How do melee rogues function effectively at higher levels?


Advice

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Hey everyone,

I'd like to ask for a bit of general advice. I'm paired up with an unchained melee rogue quite often and set to go into the level 12 eyes of 10 arc soon. The issue is that i've recently seen her struggle a lot to keep up with other characters, and she made a couple of remarks on how her character gets overshadowed a lot by others herself. As a non rogue, i tend to see that there are a lot of situations in which it's virtually impossible to gain sneak attack, such as by mass flying enemies, enemies with concealment or see invisibility, enemies that are too large to flank effectively etc. I think that if there was a way to make this more reliable, it would go a long way in solving the problem. However, does such a thing exist?

I was toying around with the idea of making my paladin/bloodrager a part trip specialist in order and go the paired opportunists/fortuious weapon route but this is hard to fit into a build without bonus feats and less than 13 int.

Does anyone have good advice to offer on how to make melee rogues work on level 12+?


There are many ways to increase your chances to get sneak attack:

Flank (might need Acrobatics or move speed bonuses to get into position against large foes, I like taking Shadow's Speed from the vigilante)
Stealth (becomes weaker later, but doesn't need that high investment, unless you go for sniping)
Feint (needs a few feats, but should work ok against certain foes)
Dirty trick (also needs some feats, don't miss Surprise Maneuver)
Charge or move, in combination with the scout archetype
Spell-like abilities like vanish, darkness and deeper darkness (minor magic rogue talent and follow-ups, if you have the Int)
Hunter's Surprise (a bit limited, but a round of high damage might be worth it)

That said, you can't always get sneak attack. So have a backup plan - or better several of them. Total defense comes for free, traps can be helpful and magic items (offensive or defensive) are not limited to casters. It's not necessary to keep up with the combat prowess of fighter, barbarian etc. - just contribute and remember you have other strengths as well (namely skills).

A rogue gets a serious bump at level 10, thanks to advanced talents. The human favored class bonus can net you another advanced talent at level 10, if timed properly. You don't have to be human for it (rather bad race choice for the class anyway), half-elf or half-orc work also.

Dark Archive

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As someone who has various rogues running around in various games, I am quite aware of the rogue-class problems one can run into. Although flanking is a main way of gaining Sneak attack, it requires help from other people to get the most of it. And not all people you play with are willing to stand in the middle of all the enemies to provide it, nor is it a good idea to tumble around a single enemy to obtain it (for the enemy's other friends WILL whack you on their turn). Flank is more a thing that can be done when the opportunity arises.

Luckily, there are quite some ways to still gain your sneak attack, although it does require some investment.

  • The good old Scout archetype. By this level, one only has to move 10ft before striking to get that sneak attack going (unless Uncanny Dodge...). Not so ideal if you want to full-attack, but excellent if you first need to move towards the enemy, or ranged attacks.
  • Press to the Wall, which requires Step Up, allows one to flank with furniture/walls/large objects if you're the only one threatening the opponent. As a fellow PFS player, you know how many encounters start in tight quarters, houses, dungeons, even forests. And everyone tries to step out of flank, and near that table to prevent further flanking (score!). It is also an excellent idea to follow up on the Step Up feat-tree (Following Step and Step Up and Strike), especially if you're also a Scout (10ft step and strike, aaawwwhh Skirmisher activates).
  • The Advanced Rogue Talent: Stalker Talent allows a rogue to pick a Vigilante talent available to Stalker Vigilantes. Although Shadow's Speed (+20 on base movement forever) is very good, another option is Hide in Plain Sight. Now, the low-light surrounding is not always available, and enemies around this level have extraordinary senses. But there are ways around this. Dampen Presence shuts down Blindsense and Blindsight, and Hellcat Stealth allows for "Hide in plain sight" in normal/bright light (at a -10). Now those last two feats require Skill Focus (Stealth), so it is a quite costly route to take (although Dampen Presence can also be taken as a normal rogue talent).
  • Feinting is an idea, and although it requires a lot of feats, one could also use Advanced Rogue Talent: Stalker Talent to pick up Cunning Feint. This talent is actually Improved Feint, Two-Weapon Feint and Greater Feint in one talent. Combine it with the Ranged Feint feat if you do not want to stand next to the huge enemy.
  • Equipment Trick: Smokestick allows one to create a quick smokescreen that lasts for 1 round via Slow Burn. For this to function, you're required to be able to see through smoke (Goz Mask) and make ranged attacks (thrown daggers). The idea is that you create a cloud as a swift action, take a 5ft step back into the smoke, and start throwing daggers at the enemy that now no longer can see you (requires Quick Draw). Although AoN has not updated the legality of this feat, it is legal except for the Smoke Strike part

This is merely to gain more options to use Sneak Attack, but rogues always need a back-up plan in case of sneak attack immunity. They gain lots of skill ranks, so Use Magic Device, Knowledges for identification, Disable Device, etc are always good to have. Aid another can also be used, or even something like Antagonize to make yourself a target to save someone else can be quite good. Don't try to keep up with Barbarians and Paladins, they aren't made for that.


You could get an animal companion with animal ally. It is just three feats to get one that is up to par in terms of health.

Animal ally only gives you the ranger options... but who cares? You just want a warm body on the other side of teh opponent. Its attack doesn't matter too much- you jsut want it to spend all of its time getting into flanking position.

If you get its int up to 3, you can even take team work feats- outflank is obvious.

You can also do this with a familiar gained through various methods (the wasp familiar feat for calistrians is good, since it doesn't have prereqs)... but they tend to be squishy (since it only has 1/2 of your HP). Get a mauler familiar and spend a feat to give it an additional +2 HP per level (the wasp familiar can qualify for that...)

General point- get something that lets you constantly get into flanking. It is easier when it is an additional resource dedicated for this purpose, rather than another player.


Get finesse training and proficiency in an elven curved blade and piranha strike. Then you can do decent damage. Pump umd and use to-hit consumables and you'll get close to fighter damage when not sneak attacking.

You also need to pump your ac and defenses with money so she should aim to be well over wealth by level to be truly effective.


Now that I think about it, maybe shatter defenses would work. Since she is a dual wielder and we have a cleric specialised in inflicting o.a. fear on channels, that could be a good source of sneak attacks in melee.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cloak of displacement will let you hide in the open. It'll be fairly effective unless your enemy can see through illusions.


Bunch of good stuff here, but I personally like dips in shadowdancer as another option.


I like the slayer. It's rogue-like, but still puts out decent damage even when sneak attack is not available.

With that being said the rogue is not a primary combatant, so it's not going to keep up with barbarians, fighters, and other full BAB classes in combat.

Maybe your friend can tell you what they want to do in the game, and we can make suggestions based on that.


Rhedyn wrote:

Get finesse training and proficiency in an elven curved blade and piranha strike. Then you can do decent damage. Pump umd and use to-hit consumables and you'll get close to fighter damage when not sneak attacking.

You also need to pump your ac and defenses with money so she should aim to be well over wealth by level to be truly effective.

you use power attack with an elven curve blade not piranha strike


Shes only lvl 1 now, but my fetchling shadowwalker U-rogue will get to shadowdancer at lvl 6, gaining hide in plain sight, and summon shadow at lvl 10, gaining an incorporeal flanking partner under my control. With spring attack, spring heeled style, canny tumble, and circling mongoose, she'll theoretically be able to flank with herself without any trouble. Shadow jump + cloying shades should prove to be fun.


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"enemies that are too large to flank effectively" What? The bigger the enemy, the easier it is to flank, usually, unless the terrain is preventing you from getting in position.
As said before, a Rogue isn't going to live up to a beatstick martial. Rogues use skills, sneak attacks, and debuffs/tricks/etc. to assist those characters. Make sure the to-hit is serviceable and get that flank in combat, and do what the others can't when outside of combat.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Greater invisibility. If there’s a caster with it on his spell list, it’s a great investment to put it on the rogue. I always kept some available with my summoner, when we played Skull and Shackles, because the rogue could make such good use of it.
If the rogue is well invested in UMD, scrolls or a wand of greater invisibility can be a good option.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is she having trouble hitting?

Or is she hitting and not doing enough damage?

Or both?

Do you have her build?

Is she willing to multiclass to shore up any rogue deficiencies?


Can we see her build in detail? Feats? Talents? Ability scores? How about the contents of her Inventory Tracking Sheet and her remaining gold? The more details we have, the better we can do for advice.

Until then, all I can give is the general advice of someone who has not played EotT.
- Acrobatics is unreliable at this level due to inflated monster CMB and the sheer number of large+ monsters' squares you'll have to half-speed tumble around.
- Saving throws can make or break you. Make sure your Cloak of Resistance is at least at a +3. Iron Will and Great Fortitude are also nice.
- Considering that this is Eyes, you likely hhave a premade group. Meet up out of game and plan. Share tactics. Consider ways to enable flanking. Plan for vital buffs like Fly, Haste, and Heroism. Prepare ways to deal with debilitating status problems and stat drain/damage while stuck in the middle of a dungeon. Make sure you guys are a well oiled machine.
- Rogues are one of the hardest classes in the game, for reasons that the OP mentioned and even more. Plus at this level the dedicated casters are leaning a lot of show-stoppers. Sadly, without a pre planned build and a deep understanding of the system, falling behind is kind of inevitable. If the party is able, they should plan strats and buffs just to prop up the rogue. And if you do proper planning as I suggest, then it should be easier to avoid stepping on her toes.


I did play a rogue in Eyes, and so a couple general things while avoiding spoilers :

The feat gang up is a worthwhile investment, if there are other melee people in the party. If there are not other melee characters, maybe your party members can summon or animate a flank buddy for you.
Invisibility or improved invisibility can be your friend, wheather via rings, potions, or UMD with scrolls.
You can get tricky with a high move speed, high stealth, and spring attack to try to get sneak attack that way.
High initiative usually gets you one sneak attack vs a flat footed enemy.


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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?


As mentioned above, getting an animal companion can be good for flanking. If you take 3 levels of hunter, then your companion will share every teamwork feat you take, including the feat Outflank which the hunter gets free at level 2. If you already have Outflank, the class feature gives you the choice of Precise Shot instead. Take Pack Flanking for the level 3 bonus teamwork feat and boom - you and your companion are always flanking as long as you're side by side. Add in Precise Strike and you get an extra 1d6 of damage that stacks with Sneak Attack.


Lady-J wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

Get finesse training and proficiency in an elven curved blade and piranha strike. Then you can do decent damage. Pump umd and use to-hit consumables and you'll get close to fighter damage when not sneak attacking.

You also need to pump your ac and defenses with money so she should aim to be well over wealth by level to be truly effective.

you use power attack with an elven curve blade not piranha strike

You right. But that requires 13 strength. But you CAN use piranha strike.


Since when can you use piranha strike with a curve blade?

Piranha Strike:

Quote:
When wielding a light weapon...

Curve Blade

Quote:
You can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to attack rolls with an elven curve blade sized for you, even though it isn’t a light weapon.

You can't even use effortless lace to make a curve-blade a light weapon, because that specifies a one-handed weapon and the curve-blade is two-handed (another reason that Power Attack is the better option here, it has extra benefits for two-handers.)


Rhedyn wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

Get finesse training and proficiency in an elven curved blade and piranha strike. Then you can do decent damage. Pump umd and use to-hit consumables and you'll get close to fighter damage when not sneak attacking.

You also need to pump your ac and defenses with money so she should aim to be well over wealth by level to be truly effective.

you use power attack with an elven curve blade not piranha strike
You right. But that requires 13 strength. But you CAN use piranha strike.

no you cant piranha strike doesn't work with non light weapons


I arise from my grave on the topic of rogue offensive options (probably greatly outdated by this point):

generally you want as many to-hit bonuses and damage bonuses as you can get your grubby little hands on, and some means of reliably allowing sneak attack--both things your rogue had issues with.

for the vanilla rogue, the swashbuckler archetype let you pick up scimitar proficiency and weapon finesse at 1 and dervish dance at level 2 via combat trick, making it one of the faster classes to get dex to hit and damage. greatly streamlines offensive stat priorities, and if you were worried about ability trades, you could use defensive strategist or veteran of battle traits to get some semblance of them back.

for sneak attacking, my usual two methods were personally either flanking with a pet and/or mount (shadowdancer 3, nature's ally+boon companion feats, etc) and the outflank teamwork feat, or flanking with myself in post-13th level games via horizon walker 3 and the dimensional savant feat line. alternatively, using the major magic talent for chill touch a bunch of times a day via racial bonuses (half elf, iirc) to ignore the majority of most things' AC.

you can get hide in plain sight for light and darkness via the hellcat stealth feat and either the shadow sorcerer 1 bloodline power (arcane heritage feats, dipping, VMC shadow sorcerer, etc) or a 3-level dip into shadowdancer, which also got you a pet.

i remember people talking about upping one's survivability by buffing your saves with 'jump back' and the ring of furious action (i forget the actual feat name, sorry) as well.


AndIMustMask wrote:
you can get hide in plain sight for light and darkness via the hellcat stealth feat and either the shadow sorcerer 1 bloodline power (arcane heritage feats, dipping, VMC shadow sorcerer, etc) or a 3-level dip into shadowdancer, which also got you a pet.

Dipping sorcerer won't get you HiPS; it's the 9th level shadow bloodline power. On the other hand, it takes only 1 level of shadowdancer for that if you're not after a pet shadow.

AndIMustMask wrote:
i remember people talking about upping one's survivability by buffing your saves with 'jump back' and the ring of furious action (i forget the actual feat name, sorry) as well.

Twist Away feat, and the ring of ferocious action was (over)nerfed to prevent the combo working.

Grand Lodge

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I have a Kitsune Unchained Rogue 4/Hunter 5 in PFS that is an absolute murder machine in combat. I took all the flanking related teamwork feats, accomplished sneak attacker, boon companion, etc.

I currently get 3 attacks per round (+11, +11, +6) with keen kukri (1d4+6 15-20 x2 crit +3d6 sneak attack), I qualify for flanking any time I am adjacent to or riding my large tiger, I get a +4 flanking bonus to hit with my tiger, if I score a critical hit my tiger gets an AoO on my target. Once the first sneak attack lands I start applying Debilitating Injury debuffs (starting with -AC, then - to hit, then either stacking up duration or halving speed)

Once my chain of attacks ends, my tiger gets claw 1d6+10/claw 1d6+10/bite 1d8+10/grab/rake 1d6+10/rake1d6+10 (all of those are at +15 to hit except the grab which is +20, all with the same +4 flanking bonus when applicable), and if any of the tigers attacks crit it provokes an AoO from the rogue.

If a target manages to survive a round of that, they are generally in a really bad way...usually with -2 AC, -2 on their hit rolls, probably grappled, and almost assuredly missing a huge chunk of their health.

I could have even made it nastier if I moved up the Precise Strike teamwork feat instead of taking Realistic Likeness, which would add an extra 1d6 precision damage to every one of both my character and tigers attacks. I also spent a large portion of my wealth on utility items instead of pure combat, I probably could have squeezed in an extra +1 on each of my weapons, maybe toss in some Deliquescent Gloves to add an extra 1d6 acid damage to each of my attacks.

Here is my current build if you are curious.

Click Here:

1. Rogue 1 Finesse training, Sneak attack +1d6, Trap finding
Feat: Combat Expertise
2. Rogue 2 Evasion
Rogue talent: Combat Trick: Two-Weapon Fighting
3. Rogue 3 Danger sense +1, Finesse training, Sneak attack +2d6
Feat: Combat Reflexes
4. Rogue 4 Debilitating injury, Uncanny dodge
Rogue talent: Weapon Training – Kukri
5. Hunter 1 Animal companion, Animal focus, Nature training, Orisons, Wild Empathy
Feat: Boon Companion
6. Hunter 2 Track, Precise companion: Outflank
7. Hunter 3 Hunter Tactics,
Teamwork feat: Pack Flanking
Feat: Accomplished Sneak Attacker
8. Hunter 4 Improved Empathic link
9. Hunter 5 Woodland stride
Feat: Realistic Likeness
10. Hunter 6
Teamwork feat: Precise Strike
11. Hunter 7 Bonus trick
Feat: Paired Opportunists
12. Hunter 8 Second Animal Focus, Swift Tracker


I love your build, Kemuri. I have a hunter myself that flanks with her boar. Though she's a single class hunter so no sneak attack. My feats go 1)Weapon Finesse 2)Outflank 3)Pack Flanking 3)Dervish Dance 5)Precise Strike 6)Broken Wing Gambit. I'll be taking Pair Opportunist at level 7 and Combat Reflexes at 9 with Shake It Off, maybe.


No sneak attack? Hunters can get the sense vitals spell. Have fun with the flanking.

Also you may want the improved spell sharing teamwork feat so the boar gets sneak attack too.


Kemuri Kunoichi wrote:

I have a Kitsune Unchained Rogue 4/Hunter 5 in PFS that is an absolute murder machine in combat. I took all the flanking related teamwork feats, accomplished sneak attacker, boon companion, etc.

I currently get 3 attacks per round (+11, +11, +6) with keen kukri (1d4+6 15-20 x2 crit +3d6 sneak attack), I qualify for flanking any time I am adjacent to or riding my large tiger, I get a +4 flanking bonus to hit with my tiger, if I score a critical hit my tiger gets an AoO on my target. Once the first sneak attack lands I start applying Debilitating Injury debuffs (starting with -AC, then - to hit, then either stacking up duration or halving speed)

Once my chain of attacks ends, my tiger gets claw 1d6+10/claw 1d6+10/bite 1d8+10/grab/rake 1d6+10/rake1d6+10 (all of those are at +15 to hit except the grab which is +20, all with the same +4 flanking bonus when applicable), and if any of the tigers attacks crit it provokes an AoO from the rogue.

If a target manages to survive a round of that, they are generally in a really bad way...usually with -2 AC, -2 on their hit rolls, probably grappled, and almost assuredly missing a huge chunk of their health.

I could have even made it nastier if I moved up the Precise Strike teamwork feat instead of taking Realistic Likeness, which would add an extra 1d6 precision damage to every one of both my character and tigers attacks. I also spent a large portion of my wealth on utility items instead of pure combat, I probably could have squeezed in an extra +1 on each of my weapons, maybe toss in some Deliquescent Gloves to add an extra 1d6 acid damage to each of my attacks.

Here is my current build if you are curious.

** spoiler omitted **...

It will be nice to combine with such a build Roof Runner hunter archetype...

And what spells did you choose for this build?


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Since when can you use piranha strike with a curve blade?

Piranha Strike:

Quote:
When wielding a light weapon...

Curve Blade

Quote:
You can use the Weapon Finesse feat to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to attack rolls with an elven curve blade sized for you, even though it isn’t a light weapon.
You can't even use effortless lace to make a curve-blade a light weapon, because that specifies a one-handed weapon and the curve-blade is two-handed (another reason that Power Attack is the better option here, it has extra benefits for two-handers.)

Well it's still worth it for the 1.5 Dex to damage even if power attack requires pumping a dump stat. At least you'll be able to carry more loot.

Grand Lodge

Lead Blades and Carry Companion are the 2 spells I use the most, Barkskin is in there as well, Monkey Fish and Endure Elements for utility. Nothing too exciting, I don't cast in combat much, I'll pre-buff if I know I need it, otherwise my spells are mostly there for utility.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kemuri Kunoichi: Are you counting +1 to hit for being on higher ground/mounted?


And how did you get proficiency with the kukri? traits?


PhD. Okkam wrote:
And how did you get proficiency with the kukri? traits?

If you are talking about the kitsune above... then probably the hunter levels? They have martial weapons.


Canny Tumble+Circling Mongoose

It is a five feat investment to get both but they stack up and render your foe flat-footed and flanked.


lemeres wrote:
PhD. Okkam wrote:
And how did you get proficiency with the kukri? traits?
If you are talking about the kitsune above... then probably the hunter levels? They have martial weapons.

No. Level 4 taken weapon training – Kukri.


PhD. Okkam wrote:
lemeres wrote:
PhD. Okkam wrote:
And how did you get proficiency with the kukri? traits?
If you are talking about the kitsune above... then probably the hunter levels? They have martial weapons.
No. Level 4 taken weapon training – Kukri.

that gives weapon focus as a bonus feat


i find 4 levels of rogue and the rest in slayer makes for a pretty good well rounded character that fills the normal rogue roll and is actually combat compitent

Grand Lodge

I actually don't usually ride the tiger in combat, I find it gives me more flexibility to be able to surround enemies, give flanking to more of my team mates, etc. So the above numbers do not include mounted/high ground.

I retrained the level 4 weapon training from daggers to kukri when I hit level 5 and gained proficiency with them. The build can still work fine even with just daggers, you just won't provoke as many extra attacks from the animal companion.

Grand Lodge

Lady-J wrote:
i find 4 levels of rogue and the rest in slayer makes for a pretty good well rounded character that fills the normal rogue roll and is actually combat competent

4 levels of unchained rogue can make a lot of dex based builds better, finesse and dex to damage, a little sneak attack, loads of skill points, evasion, debilitating injury, 2 rogue talents, trap finding, danger sense...U-Rogues get a ton of goodies in those 4 levels.


Lady-J wrote:
PhD. Okkam wrote:
lemeres wrote:
PhD. Okkam wrote:
And how did you get proficiency with the kukri? traits?
If you are talking about the kitsune above... then probably the hunter levels? They have martial weapons.
No. Level 4 taken weapon training – Kukri.
that gives weapon focus as a bonus feat

Weapon focus requires proficiency, and there's nothing in the rogue talents to say you don't need to meet the prereqs of the feat.

Grand Lodge

Lady-J wrote:
i find 4 levels of rogue and the rest in slayer makes for a pretty good well rounded character that fills the normal rogue roll and is actually combat competent

I find myself wondering how a mix of URogue/Shadowdancer/Slayer might work out...4 URogue/3 Shadowdancer/4 Slayer...could be interesting.

Andy Brown wrote:
Weapon focus requires proficiency, and there's nothing in the rogue talents to say you don't need to meet the prereqs of the feat.

As mentioned above, I retrained it from daggers to Kukri when I took my first level of hunter.


Slyme wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
i find 4 levels of rogue and the rest in slayer makes for a pretty good well rounded character that fills the normal rogue roll and is actually combat competent
4 levels of unchained rogue can make a lot of dex based builds better, finesse and dex to damage, a little sneak attack, loads of skill points, evasion, debilitating injury, 2 rogue talents, trap finding, danger sense...U-Rogues get a ton of goodies in those 4 levels.

Why 4 levels instead of 3?

Grand Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:
Slyme wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
i find 4 levels of rogue and the rest in slayer makes for a pretty good well rounded character that fills the normal rogue roll and is actually combat competent
4 levels of unchained rogue can make a lot of dex based builds better, finesse and dex to damage, a little sneak attack, loads of skill points, evasion, debilitating injury, 2 rogue talents, trap finding, danger sense...U-Rogues get a ton of goodies in those 4 levels.
Why 4 levels instead of 3?

For Debilitating Injury. You're already in it for 3 levels, so theres very little reason to not stay one more and get a pretty big debuff on anyone you sneak attack.

Grand Lodge

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level 4 gets you Debilitating Injury, another rogue talent, and uncanny dodge. It also gets you +1 BAB and +1 reflex save.

Level 5 gets you Rogue's Edge (which can be amazing) and an extra 1d6 sneak attack, but you do not gain any BAB and your saves don't go up. So unless you plan on taking 6+ levels in URogue, 4 is the optimal break point.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In addition to the above, at higher levels you can consider picking up a backup weapon with Bane(oozes) or Bane(Outsiders — Elemental) so you don’t feel completely useless against those creatures. It doesn’t make up for the lost sneak attack, but it does at least allow you to contribute a little more.


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I know the particular rogue in question, and also the party EotT will be played with, including me:

- A paladin who hits like a truck and is pretty tanky
- An arcanist with a conjuration focus, focused on battlefield control (me)
- A cleric of Urguthoa who spreads disease to disable foes very quickly
- The gnome rogue in question, melee built

I don't know the exact build, but I know she's about to do her first adventure at level 11 this week. It's a straight rogue build with at least 1 archetype that trades out trapfinding for something, but I can't quite recall.

Now the real bad news is what almost everyone knows about pathfinder: Spellcasters improve way quicker than melee. And at level 12 that has definitely happened already. And you're the only one unable to cast spells.

I obviously don't know what we're facing, but my high level pfs experience is that there are 2 kinds of fights that tend to go really differently:

Humanoid(ish) opponent fights
The rogue generally should do ok with this. Stealth is usually quite good because perception is usually not skyhigh, nor do they usually have special visions, these opponents tend to stick to the ground most of the time, and they usually don't hard counter rogue abilities. Positioning is important, and tricks to move faster help a lot.

Big Bad Monster fights
This is where the problem comes in. There are many flavors where rogues get in trouble:

1. Flying
I would advocate potions of fly over other solutions. You can't rely on the casters to help you out in combat because often times there are many potential problems to either solve or prevent, and the rogue not being able to help out may not be near the top. And there are no fly spells that are longer than minute per level. Pots of fly are cheap enough at this level that you should have some. Consumables are way better than many players realize in general. I have 22k saved up, and I'm considering spending 10k of it on a ridiculously stacked handy haversack. Have one in your wristsheaths perhaps, so you can swift take it, standard quaff and still position with your move.

2. Reach
Getting into flank here is tough, especially because CMD checks are so large that tumbling is near impossible even if you fully invest in it. There are also a lot of grabs out there.
There are lesser talismans of freedom that allow you to prevent grappling at 900 gold at a time.

The other way around these two is ranged attacks. My first advice would be, see if you can get UMD to 19.
A wand of ray of frost turns your sneak attack into a touch attack, and I know you recently picked up a chronicle with a 7th level schorching ray on it. If you fire that, your first ray will sneak attack too, if you can get close enough to sneak. If both rays hit with 1 sneaking, that's 8d6+6d6 damage. And there are ways to do that ((greater)invis, sniper rules, tiny hut, darkness (you're a gnome!), the goz mask/fog cloud trick)Even without precise shot your dex+bab will make it almost a guaranteed hit.
Even so, still have a backup bow with arrows. there are arrows out there that help. A tanglefoot arrow is a tanglefoot bag at much greater range, a smoke arrow can break line of sight in small corridors and prevent a spellcaster or enemy charge, you can get lucky with a dye arrow and mark an invisible creature, there are cheap arrows to counter any damage reduction except alignment.

Furthermore, these types of monsters usually do a ton of damage, and taking these hits can be Bad. Rogues don't have easy armor class boosters.

I will contact all of the team before EotT, but one of things I came up with is an offer that anyone who buys a spellstoring armor or buckler will get frigid touch in it from me. This is a 4k investment that essentially prevents the first full attack of an encounter (at least if I have spellslots to refill it), because once you get hit, you automatically stagger your opponent.

3. Immune to sneak attack
(Incorporeal, oozes, elementals, swarms) this is where you probably shouldn't engage directly. Your damage is too low without sneak attack. Help the team out. This is again where consumables come in, and UMD too if you can get to 19.
There are level 1 wands out there that solve a problems.

A very important part is that you don't have to win every fight personally, you're in a team. It's more important to not lose it.
And the way to not lose is to be prepared for Bad Status Effects.
People get into trouble from bad status effects way more than from hp damage. Mindcontrol, fear, confusion, paralysis, stun, nausea, stagger, poison and disease are all potential Real Problems, and if you can reach into your back and produce counters for that, you are helping out more than if you are doing an extra sneak attack.

The alchemical remedies list has so many counters on it. Many of the 1 use talismans are also excellent. A quickrunners shirt is very good to solve a positioning problem, and they are very cheap. (1000 gold pieces to take an extra move action instead of a swift action, once per day)

And if you don't have something to do that round, think about how to make the next round count. Drink a cheap potion. A 50g pot of reduce person improves your AC and hit by 2, and your stealth by 5 for a minute. Especially with the paladins many attacks, a tanglefoot bag (or tangleburn) is +2 to hit for someone else, nearly guaranteed. A Ghast Retch is a guaranteed -2 to attack rolls, damage rolls and saves on most enemies.
First Aid Gloves seem expensive, but literally save lives.

A pathfinders career is pretty short. You have, if you win all of them, maybe 20-25 combats left when EotT starts. Consider this when weighing consumables versus permanent upgrades. Especially if you consider how much money you get. A 10-11 is 7k per mission, a 12-13 is considerably more.


Since the Rogue is a Gnome, she'll have a slightly better time with to-hit and AC than a Medium-sized character, which is good, but a slightly worse time with those grabs.
Hopefully, the GM will play to the fact that most opponents will regard the other characters, a Paladin and two dangerous spellcasters, as threats more worthy of smashing than the TWF Gnome skulking around in light armour. I assume getting a flank isn't too much of a problem with a Conjuration-focused Arcanist in the party (I doubt the Paladin would stick around if the Cleric of Urgathoa had an undead minion for flanking).


SanderJK wrote:

1. Flying

I would advocate potions of fly over other solutions. You can't rely on the casters to help you out in combat because often times there are many potential problems to either solve or prevent, and the rogue not being able to help out may not be near the top. And there are no fly spells that are longer than minute per level. Pots of fly are cheap enough at this level that you should have some. Consumables are way better than many players realize in general. I have 22k saved up, and I'm considering spending 10k of it on a ridiculously stacked handy haversack. Have one in your wristsheaths perhaps, so you can swift take it, standard quaff and still position with your move.

2. Reach
Getting into flank here is tough, especially because CMD checks are so large that tumbling is near impossible even if you fully invest in it. There are also a lot of grabs out there.
There are lesser talismans of freedom that allow you to prevent grappling at 900 gold at a time.

The other way around these two is ranged attacks. My first advice would be, see if you can get UMD to 19.
A wand of ray of frost turns your sneak attack into a touch attack, and I know you recently picked up a chronicle with a 7th level schorching ray on it. If you fire that, your first ray will sneak attack too, if you can get close enough to sneak. If both rays hit with 1 sneaking, that's 8d6+6d6 damage. And there are ways to do that ((greater)invis, sniper rules, tiny hut, darkness (you're a gnome!), the goz mask/fog cloud trick)Even without precise shot your dex+bab will make it almost a guaranteed hit.
Even so, still have a backup bow with arrows. there are arrows out there that help. A tanglefoot arrow is a tanglefoot bag at much greater range, a smoke arrow can break line of sight in small corridors and prevent a spellcaster or enemy charge, you can get lucky with a dye arrow and mark an invisible creature, there are cheap arrows to counter any damage reduction except alignment.

Furthermore, these types of monsters usually do a ton of damage, and taking these hits can be Bad. Rogues don't have easy armor class boosters.

I will contact all of the team before EotT, but one of things I came up with is an offer that anyone who buys a spellstoring armor or buckler will get frigid touch in it from me. This is a 4k investment that essentially prevents the first full attack of an encounter (at least if I have spellslots to refill it), because once you get hit, you automatically stagger your opponent.

3. Immune to sneak attack
(Incorporeal, oozes, elementals, swarms) this is where you probably shouldn't engage directly. Your damage is too low without sneak attack. Help the team out. This is again where consumables come in, and UMD too if you can get to 19.
There are level 1 wands out there that solve a problems.

For All Situations: Take Rogue Edge with stealth, grab sniper goggles and a shortbow. This will net your rogue ranged combat options. This is not optimal damage, but it is something and it is pretty safe to do.

1. She should really invest in a wand of fly. At level 12 with 10 cha, a rogue could have 12 ranks UMD, a circlet of persuasion, and a headband of +2 charisma for a total of +19 to umd checks. She can automatically use wands at no risk. If you let her use Skill Mastery to take 10 on UMD, she could automatically use wants with an investment of 7 ranks alone.

2. Generally, getting in to melee as a rogue is a good way to die. She probably needs a +5 mithral chain shirt, and a wand of shield (with a decent CL so she can prebuff after a good scouting run). You actually CAN pump acrobatics high enough to get out of AOOs, or you could have a feint build.

3. Blasting wands are an option, but I prefer using a two-handed elven curved blade and buff items to just smack the thing to death. 1.5 dex to damage is something only a rogue can do.

Rogues are probably the hardest class in the game even with the unchained buffs. You have to heavily optimize and milk your skills out of combat to set up the odds in your favor. That could be scouting ahead and giving everyone time to prebuff, or stealing enough items to be massively over WBL, or twisting enemies against each other with subterfuge.
They require a very good knowledge of all subsystems. You need to know combat rules because you are pushed into melee. You need to know cover/stealth/and sniping rules because that is how you have functional range combat. You need to know what all your skills do because that is the meat of your class. You need to know of critical magic items that may need. You need to know the spellcasting system to better know what kind of consumables you want. And you need to know about the class/characters of everyone else in the party because you are the one that needs teamwork the most to trigger core class features.


I have a Rogue 8/Shadowdancer 3, and the best buy she ever made was a pair of Deliquescent Gloves (8k from "Ultimate Equipment"). They add 1d6 acid damage to any melee (or range) weapon, but more importantly they allow a melee touch attack. There is also a version of these gloves that do fire damage, as well as an ice rod.

I agree with Sander that a good UMD bonus allows plenty of ways to help when she can't get sneak-attack damage. There are so many 1st- and 2nd-level scrolls that can be pivotal at the right moment (Remove Fear, for instance), and you can always pack a Bless wand too. One caveat, though, is that Ray of Frost allows SR but Acid Splash doesn't.


Dirty Trick Blind: All follow up attacks do sneak.


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I just found out about this thread yesterday evening, and figured I ought to weigh in, seeing as my rogue is the rogue in question.

First of all, I don’t mind not being the best in combat, that is not my role as rogue after all. Of course I like to be useful, and doing damage is loads of fun, but combat has never been my main focus. What OP is referring to were a handful of scenarios where I barely got to do anything, which was a bit more frustrating, and I vented about a bit. I’ve been looking into solutions for this myself, but generally I don’t see it as an issue. It’s more important to have fun, and that I do, especially when there’s opportunity for hijinks.

Second of all, it is true that my rogue is not very optimized. She’s not bad though (in my opinion), just regular. She’s one of my first characters, so I started out not really knowing what to do with her (mostly visible through my choice of feats). It fits though, because she didn’t know what she was doing back then either. She’s more serious now and I’ve started planning out some more for her as well, and I have the feeling I’m on the right track. However, some feedback is on this is always helpful, so I’ll share my build/stats here.

~~~~~~~~

Race: Gnome (with Darkvision (60) & Gift of tongues)
Class: Unchained Rogue (Chameleon)/8, Brawler (Snakebite Striker)/3

Str 8, Dex 22, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 17
AC 25 (touch 18, flat 19); HP 83
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +17, Will +6
BAB +9, CMB +7, CMD 24
Melee: Daggers +17/+12 (1d3+7 or 1d3+6), Shortbow +17/+12 (1d4), Unarmed strike +16/+11 (1d4-1).
Sneak Attack: +5d6+1

Skills: Acrobatics +18, Bluff + 20, Climb +3, Diplomacy +12, Disable Device +19, Disguise +10, Escape Artist +11, Handle animal +7, Linguistics +9, Perception +15, Sense motive +10, Sleight of hand +19, Stealth +21, Swim +3

Languages: Common, Gnome, Sylvan, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Undercommon, Draconic, Abyssal, Celestial, Lipreading, Tien, Kellish, Osiriani, Infernal, Terran, Auran.

Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Deft Palms, Alertness, Casual Illusionist, Combat Expertise, Gang Up, Improved Feint.
Rogue talents: Underhanded, One of many faces, Fast stealth, Stand up

Significant items: Darkleaf cloth studded leather armour (+3), Pickpocket’s outfit, Sleeves of many garments, Cloak of resistance (+2), Belt of Dex (+4), Amulet of natural armour (+1), Gloves of the cheating apprentice, Ring of protection (+1), Spring-loaded wrist sheaths (with daggers), Eyes of the Eagle, Boots of Speed (plus of course tools and traps).
Main dagger: Mithral, +1, Merciful, Sneaky
Secondary dagger: Mithral, +1

~~~~~~~~

Due to the Chameleon Rogue archetype I can take 10 on stealth in my favourite terrains (Urban & Underground), and I have pool of points I can add to stealth checks (currently 13). Due to the Snakebite Striker archetype I can feint for free as long as I use a move action to move (Snake Feint + Improved Feint). This gives me reliable access to Sneak Attack.

From here on out I plan to put all my levels in Rogue again. This means that the changes at lvl 12 will be an extra Sneak Attack die, a new favourite terrain, and better skills (mainly Stealth up to +25). Also ability increase for Cha. For items before then I plan to buy a circlet of persuasion, a ring of invis (yes it’s not the most useful, but a rogue with ring of invis is just FUN), a ring of protection upgrade to +2, and a bunch of consumables (potions and alchemical weapons and tools).
For further build the advanced rogue talents I’m planning on are: Double debilitation, Hunter’s surprise, and Unwitting Ally. I have some ideas for feats, but haven’t made my mind up about that yet. Probably Iron Will is not a bad idea XD.

Any suggestions or tips are welcome!

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