GM_Solspiral's PAP Rogue Guide Intro

GM_Solspiral’s Post Advanced Player’s Guide to Rogues
by GM_Solspiral/Frank Gori

Introduction: I am quite aware of the variety of rogue guides out there, so why write another one? I have ideas I have not seen presented elsewhere and quite honestly I feel the conventional approaches presented in other guides either fall short of presenting viable options or are built on assumptions I feel should be discarded. Moreover they aren’t updated to reflect some of the more recent changes to the game and they always seem to neglect the multiclassing options that would enhance the rogue.

I will acknowledge Shaman Bond’s guide as being one of the best. Rogue Eidolon, kjb200, Bravo, have also written fine rogue guides and I’d like to thank the Paizo community in general.

Before we get started I wish to discard the following:
-Backstab Mentality: back in previous versions of the game the rogue was the thief and the thief was all about backstab and backstab tactics. This seems ingrained in modern expectations of the rogue, that builds that deliver sneak attack damage in non-conventional ways are somehow “not a rogue.”
This comes up the most when someone is making a shatter defenses build or a scout skirmishing type of build.
-Multi-classing is somehow a failure: there are some fantastic builds that are rogue primary (11+levels of rogue) that build off of dips or even fully meander into other classes and prestige classes. These can be and still are rogues at heart.
-The Alchemist/Bard/Hunter/Ninja/Slayer/Investigator have made the rogue irrelevant: I like these classes but the package the rogue offers CAN work and work better particularly with class dips and a variety of the archetypes.

That said the rogue has some serious challenges which is why it gets maligned on the boards and I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight them as the guide will need to address these challenges.

  1. The rogue doesn’t do anything another class cannot do better. When it comes to the traditional roles of skirmishing and being the skill monkey of the group there’s indeed some cause for concern here.

  1. The sneak attack mechanic demands melee, but because the rogue as medium BAB, 2 poor saves, and only light armor they have issues hitting and taking a hit as the game progresses to higher levels. Valid.

  1. Builds that work are just don’t feel like a rogue. I reject this argument. The biggest problem rogues face is that they get put into a box of preconceived notions from the PLAYERS. I’m going to present options that work, but they will often be unconventional.

One last quick note:
This guide assumes that if it’s on d20srd and not labeled 3PP it’s legal. 3PP options range from garbage to awesomesauce but there’s simply too many out there to address though.  I will of course highly recommend anything from Flying Pincushion Games and Tricky Owlbear’s Rogues Guide to Capers is a product I cannot endorse enough (for obvious reasons.)

I don’t play PFS as it isn’t big in my area and I’ve not had a challenge finding games to play or run in my area without PFS.

Still with me? Excellent lets get started.

The not-so-defiant-obligatory-color-coding:
Red: This is a bad option.
Yellow: This is a fair but flawed or situational option.
Green: This is a solid choice.
Blue: This is an option that is simply Awesome.
Cyan: This option borders on broken, take it if your GM will let you.
Purple indicates that the option is Blue/Green for some builds but otherwise Red/Yellow

Possible Roles:
Skill Master the bard and investigator challenge the rogue’s former dominance in this arena but the rogue still has some serious advantages. Specifically  the rogue is not dependent on Int to gain a large number of skill points and the rogue class skill list is still the best. Mix in the vast array of skill talents and archetypes that give unique capability to kills and the rogue remains a contender for the best skill character.

Party Face it’s certainly not a situation where the rogue can’t fill this role, but with so many Cha based classes (Paladin, Sorc, Oracle, Summoner, Bard) chances are that you can focus elsewhere.

Mage Slayer a smart rule of gaming is “kill the caster.” Typically the melee types aren’t going to sneak up on the caster anytime soon, and the caster’s on your side are either buffing or trying to control the battlefield. In early game you can waste casters easy, especially if they haven’t had a chance to buff up defenses yet. Mid game this gets harder but by then you’ll have other abilities that can let you skirmish that front line.

Skirmisher is a role the rogue performs well if you can solve their to hit issues. Hit and run tactics are still a very good option in combat.

Tank you are the worst candidate for this.

Attributes and Races
Traits, Skills and Feats
Archetypes and Multiclassing

The Brogue
Drive by Skirmisher
Poison Ivy
Precision Packmaster
Intimidating Thug
Sneaking Arcanist

The Improvisor
The Sniping Trigger
The Veiled Blade
Mephit Man

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