PFS Kitsune Rogue help


Grand Lodge

I am new to Pathfinder and I am joining a local PFS group. I am trying to build a Kitsune rogue (or rogue like class) that specializes in espionage, but is not totally useless in combat.

So far, here is what I have come up with. I am open to suggestions for ways to improve things as well as suggested purchase orders for advancement.

Str: 10
Dex: 15
Con: 10
Int: 16
Wis: 10
Cha: 16

Class: Rogue (Unchained)
Archetype: None?
Level 1 feat: Realistic Likeness
Racial Trait: Fast Shifter
Faction: Grand Lodge
Traits: Observant (+1 perception)
Reactionary (+2 initiative)

I'll start off pretty weak in combat, but I will have a truckload of skills, and the ability to shape change into anyone I meet to help with espionage type stuff.

Thoughts, suggestions, etc?


Grand Lodge

I was also considering dipping into Sorcerer. The natural synergy of Kitsune with the class seems like a good combo. High DC enchanting spells to tie up enemies, then sneak attack them. Of course I am new, and I am probably missing something.

Have you considered Mesmer? That way you have even more ways of dealing with people, and even if you are somewhat decent in combat you could just focus on helping your allies rather than doing the blows yourself.

Generally speaking, a small dip into Sorcerer won't really grant you much in the way of casting effective enchantments. You need 4 levels of Sorcerer just to reach level 2 spells, and even then you'll have a low casting level.

You can build a "Rogue like" character an awful lot of different ways. There are a few feats that work like the Unchained Rogue's Finesse Training: Dervish Dance, Fencing Grace and Slashing Grace all let you use your Dexterity for attack and damage.

Oracle is a very versatile class with decent skill points, and it's very compatible with a Kitsune - they cast spells with charisma and have good options for dexterity-based combat. The Kitsune Favored Class Bonus for Oracle lets you learn a new weapon, which can be pretty handy. The Wind Mystery gives you Rogue-like class skills, and powers like turning invisible, turning insubstantial, seeing into distant or concealed places, and eventually flying. An Archetype like Seer can further customize them towards "spying" type things. Oracle is also a full spellcaster using the Cleric list, so they have spell options that range from granting themselves a huge temporary improvement in combat ability (Divine Favor and Divine Power) to enchanting foes with paralysis (Hold Person and Hold Monster).

Anyhow, I don't know how fancy you want to get with a character, or how much spellcasting you want, or whether you really wanted to have Sneak Attack damage. Oracle is just generally a really fun class to customize, works well with a Kitsune's abilities, and can be at least decent at a lot of different things at the same time.

Let me shoot you a question.

Why not Bard? Archaeologist if you have a thing against singing?

or Mesmerist?

or Sorcerer (with a reasonably high int)?

or Vigilante?

The only things the Unchained rogue has over other classes is a respectable amount of skill points, dex-to-damage and skill unlocks.

However, if you do want a lot of skills, the Rogue has very little in the way of skill boosters so many other classes can functionally be superior to the rogue in that respect despite having less points/level. The vast majority of skill unlocks are also terrible. You have atrocious ability scores for a frontliner, so you should never put yourself in harm's way if you can help it. As a dex based rogue, you really should have 14 Con and 18 Dex minimum. That means that dex to damage is basically useless for you, since trying to use it is a sophisticated way of commiting of suicide. Your wisdom should be higher as well, since rogues have terrible will saves. This wouldn't be an issue with most caster classes, since they have a high will save by default.

Unless you really, really, really want a particular set of skill unlocks, pick a different class. Rogue has a very specific set of needs that you need to fulfill in order to not be terrible, and you aren't filling those needs. Instead, play (for example) a Bard, fluff your performance as something you find tasteful, and buff the entire party every combat while having better skills than most rogues.

Kitsune Rogue? I play one too, it's pretty fun. Your build looks pretty decent so far. You may want to adjust stat priorities, though. 14 Constitution is a great benchmark for keeping yourself alive as a melee class, and Dexterity is your most useful stat considering it relates to many of your skills as well as your combat capabilities. You may want to boost it to 16 or 18. Intelligence is useful, and I know how great it is to have tons and tons of skills, but it doesn't actually do much for your class abilities. Consider syphoning some points to boost Dex and Con.

You don't have to be a caster if you don't want to. Unchained rogue is fine. If you do have the itch to mix in some magic, the Lesser Magic and Major Magic rogue talents are a great way to do it. My fox rogue has Vanish and it's wonderful for safely repositioning in combat or to disappear long enough to slip into a new disguise.

On that note, Sleaves of Many Garments is a must buy item for you. It allows you to swap outfits as easily as you swap faces. Amazing for a swift and discreet getaway or an infiltration where you play it by ear. Also saves you the time and carrying capacity when you want multipls outfits.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For the infiltration, you will want plenty of Bluff, Sense Motive, Linguistics (both for the breaking of cypher and the additional languages) and some Disguise. Make sure you can speak the languages of the people you are trying to imitate!

I agree with Rosc that siphoning a few points from Int to Con and Dex is a good idea. Shifting two points into Wisdom would do as much for you as the Observant trait, considering those are already class skills for you.

You have talked about what face skills you want. What do you intend to do in combat?

On equipment, I would suggest you enchant your armor with Glamered so it doesn't appear to be armor. The sleeves are a fun item, but they only hide the clothing. Glamered armor looks like normal clothes. Given how many of the skills you are looking at are Charisma based, you will want to get a circlet of persuasion as well.

I've usually done my infiltrators as bards. You will want to look through the rogue talents and see which of them would help with the infiltration.

Grand Lodge

How about dropping int and pushing the points into dex and con for stats like

Str: 10
Dex: 16
Con: 13
Int: 14
Wis: 10
Cha: 16

1 less skill point per level and 1 less starting language in exchange for 1 more starting AC and 1 more HP per level.

Put first stat boost into con for the +2?

I read over the Bard, and it just didn't really strike me as what I was looking for, the archeologist variant looked close...but it felt like it was giving up too much and not getting enough return with only dabbling in rogue abilities and losing out on performance. Mesmerist looks intriguing, I will have to read up on them. Oracle looks like an interesting class, but not the flavor I am looking for.

For combat, right now I see myself hanging at the edges of combat, picking off wounded enemies, relying on surprise/flanking etc to get bonus sneak damage, definitely not a front line combatant. If I go the magic route I am picturing a controller type (enchantment, illusion, etc)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Hey Chad!

There are many opportunities for play in PFS! One of the nicest features is the level 1 rebuild. When you play your character, if it's not functioning exactly how you would like, you can make changes to your character, up to an entire rebuild before you play your first adventure at level 2. That being said, there are a bunch of interesting options for Kitsune rogues. The first one that comes to mind is the Kitsune Trickster archetype, which gives you some nice bonuses to disguise and Sense motive, as well as some of the social skills. You lose trapfinding and trap sense, but also gain Charm Person as a spell like ability a few times a day.

In PFS, it is generally a good idea to be able to contribute some way in combat. I think that is why others were suggesting some more combat focused characters. I recommend finding a table of Wounded Wisp, The Confirmation or Consortium Compact to get an introduction to Pathfinder Society and figure out what your character is good at, and what you like about them!

Hopefully this helps!

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chad Wertz wrote:
I read over the Bard, and it just didn't really strike me as what I was looking for, the archeologist variant looked close...but it felt like it was giving up too much and not getting enough return with only dabbling in rogue abilities and losing out on performance.

Bard is good for this type of thing because of Versatile Performance.

As an example, say you take Singing as your first Versatile Performance. You put max ranks in Perform (Sing). You now get Sense Motive and Bluff equal to your Perform Sing. Best of all, your Sense Motive is now (indirectly) based off your Charisma rather than Wisdom. Two skills you want for putting points into a different skill -- that makes for a nice bonus if your main skills match with the versatile performances.

Unfortunately, the descriptions of the classes don't always match the mechanics. There are several cases where the best class or archetype for a particular task isn't the obvious choice. I'm not saying that Unchained Rogue can't work, just that you need to keep an open mind and look at the actual mechanics of the class when making some of the decisions.

As Karolin said, you need a plan for what to do in melee. You don't have to be the main powerhouse, but you do need a way to contribute. Do you plan to stay at range (in which case you will really want Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot) or get into melee?

One thing that you could focus on is melee with the intent to create flanking positions. This generally requires a focus on AC, acrobatics skill, and feats that provide more AC against Attacks of Opportunity.

It sounds like you have a strong idea of what you are going to do out of melee. Come up with some sort of idea what to do when things go horribly wrong (like they frequently do) and combat begins.

Grand Lodge

I played in 1 adventure already, so this technically is a rebuild. My first adventure was run as a dwarven barbarian with the invulnerable rager archetype. Unfortunately, there was already another player with a nearly identical build, as well as a we were tripled up on big smashy guys with no arcane and one other new guy who was playing a pregen bard.

I am an old school AD&D 2nd edition player, and rogue was always my go to class back then, so I naturally fell back to my old standby.

After reading through the Mesmerist, I am thinking I might give that a try. It has a similar feel to what I was aiming for, and will be a nice change up.

If anyone has a good build for a Kitsune Mesmerist (maybe using the Vexing Daredevil archetype) I would love to see it. I could also use any tips for playing it, as it will be something completely new to me.

Unchained rogue + the kitsune trickster archtype will get you decent damage and really good skills at level 3. Snag use magic device and some scrolls of arem zey's focus for the rare magical trap you can't just set off.

But its a real trade off between what you want to dump for strength now vs dex later.

An elven branched spear and combat reflexes is your friend. Lots of attacks, more flanking opportunities, and if someone closes in on you, bite em.

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There's also the Eldritch Scoundrel Rogue Archetype that's basically a Rogue/Wizard, but without multiclassing and with some Ninja Tricks.

Part of the reason I mentioned Oracle was that I have an 'agent' kind of character planned out with Ninja/Oracle. My prospective Elven Ninja / Seer Oracle has nothing to do with wearing black robes or moping around in temples; they're a 'secret agent' type who wields a rapier and wears a coat (over mithral armor), knows how to hide and how to magically vanish at a moments notice, and casts spells that can strengthen combat ability, blind whole packs of foes, or spy with magic senses. There's no reason to be trapped by 'suggested flavor' when it comes to classes, or chatacters in general.

Grand Lodge

Ok, I built 2 different options for essentially the same character.

Option 1, Unchained Rogue
Str 10, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 16
Feat: Realistic Likeness
Traits: Reactionary, Observant: Perception (Grand Lodge)
Fast Shifter racial alternate trait

Option 2, Archeologist Bard
Str 12, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 7, Cha 14
Feat: Realistic Likeness
Traits: Fate's Favored, Reactionary
Lvl 0 spells: Daze, Detect Magic, Lullaby, Read Magic
Lvl 1 spells: Charm Person, Sleep

Option 1 gets a lot more skill points, sneak attacks, and faster shifting.
Option 2 gets bard spells, +2 luck a couple times a day, bonus DC on enchant spells and dancing lights from kitsune magic, access to rogue talents.

I have never played a bard before, so I don't know what all they are capable of. Looking at things at level 1, the bard version seems a bit more versatile...DCs on sleep, charm, etc are not great, any different spells to take instead? With the higher dex I was thinking either head down the archery skill tree or the melee tree, use a few rogue talents to grab combat trick to get me there faster?

Or maybe swap the option 2 stats over to the rogue version and go for a more melee oriented build?

Three immediate things to point out about Archaeologist...

1. Trait: Fate's Favored.
2. Feat: Lingering Performance.
3. Feat: Extra Performance.

For another option, if the flavor works for you, the Dawnflower Dervish Bard packs a serious punch, and gets to wield a scimitar with pure dexterity at level 1 thanks to free Dervish Dance. Doubling the bonus from Inspire Courage makes a Bard seriously deadly - by level 5, it's worth +4 to both attack and damage.

Grand Lodge

I got the Fate's Favored on the bard build already, was going to grab the others as I level. Any other suggestions for that build? spell choices? Other talent choices? archery or melee? etc

Also, would it be worth dipping a few levels into unchained rogue to get weapon finesse for my main weapon, or just stick with the bard feats and rogue talents?

I'm really into spellcasting/melee options, so I'll comment on Bard (though Rogue Talent: Offensive Defense is a really great pick on most Rogues, and Accomplished Sneak Attacker is a great pick on a multiclass Rogue).

The spell Allegro is 'personal Haste' if you have a performance running (including Archaeologist), but at level 2 instead of level 3. Heroism is great stuff; attack, skills and saves +2 with a long duration. Mirror Image is excellent defense unless you run into an enemy who can 'see' around it.

For 'real' spellcasting, Hideous Laughter is a very powerful enchantment spell, and Bard is unique for getting it at level 1; with the trait Magical Lineage you can reduce the metamagic penalty on it by 1, which means that the Persistent Spell metamagic is only +1 level. So a Kitsune Bard with Magical Lineage: Hideous Laughter can cast Persistent Hideous Laughter (roll twice for save, take lower roll) with a +1 to DC Kitsune bonus as a level 2 spell. Which is obviously fantastic stuff. Glitterdust blind bombing gets a mention as well, even though it's not enchantment.

The Fencing Grace or Slashing Grace feats will give you dex-to-damage, so you don't need to dip into Unchained Rogue for it. Between Bard spellcasting, Inspire Courage, and class features, you really don't want to take much of a hit to Bard level, at least in my opinion.

For Archaeologist Talents... well, if you're willing to invest enough you can get a Rogue Ki Pool, learn Ninja Trick: Vanishing Trick, and then take some Extra Ki to actually use it more than once a day. Being able to go invisible as a swift action is incredibly useful for escaping a bad situation (like a stealth scouting failure), or 'assassinating' something, or just to go "Charge -> Strike -> Vanish... appear with full attack!" Otherwise there are lots of interesting talents that are more skill/roleplay, which are less objectively judged.

BadBird wrote:

There's also the Eldritch Scoundrel Rogue Archetype that's basically a Rogue/Wizard, but without multiclassing and with some Ninja Tricks.

Part of the reason I mentioned Oracle was that I have an 'agent' kind of character planned out with Ninja/Oracle. My prospective Elven Ninja / Seer Oracle has nothing to do with wearing black robes or moping around in temples; they're a 'secret agent' type who wields a rapier and wears a coat (over mithral armor), knows how to hide and how to magically vanish at a moments notice, and casts spells that can strengthen combat ability, blind whole packs of foes, or spy with magic senses. There's no reason to be trapped by 'suggested flavor' when it comes to classes, or chatacters in general.

But do not show a sketch of the build on the ninja / oracle? If not a secret of course. I'm looking for an interesting idea to use with intrigue mystery.

Grand Lodge

Ok, so I keep finding myself going back to my original straight up rogue idea...let me know what you all think of this. At level 9+ I am not sure what feats/rogue talents to take, I was thinking about maybe dipping into some of the magic related stuff (Magical Tail, Minor Magic, Major Magic, etc) unless there are other combat related things that I should be looking at.

Race: Kitsune (alternate trait: Fast Shifter)
Class: Rogue (Knife Master / Scout)
Traits: Reactionary +2 initiative, River Rat +1 damage with daggers

Str: 12
Dex: 18
Con: 10
Int: 12
Wis: 8
Cha: 16

Level progression:
1. Feat: Realistic Likeness
Rogue: Sneak Attack 1d8
Knife Master: Hidden Blade, Sneak Stab
2. Rogue: Evasion
Rogue Talent: Combat Trick - Two-Weapon Fighting
3. Feat: Weapon Focus - Dagger
Rogue: Finesse Training - Daggers
Rogue: Sneak Attack 2d8
Knife Master: Blade Sense +1
4. Rogue: Debilitating Injury
Rogue Talent: Combat Trick - Combat Expertise
Ability Score: +1 Int (to unlock Combat Expertise)
Scout: Scout's Charge
5. Rogue: Sneak Attack 3d8
Rogue: Rogue's Edge - Bluff
Feat: Improved Feint
6. Rogue Talent: Combat Trick - Two-Weapon Feint
Favored Class Rogue Talent: Offensive Defense
Knife Master: Blade Sense +1
7. Rogue: Sneak Attack 4d8
Feat: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8. Rogue Talent: Combat Trick - Greater Feint
Ability Score: +1 Int (puts it at even numbers for +2 bonus)
Scout: Skirmisher
9. Rogue: Sneak Attack 5d8
Feat: ?
Knife Master: Blade Sense +3
10. Rogue: Rogue's Edge - UMD
Rogue Talent: Umbral Gear
11. Rogue: Sneak Attack 6d8
Rogue: Finesse Training - ?
Feat: Improved Critical - Daggers
12. Rogue Talent: Opportunist?
Favored Class Rogue Talent: ?
Knife Master: Blade Sense +4

My shape shifting and skills should allow for a lot of intelligence gathering and other out of combat shenanigans, while the combo of knife master, scout, TWF, and feint should allow me to be able to contribute in combat.

What do you all think?

You forgot Deific Obedience to Pharasma for +2 to attack with daggers :P

You do not want to be in melee with a 10 con.... you don't want to be in the dungeon with a 10 con. You don't want to be in melee with a 12 con.

You don't want to make will saves with an 8 wisdom rogue.

re: the arcane scoundrel: i believe that was banned in PFS for being an unchained ninja in disguise

Eldritch Scoundrel is only banned for use with Unchained, at least according to the Additional Resources page. So you can still go Finesse/Focus/Grace by level 4 with your level 1 and 3 feats and your level 4 Talent taking Combat Trick.

10 Con can and will get you killed. I've seen it happen at tables. 8 wisdom is risky, but you can get a lucky streak and not have to deal with many will saves. Damage is a more regular threat.

As someone who has a similar character, I can tell you that combat will be the greastest challenge in most scenarios. You could even afford to drop your charisma by a couple of points to have a higher dexterity. You'll need it to land all of those swings. Besides, you'll be auto succeeding those disguise checks anyway.

You need more Con, and you need better will saves.

You might be able to get away with a wisdom that low if you blow a couple of feats and a trait or two on boosting will saves. Maybe. You need to bolster your will saves desperately, though. As a rule of thumb, if your saves are less than your level then you are dangerously vulnerable. This does mean that you are siphoning off feats needed for combat capabilities. Maybe forget about two weapon fighting and feign until you aren't massively vulnerable? Especially since Scout works well with a single weapon anyway. That would also let you carry a MW buckler for improved surviveability.

With Con, there isn't a reasonable way around it. Rogues have bad survivability. You need a respectable Con. I wouldn't settle for anything less than 14. Fortitude saves are also a big problem. Shoring those up acceptably requires at least 2 more feats, possibly more. Or 14 Con.

You have to lose something in order to patch up those vulnerabilities. Here are your options.

1. Cut Strength down to 8. You will have to deal with a few carry capacity issues (and effectively won't be able to wear armor early on), but this will let you boost Con to 14 or wisdom to 12 by itself.

2. Cut Strength further down to 5. This will solve all other your problems, but early levels will be painful in a number of ways. Maybe cripplingly so.

3. Reduce Intelligence down to 7, forget about feigning. This will solve most of your problems (just take iron will, 10 wis, 14 con), but it might compromise your concept.

4. Drop charisma to 10 (after racial mods). Once again, solves most problems, may compromise concept

5. Reduce Intelligence, Charisma and Strength somewhat. 9 Str, 14 Cha, 10 Int gets you 14 Con and 12 wisdom. Get Iron will and you are Okish if you put a lot of funds into save boosters. A headband can get you enough int for feigning if it is really that important.

5. Ignore the issues, and play a character who is unlikely to survive past early levels unless you avoid combat like the plague(despite having piles of combat feats).

I have to say i disagree about the wis and con crap.

My half orc skulking slayer played all the way to 12 with an 8 wis and a 10 con. I picked up a shawl of life keeping which stores 10 hp, and heals you id you would ever drop below 0.

Which also meant i didnt even have a cloak of resistance. I did take 3 levels of fighter mid game... But that was only a +3 total to fort saves.

As well... A 5250gp investment of a sayfinder and a ioun stone makes mind controlling non-issues.

If you are really worried about being that squishy... Take Fast Getaway rogue talent and withdraw after any sneak attack as a move.

Grand Lodge

Str: 12
Dex: 17
Con: 10
Int: 13
Wis: 10
Cha: 16

Fixes the will saves...this is what I am going to bring to the table. I will have to be cautious and stealthy in combat. Worst case dies and I make a new character. I will at least have fun with it until such time.

If it dies my next character will probably be a cleric or druid...much easier to make those tough as nails :)

Thanks for all the advice guys

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PhD. Okkam wrote:
But do not show a sketch of the build on the ninja / oracle? If not a secret of course. I'm looking for an interesting idea to use with intrigue mystery.

I never really decided how I wanted to do it; so many options. The idea was Seer or Stargazer Oracle, probably with Wind Mystery. Mostly Oracle, but with enough Ninja for some skills and sneak attack and vanishing trick.

For a fairly straightforwards Unchained Rogue with 4 levels of Oracle for several major magical benefits, one could go something like:

Unchained Rogue / Stargazer Oracle
Any race with +DEX and +CHA: 11STR, 15/17DEX, 14CON, 12INT, 8WIS, 15/17CHA
Traits: Fate's Favored, Magical Knack

1R. (+Weapon Finesse) / Two-Weapon Fighting
2R. Talent: Weapon Training
3R. Finesse Training / Double Slice
4O. Oracle Curse: Haunted / Revelation: Guiding Star
5O. Amateur Swashbuckler: Dodging Panache
6O. Revelation: Invisibility
7O. Accomplished Sneak Attacker
8R. Talent: Combat Trick: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting

Oracle grants medium armor proficiency, so you can use a mithral kikko or breastplate, which has little or no armor penalty, doesn't hamper movement and counts as light armor for all abilities like Dodging Panache. Any weapons with piercing attacks will work, though if you can get Effortless Lace then dual rapier is pretty stylish. Deliquescent Gloves are an option for adding a tidy 1d6 acid burn to every attack, which is pretty potent when you're using two weapons.

Oracle grants a major improvement in Will saving throw.

Dodging Panache lets you add your charisma to your AC when attacked, while moving 5 feet. So you can back away or move up a flank while being much harder to hit, which is perfect for a Rogue. You can also pick up Lunge to keep distance, so that Dodging Panache can immediately end an enemy full attack if they already used a five-foot step to reach you.

The Wind Mystery grants 4 minutes of Invisibility per day that can be used 1 minute at a time, for whenever stealth fails or isn't enough.

For spellcasting, the Haunted Curse grants you Mage Hand, Ghost Sound, Levitate and Minor Image, which all have interesting applications for trickery. Stargazer gets you Faerie Fire, which removes concealment, and it gets you the always awesome Glitterdust for blinding whole packs of enemies. A blind enemy is straight-up sneak attack bait. Four levels of Oracle and Magical Knack gives you a casting level of 6, and Fate's Favored grants a +1 bonus to luck effects. So when you put them together, the spell Divine Favor will grant a +3 to both attack and damage, putting some major extra power into combat when needed.

...of course, Quick Draw or at least some weapon cords would be a good idea.

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