There’s a ton of options and most of them suck. Generally what you want is 1) trade out trapfinding and trap sense for something less situational. 2) Gain new tricks that either give you a schtick, make you less MAD (multiple ability dependent), or improves your action economy.
Acrobat acrobatics isn’t THIS important.
Bandit it’s like thug but crappier
Burglar still want that trap focus here’s a sub par option
Carnivalist this could be cool and I have a build for it but losing 3 rogue talents for crappy bard abilities.
Chameleon ok so a stealth bonus from bluff is nice and free terrains where you get to take 10 on stealth for your 2 sub par abilities.
Charlatan social garbage you don’t need.
Counterfeit Mage leaves the best parts of trapfinding intact, Quick Draw free activation wand, and allows you to be less concerned with Charisma, yes please. The fourth level talent is a loss but it remains viable for the scout archetype.
Cutpurse for those that love improved steal for some reason.
Driver it at least is unique and would be ok on like a minion...
Investigator not worth trading trap sense for.
Kidnapper so you can grapple and deal sneak with this, you lose nothing good for it either.
Knife Master extra sneak damage can be awesome, mixes well with scout.
Pirate yeah even if I want to play a sea campaign, this is crappy mechanics.
Poisoner poisoner is sub-optimal but you don’t lose anything great for it.
Rake Ok 2ndary option to Thug but thug is better.
River Rat painfully bad
Roof Runner super situational
Sanctified Rogue just like church in the North East, you expect some kind of divine power and leave bored.
Sapper sadly this is the wrong kind of sapper, unless there’s a lot of sieges in your game.
Scavenger depressingly bad
Scout gives you 2 ways to get sneak attack off without flanking, yes please.
Scroll Scoundrel you expect UMD stuff, but you will be disappointed.
Shadow Rebel the name sets expectations along the lines of shadow dancer, again bummer.
Smuggler yeah because smuggling goods is exactly what you’re looking for as an adventurer
Sniper good for range and you lose nothing good what-so-ever.
Spy this is just not ok.
Survivalist I have the exact same opinion of this as the survival skill, let the ranger do it.
Swashbuckler ok for your 2 worst class features you get a free martial weapon and the ability to take an extra combat feat.
Thug Intimidate build needs it in tie for the best.
Trapsmith situationally useful.
Underground Chemist losing evasion hurts but this can be a useful component in a number of builds especially if you’re getting evasion elsewhere like a monk or shadow dancer dip.
The highlight reel is Skulking Slayer and Swordmaster both of which are rated blue, the others range from Yellow to red.
Here is where I’m going to earn the defiant tag for this guide… almost any of the other classes work because the rogue is all about options. Optimizing other classes is all about lining up your main schtick be it battlefield control, damage, or defense. The rogue has to do that AND be extremely versatile outside of combat. It is a lot to manage and dipping 1-5 levels in another class helps as does a number of the prestige classes.
Some things to bear in mind:
- It takes 4 levels of a full BAB to add another attack but that doesn’t really do much.
- Anything that gives you multiple primary natural attacks are at your full attack bonus are going to stack well with your sneak attack.
- Arcane casting usually means losing armor.
- Spell versatility even at low levels helps and you don’t need UMD for the wands of that classes spell list.
- It is supremely helpful if a class has strong saves in Will or Fortitude or both.
I am not bothering to list the classes like investigator, slayer or ninja as they are clearly intended to reinterpret and/or replace rogues.
Barbarian - Normal Barbarians don’t work because rage shuts down Int, Cha, and Wis skills meaning no UMD, meaning no wands. The extra BAB is nice, the extra hit points are very appreciated, Fort save is very nice, the movement can be nice, and the martial weapon proficiencies add some excellent weapon options. Your best bet is urban barbarian with a possible option for hurler if you are a knife master. Lesser beast totem and animal fury can get you to 2 claw attacks at your full attack range and a bite attack all of which are finessable. This is borderline Green but there are better martial options.
Bard - You already are skilled and if you want a spellcaster class you might as well go with one that gives you more spell options.
Cleric - Very versatile spell list, lots of strong front loaded domain powers, bolster to both weak saves, healing, and some possible weapon upgrades. One might wonder why a dip here isn’t blue, the class comes with string attached. You now serve a god and that god can take all your shiny extras away if you don’t play ball. I like this for a 1-3 level dip mostly for the domain powers.
Druid - Shore up your weak saves, gain a versatile spell list, gain a few weapons, shapeshift into a natural attack routine, gain useful skills, and a flanking buddy you can boon companion to keep useful. This is near cyan as I absolutely love mixing Druid and rogue. Sneak attacking as a hawk after summoning hawks and having a hawk animal companion was way too much fun and entanglement keeps it’s utility for a surprising length of time.
Fighter pretty much shores up a little of just about everything you need. The biggest draw is the feats, most fo the rogues woes can be solved with feats. Of particular note are the archer, two weapon warrior, and tactician archetypes.
Monk the synergy between monk and rogue is actually fairly awesome. What I said about feats and fighters applies here, particularly with Master of Many Styles. Another good option is the 6 levels of monk of the empty hand paired with a 2 level cavalier dip for Order of the Land’s Adaptive strike, but we will get into that more later. Ki pool is a very nice add on as is the strong saves and wisdom to AC.
Paladin/Antipaladin there’s a lot to love for a CHA intensive rogue but this is one of the most irritating class restrictions because in part it entirely depends on your GMs opinions. Mechanically stong but the fluff is simply too unwieldy.
Ranger part of me wants to point you at slayer if this is what you want but a lot of GMs are likely to ban the hybrid classes so this remains viable. For starters the feat bonuses are very nice, the saves, the HP, the skills don’t lax, spells, and my favorite a flanking buddy.
Sorcerer sorcs are very all or nothing, wizard or cleric are both much better dips.
Wizard if you are going to dip 1 level this is one of 3 outstanding choices (magus and synthesist summoner being the other 2.) A familiar is like a 2 feat package that can scout or eventually be replaced for an extra wand caster/sla machine. You get a will save, front loaded powers and the best spell list in the game.
Alchemist if you want a roguish alchemist simply play a vivisectionist.
Cavalier/Samurai You get a flanker you can also ride, this is best if you are small and can get the wolf, mix it with scout archetype grab mounted combat and ride by attack and you have a medium sized hit and run sneak attack that doesn’t require stealth, stick around for cavalier’s charge and never have a problem hitting things. There’s some goodies for every build in the order powers of particular interest are cockatrice, flame, and land. My favorite? Strategist with Stealthy Synergy teamwork feat, now everyone gets to scout with your rogue and not make the team obvious.
Gunslinger great 1 level dip for touch AC, BAB, and Grit. Worth losing 1d6 sneak to make better use of 2 rogue talents.
Inquisitor a pool of being able to hit, teamwork feats that don’t require teamwork, and magic. Why yellow? Simple, this is a near rogue on it’s own you’re better off dipping rogue and going inquisitor.
Magus another guide has pointed out the sexiness of spire defender, I’ll add to the list greensting slayer. Simply put one of the most amazing skirmishers may well be a greensting slayer/rogue into arcane trickster build, with a small dip into shadowdancer. More on this in the build section.
Oracle Revelations are the pull for this dip meaning you prolly want to go to 4th level. best bang for your buck by a mile is goign to be the Lunar mystery, get an animal companion and wildshape basically. Curse-wise I’d recommend the one that ultimately gives you blindsense, then you can drop a fog and still Sneak. Thsi si not my favorite dip though.
Summoner This sucks hard unless you can do a synthasist, in which case I’ll take the help on being so MAD, spells, natural attacks, AC, various movement abilities, HP, saves, the list goes on. About 4 levels then use feats for any other evolutions you need or evolution surge for the really situational ones.
Witch this is like what I said about sorc only worse. If you must, prehensile hair is a fun choice.
Arcanist like the wizard only not as front loaded, like at all.
Bloodrager take the mediocrity of a barbarian dip and mix it with the horribly bad choice of sorc.
Brawler the fighter called, he wants his lunch money back. This class is broken because of that flexible feat.
Hunter ok so like druid but with a slower spell progression we don’t care as much about (expect 2 lists for wands) and a better animal companion? Oh and the very cool animal aspects? Yes please.
Shaman like the witch only worse.
Skald remember what I said about the bard and the barbarian?
Swashbuckler So many new toys to play with! Panache is great, frees up your 2nd level rogue talent at first level, and more Hitpoints. It is sad that this is also all about reflex saves but for a one level dip this is very good I can also get behind as many as four levels since you get allot of help on on saves at 3rd and 1d6 sneak attack back but you might as well stick around for the extra iterative attack and additional feat at 4th..
Warpriest if you’re in this it is likely for sacred weapon meaning you’re in it for 4 levels. There’s a lot to like about warpriest but I’d rather dip 1-3 levels of cleric for the more powerful domain abilities.
For this guide I’m going to stick to the ones that seem like thay might make sense to a rogue.
Arcane Archer a level or 2 dip for the properly inclined is actually a good way to make a ranged rogue work a little better.
Arcane Trickster this is the only one I’d strongly recommend going 10 levels into. Full caster benefits, full sneak attack, and a variety of awesome bits like ranged ledgerman.
Assassin very few games have I played in a party where I could actually enter this. Full sneak, death attack, and a great package all around is a little ruined by the fuff. Maybe your GM will waive the evil/killed to enter the class requirements?
Duelist I adore duelist rogue mixes but they end up more duelist than rogue.
Pathfinder Chronicler this one is BAD.
Shadow Dancer one level gives you hide in plain sight, 2 helps you recover some of the class features you might have had to trade out.
Crimson Assassin garbage, partly because you’ll compare it to the actual assassin.
Dark Delver decent dip if you’re playing with a GM that loves mega dungeons, otherwise no thanks.
Deep Sea Pirate a dip might be circumstantially good depending on your campaign.
Field Agent lets take the parts of rogue that suck and highlight them.
Grey Warden if you went with a cleric dip, wanted more and a little inquisitor but still wanted sneak attack this is for you.
Group Leader mechanically so-so but the real real for yellow is how presumptuous this is.
Guild Agent a little better than field agent but not much.
Master Spy there are games where this is freaking awesome (kingmaker) but the requirements SUCK.
Attributes and Races
Traits, Skills and Feats
Archetypes and Multiclassing
Drive by Skirmisher
The Sniping Trigger
The Veiled Blade