'Feat' Rogue

I don't like the feat rogue--here's a thought experiment as to why: If I made a feat called "Improved Sneak Attack" that gives +1d6 Sneak Attack and can be taken multiple times, would you take it every time with a Rogue? How about a Fighter, but they could only take it with their class bonus feats (and it would be a better deal anyway for them because they get more attacks)?

That said, LEW has a dearth of feats compared to most games where I have banned the feat rogue, which could be a balancing factor that allows it to not be worth banning here. Still, the argument of "we don't have enough good feats approved yet for this to be broken" makes me a bit uneasy.
 

orsal

LEW Judge
I like this in principle, because I think a rogue-style stealth specialist shouldn't need to have one of the manifestations of that specialization be a potent combat move. I'm going to reserve judgement until
(a) I hear more discussion about balance issues (something I'm not that great with)
(b) We spell out what bonus feats are eligible. As with the fighter, I think class feats should be required to be related to the class flavour. So, for example, potential rogue bonus feats would include any skill buffs for rogue class skills. What others?
 
orsal said:
I like this in principle, because I think a rogue-style stealth specialist shouldn't need to have one of the manifestations of that specialization be a potent combat move. I'm going to reserve judgement until
(a) I hear more discussion about balance issues (something I'm not that great with)
(b) We spell out what bonus feats are eligible. As with the fighter, I think class feats should be required to be related to the class flavour. So, for example, potential rogue bonus feats would include any skill buffs for rogue class skills. What others?
By RAW, they can use them feats on the Fighter feat list only (so they trade a big damage limited-utility combat move for eleven combat moves--if we had more feats available, this would almost always be a trade in the Rogue's favour, though now I'm not so sure).
 

orsal

LEW Judge
Rystil Arden said:
By RAW, they can use them feats on the Fighter feat list only (so they trade a big damage limited-utility combat move for eleven combat moves--if we had more feats available, this would almost always be a trade in the Rogue's favour, though now I'm not so sure).
Oh -- I misread it at first. Favours martial training over stealth -- the exact opposite of what I had been thinking. I'm not so keen on it now.
 
orsal said:
Oh -- I misread it at first. Favours martial training over stealth -- the exact opposite of what I had been thinking. I'm not so keen on it now.
Yeah, bleh.

If they made a version like the one you want, I think it would like it a lot. Frankly, though they don't have it in the SRD, if you're looking for a houseruled set of abilities to replace Sneak Attack for a stealth specialist Rogue who isn't really a combat backstabber, I can take a grab-bag from my variant classes that I use in some of my homebrews and propose it. It could be a nice option.
 

Trouvere

Visitor
The way I've looked at it is actually as a variant fighter who loses some BAB and HP to get extra skill points.
 
Trouvere said:
The way I've looked at it is actually as a variant fighter who loses some BAB and HP to get extra skill points.
I always figured the way to do that is to multiclass Fighter/Rogue.

Actually, speaking of multiclassing, I also forgot to mention one of the most important reasons I banned feat Rogue and Sneak Attack Fighter--the edge effect at low levels of multiclassing into them. Feat Rogue 2 / Regular Fighter 2 has 4 bonus feats at level 4 instead of 3, and many more skill points. Similarly, Sneak Attack Fighter 1 / Rogue 1 has 2d6 Sneak Attack at level 2 (which also allows this particular combo to break in early to PrCs with a Sneak Attack prereq like Arcane Trickster)
 

Trouvere

Visitor
Rystil Arden said:
I always figured the way to do that is to multiclass Fighter/Rogue.
Yep, but then you have sneak attack in the build again, which might be what you were hoping to avoid in the first place. ;)
Actually, speaking of multiclassing, I also forgot to mention one of the most important reasons I banned feat Rogue and Sneak Attack Fighter--the edge effect at low levels of multiclassing into them. Feat Rogue 2 / Regular Fighter 2 has 4 bonus feats at level 4 instead of 3, and many more skill points.
Awful Will save, though. ;) You can do the same thing with Psychic Warrior, too, no?
Similarly, Sneak Attack Fighter 1 / Rogue 1 has 2d6 Sneak Attack at level 2 (which also allows this particular combo to break in early to PrCs with a Sneak Attack prereq like Arcane Trickster)
Yes, that's a pretty unanswerable point (not that Arcane Trickster is a powerhouse or anything, but finessing early entry to any PrC is practically always something to avoid). Is that Sneak Attack Fighter / Thug approved for LEW btw?
 
Awful Will save, though. You can do the same thing with Psychic Warrior, too, no?
Sadly yes, though the Psywar has less to give someone who's only in it to exploit feats and get the most they can out of it on the side (since that kind of character likely won't have enough Wisdom to get useful PP with 1 or 2 Psywar levels, and Psywar has only 2 skill points). The worst is when they do all three. Fighter2/FeatRogue2/Psywar2 has absolutely insane featage (6 bonus feats in 6 levels). They do lose 2 BAB, but the good news for them is that they can proceed to FeatRogue4 without losing any more BAB (and Psywar4 too if they had more Wisdom than expected). They can always take Iron Will as one of the many bonus feats they finessed.

Yep, but then you have sneak attack in the build again, which might be what you were hoping to avoid in the first place.
Just because you have a tiny amount of Sneak Attack doesn't mean you'd have to use it though. Heck, you could just decide that for your character it was a 'Teamwork bonus' that applies when flanking and just never use it for flatfooted purposes. In that sense, it is little different than Weapon Specialisation, one of the feats you might take as a feat rogue, a damage boost.

Yes, that's a pretty unanswerable point (not that Arcane Trickster is a powerhouse or anything, but finessing early entry to any PrC is practically always something to avoid). Is that Sneak Attack Fighter / Thug approved for LEW btw?
I will eat a shoe if we allowed the Sneak Attack Fighter. Rae thinks we may have approved the Thug. That's a shame--it's a good idea, but it needs to pay something each level (like a HD drop) instead of just one feat to balance the skill gains at every level to be balanced.
 

Trouvere

Visitor
Rystil Arden said:
Just because you have a tiny amount of Sneak Attack doesn't mean you'd have to use it though. Heck, you could just decide that for your character it was a 'Teamwork bonus' that applies when flanking and just never use it for flatfooted purposes. In that sense, it is little different than Weapon Specialisation, one of the feats you might take as a feat rogue, a damage boost.
In the (cohort) build I was thinking of, there'd be more than a few rogue levels eventually, so using the regular class the sneak attack would add up. It's not really a problem, but it doesn't quite fit with what I have in my head. In fact, I was intending a rather combat-weak character, who used the fighter bonus feats just to fill out a crossbow build, while the regular feats went into some +2/+2 skill boost feats and other non-combat things - so losing the fighter feats doesn't matter very much, but adding back in 8d6 or 6d6 sneak attack or whatever... um... hurts! It would seem odd to deliberately gimp the character by avoiding attacks against low initiative opponents in the first round.
 

Trouvere

Visitor
Rystil Arden said:
Just because you have a tiny amount of Sneak Attack doesn't mean you'd have to use it though. Heck, you could just decide that for your character it was a 'Teamwork bonus' that applies when flanking and just never use it for flatfooted purposes. In that sense, it is little different than Weapon Specialisation, one of the feats you might take as a feat rogue, a damage boost.
Not that it alters the thrust of your point, but I suspect a feat rogue would not be able to take the Fighter Bonus Feats such as Weapon Specialisation and Greater Weapon Focus which have Fighter levels as prerequisites without qualifying for them by taking the actual Fighter levels (but thereafter they could take them as feat rogue bonuses). If you realise that and are just skipping the intervening reasoning, then, well, I'm just clarifying. :)
 
Trouvere said:
In the (cohort) build I was thinking of, there'd be more than a few rogue levels eventually, so using the regular class the sneak attack would add up. It's not really a problem, but it doesn't quite fit with what I have in my head. In fact, I was intending a rather combat-weak character, who used the fighter bonus feats just to fill out a crossbow build, while the regular feats went into some +2/+2 skill boost feats and other non-combat things - so losing the fighter feats doesn't matter very much, but adding back in 8d6 or 6d6 sneak attack or whatever... um... hurts! It would seem odd to deliberately gimp the character by avoiding attacks against low initiative opponents in the first round.
If you only needed a few feats, it sounds like you may be better off anyway with what orsal thought the variant was doing--roguish bonuses to replace the Sneak Attack. Then you could use the regular level-based feats for said crossbow build (with maybe 2 levels in Fighter if the regular feats are not enough)
 

Trouvere

Visitor
Yes, I agree, though I'd prefer, as a general rule, to stick as close to core and SRD as possible to do it.
 
Trouvere said:
Yes, I agree, though I'd prefer, as a general rule, to stick as close to core and SRD as possible to do it.
I'm thinking some kind of remix that gets skill bonus feats at low levels, one extra of the high-level Rogue abilities from the option list (starting at 7 instead of 10), A Thousand Faces (Druids aren't the only ones who can be masters of disguise!), Hide in Plain Sight, Shadow's Celerity (the ability to Hide/Move Silently and move at full speed), and then finally Everhidden Shadow (the ability to be always taking 10 on Hiding unless stated otherwise). All but the last two are cribbed from elsewhere in the SRD.
 
Trouvere said:
Huh. That's actually pretty good. Very specific set of changes, though. It has more of a PrC feel to me.
It's based on a variant base class I made, minus some of the abilities. It's certainly no more specific than the Monk, I'd think, and it's only replacing the killer-rogue's Sneak Attack, so there's still versatility in all the rest. I would imagine that it could work either way. There could also be a list of choices much like for the current high-level Rogue abilities where you pick a few. Others to consider adding to the list of choices:

Venom's Kiss (immune to all poisons) Shadow's Eyes (60 foot Darkvision, or +60 feet if you have it already), Shadow Jump (as Shadowdancer ability except 20 feet per Rogue level), Shadowswathed Soul (mechanically equivalent to Diamond Soul, but the flavour on it is that you manage to slip through and avoid the spells rather than shrug them off), Insidious Mind (trick casters into thinking you failed your Will save when you actually succeeded), Living the Lie (Whenever you are targeted by a Divination spell, if the caster does not succeed at at Caster Level check DC 10 + your Rogue level, you can choose to change the result of the spell a la Misdirection).

Some of these are a bit mystical, but they could be other choices. I picked the ones that seemed least objectionable for my last post.
 

Trouvere

Visitor
The more I think about it, the more I realise that there is a need for something like the feat rogue. I'm looking for a skillful predominantly social and thieving rogue who's nothing special in combat, i.e. not an 8d6 sneak attack monster. I could try:
(1) a straight Rogue and vow to never use sneak attack (except it would happen perforce now and then when she acts first or gets stuck in a flanking position!), which is fairly silly, or
(2) a Bard who never uses music and spellcasting (which of course you can force yourself to do if you purposefully handicap yourself with a Cha of 9 and no ranks in Perform, but that's even sillier), or
(3) Ranger, but that doesn't have the social skills in class (Urban Ranger is better, but doesn't have Bluff, Forgery, Disable Device, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand and so on), and does have spellcasting, or
(4) Cloistered Cleric, with the Trickery domain, but that of course comes with poor BAB and full spellcasting (so you could dump Wisdom and be left with nothing but the skill points, if you were crazy)
(5) some clumsy multiclass of the first three, based predominantly around Ranger, in which you try to take just enough levels of the other two to get the ranks you want in the skills you want, without accruing too much sneak attack or too many spells (and not easy to do with a Halfling, with favored class Rogue)... Something like Ranger 8 / Bard 6 / Rogue 6, not in that order, which still gives 2nd level bard and ranger spells and 3d6 SA, and has drifted a long way from the initial idea

Or there's the Feat Rogue, where admittedly the bonus feats are centred around combat. If you build it that way, it's probably better thought of as a fighter with extra skills in exchange for lower HP and BAB. Or you could use those bonus feats to claim just enough of a combat niche (the archery tree, or the TWF tree, say), and use the rest for the few non-combat specific or passive combat fighter bonus feats (Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Dodge, Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse), but in either case, you free up the regular feat slots for things that will build on roguishness, while still maintaining minimum combat competency. At least the potential is there to go either way.

Or there's Rystil's set of alternative class abilities gradually gained in place of sneak attack, which, given the examples offered, is mechanically some sort of meshing of rogue/monk/druid/shadowdancer abilities. I like the idea, but I don't think I like the idea for LEW. And although it's flavourful, having one set of special abilities does lock the build into one specific stealthy mould (or if there are several choices at each level, then I start to wonder just why this particular rogue variant has so many options, while a sneak attack rogue can't take any of them). I prefer the simplicity of swapping one class feature (SA) in its entirety for one other (FB feats).

[sblock=Other blether]The counterpart to the Feat Rogue, the Sneak Attack Fighter, seems broken to me. What holds back a Rogue 20 or Rogue 16/fullBAB 4 from slamming 30 or 36d6 sneak attack every round? Mostly that with lower BAB, the iterative attacks will rarely hit, and that the Rogue doesn't have the HP to move into place, attack once, then soak the enemy's attack to deliver the full attack the next turn. That limitation largely goes away with a full BAB, d10 hit die fighter with full SA, who also probably has a better AC, and does more Str based damage and PA damage too.

It's clear that you can't mix regular Cleric and Cloistered Cleric in a single build, or Ranger and Urban Ranger, or Rogue and Feat Rogue, or Fighter and Sneak Attack Fighter. Do you think it's also possible that it's intended not to be able to combine straight Fighter with Feat Rogue, and Sneak Attack Fighter with straight Rogue?
[/sblock]
 
The more I think about it, the more I realise that there is a need for something like the feat rogue. I'm looking for a skillful predominantly social and thieving rogue who's nothing special in combat, i.e. not an 8d6 sneak attack monster. I could try:
But the flavour of the feat rogue is a character who spends all their time training for combat and is not as sneaky, and the mechanics follow through on that, giving you something more combat-trained than a Paladin or a Ranger. If we actually had enough feats for rogues to make it viable, I might approve removing all the sneak attacks for roguish feats, rather than combat feats.
 

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