Tricks for an Arcane Trickster (solo campaign)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hey everyone, I'm looking for some advice in regards to running an Arcane Trickster! I'm going to be GMing a solo campaign for a player going Arcane Trickster and I want to be able to help and challenge him.

Pretty much, I'm looking for any tricks to running an Arcane Trickster as combat effectively as possible. For specifics, he is playing a Tiefling Arcanist 2/Snakebite Brawler (+ Wild Child??) 1/Rogue 1 (no archetype afaik) and will get up to Mythic Tier 3 by level 15 assuming I stick to current plans, but I'm all for general tips. Perhaps these can be added to one of the two existing Arcane Trickster guides! Build advice or items I can toss his way both work great.

Here are a couple that I came up with for my player to give an idea of what I'm looking for:

- Improved Familiar with a Wand of Mudball. The familiar can ready an action or delay to go just before you, hit them with the mudball, blinding the foe. This will ideally leave them denied Dex to AC (assuming they are not immune). Works great vs a single-target. Possibly too good, we'll see how it goes in play. Related: Quickened Mudball to remove the Familiar portion of the equation.

- Valet Familiar with Feint Partner. Familiar feints, then player blasts. Good tactic vs foes that can see through invisibility, but puts the familiar at risk of death.

- Pseudodragon with Evolved Familiar (Reach). Allows for flanking Sneak Attacks with melee touch spells. Definitely not an ideal situation for his character in particular, but good for more martial ATs.

- If your DM allows it (I'm on the fence), Wild Child is a freebie for Snakebite Striker 1-dips. All gain no loss.

So, any thing else you can think of? My player has the unique situation of being in a solo campaign, but any advice is surely welcome. We could pick up a couple players over the weeks and I'm sure other AT-lovers will appreciate it.

Also, any advice on how I can design encounters to not be feast-or-famine scenarios would be great. I don't want everything to see through his invisibility, but it would be nice to offer unique challenges every now and then.

If he wants to be dishing out fireballs from the shadows and the like. You want to set him up to allow for stealth. Have him join a thieves' guild. The ledgerdemain would work really well with that. Give him chances to shine where he is most at home (yes I know he can't technically shine in the shadows but you know what I mean)

Look at the 3-rd level spell Twilight Knife, it gives flanking and attacks with flanking damage on its own.

He or his familiar should have a high UMD and carry lots of cure light wound wands for out of combat healing between encounters. Utility spells of all sorts as well on wands.

Solo means he can go super stealth and avoid combats a lot. Escape spells like dimension door and mislead work well. Going this route is not standard D&D fighting style of play but very old school ninja mission style.

Traps are a good thing for such a solo, they work well against one person and are his forte.

Going solo means action economy is against him, a couple ways to get around that tactially include (improved) familiar, charming opponents, henchmen, NPC allies, leadership, crafting a construct buddy, planar binding an ally, summon monster spells (or wand), buddy items (elemental gem, djinni ring).

Have him select dual path and arch mage as his other path (with "arcane surge" as his attack) and minor magic as his one rogue talent. He has a caster level, doesn't have to worry about spells known or prepared. He may even get a DC (it's vague - the only DC noted is for his spell-like ability, so it's up to your interpretation).

It's a pretty potent combination.

Here, here, here, here, and here, for some fun ideas.

You might want to rule that the CL doesn't apply to the arcane surge, which nixes a lot of potential abuse.

At mythic 1, it'll give him up to 5/day spells. At mythic 2 it gets 7/day. And so on. If you rule against the CL-acquiring trick, that means he has no CL for most of those, and no DC, so you won't have to worry about seeing the most broken combinations in the game (as discussed). It will, however, grant him tremendous leeway into what he can do.

Similarly, instead of archmage, you might want to have him covering his own healing need by way of heirophant and "recalled blessing".

On an unrelated note, typing with a baby in your arms is harder than it seems like it should be. :)

Hope that helps!

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Appreciate all of the responses. Sorry for not responding sooner, busy and long day at work. I'll be hopefully adressing each comment tomorrow afternoon, as I'm in need of sleep.

Again, thanks for all the comments.

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@BigP4nda: Currently, the campaign setting is a bit more of a dark-serious-little-social campaign. Think Dark Souls. I'm planning on replacing the thievery and roguery with ancient ruins and trapped fortresses of a long-past era. More Indiana Jones than your normal magical thief, but I'm hoping it will fit the flavor and the player is well-aware of this. Do you think that is a good replacement?

@Minah: Good call! Works well for a solo AT for sure. I'll definitely be dropping that in a spellbook or a scroll for my player.

@Voadam: Mislead is a great spell I was not familiar with. I think I may try using it against him first before passing it his way, hah. I'm looking forward to making complex traps for him. It will definitely be a good portion of my prep-time. Any ideas to make some cool traps are appreciated.

In terms of action economy, I think I may be passing Improved Familiar free-of-charge (as well as other feats of my selection to beef up that familiar or Leadership perhaps) when he caps on Mythic tiers but would otherwise gain them. Similar to E6, but to Mythic. I want to expand his combat options without taking away from the character he wants to build and thought this would be a good way. Any thoughts? What would a good non-humanoid leadership companion be for an Arcane Trickster, ignoring alignment and other specifics? I could see a self-crafted construct companion as a fun addition. And what sort of NPC would mesh well in your opinion? A divine sneak? An Arcane Trickster disciple?

@Tacticslion: I saw some of those threads startup and as amusing as it would be, I think my player wants to experience a more pure AT experience. But I'll offer those towards him and see if he would prefer that. I'm not totally opposed to that unless he is casting Wish 5/day with no cost.

That would work great if you have lots of traps, not so much as to make him paranoid, but enough to really let him use his disable device. Plus there are many uses for ranged ledgerdemain inside an ancient ruin. (I'm thinking of the uncharted series, but if nathan drake actually could cast spells)

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Good inspiration source

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A couple ideas for traps:


The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps

Lethal Legacies: Traps of the World Before

Traps and Treachery

Song and Silence

Mind the Gap

Wilderness Traps

Lexicon of Traps

Tagar's Tome of Troubles: Traps

Diabolical Traps Bundle

A couple adventures dealing with ruins of ancient civilizations:

Wonders Out of Time

Secrets of the Ancients

Ruins of the Dragonlords

Slumbering Tsar

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh man, I think I have an old Song and Silence around somewhere.

Thanks for the great links! Will see what I have/can obtain cheaply

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