Hey all! As promised, I’m going to show the mock-up of the WoED20 Rogue this week. But first, full disclosure: rogues are my favorite class. I love being skilled up, fighting with wit and precision rather than brute force, and finding alternative ways to attack a problem.
Specifically, I love rogues with the Charisma-based build; the con-artists who have bluff and diplomacy cranked so high that town guards will go get him the key to the mayor’s house if he was ever so unsubtle as to ask. Thing its, (and you might have noticed this in my previous game design), I’m constantly striving to make other classes more rogue-y. More versatile, more capable of taking third options when presented with a problem.
Therefore, I am well aware that there might be some temptation on my part to make rogues more powerful than they ought to be or, as a matter of compensating for this, making them weaker. I’ll be trying to monitor this, and I understand that there’s nothing to compare them to yet, but let me know if you notice any power creep or power slip here.
That said, and without further ado, I present the WoE Rogue class, level by level.
Skill points at first level: (8 + INT modifier) x4
Skill points at each additional level: 8 + INT modifier
Hitpoints at first level: 10 + CON modifier
Hitpoints at each additional level: 1d8 + CON modifier (Average 5hp)
Proficiencies: Light Blades, Bows, Crossbows, Light Armor, Light Shields
Level 1: BaB +0; Fort +0; Ref +2; Will +0; Rogue Training I, Roguish Tactics
Level 2: BaB +1; Fort +0; Ref +3; Will +0; Evasion, Rogue Feat
Level 3: BaB +2; Fort +1; Ref +3; Will +1; Rogue Training II, Roguish Tactics
Level 4: BaB +3; Fort +1; Ref +4; Will +1; Rogue Feat, Uncanny Dodge
Level 5: BaB +3; Fort +1; Ref +4; Will +1; Roguish Tactics
Level 6: BaB +4; Fort +2; Ref +5; Will +2; Rogue Training III, Rogue Feat
Level 7: BaB +5; Fort +2; Ref +5; Will +2; Roguish Tactics
Level 8: BaB +6/+1; Fort +2; Ref +6; Will +2; Improved Uncanny Dodge, Rogue Feat
Level 9: BaB +6/+1; Fort +3; Ref +6; Will +3; Rogue Training IV, Roguish Tactics
Level 10: BaB +7/+2; Fort +3; Ref +7; Will +3; Rogue Feat
Level 11: BaB +8/+3; Fort +3; Ref +7; Will +3; Roguish Tactics, Improved Evasion
Level 12: BaB +9/+4; Fort +4; Ref +8; Will +4; Rogue Feat, Roguish Training V
Level 13: BaB +9/+4; Fort +4; Ref +8; Will +4; Roguish Tactics
Level 14: BaB +10/+5; Fort +4; Ref +9; Will +4; Rogue Feat
Level 15: BaB +11/+6/+1; Fort +5; Ref +9; Will +5; Rogue Training VI, Roguish Tactics
Level 16: BaB +12/+7/+2; Fort +5; Ref +10; Will +5; Rogue Feat
Level 17: BaB +12/+7/+2; Fort +5; Ref +10; Will +5; Roguish Tactics
Level 18: BaB +13/+8/+3; Fort +6; Ref +11; Will +6; Rogue Training VII, Rogue Feat
Level 19: BaB +14/+9/+4; Fort +6; Ref +11; Will +6; Roguish Tactics
Level 20: BaB +15/+10/+5; Fort +6; Ref +12; Will +6; Roguish Mastery, Rogue Feat
I honestly didn’t realize until I was done that my Rogue Feats lined up perfectly with the Pathfinder Rogue Talents. This is more happy accident than anything, because the Roguish Feats are different from Pathfinder’s talents, especially by virtue of the ‘everyone has spell points’ thing I mentioned last week. I have the luxury of giving rogues actual rogue spells for those who want them AND rogue combat techniques.
But before we sample some of those, let’s take a look at the other class abilities.
One thing I don’t like about rogues is that part of the class is eternally tied up in trapfinding abilities. I’ve found that this really gets annoying in less dungeon-y campaigns, or when more than one person wants to go rogue.
Thus, I’ve replaced the trap related bonuses with Rogue Training I-VII and Roguish Mastry, which allow a rogue to progress as the kind of rogue they want to be rather than ALWAYS being the trap monkey. In core, we have the Thief, Rake and Highwayman training focuses, but the system is designed to allow more.
For the thief, not a lot changes. Instead of the +1/2 level to perception and disable device vs traps, the Thief rolls twice and takes the highest on Legerdemain and Perception rolls (Legerdemain includes opening locks and bypassing non-trap security, btw and Perception here would also allow looking for security) at Rogue Training I. At Rogue training II-VII, they gain the usual bonus to saves vs. traps, but also vs being detected by magical sensors. Mastery allows the Thief to take 10 as a full-round action and take 20 in a minute.
The Rake gets a bit more fun. The roll twice on Social Interaction rolls and take the highest at Training I. At Training II-VII, They gain a bonus to Social Interactions made to Bluff and on Misdirection rolls to palm goods and pick pockets. At Mastery, they ignore magical and mundane means of discerning truth and the ONLY way to beat them is to catch them in a lie with a higher Perception.
The highwayman is the combat-oriented rogue. At Training I, they gain the ability to Feint as a move action. Thereafter, they gain bonuses to Misdirection rolls to feint and acrobatics rolls to move past and through enemy squares. At Mastery, they are not subject to attacks of opportunity for moving through threatened squares.
Granted, this would be so much easier if I knew how to do table in WordPress without straight-up coding them, but that’s it in a nutshell. These aren’t written up formally, but you can see what I’m getting at. Each type excels in the type of campaign they’re made for.
Isn’t it odd that every rogue deals sneak attack damage? Again, it’s one of those things where despite every rogue being infinitely customizable, there’s this built-in thing that’s inherent to ever silver tongued con-man, ninja assassin and second story job pulling thief and that’s knowing just the right spot to hit someone to push their murder button.
Plus, lord help you if you’re in a campaign with a lot of undead or constructs or the like. (Note: it appears this is not an issue in Pathfinder. Good for them, I agree).
Thus, Roguish Tactics. Here, you have the option of taking your +1d6 Sneak Attack every other level, which is fine and proper. Or you can skip one of those +1d6 damage to make the target of one attack per combat dazed 1 round per time you took that tactics, gain a +1 to your combat DC (remember that from last week?), or to techniques like trip, or disarm. You can also choose to force the target to move on a successful sneak attack instead of damaging them (Would you rather deal +1d6, or make them dodge you and topple of a 100ft cliff?), allow yourself to move after the attack without worrying about AoO’s, or screw up a caster’s next spell.
And remember, youc an still add a few +1d6 Sneak attack dice in there for when you want to just dish the damage.
Now we get to Rogue Feats. I obviously won’t be posting all of them in this space, but let’s give you some samples, yeah?
First, you can choose a number of regular feats as a Rogue feat, including Learn Array (which gives you a single spell), Energy Affinity (which gives you the Affinity needed to cast most spells), Ritualist (which lets you use ritualistic non-combat spells), and Learn Technique (which lets you learn martial techniques). You can also blow a feat for the basic familiar or animal companion.
Then you get to stuff only Rogues can learn, which is the fun part where customization goes NUTS. Hey, wanna play a badass shadow ninja?
Step of Flickering Shadows [Rogue Feat]
You fold yourself into the darkness, traveling without crossing the intervening space.
Requirement: Vox Affinity
Benefit: Once per combat, as a move action, you may teleport to a square within 60ft you have line of sight with and would otherwise by physically capable of traveling to (via climbing, walking, jumping, etc) given time. This means that you can bypass other creatures, but not squeeze through physical barriers your body could not pass through.
You cannot use this feat while in areas of normal or bright light or to teleport to a square with normal or bright light.
Dark Mist Stride [Rogue Feat]
You fold yourself as you fold the shadows, seeping into every crease and crevasse as they do.
Requirement: Step of Flickering Shadows, Rogue Level 3+
Benefit: When you use you Step of Flickering Shadows feat, you are no longer restricted to only targeting squares you could physically reach, only those within line of sight. For example, you may now teleport into an area secured with bars too small for you to squeeze through, or a floating platform too high for you to jump to normally.
You can also use Step of Flickering Shadows multiple times per combat as long as you teleport no farther than a total of 60 feet per combat.
Shadow Ambush [Rogue Feat]
You use the shadows you control to gain the element of surprise.
Requirement: Step of Flickering Shadows, Rogue Level 3+
Benefit: Whenever you use Step of Flickering Shadows to teleport, enemies within 10ft of you are considered flatfooted against you until the end of your next turn.
Sheath of Shades [Rogue Feat]
You create a tiny fold in the fabric of creation—enough to store one small weapon.
Requirement: Vox Affinity
Benefit: You create an extradimensional pocket just large enough to hold a dagger or similar light weapon. Only creatures of Vox Affinity can perceive this pocket and even then, only with a Perception check opposed to your Misdirection.
Storing in item in this pocket takes 1 minute. Drawing a weapon from it is a free action.
But hey, not everyone’s into the ninja thing, or even magic in their roguish awesome. Let’s say you’re playing the rake for all its worth and want a few more tools in your tool chest. Uncle’s Vaal’s got your back there too:
Honeyed Words [Rogue Feat]
You learn exactly what you’re mark wants to hear and when to let them hear it.
Requirement: Social Interaction 5 ranks
Benefit: Choose one subject to observe for one full hour. Thereafter, you gain a bonus to your Social Interaction rolls against that subject equal to your INT modifier +1 per three character levels.
Fast Talker [Rogue Feat]
Just because we’re trying to kill one another doesn’t mean we can’t discuss this like civilized people…
Requirement: Social Interaction 9 ranks
Benefit: You may attempt to make Social Interaction rolls to change the attitude of a non-mindless creature even while in active combat with that creature as long as you haven’t done damage to that creature.
Coerce Favor [Rogue Feat]
What are friends for?
Requirement: Social Interaction 14 ranks
Benefit: One per day, you may ask a favor of a friendly creature. If you win an opposed Social Interaction roll against the subject, they fulfill the favor without question, provided it does not cause them undue harm (physical, financial, or mental) even if it is otherwise not something they would normally do.
Attempting to use this feat on the same subject within the same week results in their attitude toward you shifting to neutral.
All this Social Interaction roll stuff is might make WoE sound super rollplay-y, but I plan to have a lot of discussion on social challenges, circumstance bonuses and using ‘passive social interaction’ as a gauge for how NPCs should take what you say. For example, if you’ve got a solid +15 bonus on the roll (a 25 passive SI), and say something stupid by accident, people will assume you’re being witty, while a 10 passive SI means you won’t get the benefit of the doubt.
But hey, there’s a lot of flavor stuff, but what about kicking booty? I hear you saying. Well yes, the Rogue can dish and take damage with a suite of Rogue Feats geared for straight combat. Here are a few:
Bury The Knife [Rogue Feat]
You drive your weapon deep into your foe’s flesh and twist.
Requirements: Proficiency with Light Blades, Sneak Attack +1d6
Benefit: Once per combat, when you hit with an attack that would otherwise benefit from additional sneak attack damage, you may instead drive your weapon into the wound, twist it. This is treated as a second attack against the target’s touch AC. If it hits, you deal damage as normal plus the target is dazed from pain. Each round thereafter, while the weapon remains in the target’s wound, you may twist it instead of making normal attacks.
The target can escape from you by making a withdraw action directly away from you.
Disarming Throw [Rogue Feat]
A well-thrown dagger robs your foe of their weapon.
Requirements: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Thrown Weapon Proficiency
Benefit: Once per combat, you may make a Disarm attempt with a ranged attack instead of a melee attack. This attack must be made with a thrown weapon.
Special: You may take this feat multiple time. Each time you gain an additional use of this feat per combat.
Bellringer [Rogue Feat]
You know where to strike your enemy to disorient them, leaving them open to attack from all quarters.
Requirement: BaB +5, INT 13+, Sneak Attack +1d6
Benefit: Once per combat, whenever you hit with an attack that would deal Sneak Attack damage, you can instead make an additional touch attack against your target. If it hits, the target suffers a -2 penalty to attack, AC, Reflex saves and Will saves for a number of rounds equal to your INT modifier.
Special: You may take this feat multiple time. Each time you gain an additional use of this feat per combat.
Sudden and Unexpected [Rogue Feat]
You instantly turn a mundane object into a deadly weapon, catching your enemy off guard.
Requirements: Improvised Weapon Proficiency, DEX 13+
Benefit: Once per combat, you may pick up an unattended object in an adjacent square and use it to perform a melee attack. The target of this attack is caught flatfooted for the purposes of this attack and the attack itself gains a bonus to damage equal to your Dexterity modifier. If you wish, you can use this attack as a Disarm, Trip or Push attempt.
And of course, for deep political games and the like, we have some skills that make you much better at balls and other high class settings (simply because I love this sort of thing).
Classically Trained Dancer [Rogue Feat | Bard Feat]
When your words are not enough, you impress with your grace.
Requirement: Perform (Dance) 5 ranks
Benefit: By spending ten minutes dancing with the target, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus to Social Interaction Rolls made to improve their reaction toward you for the next hour. While dancing with that character, you also gain a +2 to all Misdirection rolls and Social Interaction rolls made to gather information from them.
Regal Bearing [Rogue Feat | Bard Feat]
You’ve spent time among nobles and know their ways.
Benefit: You may take a +2 bonus to Social Interaction rolls when dealing with people of noble birth. You may also take an additional +3 to Social Interaction rolls made to appear to be of noble birth. You however suffer a -2 penalty to Social Interaction rolls against anyone of lower birth who witness an interaction where you use the benefits of this feat.
Notice there were you can effectively turn the feat on or off. Someone mentioned how fiddly I was making this in the last post and I’m going to admit that it is. But that’s because I like fiddly. I love Champions with a passion because I can fine-tune my character and that’s part of what I want for WoEd20.
Anyway, that’s it for this week. No more W0ED20 posts for a while, since I’m sure some of you want me to get back to talking about non-games mechanics stuff again. I have an idea for a post next week, but it’s a bit edgier than I normally talk about and I might just be thinking of it because I got angry over it today (check twitter to see what you missed).
I’ve got an announcement though: This week, I released both Rise of Morganna and The Whitecoat: Networked. You can get both for 99 cents (Pay What You Want –Even Nothing!– At DriveThruFiction) at your favorite retailer:
Rise of Morganna – Amazon – Google Play – B&N – iTunes – Kobo – DriveThruFiction – Scribd – PageFoundry
The Whitecoat: Networked – Amazon – Google Play – B&N – iTunes – Kobo – DriveThruFiction – Scribd – PageFoundry
I hate rogues. Why? Because of Wizards of the Coast. You see, back in the old days (red box / AD&D) rogues were characters who got a bunch of special abilitis like lock picking, trap disarming, wall climbing, pickpocketing, hiding in shadows etc. in exchange for not being that good at fighting. Kind of like clerics and mages get fancy magic in exchange for not being that good at fighting.
Then the same people who decided kobolds are lizards decided that rogues should also be good at fighting. So armour no longer stacks freely with dexterity (this actually makes sense), and ‘sneak attack’ turns from a result of legitimately sneaking up on someone into a mechanic you’re expected to milk every turn, or at least every other. And it’s no longer based on how much damage you normally do, people just magically explode when you touch them with your dinky rogue weapons.
As in, you hide in plain sight on an open field and then stab your opponent, who is totally surprised even though they can see you just fine and have been hitting you every turn, with a dagger and it does more damage than a coup-de-grace with a greataxe or a guillotine.
So what’s my problem with rogues again? Their mechanics make no sense. They’re as magical as wizards, except without any of the in-fiction explanation for how or why.
Oh yeah and also because 2 + int modifier. Because fighters and clerics don’t need to know how to tie their shoelaces, that’s rogue territory.
About keeping rogues balanced which you mention in third paragraph, here’s a question you may want to consider: comparing a combat-oriented rogue, and an offense-oriented fighter build, what does the fighter have to make up for lack of 10d6 extra damage (appliable every turn via move action feint)? If there isn’t an answer that’s genuinely competitive (considering also rogue access to fighter tricks) you know the rogue is overpowered.
10d6 once per round via move action feinting is actually pretty horrible when the level 20 fighter can do four two-handed Power Attacks per round with a full attack. Heck, 10d6 is only 35 damage on average. If that’s the best you can do at level 20… You don’t care about what the fighter can do, because you’re all useless compared to the mage, who did 10d6 AOE damage ten levels ago.
And when you have Hide in Plain Sight, you actually have some sort of magical ability to hide in shadows or whatever, so I’m not sure where you’re getting the “opponent is surprised even though they can see you” thing. Or do you think you shouldn’t get sneak attack when flanking?
Umm… where do you get that once per round from? It’s applied for every attack, on top of all the damage your weapons are normally doing. Of course a fighter could be taking -35 to hit to compensate with power attack, but I doubt it. And of course the rogue could also be using power attack at the same time if they feel like it.
Monsters have AC, too. And mages? At level 20 they still only do about 1d6 per level per round, or more likely half that due to saving throws. And that’s until the mage runs out of high level spells, after which they do less.
I get once per round via move action feinting? Which you mentioned in your post? If you spend a move action feinting, you’re not doing a full attack.
And if you’re not feinting, you’re flanking, which means moving around the battlefield and not doing a full attack. And if you’re not flanking, you’re hiding, which means moving around. And plenty of GMs I’ve played with only make the opponent flat-footed against your first attack in a round, so no full attack. And you depend on the battlefield having cover.
Oh, and using Step of Flickering Shadows here is a move action, which means no full attack.
Which I guess leaves begging an Improved Invisibility spell off the spellcaster.
Rogues also have more trouble improving their damage in ways other than sneak attack. Your BAB is lower, so Power Attack is less useful. If you want to use two weapons to maximize SA, you’re getting another hit to attack, and you can’t use a two-handed weapon. Improving your strength a lot means you can’t afford to have as high a dexterity score, which means getting yourself some armor proficiencies from somewhere and sacrificing Evasion which only works in light armor. Fighters have weapon specialization, barbs have rage, paladins have buff spells…
Obviously, if you’ve had trouble with this in the past I can’t say you’re wrong, but “rogues are too strong in combat” isn’t something I’ve experienced.
Also, Step of Flickering Shadows needs dim light or total darkness. Lighting conditions poor enough to give 20% concealment aren’t THAT common when torches and light spells are plentiful.
And you can’t sneak attack someone who has concealment, so if you want to make a melee attack and you don’t have darkvision, you need to teleport to a square of dim light adjacent to a square of normal light with an enemy in it.
I don’t disagree – but this is a low level power. You can get it at 3rd level. Worrying about losing full attacks is premature, there can easily be an upgrade later.
And the surprise thing? If you look just at this post, you’ll see a power that lets you teleport one foot and suddenly everybody around you totally lost track where you are. And that’s being nice, and not just teleporting millimeters at a time to keep using the power endlessly.
Only that one person loses track and you’re literally stepping out of the aether to do that one.
I do need to note that you actually have to move at least 1 square per step though.
Actually, Shadow Ambush says “enemies within 10ft”, not “one person”.
And a question: the feat can be used once per combat. How about out of combat? Can I be prevented from using Dark Mist Stride to get out of a cell by the cunning security measure of not leaving anyone else in the cell for me to punch?
Already I have errata :p I meant 1 enemy within 10 ft.
The once per combats follow the 4e rule of 1/5 min rest. You can step without attacking buuut, they can blindfold you, cast a mage light to follow you and weld over the cell windows.
The combatant (Ere fighter) is going to be straight up doling out Fort or Die at 20th level.
Must… get… Vox Affinity…
“Special: You may take this feat multiple time. Each time you gain an additional use of this feat per combat.”
Just saying, this is the most boring way ever to spend feats.
“If it hits, you deal damage as normal plus the target is dazed from pain. Each round thereafter, while the weapon remains in the target’s wound, you may twist it instead of making normal attacks.
The target can escape from you by making a withdraw action directly away from you.”
If that’s dazed as in the condition the target can’t take actions – including withdraw.