Melee Rogue just got wild shape ability need help!


Advice


So our party found an incredibly powerful item. It’s a Druid vestment that gives 2 additional uses of wild shape per day to a Druid OR it gives one use of wild shape per day to anyone. Even those without the class feature. Our casters don’t want to take the natural spell feat presently, and my character paid a heavy toll in blood to find it, so I am now a level 7 rogue with Wildshape that scales with my character level. The character is a knife master / scout so it’s built on dex to damage with kukris.

I’ve come up with some great non-combat uses already (and I’m always looking for cool suggestions there) but I’m unsure how to use the Wildshape in combat, what animal or elemental forms could accent my combat style? Strength is only a 10 so the smashface large animals might not work well. I’m just looking for suggestions and advice.


Knife master isn't ideal for wild shaping obviously. Because natural attacks aren't knives. Still if you're normally small or if you can get some size small kukris then you can drop the blades, turn into an air elemental then pick them up for minor combat buffs and flight. Similarly with medium kukris and medium air elementals next level.

If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.


avr wrote:

Knife master isn't ideal for wild shaping obviously. Because natural attacks aren't knives. Still if you're normally small or if you can get some size small kukris then you can drop the blades, turn into an air elemental then pick them up for minor combat buffs and flight. Similarly with medium kukris and medium air elementals next level.

If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.

Thanks. It’s definitely a tough fit and not one that I planned on. I doubt our GM would let me retrain the character, and I’ve put enough RP into the knife master angle that it would feel a bit awkward.


I figure if you Wildshape into a monkey or something, you will have hands such that you should still be able to use your knives.

If you go small, or rather better yet Tiny, your Dex goes up, and so will your Attack and Damage Bonuses.

You will have to enter your opponents' squares when you are smaller than Small, but that's probably all right: your Acrobatics Mod is probably pretty high even without the Dex boost from Wildshaping to size Tiny.

I don't know how you lock in your Sneak Attack Damage, but being good at entering opponents' squares opens the door to some cool things. There is a build lurking on these threads called the Songbird of Doom. You probably shouldn't try to convert your character whole cloth into a SoD, but it is likely to have ideas you will find useful, and it will definitely be an entertaining read.

You're using Kukris? So you have a high Threat Range. If that's your thing, it seeems like you should develop that: dip a level in Cavalier and take Outflank or Seize the Moment so you can give your allies Attacks of Opportunity whenever you score a Crit. Outflank and Seize the Moment are Teamwork Feats, and Cavaliers have a Class Ability that gifts their Teamwork Feat to their allies. Maybe get one of those evil Crit Focus Feats like Blinding or Bleeding critical. Get Improved Crit, of course, although some people really like the Keen Enchantment instead.

When I played a Size Small character, I found that my GM's favorite thing in the whole world to do is Grapple my character, so neglect not thy Escape Artist Skill.


Rambler13 wrote:
avr wrote:

Knife master isn't ideal for wild shaping obviously. Because natural attacks aren't knives. Still if you're normally small or if you can get some size small kukris then you can drop the blades, turn into an air elemental then pick them up for minor combat buffs and flight. Similarly with medium kukris and medium air elementals next level.

If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.

Thanks. It’s definitely a tough fit and not one that I planned on. I doubt our GM would let me retrain the character, and I’ve put enough RP into the knife master angle that it would feel a bit awkward.

Normally, if I were planning a build like size small wildshape, I'd focus on my Natural Attacks or Unarmed Strikes. I have a build sort of like that. It probably wouldn't take too much to do: Sneak Attack and Dex-to-Damage should work just fine with Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes, too.

But you're saying you are heavily invested in your knives. You should be able to make hay out of your new Wildshape ability even with your knives, little monkey.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Rambler13 wrote:
avr wrote:

Knife master isn't ideal for wild shaping obviously. Because natural attacks aren't knives. Still if you're normally small or if you can get some size small kukris then you can drop the blades, turn into an air elemental then pick them up for minor combat buffs and flight. Similarly with medium kukris and medium air elementals next level.

If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.

Thanks. It’s definitely a tough fit and not one that I planned on. I doubt our GM would let me retrain the character, and I’ve put enough RP into the knife master angle that it would feel a bit awkward.

Normally, if I were planning a build like size small wildshape, I'd focus on my Natural Attacks or Unarmed Strikes. I have a build sort of like that. It probably wouldn't take too much to do: Sneak Attack and Dex-to-Damage should work just fine with Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes, too.

But you're saying you are heavily invested in your knives. You should be able to make hay out of your new Wildshape ability even with your knives, little monkey.

Hahaha, not as much heavily invested as that is currently my fastest path to dex to damage. I spoke with our GM and next time I get to select a light weapon for dex to damage at level 11, I can take one type of natural attack like bite or claws. In the meantime I’m looking at tiny and small forms with hands and maybe a combo of a huge shape with our healer casting bulls strength on me to normalize the damage. Thank you for all the ideas.


So Rambler,

How does your character lock in Sneak Attack Damage?


Rambler13 wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Rambler13 wrote:
avr wrote:

Knife master isn't ideal for wild shaping obviously. Because natural attacks aren't knives. Still if you're normally small or if you can get some size small kukris then you can drop the blades, turn into an air elemental then pick them up for minor combat buffs and flight. Similarly with medium kukris and medium air elementals next level.

If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.

Thanks. It’s definitely a tough fit and not one that I planned on. I doubt our GM would let me retrain the character, and I’ve put enough RP into the knife master angle that it would feel a bit awkward.

Normally, if I were planning a build like size small wildshape, I'd focus on my Natural Attacks or Unarmed Strikes. I have a build sort of like that. It probably wouldn't take too much to do: Sneak Attack and Dex-to-Damage should work just fine with Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes, too.

But you're saying you are heavily invested in your knives. You should be able to make hay out of your new Wildshape ability even with your knives, little monkey.

Hahaha, not as much heavily invested as that is currently my fastest path to dex to damage. I spoke with our GM and next time I get to select a light weapon for dex to damage at level 11, I can take one type of natural attack like bite or claws. In the meantime I’m looking at tiny and small forms with hands and maybe a combo of a huge shape with our healer casting bulls strength on me to normalize the damage. Thank you for all the ideas.

I think the "natural attack" I would focus on if I were you would be Unarmed Strikes. You can use Unarmed Strikes regardless of your 'shape. And you can benefit from the Sap Adept and Knockout Artist feats. I would get Improved Unarmed Strike by dipping a level in Brawler with the Snakebite Striker Archetype, giving myself another +1d6 Sneak Attack Damage.


avr wrote:
If you can retrain out of knife master then turning into something with pounce (a leopard perhaps) will work just fine - natural attacks are treated as light weapons.

If he can retrain, he should be an Unchained Rogue and have his Dex-to-Damage by level 3!


I was just looking at Scout, and I was just reminded of how you lock in your Sneak Attack Damage just by moving.

I recommend even more strongly that you do Unarmed Strikes. I recommend you dip a level in Monk with the Master of Many Styles Archetype. You only need the 1 level, because with your 8th level in Rogue you can take Ninja Trick: Style Master and pick up your 2nd Style Feat. I recommend you take Panther and Snake Style Feats. Panther Claw gives you a Bonus Free Action Attack whenever you Provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving out of a Threatened Square, up to your Wisdom Mod number of times/round. Snake Fang gives you an Attack of Opportunity whenever you are attacked and missed. If your Wisdom is decently high, and I know you have a high Dex, you can get a whole bunch of extra attacks every round, and as you are Moving around the battlefield a lot anyway to activate your Scout Ability, all those Bonus Attacks will do your Sneak Attack Damage. When you take Sap Adept and Knockout Artist, you will do +2 Damage/Sneak Attack Damage Die.

You will have a problem if you Wildshape into Tiny creatures, though. Tiny and smaller creatures have a Reach of 0, so you'd have to do a lot of selective Acrobatics or take the Lunge Feat or something.

I'd have you take Dodge and Mobility when you can. Of course you might have already since you are Scout.


About the wild shape into a tiny monkey's problem with reach. If you can wait until level 8 then wild shaping into a medium air elemental (elemental body II) gives you +4 Dex without the loss of reach. Sure you lose +2 AC/attack bonus from being medium size rather than tiny, but if you take the lunge feat as a fix then you'd be getting a -2 AC penalty from that anyway.


avr wrote:
About the wild shape into a tiny monkey's problem with reach. If you can wait until level 8 then wild shaping into a medium air elemental (elemental body II) gives you +4 Dex without the loss of reach. Sure you lose +2 AC/attack bonus from being medium size rather than tiny, but if you take the lunge feat as a fix then you'd be getting a -2 AC penalty from that anyway.

I was never very sure about Lunge, and there is another problem: it only works during your turn, and that can limit the utility of things like Attacks of Opportunity.

I'm not too worried about having a Reach of 0 anyway, though. The OP probably has a wicked high Acrobatics Mod as a Scout-Rogue, and if he doesn't, he should.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

So Rambler,

How does your character lock in Sneak Attack Damage?

I built the character to lock in sneak attack in as many ways as possible, so he gets sneak on charge and at level 8 10 foot movement with scout, he gets sneak attack from using acrobatics through an enemy square and I have peerless maneuver to make that easier, he also is working up the 2 weapon improved feint feat tree and will have that live by level 12. Thanks to a sorceress we fought I have a necklace that functions like a better circlet of persuasion. The downside is that knifemaster makes anything not a knife type weapon hit with d4s, but looking at a form like the Aurumvorax with 4 claw attacks per turn, if I got dex to damage on that, with the bonus from wild shape and maybe a cats grace using the spell storing rogue talent, on top of my already absurd 24 dex at lvl 8. That’s just massive massive damage.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

I was just looking at Scout, and I was just reminded of how you lock in your Sneak Attack Damage just by moving.

I recommend even more strongly that you do Unarmed Strikes. I recommend you dip a level in Monk with the Master of Many Styles Archetype. You only need the 1 level, because with your 8th level in Rogue you can take Ninja Trick: Style Master and pick up your 2nd Style Feat. I recommend you take Panther and Snake Style Feats. Panther Claw gives you a Bonus Free Action Attack whenever you Provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving out of a Threatened Square, up to your Wisdom Mod number of times/round. Snake Fang gives you an Attack of Opportunity whenever you are attacked and missed. If your Wisdom is decently high, and I know you have a high Dex, you can get a whole bunch of extra attacks every round, and as you are Moving around the battlefield a lot anyway to activate your Scout Ability, all those Bonus Attacks will do your Sneak Attack Damage. When you take Sap Adept and Knockout Artist, you will do +2 Damage/Sneak Attack Damage Die.

You will have a problem if you Wildshape into Tiny creatures, though. Tiny and smaller creatures have a Reach of 0, so you'd have to do a lot of selective Acrobatics or take the Lunge Feat or something.

I'd have you take Dodge and Mobility when you can. Of course you might have already since you are Scout.

A level of monk sounds like a fun multiclass if I took unarmed strikes as my new dex to damage at level 11. I unfortunately only have a wisdom of 12. My dude 10,23,14,14,12,10. He’s a damage fountain in combat, but that bump to fort and Will saves from monk looks juicy. Right now mine suck and between poison and charm effects, my GM has had a lot of fun with my character also.


Rambler13 wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

So Rambler,

How does your character lock in Sneak Attack Damage?

he gets sneak attack from using acrobatics through an enemy square

Canny Tumble?

Rambler13 wrote:
The downside is that knifemaster makes anything not a knife type weapon hit with d4s,

Okay, how do you feel about Deer Horn Knives? You can take Ascetic Style with your Deer Horn Knife, then you can apply Unarmed Strike Feats to your Deer Horn Knife.

Rambler13 wrote:
24 dex at lvl 8.... I unfortunately only have a wisdom of 12.

Okay, so don't take Panther Style: take Snake Style and Ascetic Style for the Deer Horn Knife. That will give you an Attack of Opportunity whenever you are attacked and missed: potentially 8/round +1 more as an Immediate Action.

Rambler13 wrote:
but looking at a form like the Aurumvorax

The Aurumvorax form in particular can be taken with Beast Shape, but not with Wildshape, but you probably know that.

Rambler13 wrote:
with 4 claw attacks per turn, if I got dex to damage on that, with the bonus from wild shape

Since your character spends a lot of time moving around, you probably don't get to Full Attack all that often. I'm not sure you really need 4 Claw Attacks.

Rambler13 wrote:
and maybe a cats grace using the spell storing rogue talent, on top of my already absurd That’s just massive massive damage.

But do you still get your Sneak Attack Damage if you aren't Moving? With Feinting, you need to sacrifice at least 1 of your Attacks, as you would with Quick Dirty Trick.

That is part of why I was suggesting you work on getting extra attacks a different way.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Okay, how do you feel about Deer Horn Knives? You can take Ascetic Style with your Deer Horn Knife, then you can apply Unarmed Strike Feats to your Deer Horn Knife.

Okay, so don't take Panther Style: take Snake Style and Ascetic Style for the Deer Horn Knife. That will give you an Attack of Opportunity whenever you are attacked and missed: potentially 8/round +1 more as an Immediate Action.

But do you still get your Sneak Attack Damage if you aren't Moving? With Feinting, you need to sacrifice at least 1 of your Attacks, as you would with Quick Dirty Trick.

That is part of why I was suggesting you work on getting extra attacks a different way.

I feel pretty good about them now! This dip into monk looks like it could be pretty cool for the character. So I understand the style feat chains and their roles: I would take the Ascetic Style Feat and the Snake Style Feat and then the Snake Fang Feat?

I'll also need to check with my GM on the Deer Horn Knife as the Knifemaster archetype is specific about the weapons that apply: "When she makes a sneak attack with a dagger, kerambit, kukri, punching daggers, starknife, or swordbreaker dagger, she uses d8s to roll sneak attack damage instead of d6s. For sneak attacks with all other weapons, she uses d4s instead of d6s."

As to getting the sneak attack in, feinting does give up one of the attacks, but its a good option when there isn't room to maneuver or none of the rest of the party are in melee with an enemy I can flank. By having four methods to get sneak attack (flanking, feint, acrobatics, and scout archetype), it's easier to adapt to a given scenario. Our campaign setting is largely homebrew and very open world so the encounter types vary wildly.

After looking at wildshape in detail, I think a Tarsier (diminuitive) could be funny and devastating. Tiny little kukris or deer horn knives, an AC of 25 (27 with cats grace), and a damage of 1+10(+12 cats grace). AC jumping into the 30s on a sneak attack thanks of offensive defensive and debilitating injury. My acrobatics mod would be well over 20 for moving into enemy spaces without them being able to hit their attack of opportunity.


Rambler13 wrote:
So I understand the style feat chains and their roles: I would take the Ascetic Style Feat and the Snake Style Feat and then the Snake Fang Feat?

You would also have to take Snake Sidewind in after taking Snake Style and before taking Snake Fang.

Rambler13 wrote:
I'll also need to check with my GM on the Deer Horn Knife as the Knifemaster archetype is specific about the weapons that apply: "When she makes a sneak attack with a dagger, kerambit, kukri, punching daggers, starknife, or swordbreaker dagger, she uses d8s to roll sneak attack damage instead of d6s. For sneak attacks with all other weapons, she uses d4s instead of d6s."

Yeah, I was thing a deerhorn knife is a knife, so Knife Master, that'll be fine, but you do need to vet your choice with your GM. There are a lot of knife-like weapons in the Monk Fighter Weapon Group that might satisfy your GM.

Failing that, there are 2 workarounds. There is a Human Feat called Martial Veratility that would let you apply a weapon-specific feat such as Ascetic Style to any weapon in the same group as that weapon.

There are also rules for modifying weapons so that they also belong to another weapon group. That would make a Dagger or Punching Dagger into a Martial Weapon or a Kukri into an exotic weapon. You might have to dip a level in Brawler (Snakebite Striker for the extra 1d6 Sneak Attack) and that will make you proficient in Punching Dagger (all weapons in the Close Group).


If I had a Wildshape 1/day item, I would use it for situational things like flying up a cliff or swimming... one Wildshape a day is not worth investing any time or thought into trying to make it work in combat.

Honestly, I wouldn't waste an item slot on Wildshaping once per day. I would sell the item.

DEFINITELY wouldn't multiclass or dedicate feats towards it.


VoodistMonk wrote:

If I had a Wildshape 1/day item, I would use it for situational things like flying up a cliff or swimming... one Wildshape a day is not worth investing any time or thought into trying to make it work in combat.

Honestly, I wouldn't waste an item slot on Wildshaping once per day. I would sell the item.

DEFINITELY wouldn't multiclass or dedicate feats towards it.

That's fair. My first thought was just using it for the elemental shapes to travel and solve obstacles, but honestly, looking at the possible damage and AC of tiny and diminutive creatures with my characters dex to damage, I think it'll work in combat too.

If I did multiclass to monk of many styles it would be more about trying to add on attacks than fitting something to wildshape. It's just such a unique scenario that I'm looking for advice on animals or plants I could turn into that would possibly accent my character and that I may not have thought about.

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