Shaman Bond's page

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Belated question: since you mentioned the team player aspect, are you planning on some sort of sideline into Aid Another?

My own brief dalliance with a teamwork centered character (and the terseness of that last exchange) make me want to help if I can. I'd be curious what the rest of your build looks like and whether or not you are considering Battle Herald. Obviously, it's easier to offer advice when presented with the full picture.

Also, while Order of the Scales has a nominally more useful second level ability, Seal gets Disable Device (Not a terrible place to sink points in Pathfinder, should one find a spare skill point) and the challenge ability is substantially better. You get a free maneuver, with no repercussions if you miss. If you don't build around it and maintain full BAB, it will eventually drop off in power, because CMB is a pain like that, but for a PFS character, you'll spend enough time in the low levels to cherish it. Since the goal seems to be specifically building around trip/Vicious Stomp, I'd definitely go with Seal. Worst case scenario: it's a free secondary trip attempt should the first one fail, which outranks the middling bonus dramatically, especially as morale bonuses are a dime a dozen.

[Mind you, tripping has its own problems when you encounter huge things, flying things, things that can not generally be tripped, and multi-legged beasties. But by the time that becomes a problem, you should have other tricks, so it shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.]

Can I suggest that you look at the rules for Falling Damage, and talk over the implications with your GM?

I'm currently running a Pathfinder character with a similar concept, except that I've currently only taken one level of Kineticist (Elemental Ascetic) and put the rest into the Unchained Rogue (Scout archetype). There's plenty of room for variance, but here's the basic skeleton of the build.

Key feats: Kinetic Leap, Sap Adept, Sap Master, Death From Above
Key equipment: Silver Spindle Ioun Stone (Expeditious Retreat), Boots of the Cat

As a practical matter, you want to start combat with enhanced speed (which not only adds to your Acrobatics bonus for jumps, but makes certain you can leap far enough to wreck enemies across the map, as noted earlier). A Scout Rogue gets to treat any charge attack as if the enemy was flat-footed for the purpose of Sneak Attack damage. Sap Master then doubles your Sneak Attack dice on a charge, and Sap Adept adds an additional damage bonus. You're proficient with Unarmed Strikes (for non-lethal) and you can use Kinetic Fist for free (adding 1d6, minimum). You are allowed to make a jump during your charge.

On turn one, charge the enemy whose day you want to ruin (jumping over enemies/allies that might otherwise be in your way as necessary, so you'll virtually always have a clear charge line thanks to your ridiculous vertical leap). Attack by elbow-dropping him from 30ft above. Death from Above should net you a +5 to hit. Then, not only should you be your Kinetic Fist Sneak Attack damage + Dexterity, but to add insult to injury, you should both take an extra 3d6 from falling damage (irrelevant to you because of your Acrobatics score + Boots of the Cat). Plus, rogue gives you a bunch of fun skills to use when a one-man aerial bombardment isn't strictly speaking necessary.

Tactically, this allows you to act as a striker that can target squishy enemies hiding in the back lines. Thematically, you can sucker punch a flying wizard, and isn't that why we all play this game?

I like the concept a lot. Did you consider starting with one level of gunslinger? It seems like that would free up three feats (Amateur Gunslinger, Firearm Training, and Gunsmithing) as well as nominally boost saves and HP.

About Gun Twirling: Are you sure that you don't need Improved Feint in order to actually feint with your gun and fire in the same round? I tend to agree with your interpretation, but I've never seen the feat used in a game and I'd be afraid a GM could also reasonably read it as simply allowing you to feint with a gun, as an ordinary standard action. Is there some sort of ruling floating around, or at least a general consensus it works in your favor?

Hey, mate. I'm a huge fan of ninjas, but they aren't exactly the single best class in Pathfinder. If you search Broken Zenith's page, there are some pretty good rogue/ninja guides on Broken Zenith's page, including one by me (in the spirit of full disclosure and blatant non-objectivity). That said, I have a few thoughts:

1) Unless it's a personal concept, the tails aren't strictly necessary. A Hat of Disguise and the vanish trick will get you pretty far.

2) Dip a single level of Diviner Wizard. Yeah, it's shameless self-promotion for my guide, but it lets you act first in surprise rounds, gives you the Snowball spell + Boost to Caster Level (Which is an automatic 3d6 +Sneak Attack that at TOUCH AC that means you'll actually hit) in ANY surprise round.

3) There is a feat called Opening Volley, which makes it more likely you'll land a melee attack the round after landing a ranged attack. Be it spells or Shuriken, this feat sounds awesome for your concept.

3) You have a fellow Ninja. Consider having the both of you investing in teamwork feats like Outflank and Precise Strike. They work well for you guys.

4) there is a lot of potential that can work between coordinated ninjas. A disarm ninja coupled with a Catch Off-Guard ninja, a Butterfly Sting ninja paired with a huge melee crit weapon guy, two Offensive Defense guys could rock the casbah...

I feel bad when people don't get feedback on rogue/ninja builds. Hopefully, something I offered helps. If not, if there's anything you have further questions about, feel free to IM me. At the very least, I can maybe steer you from various terrible ideas.

Shaman Bond

There's been some discussion about grabbing either the Titan Mauler archetype or Catch Off-Guard feat to satisfy the potential proficient-with-grappled-punks question. I'd suggest the Breaker archetype instead. It not only gives you automatic proficiency with improvised (and broken, in case your GM is particularly persnickety about the rules governing humanoid spines)weapons, but gives a scaling damage bonus for attacking with them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've been fiddling with the Breaker archetype for the past few days looking for a build that can make crazy strength checks for the new Stunning Irruption feat. Between those thoughts, I'm planning on testing a similar build with a Human who dips 1 level in Kata Monk and has some Charisma. Not only does the monk dip save two feats (IUS and Improved Grapple), but you also have the chance to parry the occasional attack, become an intimidation divinity, better saves, an unarmed TWF (via Flurry) and a few clutch skill checks. Humans are great for a free skill, a free feat, and the favored class bonus to Superstition, for which you should think about making room. (I concur with everyone else. Lose the Brawler rage power line.)

All in all, this sounds like a pretty versatile and spectacularly unconventional melee rock star that can fight with anything or nothing. I wish you nothing but the best of luck. Let me know how it all turns out.

Shaman Bond

I assume I can't be the only person who thinks a nimble, charismatic switch-hitter with a rifle would be objectively freaking awesome. That said, I also can't imagine a swashbuckler that wouldn't just be better suited to throwing daggers, considering precise strike. So, given the givens, how would you all go about building a gun-wielding swashbuckler?

I've actually been toying with a very similar Inquisitor build for a PFS group, Kerblamikus. While it's still academic for me, my solution is to replace Extra Rage with Sympathetic Rage. You lose two points of Str/Con during the rage, but it should guarantee you many more rounds of rage, and means you only need a 1/lv dip.

After thinking about Mystically Inclined's point. You could probably pull off a brutal Skald build with single level dips in both Barbarian and Cavalier, which would allow you to give your entire team both Rage and the Amplified Rage feat. Of course, as a level 1 cavalier, your tactician ability only lasts for a few rounds, but still, how many rounds do you need when every one of your allies has +8 Str/Con?

Good luck, and if you go the inquisitor route, maybe let me know how it works out for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm intrigued to see how this turns out. Also, Serpent's Belt really is bizarrely phrased.

What about approaching the poison DC conundrum from the opposite end? Dazzling Display, Enforcer, a Halfling with Bolster Jinx, and even Thug Rogue offer possible ways to drop enemy saves before you poison them. As the expression goes: What doesn't kill you was just softening you up. An alchemist could even run Halfling Jinx off of Int with Versatile Jinxer, although that burns a lot of feats.

Hey there. I can't find a way to type this without sounding horribly self-aggrandizing, but I just finished a quick and current guide for rogues. It avoids the usual TWF and 8 INT strength builds, with the dream of building a properly roguish character that can hold his/her own in and out of combat. If nothing else, it's a lot of useful information all in one place, which might help you put your build together faster. The guide in question It's in the link at the top of the page.

Rogues do have their problems, but they aren't insurmountable, and half-elves are a perfect race for rogues, so it sounds like you're off to a good start.

Good luck, and for what it's worth, I'm totally whistling a bard song for you, albeit one that sounds suspiciously like Sharp Dressed Man. It's days like this I wish I could whistle more than one tune.

All the best,
Bond. Shaman Bond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bond. Shaman Bond.

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

Since no one else seems to have weighed in here yet, I'm really liking the idea of a crazy old man and his attack squirrel. (This coming from a guy who just built a Half-Orc Inquisitor who fights by throwing his pet badger.) I have a few suggestions though, which I hope might help.

1) You really might want to rethink your stat spread. Starting with a 20 in Wisdom is really expensive, largely overkill, and pretty dangerous for a support character that hangs near the front lines. Lowering it even to 16 (+2 racial) can give you 8/14/14/12/18/10. That gives you much improved Fort and Reflex saves, more AC, and more hit points. (Also, the more hit points you have, the more your squirrel has.) I took the liberty of lowering strength because you don't really need it for anything beyond easily circumvented carrying capacity, and I lowered CHA because...

2) Don't dip Oracle. Misfortune is good, but your character has enough going on that you don't really need to hamper your BAB and pick up two curses and weaken your Inspire Courage just for another power to force a reroll and some low level divine powers.

3) Consider going Qinggong Archetype as well and trading out things like Slow Fall to pick up True Strike. Your 6th Level of Sensei lets you spend a Ki Point to give the effects of something that's usually self-only (Like True Strike) to an ally. That's a pretty substantial buff for those hits you just HAVE to land.

4) Scar is a cool hex, but this character seems to be primarily a supporting, skilled monk, and doesn't really have a lot of hexes that are so useful that he needs to be able to cast them from a mile away. I'd start aiming for that Koan, but Feral Speech could be flavorful and occasionally useful too. If you rearrange some of your feats (maybe giving the squirrel Additional Traits at Lv 5) you could use your Sensei bonus feat to pick up Improved Grapple and focus on that path, since this build is never going to do much damage. If the Prehensile Hair hex counts as an unarmed strike for Insightful Strike (and it should) you could even grapple at range if necessary. You could even take Vow of Peace for a few extra Ki points, but that would be far more for the sake of flavor than optimization.

Good luck, and go sic some furry woodland creatures on people for me.

Shaman Bond

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Werebat et al: Your persecution complex notwithstanding, nobody is explicitly dodging your question about Blink. Yes, Blink to Sneak Attack in the days of yore certainly did offer rogues an additional option which could be easily capitalized upon. The rogues in this system however existed alongside a bevvy of other, substantially flawed, martial classes. Pathfinder has tried to equalize martial/caster disparities, to a commendable effect, but unfortunately while classes like the Monk, Fighter, and Barbarian have received a host of useful new toys, the Rogue has been left considerably behind the new power curve. At this point, for both you and for any future rogue apologists or naysayers still confused about the purpose of this thread, please reread the old pages. As it stands we're debating back and forth on several issues.

1) Whether the rogue can achieve DPS comparable to other martial classes, with the precise metric additionally sliding from Fighter to ranger, from Inquisitor to Bard.

2) Whether or not the rogue can fill some essential out of combat role which can ameliorate its generally poor combat performance. Again, suggestions range from versatile skill monkeys to super-stealth scouts, to jacks-of-all-trades.

3)(and perhaps most importantly) Whether or not these two concepts can be married into a build which reaches effective compromises on both without sacrificing vital survivability and/or skills. Yes, the rogue is mechanically weak, as compared to the other pathfinder classes (which is, I would humbly suggest why other basic optimization threads don't run as long nor generate such impassioned or diverse and creative responses) There are quite a few builds in the past 1000+ posts highlighting the strengths and shortcomings of Pathfinder Rogues in a variety of circumstances and hypothetical roles. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that we all are continuing this discussion simply because we either believe the rogue is viable in its role (whatever that may be) or that we want to believe same. I certainly would not dare speak for the rest of the participants in this thread, but I would nevertheless confidently postulate that both the smug certainty that there are obvious home rules (or previous) fixes and/or that we've forgotten fundamental rules, such as flanking = good or that ninjas exist, is offensive to everyone in this thread who has contributed builds or even offered yardsticks for a mediocre class with aspirations of awesomeness.

If you can't be bothered to read the above: 1) Do so. 2)/B/Whatever: We aren't talking about PF changes or old roles; we're talking about what makes PF rogues unique and useful to a party. A lot of complicated math has been done in the early stages suggesting that rogues can't casually compete with the standard skirmishers and melee combatants of Pathfinder rules. If you can't contribute builds, concepts, valid benchmarks, or non ninja classes/archetypes/whatevers-helps-you-sleep-at-night,you're probably not needed to further this thread.

We thank you for keeping us grounded in plausibility (because we won't always fight humanoids/ the gravity-constrained/ the flankable, or the ambush-able) but reasonable optimization means we can secure those roles in our party, and from there we can make general assertions. So consider this a heartfelt plea from a rogue aficionado to stop the ninja builds and the rogue-is-perfectly-balanced ideology. But if a thread has run this long, pretend Occam's Razor must suggest we've weighed the obvious fixes and kept going for something more satisfying, yeah?

Shaman Bond

Sub Zero: That's a pretty marvelous ranged rogue. If I had a hat, I would tip it. The only minor quibble is that Weapon Focus is a prerequisite for Dazzling Display, and you don't have it listed until Lv 9, but you can either delay Rapid Shot or the Heroes Display/Performance Mastery chain to make room, so no worries.

Thanks. That's a really good point. It'd be nice if Raging Song explicitly counted as Rage for feats, but strict RAW might mean that this would be a two-level dip idea. (Although, 2 levels in full BAB classes isn't the end of the world for a Skald.)

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Silent Saturn: I was just about to comment on Lesser Spirit Totem myself. Since all of the Rage Song powers seem to use the Skald's level/BAB/etc, it does seem plausible that it would also use the Skald's CHA. Personally, I certainly hope so. It would certainly be a way to encourage a casting focused Skald, but, far more importantly, you'd be able to be able to play a Skald whose very war-cry could summon the glorious dead from Valhalla itself. It doesn't get more thematic than that.

With the advent of the Hunter and my renewed interest in teamwork feats, one other build I was looking at is a Half-Orc Skald with a 1 level dip in Cavalier for Tactician. Grab Amplified Rage. By level 8 (Skald 7/Cavalier 1) you can start Rage Song as a move, use Tactician as a standard, and give a +8 on Str/Con to nearby warriors, +10 Str/Con at the next level.

My own two cents on the class itself: I really love the idea of a more primitive and tribal lore keeper, and I think that Spell Kenning, Rage Song, and the Bardic Knowledges do a great job conveying that, but the DR the class gains seems both boring, and really not that useful. Am I missing something obvious? Personally, after seeing the Blood Rager's Blood Sanctuary power, I'd love to see the DR replaced by some low-powered, but thematic abilities, like Inspire Competence, some low level masterpieces or really anything.

...would be more than welcome to contribute to some sort of build tree/consolidated set of suggestions. Mind you, the beauty of Rogues is their eccentricity and peculiarity; I doubt we can find a single definitively optimal idea, but I do think general consolidation might help future people who want to play a Rogue class character and not suck. [N.B: I'll get my motherboard fixed so it stops prematurely aborting posts, eventually.]

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Tark, I really want to seize the opportunity to lead with telling you that I'm a huge fan of the few posts by you I've seen, and I'm really enjoying this thread, as the rogue remains my most adored class. That said, the basic builds of an (essentially adequate) rogue Sniper needs the Snap Shot (and gods does a divination Wizard dip improve that) talent, the Halfling racial feature "Swift as Shadows" (Spoiler: you'll survive, even with your Small size, Dex bonus and the to-hit bonus of small size; cope.) and Halfling luck. Reminder: Acid Splash/Snowball/Scorching Ray (or wands hidden in spring-loaded wrist sheathes) target touch AC. Bonus: you'll get all the aforementioned abilities of a Wizard dip, the ability to keep Vanishes in store (Make a necklace of low level pearls of power if you have to), and still have space for some other archetypes/builds,

Additional Suggestion: It seems Rogue tactics, in general, could be summarized in terms of which skills (Stealth, UMD, Bluff, etc) need to be used to apply them, how to position oneself, roles to fill, and essential equipment could be listed by the contributors of this thread. We've had enough pro vs anti rogue discussion that I suspect individual contributors can help consolidate essential gear, tactics, liabilities, and so on, as extrapolated from the conversation thus far.

For my part, I'd like to advance the roles of Sniper Spice, Control Spice, Skill Spice, and Melee Spice, which the good contributors of this forum have not proven wholly incompatible, and gear beyond Baldric Bane, Sniper Goggles, and Touch AC spells or wands which your builds tend to rely on, what skill trees, builds, tricks, and equipment suggestions, or tactics do you have that we can begin to assume are standard for certain concepts. Again, I certainly wouldn't want to insinuate that this hasn't been done before in this thread, but the sheer number of very kind people who pointed the necessary shortcomings both in favor and opposition of my recent build suggestions (The only serious flaw I acknowledge thus far: lack of Agile Maneuver in the monk build, Scalion(Sp) and others have fielded (as adequately or, more likely, better) alleged flaws in my builds) that there are certain tactics and pre/post-combat roles that that the rogue is needed to perform.) Anyone who would like to contribute or re-iterate the underlying

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Good catches. In no order:
1) If anyone's going to have initiative, it's going to be you. It's not exactly a novel idea that rogues + initiative = Sneak Attack. I'd kind of expect Improved Initiative or a familiar of the same in the later levels, but that's fully my fault for not explicitly stating that and pointing out the potential of sap master instead. For the moment, I suggest solving the problem by incorporating Agile Maneuvers instead of Skill Focus and shuffling feats accordingly, solving problem 3 as well. However, I maintain that, particularly with an investment in Hellcat Stealth, Sap Master has a pretty good chance of activating.

3) With Agile Maneuvers (still my oversight) and a Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (+1 to AC, +2 to CMB/CMD) you get 3 BAB + 5 Dex + 2 Stone +2 Imp. Trick for a total of 12, far more respectable.

4) Quality over quantity. I picked Snowball because it's a 5d6 ranged touch attack for sneak attacks and surprise rounds which occur when you're out of melee range. In my experience, in and out of PFS, it's a pretty good opener. Additionally, if you're still concerned about CMB, it would be a pretty good introductory salvo for Opening Volley, making your CMB 16 at Lv 5 with a successful hit. Really, any cantrip would be fine, but how many good options are there? Thinking about it though, with the right race you could probably turn this into a passable sniper as well as adding other feat trees.

2) Ow, but fair enough. Like I said, this was admittedly slapdash, but by ticking the essential enforcer build checklist in the early levels, I was hoping to demonstrate the surplus of free space left for effective, but non DPS chains, such as the ultimate stealth build from earlier, a potential wizard dip if one is so inclined, (Although, if one was so inclined, I would hope they'd drop the minor/major magic talents from the build) I'd argue that the primary difference is the control rogue is competent at a wide range of melee tactics as opposed to slightly more adequate at a specific strategy, but beyond the glaring omission of agile maneuvers, I'm not sure what makes this build inferior.


1) Free as in what else are you going to do with that perfectly good divination school slot, and free as in you didn't buy the wand. No it's not auto-quickened, and I apologize if I somehow led you to think that, but it [i]is[i] an extra option the default rogue doesn't have, and let's be honest, usually if you need a +20 to hit, it's obvious enough that you can plan ahead and spare the standard action. I didn't buy the wand because my rogue needed the 750gp for high stakes poker, and also

2) Diviner Wizard is all about the utility. Scryer can literally just clairvoyance through cracks in doors and walls, around corners, whatever. That's a pretty sweet trick for a scout. Also, Wizard boosts the ever-dreadful will save by 2, like the Iron Will feat tax Rogues endure. Also, they get a familiar, which for a skill rogue, means a decent second roll on most skills, or at the very least a competent aid another. Also, the familiar gives Alertness (useful for the concept, and another free feat like the built in iron will.), and, if that still wasn't enough for you, the familiar essentially gives yet another feat, either Skill Focus, Improved Initiative, or a Save boost, depending on your preference. Plus, it gives you options like casting Acid Splash, Vanish, Silent Image, Grease, or possibly even a decent Snowball, depending on your investment in the idea. Oh yeah, and you act in any surprise round. Even the the ones you didn't see coming. For a class with multiple ranges of SA, that's pretty sweet.

3) You have a decent disarm chance, made better by the fact that you have at least one True Strike to disarm any +5 Swords of Rogue Slaying you notice pointed at you. (And since you have max perception, and your familiar shares your ranks with its roll, you bloody well better notice them.) And even if you aren't getting sneak attacks, knocking big, bad weapons out of enemy hands is undeniably useful for a party. Unarmed fighters don't seem to be particularly common enemies, and yes, against natural attackers, this build has to resort to flanking for sneak attack, thug enforcer debuffing and ranged sneak attacks against touch when applicable. Doesn't seem to me to be much worse off than any other vivisectionist or ninja. Also, I picked the sword cane because my understanding of it is that the cane itself is not meant to be used as a weapon, and thus improvised, like beating a man with a sword still in the scabbard isn't covered under longsword proficiencies. How this interacts with weapon enchantments eludes me, so ask your GM. This really oughtn't be gamebreaking though, since it isn't exactly challenging to find an improvised weapon.

4/5) I'd certainly classify it as an extra trick up the sleeve to use against people/things with weapons. The point of BAB you lose is more than made up for in the sheer utility and versatility offered by the dip. It certainly can't go toe to toe with fighter enemies, but then the rogue never could. Instead, it flanks, relies on teamwork, and contributes far more options and tactics than simple DPS. Cornugan Smash builds are never going to keep damage, intimidate, the Thug archetype (Which I remind you essentially doubles the penalty) and be able to wear as many other stylish hats as a control rogue. Did that help or am I still missing something?

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At the risk of sounding like the guy that "totally has a super-hot girlfriend in Canada," I've just lost my second Lv 5 response to you Sub Zero. But thanks to everyone who insinuated that I don't know how numbers work. Until you explained how bigger and maller numbers worked, I was positively stymied. Anyways, hopefully these brief skeleton outlines can be used as as a jumping off point for criticism until I have a little free time again. I picked lv 5 arbitrarily to see how quickly I could get the feat trees rolling.

Rudimentary Builds: Human, 20 point buy, Thug rogue for life

DEX 19
CON 12
INT 13
WIS 12
CHA 12

Human MM Monk 1/ Thug Rogue X

Combat Relevant Gear: Deliquescent Gloves, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone in Wayfinder, Dex Belt, Shield Wand in Wrist Sheathe (Bane Baldric eventually)
MM Monk 1/ Thug Rogue X
1. Improved Unarmed Strike
1. Improved Dirty Trick
1. Enforcer
1. Weapon Finesse
2. [Rogue Thug. Nothing stunning]
3. Sap Adept
3. Minor Magic: Acid Splash
4. [Rogue Thug. Nothing stunning]
5. Major Magic: Snowball
5. Skill Focus: Stealth

Down the Pipeline: Hellcat Stealth, Sap Master, Offensive Defense

Human Scryer 1/Thug X
Combat Relevant Gear: Sword Cane, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone in Wayfinder, Dex Belt, Shield Wand in Wrist Sheathe (Bane Baldric eventually)
Traits: Blade of Mercy, Magical Knack
1. Combat Expertise
1. Improved Disarm
2. (Divination Wizard with free alertness, Compsognathus because Dinos are cool, a free true strike for those hits you just NEED to land, Snowball, and Vanish, act in all surprise rounds, Spell Focus if you’re PFS or have a lenient GM, Scribe Scroll if not.
3. Finesse Rogue
4. Catch Off-Guard
5. Spell Spec: Snowball (if PFS) Enforcer (if not)
Down the pipeline: Enforcer (if you don’t have it yet) Sap Adept line, Stealth beyond Stealth

In (the exceedingly) brief, both are capable of making touch attacks against enemy AC, have spent their money, as it comes available because I'm far too harried for WBL tables at the moment, to increase to hit, CMB and conveniently AC with the same Ioun Stone,Dex belt, naturally, etc. No, I wouldn't recommend taking feats in this order unless you can retrain, since you'll need Weapon Finesse ASAP. One builds trades utility for basic DPS, but nevertheless, both builds can become to come together pretty early and can significantly debuff enemy to hit and all important saves , also with another dip, you can trade 1d6 sneak attack for a combination between unarmed and catch off guard, with the stealth beyond stealth build idea (which remains both fabulous and, regrettably, not mine) easily accessible.

The advantages the control rogue enjoys over other classes:
1) The Thug archetype, which adds a significant bonus to your debuff, adding to your continued good health, buggering your enemies' saves, (The hot sorceress in the corner is winking suggestively at you in appreciation for this. You're welcome.) and allows you to pretend you're Ian Dury from the Drip Fed Fred music video. Go ahead, I'll wait while you educate yourselves in pop culture and remember why you wanted to play rogues to begin with.
2)Your stat array and feat selection. You'll notice that all of my stats are largely mediocre. That's by both design and laziness. Dex helps your AC, and you can't afford to be punched in the face too frequently, even with 14 Con, so feel free to revel in your role as a skill monkey controller. Frankly, you're the middle child of D&D; no one expects you to amount to anything and you got no real class features holding you down from a dip or two into classes which compliment yours. The fact that you can turn your carefree stat approach into several viable options that the "optimized classes" can't touch. For example, sure other classes could build like you, and with enough INT, they could match your skills even, but you have built in damage (Sneak Attack) The thug archetype, and no room for anything as plebeian as power attack. You're busy turning unnoticeable with Hellcat Stealth, punching people out like you're Indiana sodding Jones, throwing sneak attack snowballs, and scrying through doors to care about posers. Rangers can find traps and crank out DPS, Bards can buff, and cast spells or attack. You can do it all. At once. And look like a total pro the entire time.
3) Why not play a vivisectionist? Honestly, that's a really good question, one that I had to scramble to rationalize when I typed the original draft. Honestly, Int as a primary stat and spellcasting go in the alchemists favor, but again the thug archetype, as well as the later rogue talents which let you capitalize on disarming (Weapon Snatcher), using your rocking initiative, (Snap Shot, and the compsognothus familiar you took during your diviner dip, you did take those, right) and not dying (Offensive Defense)seem to make it at least a matter of personal choice rather than a clear cut answer. Of course, I could well be missing something obvious, and I'm sure someone can capitalize on my argument for the Control Rogue and make a better build than my meager contribution.

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I'm not sure if anyone is still following this, but I've finally caught up with the backlog of this thread which I’ve been reading with a great deal of interest, as my best (and first) PFS character is a lv 9. Disarm/Catch Off Guard vanilla rogue who fights with a masterwork umbrella, and I've been surprisingly successful. It seems a large part of the discussion has centered upon what role the rogue can fill which cannot be done better by another class. I think I can at least contribute an idea for the discussion.

The rogue is the melee equivalent of the controller wizard.

Hear me out before you lynch me. The “Batman wizards” designed by my Pathfinder betters contribute to a party through battlefield control, debuffing, divination and tactical support, and utility. A successful rogue can do all of this, in addition to casually optimizing sneak attacks, in order to fill a role that another character could not manage without sacrificing a significant portion of their own class’s power. My backstab at the 10ish Control Rogue commandments is as follows.

I. Sneak Attack Isn’t Actually the Main Goal: We’ve established, the rogue isn’t naturally a DPS powerhouse. What SA does best is assure minor DPS scaling so the rogue can focus precious resources on other concerns without utterly falling off the damage curve (Imagine a Dex/Wis monk, if you're having trouble visualizing the problem SA preemptively solves.)

II. Thus Spec For Debuff and Control: Do you have a wizard in your party? I bet (s)he'd love the -4 save penalty that comes from the common sickened+shaken Thug/Enforcer combo. How about a fighter, ranger, or some(any)one else who does combat better than you? I'm sure they won't complain if disarm the enemy, ruin their day with a dirty trick, and then give a flanking bonus to contribute with SA.

III. To-Hit and CMB Are Your New Gods: You know who does damage? Those guys in the party you've convinced to do your dirty work. All you need to do is toss sand in someone's eyes, kick them squarely in the genitals (no mean feat if you're fighting pixies) and strike a pose while standing somewhere helpful. Boom. Contribution. A Thug Enforcer has just laid down an 8th Lv Witch's Evil Eye(or disarmed/entangled/etc), done a little damage, AND distracted the enemy so a big guy can flank him. Mal Reynolds would be proud.

IV. Don't Die: Really, this should be second nature to rogues. Even the heroic ones in media doing stupid things have either a backup plan or enough panache to offer concealment bonuses. You're in the thick of things controlling combat, like a conductor with a death wish. In order to do your job properly, you need to die, and in order to not be left naked and bound over an anthill, you need to not waste party resources protecting your prima ballerina self. Weapon Finesse covers AC and to hit in one stat and is a Talent. Done. Offensive Defense? Pretty good. Fast Getaway Talent while screaming "Not in the face"? Pure gold on a scout. Shield Wand in wrist sheathe? You have UMD and go first, don't you?

V/VI Have UMD and Go First (Addressed in no particular order): You have Use Magic Device because you haven't dumped Charisma, because I assume anyone with the pure swag to play a rogue has thought this through. (If not, rectify this immediately.) Now put it to use. Now put it to use. You want Gust of Wind, Daylight, Silence, See Invis, and any spell that primary casters are "too cool" to constantly have and/or that might be conceivably useful. Essentially, you are a full, prepared caster, in that you are fully prepared to assess any situation, shrug, and say, "I got this,"(free action) while producing the perfect scroll from your Handy Haversack(TM) before the bad guts can react. Possibly even during your enemies' surprise round, which some control rogues can totally do because they'll have to dip.

VII Optimized Rogues Dip (But Not Where You Think): Yes, full BAB classes are grand for people with low expectations of rogues or specific build ideas. Yes, very clever people have mentioned a Maneuver Master Monk dip for sap builds, and you can build a Bluff-That There-Is-A-God DPS rogue with this. However it's not the only option. Divination Wizard (Scryer) 1 is an amazing rogue dip. It must be, because why else would I personally use it? For the price of admission, you get True Strike as a school spell (Works in armor and guarantees that clutch hit or maneuver you'll occasionally need), a Will Save buff (which you would otherwise blow a feat on), a familiar (free alertness AND Improved Initiative, Skill Focus, or a save boosting feat. Again. also a second skill check.) free access to a Wizard's lv 1 spells i.e. a rogue's playground (Grease, Obscuring Mist, Silent Image, Sculpt Freaking Corpse. If you can't find places to roguishly use these, you're dead to me.), the ability to scout via precognition and scrying sensors through cracks in doors, mail slots, whatever, and, of course a free ranged touch attack (Acid Splash) which you can use to catch enemies flat-footed (even during THEIR surprise rounds) because, hey, you're a freaking diviner and surprise rounds mean nothing. Of course, no one ever shocks your character at Christmas, but role-playing downsides here too, people. [N.B. This is better in Society play or with accommodating GMs, where Scribe Scroll is traded for Spell Focus. Thus for the price of a trait, (Magical Knack) and Spell Spec: Conj, you can have the spell Snowball deal 5d6+SA when people are flat footed. Hell, that's a sorcerer-grade blast with which to open combat. If you have a pair of brass, err... spellbooks, you might even be able to initially convince dim enemies you're a squishy mage with poor spatial awareness.} Also, Sohei well for a combination between punching people into unconsciousness, and spidey sense, although Maneuver Master is probably still better.

VIII Really Thought I'd Run Out of Points Around Now.(But Seriously, Skills): 8 Per Lv isn't enough. There I said it. You're not dumping INT for STR, because again I'm pretending to have a modicum of respect for you, hypothetical reader. But what does that leave you with? Well, UMD is claimed until you can regularly hit DCs, Acrobatics is needed for a flanker, Diplomacy can get more information than Charm Person and Divination combined if you ask the right people with the right bribes. Just take bluff and trust me, I write ironically. And perception. That's kind of your assumed job, finding traps and all. That's 5 before Sense Motive, Appraise, some knowledges so you aren't flying blind, Linguistics for forgery (more useful than you'd think, free languages notwithstanding) + Style skills. Sure, some classes do some skills as well or better, but you do all of them, with no real investment, and a second roll is always very good.

IX Stuff To Buy, Archetypes, and Build Trees to Consider: Obviously masterwork thieves' tools and smokesticks are on the list. The rest I freely compile deriving while standing on the shoulders of the giants in this thread. Adamantine drills make impromptu peepholes and places to use your wizardly divination might. Goz Masks in smoke/fog/Obscuring Mist usually net free sneak attacks. Bane Baldric and Deliquescent Gloves give options for DPS and targeting touch AC, respectively. Bane Baldric works particularly well with improvised weapon builds using disarm and Catch Off Guard (COG). Sniper Goggles turn a surprise snowball into a special world of pain. Sword Canes work well with COG, being finessable (FAQ Update) and enchantable, ideally with agile. A Keen Rapier-of-an-exotic-metal-different-to-the-swordcane covers basic resistances. Nets are an easy way to entangle (Love you, Treantmonk), while unarmed strikes can utilize sap master and knockout artist without burning a trait on inflicting nonlethal damage, and rock with the Amulet of Many Fists. The "Stealth Beyond Stealth" builds, mentioned earlier in the thread, foil magical detection while being both utterly brilliant and a great source for additional reconnaissance, because, as we all know, knowledge is power. Enforcer feat is all but mandatory. For archetypes: Scout, Thug and Skulking Slayer are all great archetypes, easily better than vanilla rogues, but this has been explained in detail earlier.

X A good rogue always keeps a few secrets in reserve.

In conclusion, I'd argue that Rogues can be built as the ultimate switch hitters, not just changing ranges, but also for changing Normal vs. Touch AC, weapon types, and tactics as problems arise. The surplus skills and Sneak Attack maintain basic damage and allow you to keep things like UMD and buying to-hit items. For example, bards don't get to buff, hit, debuff, and do SA comparable damage on the same turn. Sure, parts of the control rogue can be accomplished, but only by sacrificing elements that the class is naturally suited for. Is it a tragedy that the best rogues depend on archetypes and dipping? Too bloody right, but there's still a role uniquely filled by a skilled melee rogue.

(P.S. The investigator playtest doesn't invalidate this idea, but if the devs carry through with the hazy, yet tantalizing comments in their forum updates, the investigator may replace sneak attack and gain mechanics for using skills in odd situations. Like a ninja, rogues will inevitably be able to use feats/archetypes for the latter abilities and will remain the utility kings of damage output-to-resources-invested.

Shaman Bond

As the title suggests, I'm toying with the idea of an Elf Rogue that is primarily INT/DEX based and thematically modeled off of BBC's Sherlock or Lara Croft (IE. A character whose main strength is their wide range of knowledge and skill, but is also competent in a fight). My plan is to disarm an opponent and then use Catch Off-Guard to get free sneak attacks and Kirin Style to supplement my damage and survivability.

Question 1: Will I be useful in combat? I doubt I can have a +5 Bar Stool enchanted, but will disarming, flanking, and Sneak Attacks especially if I keep backup weapons with Silver/Ghost Touch, etc in reserve?

Question 2: Will playing a knowledge/skill monkey be useful in PFS, provided I don't slow things down with unnecessary scouting and skill checks? At least in later levels, it seems like stealth and sleight of hand might let me mess up enemy spell casters who can see invisible foes, but not hidden ones, but I'm not even sure about that.

Question 3: How bad of an idea is a single level of Diviner Wizard? Here me out: I trade 1BAB and slightly slower SA progression for
A familiar which grants me Alertness and Improved Initiative
All Knowledge as class skills and never needing to UMD Arcane spells
Ray of Frost for ranged SA (Small ASF) True Strike and Featherfall.
+2 Will
+1 to initiative, and the all important power to SA during enemies' surprise rounds.

Additionally, in later levels I can get a minor metamagic rod of Quicken and True Strike my Disarm attempts. For bonus points, I can beat them to death with the rod during my iterative attacks.

Question 4: What ability scores, traits, equipment, archetypes, and additional feats and talents will I need to make this viable? In particular, I'm struggling with the Stat Array and Traits.

Thanks in advance.

Thanks. Really appreciate it, but I'm pretty sure I wanna be able to craft Golems until the end of the campaign unless you can suggest a be all and end all of Golem-hood.

Short version: my last character bit it recently through a spectacular streak of bad luck and now I'm building a Lv. 14 (Elf, maybe)Wizard for a homebrew. I'm planning on paying a divination wizard. (Rolled for stats, did well enough to have just over 100 HP, +2 Dex, and Int 19 before racial/level adjustments.)Want to play a controller wizard, but our rather large party lacks arcane support of any kind. Figured I'd take Greater Spell Spec., grab Fireball or something, and convert divination into high level blasts with Dazing Spell. I'm reserving three feats for Craft Construct and have a negotiable (but probably high;It's all based on concept and additionally I can likely use my Craft feats to justify a greater number of items/money) amount of starting funds. I'm looking for a spell to specialize in which will ruin as many days as possible. Is there anything better than Fireball?

Long version:
Planning on taking Divination/Foresight Spec. and the +4 Init Familiar for a grand total of = +13 Initiative.

Going to have a glass golem[consuming 3 feats; Open to golem suggestions.]

Budgeting feats for Spell Penetration, Spell Focus: Evocation; Spell Focus: Fireball; Greater Spell Focus: Fireball; Dazing Spell; Craft Arms/etc.., Craft Wondrous; Craft Construct; Quicken Spell;

Concept: Ill-tempered, Vegas-style magician. Cross-class skill into Profession: Stagecraft (WIS > CHA), Trained in all INT (Occult sage), owns traveling cart (with a demi-plane anchored inside and much-beleaguered assistant); prepared like Varsuivius.)

GRAND TOTAL: ONE FREE FEAT (2 if I jettison Spell Pen.)AND ANY SUGGESTIONS, BLASTING OR OTHERWISE. BANNED ILLUSION/ENCHANTMENT(unless otherise suggested, keeping Necromancy for Enervation)

Thanks preemptively for all the help.

Fair point, but it occurs to me that Rogues only get light armor anyways. This could be pretty easily replaced with a Mage Armor spell if one was anticipating trouble, (Considering there is a diviner subschool that creates scrying sensors, I'm assuming that scouting is free and easy), an emergency Shield spell, or, for the Rogue who always believes in using protection, both. Additionally, there's nothing prohibiting you from carrying a chain shirt around if/when you run out of spells or you kit out with a different set of spells that day. Hell, with everyone else suggesting a 1st level wand, a wand of Mage Armor seems as practical as anything, especially with that opening sneak attack guarantee. I guess worst case scenario, you could just gamble with 20% spell failure. It's not terrible odds, and frankly, a Wizarding school dropout might actually be a hilarious character to play.

Can I suggest a single level of Wizard Diviner? You essentially trade a point of BAB to act during surprise rounds, even if you normally couldn't, and a slight initiative bonus, IIRC. Coupled with a Rogue Talent like Snapshot, you're guaranteed to catch somebody flatfooted with your sneak attack. The fact that you can now read magic, gain a bunch of class skills, and an arcane bond to give you spell versatility (nothing like an emergency Feather Fall) are all just incidental incentives.

Good luck with your game. I've gamed with some pretty maddening people before, so believe me when I offer you my deep sympathy.

I'm not certain if this works RAW, but I'm in the same boat, trying to build a Mysterious Stranger 1/Bard X for an upcoming game. Since I don't get Reloading Hands, I was considering the Quick Draw feat and using an Unseen Servant (cast hours before the fight) to hold one gun while I reload the other. With Quick Draw and Alchemical cartridges, you might get a full attack with each gun. If it works, it has the advantage of using a spell with a much longer duration.

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Maybe this is a stupid idea, but why not take Improved Initiative and dip your first level as a Wizard Diviner for Wizard 1/Rogue X? If an opponent hasn't acted yet, they're considered flat-footed. Diviners can act in surprise rounds and you should have an absurd initiative. You can sneak attack with ranged cantrips, saving a metric crapload of feats, since you'd only get one Sneak Attack per arrow anyways. Also, tou can now lay down Obscuring Mist spells to stealth in, and Grease spells, to make opponents flat-footed. And as a bonus, you can sneak-attack/snipe with a wand of Scorching Ray, when something absolutely, positively has to die horribly. (Sneak Attack should actually apply to every ray.)

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So, here I am minding my own business, kicking around the SRD looking for something to think about besides this nightmare of a week when I notice the Ultimate Magic archetypes are up, and I decide to see if I can finally build a Monk Firebender. (Answer: Yes, sort of. Lv 4 Scorching Ray lets you pretend, but that's not important.) this is the juggernaut I built instead.

Human Monk, Archetypes: Weapon Master (Directly relevant), Qigong (Firebender, hells yeah) Ki Mystic (To power the new fire voodoo)

Stats: Follow Treantmonk's legendary advice, except raise CHA to 10, either by siphoning INT or offering the GM, erm, favors. Whatever.

(If used) Traits; Unnatural Presence [Makes Intimidate a class skill. Wait for it...]

Lv 1: Enforcer, Skill Focus: Intimidate (Human Bonus), Imp. Grapple. (Monk Bonus)
Lv 2: Dodge (Monk) Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike (Archetype)
Lv 3: Power Attack
Lv 5: Dazzling Display
Lv 6: Imp. Bull Rush (Monk feat)
Lv 7: Cornugon Smash
Lv 9: Shatter Defenses
Lv 10: MEDUSA'S WRATH (Monk feat)

Here's the idea. Monks can fight doing nonlethal barehanded damage. Nonlethal damage triggers the Enforcer feat, Which as a free action lets you Intimidate foes. Cornugon Smash lets you intimidate foes when you power attack them (Read: Always.)This gives you two chances to demoralize an opponent, which activates Shatter Defenses, making the target flatfooted instead and allowing you to MEDUSA STRIKE (yes, Caps are merited) for two extra attacks per round at the highest BAB.

You intimidate with 10+ 6 (Skill focus) + 3 (Class skill from trait) + 2(Masterwork tool. (Sub-bracket: Shaman, you sexy beast, what kind of tool gives intimidate bonuses, you ask? Off the top of my head; A human skull necklace (Named Yorick), Sunglasses a la The Matrix, William Shatner's spoken word album...)

You flurry for 8/8/8/8/3/3. At level 10. Against flat-footed opponents. Add STR, Power Attack, and Weapon Specialization from the archetype to your 1d10 fist. Anyone want to run those numbers? Also, this is without any equipment or backup from a party.

You're like a fighter with absurd saves, Jedi skills, and the option to Jackie Chan rooms full of mooks without actually killing anyone

Am I missing something in the basic build? What do you think.

PS. Not certain about Qigong. It looks like you can replace every level of Slow Fall with a power. If so, season to personal taste, but can I recommend Scorching Ray (for the awesome), Barkskin, and Shadow Step at Lv 10?

Yo. It's a little late, but if you haven't given up hope, I'm gonna be in South Bend this summer, and looking for a game as well. I have a couple of friends in the region as well. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested, and I'll give you the specifics.