing with a Human - just take Exotic Weapon Proficiency as your Human bonus feat.

Shadow Lodge

BadBird wrote:


Here's a simple, straightforward possibility if you want a dextrous, intelligent Rogue type character: rebuild as an Elven Fighter at level 1, with something like 13STR, 16+2DEX, 14-2CON, 12+2INT, 10WIS, 10CHA.

This option is going to have trouble dealing damage when not sneak attacking

You do not always get sneak attack. Most rogues don't seem to clear the halfway mark on it. The % of sneak attacks drops the more offense the rest of your party is packing : If Serving Platter the sword and board fighter is your party fighter you can get in a lot of sneaks. If your tank is Mountain Cleaver the raging barbarian you're going to be moving around for new tagets a lot as your old targets become smears of red goo on the walls.

The scenario writers are inordinately fond of things that are immune to crits and sneak attacks. Whatever % of the monster manual they are, they come up as creatures a lot and they tend to be the do or die fights. Gods help you if you're playing season 8: year of the dissapointed rogue.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
BadBird wrote:


Here's a simple, straightforward possibility if you want a dextrous, intelligent Rogue type character: rebuild as an Elven Fighter at level 1, with something like 13STR, 16+2DEX, 14-2CON, 12+2INT, 10WIS, 10CHA.

This option is going to have trouble dealing damage when not sneak attacking...

The combination of a 1d10 base weapon and Power Attack makes all the difference, though I should have recommended 14STR to start. A +3 from STR, +3 from Power Attack and 1d10 is going to be around ~12 damage at level 1. As levels go up Power Attack expands and makes it more like ~15. It's not super-high two-handed Barbarian damage, but that's not the point; it's far stronger base damage than wielding a rapier or whatever, if one wants a DEX build. The reason I suggest it is because it majorly reduces Sneak Attack dependence by providing something roughly like one-handed STR damage.

Interestingly enough, even when DEX-to-damage is available, something like Fencing Grace rapier isn't really superior; a 1d6 rapier with +7 from DEX and +4 from Power Attack actually comes out the same as a 1d10 ecb with +3 from STR and +6 from Power Attack.

Shadow Lodge

Badbird wrote:
Interestingly enough, even when DEX-to-damage is available, something like Fencing Grace rapier isn't really superior; a 1d6 rapier with +7 from DEX and +4 from Power Attack actually comes out the same as a 1d10 ecb with +3 from STR and +6 from Power Attack.

When dex to damage is available you go pirhana strike with a 2 handed elven branched spear and combat reflexes. Profession Chef for shishkabob :)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Badbird wrote:
Interestingly enough, even when DEX-to-damage is available, something like Fencing Grace rapier isn't really superior; a 1d6 rapier with +7 from DEX and +4 from Power Attack actually comes out the same as a 1d10 ecb with +3 from STR and +6 from Power Attack.
When dex to damage is available you go pirhana strike with a 2 handed elven branched spear and combat reflexes. Profession Chef for shishkabob :)

Piranha only works with a light weapon, but otherwise yeah. Or an Agile ecb works nicely too; I don't like builds that rely on Agile to do damage, but ones that go from good to great with Agile work for me just fine.

Liberty's Edge

Piranha strike specifically requires a light weapon, so either a rapier with effortless lace, or in PFS, a kukri. Or just take power attack anyway, which most non small sized swashbucklers seem to do. Str 13 really isn't a high requirement.


Try to get an ok to play unchained rogue instead and build to debuff with intimidate + their sneak.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Try to get an ok to play unchained rogue instead and build to debuff with intimidate + their sneak.

This is PFS Core. It is a different campaign that does not include Unchained and I love it for what it is.

I hope Core continues to be a thing. If PFS scenario designers have to take into account that some will be playing Core, they won't be balancing against a higher baseline as much, and thus PFS (both campaigns) will be more welcoming to new or casual players. There are several reasons why I think that a low-mid level of optimization is generally better for the hobby, but that is a major one.

Splatbook power creep destroyed 2E and destroyed 3.5. It is my hope that maintaining a Core campaign can forestall that fate for PF.

Shadow Lodge

ElyasRavenwood wrote:
I have a core PFS rogue Level 1 (He has only played The Beger's Pearl) Race: Dwarf

First things first: There's nothing wrong with being a rogue; don't let anyone talk you out of it. Just recognize the limitations you need to work around if you intend to mix it up in melee. DEX-emphasizing halflings are best at it, but dwarves can situationally be even better if they can knock the lights out.

Note: you can rebuild your character entirely prior to 2nd in PFS.

Quote:
Abilities: Str: 11, Dex: 16, Con:12,Int:14, Wis 14, Cha: 10
This is not an optimal way to distribute 20pt in a dwarf. More on this later.
Quote:
Traits: Observant, Poverty Stricken
In a dwarf rogue, these are poop, even if you do think you need more Survival than all the others in PFS without it as a class skill.
Quote:
Feats: Combat Expertise
I get the impression you're taking this because you're worried about your paltry hitpoints and have decided that not getting hit is a laudable goal. -- You're right about that, but there are better ways to do it.
Quote:

Weapons: Dagger, Light Crossbow, Morning Star, Sap, Short Sword, Sling,

Ammo: Crossbow Bolts 20, Sling Stones 10
Armor: Leather Armor...

"What's that smell, Jim?" "I dunno, Larry; it smells like dead rogue in leather armor who's been cut clean in half by some orc's greataxe. Poor guy isn't very buff for a dwarf; kinda on the thin side. Maybe he came from a poverty-stricken family that couldn't put meat & ale on the table..."

Let's recoil from that one possible future history by deciding not to die in advance.

We will fix this.

Quote:
I would like to try and focus primarily on trap finding and disarming. As a secondary focus, I would like to be able to to some pick pocketing conning etc....like a classic thief.
You're going to bluff people with a starting CHA of 10? Not saying it can't be done, but like Dirty Harry said in that old movie, a dwarf's got to know his limitations.
Quote:
A tertiary focus some combat ability.

The PFS reality is that you'll be mainly doing those three focuses in reverse order of your preference, whether you like it or not, no matter what class you.

"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you!"

~ ~ ~

The Stats

The most positive-bonus-dense 20pt-arrays for +2/-1 races are 15,14,14,14,12,07 and 15,14,12,12,12,12.

Let's do the first one and apply racial bonuses and penalties thus:

STR:14
DEX:15
CON+16
INT:07 (or 12)
WIS+16
CHA-10 (or 05)

This papers over, in spades, a rogue's primary weaknesses, namely lousy fort and will saves, and general relative lack of hitpoints overall. From 4th through 8th level, A 4th-bumped DEX:16's bonus will be the same as the OP build bumped-to 17, strength is bolstered enough for Power Attack, and we've gained a whopping +2 HP per level in exchange for, largely, dropping from 9 skills/level to six/level in rogue. But how many skills does a rogue really need to have completely jacked? Not more than four (Acrobatics, Perception, Disable, Stealth); the rest are dabbler skills you don't need maxed.

CHA kept up in this example assuming you wish to UMD and Diplo out of combat.

~ ~ ~

Build prep:

Observation #1: As a rogue-prospective, you're not a spellcaster clutching at spell-advancement like an old woman her pearls.

Observation #2: PFS is a campaign that not only doesn't take you to 20th-level capstones, it's primary a low-level slog where you must grind your way up from the very bottom.

In other words, you have no compelling reasons to be "straight-classed". On the contrary, you have ever reason to pack in as much fun as you can into the low levels.

The Build

(Note: much of this you'll have to water down to stay "core", but the basic premise works regardless.)

racial traits: Rock Stepper
character traits: Glory of Old, Berserker of the Society

1st level: Barbarian[scarred rager][move+10][rage:10r/day], Combat Refexes

...now I know what you're thinking: "But that's not a rogue! I protest!"

-- But of course he's a rogue. You're simply need some imagination.

Did he just kill that goblin? He's an murderer!. Did he steal that loot from the goblin he just murdered? Thief!. When he spent the loot in the tavern, did he pinch the barmaid's ass? Scoundrel!

Sounds like a rogue to me....

2nd level: Rogue1 [unchained][SA+1d6][Weapon Finesse]
3rd level: Rogue2 [Evasion][talent:combat trick:Quick Draw], Steel Soul
4th level: Rogue3 [Finesse:DEX>dmg:kukri][SA+2d6], DEX>16

Yup: Totally a rogue. A rogue with benefits.

(Consult archivesofnethys.com and/or d20pfsrd.com to see what these all do.)

Some equipment at 4th: MW dwarven longhammer, MW dwarven boulder helmet, MW kukri, MW composite longbow, various +2 skill tools, (search messageboard for thread "things that will save you 2017" for more goodie ideas).

~ ~ ~

Increase over OP build at 4th (if OP build were straight-class rogue4):

* saves versus magic, supernatural abilities, poison: gain F+7/R+2/W+5
* weapon proficiency: gains all martial
* armor proficiency: gains medium + shields
* attacks of opportunity: +2 (+3 if DEX belt purchased at 4th)
* hitpoints: +12 (39 vs 27), +20 if raging
* Survival: class skill with much better bonuses

~ ~ ~

Combat: The OP build basically has a crossbow or sling that he shoots, then he runs away from melee. Or he doesn't, and turtles up with Combat Expertise while whiffing over and over.

Revised build lays about for 2d6+3 with a longhammer, and enjoys plenty of attacks of opportunity at low level. (At 5th he'll want to take Power Attack, upping damage to 2d6+9).

Armor: Breastplate, nonmasterwork. (You are saving up for a mithril breastplate of agile moves.)

~ ~ ~

Further build progression: After rogue4 (or even before, if you're in a hurry), you have a decision: stay in rogue (falling behind in BAB), or take a few levels of a fighter for feats & reaching BAB6, and then either back to rogue (reinvigorating skills) or stay in the martial classes. I would probably dip the fighter levels after rogue4, then go back to rogue at CL8th.

~ ~ ~

Weapon properties: Furious and Fortuitous (longhammer only) are the biggest bangs for the buck, +1d6(whatever) are the worst (straight bonuses are mathematically superioer).

~ ~ ~

Final word: I've always hated HeroLabs. A community-supported free alternative is sCoreForge (which is a spreadsheet generator that runs on eXcel).

Good luck.


Thugs optimizations (and a lot of the others comments) are dead on.

Rogues are seriously weak.

However, pathfinder mods are mindnumbingly easy. So, playing a rogue is just a challenge, not a serious impediment. I would be more concerned by your areas multiclassed spellcasters than you playing a rogue, although SQUIRREL is a real issue.

D20 is a Christmas tree system, where money covers a multitude of evils.

Me, I would maximize natural attacks and focus second on mobility in order to take out opponents I get flank on.

Google the forums... tiefling rogue build.


Barbarian/Rogue can work (and I do like the concept for the right kind of build), though Archetypes don't fly in Core PFS, and I'm not sure the OP is looking for an aggressively stat-dumped character. Personally, I wouldn't find the idea of roleplaying a 7INT or 5CHA character - let alone a Rogue - all that appealing, though I know some people don't mind it (or just pretend the big negatives aren't there). Regardless, the general idea that one wants to cultivate some martial ability is a good one.

The Original Poster hasn't really described the character concept, beyond some things that have been... advised against. Rogues, like any other base class, can come in a whole lot of flavors. What is it that we're trying to put together here?

Shadow Lodge

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Rogues are seriously weak.
Well, they're not any weaker than bards. It's just that players sometimes get silly ideas regarding them, like having their STR:18, CHA:07 "rogue" eagerly court melee, then be unable to UMD/heal his injuries or have enough DEX to avoid getting nailed when withdrawing through AoOs. (Bards tend to sensibly stay in the back and sensibly shoot things.)
Quote:
However, pathfinder mods are mindnumbingly easy. So, playing a rogue is just a challenge, not a serious impediment. I would be more concerned by your areas multiclassed spellcasters than you playing a rogue, although SQUIRREL is a real issue.
The main problem with PFS is very rapid leveling: Every three scenarios, you go up a level. One minute you're fighting goblins with 4hp, then suddenly its trolls with Rend who tear your PC in half in one round. Multiclassed spellcasters don't bother me much ("Oh, look; it's another magus!"), but SQUIRREL is definitely a problem at low level tables, especially with impulsive teenagers at your table.
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Me, I would maximize natural attacks and focus second on mobility in order to take out opponents I get flank on. Google the forums... tiefling rogue build.

Unless he has a boon, he can't presently make a tiefling character in PFS. -- For rogues, I tend to want mobility (actual movement, not the feat, although that's good too) first. That barb level combined with a UMD' wand of Longstrider nets the dwarf rogue a move of 40' (60' with Expeditious Retreat), double or triple what he would be otherwise, and he'll often need every bit of it to get into flanking position without granting the enemy a bunch of free shots at him. (That's also why I love giving my rogues polearms: the reach is essentially free move.)

Shadow Lodge

1) Rogues are a weak class

2) The suggested/thematic/obvious build of dexterity makes them even weaker than their mechanics would suggest.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nothing wrong with rogue in PFS, the rogue doesn't run into problem till higher levels. In my games the rogues really start to suffer after to 12th level. It's at that point in combat that the ACs get too high and damage output start auto hitting on the rogues low AC. Then for skills at that level the rest of party has caught up on specialization (feats, magic items, and magic) in skill areas making the rogue redundant in out of combat situations.

Rogues peak at about 8th level. The slowly go down hill till about 12th. After that they've gone too far downhill.

So being capped at 12th a rogue shouldn't be much of issue.

Shadow Lodge

What a rogue really loses in PFS compared to a home game is the protection racket. You can easily show up trying to do the rogue thing, only to have the ranger do it as well AND still kick butt. Thats before you get into


Rogues are designed specifically to capitalize on Sneak Attack in combat, which to be fair is a huge damage bonus - on average, close to 2xlevel. The main issue for them is that it's much more difficult to apply sneak damage than it is to use other kinds of features. Which is why a mildly multiclassed Rogue with decent base damage is generally the way to go. Pure Rogues are quite feasible, but they have to content themselves with a very specialized style of combat that hopefully hits a few jackpots, rather than pumping out a solid damage stream.


Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Unless he has a boon, he can't presently make a tiefling character in PFS.

Thug, I agree with almost all of what you say. However, I wasn't really saying he should take a tiefling.

If you google the forums however, using those keywords, you will find builds that get a rogue up to 7 attacks at level 1. Or 5 if you're a dwarf.

You and I agree with mobility, and more or less we agree on amount of damage etc.

However, there are some nat attack forms/traits/feats that have to be taken at first level. Which for the most part is not true of the move options.

Othere than that - At first level.. rogue>bard. At 6+ level bard>rogue. Not that I like bards either.

Shadow Lodge

Confinement to PFS is a relatively minor consideration; confirement to core is a PITA -- 99% of the builds on this site are not core.

E.g., only material from the Core Rulebook, Character Traits Web Enhancement, and Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play is permitted. (The Pathfinder Society Field Guide is not core even though it's directly PFS-related! Is that significant? Oh yeah; because it has the Agile weapon property, without which pretty much all melee rogue applicability is shut down...unless they suit up in heavy armor and turn off most of their class abilities.)

~ ~ ~ ~

Dwarf Core Rogue, PFS 20pt-buy
__________

STR:07
DEX:15 (all bumps)
CON+16
INT:12
WIS+16 (15,14,14,14,12,07 array)
CHA-12

traits: Reactionary, Indomitable Faith

1. fighter1: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
2. rogue1: [SA+1d6]
3. rogue2: [evasion][talent:combat trick:Rapid Shot], Rapid Reload
4. rogue3: [SA+2d6], DEX>16
5. rogue4: [uncanny dodge][talent:weapon training:Weapon Focus(light crossbow)], Deadly Aim
6. rogue5: [SA+3d6]
7. fighter2: Dodge, Mobility
8. rogue6: [talent:trap spotter], DEX>17
9. rogue7: [SA+4d6], Improved Initiative
10 rogue8: [improved uncanny dodge][talent:surprise attack]
11 rogue9: [SA+5d6], FEAT(g)
12 rogu10: [advanced talent:(Opportunist or Skill Mastery], DEX>18

skills (maxed): Acrobatics, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Perception, Sense Motive, Stealth
skills (decent amount): Diplomacy
skills (one point): Knowledge(local)
skills (Use Magic Device): a few points early, then max as you accumulate scrolls and wands.

Character concept: wizened old dwarf getting a little frail; knows what he's good at and what he has no business messing around in.

Considerations: Rogues can sometimes be good in melee -- but they cannot be good in melee in Core. So, let's ensure that we stay out of melee by making the character an archer.

* Two fighter levels to accelerate feats and pick up armor proficiencies (we'll be gunning for that mithril breastplate eventually).
* All feats through 5th pimp our weapon; it's essentially done after that.
* From 6th onward, feats are geared for survival: Dodge for all-day bread-and-butter AC, and Mobility for retreating out from under reach-monsters. Defensive Roll is to take half damage from enemy confirmed-crits.
* Stuff we will not take: Spring Attack (repeat after me: "We don't do melee."), Manyshot (doesn't work with crossbows), Improved Critical (our BAB takes forever to get to 9 even with a couple fighter levels)

~ ~ ~

Tactics:

You're a machinegun archer with a rogue's skill-set and a dwarf's darkvision. You not only avoid melee, you actively get out it (memorize the Withdraw action rules, and don't forget your dwarven Dodge bonus versus giants/ogres/trolls: you're AC+9 versus their AoOs getting out from under those guys with Dodge/Dwarf/Mobility).

Equipment around 6th-7th: Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Cloak of Resistance +2, mithril breastplate, +1/Keen crossbow, a couple of nets, assorted splash weapons (Tanglefoot bags are nice), big Crayola box full of cheap 5- and 10-charge wands, various gizmos for your feet, fingers, and eyes, and assorted +2 skill tools.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Thank you all for your posts. I will need to go through this thread with a fine toothed comb to see what everyone recommends. I expect all of this helpful advice will lead to more questions. Thank you again for your advice

Liberty's Edge

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Dwarf Core Rogue,

That build is going to have significant problems with to hit, and is going to require a strength upgrade to not be encumbered all the time. Sure, you don't slow down, but you're still limited to 3 dex to AC and a -3 penalty to physical skills.

Some paper napkin math shows that at level 11, against CR 11 enemies, it's likely to do an average of 10 damage per round. Starting with 16 str, and going heavy armor and greatsword with spring attack to move to sneak attack would average around 24 damage a round. If sneak attack isn't an option it still ends up with similar damage expectations, but saves 5 feats. Heck, even going for improved feint will get similar results for only 2 feats, and will likely increase the accuracy by making the enemy flat footed.

Also, as far as I know, there is only a keen bow in PFS, and can't regularly be placed on ranged weapons.


I've found Major Magic (Chill Touch) a useful option for overcoming the lower accuracy of my Core dwarf rogue. Killed a certain ratfolk alchemist with that.

Don't get multiple attacks with it, so I have considered picking up a scroll of Flame Blade or two. But I also have decent success hitting with the battleaxe.

One thing I don't do is play up out of tier. Lots of the power builds people throw around on these forums can be a level 5 in a 7-9 tier; that's not something I would recommend for a Core rogue.

Shadow Lodge

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Dwarf Core Rogue,
That build is going to have significant problems with to hit,
DEX is his primary attribute and he will be upgrading a belt accordingly. He has Stealth-as-class and more-than-sufficient skill points to keep it maxed (meaning ambushing is viable versus flat-footed, and that is pursued in the submitted build). He has Weapon Focus, and can UMD a variety of inexpensive buffs that fighter-archers do not normally get to enjoy (and it is relatively easy to get these applied if we're the one alerting the party of danger in the first place, and governing the initiation of combat).
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...is going to require a strength upgrade to not be encumbered all the time. Sure, you don't slow down, but you're still limited to 3 dex to AC and a -3 penalty to physical skills.

Now this is an important consideration that I did not pay attention to. Neither Muleback Cords nor Ant Haul are core, so they're out. 23 lbs is STR:7 light limit, of which 15 went into mithril breastplate, 4 into crossbow, 3 into twenty bolts, 2 into Efficient Quiver...leaving him 1 lbs over, and he's still buck-naked (clothing, etc not factored yet). ...I trust that nobody wants to see a buck-naked elderly dwarf, so this must be dealt with.

So...what to do? Jacking STR from 7 to 10 nets him a miserable ten pounds extra carrying capacity before hitting the light limit again. It costs four build points, which doesn't come out of the chosen (best) array neatly. Going to 12 from 7 gains 20 lbs unencumbered capacity, but requires dropping two 14s in the build to 12s. *sigh*. 15,14,12,12,12,12 is a very good array (especially in gnome bards), but...yeech. There's no challenge in it, no requirement of the player to be innovative and get his head out of beat-face melee obsessions and subsequent lamerville.

Solutions:

1) Go jacked-strength per your suggestion (meaning that all three of archery, saves, and skills take a painfully noticeable hit to pay for that 16, and then we're a crappy melee rouge with all the attendant problems everybody hates and whines about continuously in messageboard threads that are thousands of posts long). Dwarf consults WIS:16, and chuckles softly reflecting upon his younger days with wry, wrinkled detachment.

2) Dig deep to afford a several-wand-charges-a-day Bull's Strength addiction just so we can fifteen extra pounds of crap. ...our dwarven sense of greed rankles at this onerous expense.

3) Eat the encumbrance penalties. If we were a straight-fighter dwarf (especially one with a flotation device), we might do this, but we're a class with dexterity-based skill checks that we care about extremely very much, thank you, but no.

4) Ignore it like everyone else in PFS once they have a haversack or efficient quiver. While ethical shadiness is a hallmark of roguedom, commentary here today should fall within the realm of "Do as I say, not as I do."

5) Ditch the armor. This is actually the most likely option, and not even a bad one considering the archery role. UMD'ing a wand of Mage Armor (and latter on, Mirror Image) is exactly what our PFS dwarf rogue will do. That low, low price of free (well, two prestige points) makes it a done-deal. Our considerations are basically identical to a STR:7 wizard's.

Loot retrieval: assuming no one in the party has muscles, a scroll or two of Floating Disk saves a lot of trouble. Or drop 5PP on a porter.

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Some paper napkin math shows that at level 11, against CR 11 enemies, it's likely to do an average of 10 damage per round.

You're forgetting Deadly Aim, which will be generating 6 damage per bolt alone. Given the Core campaign, we are also more likely to be enjoying the company of straight casters doling out old classics like Greater Magic Weapon, Flame Arrow and the like on our piles of ammunition. Ideally we're looking at something like 1d8+3(enh)+6(Deadly)+1d6(element)+4d6(sneak), averaging ~31 around 11th with three or four shots against a flat-footed opponent in the first round. If four Hasted/Rapid attacks hit (certainly possible given that only one is a -5 iterative), we drop 98% of CR11 non-bosses and many of them as well by dishing out over 120 damage. -- If you can insta-kill an opponent before they act in combat, you are more than pulling your weight as a rogue. Also note that the advanced rogue talent Opportunist is particularly effective with archery.

In combats where archery doesn't fair well, we throw nets on bad guys and then start Aiding Another the party tanks, or alternatively go into UMD buff/support/heal mode.

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Starting with 16 str, and going heavy armor and greatsword with spring attack to move to sneak attack would average around 24 damage a round.

Which is no better than the archery, and our stubby dwarf legs don't get us out of large monster full-attack range. So: No, no, *no*. Strength rogues with 5' reach die like flies in PFS (TWF strength rangers are hardly any better); they eat full-attacks, get stung/blow-fort-save/etc. and are toast multiple times by Tier8. Core campaign likely means mid-range BBEG casters lobbing old standbys like Empowered Fireball, which a heavily-armored rogue not only can't evade but has a higher chance of blowing the save entirely because he robbed DEX at character creation and isn't advancing it either.

...Player contemplates Raise Dead for a third time and just writes the obituary. Before then, it's a continuous whine-fest about how the class is "weak" when it can't do anything well (because those 12 build points spent jacking a STR:7 to a 14>16 had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere was everywhere else). Moral of the story is friends don't let friends strength rogue (unless the concept is barbarian and the rogue part is four levels tops).

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...Heck, even going for improved feint will get similar results for only 2 feats...
Dwarf CON penalty means he's -2 behind a halfling on any CHA-based skill (feinting relies on Bluff). No: we will not "cater to our weaknesses", for that way lays 3.0 half-orc sorcerer type gimpiness. If we need bonuses, we're shooting out the lights and murdering blind targets in the dark.
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Also, as far as I know, there is only a keen bow in PFS, and can't regularly be placed on ranged weapons.

<forehead smack> ...Jeez it's been a long time since I played an archer....

Ah well, Improved Critical at 11th in the submitted build's open feat slot.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Edit: apologies for the wall of text. It seems like the player is slightly on the new side, so I tried to add details and context.

He's playing PFS core. In my second hand experience, Core players tend to be much more chill about the game (often being veterans who've already played the "easier" builds) so I'm not going to worry about pushing the limits. That said, as a Dwarf rogue you may want to leverage your strengths while mitigating or working around your class weaknesses.

Stats: Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 7. Level up boosts and stat belt should go into Dex.
Traits: Player's choice for flavor, though I strongly suggest Reactionary, since winning initiative means delicious flat footed targets.
Skills: Honestly, you got the right ideas. I'm not as keen on Bluff, though, since it has limited practical application and a chance to blow up in your face.
Feats: Varies. See below. Also, I strongly suggest avoiding Combat Expertise.
Rogue Talents: Finesse Rogue at the start. See below. Weapon Training, Combat Trick, and Trap Spotter are all good talents as you level up.
Gear: Finesse weapon of choice. Adding a silver light mace and a cold iron dagger means you have every early form of damage reduction covered. A backup ranged weapon is key, with shortbows being the least hassle, but I understand if you stick with the much Dwarfier crossbow. Slings are too climsy to be worth the effort, at least in my experience seeing it in play.You've got the right idea with the miscellaneous gear, so that's good!

In function, it's a basic melee finesse build with an emphasis on survivability (mostly due to race choice) and room to branch out. At first level, you'll want Weapon Finesse for Dex synergy. But that changes: since you can rebuild a PFS character for free before -playing- at level 2, you'll want to consider swapping out Weapon Finesse because you can get it for free with the Finesse Rogue talent. Suitable replacements include Improved Initiative for free sneak attacks at the start of fights, Quick Draw to make it easier to swap to melee after shooting some mook in the surprise round, or Toughness to double down on your defenses and make extra sure that you survive unlucky crits at low level. Alertness is okay, and Deft Hands may help with the roguey skills if you want to really milk them.

Two Weapon Fighting hurts your accuracy too much. I suggest going single weapon. Combat Expertise hurts your accuracy, as well as power attack, but PA is a passable emergency option when your damage is shrugged off. Keeping your to-hit up to par is key, so keep your favorite weapon, dex belt up to date. Invest in talents that help with combat feats.

The cool thing about skills is that they naturally progress. You don't have to go ham, just keep your ranks up to date. The Core book has a few magic items to boost skills by a lot. Goggles of Minute Seeing give a +5 to Disable Device, while Boots of Striding and Springing help make up for a low base speed.

Liberty's Edge

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
DEX is his primary attribute and he will be upgrading a belt accordingly. He has Stealth-as-class and more-than-sufficient skill points to keep it maxed (meaning ambushing is viable versus flat-footed, and that is pursued in the submitted build). He has Weapon Focus...

His primary stat starts at the bonus most character give their secondary or tertiary stats. He has no special abilities to boost stealth outside of class skills and items. Ambushing is not going to be a consistently viable tactic for a number of reasons, least of which being a mediocre stealth bonus.

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
You're forgetting Deadly Aim, which will be generating 6 damage per bolt alone. Given the Core campaign, we are also more likely to be enjoying the company of straight casters doling out old classics like Greater Magic Weapon, Flame Arrow and the like on our piles of ammunition. Ideally we're looking at something like 1d8+3(enh)+6(Deadly)+1d6(element)+4d6(sneak), averaging ~31 around 11th with three or four shots against a flat-footed opponent in the first round. If four Hasted/Rapid attacks hit (certainly possible given that only one is a -5 iterative), we drop 98% of CR11 non-bosses and many of them as well by dishing out over 120 damage.

Didn't forget deadly aim, especially didn't forget the -3 penalty, and the -2 penalty for rapid shot. As for greater magic weapon, and flame arrow, why would they cast that on you instead of the fighter, or just cast fireball. My comparison took the build you posted, changed +1 keen into a +2 weapon and went from there. 4.5 average from the crossbow damage die, 2 from enhancement, 6 from deadly aim, average of 12.5 per hit. Didn't include PBS though, so should be 13.5. Average amount of hits per round against CR 11 AC is .95, for 12.825 damage a round. 1.55 hits with haste for 20.925 damage per round. Biggest problem is needing a 13/18 to hit. Winning initiative for sneak attack is not guaranteed or reliable, and using stealth is going to mean at most a single attack a round for ~30 damage, and that's if you manage to use stealth to hide.

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
and can UMD a variety of inexpensive buffs that fighter-archers do not normally get to enjoy (and it is relatively easy to get these applied if we're the one alerting the party of danger in the first place, and governing the initiation of combat).

Anyone can get UMD as a class skill, that's really the biggest benefit the rogue has over a figher when it comes to magical items. If my experience holds true for most PFS players, which it seems to, you're not going to be able to do a lot of scouting ahead. It takes too much table time with a single character, and nobody wants to split the party. There's also the problems of not even knowing who your enemies are until they attack, or even if you do know your adversaries, if diplomacy or another option won't be a better option.

I'm not going to say that sometimes these things won't happen, but that's one of the biggest knocks on sneak attack and the rogue. It's not that they can't do incredible damage if the conditions are right, it's that so seldom are the conditions right. Having a way to do sneak attack once a round reliably is usually better than having a chance to deal sneak attack damage multiple times a round. They also don't have the accuracy to take penalties to deal additional attacks or damage while still hitting reliably. This can change if you have a dedicated buffer that you know is going to show up every game, I've seen some father/son groups play like this quite effectively, but as just a single character in PFS, you're going to be responsible for you're own buffs.

You're not wrong about staying out of melee usually being a good idea for a rogue, but that has more to do with poor fort save and hit points than anything else. And a rogue going ranged is going to want every accuracy bonus they can get, like starting with 18 dex, and likely playing a small character.


A Spring Attack build is a good idea for PFS Core, though especially on a Dwarf it should use a polearm, and potentially grab Fleet and eventually Lunge. With a Dwarf, I'd actually consider starting 16STR, 16DEX, 12/14CON, 12INT, 8/10WIS, 8\6CHA and eventually wearing a mithral breastplate that grants all light armor features and doesn't have much Armor Check Penalty. The high DEX improves so many important things for a Rogue that it's worth stacking up alongside STR - I'd probably put level up points into STR, but buy a STR/DEX belt. Something like:

Hrotli Rooksbeak
"The Dwarf Hrotli has been accused of many things over the years; scavenging, thieving, malediction, and a just plain unsavory nature. How much of it is fair is hard to say. But none have ever accused him of being timid about smashing the spike of his wicked polearm "rooksbeak" into the back of an unsuspecting foe - and perhaps for this reason, seldom does anyone accuse him of anything to his face."
Fighter 1/ Rogue 8
Dwarf: 16STR, 16DEX, 12/14CON, 12INT, 8/10WIS, 8\6CHA

1F. +Dodge / Skill Focus: Stealth
2R.
3R. Fleet
4R.
5R. +Rogue Talent: Combat Training: Mobility / Spring Attack
6R.
7R. +Rogue Talent: Weapon Training: Bec de Corbin / Power Attack
8R.
9R. Lunge

With a 10 and eventually 15 foot reach, it's not only easy to Spring Attack successfully, but flanking a target is almost effortless. Combined with the Fleet feat for 25' movement, the range, even on a Dwarf, is huge. And of course, having a polearm means an Attack of Opportunity if a target tries to get closer.

Shadow Lodge

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
You're forgetting Deadly Aim, which will be generating 6 damage per bolt alone. Given the Core campaign, we are also more likely to be enjoying the company of straight casters doling out old classics like Greater Magic Weapon, Flame Arrow and the like on our piles of ammunition. Ideally we're looking at something like 1d8+3(enh)+6(Deadly)+1d6(element)+4d6(sneak), averaging ~31 around 11th with three or four shots against a flat-footed opponent in the first round. If four Hasted/Rapid attacks hit (certainly possible given that only one is a -5 iterative), we drop 98% of CR11 non-bosses and many of them as well by dishing out over 120 damage.
Didn't forget deadly aim, especially didn't forget the -3 penalty, and the -2 penalty for rapid shot.

Penalties which anybody with a starting DEX of 18 is happy to accept. Of course their BAB is better too, by two points after 9th. So let's give the really good archers +4 or +5 over us. Because they're *professional* one-trick ponies who do little else.

So we turn off the Deadly Aim if we think to-hit is troublesome (e.g., heavily armored, aware opponents). It's not like we have to use them. Also, it's for PFS. We are totally unconcerned with BAB and feat disparities at 17th level. Most characters sputter on fumes not much more than half that level solely because there are fewer higher-level tables than lower ones, and opportunities to play trail off.

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As for greater magic weapon, and flame arrow, why would they cast that on you instead of the fighter, or just cast fireball.
GMW is an hour/level duration prep spell. Dropping it on the fighter's already magical sword is a waste. But dropping it on fifty pieces of assorted special-materials ammunition from two or more characters is a great 3rd-level buff.
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My comparison took the build you posted, changed +1 keen into a +2 weapon and went from there. 4.5 average from the crossbow damage die, 2 from enhancement, 6 from deadly aim, average of 12.5 per hit. Didn't include PBS though, so should be 13.5. Average amount of hits per round against CR 11 AC is .95....
Please be reasonable -- it's not like the character isn't going out of his way to scarf bonuses: BAB 9 at 11th, DEX 15>17:bump18:belt20 5th/6th = +5 ...that's +14 right there doing almost no work at all. Continuing: PBS+1, WF+1, MW+1, Ioun+1, Belt(+2>+4DEX)+1 ... up to +19, which I will submit as being quite decent for an 11th-level Core character. Do we have time to UMD a scroll of Bless? +1. Somebody cast Haste? +1. Up to +21 now. Pretty sure we're going to hit some stuff; and if anybody's flat-footed let alone stumbling blind in the dark, then we can turn 'on' the Rapid and the Deadly virtually care-free.
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Winning initiative for sneak attack is not guaranteed or reliable

That's not why we took it (or the Reactionary trait).

-- Going first is primarily a defensive measure: oftentimes, our best initial action is to run, stupid! (then come back later, whether that be next round or next week).

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...and using stealth is going to mean at most a single attack a round for ~30 damage, and that's if you manage to use stealth to hide.

Nah. I'll just straight up shoot 'em four times. Who? The guy the fighter smacked good and hard, and who my Perception tells me is really wobbly in the knees. -- I don't have to match the DPR of the professional one-trick-pony archer because as a rogue I am a smorgasbord character whose job, in combat, is to be a net contributor. Net-contributing (aside from actual throwing of nets, which is fun thing more people should try) means I dish it out better than I take in order not to be a drain on party resources. Melee rogues are seldom net contributors: they dish out 25% more to the enemy and eat 250% more damage from an enemy ecstatic to be able to chew on light-infantry AC and fort-saves as opposed to a fighter-in-plate's.

I've been stuck in PFS tables where the scenario was called with half-reward because the PCs had to hang it up when healing ran down to fumes because the light infantry refused to keep their body parts attached. -- Stuck as the tank who couldn't keep my own allies from running past me to get to the enemy because that's what they were built to do. <GM briefly consults enemy intelligence scores, then full-attacks the end-running doofus rather than me who was built to eat those full-attacks>

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...and can UMD a variety of inexpensive buffs that fighter-archers do not normally get to enjoy (and it is relatively easy to get these applied if we're the one alerting the party of danger in the first place, and governing the initiation of combat).
Anyone can get UMD as a class skill,
Dangerously Curious is not a Core trait, so no they cannot. (And gaining UMD as class is only the first hurdle -- you still need the points to throw at it.
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If my experience holds true for most PFS players, which it seems to, you're not going to be able to do a lot of scouting ahead.
IME, most players are perfectly happy letting the rogue "take point" (especially after they've blown themselves up in traps a couple times).
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There's also the problems of not even knowing who your enemies are until they attack, or even if you do know your adversaries, if diplomacy or another option won't be a better option.
Diplomacy might be the second-most used skill in the game, but you won't deduce in advance that you're failing your check and that combat is imminent without a decent Sense Motive.
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I'm not going to say that sometimes these things won't happen, but that's one of the biggest knocks on sneak attack and the rogue. It's not that they can't do incredible damage if the conditions are right, it's that so seldom are the conditions right. Having a way to do sneak attack once a round reliably is usually better than having a chance to deal sneak attack damage multiple times a round. They also don't have the accuracy to take penalties to deal additional attacks or damage while still hitting reliably.
As a dwarf with Darkvision, we can alter the prevailing conditions drastically in our favor by simply snuffing illumination in 2/3rds of encounters. (This tactic, planned in advance with allies all on the same page, can be very effective and expedient.)
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You're not wrong about staying out of melee usually being a good idea for a rogue, but that has more to do with poor fort save and hit points than anything else. And a rogue going ranged is going to want every accuracy bonus they can get, like starting with 18 dex, and likely playing a small character.

At 4th, said halfling is +2 over this dwarf. Folded into the numbers crunched above, halfling is +23 vs +21 in that 11th match-up. But if (when) the lights go out, the dwarf is much, much better shooting DEX-denied flatfoots in the dark.


Anybody in the Core campaign can get UMD as a class skill if they are Dark Archives (unless that changed in the new season's guide). The Faction traits are also legal.
But some of the easy ways to boost UMD are not Core, like the cracked ioun stone.


Oh, and I guess Dangerously Curious is in the web enhancement so that is legal too. Haven't made a Core character with it yet.

Liberty's Edge

Sir Thugsalot wrote:
Please be reasonable -- it's not like the character isn't going out of his way to scarf bonuses: BAB 9 at 11th...

I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I just ran the math as you presented the character. A fighter 2/Rogue 9 is going to have 8 BAB, not 9. There are no cracked or inferior ioun stones in core, so unless you're spending 30k, that's out. You could have a +3 weapon, or a +4 belt at 11, likely not both if you're keeping up with the big six, plus buying a number of magical knick knacks. So let's say 4 dex, 3 enhancement, 8 BAB, 1 weapon focus and 1 Point Blank for a reliable +17/12 to hit at level 11 for 1d8+4 damage. Or +12/12/7 for 1d8+10 with rapid shot and deadly aim. That's still needing a 13 or 18 to hit against your average CR 11 creature.

Everything after that is circumstantial. You could have a bard, wizard and cleric all sit down at the same table and all decide to buff your character, but I definitely wouldn't rely on that being the case in PFS. And you can buff yourself, but from my experience, pre-buffing isn't very common in PFS, you're usually stuck doing it during combat, unless using long term buffs. As for using darkvision to make enemies flat-footed, well that works if you're playing as team darkvision, and you're in a location where you can block out the light, and the enemy somehow doesn't have darkvision, but that's a lot of ifs. All it takes is a single human or half elf in the party to ruin the darkness strategy.

And why would the archer rogue take point? That's not where he wants to be in case a fight breaks out. He should be standing 5 feet behind the heavy armored fighter. Close enough to spot traps for the team, but not the first to be engaged in an ambush.

EDIT - Forgot to add, in PFS just doing more damage than you take doesn't make you a net contributor. If by you playing means that the team doesn't get a pre-gen, the 4 player adjustment, or has to play up, then you better contribute as much as a pre-gen, or make up for the increased difficulty. If not, you're actually making things worse for your team by playing.


Here are my suggestions:

Skills to max out every level: Perception, Disable Device, Bluff, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, UMD

Get masterwork Thieves' Tools
Get 14 STR-rated composite longbow

Ability scores:
Str: 14, Dex: 16, Con: 12 (14), Int: 10, Wis: 11 (13), Cha: 12 (10)
Parenthetical numbers are after racial adjustments.
Bump WIS at 4th level and DEX at 8th level.

Talents:
Reactionary, Anything else to round out background.

Feats:
Archery-related. As pauljathome said, a 2 level dip into ranger is excellent to boost combat ability and get other class skills, but I would suggest archery instead of two-weapon fighting and invest feats in point-blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot and many shot.

Rogue Talents:
trap spotter
combat tricks

Use stealth and terrain to try to get surprise attacks.

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