On the Rogue


Prerelease Discussion

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

BACKSTAB! (Well, not really, but it's far more fun to shout than SNEAK ATTACK!)

So, 3 days ago Paizo released a preview of the rogue, and these are my thoughts on it.

The rogue remains focused on stealth and catching enemies unaware, which I definitely approve of, though this still most often requires flanking or the enemy being flat-footed. The surprise attack is a neat touch, but since it is effectively "a surprise round" then I'm not super-thrilled by it since the rogue still has to react first. I wonder how that'll work if there's an ACTUAL surprise round too. Does that mean the rogue would get to sneak attack twice?

I am however a fan of the conditions that you can apply using sneak attack. It makes it very much something that is usuful beyond just the mere damage. I do wonder though if you'll be sacrificing damage dice to apply the various abilities or if it's just something that happens automatically. I do find it interesting though, that you get Master Strike at level 19 in PF2, as that was the "Capstone" ability for the rogue in PF1, coming at level 20 (and it looks like the "subabilities" Master Strike have been parcelled out to lower levels), but does that mean we get some other level 20 ability instead? Intriguing.

Not too surprisingly, the rogue remains the skill-monkey of the game, but I did notice that a new skill appeared called Thievery, alongside Stealth. Now presumably this is the old Sleight of Hand skill that's just been renamed, buuut, I hope that it's a combination of Sleight of Hand / Disable Device / Escape Artist, as it always felt as if those skills were a bit too speciic and therefore somewhat underutilized.
Another new skill that's appeared is Society. Perhaps that's the old Knowledge (local) or Disguise? Not sure, as there's too little context for that one, beyond it being something that a fence would pick up.

Rogue Feats
So there were a few new Rogue feats revealed as well, such as Nimble Dodge (giving a +2 Dodge bonus as a reaction - not a fan as it feels a bit too much like the return to 3.0/3.5 Dodge, where you had to designate a single opponent for a +1 AC bonus, something Pathfinder had changed).
Mobility is an upgraded 5' step it seems, allowing you to move up to half speed without triggering reactions (like Attacks of Opportunity). It goes well in hand with the rogue being a nimble and stealthy opponent. There's also Reactive Pursuit, which seems to be the equivalent of the current Barbarian ability called "No Escape". Makes sense for a nimble opponent to be able to do this, and allows for thematic fights a bit like the "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die."

Then we have things like Dread Striker that allows you to treat a frightened creature as flat-footed (I can see some interesting combination with that and the fighter's Intimidating Strike), and the same goes for Gang Up, allowing you to not even flank with an ally, but still count the opponent as such. That should allow for a lot more uses of the sneak attack ability, and I'm definitely in favor of that change. The star of the show though has to be Instant Opening. I'm going to assume that it's either an action or a reaction, but then it's flat-footed until the end of YOUR next turn, so 2 rounds of some tasty sneak attacks.
The Blank Slate is also quite cool (I'm less of a fan of the Cognitive Loophole, though it does make sense as a pre-requisite feat), that makes you immune to detection, revelation, and scrying effects - that's a very cool ability for a stealthy character, and defeats some of that pesky scrying magic that so many spellcasters likely have access to.
Twist the Knife is the final ability revealed, and I like the idea of Bleed as part of your sneak attack damage, it's a nice little twist (sorry!) on a classic trope of someone slowly being bled to death. Death by a thousand cuts certainly springs to mind.

And those are my thoughts on the rogueish reveals!

Let me know what you think. :)


In my opinion the biggest problem with 1st edition rogue has been that it relies too much on others (i.e. flanking) or it doesn't work at all with ranged weapons. With 2nd edition, I don't see any remedy in those areas and this is a really big disappointment for me.

Another problem with rogue is that people seem to think sneak attack is too powerful and thus give it all these restrictions. if 20th level rogue can have max. 10d6 sneak attack against one target which is really situational and uncertain (rogue has also problems in actually hitting something) compared to Wizards with possibility cast 40d6 disintegrate or inflicting that 10d6 to a number of targets with fireballs and such, the sneak attack doesn't sound that powerful. But for some reason nobody seems to care what wizards or even fighters are capable of but at the same time like to nerf poor rogues.

What I would like to see is a separate mechanic to knock people unconscious when catching them unawares with a higher certainly than making non-lethal sneak attack damage. E.g. now I have a 9th level rogue but I would still think really hard if I'd take the chance to try to knockout e.g. 5th level fighter guarding something. I have one, maybe two chances to make a sneak attack and after that no sneaking if you are alone.

What also bothers me is this discussion about "vital spot" and that rogue is able to spot it and thus inflict precision damage. But it the whole armor class system an abstraction of just that? If you hit higher AC you are able to bypass shield, armor, dodging etc. and thus find an opening/vital spot? Should the sneak attack be more about bonus to hit than just damage dice?

Furthermore I'd like to see the mechanics for poisons changed to make rogues (and assassins) more effective and especially I'd like to see new rules craft rules for both poisons and traps. The current rules are ridiculous.

Liberty's Edge

Earl Grey wrote:
In my opinion the biggest problem with 1st edition rogue has been that it relies too much on others (i.e. flanking) or it doesn't work at all with ranged weapons. With 2nd edition, I don't see any remedy in those areas and this is a really big disappointment for me.

Well, there's a high level fix to both of those (the thing where you spend an action and the enemy is flat-footed now...just removes these problems completely once it's online). The fear-based one would also work for this combined with Intimidate stuff, in all likelihood.

There may well also be other ones that just haven't been listed yet.

Earl Grey wrote:
Another problem with rogue is that people seem to think sneak attack is too powerful and thus give it all these restrictions. if 20th level rogue can have max. 10d6 sneak attack against one target which is really situational and uncertain (rogue has also problems in actually hitting something) compared to Wizards with possibility cast 40d6 disintegrate or inflicting that 10d6 to a number of targets with fireballs and such, the sneak attack doesn't sound that powerful. But for some reason nobody seems to care what wizards or even fighters are capable of but at the same time like to nerf poor rogues.

BAB appears to no longer exist, so Rogues probably aren't gonna have too hard a time hitting people, especially flat-footed people. As for 10d6 extra damage not being a lot...it doubles on crits now, so that's a bit more frightening. Plus we don't know enough about how much damage anything does in this system to really talk about how much 10d6 is.

I mean, if weapons go up to +5, we're talking 6d12+12 or so on a Greataxe from what we've seen so far. That'd be 51 damage. A Rogue with a +5 Rapier would be something like 16d6+8, which is 64 average damage.

Now, I expect various things will add to that, but we have no proof they'll add vastly more to Fighters than Rogues (though Fighters will probably have a somewhat higher to-hit modifier, which'll help DPR).

Earl Grey wrote:
What also bothers me is this discussion about "vital spot" and that rogue is able to spot it and thus inflict precision damage. But it the whole armor class system an abstraction of just that? If you hit higher AC you are able to bypass shield, armor, dodging etc. and thus find an opening/vital spot? Should the sneak attack be more about bonus to hit than just damage dice?

Well, that is how crits work now, and sneak attack now doubles on a crit...

Earl Grey wrote:
Furthermore I'd like to see the mechanics for poisons changed to make rogues (and assassins) more effective and especially I'd like to see new rules craft rules for both poisons and traps. The current rules are ridiculous.

They've stated that poisons are gonna work very differently. Whether that's in a way that helps Rogue remains to be seen.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, there's a high level fix to both of those (the thing where you spend an action and the enemy is flat-footed now...just removes these problems completely once it's online). The fear-based one would also work for this combined with Intimidate stuff, in all likelihood.

I somehow missed that or misunderstood it but it is good if it is so. But how high level? The ranged sneaking should work for rogue from level one as a low level rogue really needs to avoid hand-to-hand combat.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
There may well also be other ones that just haven't been listed yet.

There probably is quite a lot unknown to us yet but what makes it even harder to ascertain how a class or class abilities work as the whole combat system is getting an overhaul.

Is there btw something in 2nd edition that would make sniping, i.e. long range sneaking possible without magic?

Liberty's Edge

Earl Grey wrote:
I somehow missed that or misunderstood it but it is good if it is so. But how high level? The ranged sneaking should work for rogue from level one as a low level rogue really needs to avoid hand-to-hand combat.

The auto flat footed thing is 14th. So pretty high.

The 'frightened people can be sneak attacked' one is only 4th level, though. And I'd be shocked if you can't make people frightened pretty readily with an action and a Skill Feat (which Rogues get bunches of, remember).

Earl Grey wrote:
There probably is quite a lot unknown to us yet but what makes it even harder to ascertain how a class or class abilities work as the whole combat system is getting an overhaul.

This is definitely true.

Earl Grey wrote:
Is there btw something in 2nd edition that would make sniping, i.e. long range sneaking possible without magic?

Both the solo options I suggest above should work unless there's a built-in range limitation on Sneak Attack...which I'm not sure why there would be beyond the legacy thing. I mean, Instant Opening requires being within 30 feet, but it also lasts two rounds so you could hit and run with it pretty effectively.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
The 'frightened people can be sneak attacked' one is only 4th level, though. And I'd be shocked if you can't make people frightened pretty readily with an action and a Skill Feat (which Rogues get bunches of, remember).

I wonder if that 'frightened' is exactly the same condition than in 1st ed. or general fear effect?

In the first edition I have tried to look different ways for my rogue to make targets cowering or stunned (to loose their dex) but found it a way too hard. Maybe he should just scream BOO! when breaking stealth. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Earl Grey wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The 'frightened people can be sneak attacked' one is only 4th level, though. And I'd be shocked if you can't make people frightened pretty readily with an action and a Skill Feat (which Rogues get bunches of, remember).

I wonder if that 'frightened' is exactly the same condition than in 1st ed. or general fear effect?

In the first edition I have tried to look different ways for my rogue to make targets cowering or stunned (to loose their dex) but found it a way too hard. Maybe he should just scream BOO! when breaking stealth. ;)

Considering it'll be quite easy for a fighter to get an ability that let him give the "frightened" condition with an attack, I guess it'll be a more common condition.


Earl Grey wrote:
The ranged sneaking should work for rogue from level one as a low level rogue really needs to avoid hand-to-hand combat.

Based on the blog, flanking now inflicts the flat-footed condition, rather than being a thing specific to the person making the attack. So if two of my allies get an enemy into flank, I can totally snipe them.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
FedoraFerret wrote:
Earl Grey wrote:
The ranged sneaking should work for rogue from level one as a low level rogue really needs to avoid hand-to-hand combat.
Based on the blog, flanking now inflicts the flat-footed condition, rather than being a thing specific to the person making the attack. So if two of my allies get an enemy into flank, I can totally snipe them.

I'm pretty sure it was meant as an "considered as flatfooted for the flanking characters", the same as the Rogue feature that let Rogue consider teh character that still have yet to act as flat footed...


Elfteiroh wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
Based on the blog, flanking now inflicts the flat-footed condition, rather than being a thing specific to the person making the attack. So if two of my allies get an enemy into flank, I can totally snipe them.
I'm pretty sure it was meant as an "considered as flatfooted for the flanking characters", the same as the Rogue feature that let Rogue consider teh character that still have yet to act as flat footed...

Either way, the rogue would still need an ally to get the sneak attack. Sniping should be an option without the help of your allies or only on point blank range.


There has been discussion about this before (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2sar6?Rogues-and-weapon-proficiencies) but now with the 2nd edition coming I'd like to discuss it further.

What I'd like to see is an expansion to rogue weapon proficiencies. If they are supposed to be the dexterous guy in a party and suitable for archery they should be able to use longbow. Furthermore i'd like them to be able to use some, if not all, of the light blades and close combat weapons groups.

Another omission that has bothered me is that the rogues don't have Ride as a class skill. Even the scout archetype doesn't have it and when thinking about scouts I see a lightly armored guy on a horseback scouting for the army. I know the ranger would be quite appropriate for this task but why not rogues?

What say you?


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Curtisin wrote:
BACKSTAB! (Well, not really, but it's far more fun to shout than SNEAK ATTACK!)

You know that shouting it makes it 66.7% less powerful?


theGlitch wrote:
Curtisin wrote:
BACKSTAB! (Well, not really, but it's far more fun to shout than SNEAK ATTACK!)
You know that shouting it makes it 66.7% less powerful?

What if you sneak attack with an Earthbreaker?

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