Ranged Rogue


Rules Questions


So, the conundrum I'm facing is that I am making a Sorcerer/Rogue/Arcane Trickster, and I'm planning on using spells like rays and such for sneak attacks, since I also have the Elemental bloodline and get a ray attack around 8 times per day. However, in combat, there are no rules that would allow me to sneak attack from a distance in combat (once they know i'm there). I can't flank from range, and going into melee is (I'd think understandably) unacceptable, so the remedy I found was a feat in "Quintessential Elf" called Ranged Threat that would allow me to flank from range, but my DM would rather I not use that book.

So I'm asking if anyone knows a way to get ranged sneak attacks in combat, whether from spells or not?


Flanking is not the only way to trigger sneak attack.
You could win initiative(flatfooted enemy) for starters.
An AT could easily cast invisibility, or induce some of the statuses that allow someone to be sneak attacked. Blindness, stun or many others...
Also the AT has an auto sneak attack class feature: Impromptu sneak attack IIRC.


Yeah, I've thought of some of those, problem is, you can only do it once for each of them, and for each it's not always certain you're gonna get the sneak attack.
Though now that you mention blindness and darkness and stuff like that, I realize there are more spells I could use for stuff like that, so thank you there.
And while Impromptu sneak attack is awesome on so many levels, again you can only use it up to I think three times per day. And knowing my group, there's going to be a whole ton of combat.
So I guess I'll probably have to use a lot of status-inducing spells. Though, being a sorcerer, I'd like to have as many spells that do decent damage as I can, you know.


Greater Invisibility is the best way to get sneak attack damage reliably with ranged attacks (after the first round of combat).


Welcome to the problems of being a Rogue.

And when you DO finally get a sneak attack from range - you are limited to 30 feet.

Your options are to pretty much:
Get the jump on your opponent and hit them flat footed at range via ambush - works for an opener.

Use Bluff to Feint the Opponent, rendering him flat footed, creating another opportunity (may require 5' steps etc)

Wait until others are 'threatening' your target and flanking him up - then nail the flanked target (or pop into stealth/shoot/stealth etc).

There's a fair few openers to get the opponent set up for a ranged sneak attack, but they are convoluted and certainly far from elegant


Luei wrote:

Yeah, I've thought of some of those, problem is, you can only do it once for each of them, and for each it's not always certain you're gonna get the sneak attack.

Though now that you mention blindness and darkness and stuff like that, I realize there are more spells I could use for stuff like that, so thank you there.
And while Impromptu sneak attack is awesome on so many levels, again you can only use it up to I think three times per day. And knowing my group, there's going to be a whole ton of combat.
So I guess I'll probably have to use a lot of status-inducing spells. Though, being a sorcerer, I'd like to have as many spells that do decent damage as I can, you know.

Here is one possible suggestion. Talk to your GM, and see if you can get a houserule concerning impromptu sneak attack (which I've always found rather underwelming)

One use of impmptu sneak attack to allow all your attacks until you begin the next round to be sneak attacks.

This generally means either one spell (or two with quicken, or three with quicken and twin... interestingly enough there's a small loophole that I'll detail below that can work with that) or one full attack.

It's an idea anyway, just see if he's open to discussion.

metamagic loophole:
If your willing to blow a 4th level spell slot preparing it, you can prepare an Acid Splash or a Ray of Frost as either quickened or twinned, and use it all day long. Under normal circumstances this really amounts to nothing, but with an Arcane Trickster it can provide some reliable spellpower to get off those ranged touch attack sneak attacks while reserving your spells for changing reality. If you can afford two 4th level slots (and the two feats required) Preparing one of the above spells quickened, and one of them twinned will let you pop off 3 ranged touch sneak attacks per round, when you qualify for sneak attack.

EDIT: Ok, now that I see your using a sorcerer that little trick I pointed out gets more interesting. All it requires is you know the 0th level spells mentioned, have the metamagic feats, and keep one 4th level slot open. I'll admit it might actually be considered a smidge abusive with a sorc, but sorcerers are running a whole spell level behind wizards anyway (and the twin spell costs your move action as well as your standard) so there's give and take.


Well, some great ideas, thanks all who posted. And that's actually a pretty cool loophole, Kyrt.
I guess all I can really do is lots of status spells, and stuff like invisibility too. As for range, I'm not so worried since most rays, including the special one from the bloodline, are only effective at close range, plus that'll give me reason for PBS.
Trying to shoot, stealth, shoot, etc. would be pretty hard, since you take a huge penalty to sneak in combat, maybe less so when they're already fighting someone.

So I might not be able to sneak attack too often I guess, but I will be pretty awesome, given some ways to sneak attack here, which will become doubly effective once I hit Arcane Trickster lv 10.


Luei wrote:
So I might not be able to sneak attack too often I guess, but I will be pretty awesome, given some ways to sneak attack here, which will become doubly effective once I hit Arcane Trickster lv 10.

Don't forget though, when they are in combat you will take a -4 to hit them with a ranged spell - as you are shooting into a melee. So Precise Shot will also need to be a consideration.

Also, work on the angles to try ensure they aren't also receiving 'cover' from friendlies/opponents, as this will throw 4 more onto their AC.


Shifty wrote:
So Precise Shot will also need to be a consideration.

Yeah, I already have that one in my feat list. But thanks for the reminder about soft cover from others.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Luei wrote:

Yeah, I've thought of some of those, problem is, you can only do it once for each of them, and for each it's not always certain you're gonna get the sneak attack.

Though now that you mention blindness and darkness and stuff like that, I realize there are more spells I could use for stuff like that, so thank you there.
And while Impromptu sneak attack is awesome on so many levels, again you can only use it up to I think three times per day. And knowing my group, there's going to be a whole ton of combat.
So I guess I'll probably have to use a lot of status-inducing spells. Though, being a sorcerer, I'd like to have as many spells that do decent damage as I can, you know.

Here is one possible suggestion. Talk to your GM, and see if you can get a houserule concerning impromptu sneak attack (which I've always found rather underwelming)

One use of impmptu sneak attack to allow all your attacks until you begin the next round to be sneak attacks.

This generally means either one spell (or two with quicken, or three with quicken and twin... interestingly enough there's a small loophole that I'll detail below that can work with that) or one full attack.

It's an idea anyway, just see if he's open to discussion.

** spoiler omitted **

EDIT: Ok, now that I see your using a sorcerer that little trick I pointed out gets more interesting....

Are you implying that because you're metamagic-ing a 0-level spell, you're allowed to use it infinitely as though it were still a 0-level spell?

It doesn't work this way since the spell "burns" the slot that it was prepared into (or used to cast, in the case of a spontaneous caster) when the cantrip is cast under the effect of metamagic. When you quick a cantrip, its no longer a cantrip, its a 4th lvl spell.


Kjob wrote:


Are you implying that because you're metamagic-ing a 0-level spell, you're allowed to use it infinitely as though it were still a 0-level spell?
It doesn't work this way since the spell "burns" the slot that it was prepared into (or used to cast, in the case of a spontaneous caster) when the cantrip is cast under the effect of metamagic. When you quick a cantrip, its no longer a cantrip, its a 4th lvl spell.

Heighten Spell is the only metamagic feat that changes the spell level. Any other Cantrip cast with a metamagic feat is still a cantrip, it wouldn't penetrate a globe of invulnerability even if it used a 9th level slot, it's save DC doesn't increase, and anything else dependent on spell level will not come into play.

For what it's worth, during the beta I promoted getting rid of Heighten Spell and having metamagiced spells simply become higher level spells.

At least that way pearls of power 2 couldn't bring back empowered maximized Scorching Rays (for example)


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kjob wrote:


Are you implying that because you're metamagic-ing a 0-level spell, you're allowed to use it infinitely as though it were still a 0-level spell?
It doesn't work this way since the spell "burns" the slot that it was prepared into (or used to cast, in the case of a spontaneous caster) when the cantrip is cast under the effect of metamagic. When you quick a cantrip, its no longer a cantrip, its a 4th lvl spell.

Heighten Spell is the only metamagic feat that changes the spell level. Any other Cantrip cast with a metamagic feat is still a cantrip, it wouldn't penetrate a globe of invulnerability even if it used a 9th level slot, it's save DC doesn't increase, and anything else dependent on spell level will not come into play.

For what it's worth, during the beta I promoted getting rid of Heighten Spell and having metamagiced spells simply become higher level spells.

At least that way pearls of power 2 couldn't bring back empowered maximized Scorching Rays (for example)

Sorry, semantics got in the way. You're right, the cantrip doesnt become a higher level spell technically, I just meant it uses the resources of a higher level spell. Infinite metamagic-ed cantrips clearly violates the spirit of the rule, though, and is addressed by James in this post. What you are describing does not work.


Kjob wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kjob wrote:


Are you implying that because you're metamagic-ing a 0-level spell, you're allowed to use it infinitely as though it were still a 0-level spell?
It doesn't work this way since the spell "burns" the slot that it was prepared into (or used to cast, in the case of a spontaneous caster) when the cantrip is cast under the effect of metamagic. When you quick a cantrip, its no longer a cantrip, its a 4th lvl spell.

Heighten Spell is the only metamagic feat that changes the spell level. Any other Cantrip cast with a metamagic feat is still a cantrip, it wouldn't penetrate a globe of invulnerability even if it used a 9th level slot, it's save DC doesn't increase, and anything else dependent on spell level will not come into play.

For what it's worth, during the beta I promoted getting rid of Heighten Spell and having metamagiced spells simply become higher level spells.

At least that way pearls of power 2 couldn't bring back empowered maximized Scorching Rays (for example)

Sorry, semantics got in the way. You're right, the cantrip doesnt become a higher level spell technically, I just meant it uses the resources of a higher level spell. Infinite metamagic-ed cantrips clearly violates the spirit of the rule, though, and is addressed by James in this post. What you are describing does not work.

Sure it violates the spirit of the rules, but then, there are MANY cases in real life where the spirit of the law gets violated in favor of the letter of them.

Until Paizo posts an official Errata it's just Jame's houserule, and his call to make for his games.

For my own I'm opting to let this slide, I mean seriously, how many times do you actually see people taking twin spell?

Sure it violates the spirit of the rules, but it doesn't break the game, so why screw with it?


I don't know if it's been said already, but feint only works for melee attacks. You cannot pull a feint with a ranged weapon or spell.

Flanking won't work, feinting won't work.

There's still flat-footed, though, so make the best of it: Get a high initiative modifier and decent stealth capabilities so you might get in two attacks before the enemy can even react to you. Become invisible. Maybe even try the sniping option (though that might require silent spells).

If you can't do something to yourself to make the enemy flat-footed, make sure you (or your party) does something to the enemy to make him flat-footed. Spells and abilities that blind, stun, paralyse or do similar stuff to enemies can help you out.

And you might always branch out to melee touch spells to fill some gaps.

Generally, talk to your fellow party members whether they have, or can easily acquire, abilities that can help you out.

kyrt-ryder wrote:


Sure it violates the spirit of the rules, but then, there are MANY cases in real life where the spirit of the law gets violated in favor of the letter of them.

Yeah, and in real life, nobody likes a rules lawyer.

Trying to use loopholes is bad, and won't endear you to the GM. Trying lobby for them by saying "well, the rules say so, I don't give a flying duck about intent" is a great way to get booted out of campaigns.


KaeYoss wrote:


kyrt-ryder wrote:


Sure it violates the spirit of the rules, but then, there are MANY cases in real life where the spirit of the law gets violated in favor of the letter of them.

Yeah, and in real life, nobody likes a rules lawyer.

Trying to use loopholes is bad, and won't endear you to the GM. Trying lobby for them by saying "well, the rules say so, I don't give a flying duck about intent" is a great way to get booted out of campaigns.

For what it's worth, my presense on these boards of late has been that of a primary DM. I applaud my players finding useful ways of using the rules and encourage them to try to make the most of their abilities legally.

Sure I make houserules, but only in cases where the rules are broken (Both when they are too powerful, and when they are not powerful enough)


Shifty wrote:

Welcome to the problems of being a Rogue.

Wait until others are 'threatening' your target and flanking him up - then nail the flanked target (or pop into stealth/shoot/stealth etc).

You can't get sneak attack just for attacking a target being flanked by two allies, you personally must be flanking the target.


Kyrt-
See this quote:

James Jacobs wrote:

The rules as intended and as they should be interpreted are that you only get to cast 0 level spells at will. Once they're prepared with higher level spell slots, they follow all the rules for how higher level spell slots work.

Allowing all cantrips to be cast at will despite that spell slot you used to prepare the spell is an interesting house rule, though.

EDIT: And do try to remain level-headed and non-insulting in this thread. We built the game for folks to have fun with, not as a matrix upon which to build and maintain flame wars.

What you're recommending is the house-rule, not what James Jacobs, the Editor-in-Chief, is saying is the rules as intended.

One of the great things about Paizo is we don't always need to wait for Errata since we pretty much have a direct line to the creators of the game.
Anyway, not trying to flame, just saying, when recommending things to other players that that involves using your house rules, it should be clear that your idea (which Ill admit, you're right, isn't super relevant or game-breaking) IS a house rule.


Kjob wrote:

Kyrt-

See this quote:
James Jacobs wrote:

The rules as intended and as they should be interpreted are that you only get to cast 0 level spells at will. Once they're prepared with higher level spell slots, they follow all the rules for how higher level spell slots work.

Allowing all cantrips to be cast at will despite that spell slot you used to prepare the spell is an interesting house rule, though.

EDIT: And do try to remain level-headed and non-insulting in this thread. We built the game for folks to have fun with, not as a matrix upon which to build and maintain flame wars.

What you're recommending is the house-rule, not what James Jacobs, the Editor-in-Chief, is saying is the rules as intended.

One of the great things about Paizo is we don't always need to wait for Errata since we pretty much have a direct line to the creators of the game.
Anyway, not trying to flame, just saying, when recommending things to other players that that involves using your house rules, it should be clear that your idea (which Ill admit, you're right, isn't super relevant or game-breaking) IS a house rule.

I guess you and I have different opinions of what constitutes erratum. No big deal really ^^ Though I will admit Kae's comment got on my nerves a bit.


kyrt-ryder wrote:


I guess you and I have different opinions of what constitutes erratum. No big deal really ^^ Though I will admit Kae's comment got on my nerves a bit.

Wouldn't be Kae if he wasn't sowing Chaos...bwhahaha...err...uh...anyway. How bout dem ranged rogues?


KaeYoss wrote:


Trying to use loopholes is bad, and won't endear you to the GM. Trying lobby for them by saying "well, the rules say so, I don't give a flying duck about intent" is a great way to get booted out of campaigns.

I wouldn't boot him from the campaign, so much as subject he and the entire party to the Wrath of 1000 Half-fiend Velociraptors...

Leaves a better impression.
:)


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Sure it violates the spirit of the rules, but then, there are MANY cases in real life where the spirit of the law gets violated in favor of the letter of them.

Until Paizo posts an official Errata it's just Jame's houserule, and his call to make for his games.

Regardless of errata I don't see many GMs letting this slide. Whether you call it house ruling or not is irrelevant if GMs don't allow you to use your loophole technicality. Arguing with a GM about the rules minutia to get a power which you admit is against the spirit of the rules is a good way to annoy your GM.

I don't care how you play, I just don't think it's a great idea to recommend it to other people.


Luei wrote:

So, the conundrum I'm facing is that I am making a Sorcerer/Rogue/Arcane Trickster, and I'm planning on using spells like rays and such for sneak attacks, since I also have the Elemental bloodline and get a ray attack around 8 times per day. However, in combat, there are no rules that would allow me to sneak attack from a distance in combat (once they know i'm there). I can't flank from range, and going into melee is (I'd think understandably) unacceptable, so the remedy I found was a feat in "Quintessential Elf" called Ranged Threat that would allow me to flank from range, but my DM would rather I not use that book.

So I'm asking if anyone knows a way to get ranged sneak attacks in combat, whether from spells or not?

I'm playing a character who is working his way to arcane trickster and have been getting very frustrated with this exact thing. Acting in the surprise round and getting initiative are probably the biggest ways other than Improved Invisibility to get off a ranged touch attack. There are some other ways to do this using stealth but I think a lot of GMs frown on stealth in combat.

Other options ->

  • Sniping from behind cover, hide behind a barrel and snipe from behind the barrel. Sniping is tough but possible.
  • A little cheesey but valid -> take a 1 level dip into shadow dancer.
  • Use blur to use stealth in combat. Your rounds would consist of moving to gain stealth then attacking. Some GMs might not let this fly.

    Also, I like the idea of using quicken to get off a second acid splash sneak attack but often it's not really worth it. The damage from scroching ray scales faster than sneak attack. If you wanted to blow a 4th level slot empowered scorching ray does 2-3 6d6 rays plus sneak attack damage on the first.

    The biggest advantage of using acid splash over scorching ray for sneak attack is it bypasses SR and fire resistance so in those cases it might be more effective. But in those cases consider acid arrow... it's damage is spread out but otherwise scales comparable to sneak attack. The only real advantage to acid arrow beyond the fact that it bypasses SR is the fact that it is an ongoing damage effect which forces casters to make concentration checks every round to cast.


  • Luei wrote:

    So, the conundrum I'm facing is that I am making a Sorcerer/Rogue/Arcane Trickster, and I'm planning on using spells like rays and such for sneak attacks, since I also have the Elemental bloodline and get a ray attack around 8 times per day. However, in combat, there are no rules that would allow me to sneak attack from a distance in combat (once they know i'm there). I can't flank from range, and going into melee is (I'd think understandably) unacceptable, so the remedy I found was a feat in "Quintessential Elf" called Ranged Threat that would allow me to flank from range, but my DM would rather I not use that book.

    So I'm asking if anyone knows a way to get ranged sneak attacks in combat, whether from spells or not?

    There's also a feat in the Cheliax companion that lets you make stealth checks even in bright or normal light while being observed (at a -10 penalty). Sniping lets you re-stealth as a move action, so maybe that sets the precedent for stealthing in combat? Might be viable?

    Grand Lodge

    Wasn't there a feat somewhere that allowed threatening from 30 feet? Or is that the same feat you were mentioning above? I didn't think it was in Quintessential Elf- at least the version I saw.


    Krome wrote:
    Wasn't there a feat somewhere that allowed threatening from 30 feet? Or is that the same feat you were mentioning above? I didn't think it was in Quintessential Elf- at least the version I saw.

    yeah, it was. It's called ranged threat. I forget the prereqs, but it was only 20 feet. Pretty awesome, but again, it's in quintessential elf.

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