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ocato
2007-09-13, 11:43 PM
If you missed my other post, lately I've had rogues on the brain. Seems like they are interesting to build, but it seems that they have it a little difficult.

Weapon finesse: is it me or is it kind of a kick in the teeth that the classes that benefit from this feat the most (rogues, bards, etc) can't take it at Level 1 due to the base attack requirement? I never understood that.

TWF: Worth it for a rogue? Hard to say to be honest. Two sneak attacks would be nice, but its pretty feat intensive. I mean, if you want TWF, Two-weapon defense, weapon finese, and to keep up with TWF's improvements (which start being very minus-y as you get extra attacks) seems to be kinda hard. You won't have a lot of extra stuff to play with like dodge/mobility or combat expertise or combat reflexes. Worse if you want to take a PrC that requires feats. TWF loses steam when you're dual-wielding 1d4 daggers. It seems that using one small shortsword or a mace I guess (bleh) would be a little better, although a small character will feel the loss of attack a lot less (but grumpier when they roll 1d3 for their daggers). I know, it's all about sneak attack (or if you like Lidda in the PSA, SNEAK ATTACK). Which brings me to...

Bow Rogues: Do people play these anymore? 30ft sneak attack range isn't terrible but it certainly is a risk factor (getting within face-bashing range as a bowboy). Works for Haley, but it seals out the assassin prc, which is my next question.

Assassin vs Shadowdancer: I love the assassin for poison, death/paralyze attack, and continued sneak attack-- and spells, but the requirement of being evil is hard to work around sometimes. Shadowdancers aren't bad, but there's no sneak attack to gain. The shadow summons and shadow jump might be nice for getting that sneak attack, but it'll be a subpar one. I think the Assassin's spells give it the edge as well.

Races: Human for the feat, the skills, and the basicness.
Halflings are definately high up on the list, I mean, bonuses to dexterity and racial bonus to make up for the loss of strength in your mobility skills. Saving throw bonus, throwing weapon bonus for those ranged sneaks, and of course the size bonuses to attack, AC, and hide.
Whisper Gnome is supposed to be the best but I don't have races of stone, I dunno if what I read of them is accurate but I wasn't blown away.

Sorry, long post. Thoughts?

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-13, 11:50 PM
Um, why two daggers instead of two shortswords? It doesn't matter that much, but the daggers don't particularly do anything better. Unless you want to throw them or something.

Dr. Weasel
2007-09-14, 12:05 AM
The weapons don't matter much anyways, the sneak attacks do. I personally prefer daggers for their stash-ability and throw-fulness. Neither Assassin nor Shadowdancer are actually good for the standard rogue. Assassin spells aren't all that great and that's pretty much all they get. Shadowdancer takes too many feats to be worthwhile for most rogues, but gets hide-in-plain sight at first level. If you're taking the two-weapon fighting chain you probably don't actually want TWDefense as it's only one AC at the cost of what ends up being one of your few free feats. There actually are quite a few Bow Rogues, though most have dips into scout. They pretty much just grab Deadeye shot and Improved Manyshot with Scout levels and Swift Ambusher showing up in the mid-teen levels. It takes all of their feats, but usually works pretty well.

Wow that rambled. I'll just... pretend it was useful... I guess... Maybe...

JackMage666
2007-09-14, 12:16 AM
Race = Whisper Gnome. Nothing is sneaker than a Whisper Gnome for +0 LA. Find them in Races of Stone.

Skulks are OK, too, but you eat HD and LA, which isn't good.

Oh, and I say a posh on real rogue, go with the Thug and Sneak Attack variant Fighter from Unearthed Arcana - Full Sneak Attack and BAB, but no other useful things like Evasion or Skills... But you hit more, and you're alot more sturdy (Fort Saves and D10 HD)!

Jannex
2007-09-14, 12:27 AM
Weapon Finesse: It is a kick in the teeth. I just started in a campaign beginning at first level with a Rogue, and it's agony. Clearly, WotC hates us.

TWF: I've never bothered with it. Yes, multiple attacks are nice, but it's a feat sink, and when you've only got 3/4 BAB to begin with, taking a penalty on all your attacks is a problem. Yes, you want more opportunities for sneak attack damage, but you don't get those extra dice unless you connect in the first place. And, as you said, once you get into higher levels where your primary attacks have a better chance of hitting, your iterative attacks aren't going to fare much better than your main attacks did a few levels ago. More trouble than it's worth, in my opinion--rogues have much more interesting feat options.

Archery: Yes, it's still do-able. In the game I mentioned before, I'm pretty much stuck on bow-duty until we hit third level, and I can take Weapon Finesse. At close range, tactics are key: shoot from within a five-foot step of some sort of cover sufficient to block a charge, or try to avoid being seen (Hide checks, distractions, Invisibility items), or just don't be the most important-looking target on the battlefield. Honestly, as a Rogue, you're probably not a high-priority target. At low levels, the meat shield is more threatening, and at high levels, the spellcaster is far more dangerous. Be unobtrusive; it's what Rogues do.

Assassin vs. Shadowdancer: Good points. I personally prefer Shadowdancer, in terms of flavor, but the absence of Sneak Attack is a problem. I'd say it might still be worth the first two levels at least, though--if only for Hide in Plain Sight and Darkvision. As far as Assassin is concerned, the Evil requirement and the 4+Int skill points leave me less than impressed.

Races: Human is good for the extra skill points (always a plus for the Rogue) and feat. True, halflings have a fair bit to recommend them for the class, but the 20' move speed and the smaller-category weapons make me hesitant. For my money, if I'm going to play a nonhuman Rogue, give me a pointy-eared freak any day. Half-elves get a lot of (admittedly, somewhat deserved) bad press for being underpowered, but especially at low levels, they're really not so bad. They get racial bonuses to a lot of useful skills, and low-light vision is always a plus for the party sneak. Maybe you wouldn't play one 1-20, but in a low-level campaign, there's a lot to recommend the half-elf. Even more so, perhaps, his metahuman parent lends himself to becoming a Rogue. Most people hear "elf" and think "wizard," but really? +2 Dex never hurt a Rogue--they wear light armor, generally go for Weapon Finesse or ranged attacks, and have a lot of shiny Dex-based skills. The Con penalty is a little unfortunate, but with a d6 hit die, you should probably be trying to avoid getting hit as much as possible anyway. Honestly, I've wanted for a while to try a Grey Elf Rogue. (+2 Dex and Int? Yes please.)

fallensavior
2007-09-14, 12:41 AM
You want a good rogue? It seems like you're only worried about combat. Lucky for you TWF rogues deal more damage than any other character of equal level at any level.

1. Put your Str as the highest stat. You need this for attack bonus. Rogues are surprisingly still good with average dex and int.

2. Don't bother with weapon finesse or TWDef. You want the base TWF trio + improved init, weapon focus, or whatever suits you.

3. Wield two sunblades as early as possible.

4. Don't bother with PrCs. Shadowdancer is not as cool as it sounds, and assassins have to be evil (no sunblades and detrimental to party). Whoever said assassins don't get good spells is quite wrong though.

5. Enjoy the same skill awesomeness that regular rogues have AND be able to obliterate anything you can sneak attack.

TomTheRat
2007-09-14, 01:18 AM
2. Don't bother with weapon finesse or TWDef. You want the base TWF trio + improved init, weapon focus, or whatever suits you.

Fail.

No Weapon Finesse? No +4 or +5 on your attacks? You're gonna say no to that, and then say ...


2. Don't bother with weapon finesse or TWDef. You want the base TWF trio + improved init, weapon focus, or whatever suits you.

... Weapon Focus? REALLY?

Alveanerle
2007-09-14, 01:33 AM
Well, i think the intention of fallensavior was to still get the +4 or +5 by using strength as main stat and dex as a semi dump stat (STR, CON, DEX/INT). As a result you get a higher damage-lower defenses rogue. And WFocus as an icing on the cake. He wont sneak around that well, but the intention of OP was to build combat rogue, not a sneaky-sneaky one, right?

Dr. Weasel
2007-09-14, 01:34 AM
You want a good rogue? It seems like you're only worried about combat. Lucky for you TWF rogues deal more damage than any other character of equal level at any level.
Perhaps.


1. Put your Str as the highest stat. You need this for attack bonus. Rogues are surprisingly still good with average dex and int.
Even with high strength, you're only getting 1.5 times your bonus with weaker saving throws, Initiative (Going first means happy sneak-attacking times), Armor Class and Rogu-ish skills (Tumble? Sleight of Hand?).


2. Don't bother with weapon finesse or TWDef. You want the base TWF trio + improved init, weapon focus, or whatever suits you.
Have fun qualifying for Two-Weapon Fighting feats with your "average" Dexterity.


3. Wield two sunblades as early as possible.
I'm ignorant in this field.


4. Don't bother with PrCs. Shadowdancer is not as cool as it sounds, and assassins have to be evil (no sunblades and detrimental to party). Whoever said assassins don't get good spells is quite wrong though.
Assassin spells are nice but usually superfluous. Up until seventh level (Character level 12) they're mediocre buffs most Wizards will cast without a second thought. Even then you don't get enough per day to merit wasting 24 skill points.


5. Enjoy the same skill awesomeness that regular rogues have AND be able to obliterate anything you can sneak attack.
Unless Sunblades completely rebuild the character, what you suggest is the "regular Rogue" just with a strength [the ability] boost at the cost of the class' key statistics (Dexterity and Intelligence).

excrtd
2007-09-14, 01:54 AM
I seem to remember that rogue 3 multiclassed with swashbuckler 17 was reasonably good for combat if you take the daring outlaw feat. This should net you full sneak attack, 19 BAB, and various swashbuckler stuff such as int to damage, d10 HD, etc.

Seffbasilisk
2007-09-14, 01:54 AM
Sun Blade: This sword is the size of a bastard sword. However, a sun blade is wielded as if it were a short sword with respect to weight and ease of use. (In other words, the weapon appears to all viewers to be a bastard sword, and deals bastard sword damage, but the wielder feels and reacts as if the weapon were a short sword.) Any individual able to use either a bastard sword or a short sword with proficiency is proficient in the use of a sun blade. Likewise, Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization in short sword and bastard sword apply equally, but the benefits of those feats do not stack.

In normal combat, the glowing golden blade of the weapon is equal to a +2 bastard sword. Against evil creatures, its enhancement bonus is +4. Against Negative Energy Plane creatures or undead creatures, the sword deals double damage (and x3 on a critical hit instead of the usual x2).

The blade also has a special sunlight power. Once per day, the wielder can swing the blade vigorously above her head while speaking a command word. The sunblade then sheds a bright yellow radiance that is like full daylight. The radiance begins shining in a 10-foot radius around the sword wielder and extends outward at 5 feet per round for 10 rounds thereafter, to create a globe of light with a 60-foot radius. When the wielder stops swinging, the radiance fades to a dim glow that persists for another minute before disappearing entirely. All sun blades are of good alignment, and any evil creature attempting to wield one gains one negative level. The negative level remains as long as the sword is in hand and disappears when the sword is no longer wielded. This negative level never results in actual level loss, but it cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells) while the sword is wielded.

Moderate evocation; CL 10th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, daylight, creator must be good; Price 50,335 gp; Cost 25,335 gp + 2,000 XP.

While the bastard sword damage is an average of 2 points higher then a shortswords, it's really not worth the investment of 100,670gp for two +2 shortswords that are all glowy.


Good TWF rogue is Dex and Int focus with STR ~10. You only get 1/2 STR on offhand attacks. If going human (decent, but not top notch) start with TWF and Quick Draw (CRITICAL if you're throwing daggers/switching weaponry midcombat)

Boost Initiative, but I'd avoid Improved Initiative, I mean, it's a static +4 that never increases or improves in any way.

Level 3, grabbing weapon finesse means you're hitting far more often.

~level 5 and higher you can start grabbing Skill Tricks. I'm partial to 'Hidden Blade', but the tumbling ones are good for grabbing some cheap sneak.

Look for more Sneak bonuses, or grab three levels of Scout (CAdv) and the feat 'Swift Ambusher' (CScoundrel) to keep the skirmish dice coming while picking up more SA. Additionally, the three levels of scout'll net you +1 on fort saves and initiative checks, Uncanny Dodge, Fast Movement +10ft, Trackless Step....

If you do go that, grab Two Weapon Pounce, to be able to slam in with double-sneak-skirmish, or even better, dip a level of Lion-Totem Barbarian (Complete Champion) for full pounce.

Bosh
2007-09-14, 01:57 AM
There's always the feint rogue. Dip a bit in fighter or barbarian and get good armor and a big-ass two-handed weapon. Focus on stregth and cha, have 13 Int and enough con and dex to keep you alive, dump wis. Take combat expertise (also useful to defense), improved feint, power attack, skill focus (bluff), force of personality and improved initiative and get a sneak attack in the first round of most combats (thanks to improved initiative) and then rely on flanking or feinting to get sneak attacks for the rest of combat. Alternatively use bluff to be able to walk up to somebody and smash them in the face. Sneak attack + big weapon + good stength should do you well.

All feats can be gotten by level nine as a human fighter 2/rogue x and this build works fine with just combat ex and improved feint at low levels.

Fun to RP as well. Lots of skill points to use for social skills and other fun stuff since you're not going to be a standard rogue.

Pironious
2007-09-14, 06:12 AM
Well, I've got a few pointers.

1) I do TWF rogues a fair bit. I usually take Swashbuckler(Compelte Warrior) at level 2 to get weapon finesse for free, and use the Daring Outlaw)Complete Scoundrel) feat to stack Swashbuckler and Rogue levels for sneak attack and grace/dodge bonuses. I take about 3 levels of swashbuckler, lets me add int to damage against sneak attackable enemies because I generally play high int rogues.

1.5) If I want to concentrate on defense more, rather than floundering with TWD I go into the Duelist PrC from this build. Give up the ability to wear armour to add int to AC. For a high INT rogue, you're giving up very little. Unfortunately, Precise Strike cannot be used when TWFing, but at with the Deadly Defense(Complete Scoundrel, I think) feat that gives +1d6 damage when fighting defensively and the Elaborate Parry class feature, at level 7 duelist you're effectively taking a -4 to attack rolls to gain +10 AC (assuming 5 ranks in tumble) and +1d6 damage (which is non-precision based, a.k.a works against anything)

If I want to go completely crazy with a defense build, I might trade Swashbuckler for a level or two of Monk at the start. Add Wis, Int and Dex to AC. If you've got the stats to back it up, it can be a nightmare.

2) Bow Rogue

Certainly doable. The Scout class (Complete Adventurer) is great for ranged combatants and stacks with rogue levels via Swift Ambusher feat (Complete Scoundrel). However, if I want a deadly archer, I tend to favor a Ranger/Scout build, for the free archery feats and better BAB. There's another feat, Swift Hunter, that works the same way.

3) Hit and Run rogues.

This is when I do stack Scout and Rogue. Spring attack and 3 levels of Scout with the Swift Ambusher feat makes a scary rogue, ultimately dealing +15d6 with a +5 AC on a strike. A downside is you only get 1 attack, and you can't feint to make them flatfooted, but if you have plenty of melee characters to provide flanking opportunities...

4) Feinting Rogues

Never been a big fan but they can be cool.

5) "High str, average dex" rogues.

o.0 Blasphemy! If you do this because you can't hurt certain types of things, realize that said things are not your problem. So what if it takes a full round for a level 13 rogue to kill a 2HD undead skeleton, the cleric over there is exploding them 10 at a time or something.

As far as weapon choices, my favorite is usually the Rapier/Swordsword combo. I have a soft spot for the +1 Keen Rapier. And with that crit range, it happens to hit the soft spots quite often too.

Alveanerle
2007-09-14, 06:42 AM
3) Hit and Run rogues.

This is when I do stack Scout and Rogue. Spring attack and 3 levels of Scout with the Swift Ambusher feat makes a scary rogue, ultimately dealing +15d6 with a +5 AC on a strike. A downside is you only get 1 attack, and you can't feint to make them flatfooted, but if you have plenty of melee characters to provide flanking opportunities...


I might be wrong but i think the Swift Ambusher feat only allows stacking of rogue and scout levels for the purpose of meeting prerequisites of ambush feats - the sneak attack/skirmish damage itself does not get increased. At least that's what the full text of the feat says, the description in the table indicates all-around stacking.

JackMage666
2007-09-14, 09:57 AM
I might be wrong but i think the Swift Ambusher feat only allows stacking of rogue and scout levels for the purpose of meeting prerequisites of ambush feats - the sneak attack/skirmish damage itself does not get increased. At least that's what the full text of the feat says, the description in the table indicates all-around stacking.

No, they stack for Skrimish damage/AC bonus, but not Sneak Attack.

Haakon
2007-09-14, 10:15 AM
A feat that I have found useful while playing a rogue is "Telling Blow" from the PH2. Whenever you criticaled, you deal your sneak attack (or skirmish damage as well). Yes, I know that there are creatures that are immune to criticals, but the amount of them that can be criticaled largely outnumber those that can't.

If you happen to get your hands on scimitars or kukris (combined with Keen or the Improved Critical Feat), you can crit and do extra damage fairly often.

Telonius
2007-09-14, 10:16 AM
General Rogue advice:

Do not take the full 20 levels. Level 20 is a dead level. There is absolutely nothing useful there. Take your pick of any class. Really, any class. Rogue19/Monk1 is better than Rogue 20. Rogue19/Samurai1 is better than Rogue20. Rogue19/Warrior1 is better than Rogue20. You have to go all the way down to Rogue19/Commoner1 to be worse than Rogue20.

Take Rogue at your first level regardless; you can't get those skill points back if you pass them up. If you're going to be doing some heavy combat, Ranger is (very) slightly better than Fighter as a one-level dip. It gives you a better Reflex save, higher skill points, and a Favored Enemy. (Track and Wild empathy, while nice gizmos, are not anything to write home about.) On the downside, it gives you an average of 1hp less than Fighter, no extra Fighter feat, and no heavy armor proficiency (though you probably won't need that anyway).

Dausuul
2007-09-14, 10:19 AM
Weapon finesse: is it me or is it kind of a kick in the teeth that the classes that benefit from this feat the most (rogues, bards, etc) can't take it at Level 1 due to the base attack requirement? I never understood that.

Yes, that would be what is technically known as a "kick in the teeth." Stupidest prereq ever. (Okay, probably not the absolute stupidest, but it's up there.)


TWF: Worth it for a rogue? Hard to say to be honest. Two sneak attacks would be nice, but its pretty feat intensive. I mean, if you want TWF, Two-weapon defense, weapon finese, and to keep up with TWF's improvements (which start being very minus-y as you get extra attacks) seems to be kinda hard.

I usually just go with Weapon Finesse and TWF, maybe playing a human for the extra feat. Two-Weapon Defense is bogus. If it gave you +2 AC, it might be worth it, but not at a mere +1. As for Improved TWF and Greater TWF, extra attacks are nice, but you'll never hit with your iterative attacks as a rogue, so these really aren't worth the bother.


Bow Rogues: Do people play these anymore? 30ft sneak attack range isn't terrible but it certainly is a risk factor (getting within face-bashing range as a bowboy). Works for Haley, but it seals out the assassin prc, which is my next question.

Never played one myself. The close range is not so much an issue for me, but the inability to set up flanking is horrible for the rogue. Unless you have a friendly wizard who'll drop improved invisibility on you at the start of every fight, I wouldn't go this route.


Assassin vs Shadowdancer: I love the assassin for poison, death/paralyze attack, and continued sneak attack-- and spells, but the requirement of being evil is hard to work around sometimes. Shadowdancers aren't bad, but there's no sneak attack to gain. The shadow summons and shadow jump might be nice for getting that sneak attack, but it'll be a subpar one. I think the Assassin's spells give it the edge as well.

I consider shadowdancer to be a dip class. Hide in Plain Sight is huge, everything else sucks. Assassin has some neat spells, especially if you get to use the Spell Compendium, but you have to be evil (another stupid prereq), and you do lose access to those fancy rogue special abilities... it's really a matter of taste.


Races: Human for the feat, the skills, and the basicness.
Halflings are definately high up on the list, I mean, bonuses to dexterity and racial bonus to make up for the loss of strength in your mobility skills. Saving throw bonus, throwing weapon bonus for those ranged sneaks, and of course the size bonuses to attack, AC, and hide.
Whisper Gnome is supposed to be the best but I don't have races of stone, I dunno if what I read of them is accurate but I wasn't blown away.

Not familiar with whisper gnomes. Humans and halflings definitely make the strongest rogues out of the core races.

Person_Man
2007-09-14, 10:28 AM
Weapon Finesse is a huge waste. If your Dex is high and your Str is low, be an archer Rogue. If your Str is mediocre and your Dex is high, its not worth spending a scarce feat just to get +2ish To-Hit.

TWF: Depends on what books your DM allows. The most efficient way of gaining extra melee attacks is usually natural attacks and/or buff spells (Provided by a friend, not you. Work as a team, don't screw your Rogue build). With the right combo, you can easily get 6ish attacks by ECL 9ish, more with the right spell buffs, all without TWF.

Bow: Greater Manyshot = Move + lots of arrows. Qualifying for Sneak Attack for every arrow without flanking is surprisingly easy by ECL 12ish. Also, Rogues are squishy, so its generally a good idea to keep them away from the front line. The big downside is that its even more feat intensive the TWF, which means you won't be doing anything other then shooting people and using your Skills.

Assassin has gotten a lot of help from various spell expansions. But his Death Attack still relies on a melee attack, and the Save DC is Fort based, which means that it usually won't work against enemies with high Con (ie, the enemies you want dead in one hit). So if you want to be a melee Rogue, there are other better options out there. Shadowdancer sucks rocks. Hide in Plain Site is a joke - just buy a Wand of Invisibility, or Tumble away. It also doesn't progress Sneak Attack or any other offensive ability. And the pre-reqs suck. So stick with strait Rogue or pick a better PrC.

Races: Whisper Gnome (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20040807a&page=3), variant Kobold (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060420a), or Strongheart Halfling.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-14, 10:47 AM
It is a bummer Weapon Finesse isn't ready at level one for Bards and Rogues. On the other hand, by level 3 they can get it, so they really aren't suffering too long.

If you really want TWF, I'd suggest multiclassing 2-4 levels in Fighter. The Fighter's bonus feats will offset the feat sink that TWF is. Otherwise, stick with one weapon.

Bow rogues are entirely playable. Invest in tumble if you want this. You get some manueverability in the combat field, which is even more necessary if you're wading near melee with a ranged weapon.

I'm not overly found of either PrC, but Shadowdancer is a better bet. Their class features just seem more interesting and useful. Assassin spells (and I've never really been able to reconcile the assassin class with spells) just don't seem as useful as it'd look. Just multiclass rogue-wizard or sorcerer if you want a rogue with magic capability.

Personally, I'd go halfling on rogue, for fun. But go with whatever floats your boat. Human does have an advantage race was with the extra skills and extra feat. Humans multi-class easier than most other races, too.

Daggers are just fine for a Rogue. Remember, the rogue really isn't going to be dealing a lot of damage straight melee. The tasty meat of the rogue sandwich is the backstab. Once the rogue hits high levels, his backstab damage makes weapon damage superfluous.

Presently, I have the AoO rogue. I've taken Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain, Combat Reflexes, Opportunist, and Expert Tactician. The spike chain is great (reach backstab for the win!), and with good positioning gives me a good field of potential backstabs. Combat Reflexes means my Spike Chain is always a danger to any opponents in my reach, Opportunist allows me to use an AoO on a critter just attacked (only once per critter per round, but again, with good positioning ...), and Expert Tactician gives my allies a bit of a bonus. It's been a fun combat build.

Dausuul
2007-09-14, 11:20 AM
Hide in Plain Site is a joke - just buy a Wand of Invisibility, or Tumble away.

What? Hide in Plain Sight rules! It's not very useful in combat, but it's ideal for scouting. Remember, there's lots of stuff out there that can see invisible people just fine, but Hide in Plain Sight works on everything, and you can do it all day if you have to. Wands of invisibility are handy, but the duration is short and too many things have continuous true seeing/see invisible/blindsight/whatever.


It also doesn't progress Sneak Attack or any other offensive ability. And the pre-reqs suck.

This is certainly true. The prereqs are brutal and HiPS is the only good thing the class offers; it is at best a one-level dip.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-14, 11:38 AM
For a charismatic, not-so-nice Rogue, a three level Hexblade dip is nice. Alternatively, one can go Rogue/Warblade/Assassin/Jade Phoenix Mage, on the complex side of things, for some really nifty stuff.

Really, I don't see Rogues as paragons of goodness, and so I really have no qualms about sticking them in "bad alignment" classes.

PlatinumJester
2007-09-14, 11:40 AM
Many people may call me stupid for this but get a level of Archivist (heroes of Horror) or Cleric if you don't have access to the Archivist and also get a level of Sorcerer. Then get the Gravestrike spell (Cleric, Level 1, Spell Compendium) and the Golem Strike & Sniper's Shot spells (Sorcerer, Level 1, Spell Compendium). These spells will give make your sneak attack alot more effective plus you'll get a familiar which gives you alertness and some other bonus (I would recomend a Cat, Rat or Raven). Plus if you managed to take a level of Archivist you get Dark Knowledge but more importantly Scribe Scroll which lets you scribe 0 level scrolls for free and 1st Level scrolls for about 5XP. Even if you lose a li'l bit of BAB and few HP/skill points the spells it makes you much more effective and you get an improved Fort + Will save.

Tweekinator
2007-09-14, 11:44 AM
Yes, that would be what is technically known as a "kick in the teeth." Stupidest prereq ever. (Okay, probably not the absolute stupidest, but it's up there.)

Point Blank Shot for Invisble Blade. That is the stupidest prereq ever.

Curmudgeon
2007-09-14, 11:45 AM
Shadowdancer takes too many feats to be worthwhile for most rogues, but gets hide-in-plain sight at first level. The way to make this work, in terms of feat investment, is to also take Spring Attack. Once you've qualified for Shadowdancer you've also qualified for this feat. The combination works well since pretty much everywhere is within 10' of a shadow:
Spring next to your enemy.
Attack while making your Hide check at -20.
If you made your Hide check, add sneak attack damage.
Spring away, and Hide again.
If you maximize your Hide modifier, and use a +5 weapon (or attack with touch spells), you'll pretty much be guaranteed a single hit dealing sneak attack damage each round. You'll also rarely even be attacked because you'll be hidden all the time. The combination gives you decent (not great) offensive capabilities, which you can buttress with things like the Greater Demolition and Greater Truedeath weapon augment crystals (Magic Item Compendium). But the defensive benefits of Hide in Plain Sight are awesome.

Person_Man
2007-09-14, 12:14 PM
What? Hide in Plain Sight rules! It's not very useful in combat, but it's ideal for scouting. Remember, there's lots of stuff out there that can see invisible people just fine, but Hide in Plain Sight works on everything, and you can do it all day if you have to. Wands of invisibility are handy, but the duration is short and too many things have continuous true seeing/see invisible/blindsight/whatever.

As you stipulated, its not very useful in combat.

Out of combat, you need only find cover or concealment in order to use the Hide Skill as normal. Examples include low light conditions (such as that found at dusk, night, or indoors anywhere that isn't lit by magical lighting or a massive number of torches), fog, hiding behind other people in a crowd, hiding behind nearby buildings, etc. This will cover most of your scouting needs 90% of the time.

But what about the other 10% of the time - that one game session out of a dozen where it might prove critical? Well, its silly to waste a class level on something that you might use a few times during an entire campaign. But let's say that you're in a roleplaying heavy group, and you need to spy on your enemies/NPCs a lot. So much so that you can't even Hide from a distance and just watch and Listen to them - you need to stand in the same room as them. You have many options:

1) Get there first. Hang from the ceiling with a good Climb check and Hide in the roof supports.
2) Use Disguise and Bluff. Pose as a guard.
3) Have a friend use Divination magic, which gives you a ton of options.
4) Have a friend Polymorph you into a Tiny cute animal and Hide in the room, using furniture as cover.
5) Take the Darkstalker feat from Lords of Madness, which allows you to Hide regardless of a target's ability to See Invisibility, Scent, Tremorsense, etc.
6) Listen through the door. Spot through the keyhole.

Suffice to say, there's no reason to take waste a level on Shadowdancer (wasting feats on Dodge and Mobility and ranks in Perform just to get into it) in order to beat a situational encounter that you can defeat via other means.



But the defensive benefits of Hide in Plain Sight are awesome.

Except that with a -20 penalty to Hide, anyone with even modest ranks in Spot will be able to see you, and every enemy on the field gets to make a Spot check. And you've just wasted a full round to make 1 attack. So even if by some chance the defensive angle works perfectly, at best your damage output is a joke compared to everyone else on the battlefield.



Many people may call me stupid for this but get a level of Archivist (heroes of Horror) or Cleric if you don't have access to the Archivist and also get a level of Sorcerer.

Why not just buy wands and invest in UMD instead? Or take advantage of the various variants and magic items that do the same things?

Dausuul
2007-09-14, 12:22 PM
As you stipulated, its not very useful in combat.

Out of combat, you need only find cover or concealment in order to use the Hide Skill as normal. Examples include low light conditions (such as that found at dusk, night, or indoors anywhere that isn't lit by magical lighting or a massive number of torches), fog, hiding behind other people in a crowd, hiding behind nearby buildings, etc. This will cover most of your scouting needs 90% of the time.

Except against anything with low-light vision, darkvision, or blindsight. Which is virtually everything in the Monster Manual. Concealment depending on darkness is thus extremely unreliable. Fog and cover still work but are highly situational and limit your options in terms of where you can go... and fog, at least, blinds you just as much as your enemies.

Person_Man
2007-09-14, 12:32 PM
Except against anything with low-light vision, darkvision, or blindsight. Which is virtually everything in the Monster Manual.

Low light vision just extends your ability to see in low light conditions. It has no effect on the concealment effect of low light. At worse, you'll have to Hide slightly further away.

Low Light Vision and Darkvision are defeated by Invisibility. Buy a Ring or Wand of Invisibility, or just have a friend cast it on you.

Low Light Vision, Darkvision, Blindsight and similar abilities are annoying, but they don't allow enemies to see through solid objects. Just Hide behind doors, furniture, around corners, etc. Even in a dungeon, you should be able to just peak around a corner, watch and Listen to what they're doing, and then report back.

Or take the Darkstalker feat. Or have a friend use Divination magic. Or buy wands and use Divination magic. Or buy a Cloak of the Bat and spy on them as a bat. Or Disguise yourself as a member of their race and walk up to them.

There are many options that are more efficient then wasting a class level to be an efficient scout. You just have to be creative.

Dr. Weasel
2007-09-14, 12:34 PM
The way to make this work, in terms of feat investment, is to also take Spring Attack. Once you've qualified for Shadowdancer you've also qualified for this feat. The combination works well since pretty much everywhere is within 10' of a shadow: ...

The problem is that you're still investing four feats, a class level and a considerable number of skill points just to get one pretty good attack per combat round. Hide in Plain sight is useful for general stealth like Dausuul says, but in combat is just less efficient than many of the other methods (Blink, Greater Invisibility and just flanking the enemy).

Kaelik
2007-09-14, 12:40 PM
5) Take the Darkstalker feat from Lords of Madness, which allows you to Hide regardless of a target's ability to See Invisibility, Scent, Tremorsense, etc.

Darkstalker protects you from many things, but it does not protect you from See Invisibility. If you are invisible and hiding in the same room with someone and they have see invis they will see you whether or not you have that feat. Wand of Invisibility plus Darkstalker/>either alone (except for versatility.)

Quxelopqr
2007-09-14, 01:13 PM
I played a human TWF rogue with the telling blow feat from PH2 that wielded a keen rapier and a keen kukri (we were high level). I could have called him "supercrit". I attacked poor flatfooted enemies 6 times and, well, when I hit you and roll 10d6 per attack.....Anything that wasn't undead died. Me and the party fighter dominated the tarrasque by manner of him full power attacking it (at + like a million) and me rolling 60d6.

I think that's about as good a combat rogue as I could make.

Bow rogue could be a lot of fun, manyshot + sneak attack = owned.

I'm not a fan of evil characters so I stay away from assassin, and shadowdancer seemed like its only worth one level so I never bothered (didn't fit my fluff anyways).

UMD is a very nice skill, I like it because the wizard can use his spells for anything he wants, and my cure serious wounds wand helped out the cleric too. I recommend it.

Telonius
2007-09-14, 01:26 PM
.

Bow rogue could be a lot of fun, manyshot + sneak attack = owned.


One caveat there - with Manyshot, remember that only the first hit counts as precision damage. A former DM of mine ruled otherwise with an Order of the Bow Initiate archer, to disastrous effect. Greater Manyshot is what you're looking for.

Quxelopqr
2007-09-14, 01:29 PM
Ah you're correct there. I've never really played an archer so I don't really know what they use.

Curmudgeon
2007-09-14, 01:58 PM
The problem is that you're still investing four feats, a class level and a considerable number of skill points just to get one pretty good attack per combat round. It's not "just" to get one pretty good attack. Excepting the 5 ranks in Perform (dance), the skill points are all being spent on Hide and Move Silently -- essential skills for most Rogues. Admittedly a couple of the feats are sucky (Dodge, Mobility), but you can substitute variants like Expeditious Dodge, or just pay gp for the Mobility armor property. Combat Reflexes will let you take full advantage of AoOs, which works well with the Rogue's Opportunist special ability. And Sneak Attack itself is worthwhile.

Hide in Plain sight is useful for general stealth like Dausuul says, but in combat is just less efficient than many of the other methods (Blink, Greater Invisibility and just flanking the enemy). The problem with Greater Invisiblity and flanking is that these are the well-known ways for Rogues to get sneak attack, so enemies will have counters for them. See Invisiblity, True Seeing, and Improved Uncanny Dodge counter the Rogue's main strengths. Which is why the mundane Hide skill, empowered by HiPS, is so effective.

The obvious battlefield tanks (Barbarian, Fighter) and spellcasters (Sorcerer, Wizard) are unlikely to have much Spot skill because
They only get 2 + INT or 4 + INT skill points.
Each rank in Spot costs 2 skill points.
These characters don't put their best scores in WIS.
Also note the important circumstance modifier that always applies in combat:
Spotter distracted: -5 penalty This offsets 10 skill points of investiment by most characters -- quite a lot for classes that don't get many skill points.

In practice, about the time you can qualify for that level of Shadowdancer, you can make effective use of Hide in combat, even with the -20 penalty on every swing.

Kaelik
2007-09-14, 03:44 PM
or just pay gp for the Mobility armor property.

Do you have DMs that actually let you use items to qualify as prereqs? That's crazy. Why not buy a few items, put them on, level, get into a prestige class, then hand the items to the next member of the party and repeat?

Fax Celestis
2007-09-14, 03:47 PM
Do you have DMs that actually let you use items to qualify as prereqs? That's crazy. Why not buy a few items, put them on, level, get into a prestige class, then hand the items to the next member of the party and repeat?

Because you lose access when you lose the prereqs, according to CWar.

ocato
2007-09-14, 03:55 PM
Well, combat was what I was more worried about, because it seems that the noncombat fun comes fairly easily. Thanks for the Whisper Gnome link, what I'd read didn't make it clear that the +4 hide bonus was on top of the +4 size bonus. My only problem is the UMD loss of -2 cha, but it probably works out alright. It seems that the ideal weapon is a single rapier, for the high crit rate (add in the telling blow for crits =sneaks if I read it right) and actualy die damage (instead of the d3). I think the swashbuckler and the scout are both wonderful 3 level dips, but I'd probably only do one... I'm leaning towards scout. Swashbuckler gets higher HD (d10 vs d8, both are a jump from the rogue d6), +int to damage, and free weapon finesse, and scouts get +1d6 skirmish, +1 ac skirmish, +1 initiative/fortitude, +10 ft movement (opening up expeditious dodge instead of just regular crumby dodge). Plus, you can stack rogue and scout levels for skirmish (too bad it doesn't also stack sneak attack, like the swift hunter does for skirmish and favored enemy). Improved Skirmish seems nice too. Let's experiment.

L10 Whisper Gnome Rogue/Scout
L1: Rogue 1. BAB +0 Sneak Attack 1d6
Feat: telling blow
L2: Scout 1. BAB +0 Skirmish 1d6
L3: Scout 2. BAB +1
Feat: Weapon Finesse
L4: Scout 3. BAB +2 Skirmish 1d6 +1 AC Move +10
L5: Rogue 2. BAB +3
L6: Rogue 3. BAB +4 Sneak Attack +2d6
Feat: Swift Ambusher Skirmish 2d6 +1 AC
L7: Rogue 4. BAB +5 Skirmish 2d6 +2 AC
L8: Rogue 5. BAB +5 Sneak Attack 3d6
L9: Rogue 6. BAB +6/+1 Skirmish 3d6 +2 AC
Feat: Improved Skirmish +2d6 +2AC if move 20'
L10 Rogue 7. BAB +7/+2 Sneak Attack 4d6

So, the rogue 7/scout 3 gets 4d6 sneak and 3d6 skirmish (5d6 if move 20ft, easy with a 40 ft speed) BAB +7/+2, and marginally more HP. Life sucks until L3, so I'd probably carry a bow and try to rely on ambushing/staying the hell out of trouble.

The L10 straight rogue would have the same BaB, only 5d6 Sneak attack (+1d6 sneak attack, lose 3-5d6 skirmish and +2-4AC), 1 more trapsense, and 1 less reflex save. Skill points are the same, weapons are roughly the same. The rogue would already be getting a 'special ability', but none of them are so great as to say 'forget skirmish'. I don't even really feel the need to do a PrC, since at ECL13 I get rogue special abilities, which do still appeal to me, and a PrC hurts my sneak attack and skirmish. At L12 I'd probably hit improved crit, since Expeditious dodge loses usefulness with the skirmish AC being more sound to rely on. Also, 18-20 with improved crit is what, 15-20? With free Sneak Attack on crits, I will be pretty rough and tumble against anything that isn't crit proof. I could hopefully get wands with golemstrike/cryptstrike/whatever, if that would work.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-14, 03:59 PM
Wands of Xstrike don't work, since, they're single-round durations with a standard action activation as a wand. If you got an item of on-command, it'd be a swift action, IIRC, but you might have to take up an item slot for it.

ocato
2007-09-14, 04:01 PM
Didn't think so, but I wasn't familiar with the spells. Any other problems with that?

ocato
2007-09-14, 04:52 PM
Sorry to double post, but does the Swift Ambusher giving me access to 2d6 skirmish +1 AC count for the prereq for Improved Skirmish?

Fax Celestis
2007-09-14, 04:54 PM
Sorry to double post, but does the Swift Ambusher giving me access to 2d6 skirmish +1 AC count for the prereq for Improved Skirmish?

It would, yes. Other feats to look at are Desert Wind Dodge and the other Desert Wind one from Tome of Battle.

ocato
2007-09-14, 05:05 PM
Hmm, I don't have ToB, though desert wind dodge isn't bad. I think I'd be more likely to grab expeditious dodge, just because getting desert wind would require a swordsage dip, and although that may be a really good class, I don't want to over-extend myself. Especially since this is my first foray into l33t multiclassing. Besides, +1 dodge AC and +1 fire damage is only okay. Besides, I'd also have to use a specific weapon to get it, and most of them aren't my cup of tea for either proficiency reasons or crit/dice reasons. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Curmudgeon
2007-09-15, 12:10 PM
Do you have DMs that actually let you use items to qualify as prereqs? That's crazy. Why not buy a few items, put them on, level, get into a prestige class, then hand the items to the next member of the party and repeat?DMs that let you use feat-granting items to qualify for prerequisites are following the rules (and the FAQ, too). Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane have a rule that states you lose all class benefits of a prestige class anytime you no longer meet the PrC's prerequisites. This rule makes PrCs in other books (like the Ur-Priest in Complete Divine) impossible, so I only apply it to prestige classes from those two books.

That aside, the particular item granting a feat mentioned was the Mobility armor property. Mobility is also a prerequisite for the Spring Attack feat, and you don't have to go past the core rules for how feat prerequisites work:
A character canít use a feat if he or she has lost a prerequisite. I stated earlier that the combination of a level in the Shadowdancer PrC and the Spring Attack feat was the only way to make the investment in their common prerequisites worthwhile for a Rogue. Handing away one of these would be completely foolish, so that's "why not", Kaelik.