Rogues and Armor


So, after reading all the hate Rogues seem to get on here, I started paying more attention to the Rogue class...and I'm really starting to like it, and especially the Variants(I love the Swashbuckler, and the Investigator). And I basically had an idea for making a Rogue that's basically a detective, if not a Rorschach, vigilante type of character. And the idea of him stalking around dirty city streets and breaking into homes to snoop for clues is pretty cool in my head.

My question is, would there be any advantage to making a Rogue that doesn't wear any armor at all? I like the visual of him doing all this in a "nice" suit and little bowler/derby hat, but would that get him murdered? Does it really matter if he's wearing some leather armor or not?

Well uh, it really depends on your Dexterity, magic items, race and the campaign.

but hey if ostog the unslain can do it then I say make it happen.

Pump your dex, get some +AC magic items, maybe go tiefling for some extra natural armor.

Hmmm. Would humans and their extra feat not be useful for this?

Well sure

especially if the AP/campaign/module/homebrew or whatever that you are playing in is more intrigue/skill focused and your AC is not as much of concern

if you're worried about a lack of armor, compensate, if you are not worried, then go human and use the feat for something to make you more of an investigator/skillful character

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Also remember that many light armors can be worn under clothing... a mithral chain shirt, for example.

You could always add an enhancement bonus to your suit (which would have a +0 Armor bonus), though this is rather limiting as well.

It is worth a try, Vamptastic. I am a Rogue fan myself. Let us know how it goes.

If you get your Dex up high enough you can pretty much just rock an armoed kilt with no max dex (to AC) cap. It's armor that can be enchanted, but doesn't really look much like armor. Make him a dwarf and then make him look like a Dwarf version of Sean Connery.

It depends on your DM, but I pull from Tolkien and allow characters to wear a mithral shirt under regular clothing in games I run. (And as such it's a common investment for paranoid nobles. Above and beyond the usual magical jewelry like rings of protection and amulets of natural armor, etc.)

Otherwise, magical AC items or UMD and a wand of Mage Armor.

You could also ask your DM about allowing your character's suit to be specially made to function like padded armor. It won't be much, but it will be a little better than going naked, as it were.

Liberty's Edge

One level in Wizard or Sorcerer to use wands of Shield and Mage Armor.

One level in Monk for a little extra AC.

Going with a level of Monk(Martial Artist variant) could be interesting, actually. I hesitate on the Wizard idea, simply because I just get so bored playing as a spellcaster of any kind.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is a series of feats called Avoidance in the super genius games product Anachronistic Adventures: The Enforcer. It and its subsequent feats let you work pretty effectively unarmored. It costs several feats but you can do it. They also have a product called the 'Super Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes' Which has the Yuxia Archetype which could be added to the rogue, which gives it a ki pool and a selection of ki powers. One of those is Iron Shirt, which allows you to spend a ki point as a swift action to gain an armor bonus.

I also started looking into rogues. In one of our campaigns we have a 'rogue'ish character whose DEX is so high that wearing armor actually lowers his AC. Then we found one suit of Celestial Armor and the party started fighting over it.


Trade in your light armor proficiency, or just spend one of your regular feats for a variant of this feat which you and your DM find balanced:

Prerequisite: Int, Wis, or Cha 13.
Benefit: Choose one mental attribute score (once
chosen, this cannot be changed). When wearing light
armor or no armor, and not carrying a medium or
heavy load, you treat that attribute modifier as an
insight bonus to Armor Class and CMD, to a
maximum bonus equal to your base attack bonus.
This bonus applies even when you are flat-footed, but
not if you are immobilized or helpless.

Very cool. How come there's a key by your name?

Use Magic Device on a wand of shield or mage armor. No need to dip spellcaster.

Can anything be mage armor?

I am fairly sure that a leather trenchcoat is a type of leather armor (barely). Leather is fairly resistant compared to textiles, so it can end up burnt or scratched, but rarely cut or torn. This is why you see its use on battlfields (trench coats came into vogue as military wear around WWI) and it is often associated with "dangerous types" because it provides some degree of protection against knives. A heavy coat might suffice as armor, or at least of the +2 AC variety.

Of course, this is assuming that you wear a trenchcoat. I am only imagining that feature since you referenced Rorschach.

Dark Archive

A leather trenchcoat is NOT leather armour. There's a large difference between a leather garment, which is soft and flexible, and boiled leather armour, which is meant to be hard and turn a blade.

One option is one or more levels of monk to grab Wisdom to AC. Another option is glamered armour, which lets you stride around in full plate while everyone thinks it's evening wear.


Vamptastic wrote:
Very cool. How come there's a key by your name?

The Key represents the key to the First Vault of Abadar.

;) you can select a PFS symbol for your alias freely.

Its an interesting challenge and one well worth taking. I have a Witch that is basically a bit of a Godfather - she has never once killed anyone or anything, despite starting at Level 1 and making it all the way to level 8. Whilst she never actually swung the blade herself she has lied, cajoled, manipulated and twisted people into doing it all for her.

Your Rogue could merrily do the same thing and avoid the unpleasantness of combat, it just makes for an unusual game - and you may need others prepared to do the killing for you. Think of Little Finger and the Spider in Game of Thrones, they wear some nice clothes, and don't even appear to be armed with more than their cunning and wits (both of which are actually quite deadly)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What do want to do as a Rogue?

There is likely another class that will do it better.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really BBT? Really? this whole debate again?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suppose it's like someone trying to convince some people how terrible the Chicago Cubs are.

The fact that the Cubs have not won the World Series in 104 years, the longest championship drought of any major North American professional sports team, and are often referred to as the "Lovable Losers" is meaningless to the Cubs fan.

They will tell you how awesome the Cubs are, and you don't understand that the numbers are meaningless.

In the end, the most fall back to "flavor" for praising the Rogue, as if people were incapable of using the exact same flavor for different classes, and it was restricted by the rules.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

What do want to do as a Rogue?

There is likely another class that will do it better.

Indeed. Pick a class for the mechanics. People in the setting can't necessarily tell the difference between a rogue, an urban ranger, an urban barbarian, and a cavalier that never bothered to replace his mount after it died, and a bard who they haven't seen cast a spell yet.

If you like the rogue mechanics, well, I'm sorry. They aren't balanced properly and many of them aren't well implemented. Feinting and stealth are particularly bad and while most people house rule stealth without noticing because it's so unclear feint is just bad. If you enjoy them in spite of that that's good for you, but if you're asking how to optimize AC you may be looking for something more. If you do really want the rogue mechanics rather than the rogue fluff consider what you really want and multiclass out as soon as possible. Any martial can mesh reasonably well.

Urban Ranger will give a rogue-like feel with better proficiencies. There are a number of ways to get full movement in medium armor, and light steel shields used offensively best represent real bucklers as in swashbuckler.

Bard can make good con men or investigators and get better proficiencies (light shield in particular, but with an archetype you can get medium armor as early as level 5) and good defensive magic.

Inquisitors also make good investigators and can have better defensive proficiencies, though they're missing the rogue's selection of martial melee proficiencies.

Urban Barbarians have a more thuggish feel and get medium armor and shields as well as AC boosting rage powers and the option to rage to dexterity.

Cavaliers with the Order of the Cockatrice can fit the fallen nobleman rogue archetype very well, though the mechanics are very different. Playing down the mount and going for something like TWF is viable and will play more like a rogue, but without the flanking issues. Ronin Samurai can potentially fill the same fluff with a Tian twist.

Alchemists can fill the drug pusher and anarchist archetypes and can get at the sneak attack mechanic if that's what interests you.

Archaeologist bards and Cryptbreaker alchemists do well in the adventuring locksmith archetype.

Any arcane caster can make a good godfather type. If you're in a setting with a god of thieves so can cleric.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I suppose it's like someone trying to convince some people how terrible the Chicago Cubs are.

Except when we get down to it, we can say the Cubs are terrible when benchmarked on X against a set list of teams.

The Rogue anti-rogue argument hasn't stacked up yet, because there is more to the game than one or two metrics. It is impossible to say X class is universally better, because the range of factors is too broad. Lets face it, even Rogues are unequal, because build and playstyle will vastly change the dynamics.

Anyhow, do you have anything positive to provide the OP, or is 'but Rogues suck' all you have?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My advice for the OP?

Go for the Martial Artist dip, then go Freebooter(or Guide)/Trapper Ranger.


Rogues work better in home games where DMs apply commonsense to skill checks to maintain the suspension-of-disbelief needed for the group to get into the game.

Also in a home game the rogue will have more money than everyone else in the party. This can easily push you over into the competent range.

Now if you have a by-the-book RAW (not RAI) DM who subscribes to WBL like it is the gospel truth, THEN you're going to have some problems and were better off playing a different class entirely.

I'm working on something similar and yeah, i'll be dippin like they're giving away chaw. A bit of gunslinger here (nimble and Sam Spade has a pistol), a bit of monk, maybe duelist and then off to sleepless detective.

That said, rogue isn't quite worth going to 20 anyway but a lot of the talents are pretty nice

If you move on to a different class, you stop gaining perks/benefits from that class, right?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here's my take on it:

As a rogue without dual/multiclassing, you're going to be relegated to Light armor only. In order to get away from the armor completely, you'll need a way to compensate for it. A level of Monk allows you to add Wisdom and since you want a Decent Perception skill as a rogue; it stands to reason a decent (14 or so) Wisdom would be desireable.

You'll want to scarf up as many AC bonus items as quickly as you possible can: Bracers of Armor, Ring of Protection, Amulet of Natural Armor, Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone, Belt for Dexterity.

IF you opt for a level in monk; none of this interferes with your ability to add Wis to AC either (not to mention to you CMD as well).

If you dip martial or spend a feat on proficiency or have the armor expert trait you can wear mithril breastplate. It counts as light for all purposes except proficiency. If you have the armor expert trait the nonproficiency penalty is zero.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What do want from Rogue?

There may be a class, or class combo, that fits the flavor you seek, with the numbers to match.

Don't restrict yourself to class names.

Class names don't define you.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Rogues and Armor All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.