CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Rogue By Any Other Name

Not Your Typical Rogue

The rogue is one of my all-time favorite classes but many times rogues get pigeonholed into just being another thief. For me though the possibilities for what a rogue can be are much, much more than just a ne’er-do-well. Just like any other class, to me the rogue is just a chassis of rules that can be used to build the character you want to play. So today I want to look at a number of possibilities that you can build using the rogue as a base.

The Law Abiding Rogue

There is thread after thread across many social platforms on whether or not a rogue can be lawful good. Even if you are abandoning alignment, many people don’t believe that rogues can be decent, law abiding citizens. The rogue is not an alignment restricted class and without alignments he could be not just law-abiding but a law enforcer.

With skills alone it opens up the rogue class to working within or for the law. Knowledge Local, Sense Motive, and Perception can help make your rogue an excellent investigator. Diplomacy can make for a character that builds bridges, whether he works for the town guard or is just a local who wants to see his people thrive. Disable Device may be used to open that chest to plunder its contents for greed, but what about opening them to find the evidence needed to prosecute an alleged criminal or retrieve goods that were stolen in the first place?

Class abilities like Trapfinding and Trap Sense can be used for a would-be thief, but it can also be used in a similar function as today’s bomb squads. A specialist who helps law enforcers avoid the pitfalls set forth by criminals. The rogue talents Coax Information, Expert Cypher, Follow Clues, Hard to Fool, and Sacred Sneak Attack can be used to enhance some of the aforementioned skills and make for a damn good investigator.

Although there are quite a few archetypes that can be used for our law enforcing rogue, three that stand out in particular are the Investigator, Spy, and Sanctified Rogue. Although the Sanctified Rogue can follow any god of any alignment, when applied to a good god or even lawful neutral god they can very well be enforcers of what is right and just in the world, on par with any paladin (link tag). Add the Sacred Sneak Attack rogue talent as mentioned previously and you count as good when overcoming damage reduction for evil outsiders and undead.

The Brute

Often rogues end up being dex based finesse fighters, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Like any melee character a rogue can be a strength based monster. One of my personal favorite characters is my half-orc pitfighter. I built him off Intimidation and the Thug archetype and he hits just as hard or harder than some of the other melee characters in the party.

One of the first things that makes people think twice about rogue brutes is the misinformed idea that Sneak Attack only works with light or one handed weapons. Sneak Attack works for all weapons including greatswords, greataxes, and all polearms. The point of sneak attack is finding holes in defense or hitting vital spots, which can be done with any weapon.

Intimidate is one of the top skills I pick up when I’m playing a brute type rogue. Whether it’s my half-orc pitfighter, a street thug, a guild enforcer, or a bodyguard, being able to stare a hole through your opponent makes for a great bit of RP for these types of characters; even if at heart your brute is a gentle giant.

For rogue talents Combat Trick which will give you an extra combat feat is probably one of the most helpful talents for making strength based combat rogue. If you’re going to go the intimidate route you can take the Strong Impressions talent which gives you the Intimidating Prowess feat so you don’t need to use one of your level based feats. Weapon Training will get you the Weapon Focus feat, again freeing up level feats.

Although there are a few rogue archetypes that can be used along with any type of combat rogue, Thug is the only one that really stands out as being specifically for a brute type character.

So those are two of many possible non-thief rogue ideas. The rogue is one of the most versatile classes in Pathfinder and there is so much you can do with it. Hopefully this has expanded your view on rogues and you try out some new things.

What non-traditional rogues have you run or made as NPC? If you use alignment can you see a lawful good rogue? What are some of your favorite skills, feats, and archetypes for a well rounded rogue?

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  1. As a GM, I often reinforce NPCs who function as court dignitaries or diplomats with a couple of rogue levels. It grants the more effective uses of CHA-based skills, and it can be a fun surprise for the players when a seemingly foppish government official whips out a sword cane and makes a sneak attack with it. Works best with Aristocrat NPCs, I find.

    1. Nice. I like the skill unlocks stuff that the unchained rogues in pathfinder get free access too. Intimidate, Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive all have some interesting skill unlocks that may fit your needs if you're playing Pathfinder.

  2. I just started a rogue-politician character. Definitely not good, but not a thief either. He uses disguise and stealth to gather information about the powerful people of Korvosa. That info, combined with a serious investment in diplomacy skill, can be used to get a lot of favors. In combat I'm just a regular sneaky-stabby rogue.

    1. Korvosa? Is this for the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP. I've always been afan of rogue Diplomancers.