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PF2E Paizo's Stephen Radney-MacFarland Previews The Rogue Class For Pathfinder 2nd Edition!

We saw the fighter last week; today it's the turn of the rogue! Paizo's Stephen Radney-MacFarland gives the inside scoop on rogue features, and feats.


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Rogue by Wayne Reynolds



What do we know from this latest blog entry? Here's some class features:

  • Sneak Attack (1st level) -- Rogues get Sneak Attack as their first class feature. Extra d6s of damage vs. flat-footed foes (such as flanked enemies, or those who fall victim to the Surprise Attack feature).
  • Surprise Attack (1st level) -- "during the first round of combat, the rogue treats any creature that has not taken its turn yet as if it were flat-footed."
  • Debilitating Strike (9th level) -- entangle or enfeeble targets in addition to damage. Higher levels add more conditions.
  • Master Strike (19th level) -- ... culminating in Master Strike, which is an insta-kill at 19th level.
  • More skill ranks, proficiencies, and skill feats than any other class. One skill feat per level rather than every other level.
And here's some class feats a rogue can take:

  • Nimble Dodge -- +2 AC at a whim.
  • Mobility (2nd level) -- move half speed and ignore reactions like attacks of opportunity.
  • Reactive Pursuit (4th level) -- a sticky ability which allows the rogue to chase after foes who try to disengage.
  • Dead Striker (4th level) -- treat frightened creatures as flat-footed.
  • Gang Up (6th level) -- treat enemies within melee range of of your an ally as flat-footed.
  • Twist the Knife (6th level) -- if you do sneak attack damage, do ongoing bleeding damage equal to half your sneak attack dice.
  • Instant Opening (14th level) -- make a creature within 30' flat-footed until the end of your next turn.
  • Cognitive Loophole -- ignore a mental effect for a round before it takes hold.
  • Blank Slate (16th level) -- immune to detection, revelation, and scrying effects.
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Who said anything about chains? I know I didn't.
My post was specificialy in response to [MENTION=55705]NaturalZero[/MENTION]

It has specifically pointed out by the devs that there are no feat chains of the Dodge> Mobility> Spring Attack type. There are the improving ones, like Vital Strike> Improved Vital Strike> Greater Vital Strike, which just make a feat's mechanical effects better.
Well that is good... as long as this doesn't translate to "do a tiny bit more damage, do a tiny bit more damage in an annoying way, do a tiny bit more damage with your eyes closed, shatter the earth's crust with your massive damage".

Wow. I guess they're probably going to rename it from "Rogue" to what it is: "Action-Hero" or maybe "Ninja-Jedi-Batman-Genius".

All we see is combat, combat, combat, combat, combat, combat, combat, combat and combat; oh and a totally transparent attempt to hide "and extra COMBAT stuff you can add yourself" under the guise of "and extra skills and feats".

I wasn't a big fan of PF1. Definitely avoiding PF2. No point if this is the direction they are taking things. I mean, they HAVE to 'balance' the other classes to this monstrosity of a combat monster. So PF2 seems to be focused on three pillars too I guess. But PF2's three pillars are Combat, Killing and Fighting.

...sigh... Oh well...

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Isn't this kinda true with 5e though? Or D&D in general? I'll admit that PF does it to a greater degree but...
 

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Lylandra

Adventurer
I'm all for 1 sneak attack per round as limit, but giving the rogue ways to enhance this attack or to apply it more often.

And yes, I'm also sick of 8+ sneak attack/round rogues...
 

Jer

Adventurer
Isn't this kinda true with 5e though? Or D&D in general? I'll admit that PF does it to a greater degree but...
It absolutely is - every edition and all of the variants. I was reminded of it last weekend when my usual 13th age group was down a person (a person whose character was crucial to the current story arc), so they let me run Torg Eternity instead. Other than some "rules light" one-off games (like Monster of the Week or Timewatch), we've been playing D&D variants almost exclusively as a group for going on 15 years now (3e, then 4e, then 13th Age) and the difference in the emphasis in the systems was striking. Both systems are mechanically complex, and Torg isn't a slouch in the combat mechanics department by any stretch, but the focus on combat that the F20 family of games have really comes out when you compare it to a game that doesn't have "killing monsters and taking their stuff" as the core activity that PCs are expected to partake in.
 

MarkAHart

Explorer
One thing I've found with RPGs is that you have to play them to appreciate the good (and the not so good) qualities; a read-through of the rules isn't sufficient. You actually have to see the rule elements in play and experience them. As much as I enjoy seeing previews, I'm actively trying to avoid making any value judgments until I see the rules in action. As they say, the play is the thing...
 

Arilyn

Hero
One thing I've found with RPGs is that you have to play them to appreciate the good (and the not so good) qualities; a read-through of the rules isn't sufficient. You actually have to see the rule elements in play and experience them. As much as I enjoy seeing previews, I'm actively trying to avoid making any value judgments until I see the rules in action. As they say, the play is the thing...
Yes, this is true. My first read through of 13th Age, for example, was me being really unsure about some of the mechanics, but then we played it and I quickly became a huge fan.
 

Koloth

First Post
The PF1 rogue is either the most deadly thing on the battlefield or one of the most useless, depending on if it gets a flank/sneak attack on a susceptible opponent. Hope PF2 tries to even things out a bit. Odd that the rogue is still the top skill character. Would think the bard, the class that is supposed to know all the odd crap, would be a top class for skills.

Would also like these blog entries to outline how the various classes will handle the other two modes of the game. So far, seems only the combat mode is being discussed. Or should we assume the other two modes are unimportant and can be safely ignored?
 


Markn

First Post
After what was to me a very promising-looking Fighter preview, I’m very underwhelmed with what I’m seeing here for the rogue. Sneak Attack is fine, but nothing that hasn’t come to be expected in any D&D-alike. Debilitating Strikes sound good, but 9th level is WAY too late for what seems to be the class’s main sorurce of interesting things to do in combat. Some mobility feats and some flat-footed enabling feats, which are basically just two different flavors of “make it easier to set up Sneak Attack,” so it seems like for half their careers (or in a campaign of more realistic length, 90% of their careers) their sole activity in combat will consist of attacking for a piddly amount of damage, or attacking for a more reasonable amount of damage, depending on if they can set up whatever circumstance their Feats allow them to use Sneak Attack under.

Skill Feats every level is fine, but boring. I like Skill Monkeys, but the PF1 fighter proved that “the same Feats everyone else can take, but more of them” isn’t a particularly interesting defining characteristic for a class.
I think a few things are happening here.

First, Paizo got ripped for going pretty far with the fighter. I think they consciously showed components of the Rogue that are familiar to appease the players that were freaking out about the fighter.

Second, one method of making higher level play work is to expand the feel of low level to higher level. This means powers that were traditionally given out earlier in PF1 now show up later. Assuming all classes do this, then the rogue won't suffer.

I think some of the learnings that both WotC and Paizo have learned is that too many features that cause cognitive overload at lower levels is an issue. If you can create new options without cognitive overload at low levels, then slide cognitive overload features to higher levels, you expand the game play range that most people use. I feel this is the path that PF is taking but I have no actual proof yet.

On a different not, I think there are some interesting choices for rogue players with what they have chosen to show. You can go the mobility route moving around without provoking. You can go the sticky route and move with enemies that try to move away from you. You can make it easier to get off your sneak attack with some of the new feats (no longer needing flank, etc). And all of this is before you take Ancestry and Skill feats into the equation. I think there are plenty of options and things to do.

Edit: Also, don't forget the rogue has 3 actions a round as well like the fighter. This could mean multiple attacks, or setting up a sneak attack and attempting that twice (at least I don't think SA is limited to once a round...). At any rate. The 3 action system I think heavily impacts the rogue at lower levels.
 
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Markn

First Post
I'm not a Pathfinder guy, what does "flat-footed" mean in PF?
Depends if you are asking in PF1 or PF2. In PF1, it was like an AC but without your dex bonus (and there may be more but I haven't played PF in a while).

In PF2, I believe it provides a +2 bonus to hit (it might be a -2 to AC), but either way it is a bonus of 2.
 


pogre

Hero
Seems solid to me. Not enough to excite me to the point where PF2 is a must play, but I like the direction.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm not a Pathfinder guy, what does "flat-footed" mean in PF?
It’s a situational debuff that gives enemies +2 to hit a creature that has it (or gives the creature -2 AC? I’m not sure which way they apply the modifier, but either way, flat-footed creatures are 10% easier to hit.) A creature is considered flat-footed under a number of circumstances, including when it is being flanked and when it can’t perceive its attacker. Basically combat advantage from 4e, only a debuff that applies to the victim instead of a buff that applies to the attacker.
 

jgbrowning

Explorer
It's WotC and 4e/5e all over again. I'm sick of RPG companies doing this. Stick with one edition and just enhance it or clean it up in a new edition, quit overhauling entire systems!
I like 1E a lot and publish for it, but still get comments from folks saying that I should stick with 0D&D. ;)

joe b.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think a few things are happening here.

First, Paizo got ripped for going pretty far with the fighter. I think they consciously showed components of the Rogue that are familiar to appease the players that were freaking out about the fighter.
I hope you’re right about this being the reason they didn’t show anything particularly interesting for the rogue, and not just that all the rogue has is Sneak Attack and skills.

Second, one method of making higher level play work is to expand the feel of low level to higher level. This means powers that were traditionally given out earlier in PF1 now show up later. Assuming all classes do this, then the rogue won't suffer.

I think some of the learnings that both WotC and Paizo have learned is that too many features that cause cognitive overload at lower levels is an issue. If you can create new options without cognitive overload at low levels, then slide cognitive overload features to higher levels, you expand the game play range that most people use. I feel this is the path that PF is taking but I have no actual proof yet.
But that only fixes the math of high level. It doesn’t fix the fact that it can easily take a year of real-life time to get there. I don’t want to have to spend 8 months doing nothing more engaging in combat than maneuvering to the right position to make my damage output not suck before I can actually start applying some interesting debuffs. I’m all for the general idea of spreading the cognitive load of a class out over a few levels so new players don’t get overwhelmed, but Debilitating Strikes seem to be the one thing they’ve shown that gives Rogues actual choices to make in combat. Otherwise it’s just auto-pilot: can you get Sneak Attack? If yes, Attack. If no, attempt to move to a flanking position (or whatever circumstance your Feats allow you to Sneak Attack under.) Repeat until you’ve earned enough experience to actually start getting choices to make. The amount of time Rogues should be forced to spend playing that way should be as small as possible. If the Fighter is getting to choose between Power Attack, that Attack that lets them frighten the target on a hit for two actions, or that attack that lets you slow an enemy with a bow attack by 6th level, a rogue should be choosing which Debilitating Strike to apply at around the same time.

If they want to put boring Feats like Shield bonus to Reflex at 14th level, I don’t really care because I’ll probably never play one campaign for that long. But I shouldn’t have to wait until my character is already half way to 20 before getting the first Feat that gives me something cool to do.

On a different not, I think there are some interesting choices for rogue players with what they have chosen to show. You can go the mobility route moving around without provoking. You can go the sticky route and move with enemies that try to move away from you. You can make it easier to get off your sneak attack with some of the new feats (no longer needing flank, etc). And all of this is before you take Ancestry and Skill feats into the equation. I think there are plenty of options and things to do.
Those are interesting build choices, but they don’t give you interesting choices to make from turn to turn. Ancestry and Skill Feats might provide some interesting in-the-moment choices, but it sucks that the Class has to rely on those alone when other classes can get the same Feats and get interesting choices from their Class Feats.

Edit: Also, don't forget the rogue has 3 actions a round as well like the fighter. This could mean multiple attacks, or setting up a sneak attack and attempting that twice (at least I don't think SA is limited to once a round...). At any rate. The 3 action system I think heavily impacts the rogue at lower levels.
Sure, but the Fighter gets choices of what to do with those actions. Charge and attack a second time, or move regularly and Power Attack? Or charge and raise shield? Raise shield and Power Attack, or Power Attack and regular attack? In place of that, the Rogue seems to get a simple heuristic: Use the smallest number of actions as necessary to enable you to use Sneak Attack. Spend all remaining actions attacking as many times as possible.
 

Markn

First Post
Charlaquin, you could very well be right. For the moment, I'm of the opinion that the more interesting things for the rogue are still to come. I also think the 3 action system will make things more interesting for the rogue than at first glance.
 

Arakasius

First Post
I didn't see anything too substantial on them being ripped for going with the fighter. The fighter reveal told us one thing we already knew (only fighters getting AoO by default) and then gave us like 5 feats and a couple class features. All were received pretty well other than perhaps the level 14 shield vs dragonfire thing. There was really nothing in the fighter reveal that was really shocking. I read through the Paizo thread and that got way less pushback then proficiency or resonance and the the pathfinder reddit thread was almost 100% in support of it.
 

houser2112

Explorer
I'm not a Pathfinder guy, what does "flat-footed" mean in PF?
It’s a situational debuff that gives enemies +2 to hit a creature that has it (or gives the creature -2 AC? I’m not sure which way they apply the modifier, but either way, flat-footed creatures are 10% easier to hit.) A creature is considered flat-footed under a number of circumstances, including when it is being flanked and when it can’t perceive its attacker. Basically combat advantage from 4e, only a debuff that applies to the victim instead of a buff that applies to the attacker.
Flanking your target gets you a +2 to hit, but being flanked and being flat-footed are orthoganal.

Flat-Footed: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can't use your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) while flat-footed. Barbarians and rogues of high enough level have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which means that they cannot be caught flat-footed. Characters with uncanny dodge retain their Dexterity bonus to their AC and can make attacks of opportunity before they have acted in the first round of combat. A flat-footed character can't make attacks of opportunity, unless he has the Combat Reflexes feat.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Flanking your target gets you a +2 to hit, but being flanked and being flat-footed are orthoganal.

Flat-Footed: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can't use your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) while flat-footed. Barbarians and rogues of high enough level have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which means that they cannot be caught flat-footed. Characters with uncanny dodge retain their Dexterity bonus to their AC and can make attacks of opportunity before they have acted in the first round of combat. A flat-footed character can't make attacks of opportunity, unless he has the Combat Reflexes feat.
That’s in PF1. This thread is discussing PF2, in which there is no separate Flat-Footed AC, attacking a Flat-Footed creature gives you +2 to hit it (or the creature has -2 AC? Again, I’m not 100% clear which side they add the modifier to),flanking a creature allows you to treat it as flat-footed, and creatures are not automatically flat-footed before they have acted on the first round of combat, though there is a 1st level rogue feature that allows rogues specifically to treat creatures that haven’t acted on the first round as flat-footed.
 

houser2112

Explorer
That’s in PF1. This thread is discussing PF2, in which there is no separate Flat-Footed AC, attacking a Flat-Footed creature gives you +2 to hit it (or the creature has -2 AC? Again, I’m not 100% clear which side they add the modifier to),flanking a creature allows you to treat it as flat-footed, and creatures are not automatically flat-footed before they have acted on the first round of combat, though there is a 1st level rogue feature that allows rogues specifically to treat creatures that haven’t acted on the first round as flat-footed.
Ok, I wasn't aware they had revealed this kind of detail yet, so I assumed JRedmond was referring to PF1.
 

Arakasius

First Post
It's a debuff on the creature, so its a -2 penalty.

The point with these blogs is they're just going and giving some class feats that a character can take. There is a lot we don't know. Are we for example sure that all "feats" revealed so far are rogue or fighter only? For example it would be odd if Power Attack was a fighter only feat. It is quite possible that some of these feats shown so far are general feats that synergize with what the class does, hence they revealed them here. Also they haven't written a blog on the skill system. We know some of how it works from proficiency, but we don't know how many skills have been condensed (we know there is Deception, Thievery and that Athletics has absorbed swim/climb) and what they're capable of. So with that we have 2 class blogs which basically both revealed 5-10 feats as well as some class features that are locked. (weapon training, sneak attack)
 

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