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Raging Rogue Conundrum

Grayn

Villager
I have a rogue that's performance has been lackluster. I admittedly went heavy dexterity, so overall damage has been weak due to a low strength modifier. I had an idea to get an animal companion to serve as a flanking buddy and started to look at the Mad Dog Barbarian archtype. This allows one level dip into barbarian to get the companion.

The dip into barbarian also provides for rage (at Barbarian 4). Now, rage+sneak attack(flanking)+companion sounds like a pretty tidy way to shore up some lagging damage for a dex-based skill monkey rogue (not too mention the lvl 2 Pact Tactics boost!).

Of course, this brings up "Can you rage and sneak attack at the same time?". I have been combing through the rules and official forums; where there is all sorts of discussion. Ultimately, there is no rule that says you can not do this, but, there is a lot of opinion. The rules for Rage are fairly specific, but is still a bit vague (While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-,Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.)

A two level dip into barbarian seems to reasonable, but what about taking four levels for rage?

Whats your opinion? Does the rogue's sneak attack require patience or concentration and not compatible with rage? Or, since it is not specifically prohibited in the rules, this is an allowable combination?
 

Satin Knights

Villager
The archetype doesn't look that good. Especially if you are only going to dip into it. On top of that, it will take about a year of playing time to get those four levels.

If you take just two levels, you don't get rage, and the animal companion maxes out at 6th level with Boon Companion.

Yes, you can mix rogue sneak attacks with barbarian rage.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
The problem is simple: In PF, rogues are bad. They are widely considered to be the weakest class out of the entire lot. Basically, rogue damage depends on sneak attacks. Sneak attacks require flanking. Flanking requires maneuverability. Aaaaaand maneuverability is a pain in the a** and only gets worse at higher levels as tumble DCs to avoid AoOs quickly outpace your Acrobatics skill.

So you have a couple choices.
1. Suck it up and keep playing the rogue.
2. Multiclass into fighter. (Fighter is going to give you enough feats to make the rogue less bad. But it will still lag behind other PCs.)
3. Oops my character sheet fell into the paper shredder. Then my dog ate it. Then my dog spontaneously combusted. Can I make a new character?

The first PF character I made was a rogue, and I tried for a year and a half to turn her into something even remotely useful and couldn't do it. Given how frustrating I found the experience, I would just recommend option 3. If you want sneak attacks, vivisectionist alchemist has all of the damage, most of the skills, and then extracts and mutagens as a bonus. If you want a skill monkey, bard has all of the skills, slightly less damage, and then magic and performances as a bonus. If you want a flank buddy, summoner has way more of the damage and way more magic, but less skills.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
Rogue is a tough class to play and enjoy for just the reasons that Systole mentioned. Any sort of dip into another class may boost one aspect of the rogue but has the downside of cutting into important sneak attack dice. A two level dip might be ok but a four level dip cuts away 2d6 sneak attack and two rogue talents and delays access to the advanced talents.

I took a two level dip with my own LPF rogue and even now, six levels later, I'm not sure it was a good idea (even with the two level dip I'm bugged by the delay in getting advanced talents). I think the Mad dog barbarian dip you're considering would work in the short term but in the long run probably isn't a sustainable boost since your companion's toughness would quickly be outpaced by enemies. Of course, short term in pbp could be two or more years depending on how active you are.

There are three things that I think are key to a successful rogue. 1) Strong character concept. Sub-par mechanics can be over-looked/tolerated if the character is one that you really enjoy. 2) Fellow players that realize you are gonna need some help to be at your most effective. If there isn't anyone to serve as a flanking buddy then you'll end up either using resources/actions on feinting or some other method of acquiring sneak attack or your character just isn't going to be as effective as he could be. 3) This I think is probably the most important of the three (and I've been very lucky in this regard for my rogue): you need a DM that understands the weaknesses/strengths of rogues and is willing to play to those strengths without hammering on the weaknesses too much. I've been lucky in that I've had three DM's for Fury that have allowed him to be the superstar I imagine him to be.
 

Grayn

Villager
***Full disclosure: This is my first society play character. I very naively thought a range dependent, skill monkey rogue would be interesting (I misread sneak attack and thought range could be used with flanking.) This idea was met with snickers and a few constructive comments from other players. I have played a handful of modules (lvl 2, atm) and learned some lessons to correct my folly.

Reading your comments and looking through a lot of forum threads, its pretty obvious I am not the first person that is having difficulty with the rogue class. I like the class and really like my character concept. I haven't found any official response to the concerns of the players (which is unfortunate).

I may just keep playing the rogue straight (I have some of aversion to multi-classing for some reason.) I recently played "Night March of Kalkamedes" and was really able to spotlight some of those strengths. It was a lot of fun and who knows, maybe the developers will throw the rogue some love eventually.
 

Satin Knights

Villager
Okay, for a Pathfinder Society character, here is an odd combination, but it works. The "You killed Kenny!" build.

Assuming you have a high dex rogue with two levels so far.
Third level, add summoner. Just one level. Quadruped eidolon, Size: reduced to small;
Evolutions: Skilled Perception, Skilled Acrobatics, Improved Natural Armor.
Feat: Precise Strike.
That will make a 6HP/22AC flanking buddy that has an acrobatics of +15 to move into flank relatively easy without provoking AoOs.

It bites for 1d4+0+1d6 precise damage or does an Aid Another trying to hit AC 10 when it has a +4 to hit (0 STR, 2 flank, 1 size, 1 BAB). In other words, he should almost always acrobatics into flank and then Aid Another to aid your attack.

You end up with a flanking buddy that understands language, always obeys, is under your command, and that gives you a +2 or +4 to hit flanking advantage because it does the Aid Another with an 70% success rate. It will draw one attack that would have hurt you. It falls over after 6 HP of damage, but doesn't actually disappear unless the attacker does 17 HPs of damage and you are not willing to spend a free action to sacrifice HPs and keep it around. So, it falls over a lot, lays on the ground until it gets to -CON bleeding out slowly. But after the fight, you heal it some and it stands back up.

For your rogue/summoner, you take Precise Strike at 3rd level, gaining another 1d6 precision damage. That way, you are not behind a straight rogue while at third level. At even levels, you will be ahead of a straight rogue without that feat.

About 4th level, you should be able to afford a +2 weapon. Take a +1 Vicious weapon, and you will be doing +2d6 sneak, +1d6 Precise Strike, and +2d6 Vicious damage with a +4 to hit from your flanking buddy. If you are doing weapon +5d6 damage at fourth level, you are pretty effective.

Buy Infernal Healing wands with 2 PP as often as you need. Basically, you only need to survive through one battle, and then use the wand to get back to full HP for the both of you. The other wand you get is Mage Armor. Spam it as often as needed, and you will only end up using two Mage Armor wands over your career.

Skill points: 1 acrobatics gives the eidolon a +15 (1 rank, 8 skilled, 3 class, 3 dex), 1 Perception gives the eidolon a +12 (1 rank, 8 skilled, 3 class, 0 wis), 1 stealth gives a +11 (1 rank, 3 class, 4 size, 3 dex), 1 random pick. Chose the extra skills that become class skills as appropriate where you are going to spend these few points. The eidolon isn't going to be growing, so we optimize for the beginning. Having an extra party member with a high perception score is always a bonus. Since the eidolon can talk, it can convey all it sees to everyone, or can talk telepathically (silent) to the master across their link.

Shape: A small cat or small dog goes unnoticed when wandering around town. It is only going to have 1 bite attack because the evolution points are spent elsewhere. A serpent gets slightly better stats, but the slow 20' speed means it has less of a chance of getting to that flanking position. The 40' speed of the quadruped was one of the determining factors.

Or: If you go small bipedal, you spend one evolution point in Skilled(disable device) and you have a trap springer that never dies. He can only work on mechanical traps, but he really is disposable. If he dies, he comes back the next day. Since his STR went up 1, he has an 75% chance to pull off the Aid Another maneuver.

If Kenny does disappear for the day, you get CHA+3 speed bump summon monster I spells to toss around for the rest of the day. That is, if you have a CHA of 10 or better. I looked, and I don't see why a summoner couldn't have a 7 charisma. He would not get spells, but would still be able to get an eidolon.

The Rogue N/Summoner 1 is a very powerful dip combination.

Look at the Cloak of the Hedge Wizard and plan which you may desire to purchase later in your career. It may affect your choice of spells when you add the summoner level. In PFS, for a summoner, Mage Armor is a wand only spell. Don't spend your spells known on it. Good suggestions are Unseen Servant, Expeditious Retreat and Shield. Endure Elements is another wand that you buy once with PP and use it all through your career. While I am at it, Comprehend Languages is the other must have wand.

This combination works in PFS because:
1) five fights and you are done for the day. The fights are mostly spread out so you can heal between them.
b) 2 Prestige Points gets you a level 1 wand for effectively free. Grab a healing wand, mage armor, endure elements, and comp languages. After that, start stacking PP until you have 16 for the raise dead. Then start reinvesting the rest of the PP you make in more wands.
c) You never know what characters are going to show to a table. Expecting someone else to have a Cooperative feat is that helps you is foolish. With the eidolon, you ensure that every time.
d) You never get up to the higher levels where 'Kenny' just dies due to auras of the creatures you are facing. At the 9-11th levels, he will be a speed bump unless you are creative, but he was useful up to that point.

This strategy wouldn't work 'as well' in LPF, but still be reasonably effective. At least slightly above a straight rogue in my opinion.

As to the scenario you mentioned, [sblock=Spoiler]My greensting scorpion familiar was the one to open the door with a strength check. I had the DM just sputtering flabbergasted when I did it. [/sblock]
 

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