Sunday, March 27, 2011

Combat rogue - critique this build

The goal is to create a character with most of the benefits of a rogue (i.e. skills, evasion, sneak attack) which is still a formidable front-line combatant. My main strategy is to incorporate the sneak attack ability into combat without resorting to invisibility or other magic tricks to deny the opponent his DX bonus to AC. The best approach is to use the feint option. Since the improved feint feat only reduces feint from a standard action to a move action and there is no way currently available to reduce it to a swift action, the character is limited to a single attack per round, so that one attack better be a heavy hit. Here's what I've come up with.

Using a 20-point human build, I generated the following stats: ST 17 IN 14 DX 14 CN 12 WS 11 CH 10 including the +2 stat bonus on ST. I take my first level in rogue with toughness and power attack as my feats. He's going to need the hps since as a rogue, he's going to limited to light armour to use evasion. The power attack will come into play soon. My second level will be fighter. I will switch to great sword and take the furious focus feat. This allows me to enjoy the damage bonus of power attack without the attack penalty and since I'm using a two-handed weapon, the power attack is even more potent. So, already at second level, I'm pounding out 2d6+7+1d6 points on a sneak attack. I take another rogue level next, taking the iron will feat and using rogue talent (weapon training), I take weapon focus (great sword). My fourth level will be fighter again and I take combat expertise as my fighter bonus feat. I also bump up my ST to 18. By this level, my sneak attack damage is 2d6+9+1d6.

Over the next four levels, I continue to alternate rogue and fighter levels. I add improved feint, skill focus (bluff), weapon specialization and I use rogue talent (combat trick) to take the vital strike feat. By 8th level, my sneak attack damage is 2d6+17+2d6+2d6 (assuming a normal weapon). Now, of course, an 8th level fighter could probably do more damage on average and would almost certainly have a higher attack modifier, more hps and better AC, but this character has enough skill points to max out bluff, perception, stealth, climb, acrobatics, disable device and use magic device, and retains evasion and uncanny dodge. So, is it worth it? What could make it better?



Obiri said...

I've played around with this type of build and I figure if you are going to do it you might as well go all the way.

First off, rogues are not proficient with greatswords. I would go straight rogue with the following stats: Str 19 (inc human bonus) Dex 10 Con 15 Int 8 (rogues gets of skill points anyway) Wis 12 (for to help with the awful will save) Cha 10 (Cha could be moved down to 8 for an extra 2 points of Dex, I guess it depends on how soon you want to use UMD). Attribute increases would go first into Str and then Con.

With this build you need a flanker to use sneak attack but even without you can deal some damage. You can't keep pace with a fighter but you'll have 8 skill points, and all of the other rogue goodies.

Rognar said...

Yeah, see I want to get away from requiring a flanker. The point is to create a stealthy character that can be a meatshield as well. As soon as you drag a clanking, clumsy fighter or barbarian along, stealth becomes a moot point. Besides, from what I have observed, by the time a rogue can get into a flanking position, the bad guy he's trying to flank will have already been dispatched by the fighter. The rogue spends the whole fight moving from one target to another, always one round too late to do anything worthwhile.

Obiri said...

Feinting isn't going to help. You still have to move into position and then instead of doing a full round attack you only get a single attack. This is mitigated somewhat by Vital Strike but I still don't think its the way to go.

Why not go 2-handed Ranger instead then? You still get a ton of skills, fighter BAB, and evasion. You lose out of Uncanny dodge but I don't see that as a huge loss. Again, you won't do as much damage as the fighter unless it's a favored enemy but you have lots of other tricks to compensate.

Obiri said...

Edit: Would not allow me to edit post.

Doing some quick math with a ranger who has the same stats as yours. I think you messed up your Power Attack bonus. Your character has only a BAB of 7 and doesn't get the next boost from Power attack until level 9 or 10.

Your example at level 8 is going to do an average of 35 points of damage as a full round action or 28 when moving.

The ranger (with his rather quirky stats) averages 29 when moving. The ranger gets 2 attacks so lets assume that the second swing hits half the time (which it would with level appropriate gear). The first swing averages 22 and the second 11 for a total of 33.

Adding gear makes the ranger look even better since it improves the chance of the second swing hitting and increases the damage of 2 swings, not just one.

Against a favored enemy the ranger pulls ahead even more.

The only way to make sneak attack really effective is to dual-wield and stack every last "to hit" bonus you can.

11:29 AM

Rognar said...

I looked at just doing a ranger, but unfortunately, there are too many things I'd have to give up. First off, I wouldn't get evasion until 9th level. By that point, characters start getting magic items that can limit the threat from area effect spells anyway. Besides, by 10th level, I'd likely be looking to play a different character anyway. Also, the ranger has only three class skills that interest me, climb, stealth and perception. That means either taking a bunch of non-class skills or taking at least one level of rogue.

You're right about my mistake on power attack, however, I was thinking levels, not BAB.

Obiri said...

Is sneak attack really worth it on this build? with 11 levels of rogue you will have 6d6 sneak attack for an average of 21 damage. I'd rather have my iterative attacks.

Dip rogue and go rest ranger. As I said, sneak attack damage sucks unless you have someway of adding it reliable to lots of attacks. (Which is why the ninja is better then the rogue).

Yavhavue said...

A variant in a long term play. Solo rogue, max dex, two weapon fighting plus improved plus greater two weapon feint add greater two weapon feint, sap adept and sap master. you can deal 3 attacks per round, everyone of them sneaky and by lvl 16 you can get every thing dealing 1d6+16d6+16 (no strenght and no magic) per attack, seems very funny to me. Not to mention that with rogue talent offensive defense you can add +16 to your AC which is awesome.