Rogues have problems?


3.5/d20/OGL

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Sovereign Court

Sebastian wrote:


The problem isn't so much the skill ranks, it's the sheer number of random rolls that get thrown in. This is my typical experience:

Rogue rolls, gets, say a 17 HS and a 28 MS.

An opponent with no ranks in Spot is going to pop that HS 15% of the time. An opponent with no ranks in Spot or Listen will make the check 5% of the time. So, if the rogue is trying to sneak up on a band of, say 10, goblins, out of 20 dice being rolled, there's a good chance of getting a few rolls above a 17 or a natural 20. Sure, there are all sorts of modifiers, including distance, but the natural 20s are still going to screw you.

Plus, it's just a pain in the ass to track the two variables. There isn't really a compelling argument that I can think of to not have a single Perception skill and a single Stealth skill. It provides some additional granularity, but at a very high cost.

Well supposing that the rogue isn't in combat (and like any smart player is taking 10), one of those goblins is going to need a +7 modifier on that untrained check to hear that rogue on a roll of a natural 20, and a +18 to spot him on the same roll.

<edit> whoops, replies are coming fast and furious, I see now that Sebastian is using the natural 20 = 30 rule. That explains his comments :)

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

GregH wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
In any event, the effectiveness of hiding is more a function of the number of opponents than it is on their skill at spotting someone.

I agree with that, I was just a little confused by your example.

As it is, I assume all NPCs are "taking 10" unless they have a specific reason not to be. That makes life a little easier on me and the rogue in the party. (This goes for the PCs as well. If they don't say "I'm listening at the door" they are taking 10.)

Greg

It's not just the NPCs that are the problem. ;-) It's like that OotS strip early in the run, where they get surprised and the PCs demand spot and listen checks for their horses.


There you go, K Cleaver, a special, served just for you.

The Exchange

Sebastian wrote:
GregH wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
In any event, the effectiveness of hiding is more a function of the number of opponents than it is on their skill at spotting someone.

I agree with that, I was just a little confused by your example.

As it is, I assume all NPCs are "taking 10" unless they have a specific reason not to be. That makes life a little easier on me and the rogue in the party. (This goes for the PCs as well. If they don't say "I'm listening at the door" they are taking 10.)

Greg

It's not just the NPCs that are the problem. ;-) It's like that OotS strip early in the run, where they get surprised and the PCs demand spot and listen checks for their horses.

"Ok, your horse isn't surprised....but you are and you need a ride check to stay on when it attacks/moves." ;P

Sovereign Court

Sebastian wrote:


It's not just the NPCs that are the problem. ;-) It's like that OotS strip early in the run, where they get surprised and the PCs demand spot and listen checks for their horses.

I love that strip.


hellacious huni wrote:
Alright, Kobold, I'll change it just for you!!! You little stinkpot...

Aww, your profile is so cute!

(Hey, I'm called 'Kobold Cleaver', did you expect me to burst into tears at a bit of kobold hatred?)


Guy Humual wrote:
Sebastian wrote:


It's not just the NPCs that are the problem. ;-) It's like that OotS strip early in the run, where they get surprised and the PCs demand spot and listen checks for their horses.
I love that strip.

Shojo:"Great idea! Here, I'll have my best wizard teleport you!"

Dead Wizard Guy: "Sure thing, Shojo! Teleport!"
Roy: "Gah!


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
hellacious huni wrote:
Alright, Kobold, I'll change it just for you!!! You little stinkpot...

Aww, your profile is so cute!

(Hey, I'm called 'Kobold Cleaver', did you expect me to burst into tears at a bit of kobold hatred?)

I WIN! I WIN! MY PROFILE'S CUTE!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Wicht wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
An opponent with no ranks in Spot is going to pop that HS 15% of the time. An opponent with no ranks in Spot or Listen will make the check 5% of the time. So, if the rogue is trying to sneak up on a band of, say 10, goblins, out of 20 dice being rolled, there's a good chance of getting a few rolls above a 17 or a natural 20. Sure, there are all sorts of modifiers, including distance, but the natural 20s are still going to screw you.
Most of us, I suspect, roll just one dice for a group of monsters and one dice for each individual monster connected with the group.

Yup, you don't want to roll away precious combat time by rolling for every last goblin.


Some of the problems I have had with the rogue doesn't have anything to do with the game, but with the DM. He doesn't allow creativity in his campaign, if you think of something that will make the encounter go easier or by-pass a problem. He immediately makes it impossible or just simply says it doesn't work. So I judge the usefulness of the class based on what the rules says has to happen.

It is the same reason I cannot play an enchanter or illusionist in our campaigns. Unfortunately he is the only person willing to DM and I do not have the time to put in to do it myself.


detritus wrote:

Some of the problems I have had with the rogue doesn't have anything to do with the game, but with the DM. He doesn't allow creativity in his campaign, if you think of something that will make the encounter go easier or by-pass a problem. He immediately makes it impossible or just simply says it doesn't work. So I judge the usefulness of the class based on what the rules says has to happen.

It is the same reason I cannot play an enchanter or illusionist in our campaigns. Unfortunately he is the only person willing to DM and I do not have the time to put in to do it myself.

Oh man, I'm sorry, I feel your pain. Check out all the Bad Dming threads I started and leave your woeful tale...


Set wrote:
I'm loving these 'Ambush Feats' that allow the Rogue to trade in dice of Sneak Attack for specific effects, like blinding, laming, nauseating, etc. So, freaking, cool. More of these would go a long way towards making the Rogue seem less like overkill with the +10d6 and more like the kind of sneaky evasive guy who dances around you taking you apart one hit at a time like he's quartering a chicken. 'Ooh, there goes the leg. Go gimpy! Yikes, bleeding cut to the eye, can't hit what you can't see!'

Almost certain to be a core element of 4E, right in the PHB.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Set wrote:
I'm loving these 'Ambush Feats' that allow the Rogue to trade in dice of Sneak Attack for specific effects, like blinding, laming, nauseating, etc. So, freaking, cool. More of these would go a long way towards making the Rogue seem less like overkill with the +10d6 and more like the kind of sneaky evasive guy who dances around you taking you apart one hit at a time like he's quartering a chicken. 'Ooh, there goes the leg. Go gimpy! Yikes, bleeding cut to the eye, can't hit what you can't see!'

Are any of the ambush feats worth taking? My reaction to them was something like "neh. That's not as good as doing the extra damage." They all seem to have some minor effect that would take multiple rounds to have an effect (lose 1 hp per round) or only do something if the opponent had very specific tactics (e.g., hindering movement). Am I over-valuing damage? How are they in play?


hellacious huni wrote:
HA AHA HAHA HA! You obviously have not felt the power of...THE BLUE GECKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO BLUE GECKO!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!

Rogues are fine. I sometimes bend the rules in my games and let them sneak attack things they're not supposed to, but few notice.

Sovereign Court

Sebastian wrote:


Are any of the ambush feats worth taking? My reaction to them was something like "neh. That's not as good as doing the extra damage." They all seem to have some minor effect that would take multiple rounds to have an effect (lose 1 hp per round) or only do something if the opponent had very specific tactics (e.g., hindering movement). Am I over-valuing damage? How are they in play?

I think they're decent abilities but I agree that I don't think worth the feats. Rogues should get abilities like this as part of the class. Maybe use some of these feats to fill up some of the empty slots on the rogue progression chart.

The Exchange

Guy Humual wrote:
Sebastian wrote:


Are any of the ambush feats worth taking? My reaction to them was something like "neh. That's not as good as doing the extra damage." They all seem to have some minor effect that would take multiple rounds to have an effect (lose 1 hp per round) or only do something if the opponent had very specific tactics (e.g., hindering movement). Am I over-valuing damage? How are they in play?
I think they're decent abilities but I agree that I don't think worth the feats. Rogues should get abilities like this as part of the class. Maybe use some of these feats to fill up some of the empty slots on the rogue progression chart.

What books have Ambush Feats in them, I am unfamiliar and want to innervestimergate.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Fake Healer wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:
Sebastian wrote:


Are any of the ambush feats worth taking? My reaction to them was something like "neh. That's not as good as doing the extra damage." They all seem to have some minor effect that would take multiple rounds to have an effect (lose 1 hp per round) or only do something if the opponent had very specific tactics (e.g., hindering movement). Am I over-valuing damage? How are they in play?
I think they're decent abilities but I agree that I don't think worth the feats. Rogues should get abilities like this as part of the class. Maybe use some of these feats to fill up some of the empty slots on the rogue progression chart.
What books have Ambush Feats in them, I am unfamiliar and want to innervestimergate.

I think most are in Complete Scoundrel.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
GregH wrote:
Larry Lichman wrote:
As for Opportunist, it is just one choice for a Rogue at 10th level. If it doesn't work for you, choose something else, like Slippery Mind.

Well, I think I said it, but I'll repeat, it was an NPC, so it wasn't my character. I had never DMed a rogue with that ability before, so I wasn't going to toss it out without at least trying it. But wouldn't you think that if a special class ability is that useless, then it shouldn't be there?

Greg

Good point. The only value Opportunist would have IMO is for a multi-classed Rogue/Fighter. Can you imagine a Fighter with a 2 handed weapon build and Combat Reflexes AND the opportunist ability? Ouch.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've always thought the ambush feats are mostly useful for the GM. They're less likely than straight damage to kill PCs outright, but the PCs will still feel the pain, so to say.

Dark Archive

Guy Humual wrote:


I think they're decent abilities but I agree that I don't think worth the feats. Rogues should get abilities like this as part of the class. Maybe use some of these feats to fill up some of the empty slots on the rogue progression chart.

Some are handy. Some aren't worth the effort. I'd prefer to see more, and more useful ones, and *definitely* I'd prefer to see them folded into standard Rogue abilities, instead of requiring precious Feats. They should have shots to the throat to render a target mute (haha, cast spells now!), strikes the get 'blood in yer eye' to temporarily blind a foe, crippling shots that act like a caltrop and slow movement, etc.

For that matter, fighters should get these sorts of options as well. Instead of 'swing, 8 hp. swing 12 hp.' they would be way sexier if they could do all sorts of swashbuckling derring-do.

Fake Healer wrote:
What books have Ambush Feats in them, I am unfamiliar and want to innervestimergate.

They started in Song & Silence in 3.0 (not called 'ambush feats' yet, though), IIRC, but they've been bouncing around in 3.5

Liberty's Edge

I don't see much wrong with Rogues that I don't see wrong with other classes. When compared to front-line combatants, yeah, they'll probably lose a toe-to-toe fight. Where Fighters/Barbarians fight hard, Rogues are supposed to fight smart.

Just because you have that bonus damage from Sneak Attack doesn't mean you're supposed to run up and get on the guy's flank opposite the fighter. That guy could be an Owlbear Barbarian or somesuch. Analyze the situation, size up the enemy, and then strike when the oppertune moment arises.

I do agree that Sneak Attack should allow for a slightly greater distance for ranged attacks. Instead of 30 feet, perhaps it should be 40 or 50 feet(or split the difference, 45 feet).

Anyway, a Rogue character needs to be played as a thinker. If you can't manage to flank your enemy, Feint. Boom, there's your Sneak Attack. If you're facing something you can't overcome, or something you can't overcome alone, this is when your character's equipment comes in handy. Let's say you're dealing with that Owlbear Barbarian by yourself, if you thought ahead, you'll have at least one Tanglefoot Bag, a Flask of Acid or Alchemist's Fire, maybe a couple of Thunderstones, perhaps even a few bags of marbles/caltrops. Not even should you be able to get into trouble, you should know how to get out of trouble.

Just because you're scouting ahead, doesn't mean you can't take someone with you. In my current game, my Monk heads out with the party's Rogue to ensure that the Rogue doesn't end up as Kibbles 'n' Bits.

When playing a Rogue, you just gotta make sure to play the angles.


I haven't seen any trouble with rogues in combat other than they can be a little weak, but we haven't played high level.

Skills. That does it for us.

The randomness of d20 skill rolls really is dumb sometimes and it's f~#*ed my friend's rogue several times in my most recent game.

Sometimes I think we should just roll 5d4.

But that's the game, I always say.


Sebastian wrote:
The problem isn't so much the skill ranks, it's the sheer number of random rolls that get thrown in.

Ahh... Okay. I misunderstood.

But then the same thing could be said about any "scout" type class... And it then isn't limited to the Rogue.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

How the f$&$ do I miss this kind of thread? Seriously?

Anywho . . .Rogues? No, we ain't got no problems . . .why you got a problem with us?

Huh?

If you do, why don't ya take a little look at this:

Spoiler:
SNEAK ATTACK!!!


do rogues have problems? do rogues have problems??? yeah we have problems! I mean look at this party I'm adventuring with! They have no clue what the word "quiet" even means and when they try it sounds like a ythrak in a metal-shop. Oh and don't get me started on their twisted sense of morals! They won't let me steal from the old granny passing the street. despite how kindly I helped her to cross it. Jeeze... even when I do manage to filtch something they're always like "share with the party", what is wrong with them??? do they think that being a rogue is about charity? So yeah! We rogues have it harder than all of ya; you just don't know how easy you guys got it.

sorry about that, I couldn't resist

Scarab Sages

Sebastian wrote:
You're right. We play with the 20 = a 30 variant. Still, the randomness of the dice is a problem, particularly when the rogue cannot get results above a 20. In any event, the effectiveness of hiding is more a function of the number of opponents than it is on their skill at spotting someone.

But doesn't that make sense?

To sneak past a lone guard simply requires that the rogue time his footsteps to match the guards rhythm, and moves from cover to cover while the guard is turned the other way.

To sneak past a room of 20 guards, he can only break cover when all 20 of them are looking the wrong way simultaneously. If just one of them turns sideways to talk to his friend, or feels the urge to go to the privy, then the rogue is frozen in mid-tippy-toe, thinking "Oh, crap!". And that guard is the one who rolled that natural 20.

Of course, this is down to the DM applying realistic modifiers for the situation, as well. If 20 people are gathered together, talking among themselves, or engaged in an activity that requires them all to be looking the same way (watching their sergeant giving them a pep talk, etc), then there should be horrendous penalties to their Spot & Listen. And if the guards are poorly drilled, and the alarm has not yet been raised, then they could very well be taking advantage of the opportunity to have a game of cards or a nap, effectively 'taking 0' on their checks (or 'taking 5', or whatever the DM feels is an appropriate level of vigilance).

Trying to avoid being seen when an HQ is on full alert should be difficult, but if the situation has got to that level of SNAFU, then you may well be advised not to bother.

Scarab Sages

Sebastian wrote:
Are any of the ambush feats worth taking? My reaction to them was something like "neh. That's not as good as doing the extra damage." They all seem to have some minor effect that would take multiple rounds to have an effect (lose 1 hp per round) or only do something if the opponent had very specific tactics (e.g., hindering movement). Am I over-valuing damage? How are they in play?

It may take forever to reduce someone to a zero ability score, but that's not always necessary. Drop an opponent's Str or Dex , and bang goes Combat Expertise, or their Power Attack/Cleave, Dodge/Mobility/Spring Attack or Two-Weapon Fighting feat chains.

Even if it doesn't result in the opponent's death straight away, it improves the rogue's survivability, and IMO, most players who have spent several levels accumulating such feats feel naked without them, and will attempt to disengage from the fight as fast as they can, leaving you free to mop up the softer targets they should have been defending...

Scarab Sages

Cato Novus wrote:
That guy could be an Owlbear Barbarian or somesuch.

Wasn't there one that got into the charts?

Hootie and the Blowpipe...?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GregH wrote:
Larry Lichman wrote:
As for Opportunist, it is just one choice for a Rogue at 10th level. If it doesn't work for you, choose something else, like Slippery Mind.
Well, I think I said it, but I'll repeat, it was an NPC, so it wasn't my character. I had never DMed a rogue with that ability before, so I wasn't going to toss it out without at least trying it. But wouldn't you think that if a special class ability is that useless, then it shouldn't be there?

Rogue 10+ with Combat Reflexes, Opportunist, and a reach weapon teamed with a weapon/shield fighter 10+ with Improved Trip = massive casualties. As I'm fond of telling players when I DM: "A rogue is not a tank; you need to fight smart."

Also, for the rogue vs. wizard scenario: the wizard shouldn't even know the rogue is there until the first Sneak Attack.


"The D&D 4E design team saw the rogue as more than just a skill expert, but a warrior who bears some similarities to a swashbuckler. In melee, a rogue is JUST AS DANGEROUS AS A FIGHTER (emphasis mine). While his leather armor makes him less durable, he can dish out a lot of damage in a brief amount of time."--'Races and Classes'


Larry Lichman wrote:
Good point. The only value Opportunist would have IMO is for a multi-classed Rogue/Fighter. Can you imagine a Fighter with a 2 handed weapon build and Combat Reflexes AND the opportunist ability? Ouch.

This should probably be a class skill for some rogue/fighter-amalgam PrC then, I think. The rogue as generally played will have very few uses for this ability. (Exceptions noted above.)

Greg


jocundthejolly wrote:
"The D&D 4E design team saw the rogue as more than just a skill expert, but a warrior who bears some similarities to a swashbuckler. In melee, a rogue is JUST AS DANGEROUS AS A FIGHTER (emphasis mine). While his leather armor makes him less durable, he can dish out a lot of damage in a brief amount of time."--'Races and Classes'

It's not without merit, that. I'm curious to see how the 4e rogue plays out.

Greg

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Rhavin wrote:

do rogues have problems? do rogues have problems??? yeah we have problems! I mean look at this party I'm adventuring with! They have no clue what the word "quiet" even means and when they try it sounds like a ythrak in a metal-shop. Oh and don't get me started on their twisted sense of morals! They won't let me steal from the old granny passing the street. despite how kindly I helped her to cross it. Jeeze... even when I do manage to filtch something they're always like "share with the party", what is wrong with them??? do they think that being a rogue is about charity? So yeah! We rogues have it harder than all of ya; you just don't know how easy you guys got it.

sorry about that, I couldn't resist

Awesome!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
jocundthejolly wrote:
"The D&D 4E design team saw the rogue as more than just a skill expert, but a warrior who bears some similarities to a swashbuckler. In melee, a rogue is JUST AS DANGEROUS AS A FIGHTER (emphasis mine). While his leather armor makes him less durable, he can dish out a lot of damage in a brief amount of time."--'Races and Classes'

Interesting idea. The only reservation I have is that this may hurt some of the "uniqueness" of the Rogue as a class, making him more like a sub-class of Fighter.

Sometimes I think the 4E designers emphasized combat a little more than may have been necessary when they made their changes (but that's another story...)

Liberty's Edge

Larry Lichman wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:
"The D&D 4E design team saw the rogue as more than just a skill expert, but a warrior who bears some similarities to a swashbuckler. In melee, a rogue is JUST AS DANGEROUS AS A FIGHTER (emphasis mine). While his leather armor makes him less durable, he can dish out a lot of damage in a brief amount of time."--'Races and Classes'

Interesting idea. The only reservation I have is that this may hurt some of the "uniqueness" of the Rogue as a class, making him more like a sub-class of Fighter.

Sometimes I think the 4E designers emphasized combat a little more than may have been necessary when they made their changes (but that's another story...)

Yeah, when looking over the stuff, I'm surprised they didn't just say that there are now only four classes: Tank, Healer, Sneak, and Magic-User.

Liberty's Edge

Come to think of it, I have encountered one problem when playing a Rogue.

There's so many things I want to take, and not enough room for it all in my pack.

Sovereign Court Contributor

The Last Rogue wrote:

How the f!## do I miss this kind of thread? Seriously?

Anywho . . .Rogues? No, we ain't got no problems . . .why you got a problem with us?

Huh?

If you do, why don't ya take a little look at this:** spoiler omitted **

Ha! I didn't open the spoiler! Nice try!


Look, I don't want a swashbuckler, I want a rogue. If I want a swashbuckler, I'll get Complete Warrior. And see how quickly I am not buying it.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Look, I don't want a swashbuckler, I want a rogue. If I want a swashbuckler, I'll get Complete Warrior. And see how quickly I am not buying it.

Dude, you know you want a Swashbuckler - I saw your Erol Flynn poster!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Look, I don't want a swashbuckler, I want a rogue. If I want a swashbuckler, I'll get Complete Warrior. And see how quickly I am not buying it.

I thought I saw you buckling your swash last week at the A&P...

Sovereign Court

Rogue options, for me, make up for the general shortfalls of their average BAB, light armor and sometimes useless Sneak Attack. These options have to be applied in the area you want your rogue to excel in, because (barring absurd power-gaming) you're not going to be good at everything. But then, that should be true of every class.

Example: the Gatecrasher prestige class from Manual of the Planes. A fairly good solution to that Time Stop/Summoning trick the wizard might try. For those who haven't looked at this old 3.0 updated class, a Gatecrasher can create a block on summoning magics 100' around himself, and at 10th level of the PrC he blocks dimensional escape tricks, too.

This is of course, just one option to solve just one potential problem.

Regarding those Ambush feats, I like the style they portray and would encourage their use, maybe by making them work when SA doesn't or by reducing their cost; i.e. 2 Ambush options for 1 feat.


hellacious huni wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Look, I don't want a swashbuckler, I want a rogue. If I want a swashbuckler, I'll get Complete Warrior. And see how quickly I am not buying it.
Dude, you know you want a Swashbuckler - I saw your Erol Flynn poster!

Stupid scrying salamander...I forgot to put up that anti scrying spell yesterday!


Rambling Scribe wrote:
The Last Rogue wrote:

How the f!## do I miss this kind of thread? Seriously?

Anywho . . .Rogues? No, we ain't got no problems . . .why you got a problem with us?

Huh?

If you do, why don't ya take a little look at this:** spoiler omitted **

Ha! I didn't open the spoiler! Nice try!

You attack me brudder??!!!

FLANK!!!

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Disenchanter wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
The problem isn't so much the skill ranks, it's the sheer number of random rolls that get thrown in.

Ahh... Okay. I misunderstood.

But then the same thing could be said about any "scout" type class... And it then isn't limited to the Rogue.

Absolutely, that's why I said I don't think the rogue has problems so much as I think some of the things the rogue does well are problematic.

Sovereign Court

hellacious huni wrote:
This is the assumption that as the penultimate adventurer they have access to artifacts that other players would simply not have the balls or connections to get.

Well, the next guy's ok, but who's going to do all of the adventuring after that?

Are we all going to have to take our grizzled veterans out of retirement?

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Snorter wrote:


To sneak past a room of 20 guards, he can only break cover when all 20 of them are looking the wrong way simultaneously. If just one of them turns sideways to talk to his friend, or feels the urge to go to the privy, then the rogue is frozen in mid-tippy-toe, thinking "Oh, crap!". And that guard is the one who rolled that natural 20.

It makes sense that each person should get a chance to look, but to give them each two chances to look and the rogue two chances to roll poorly...well, that goes too far.

Imagine if the rules for stealth were written like this (and assume that everyone has the same modifier for Hide/MS and for Spot/Listen):

Stealth: Roll 2d20. Take the lower of the two rolls. That's your stealth score.

Perception: Roll 2d20. Take the better of the two rolls. That's your perception score.

How far is that? Sure, it's a bit more complex because the relevant perception score must beat the relevant stealth score, but this is still fairly close to the way stealth works - the rogue is only as good as his worst roll. This is much more fair to me:

Stealth: Roll d20. That's your stealth score.

Perception: Roll d20. That's your perception score.

There aren't any other opposed rolls in the game that I can think of that operate in the same way as MS/HS and Listen/Spot.


I have problems with the ‘Rogue’ concept in most of the systems I have played, not just D&D. Essentially, the concept is a skill monger.

Generally, skills are not covered as in depth as combat and a lot of arbitration is left up to the GM. To have fun playing a skill monger you need a GM willing to place the party in situations where your skills are useful. You also need a GM willing to allow your skills to be effective. To make matters worse, when that one situations arises where you have the appropriate skill, there is a distinct possibility of blowing your roll. In combat, your effectiveness is averaged out across many rolls. Skills tend to be an all or nothing affair.

I am a believer that all adventurers should have Stealth. So it always seemed silly to me that the Rogue was the only one who was suppose to be good at this. Sure, he may be better…but the only one?

In most systems any decent magic wielding concept can do anything the Skill Monger can only better, faster and with more flair. So the Skill Monger can not hit as often or take as much damage as the Fighter, he is not the mobile artillery piece the Wizard is and the only thing he is any good at is made obsolete by the Wizard.

So I do see problems with the Rogue.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Set wrote:


Some are handy. Some aren't worth the effort. I'd prefer to see more, and more useful ones, and *definitely* I'd prefer to see them folded into standard Rogue abilities, instead of requiring precious Feats. They should have shots to the throat to render a target mute (haha, cast spells now!), strikes the get 'blood in yer eye' to temporarily blind a foe, crippling shots that act like a caltrop and slow movement, etc.

For that matter, fighters should get these sorts of options as well. Instead of 'swing, 8 hp. swing 12 hp.' they would be way sexier if they could do all sorts of swashbuckling derring-do.

All classes get this (while not as feats) if you buy the critical hit deck! (/end plug)


You know, I've seen dozens of these threads over the last few years. James Jacobs thinks wizards in RAW suck. I hear numerous complaints about fighters being underpowered with all the new Core Classes, or rangers or whatever. The only class I hear about being overpowered more than not is Cleric, but then people complain that the class isn't customizable enough--that the abilities of the class as written channel you into the mold of the mace-wielding armored Cuthbertine or Pelorian battle-priest and not the sneaky priest of Olidammara or the magicky priest of Boccob. Nearly all of these problems can be overcome with a combination of good play and good DMing. And it's simply not true that only the rogue relies on DM cooperation to make maximum use of his skills. Every class is this way. If the DM wants to neutralize the party tank, the party cleric, or the party wizard on a regular basis, he can do it easily. He just has to build the right enemies or the right kind of dungeon. Huge grapply tentacle things or traps that dump you into deep water can really suck for a standard-build fighter, while things keyed to blast the socks off a certain alignment can screw the cleric, and an antimagic field or a silence effect can negate a wizard. The point is not to avoid these things, but to use them judiciously so that in certain fights one of the PCs is neutralized--as long as it's a different one every time, and it doesn't happen every fight, no one will complain.

From the PC's perspective, there's also the issue of rising to the challenge of a less than optimal tactical situation and finding a way to make a contribution. If you can't hit this pitcher's fastball, lay down a bunt and move up the runner.

The problems mentioned here with rogues are partly a matter of not combining caution, smarts, and creativity, and partly a matter of DMs not allowing a little leeway for the rogue to do his thing. But these two problems can make any class's weaknesses glaring and its strengths pale.

I haven't played rogues extensively, but I've done a bit. Here are some comments about the themes above:

Stealth. The rules are a bit clunky, and the DM needs to use discretion based on the situation (as a poster noted above--the alert status and activities of the creatures play a big role and should result in circumstance penalties sometimes, and you shouldn't always roll for every guard within visual range--just for those in the best position to spot.) The player also needs to use brains. Sneaking through a small well-lit room with lots of alert guards is stupid. So you wait until your mage has tossed a fireball in or the tank has charged in and started laying about with his sword, then take advantage of the chaos to slip through, possibly unnoticed. On this topic, darkvision might be a bit overpowered--I'd houserule that the outer half of darkvision range counts as "shadowy illumination" for purposes of sneaking.

Stealth #2. A small character, suitably equipped, with the appropriate feats and synergies can travel about virtually unseen as long as there is cover or less than optimal lighting, which should apply in at least half of all dungeon rooms, as well as urban or wilderness situations. My son has a gnome rogue with boots and cloak of elvenkind, and at 8th level he is rarely detected until it's too late. Of course dragons and the like will have a good chance, but that's as it should be.

Stealth #3. Any rogue worth his salt will have magical enhancements to use when the tactical situation doesn't allow him the usual options. Potions/wand/ring of invisibility are de rigueur, and a wand of silence can be handy, too. Or you could try the Shadowbane Stalker PrC for a little divine help.

Flanking. You don't run in and flank a big hulking brute at the beginning of the fight. You watch from the shadows, wait for the party tank to land a couple of good blows. When it looks like the guy is significantly weakened, you pop out and gank him, saving the (now weakened) party tank from sucking up the next full attack. Ya gotta pick your moments.

Ranged combat. You can't use ranged sneak in all situations, but if there's cover--say a row of pillars along the edge of the room or a stack of crates or some underbrush or a pile of rubble--you should be able to use this to set up ranged sneak. The rogue waits until combat is underway and the enemy's attention is focused elsewhere, slips to a hiding spot, and picks his target. The shortbow is ideal for this at higher levels--it is quiet enough so that other enemies won't automatically notice that their buddy just got an arrow in the back, given the noise and confusion of battle, so you can get two or three sneak attack shots in before having to disappear and reposition. If you want a killer combo for this kind of rogue, try a rogue/ranger multiclass--rapid shot and favored enemy synergize nicely.

Traps and trapfinding. Part of the lameness of traps--at least in the published adventures I've read--is that they tend not to be well enough described that a DM can provide verisimilitude to accompany the skill rolls. Or they are just plain stupid, like the pressure plate in the bank (wait, there are banks in the D&D world?) case mentioned above. When I write my own dungeons, I make sure I have a reasonably realistic design for the trap--I want to know, mechanically, how it does what it does. Then, when the rogue rolls high on his disable device, I can say--you notice that if you cut this wire or jam this pulley you can keep the trap from activating, or with a search roll, you can say you catch sight of a faint glow on the ceiling (glyph of warding) or you notice the flagstones in front of the door aren't mortared in place (concealed pit trap). If it's a published adventure, I often rationalize or change the traps for this reason. Anyhow, traps should be used judiciously--unless it's a crazy undead infested thing designed to kill tomb-robbers or whatever.

Mobility. This topic hasn't come up, but the rogue should be the best at getting through or past enemies (tumble skill), and also at disengaging when he's overmatched (tumble some more). Furthermore, if your party fighter (a case mentioned above) runs over stuff to get to the big enemies, you want to synergize with that, not expect him to stand in one spot and flank the guy for you. Tumble plus spring attack--move around the battlefield yourself, staying in the right general area to zip in, take a flanking attack, and zip out.

Swashbuckling. If you want a swashbuckly rogue and don't want to use the Complete Warrior, build one--a multiclass fighter/rogue is an excellent combo, with more combat feats at the expense of some stealth and other skills. In fact rogue is one of the best classes to multiclass, because its versatility is such that you can create great synergies with nearly any other class in the PH, if you're creative.


The Last Rogue wrote:

How the f~~% do I miss this kind of thread? Seriously?

Anywho . . .Rogues? No, we ain't got no problems . . .why you got a problem with us?

Huh?

If you do, why don't ya take a little look at this:** spoiler omitted **

*Sigh*

I am a LICH. But you did put a hole in my fine jacket.

Edit: Hey! Where did my coin pouch go? You bring that back right now!

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