Minimum amount of combat ability for a rogue


Advice


I'm going to be starting a new pathfinder campaign with some friends in a few weeks. I'm thinking of playing a complete skill monkey rogue. My party is far from optimized, (in fact I tend to usually over-optimize my characters by comparison).

Now with that said, I don't want to be a complete non-factor in combat either, so I'm trying to balance the skill monkey (primary) with the minimum amount of feats necessary to be somewhat useful.

The only combat feats I'm thinking of taking will be weapon finesse, and two weapon fighting. I'll be playing a halfling who duel wields daggers.

My group generates stats very weirdly. We roll 3 sets of 4d6 re-rolling all 1's, so 12 is usually my lowest stat. WIth that in mind I'll probably have really high stats compared to a point buy system.

Thanks in Advance for the advice.


By level 12 you need your attack stat 10 higher than a raging barbarian to be as effective at hitting, and unless you can manage to sneak attack and full attack reliably you'll never deal much damage.

IOW there is almost no way you can over-optimize a Pathfinder rogue.


If you are trying to be a combat-able skill monkey, Ranger or Bard is a better, more consistent choice than rogue.

HOWEVER, if you are stuck on rogue...

I suggest 4 levels of Fighter, the rest of rogue. Take the weapons master archetype for fighter, and thug and scout for rogue. Use whatever weapon you want two handed: greatsword, no-dachi, longsword, whatever.

Fighter (weapon master) gets you Weapon training, which can be boosted by an additional +2. Level four gets you Weapon Specialization.

Two handing a weapon with a good strength score will lead to more consistent damage, for when you cannot Sneak Attack. This will also allow you to wear medium or heavy armor; leading ot better combat staying power.

If you want to go TWF (I strongly suggest otherwise, btw) take 6 levels of Ranger so you can get TWF while still being STR based.

Finesse TWf is just so poor on many levels... i strongly recommend against it, even with rogue.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

For feats I would take improved initiative. As a skill monkey, be sure to optimize escape artist and acrobatics, in addition to the obvious skills. As a skill monkey, use magic device can give you a lot of useful combat options such as wands of magic missile, wands of scorching ray and/or acid arrow (both of which you can sneak attack with), and various utility wands like cure light wounds, expeditious retreat, shield, disguise self (each utility wand costs 750 gp and is quite useful).


Cathulhu wrote:
If you are trying to be a combat-able skill monkey, Ranger or Bard is a better, more consistent choice than rogue.

This. As a Ranger you can focus on Str and don't need to spend many of your Feats on TWFing, and you won't need Weapon Finesse.

That makes you a credible fighter, with only 2 less skill points per level, but more free Feats to spend on, say, Skill Focus.

As a Bard, you can lay out a butt-ton of buffs per round, have effectively MORE skill points per level (due to Versatile Performance), and then still be a decent fighter (better with archery, though).

Ditto Inquisitor, except your buffing is a bit slower and mostly self-only, but you're likely to be a better fighter than the Bard, and you make a good battlefield controller (there's a spell that makes people attack you. It's neat.).

Also, an Alchemist is a good choice as well. If you want to be a skill guy go Mindchemist and you can raise your skills for 10 minutes/level, make a good archer (since you only really need Dex and Int), get a lot of good class skills and skills per level (due to Int synergy...since Int raises your damage too) AND you can buff your teammates, thus providing much more than just skills, again like the Bard.

Pretty much anything you want to do with a Rogue can be done with a Ranger, Bard, Alchemist or Inquisitor. But better.

Even traps. Just take the Trapper archetype for Ranger, Archaeologist for Bard, or Dispelling Bombs for Alchemist (or the Cryptbreaker archetype).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

There is a pure rogue halfling in my current campaign that does great. Part of the awesomeness of being a halfling rogue is that you do not usually end up being the primary target for enemy attacks. If you can hide and/or turn invisible, so much the better. Keep mobile, find an opportunity, and then let loose a full attack dual wield 'Sneak Attack!!!' You will kick some boot-ey.

The disadvantage is that you are quite vulnerable to grappling/swallowing/snatching and being flown high aloft with before being dropped. Escape artist (or eventually a ring of free action) are good countermeasures.


Thanks for the advice so far!

1. I want to be a pure rogue for this particular build (again I don't want to over-optimize compared to the rest of my party). The reason is that I normally get flak over making "too effective" characters. For instance I made a treamonk ranger who made the other characters feel useless by comparison.

2. So that goal isn't to squeeze a ton of optimization as it is to hit the rock bottom amount of possible damage necessary to be mildly effective.

3. plus, I like the idea of playing the classic wise-cracking halfling rogue who runs around yelling "SNEAK ATTACK" while mostly stealing, lying and being a real pill.


The ROgue is not a good class to have the "minimum amount necessary to survive", is the problem. The Rogue is a class that must be ruthlessly optimized just to achieve a passable rating in combat.

A moderately optimized Ranger, Bard, Inquisitor, or Alchemist focused on skills will STILL be just as or more effective in combat than a highly optimized Rogue (one who neglects skills) while sacrificing a measly 2 skill points per level (though many gain things to compensate, like Track, Stern Gaze, Int Synergy/Cognatogen, and Versatile Performance/Loremaster).

What KIND of skill monkey do you wanna be, by the way?

Face, "Physical Paragon" (Climb/Swim, Acrobatics, etc.), Sneak Thief, Knowledge Monkey or a combination of the above?

Alchemists and Bards (especially) make great Knowledge Monkeys.

Inquisitors and Bards make great faces (with the Conversion Inquisition, an Inquisitor can do it with dumped Cha, since he can use Wis for Diplomacy, Intimidate and Bluff. And there's an archetype that lets you add your Wis modifier in addition to "other modifiers" which means it MAY be eligible for adding double Wis, though a DM could veto that).

Alchemists and Rangers make good "Physical Paragons" as well as Sneak Thieves.

And they can ALL do a little bit of each.


Ok, so it appears that it just isn't feasible at all to have a skill monkey rogue who can mildly contribute to fighting. (I had assumed, wrongly, that the scaling sneak attack damage would ensure decent fighting while I focused elsewhere).

So, here are my goals, maybe I can find a way to make a feasible character based on these traits.

Non-negotiables(Things I really want even if sub-optimal)
- race: halfling
- skill feats: maybe not every time but at least every other time
- party face/ master of stealth

negotiable, but I really want if possible:
- to use daggers (i like the idea of concealing daggers until the last moment)

At this point that bard seems like the best choice due to being a better skill monkey (versatile performance), and has the party face skills. In combat I guess I could throw some daggers when I'm not doing what a bard does.

Again, I'll point out that I play with a group of sub-optimal characters anyway, and the point is to not outshine them in combat while still contributing sometimes.


Halfling the Rogue

S: 12 D: 18 C: 12 I: 13 W: 10 Ch: 12 (20 pt halfling - insert your rolled stats)

Feats:
- Two Weapon Fighting (1st)
- Weapon Finesse (Rogue 2 - Rogue Talent)
- Combat Expertise (3rd)
- Gang Up (Rogue 4 - Combat Talent)
- skill feats picked after "bootstrap" is complete

At 1st level:
+0 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 1d6 sneak attack
+0 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 1d6 sneak attack

At 2nd level:
+4 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 1d6 sneak attack
+4 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 1d6 sneak attack

At 4th level: Gang Up means much easier sneak attacks
+6 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 2d6 sneak attack
+6 to hit dagger for 1d3+1 + 2d6 sneak attack

Strategy:
- sneak and hide wherever you go
- daggers can be thrown to sneak attack
- halfling = if you aren't sneak attacking, your damage will be minimal
- your damage will never be tremendous, but it can be passable


You can do it just fine, though you take a few rounds to get going. Knife master + scout archtype + spring attack means you get one sneak attack a round. If you want to add more to that, take two levels of monk as a master of many styles and get kirkn style and kirin strike. You can now identify monsters to get +2 saves, +2 ac, and x2 your intmod to dmg. Dip 5 levels lore warden fighter for good bab, combat expertise, feats, and weapon training. It basically means you can be all int/dex and still contribute to a fight. Make sure to have at least a 10 str as not to take -1 to dmg on your rolls.


If you are going to suck at combat (by taking a rogue you already made this choice) then go with butterfly sting. A halfling rogue with some defensive abilities and butterfly sting will do a little bit of damage, but when they pass of their crits to scythe weilding barbarian they contribute quite a bit.


About TWF: Save it for later. Early on the Rogue has enough trouble with hitting, and most of the time you'll be positioning to get a Sneak Attack, which means you'll be single attacking anyways. Get TWF after you get Gang Up or some other means to generate easy Sneak Attacks (Improved Invisibility).


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Sub_Zero wrote:

Ok, so it appears that it just isn't feasible at all to have a skill monkey rogue who can mildly contribute to fighting. (I had assumed, wrongly, that the scaling sneak attack damage would ensure decent fighting while I focused elsewhere).

So, here are my goals, maybe I can find a way to make a feasible character based on these traits.

Non-negotiables(Things I really want even if sub-optimal)
- race: halfling
- skill feats: maybe not every time but at least every other time
- party face/ master of stealth

negotiable, but I really want if possible:
- to use daggers (i like the idea of concealing daggers until the last moment)

At this point that bard seems like the best choice due to being a better skill monkey (versatile performance), and has the party face skills. In combat I guess I could throw some daggers when I'm not doing what a bard does.

Again, I'll point out that I play with a group of sub-optimal characters anyway, and the point is to not outshine them in combat while still contributing sometimes.

Do you use 3rd party material? Because I have a solution for you that might seem a bit odd, but bear me out. Super genius games has a 'talented' line of classes. In it are the talented rogue and the talented monk. In the talented monk are several options to combine the monk with the rogue.

What this would let you do use the Talented Monks combat abilities with the rogue's skills and profficiencies. The talented monk allows you to apply full bab, and 'flurry' as well as scaling damage to ANY weapon, not just unarmed strikes. The only thing is you cant mix the sneak attack options in with the monk offensive options (at least by default).

You could have rogue skills (or slightly reduced rogue skills for more monk abilities) with the first 2 hybrid options presented at the end of the product, as well as the rogue's skill based talents, but choose offensive options for daggers from the monk. With the bonus of things like the ninja charisma based ki pool and the monk's ki based abilities if they suit you.

Overall investment for combat would be 1 or two edges (Light armored Kata to use light armor and possibly flurry), 2 talents (adaptive style to let you use your monk abilities with daggers, and deadly strikes to scale the daggers damage as you level up). The rest could be put into skills as you see fit. And between the monk and rogue there are a TON of options to enhance various skills.


Swashbuckler scout rogue archetype to take scimitar (nod to the halfling horn blade of old)
1 skill feat or improved initiative
2 rogue talent finesse rogue
3 dervish dance
4 rogue weapon training (weapon focus scimitar)

Each level, your dashing fighting style evolves and by 4th level (with an 18 dex) your combat-relavent schtick could look like this:
likely acting first
sneak attack on a charge
attack bonus +3(class) +1 (small) +2 (charge/flank) +4 (dex) +1 (focus) = +11
Damage 1d4+4(dex)+2d6 crit on 18-20x2

From there, you could go two weapon or power attack or the halfling trait/feats that boost crits. Pretty low combat feat investment and you can grab additional combat feats as rogue talents thanks to swashbuckler. I would grab power attack for some scaling damage bonus as you level.

You will do the damage I would expect from a secondary melee character and feel pretty good about often hitting, often sneak attacking, and often critting.


One of the biggest problems with the rogue class in Pathfinder is the "MAD"ness of it.

With your groups way of stat-rolling, OP, that is a MUCH smaller issue than it normally would be. For example, I did one quick array under your stat rules and wound up with 23(!), 19, 15, 15, 13, 13.

Take Fleet of Foot and Adaptable Luck as Alternate Racial Traits. Take the Helpful character Trait. Put 3 points into Acrobatics. Take Two Weapon Fighting with your first feat, and Finesse Rogue/Weapon Training as your first rogue talents.

As someone else mentioned, grab Piranha Strike with your second feat.

Spend your skill points wisely and you will have a great, well-rounded character with a lot of utility, both in and out of combat.

Put your highest rolled stat into Dex, read up on how to properly create sneak attack opportunities and make sure you gear up with a plethora of mundane gear and alchemical items.

Fight smart. Know when to get your Sneak Attacks. Know when to aid with that +4. Know when to fight defensively or go total defense. Flank flank flank. Throw a knife or two when you get initiative (and you will, often) for some flat-footed hijinks. Use that Adaptable Luck at the times you need it most.

Have fun!


Sub_Zero wrote:

Ok, so it appears that it just isn't feasible at all to have a skill monkey rogue who can mildly contribute to fighting. (I had assumed, wrongly, that the scaling sneak attack damage would ensure decent fighting while I focused elsewhere).

So, here are my goals, maybe I can find a way to make a feasible character based on these traits.

Non-negotiables(Things I really want even if sub-optimal)
- race: halfling
- skill feats: maybe not every time but at least every other time
- party face/ master of stealth

negotiable, but I really want if possible:
- to use daggers (i like the idea of concealing daggers until the last moment)

At this point that bard seems like the best choice due to being a better skill monkey (versatile performance), and has the party face skills. In combat I guess I could throw some daggers when I'm not doing what a bard does.

Again, I'll point out that I play with a group of sub-optimal characters anyway, and the point is to not outshine them in combat while still contributing sometimes.

The good part about Bard is that you can complete your skill monkey things with no issues, but if you don't want to you never need to pick up a weapon while still contributing to combat. You just buff the ever loving s@%~ out of the party and watch them wail on the enemy.

You make them better, and you're contributing A LOT, but there is absolutely ZERO chance you'll outshine them in combat.

So you can do something like (with your rolled method):

Str: 13
Dex: 21
Con: 15
Int: 17
Wis: 13
Cha: 21

That's after racials, it was (15,19,15,17,13,19) before.

Grab Ingratiating for +2 Perform (replaces +2 Perception and Acrobatics/Climb), and then DO NOT put any points in Diplomacy and Sense Motive. Put your skills into Perform: Oratory. At 2nd level grab Perform: Oratory as your Versatile Performance and you'll have something like a +12 Diplomacy already.

Then snag Feats like:

1.) Weapon Finesse
3.) Skill Focus: Any
5.) Piranha Strike
7.) Lingering Performance (lets you get 3 rounds of Bardic Performance per 1 round spent, basically)
9.) Skill Focus: Any

Snag an Agile weapon and you'll be doing decent damage with a Rapier or something, magnified by your performance. You'll have 9 skills per level with your Int, effectively 10 with only the 2nd level Versatile Performance (IMO it's harder to juggle after that, use it for skills you wouldn't normally have gotten, probably).

Use those 2 ranks you won't be using for Diplomacy and Sense Motive for 1 rank wonders, like Climb and Swim.

If you can hold out on those until 6th, grabbing Perform: Act for Bluff and Disguise would probably be a good deal. If not, Percussion so you can Handle Animal if you need to and Intimidate (if for some reason you need it instead of Diplomacy) is your best bet.

Sczarni

If you are thinking of building a Rogue that fights with Daggers you must take River Rat as one of your traits.

It's mandatory. It makes your Daggers better than Kukri's as far as damage goes (even for a high strength build).

If you are TWF fighting Rogue, you should know that feats like Power Attack and Piranha Strike are of very low importance (even for a high strength build). They hurt more than they help more often than not.


Joanna Swiftblade wrote:
Knife master + scout archtype + spring attack means you get one sneak attack a round.

This is what you want.

You don't even need spring attack, really. Take weapon finesse and do what ever you want with the rest. You're not going to be great at combat, you're not going to do "consistent" damage, but you can run out yelling "Sneak Attack!" and actually get your sneak attack. Assuming your idea of an "un-optimized" party is the same as mine, you'll do fine.


Every survivable melee build I can think of needs too many feats to afford skill focus on a halfling and most are torpedoed by the strength penalty, though with really good stats some might be possible. Ranged is extremely feat hungry so that's out.

Basically you've set impossible constraints if we assume the implicit constraint of "be hard to kill."

If you stop demanding skill focus every second level and you mean 4d6 not 4d6 drop the lowest a quickdraw shield bard is possible, but that has only 2 open feats before level 13 since it needs quickdraw, power attack, arcane strike, and every bard should take discordant voice at level 11. You really need a 17 or 18 strength, though, which is normally impossible for a halfling and difficult for anyone not at least half human.

Since inspire courage is a party buff you shouldn't be overshadowing anyone full BAB who isn't doing something silly. If they know to put their highest stat in their attack stat and not do weapon finesse without dervish dance or TWF and to take power attack or piranha strike it shouldn't be a problem.


Play a Njnja instead..... They're better in every way.


Errant Inlad wrote:
Play a Njnja instead..... They're better in every way.

Ninja basically give up a Resource Saver (Trapfinding) and a major low level defensive ability (Evasion) for a daily consumable Resource that they literally bleed through as quickly as monks do theirs (Ki Pool).

Shadow Lodge

First off, Rogues CAN do significant damage in melee (or at least, my skulking slayer scout never got the memo that he couldn't), but on a halfling rogue, knife master is your best bet. Scout makes it better.

Now, if you want damage from a knife master scout, try not taking TWF feats (it penalizes your attack rolls) and instead take piranha strike and butterfly sting. It won't be huge when you aren't sneak attacking, but it will be pretty nice (since rogues don't need crits as much)

However, you could try to be an Underfoot Adept1/Roguex focused on defense. Take cautious fighter, dodge, have a high Dex, Int and Wis, keep fighting defensively and just find yourself an unhittable obstacle in melee. You can take a bunch of skill focus feats (don't take alertness/stealthy/other feat like this before you have skill focus. It is less of a bonus all around) with this, more so than the others because you only really need cautious fighter+dodge+combat expertise. You get nice survivability (good saves and AC) and you get to trip/shiv things. Just don't use the daggers in a flurry/


Ok, I think I've found what I need.

Bard (dervish of dawn)

The only real feat I'll need is power attack (i should have 13 str with rolls)

I get free proficiency with scimitar, and the dervish dance feat for free and thereby don't need weapon finesse).

With the battle dance ability (which helps make up for low bab), my damage output should be high enough to matter, and I can focus my feats into being a ridiculous skill monkey. Especially when combined with versatile performance giving me more skills then an equivalent rogue (after 6th level).

Granted I now won't be using daggers, but it does match everything else I was looking for.


Sub_Zero wrote:

Thanks for the advice so far!

3. plus, I like the idea of playing the classic wise-cracking halfling rogue who runs around yelling "SNEAK ATTACK" while mostly stealing, lying and being a real pill.

You like stealing and lying and cacle madly? The Filtcher Halfling is for you then! Give it a go:

Halfling Filtcher 12

Alternate racial Traits: Fleet-Footed, Craven (optional)

Traits: Reactionary, Adopted: Carefully Hidden (Fortune's Favored if you don't change Halfling's Luck)

Stats: Str 10, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 12

1 Sap Adept
2 Trick: Finesse Rogue
3 Enforcer
4 Improved Steal (bonus), Trick: Offensive Defence
5 Sap Master
6 Trick: Weapon Training: Weapon Focus (Sap)
7 Piranha Strike
8 Greater Steal (bonus)
9 Iron Will
10 Trick: Weapon Snatcher
11 Defensive Combat Training
12 Trick: Skill Mastery (Sleight of Hand, Appraise, Intimidate, Acrobatics)

Skills: Max Sleight of Hand, Appraise, Intimidate, Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth, Escape Artist, UMD, maybe Disable Device. One point in climb and swim.


Sub_Zero wrote:

Ok, I think I've found what I need.

Bard (dervish of dawn)

The only real feat I'll need is power attack (i should have 13 str with rolls)

I get free proficiency with scimitar, and the dervish dance feat for free and thereby don't need weapon finesse).

With the battle dance ability (which helps make up for low bab), my damage output should be high enough to matter, and I can focus my feats into being a ridiculous skill monkey. Especially when combined with versatile performance giving me more skills then an equivalent rogue (after 6th level).

Granted I now won't be using daggers, but it does match everything else I was looking for.

I just happen to have an excellent build of a Dervish Dancer Bard made by Mercurial. Or Wiggz. Credits to them anyway.

Aasimar 17th level Dervish of Dawn / 2nd level Master of Many Styles / 1st level Unarmed Fighter
Azata-blooded , Favored class option for Bards

Attributes: (20 point build)
STR - 13
DEX - 16 (+2 racial bonus, +1 @ 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th & 20th level)
CON - 12
INT - 12
WIS - 8
CHA - 14 (+2 racial bonus)

Traits:
Maestro of the Society
Magical Knack

Feats:
1st (Bd1) Dervish Dance, Skill Focus: Knowledge - Religion or Arcana
2nd (Mk1) Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Crane Style
3rd (Mk2) Crane Wing, Deflect Arrows
4th (F1) Crane Riposte
5th (Bd2) Weapon Focus: Scimitar
6th (Bd3)
7th (Bd4) Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (Arcane Bond)
8th (Bd5)
9th (Bd6) Power Attack
10th (Bd7)
11th (Bd8) Improved Critical: Scimitar
12th (Bd9)
13th (Bd10) Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (Extra Arcana)
14th (Bd11)
15th (Bd12) Quicken Spell
16th (Bd13)
17th (Bd14) Critical Focus
18th (Bd15)
19th (Bd16) Staggering Critical
20th (Bd17)


o_o

Making a Combat Rogue is possible, but difficult in any environment. With that stat generation, its pretty easy. If you have that stat generation and are looking for "low optimization" then its painfully easy.

The trick? Just do it. Focus on getting a lot of to-hit through your feats and your magic items. Challenge yourself to use smart play over a smart build, particularly if you are a low level.

That stat array is really your saving grace, though. With it you can easily have a high Dex, go finesse rogue, and still have decent damage. By the benchmark fr your DPR, with Sneak Attack, is roughly 1/3 of standard target's HP at your level.

What level are you starting at?

Some notes:
- The Thug Archetype, particularly when combined with Enforcer, is disgusting.
- Scout is good for reliable damage.
- Filcher is interesting and fluffy, but may or may not be useful.
- Talk to your GM about the types of enemies you'll be facing--monsters vs people-sized. If the former, then Risky Striker and Big Game Hunter are, bar none, you best feats.
- Ninja Trick -> Pressure Points is fun.
- For a Two-Weapon Fighter, start with a cracked pale green ioun stone.

Liberty's Edge

The question is, "How many people have played a Filcher?" and "How effective is it really?"

It seems beyond stealing and disarming the class is setup well to use Sleight of Hand checks for concealed weapons, what all can you do with that advantage? (Pretty noob with SoH and concealed weapons in general and how it all works mechanically.)


Another neat trick that you can do with Sleight of Hands is combining the talents Deft Palm + Underhanded. I just find Offensive Defence and Weapon Training more useful because they are less situational.

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