Paizo - Don't make Operatives 2.0 - About the Rogue


Classes


Okay Paizo,

Now, I have spent most of the day running numbers. I'll be doing in-depth testing to prove this as well, but I already see a serious issue. That issue is with the Rogue.

So, here is the problem with the "Skill Class" in games, and if you want to see this just look at the Starfinder "Operative" class. Also known as "The Best" (and to many the most hated) class in the game. You don't have the "Skill Class" ever.

If you are going to make one class simply better at every single skill than every other class then you simply make all other classes redundant. Now, certainly, there will be cases where someone who focuses on a skill in a group that the Rogue doesn't they will be able to pass the Rogue...

It shouldn't be that hard, it specifically should NEVER be that hard.

The Rogue really needs to fall into one of two categories:

1. The Master of Unlocking...

The Jill Valentine, the quintessential rogue, the best at stealing, stealthing, disarming traps, and picking locks. That should be what the rogue is the best at. They should be okay at a bunch of other skills, but those should be their "things" per se.

2. The Jack of All Trades, but the Master of Jack Squat...

They get all the skills, but they never reach really high level in any of them as they are good at everything. They'll be outmatched against anyone else who has a specialty, but they'll be able to do just about everything pretty well so in a pinch, when nobody else can do the job, the Rogue is there. Unless it is thieving, then the Rogue is the best hands down.

Please, do NOT do this again, do not make this mistake. You did this same error in Starfinder. Jack of All, Master of None.

If you really MUST make them the best at all skills then make them the worst in combat. I mean the dead worst. Like, if a Rogue, a Fighter, and a Paladin are put in situations if the Rogue is leaps and bounds ahead of the Fighter and Paladin in skills then in combat the Rogue should be as far behind in combat... That means no cool combat tricks, no nifty bonus damage, no cool stunts... They should be stuck in the realm of:

"I help people out in combat, but I can't really kill things."

If they are going to be THAT much better in skills.

We'll be doing some in-depth number crunching to prove this issue, and by we, I mean a pretty big contingent of people in organized play that I know. We do NOT want Operative 2.0, but we'll be fair. If we find that our theories are correct, hey, cool, we'll be up front and we will show you where the problem is. If we find out we're incorrect, we'll say that too.

This is a thread dedicated to gathering, and sharing, data regarding the rogue. This thread will be for posting hypothesis and theory crafting regarding the rogue that can be a serious problem.

Up on the initial docket will be investigating raw rogue, but also a concern for some multiclasses, the first one that people have already expressed concern is what happens when a Rogue goes high intelligence and what happens if they also go Wizard Devotion.

Stay tuned here for more information and feel free to talk about your own ideas and theories.

This is early testing, so lets test.

Thank you.


I agree on the fact that it currently seems like the rogue has way to much, double skill feats and double skill trainings. They already get a ton of skill ranks and if you boost int, getting 13ish Skills at level 1 is pretty over the top on a list of 16 (2 of them are Lore, of which you get 1 for free trained as your background.)

I do not agree that rogues should be either Be a rogue, or be a jack.

Rogues are typically made to be good at one or two things REALLY well, and I'd like that to still be an option.

I don't want to be a stereotypical rogue all the time, if I want to play a rogue specialized in History Lore and magic, then I should have that option vs being pigeon-holed.

Other than that, from what I read it seems like a rogue is very front loaded on the skills department and I'd rather not get into the situation like in SFS where a single operative is better at most abilities vs everyone else at the table.


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Specialties don't come from rank increases in PF2, they come from skill feat selection. If a rogue and a fey bloodline sorcerer have both invested in the signature skill diplomacy and bumped it up to master, then they are the same. Relative usefulness of that skill is not determined by them being master, but who has invested in related skill feats that expand the applicability of the skill. If I am a rogue and I stuck my skill feats into thievery and stealth, it doesn't matter if I am a master at diplomacy like the sorcerer (a +2 bonus.. we aren't breaking the door down with this), I still won't be as useful in it as the sorc that stuck their skill feats into diplomacy.

Moreover, rogues get 20 skill feats. There are 99 skill feats listed in just the playtest alone. They can't be good at everything. Now think beyond the playtest to core. Even more skillfeats. Now think about when they start putting in splatbooks. EVEN MORE skill feats. Rogues being skill monkeys are not going to take away from the party because it will not be possible for them to have it all. Invariably, different members of the party are going to be better at different things as they use their skill feats (not their skill training) to specialize.

Rogues are not a problem and to the extent to which they are perceived to be a problem is a consequence of the limited material of the playtest. The more material that gets released, the more specialized their skill feat selections will be.


Rogue Design Philosophy:

I'm gonna take you back to the past...

Let us look at what the Rogue was originally...

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By originally I'm taking us back to 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

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In that game only 3 classes got access to Thief Skills. Only one class got access to all of the Thief Skills. That is the precursor to the Rogue.

(Those classes were Rogue, Bard, and Ranger.)

The fact is the Rogue sucked in combat. Sneak attack was a one shot deal, once combat started it was nearly impossible to get. There was no flanking or anything to trigger it. Usually the rogue stayed unseen until they could backstab. Even when they could backstab is was rather difficult.

They had a terrible THAC0, the precursor to BAB. They had pretty much terrible damage. The balance factor was they were almost necessary for dealing with locked doors, chests, stealth, and traps.

That was their job. They were the Thief. They were not a Fighter, and weren't even on the same level.

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Now we fast forward a bit...

When 3.0/3.X came around they had changed how skills worked (considerably) and the Rogue fell behind. Other classes could become good at their shtick and they were still pretty far behind other classes in combat. This was less than ideal.

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Then we moved onto Pathfinder...

Pathfinder's original rogue was... Not good.

That was fixed with the Unchained Rogue, which I felt was much better and was good.

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Then we moved onto Starfinder...

Holy (censored) the Operative is good. Too good. It has the ability to hit (and take 10 to auto succeed) with a Trick Attack and apply status effects, hit more consistently than other classes, and come close to combat classes (like the Solarian and Soldier) in actual play damage. (When they have to move and such they don't get to full attack, and the general -3/-4 they take means they don't often hit with both attacks. The Operative usually does more damage on average with one Trick Attack than the others do on one hit of an attack in a Full Attack.)

This had lead to all kinds of problems in that game. Why? Because the Operative has (usually) the best saves, evasion, the most (and often best) skills, and doesn't really suffer in combat.

It is the uber-class.

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Now we are at PF2...

I don't think the PF2 Rogue is as broken as the Operative from Starfinder. It does have some of the same problems, this is especially since the PF2 stat increases follow the same pattern as Starfinder giving the Rogue the opportunity to pump Dex, Con, Wis, and one other stat (Int) every raise to maximize their attack, their damage, and most (if not all) of their skills. They can swap Int for Charisma and give any other Charisma class a run for their money as well.

This also is an issue because there is no BAB in PF2 meaning that the Rogue doesn't have delayed access to Iteratives (those aren't a thing) and are (on the whole) possessing higher BAB than they have ever had before. They also get abilities that they can use (as a free action!) that increase the effectiveness of their combat, not even the combat classes get to do stuff like that for free! Power Attack eats a second action for a Fighter for example.

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Conclusions - There seems to be a push to increasing the combat capabilities of the Rogues from Paizo, from PF1, to PF Unchained, to Starfinder, to PF2 they keep getting more and more powerful in combat. They aren't getting weaker and weaker in skills though.

This is an issue. This should be looked at. This probably should be dialed back.

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Thus ends my thoughts on the design philosophy (and the history lesson) and where the issues are.


Now - A secondary follow up to that (to give a guideline for people wanting to gather data) while opinions from actual play are great, opinions backed up by data are better.

Data doesn't have a bias, opinions and observations do.

So...

How do we do this:

The areas I would recommend focusing on are as follows:

1. Record the number of skills challenges your groups participate in. Make a note of all of the classes being played. This would be better with non-pregens. Make a mark on each skill check where each class rolls with a Proficiency Bonus of +0 or better (for low level 1-5), +2 or better (5-9), +3 or better (10+). Be sure to record the levels of the party, especially with mixed levels.

2. Record also the number of times in these skill challenges each class had the highest total bonus (rather than proficiency bonus) at the table.

This will let us get some decent data on skill usage.

Silver Crusade

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Currently, the top two most recently-posted-in threads are complaining about the rogue. This one is about how he's too powerful. That one is about how he's been nerfed.


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"There seems to be a push to increasing the combat capabilities of the Rogues from Paizo, from PF1, to PF Unchained, to Starfinder, to PF2 they keep getting more and more powerful in combat. They aren't getting weaker and weaker in skills though."

It is the first day of the PF2 Playtest release. There is no way to judge whether rogues are the combat powerhouse you are alluding to. They don't look like they will be, especially not compared to operators. This is a specious comparison and it is jumping the gun based on superficial similarities.

The point of a playtest is to test through play, not test by eyeballing it.


Kaokaokao wrote:

"There seems to be a push to increasing the combat capabilities of the Rogues from Paizo, from PF1, to PF Unchained, to Starfinder, to PF2 they keep getting more and more powerful in combat. They aren't getting weaker and weaker in skills though."

It is the first day of the PF2 Playtest release. There is no way to judge whether rogues are the combat powerhouse you are alluding to. They don't look like they will be, especially not compared to operators. This is a specious comparison and it is jumping the gun based on superficial similarities.

The point of a playtest is to test through play, not test by eyeballing it.

This is why I specifically called for a gathering of data.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You need to read through the rules a little bit more.

All classes are limited to becoming no better than Expert unless they have the skill as a Signature skill. There are a lot of classes that have at least one skill which a Rogue doesn’t get on their list of Signature skills. Starting at 7th level, the Paladin, Monk and Cleric are likely to be better at Religion than the Rogue while the Druid and Ranger are going to be better at Survival than the Rogue.

The only way I can find that a Rogue has of adding new Signature skills is via Multiclassing or Archetypes. Doing that damages their ability to take the Rogue feats.

The Alchemist on the other hand has class feats to add Signature skills. Tricky Tinkerer adds Thievery while Stalker adds Stealth. They can also pick up Nature and Religion as Signature skills via Awakened Intellect.

The Alchemist appears to me to have the widest ability for Signature skills. They are limited in how many of those they can get to Legendary, but they have the most choices.

Looks to me like once again the Rogue is the easiest class to completely replace.


HWalsh wrote:


1. Record the number of skills challenges your groups participate in. Make a note of all of the classes being played. This would be better with non-pregens. Make a mark on each skill check where each class rolls with a Proficiency Bonus of +0 or better (for low level 1-5), +2 or better (5-9), +3 or better (10+). Be sure to record the levels of the party, especially with mixed levels.

2. Record also the number of times in these skill challenges each class had the highest total bonus (rather than proficiency bonus) at the table.

This will let us get some decent data on skill usage.

Might want to look at how often the difference between a -2 and a +3 is actually statistically significant. Guessing you'll find that that's only 25% of the time until you reach (all other stats being equal) a DC of Level + 20, at which point it sharply declines.


HWalsh wrote:

So, here is the problem with the "Skill Class" in games, and if you want to see this just look at the Starfinder "Operative" class. Also known as "The Best" (and to many the most hated) class in the game. You don't have the "Skill Class" ever.

If you are going to make one class simply better at every single skill than every other class then you simply make all other classes redundant.

Except for classes with spells.


Matthew Downie wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

So, here is the problem with the "Skill Class" in games, and if you want to see this just look at the Starfinder "Operative" class. Also known as "The Best" (and to many the most hated) class in the game. You don't have the "Skill Class" ever.

If you are going to make one class simply better at every single skill than every other class then you simply make all other classes redundant.

Except for classes with spells.

This is a no C/MD zone. Please don't try to justify the Rogue issues with, "But casters!"

That is a different thread.


HWalsh wrote:
If you really MUST make them the best at all skills then make them the worst in combat. I mean the dead worst. Like, if a Rogue, a Fighter, and a Paladin are put in situations if the Rogue is leaps and bounds ahead of the Fighter and Paladin in skills then in combat the Rogue should be as far behind in combat... That means no cool...

No amount of skills is imo really worth to suck in combat, Rogues are non casters and should imo be in comat as good as the other non casters.

And if the other non casters are useless out of combat may they should finally fix that problem.

I think it makes not much sense that the Rogue gets the same hitpoints and less Weapon and Armor Proficiencies than a Bard who gets 9th level spells!


There was an archetype called the phantom thief that traded out sneak attack (not just get it reduced, but removed completely) in return of being an even bigger skill monkey. All I remember was that having no combat ability made the archetype largely unpopular and underpowered.


BluLion wrote:
There was an archetype called the phantom thief that traded out sneak attack (not just get it reduced, but removed completely) in return of being an even bigger skill monkey. All I remember was that having no combat ability made the archetype largely unpopular and underpowered.

Then lower the skill monkey-ness.


HWalsh wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

So, here is the problem with the "Skill Class" in games, and if you want to see this just look at the Starfinder "Operative" class. Also known as "The Best" (and to many the most hated) class in the game. You don't have the "Skill Class" ever.

If you are going to make one class simply better at every single skill than every other class then you simply make all other classes redundant.

Except for classes with spells.

This is a no C/MD zone. Please don't try to justify the Rogue issues with, "But casters!"

That is a different thread.

Shouldn't non-casters in general be extremely proficient with skills in order to compensate?

Shadow Lodge

Yes.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

With a quick first look, +4d6 sneak attack damage for a level 17 rogue seems to nerf there best and only damage they can do. First edition a rogue could potentially put out the same amount of damage a fighter and Barbarian with some good tactics. I don't see that happening now with an average +12 damage for SA at level 17.


Dreamweaver wrote:
With a quick first look, +4d6 sneak attack damage for a level 17 rogue seems to nerf there best and only damage they can do. First edition a rogue could potentially put out the same amount of damage a fighter and Barbarian with some good tactics. I don't see that happening now with an average +12 damage for SA at level 17.

Sneak crits (in a system where hitting 10 over AC crits!) and you're at a significantly higher to hit than in PF.

Definitely don't forget to factor in the the -heavily- increased reliability of the rogue's damage.

Shadow Lodge

If they increased the to-hit but not Armor Class that's just foolish.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
If they increased the to-hit but not Armor Class that's just foolish.

There's just no 3/4ths BAB anymore. You get level +0, +1, +2, or +3 based from weapon proficiency instead of BAB, and everyone has equal access to iteratives.

Shadow Lodge

Oh, yeah, I forgot about the silly seeming tiered system for attacking now. Never mind my last post.


Just as a note, as there seems to be some fundamental confusion with rogues and skills, rogues don't achieve mastery or legendary status any sooner than anyone else. They're still locked at 7th and 15th, just like everyone else.

Can they have more expert level skills? Yep. Congrats on your +1.


Dreamweaver wrote:
With a quick first look, +4d6 sneak attack damage for a level 17 rogue seems to nerf there best and only damage they can do. First edition a rogue could potentially put out the same amount of damage a fighter and Barbarian with some good tactics. I don't see that happening now with an average +12 damage for SA at level 17.

They have the same chance to hit, and the same damage base, as everyone else.

A Paladin at level 17 with a Longsword+3 with strength comparable to a Rogue's dexterity (Let's say 24 for math's sake) will hit for:

1d20 +7(Str) +2(Master) +17(Level) +2(Mastery item) = 1d20+28

A Rogue using a Rapier (Finesse):
1d20 +7(Dex) +1(Expert) +17(Level) +2(Mastery item) = 1d20+27

Oh yes... The Paladin here is *so* much more powerful.

Then damage:

Paladin: 4d8+7 (avg 39)
Rogue: 4d6+7 (avg 32)

This isn't a whole lot more damage, and if the Rogue is able to set up a sneak attack, they get more damage and the ability to inflict status effects.

The Rogue base isn't much lower than the other martial bases, typically only lower by 1-2 attack bonus.


Witch of Miracles wrote:
Sneak crits (in a system where hitting 10 over AC crits!) and you're at a significantly higher to hit than in PF.

The "beat by 10+" is irrelevant in most situations (especially true at higher levels). The DCs of all kinds have been super explicitly tailored and balanced such that everything should be 50-50. That is, the only time you'll roll 10+ over the needed number is when you roll a nat20 anyway.

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