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How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?


Advice

51 to 66 of 66 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge

Without speaking about making a killing machine, there are some things infringing the common sense. First what negatively shocks me :

Quote:

- The abilities : 10 strength is a bare minimum. Anything below is inviting exposure to damaging/draining-based creatures. A lucky greater shadow hit is enough to one-shot, or two-shot in an average. Upping the charisma that much isn't useful. A 12 int would have offseted the social losses occured in getting at 14 cha only.

- The HP : very low at level 11. I'm expecting it be 20 or 30+ better
- Will save : Below +10, it's inviting the domination or other worst spells possible. +6 is nothing short of bad.

I won't speak about what sounds average. I find the attack bonuses, the AC and some rogue talents not enough, but I made worse and I saw worse.

Some parts of your reflexion are wrong :

Quote:

- Being able to feint but only one attack a round doesn't amount to much better than TWF builds which use the TWF feint. They spend more feats but they're more efficient. To make a comparison with a similar fighting style, a fighter/rogue based on Vital Strike will fares better too.

- Wouldn't invest too much on stealth as it's probable that lots of opponents won't care a second about the sneak attack, or will be able to detect the PC anyway. That's when having a decent basic damage is compulsory and so is Piranha Strike.

What could be modified without being too expensive :

Quote:

- The feats : Gang Up needs two other PCs for the rogue to get it, doesn't happen often enough, so I'd go Toughness. Unless the party can end the fight in one round, lots of damage are incoming at that level and the need of survivability is important.

Casual Illusionist doesn't have a big benefit. It is assumed the basic skill bonuses are good enough to not having to take it. I'd say Iron Will takes the slot. Alertness and Deft Palms enter the same problem. The primary weapon being the dagger and the need to strike better with it, Piranha Strike and Weapon Focus (dagger) replacing these.

It would need 20 PP and 2000 GP, but no need to do so in one shot.

Next items to buy first :

Quote:

- Upping the cloak of resistance to +4

- Dusty rose ioun stone

- Incandescent ioun stone inside a wayfinder. Uncanny dodge won't allow the PC to properly hit at invisible creatures, Blind-Fight is still needed to allow attack rerolls in case of percentage misses, and not also counting the +1 will grabbed.

Won't hide that I find the blamed PC VERY disappointing, and if I was in the OPs' place, my patience would have been tested much quicker.


Quote:
- The feats : Gang Up needs two other PCs for the rogue to get it, doesn't happen often enough, so I'd go Toughness.

Gang up pairs nicely with the Animal Ally feat. Bonus points if you are a small character using the feat to obtain a medium mount.

At that point, you only need one other ally for Gang Up to work.

Quote:
Unless the party can end the fight in one round, lots of damage are incoming at that level and the need of survivability is important.

This is what Debilitating Injury: Disorientated is for. As a DEX build you should already have a high AC. Imposing a -6 attack penalty on attacks directed back at you should give you enough AC to survive.

Grand Lodge

Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Gang up pairs nicely with the Animal Ally feat. Bonus points if you are a small character using the feat to obtain a medium mount.

At that point, you only need one other ally for Gang Up to work.

Good logic as it makes the PC less reliant on others to open the sneak. I would agree but there is one catch : that need Nature's Soul to unlock the AC and Boon Companion to make it useable enough. Given how many feats are already eaten, it's not very practical.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
This is what Debilitating Injury: Disorientated is for. As a DEX build you should already have a high AC. Imposing a -6 attack penalty on attacks directed back at you should give you enough AC to survive.

25 isn't what I call comfortable, that would rather be within 30+. When it matters most (because speaking only about the average NPC is not relevant), a -6 penalty won't be enough and the rogue still has to hit, +18 haste included on the first hit is no guarantee, not counting possible immunities to precision damage either.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I didn't read the whole thread but here's my 2 cents:

-Flanking: it's an effective tactic that usually requires a modicum of a teamwork with other PCs. This should be a given as the Rogue in no way is a "main beater" type of class and never should get first into melee. I see a lot of people who theorize about animal companions and the like, all well and good if that's your thing (pity when that large murderkitty can't get inside a dungeon or won't be allowed into the city though...) but I find more pratical to estabilish some base strategies with your friends. They help making everyone feel part of the party and work together, and it's not like they are complex to learn. Besides this way you save feats/dips.

-Flat footed by invisibility/blinding: Flanking is the main way to get sneak attack but it's far from the only one. Personally I favor minor magic/major magic -> Vanish combo, unless your opponent can see invisibility this is a very effective method to put those extra damage dices where they are needed. Besides being invisible makes it easier to set up a flank. Other good tricks to play with this are gloom magic and greater gloom magic, although they tend to mess with your friends who can't see through darkness.

-Flat footed via initiative: Acting first allows you to catch your opponents flat footed so improving initiative can be extra important for rogues. This tends to put you in a dangerous situation because you expose yourself while as a rogue you should sneak past your opponents after they are engaged. This can be an effective tactic to deal with mooks or badly positioned squishy opponents though.

-Sneak when you need it: Well, get the Hunter's Surprise advanced rogue talent. Once per day you sneak. Unless your target is immune you get to deal sneak damage. Pretty great but not to be wasted on secondary targets.

Liberty's Edge

Quote:
How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?

Not well, buddy, lemme tell ya...


Philippe Lam wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Gang up pairs nicely with the Animal Ally feat. Bonus points if you are a small character using the feat to obtain a medium mount.

At that point, you only need one other ally for Gang Up to work.

Good logic as it makes the PC less reliant on others to open the sneak. I would agree but there is one catch : that need Nature's Soul to unlock the AC and Boon Companion to make it useable enough. Given how many feats are already eaten, it's not very practical.

Used as a mount you don't need Boon Companion. The animal companions purpose is not to deal damage itself, it is to provide the rider options for mobility and flanking. My preference is to make the animal companion relatively non-threatening in terms of damage output and an investment in armor proficiencies, forcing all but a meta-gaming GM to focus on the real threats.

At 10th level+ you can have an animal companion with light armor proficiency and either two teamwork feats or a teamwork feat and toughness.

Possible teamwork feats:
* Feint Partner - use your mounts action to feint
* Harrying Partner - Use your mounts action to aid, (+2 to-hit or +2 AC for full round.
* Overwhelm - You are always flanking opponents of size Large and larger while mounted and threatening. (assumes small size rogue)
* Replace Gang Up with Pack Flanking - considered flanking if adjacent to or occupying same square as your animal companion.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?

As a recipient of Greater Invisibility -- quite nicely, thank you very much.

Otherwise...what are you thinking? You're not a full-BAB d10 martial with high fort saves. Melee emphasis is not an ideal choice for the class. But you know what rogues are great at? Sniping with the right selection of goodies:

PC: <rolls high> "I take a shot at it. Right now"
GM: "Huh?"
PC: "'Quick Shot rogue talent."
GM: "Get oughta town, you sick monkey!"
PC: <roll dice> "It takes 35."
GM "You have its attention. It gets up in your grill and takes a swing. Eat 40.
PC: "Fast, eh?"
GM: "Faster than you, buddy."
PC: "Hate those kinds. ...I Quick Draw my concealed sling, free-action load it w/Warslinger, and shoot him right up the left nostril for...84."
GM: "What?"
PC: "Bludgeoner, Sap Master, Underhanded. Double sneak-dice, maxed!"
GM: "First you have to survive the AoO I'm a-gonna clobber you with for using a ranged weapon in melee. ..pretty sure you don't have Point Blank Master tucked in their too...?"
PC: "Don't need it, because the opponent is flat-footed versus me throughout the surprise round even if he's acted already; he gets no AoOs."
GM: "How so?"
PC: "Surprise Attack rogue talent."
GM: "Have I told you lately that you're a very sick monkey? Anyway, he sees stars when your tiny rock is nothing-but-net until impacting tender sinuses, and he drops like a sack of potatoes. But his three buddies look really hungry, and they're up next...."
PC: "I'm not done yet; with my move, I'll stealth into hiding with Go Unnoticed."
GM: "...and you're getting all these actions during the surprise round exactly how?"
PC: "Bandit archetype's 'Ambush' ability."
GM: "So let me get this straight: Your halfling just made two attacks and then went into hiding during the surprise round?"
PC: "We're professionals. Humans really should get out of our occupation. They drag down the reputation of the class every time they get killed, which is constantly."
GM: "If I could see you, I'd call you a very sick monkey. Right to your cute little face that I can't see."


The combo Dazzling Display and Shatter Defenses can generate flat footed, enabling sneak attack. Intimidating Prowess can help with the intimidate for getting them shaken.

If the OP gets IP and DD, while the rogue gets DD and SD, that can up the rogues sneak attack opportunities.

[note, found in one of the guides.]

/cevah


Slim Jim wrote:
Quote:
How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?

As a recipient of Greater Invisibility -- quite nicely, thank you very much.

Otherwise...what are you thinking? You're not a full-BAB d10 martial with high fort saves. Melee emphasis is not an ideal choice for the class. But you know what rogues are great at? Sniping with the right selection of goodies:
{. . .}
PC: "We're professionals. Humans really should get out of our occupation. They drag down the reputation of the class every time they get killed, which is constantly."
GM: "If I could see you, I'd call you a very sick monkey. Right to your cute little face that I can't see."

Must . . . steal . . . build . . . .


Human Barbarian 2 (Invulnerable Rager) / Rogue (Scout) 9

Attributes:
STR - 22
DEX - 14
CON - 16
INT - 10
WIS - 8
CHA - 14

Traits:
Berserker of the Society
Veteran of Battle

Feats and Class abilities:
1st - Power Attack
H - Bludgeoner
2nd - Intimidating Glare (Rage Power) ((Never used, I suggest you pick something else))
3rd - Weapon Focus - Earthbreaker
4th - Combat Trick - Furious Focus (Retrained to Shatter Defenses around level 8 or 9)
5th - Sap Adept
6th - Extra Feat - Dazzling Display
7th - Sap Master
8th - Strong Impression
8th - 6/6 Extra Rogue Talent - Resiliency (I kept going unconscious right after the battle ended when I dropped rage. As soon as I took this talent, I haven't been under half hit points. Go figure.)
9th - Cornugon Smash
10th - Black Market Connections (really helps out with the campaign)
11th - Hurtful

Offensive Defense is the next rogue talent I am taking. For some reason it doesn't seem to work with Hero Lab, which is why I haven't taken it already.

My attacks look like this:
While raging

+17/+12 (+22/+22/+17 after my kickass teammates buff me) Lethal Sneak attack damage = 7D6+24 Non-lethal sneak attack damage = 12D6+34
AC = 23 unbuffed while raging
Intimidate +24

With the Flank → Full Attack → 1st Attack – Non-lethal Power Attack 12D6+34 → Debilitating Injury: Half movement, -2(-4) AC or -2(-4) Attack → Cornugon Smash → Free Action Intimidate D20+24 → Free Swift Attack from the Hurtful feat – Non-lethal 12D6+34 → Shatter Defenses → 2nd attack non-lethal 12D6+34 → Sickened from Cruel Weapon (flat footed to me until the end of my next round ((Very few live to see the next round though)) → +1 Round of Debilitating Injury, 3rd attack if available non-lethal 12D6+34 +1 Round of Debilitating Injury

Full Attack without flank - First Attack – lethal Power Attack 2D6+24 → Cornugon Smash - Free Action Intimidate → Swift Attack – lethal 2D6+24 → Shatter Defenses → 2nd Attack – Non-lethal 12D6+34 → Debilitating Injury: Half movement, -2(-4) AC or -2(-4) Attack → 3rd Attack Non-lethal 12D6+34 - Sickened → +1 Round Debilitating Injury and target is considered flat footed to you next turn.

Charge or move 10' → Attack – Non-lethal 12D6+34 → Debilitating Injury: Half movement, -2(-4) AC or -2(-4) Attack → Cornugon Smash → Free Action Intimidate D20+24 → Swift Action Attack - Lethal 2D6+24 → Shatter Defenses -Next Round enemies are considered flat footed have a -4 AC or attack to me and -2 to my teammates and after I make them sickened they have a -8 AC or attack to me and -4 to my teammates.

Sneak attacks do an average of 76 non-lethal (12D6+34) points of damage per hit and crits have an average of 138 non-lethal (6D6+24 weapon +10D6 Sneak Attack +10 Sap Adept) points of damage. Lethal sneak attack damage still has a respectable 48.5 points.

Equipment
+1(+3 when raging) Cruel Furious Earthbreaker
Belt of Physical Might +2 Con and Strengh
Amulet of Natural armor +3
Ring of Protection +3
Cloak of Resistance +5
Eyes of the Eagle
Boots of Swift Fury
+3 Mithral Chain Shirt
Quick Runner's Shirt

This guy is an absolute monster. A few notes about him:
I don't remember exactly what levels I got the feats and rogue talents, I didn't keep track very well, so it is listed from my memory, which isn't very good. He started at level 4 as my previous character (Swashbuckler/Investigator) got his head removed from his body with one hit. The game master hates dealing with non-lethal damage. One round for this character can take up about 2 characters worth of turns, so bring extra beer for your comrades.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The DM of wrote:

Rogues are my first love. I don't play them to kill better than anyone else. I don't play them to fight better than anyone else. I play them to rob, cheat, and steal. I play to knock out traps and locks. I love to hide and slit someone's throat as they pass by. In and out, and nobody knows you were there except for all the things missing.

If you want to fight toe to toe, why are you playing a rogue? Fighters are waaaaay better at that. There are so many of these threads coming down on the rogue for non-viability, and I can't help but think everyone complaining would be better off playing a fighter. They have way more feats, BAB, and AC. In fact if you give yourself some Int and play human, you can get lots of stealth, perception, and some other rogue abilities. Pick your feats for damage, and you can out-damage a rogue's sneak attack by simply sneaking up on someone and multi-attacking (two hand is good here) with power attack and +4's to hit from behind/unaware. Short swords specialized are great for this. Stealthy fighters blow rogues away, so if you want to hack and slash, why are you considering rogue?

Finally found someone else that knows how to play rogue instead of dex fighter will lots of other stuff. When I play rogue, I dominate when I'm weak, I bluff when I'm strong. A dragon goes down to kill me, I will use everything to bring it down and force it to work for me with a deal that he has no choice but to agree. A king gone mad, use madness to reason with him and make me the new king. Wizard wants to destroy the world, sneak attack to death with no magical items so he can't detect magic on me. Fight challenge me to a duel, trick him into a fight he can't win. I have all the diplomacy and bluff checks a fighter can't beat. My plan so well thought out that no wizard can see it coming. I use paladin's code against a paladin. Because I'm a rogue, I'm always in control. When you wronged me, I will find you, and you will pray that I will just kill you, for I can do much worse. That's how I like to play rogue. I am not the best at anything, but I can do well in many things to the point I can take anyone down if I do a bit plannings. Like Batman. Yes, Ironman will beat me out right, but am I going to let it happen? No.


Slim Jim wrote:
Quote:
How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?

As a recipient of Greater Invisibility -- quite nicely, thank you very much.

Otherwise...what are you thinking? You're not a full-BAB d10 martial with high fort saves. Melee emphasis is not an ideal choice for the class. But you know what rogues are great at? Sniping with the right selection of goodies:

PC: <rolls high> "I take a shot at it. Right now"
GM: "Huh?"
PC: "'Quick Shot rogue talent."
GM: "Get oughta town, you sick monkey!"
PC: <roll dice> "It takes 35."
GM "You have its attention. It gets up in your grill and takes a swing. Eat 40.
PC: "Fast, eh?"
GM: "Faster than you, buddy."
PC: "Hate those kinds. ...I Quick Draw my concealed sling, free-action load it w/Warslinger, and shoot him right up the left nostril for...84."
GM: "What?"
PC: "Bludgeoner, Sap Master, Underhanded. Double sneak-dice, maxed!"
GM: "First you have to survive the AoO I'm a-gonna clobber you with for using a ranged weapon in melee. ..pretty sure you don't have Point Blank Master tucked in their too...?"
PC: "Don't need it, because the opponent is flat-footed versus me throughout the surprise round even if he's acted already; he gets no AoOs."
GM: "How so?"
PC: "Surprise Attack rogue talent."
GM: "Have I told you lately that you're a very sick monkey? Anyway, he sees stars when your tiny rock is nothing-but-net until impacting tender sinuses, and he drops like a sack of potatoes. But his three buddies look really hungry, and they're up next...."
PC: "I'm not done yet; with my move, I'll stealth into hiding with Go Unnoticed."
GM: "...and you're getting all these actions during the surprise round exactly how?"
PC: "Bandit archetype's 'Ambush' ability."
GM: "So let me get this straight: Your halfling just made two attacks and then went into hiding during the surprise round?"
PC: "We're professionals. Humans really should get out of our occupation. They drag down the reputation of the class every time they get killed, which is...

This is beautiful and I would love to see a detailed build.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yeah, I'm wondering what he's using to get around the move action draw of a concealed sling. I think they finally published a patch, but I can't remember what.

Grand Lodge

I'm curious to see the whole halfling build I see six feats before ranged feats so I'm wondering what level this comes online at the combination of abilities is a cool take on e sap master.

I find rouges suffer more and more at high levels from immunities, abilities like uncanny dodge.


Its normally a standard action to draw a concealed weapon (see Sleight of Hand skill), but Rogue's Edge for Sleight of Hand w/ 15 ranks gets it as a swift if you take a hefty penalty on a SoH check that doesn't have a DC. I think there's another way to get it to a swift action too, but I don't recall exactly what that was.

Regardless, the sap master/underhanded build is one of those "blaze of glory" builds that consistently underperforms. You invest way too much in this trick that works in a narrow set of circumstances. I would not recommend anyone try to use it.
Your restrictions include:

- Underhanded functions a number of times per day equal to your CHA mod.
- Bludgeoner and Sap Master means your damage is nonlethal, bricking this strategy against Constructs and Undead. Considering that Elementals and Oozes are already immune to sneak, you're straight up useless against a significant portion of threats.
- Sap Master functions only while enemies are flat footed. (Surprise Attack may or may not trump Uncanny Dodge, but if it doesn't, enemies with it are immune to this strategy).
- If there is no surprise round, or if there is a surprise round but the rogue doesn't get to act in it, you only get the quick shot damage.
- You have to start within ranged sneak attack range, which is 30ft unless you've made additional investments.

So yep, in a certain % of encounters, you alpha strike to take out one enemy (of CR9 or lower, since their average HP is 115, everything else would still be standing) and then the rest of combat you're a rogue with almost no relevant feats and half of your rogue talents inactive. And you can do this maybe 2 or 3 times per day for the full mega-damage, while otherwise you're dealing on average 54 or so on the sap master attack. Meanwhile the barbarian makes a standard action charge during the surprise round, dealing 38 average damage with a greatsword (or, if the GM allows pounce on a standard action charge, 76+ damage). And then he gets to be super capable in every subsequent round, since he didn't warp his build to accomplish it.


Dot

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