Arcane Trickster - because Rogue is dead [*]


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I notice the antipaladin has some neat stuff:

Aura of Cowardice:
close enemies have -4 vs. fear effects

Cruelty: 3 choices:

  • Fatigued: –2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. Anything that would normally cause fatigue causes exhausted [-6!]. [If already fatigued when hit with this, boom big penalty.]
  • Shaken: –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. [Also a fear effect, so tougher save.]
  • Sickened: –2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

According to the environmental (Cold) rules, A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite or hypothermia (treat her as fatigued).
If the GM allows this to be fatigue for the purposes above, then some spells that do cold damage can cause the Fatigued Cruelty to go to Exhausted. [Or visa versa.] Spells: 0 Ray of Frost, 2 Frost Fall, 2 Frigid Touch, 2 Unshakable Chill, 3 Ray of Exhaustion.

Fear stacking is another thing. Check out 2 Haunting Mists. You can also Intimidate your weak willed opponents.

For low level brutes, lockdown is great, and 2 Euphoric Cloud can do it, because it makes targets Fascinated. And since it acts like Fog Cloud, anyone in the center who failed the save cannot see out, so they will remain fascinated till it goes away.

/cevah


Okay, I am a lvl 4 Character now. Rogue 2 and Wizard 2. Soon to hit lvl 5. Due to recent encounter we lost our Antipaladin and Ranger. I onoy survived thanks to Potion of Invisibility and a Daze cantrip on which the baddie failed to save badly, while our main Wizard blasted the baddie to death.

Now for lvl 5 I go Wizard and pick Acomplished Sneak Attacker. That's a given. I have no doubts here. But then what? As an Arcane Trickster, I think I have to be more... Versatile in what I can do. So... I had this idea...

Spell Focus (Evocation)
Spell Specialisation (Fireball)
Greater Spell Specialisation (Fireball)

Thanks to Surprise Spells I will be able to blast Sneak Dice in a 20ft radius. I will raise the DC of the save with Spell Focus. I can shift the element thanks to Admixture. Lastly I can use Highened Spell with Fireball too. But... That's Lvl 7 Focus, lvl 9 Spell Specialisation, lvl 11 Greater Spell Specialisation and lvl 13 Highened Spell. Is it an... Okay plan? Or would I burn too many feats into something that will never work for an Arcane Trickster?


Edit: As I can't edit... I of course ment Intensify not Heighten.


NaeNae wrote:

Spell Focus (Evocation)

Spell Specialisation (Fireball)
Greater Spell Specialisation (Fireball)

The fireball specialization route is a pretty good approach, but you need the Magical Lineage trait to complete this combo and make it worth your time and effort. Since your magic trait is locked up in Magical Knack, you can't do this easily. Metamagic is where you'll get your real damage increases from, and for some unfathomable reason it's a trait and not a feat that is the vital linchpin of that combo.


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I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.


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I never actually managed to sneak attack with fireball when I was an arcane trickster. If you check the wording carefully, it's harder to get than standard sneak attack:

Surprise Spells wrote:
Surprise Spells: At 10th level, an arcane trickster can add her sneak attack damage to any spell that deals damage, if the targets are flat-footed. This additional damage only applies to spells that deal hit point damage, and the additional damage is of the same type as the spell. If the spell allows a saving throw to negate or halve the damage, it also negates or halves the sneak attack damage.

They have to be flat-footed, which is defined as:

Flat-Footed wrote:
Flat-Footed: A character who has not yet acted during a combat is flat-footed, unable to react normally to the situation. A flat-footed character loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) and cannot make attacks of opportunity.

A standard sneak attack only requires that the target lose its Dex bonus to AC, which also happens as a result of invisibility (and things like being tied up in ropes). But Surprise Spells specifically calls for flat-footed.

That means there are two circumstances under which Surprise Spells will work:

1) The party gets a surprise round in their favor.

2) The arcane trickster beats their initiative roll and has a good target for a fireball.

In my experience, neither of those things happen very often. As capstones go, Surprise Spells sounds great at first glance, but it depends heavily on the situation in actual play.

If you're looking for a good feat, check out Arcane Blast from the APG:

Arcane Blast wrote:

Prerequisites: Arcane spellcaster, caster level 10th.

Benefit: As a standard action, you can sacrifice a prepared spell or unused spell slot of 1st level or higher and transform it into a ray, targeting any foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack. This attack deals 2d6 points of damage plus an additional 1d6 points of damage for every level of the spell or spell slot you sacrificed. 0-level spells may not be sacrificed in this manner.

For most wizards, this is not great. Swap a level 1 spell for 3d6 damage? Why would I, a level 10 caster, swap a Burning Hands that does 5d6 damage for a ray that does 3d6?

And indeed, for most casters this is distinctly underwhelming. But for an arcane trickster, it's terrific.

It's a ray: you can sneak attack with it.

It's untyped damage: energy resistances do not apply.

It's a Supernatural Ability: and thus, like all SU abilities, spell resistance does not apply.

When you can add sneak attack dice to that, and nothing can get in the way of it except an antimagic field, it starts looking pretty good.

Probably best saved for later on though. It doesn't really shine till your sneak attack is well advanced.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
A highly regarded expert wrote:
I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.

Given that your Arcane Reservoir doesn’t grow, Arcanist really isn’t a good choice for an Arcane Trickerster.

Unchained Rogue works well, Arcanist not so much.


BretI wrote:
A highly regarded expert wrote:
I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.

Given that your Arcane Reservoir doesn’t grow, Arcanist really isn’t a good choice for an Arcane Trickerster.

Unchained Rogue works well, Arcanist not so much.

Yeah, I was looking at that. Same problem you get with some of the other classes that can qualify for trickster, but aren't optimum choices, like the bard and magus: Level-based abilities that stop growing and become more irrelevant the more you level.

Your best arcane class choices remain wizard, followed by sorcerer. The others give up too much to stay viable into the higher levels, where the trickster starts to shine.

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I still think a Vivisectionist alchemist 1/wizard 4/arcane trickster 10/wizard 5 would be a strong casting option, with VMC rogue taken to get +4d6 sneak attack and Accomplished Sneak Attacker at 5th for the 2d6 requirement, total of 11d6 (or 10d6 max, I guess. Can you retrain out Accomplished Sneak Attacker later?).

You get 19 wizard levels, a second Int-based "caster" and 10d6 sneak attack. With Intensified Spell and Surprise Spell, you will do 25d6 fireballs AND 25d6 Quickened fireballs!!!


Well... Our GM does not limit the traits like that. We are allowed up to two traits from each type as long as we rolled them from the background generator. And two rerolls in said background generator on two dices if we don't like some result. Some might argue, but I like the puzzle of given results in creating a coherent backstory from the numbers.

To sum up my character, this is all the info that I think are relevant here.

Name: Evelyn Alaryan
Race: Elf
Class: Wizard 2/Unchained Rogue 2
Level: 4

Str - 8, Dex - 18, Con - 12, Int - 18, Wis - 12, Cha - 8

Racial Traits: Keen Senses (+2 Perception), Low-Light Vision, Elven Immunities (+2 to saves against enchantment), Long-Limbed (+5ft base speed), Fey Sighted (constant Detect Magic with CL equal to HD);

Feats: 1 Toughness, 3 Improved Initiative, W Scribe Scroll, R Weapon Finesse;

Traits: Magical Knack (+2 CL up to HD), Resilent Caster (+1 CL against dispell effects), Reactionary (+2 Initiative), Charming (+1 to Bluff and Diplomacy against attracted targets), Influence (+1 Sense Motive)

Drwaback: Pride,

Unchained Rogue: Evasion, Trapfinding, Sneak Attack +1d6, Graceful Athlette;
Wizard: Versatile Evocation, Arcane Bond - Ring, Opposite Schools: Enchantment and Necromancy;

Spells Known: all lvl 0, without opposite schools; Color Spray, Detect Secret Doors, Ear-Piercing Scream, Feather Fall, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Secluded Grimoire, Unseen Servant;

Skills: Acrobatics 1, Climb 1, Disable Device 4, Escape Artist 4, Fly 1, Kn. Arcana 4, Kn. Dungeoneering 1, Kn. Local 1, Kn. Nature 1, Kn. Nobility 1, Kn. Planes 1, Kn. Religion 1, Perception 4, Sense Motive 1, Sleight of Hand 1, Spellcraft 4, Stealth 4, Swim 1;

Not sure where to put it, but each party member has to drink this. And I was no different. So thanks to that little thing, Evelyn can fly on any broom she finds with poor maneuverability. I mean... It could have been worse.

My plans for level 5 are as follows. Grab Acquired Sneak Attacker. Learn Glitterdust and Invisibility. Learn Scorching Ray from my friendly, neighborhood Wizard. And perhaps any other spells he might know. Check the scrolls we found for any spells I find interesting and that can come in handy. Get myself a +1 Armor if I can afford it.

Then I am torn a little. I could get Spell Focus lvl 7, Spell Specialisation lvl 9 and Greater Spell Specialisation lvl 11, leaving Spell Infusion for lvl 13. But honestly, I could postpone it 2 levels and grab Craft Magic Arms and Armor on lvl 7 and use it with the Scribe Scroll from the Wizard bonus feat to scribe spells on my armor. It's a very tempting opportunity for me to save on Spell Slots for that "oh f##k" Mage Armor on my robes. By that time I expect to have a Ring of Invisibility or later Greater Invisibility. Which brings me another question. How one does calculate going from Invisibility to it's Greater version? Remove the lesser and pay for the greater? Or is there some way of upgrading the lesser into the greater for lower costs?

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I think there is a Fey Bloodline ability that gives you swift action greater invisibility for a number of rounds equal to your level. Maybe try to see if something like that is less expensive?

Is there a way to polymorph into an Invisible Stalker? Some kind of elemental form?

Are you going to pick up Quicken Spell at higher levels? It really helps your action economy. Especially if you need to quickly buff up to stealth up.


SmiloDan wrote:

I think there is a Fey Bloodline ability that gives you swift action greater invisibility for a number of rounds equal to your level. Maybe try to see if something like that is less expensive?

Is there a way to polymorph into an Invisible Stalker? Some kind of elemental form?

Are you going to pick up Quicken Spell at higher levels? It really helps your action economy. Especially if you need to quickly buff up to stealth up.

"Invisible Thief (Su): At 9th level, an arcane trickster can become invisible, as if under the effects of greater invisibility, as a free action. She can remain invisible for a number of rounds per day equal to her arcane trickster level. Her caster level for this effect is equal to her caster level. These rounds need not be consecutive."

So when it comes to combat, I will later have means to go invisible. The ring was more ment to allow me to scout ahead and remain invisible till I decide to drop it.


Edit: Once again I cannot edit, oh well...

Can someone explain the sneak dice usage for an Arcane Trickster?

I assume any damaging spell can add Sneak Damage to it's AoE or first enemy hit, as long as Surprise Spells are available.

But what about spells that are Ranged Touch Attacks targeting enemies with removed Dex bonus to AC? Doesn't it count as a sneak attack?

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Yes.

You can apply sneak attack damage to any attack that qualifies for a sneak attack. For example, if you are a rogue 2/wizard 3, and have cast invisibility on yourself, and then cast acid splash at a target, you not only get a +2 to the attack roll for being invisible, and since the target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC, you can sneak attack it, doing 1d3 + 1d6 acid damage; the extra +1d6 is from your sneak attack.

It would be 1d3 + 2d6 if you have Accomplished Sneak Attacker.


Okay, then something like Scorching Ray seems like the better choice for the Spell Specialisation Duo of feats. As with Intensify, it would be 4 rays for 4d6 each, with the first one adding all my Sneak Dice to itself. On lvl 15 that would be a neat 11d6 on first ray against 10AC. Because touch and removed Dex to AC. Sounds much more decent.


BretI wrote:
A highly regarded expert wrote:
I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.

Given that your Arcane Reservoir doesn’t grow, Arcanist really isn’t a good choice for an Arcane Trickerster.

Unchained Rogue works well, Arcanist not so much.

I haven't tried to build one out so it might turn out to be too unwieldy, but I wonder if a Blade Adept Arcanist could work well with Arcane Trickster. Take the Eldritch Blade Exploit to progress your Black Blade and also take the Spellstrike Exploit. The Arcane Weapon Exploit to boost the Enhancement Bonus or add things like Spell Storing also sounds nice. Being able to deliver one attack that deals Force Damage, a touch spell using Spellstrike, a second spell using Spell Storing, and Sneak Attack Force damage is appealing. I'm envisioning a whip for the Bonded Weapon so you get a 15' range, but that might require too many feats.


What would you propose for must have spells?

For lvl 2 I want Gliterdust, Scorching Ray and Invisibility. I can get Scorching Ray from ny friendly neighbourhood wizard and the other two I can learn myself.

For lvl 3 I am only set for Fireball. Haven't really found anything that would pique my interest.

For lvl 4 I want Greater Invisibility.

What else would you propose? I noticed that there aren't that many good spells in Evocation once you have Scorching Ray and Fireball. Not untill Chain Lighting for lvl 6 spells. But what of other schools?


Create Pit, Web, and Fog Cloud are good 2nd level spells. All of them essentially revolve around disrupting opponents. For third level spells... loads of awesome ones. Dispel Magic, Haste, Fly, Stinking Cloud, Aqueous Orb, and Wind Wall all immediately come to mind. For 4th level spells, Black Tentacles, Dimension Door, Scrying, Charm Monster, Confusion, Wall of Ice, Shadow Conjuration, and Animate Dead all come to mind.

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NaeNae, are you going to have a bunch of metamagic feats? They can be used to add zest to lower level spells, such as adding Dazing Spell to fireball or Intensify Spell to shocking grasp or Quicken to magic missile.


Metamagic would be a great idea eventually, but if she doesn't even have 3rd level spell slots yet it's a bit premature. I'd say start looking at them seriously around 9th level.


Well, my plan so far is to pick Acomplished Sneak Attacker for lvl 5, Spell Focus Evocation for lvl 7, Spell Specialisation for lvl 9 and Greater Spell Specialisation for lvl 11. I plan to take Intensify Spell for lvl 13 or 15. That's the time I can make the most use of it with Scorching Ray, Fireball, Magic Missile. I was thinking of taking Quicken Spell as well, so perhaps those will be my lvl 13 and 15 feats.

The only bother I have is... Quicken raises the lvl by 4, with Intensify that's a lvl 8 Fireball and a lvl 7 Scorching Ray. But then again, a wizard can cast a single spell per day spontaneously from her bonded item. Would such a spell being Intensified count as a full round action? I know a Quickened would still be Swift Action, but normally spontaneous metamagic is a Full Round Action, no?


NaeNae wrote:
Well, my plan so far is to pick Acomplished Sneak Attacker for lvl 5, Spell Focus Evocation for lvl 7, Spell Specialisation for lvl 9 and Greater Spell Specialisation for lvl 11.

Given how delayed you are feat-wise, I don't think the Greater Spell Specialization path is worth it. I feel at the levels you are pursuing these feats, you would be better served by metamagic. Not to mention you will need three metamagic feats to get the Spell Perfection feat, which is the holy grail of blasting.

And yes, Quickened+Intensified is quite intensive. This is why the Magical Lineage trait is regarded as extremely important for specialized blaster builds, as it makes these expensive metamagic combos that much more affordable.

NaeNae wrote:
I know a Quickened would still be Swift Action, but normally spontaneous metamagic is a Full Round Action, no?

Quickened is the exception to the rule. You can spontaneously quicken spells and they will be swift actions.

The Exchange

A highly regarded expert wrote:
BretI wrote:
A highly regarded expert wrote:
I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.

Given that your Arcane Reservoir doesn’t grow, Arcanist really isn’t a good choice for an Arcane Trickerster.

Unchained Rogue works well, Arcanist not so much.

Yeah, I was looking at that. Same problem you get with some of the other classes that can qualify for trickster, but aren't optimum choices, like the bard and magus: Level-based abilities that stop growing and become more irrelevant the more you level.

Your best arcane class choices remain wizard, followed by sorcerer. The others give up too much to stay viable into the higher levels, where the trickster starts to shine.

One distinct advantage the Arcanist brings however, is very nice flexibility and synergy with Ninja. I prefer Arcanist to Sorcerer for a CHA build Arcane Trickster. I actually played one from 1st to 11th quite enjoyably until a streak of bad luck and 3 failed reflex saves in a row got me roasted with aoe and an exploding statue. That was before Unchained Rogue came out or accomplished sneak attacker, so I do agree there are some other ways to build it that are probably stronger than the past.

However, I will disagree with the statement "The others give up too much to stay viable into the higher levels..." because Arcanist really does not give up too much.

Arcanist/Ninja get some nice things- Dimensional Slide is an incredibly nice positioning tool for an Arcane Trickster. With 4 levels, you get no-AoO provoking 40ft "teleport" to another location in sight, which lets you get a flanking position, out of danger, up onto a wall, etc, and only counts as 5ft of movement, so you can get quite a distance in one movement (I was playing a gnome, so this was especially nice due to small size speed - I can't emphasize enough how useful it is being able to move double your normal movement speed without AoO to anywhere in sight, ignoring difficult terrain or enemy positions). It stays relevant and useful throughout your career, and is used as part of a move action, which has the added benefit of leaving your swift action clear for things like Vanishing Trick, or immediate action Counterspell (another nice exploit), or at higher levels, to cast a quickened spell and a standard action spell. Being a part of a move action, you can "slide" to cover/concealment and make a stealth check.

Another exploit that is normally not that great on the Arcanist, Shadow Veil, gives you concealment and +5 bonus to stealth, which means you can burn an arcane point to emulate Hide in Plain Sight (but no need for any shadows) to make a stealth check and set yourself up for more sneak attacks or simply disappear.

On top of these, if you choose not to take them, you can always take Quick Study for utility, Potent Magic to grab even more damage dice to your spell-sneak attacking (or extra rounds of greater invisibility), a Metamagic feat, or Metamixing, which lets you, unlike the sorcerer, add metamagic to a spell on the fly without increasing the casting time. Or just take item creation feats to craft things or get a familiar (though poor familiar doesn't scale, and the aforementioned list was to counter the point that the abilities "fall off" over time).

Probably the biggest downsides I felt were the lack of Evasion (which really wasn't a big deal for me since you have a pretty good reflex save from rogue or ninja dip) and trapfinding (which you can get with a trait nowadays).

The Unchained Rogue looks nice, but I just can't imagine taking one level of it for the weapon finesse and then using a feat for accomplished sneak attacker. Entry into Arcane Trickster as Wizard3/Unchained Rogue 1 means that you have [+1] BAB at level 5. That... Even with relying on touch attacks, it's kinda scary. The quicker access to higher level spells is nice, but I've always thought the Arcane Trickster more leans on the Rogue's role in the party, and the opportunity cost in the skills and non-spell utility seems like it might hurt. Or perhaps not?

I'll have to try it next.


If you can get your hands on Pathfinder Unchained Fractional Base Bonuses, it isn't so bad -- although on the one hand, you don't get to stack the +2s for different classes having the same good Saves, on the other hand, you are guaranteed to get some Base Attack Bonus even if you take 1 level in each of 20 different 1/2 BAB classes.

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I think a rogue 1/wiz 3/AT X is primarily a spellcaster with some extra skill points and sneak attack for zest. You don't really need BAB. Just go Int>Dex>Con>Wis>Cha>Str. Since you're targeting touch AC (and often flat-footed touch AC), you don't really need a huge attack bonus. You're definitely not using iterative attacks!

If you're really concerned about BAB at low levels, you can go rogue 1/wizard 4/AT 10/wizard 5 instead of rogue 1/wizard 3/AT 10/wizard 4.

Both give you 19 caster levels and 7d6 sneak attack

If you also want to maximize sneak attack dice, you can do a VMC rogue vivisectionist alchemist 1/wizard 4/AT 10/wizard 5, and get 10d6 sneak attack and CL 19--and you can re-train out of Accomplished Sneak Attacker to get back a feat.

1. VA1. Weapon Finesse? Sneak Attack 1d6
2. W1. Scribe Scroll
3. W2. VMC Rogue
4. W3.
5. W4. Accomplished Sneak Attacker, SA 2d6 (retrained 7th level?)
6. AT1.
7. AT2. SA 4d6, Spell Focus?
8. AT3.
9. AT4. SA 5d6, Intensify Spell
10. AT5.
11. AT6. SA 7d6, Dazing Spell, Evasion
12. AT7.
13. AT8. SA 8d6, Quicken Spell
14. AT9.
15. AT10. SA 10d6, Uncanny Dodge, Spell Specialization?
16. W5. Bonus Feat
17. W6. Spell Perfection?
18. W7
19. W8. SA 11d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spell Penetration
20. W9.


I use Unchained Fractional Advancement, which means each Wizard level adds 1/2 to BAB and each Rogue a 3/4 to BAB and it's rounded down afterwards. Additionally the saves get a +2 from each class you have that has a good progression in them. Note the following from under the table:

"* If at least one of the character's classes has a good saving throw progression for the save in question, add 2 to the total save bonus."

My lvl 2 Wizard and 2 Rogue has now 1-1/2 BAB from rogue and 1 BAB from wizard. And a +2 Reflex save and a +2 Will save. Fortitude is kind of poop for now.

On a side note, thanks for this Spell Perfection feat. I didn't find it earlier.


SmiloDan wrote:

1. VA1. Weapon Finesse? Sneak Attack 1d6

2. W1. Scribe Scroll
3. W2. VMC Rogue
4. W3.
5. W4. Accomplished Sneak Attacker, SA 2d6 (retrained 7th level?)
6. AT1.
7. AT2. SA 4d6, Spell Focus?
8. AT3.
9. AT4. SA 5d6, Intensify Spell
10. AT5.
11. AT6. SA 7d6, Dazing Spell, Evasion
12. AT7.
13. AT8. SA 8d6, Quicken Spell
14. AT9.
15. AT10. SA 10d6, Uncanny Dodge, Spell Specialization?
16. W5. Bonus Feat
17. W6. Spell Perfection?
18. W7
19. W8. SA 11d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spell Penetration
20. W9.

How did you get 11d6 sneak dice?

1. 10 levels of Arcane Trickster give you 5d6.

2. 1 level of Vivisectionist gives you 1d6.

3. 1 level of Rogue gives you none.

4. Acomplished Sneak Attacker gives you 1d6 and limits your sneak dice to half your HD max. So lvl 20 is 10d6, but you retrain it lvl 7, so either you lose the 1d6 or you are capped at 10d6 max.

If my math is right... And I think it is, you are capped at 6d6 without ASA and at 7d6 with it. Unless you go... Wizard 9/ Arcane Trickster 10/Vivisectionist 1/VMC U-Rogue 5. Which then gives you...

5d6 AT + 1d6 Viv + 2d6 Rogue + 1d6 ASA feat. Which is just 2d6 higher and capped at 10d6. For the cost of 5 feats. Nit aure it's worth it.


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NaeNae wrote:

What would you propose for must have spells?

For lvl 2 I want Gliterdust, Scorching Ray and Invisibility. I can get Scorching Ray from ny friendly neighbourhood wizard and the other two I can learn myself.

For lvl 3 I am only set for Fireball. Haven't really found anything that would pique my interest.

For lvl 4 I want Greater Invisibility.

What else would you propose? I noticed that there aren't that many good spells in Evocation once you have Scorching Ray and Fireball. Not untill Chain Lighting for lvl 6 spells. But what of other schools?

A lot of people overlook Acid Arrow. It's good for neutralizing casters.

From the guide:

"Acid Arrow: While this spell doesn't seem all that great for the spell slot, it's of great use to the trickster.

Ranged touch attack so you can add sneak damage? Check. No save? Check. No SR? Check. Long range? Check. Force spellcasters to make concentration checks to cast spells in the next round(s) due to continuous damage they can't do anything about? Check.

Behold the mighty power of continuous damage! If you hit a caster before he casts a spell, he has to make a concentration check. The DC is 10 + damage taken + level of the spell he’s casting. If you add a few d6s to the 2d4 of that spell, he’ll need a good roll to cast this round. About a 50/50 chance for him if he’s the baddest thing on the map, worse for him if he’s not. He’ll have to check vs. half your damage next round, too. Even more, if you follow up with another sneak Acid Arrow. Then, it’s 4d4 + the same d6. See where this is going? Two should do it.

You’re not just a good blaster caster, you’re the world’s greatest caster blaster, too. Sorcerer ATs can spam it easily, sneaking or not, and just a few of these in a row will mess up some of Mr. High-and-Mighty full caster’s spells for an encounter-ending length of time.

Casting this spell with some sniper goggles can mess up a charging army if you hit the right guy and fizzle his big battle buff. It should be in your arsenal, one way or another. Wizards, scribe some scrolls of it for when you go up against that spell-resistant necromancer, and watch him squirm.

You, of all people, should understand the agony of not getting a spell off when you really need it. If you cause a caster to lose a spell, congratulations! You did some legitimate damage and counterspelled with a second level spell, you trickster, you!"

I played a 20th level trickster who used that spell to keep Tar-Baphon from casting teleport long enough for our ranger to destroy him. Good times!


I feel dumb now, because I have the spell in my notes and forgot to write it down above. And it's ace, especially with the Admixture elemental shifts to avoid resistances of same baddies.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Has anyone created an Arcane Trickster archetype?


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NaeNae wrote:
I feel dumb now, because I have the spell in my notes and forgot to write it down above. And it's ace, especially with the Admixture elemental shifts to avoid resistances of same baddies.

Actually, you can't change it because it's a conjuration.


Bwang wrote:
Has anyone created an Arcane Trickster archetype?

The closest is the Eldritch Scoundrel Rogue, although it plays very differently from the Arcane Trickster due to having higher BAB, U-Rogue class features, but slower spellcasting and sneak attack progression.


A highly regarded expert wrote:
NaeNae wrote:
I feel dumb now, because I have the spell in my notes and forgot to write it down above. And it's ace, especially with the Admixture elemental shifts to avoid resistances of same baddies.
Actually, you can't change it because it's a conjuration.

:o I feel even dumber now :c


NaeNae wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

1. VA1. Weapon Finesse? Sneak Attack 1d6

2. W1. Scribe Scroll
3. W2. VMC Rogue
4. W3.
5. W4. Accomplished Sneak Attacker, SA 2d6 (retrained 7th level?)
6. AT1.
7. AT2. SA 4d6, Spell Focus?
8. AT3.
9. AT4. SA 5d6, Intensify Spell
10. AT5.
11. AT6. SA 7d6, Dazing Spell, Evasion
12. AT7.
13. AT8. SA 8d6, Quicken Spell
14. AT9.
15. AT10. SA 10d6, Uncanny Dodge, Spell Specialization?
16. W5. Bonus Feat
17. W6. Spell Perfection?
18. W7
19. W8. SA 11d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spell Penetration
20. W9.

How did you get 11d6 sneak dice?

1. 10 levels of Arcane Trickster give you 5d6.

2. 1 level of Vivisectionist gives you 1d6.

3. 1 level of Rogue gives you none.

4. Acomplished Sneak Attacker gives you 1d6 and limits your sneak dice to half your HD max. So lvl 20 is 10d6, but you retrain it lvl 7, so either you lose the 1d6 or you are capped at 10d6 max.

If my math is right... And I think it is, you are capped at 6d6 without ASA and at 7d6 with it. Unless you go... Wizard 9/ Arcane Trickster 10/Vivisectionist 1/VMC U-Rogue 5. Which then gives you...

5d6 AT + 1d6 Viv + 2d6 Rogue + 1d6 ASA feat. Which is just 2d6 higher and capped at 10d6. For the cost of 5 feats. Nit aure it's worth it.

VMC Rogue is providing another 4d6 of Sneak Attack, starting with 1d6 at level 7 and then going up by 1d6 every 4 levels thereafter. But as you noted, Accomplished Sneak Attacker only applies when it can do so without raising your number of Sneak Attack above half your hit dice (rounded up). So you would want to retrain this to some other feat at least at 11th level (when this limitation would kick in), but potentially as early as 7th level (when VMC Rogue starts to kick in, and you are likely to be even hungrier for feats than later on).


NaeNae wrote:
A highly regarded expert wrote:
NaeNae wrote:
I feel dumb now, because I have the spell in my notes and forgot to write it down above. And it's ace, especially with the Admixture elemental shifts to avoid resistances of same baddies.
Actually, you can't change it because it's a conjuration.
:o I feel even dumber now :c

Don't feel dumb. Anyone could miss that detail. It's still a great spell for a trickster.


A highly regarded expert wrote:
I really need to update the guide. It doesn't take into account the Unchained Rogue (clearly better), the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat, or the Arcanist class.

I'd like to see this too. Also take into account Vivisectionist Alchemist, Snakebite Striker Brawler, and VMC Rogue. Also the Additional Traits feat in case you have to accommodate a Campaign Trait and a non-Magic trait first to get you up and running, and add Magical Knack and something else useful for spellcasting or skill monkeying later.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
NaeNae wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

1. VA1. Weapon Finesse? Sneak Attack 1d6

2. W1. Scribe Scroll
3. W2. VMC Rogue
4. W3.
5. W4. Accomplished Sneak Attacker, SA 2d6 (retrained 7th level?)
6. AT1.
7. AT2. SA 4d6, Spell Focus?
8. AT3.
9. AT4. SA 5d6, Intensify Spell
10. AT5.
11. AT6. SA 7d6, Dazing Spell, Evasion
12. AT7.
13. AT8. SA 8d6, Quicken Spell
14. AT9.
15. AT10. SA 10d6, Uncanny Dodge, Spell Specialization?
16. W5. Bonus Feat
17. W6. Spell Perfection?
18. W7
19. W8. SA 11d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spell Penetration
20. W9.

How did you get 11d6 sneak dice?

1. 10 levels of Arcane Trickster give you 5d6.

2. 1 level of Vivisectionist gives you 1d6.

3. 1 level of Rogue gives you none.

4. Acomplished Sneak Attacker gives you 1d6 and limits your sneak dice to half your HD max. So lvl 20 is 10d6, but you retrain it lvl 7, so either you lose the 1d6 or you are capped at 10d6 max.

If my math is right... And I think it is, you are capped at 6d6 without ASA and at 7d6 with it. Unless you go... Wizard 9/ Arcane Trickster 10/Vivisectionist 1/VMC U-Rogue 5. Which then gives you...

5d6 AT + 1d6 Viv + 2d6 Rogue + 1d6 ASA feat. Which is just 2d6 higher and capped at 10d6. For the cost of 5 feats. Nit aure it's worth it.

VMC Rogue is providing another 4d6 of Sneak Attack, starting with 1d6 at level 7 and then going up by 1d6 every 4 levels thereafter. But as you noted, Accomplished Sneak Attacker only applies when it can do so without raising your number of Sneak Attack above half your hit dice (rounded up). So you would want to retrain this to some other feat at least at 11th level (when this limitation would kick in), but potentially as early as 7th level (when VMC Rogue starts to kick in, and you are likely to be even hungrier for feats than later on).

Variant multiclassing allows you to take 5 lvls of a second class total. On lvl 3, 7, 11, 15 and 19. With 1 level of Vivisectionist that's 6 levels of sneak attacking class. Which transfers into 3d6 sneak attack dice, because sneak classes get the dices every uneven level. Then there is 5d6 from Trickster. I still don't see how it can go higher? Unless you went Wizard 3/Trickster 10/Vivisectionist 7/Rogue 5, which would give you 5d6 from Trickster and 6d6 from Vivi and Rogue.


1. Vivisectionist 1 / Acomplished Sneak Attacker 2d6(1d6)
2. Wizard 1
3. Wizard 2 / Rogue 1
4. Wizard 3
5. Arcane Trickster 1
6. Arcane Trickster 2 3d6
7. Arcane Trickster 3 / Rogue 2 4d6(3d6)
8. Arcane Trickster 4 5d6(4d6)
9. Arcane Trickster 5
10. Arcane Trickster 6 6d6(5d6)
11. Arcane Trickster 7 / Rogue 3
12. Arcane Trickster 8 7d6(6d6)
13. Arcane Trickster 9
14. Arcane Trickster 10 8d6(7d6)
15. Wizard 4 / Rogue 4 9d6(7d6)
16. Wizard 5
17. Wizard 6
18. Wizard 7
19. Wizard 8 / Rogue 5
20. Wizard 9

Total of 9d6 as far as I am aware. You could finish off with Vivisectionist 9 and Wizard 3 instead and get another... 3d6 I think.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

NaeNae wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

1. VA1. Weapon Finesse? Sneak Attack 1d6

2. W1. Scribe Scroll
3. W2. VMC Rogue
4. W3.
5. W4. Accomplished Sneak Attacker, SA 2d6 (retrained 7th level?)
6. AT1.
7. AT2. SA 4d6, Spell Focus?
8. AT3.
9. AT4. SA 5d6, Intensify Spell
10. AT5.
11. AT6. SA 7d6, Dazing Spell, Evasion
12. AT7.
13. AT8. SA 8d6, Quicken Spell
14. AT9.
15. AT10. SA 10d6, Uncanny Dodge, Spell Specialization?
16. W5. Bonus Feat
17. W6. Spell Perfection?
18. W7
19. W8. SA 11d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spell Penetration
20. W9.

How did you get 11d6 sneak dice?

1. 10 levels of Arcane Trickster give you 5d6.

2. 1 level of Vivisectionist gives you 1d6.

3. 1 level of Rogue gives you none.

4. Acomplished Sneak Attacker gives you 1d6 and limits your sneak dice to half your HD max. So lvl 20 is 10d6, but you retrain it lvl 7, so either you lose the 1d6 or you are capped at 10d6 max.

If my math is right... And I think it is, you are capped at 6d6 without ASA and at 7d6 with it. Unless you go... Wizard 9/ Arcane Trickster 10/Vivisectionist 1/VMC U-Rogue 5. Which then gives you...

5d6 AT + 1d6 Viv + 2d6 Rogue + 1d6 ASA feat. Which is just 2d6 higher and capped at 10d6. For the cost of 5 feats. Nit aure it's worth it.

VMC is short for Variant Multi-class. It gives 1d6 Sneak Attack at levels 7, 11, 15, and 19.

I know you can only get 10d6 sneak attack over 20 levels, so once VMC comes on line, you can re-train Accomplished Sneak Attacker for something else. Which is good, since this build is extremely feat starved. VMC use up your feat slots for levels 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19. This build gives you 5 character-based feats (1, 5, 9, 13, and 17), a bonus Scribe Scroll feat (wizard 1), and a bonus metamagic or item creation feat (wizard 5). Plus some from alchemist, I think, like Brew Potion and Throw Anything, unless the archetype trades them out. Also, some races give you bonus feats, like human, half-elf Skill Focus, and alternate half-orc Endurance.

Awesome that you get to use fractional BAB! :-D

I like that the 1st level in alchemist gives you +2 to Fortitude AND Reflex saves, and is an Int-based "caster," and expands on some utility, like cure light wounds. Maybe also go Mind Chemist to get cognatogens to boost Int, unless you want to use a mutagen to boost Dex or Con.


^Vivisectionist Alchemist itself doesn't trade out Brew Potion or Throw Anything (even though it trades out Bombs). Combining it with Mindchemist (for Cognatogen) could be useful and also doesn't trade these out, but beware of the self-inflicted ability damage, and beware that a very strict reading of the archetype combination rules could render them incompatible, since they both alter the list of available Alchemical Discoveries.

With respect to feat starvation, since you get to use Fractional Base Bonuses, it might be worth getting 1 extra level of Wizard to get your 5th level Bonus Wizard Feat before going into Arcane Trickster.


Oh, I finally read the way VMC works... My bad. I thought it just adds you a bonus 5 levels of some class, but it seems it's unique development of that secondary class. So yeah, that would be 4d6 from Rogue, 1d6 Vivisectionist and 5d6 Trickster giving a neat 10d6 I think. With the ability to retrain the ASA feat later on for something more beneficial. Although... It does cost 5 feats. A bit rough if you ask me.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

But at 20th level, you can use a 4th level slot for an Intensified 25d6 fireball with Surprise Spells AND an 8th level slot for a Quickened Intensified 25d6 fireball! 50d6 is a pretty good opening salvo. 175 points on average? My math-fu is tired...

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle wrote:
NaeNae wrote:

I want to focus on casting, but with the limited number of spells, I don't want to be utterly useless in melee.

I am looking to be a rogue most of all. And ranged dmg dealer secondly. Melee is ment to be for those moments where there is nothing else I can do. I want to be the rogue first and foremost. Just a magical one.

I had a look at Eldritch Scoundrel, but I don't like the reduced sneak attack dmg. Not to mention she won't add it to her spells. That's 5d6 vs 7d6.

As for the ring, I believe we will soon have a Warpriest joining, but not a Cleric.

I was thinking of taking a different rogue talent tbh, either a Combat Trick and maybe some combat feat, or perhaps Fast Stealth. But I don't think Fast Stealth would work with Blur, but it could work with Invisibility.

Is there any way to remove vocal components of a spell? Like... Silent Casting from Skyrim?

If your group allows third party material, you might take a look at the Trickster class in the soon to be released (as in, later this month, or early next month!) New Paths Compendium from Kobold Press.

I think the Trickster is pretty much exactly what you are looking for!

Quick follow up - the New Paths Compendium is now available for preorder!

New Paths Compendium preorder

It will also be available in a few weeks right here through Paizo.com as well!


SmiloDan wrote:

But at 20th level, you can use a 4th level slot for an Intensified 25d6 fireball with Surprise Spells AND an 8th level slot for a Quickened Intensified 25d6 fireball! 50d6 is a pretty good opening salvo. 175 points on average? My math-fu is tired...

It gets pretty wild at high levels.

Also, I updated my guide.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

300 hp if Maximized via Metamagic Rods?

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle wrote:
NaeNae wrote:

I want to focus on casting, but with the limited number of spells, I don't want to be utterly useless in melee.

I am looking to be a rogue most of all. And ranged dmg dealer secondly. Melee is ment to be for those moments where there is nothing else I can do. I want to be the rogue first and foremost. Just a magical one.

I had a look at Eldritch Scoundrel, but I don't like the reduced sneak attack dmg. Not to mention she won't add it to her spells. That's 5d6 vs 7d6.

As for the ring, I believe we will soon have a Warpriest joining, but not a Cleric.

I was thinking of taking a different rogue talent tbh, either a Combat Trick and maybe some combat feat, or perhaps Fast Stealth. But I don't think Fast Stealth would work with Blur, but it could work with Invisibility.

Is there any way to remove vocal components of a spell? Like... Silent Casting from Skyrim?

If your group allows third party material, you might take a look at the Trickster class in the soon to be released (as in, later this month, or early next month!) New Paths Compendium from Kobold Press.

I think the Trickster is pretty much exactly what you are looking for!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know the Expanded and Updated New Paths Compendium Hardcover is now available right here on Paizo.com!!

Expanded and Updated New Paths Compendium Hardcover

Includes the Trickster plus 11 other new classes (plus archetypes, spells, feats, and more)

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