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Thread: Advice on Build

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Advice on Build

    So I am in a 3.5 campaign right now and our DM has specifically limited us to the "Core" books (To him this is PHB1, MM1, and DMG1). In this campaign I am playing a sneaky type character so my first level is rogue.

    Now my character concept for him is that of a rogue; however I also hoped that I could find a way for him to still be able to hold his own in a straight up head to head fight. (This DM is famous for putting us in situations that prevent any sneaking, not so many as to make that character concept not work but enough that the party rogue almost dies as they do not do well when they cannot sneak)

    If anyone could give me advice for this build it would be much appreciated.

    (As of now we are still first level and will be leveling up soon)

    ALSO: As a side note our DM will allow other source books if we can come up with a very good reason as to why we can't do the same thing using Core

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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    Core can be pretty limiting for non-spellcasting classes, but if you want to get involved in non sneak attack melee combat as a rogue you'll probably want to multiclass. Sitting on D6s, light armor, and short swords is a tough limitation. Picking up 1 level in Fighter will let you use some decent 2-hander weapons and let you wear medium armor if you're ok with the armor check penalty and reduced speed. alternatively, a level in Barbarian will give you some much-needed maneuverability and a bit more hit points.

    Realistically though if you want to have combat effectiveness as a core rogue, I'd recommend investing into UMD and casting some buffs and Tumble so you can flank. Sneak Attacks will give you plenty of damage output so you won't need to take Power Attack (and given your lower BAB it's probably better not to lower your accuracy any anyways). If you have a good enough Con, sticking with rogue will be okay, but you'll have to just play it safe and keep your HP topped off (False Life could be a good buff to open up with, and a wand of this will be cheap later on) in battles.
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    Is the SRD core? In that case you could go with a Thug Sneak Attack Fighter.
    Last edited by Diovid; 2012-10-08 at 11:38 AM.

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    If your DM allows it, Diovid's suggestion is definitely the best route.
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    Beg the DM to allow Darkstalker from Lords of Madness, that single feat did more for stealth based characters than every other splatbook combined.
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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    From what I see the Thug Sneak Attack Fighter idea I should be able to get my DM to approve. I think that since it is simply alternates to what he considers core then that may help it.

    Also thanks for the suggestion about using UMD to buff. I had not thought of that.

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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    If your DM does not allow the Thug and Sneak Attack Fighter options (I believe they came into the SRD from Unearthed Arcana, so he might not), you should also consider the Ranger as a viable multi-class option.

    Rangers have Full BAB, Good Fort saves and d8 hit points, so you are a bit tougher than the Rogue. They also have Good Ref saves and 6+INT skill points, so you are not losing as much of the Rogue's strengths. At 2nd level you can pick up Two-Weapon Fighting, which can work well with Sneak Attack.
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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    Frankly, straight Rogue with good enough stats (high Dexterity, Strength unless you use Weapon Finesse, and Constitution) can hold his own in a fight just fine, especially if you can gain flanks somehow.

    Eventually when you can acquire a Ring of Blinking you'll be able to Sneak Attack 24/7, and before then you can use Hide, (Greater) Invisibility, Wand of Grease (Balancing creatures without 5 ranks in Balance are flat-footed and thus eligible for Sneak Attack) & Flank to your heart's content.


    Generally, the way to go on a Rogue is Two-Weapon Fighting; they get good inherent damage bonuses which scales Two-Weapon Fighting really well. The -2 penalty combined with Medium BAB is fairly brutal though so you do need rather high To Hit to make it work (this means prioritising items that improve your To Hit too; though flanking, flat-footed and such conditions help of course); generally small race with Dexterity bonus works pretty well as long as you go the Finesse-road (I'm partial to Goblins myself, for the 30' movement speed and Darkvision).

    Sneak Attack Thug Fighter is worth considering but think twice if you need it; Rogue gets tasty Special Abilities later (you could play a Wilderness Rogue instead; they can pick up Hide in Plain Sight on level 13) and they have much more skill points and a much better skill list. Basically, if you are okay with giving up a lot of your skill monkeying and special abilities for better BAB and Hit Dice, go with Sneak Attack Fighter. If you feel you'll have sufficient To Hit and HP as a Rogue, go with it.


    This really comes down to your base stats; how high are your Dexterity and Constitution (and Strength if you don't use Weapon Finesse)? With 16 Constitution and 18 Dexterity before racial modifiers, you can easily be a melee Rogue as a simple Rogue 20 picking Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting feats, alongside maybe Improved Initiative and such.

    Wands also compensate:
    - Wand of Divine Power eventually grants you full BAB (but it's horribly expensive, both in actions to activate it and in cost so you want to sneak around and use it when you spot enemies before they spot you)
    - Wand of Grease makes enemies eligible for sneak attacking (but costs you a turn).
    - Wand of Scorching Ray might give you a decent ranged attack if you buy it at a higher caster level; expensive though.
    - Wand of Shield might be interesting (short duration, again) before you purchase an Animated Shield.

    Ring of Blinking is a key item though; you definitely want to set your sights on it as soon as possible; 20% miss chance is a small price to pay for sneak attack against everything without True Seeing.
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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    Tripping and combat reflexes will keep you relatively safe in melee. Then the usual two weapon fighting shtick. As previously mentioned, a ranger or fighter dip would do you some good. Try to start as a rogue though, loss of the 1st level skill points would hurt worse than a few less HP. A wizard or sorcerer dip would also do your survivability some good. Grease and fog cloud don't ever stop being useful. Plus, using magic devices just got a whole lot more reliable.

    I'd also suggest doing some CON pumping, see if you can't get it up to 16 or 18. Maybe be a dwarf or gnome or some such. You'll definitely be a bit fragile in combat, so see what's possible there.
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    I was planning on Weapon Finesse so my base DEX is 20 (DM granted his own home-brew items for a good backstory, as of now it gives me a +2 to dex) but other than that my scores are fairly bad (My second highest roll was a 12 that went into Con) (Also as I'm looking at this I am starting to see one of my own flaws in reasoning as a lot of my problems will be fixed as soon as I hit 3rd Level and can take Weapon Finesse)

    Flanking has been a small problem as I only have one reliable person to help me flank (The group Paladin oddly). The other character is a Barbarian who has tried to kill my character on more than one occasion. And since he charges waist deep into the enemies I would rather not follow him there.

    The main reason I was planning on multiclassing was because with straight rogue because my character had been having troubles hitting the opponents that our DM was presenting us with. However with some of the suggestions here I am starting to see ways that I can compensate for this without multiclassing. (Most of the ways I had used before were cut with him limiting our books so severely)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FESage333 View Post
    I was planning on Weapon Finesse so my base DEX is 20 (DM granted his own home-brew items for a good backstory, as of now it gives me a +2 to dex) but other than that my scores are fairly bad (My second highest roll was a 12 that went into Con) (Also as I'm looking at this I am starting to see one of my own flaws in reasoning as a lot of my problems will be fixed as soon as I hit 3rd Level and can take Weapon Finesse)

    Flanking has been a small problem as I only have one reliable person to help me flank (The group Paladin oddly). The other character is a Barbarian who has tried to kill my character on more than one occasion. And since he charges waist deep into the enemies I would rather not follow him there.

    The main reason I was planning on multiclassing was because with straight rogue because my character had been having troubles hitting the opponents that our DM was presenting us with. However with some of the suggestions here I am starting to see ways that I can compensate for this without multiclassing. (Most of the ways I had used before were cut with him limiting our books so severely)
    You'll gain the same BAB through Rogue as through multiclassing for the next 4 levels at least so that won't influence your chance to hit. But really, yeah, before you get Weapon Finesse it'll be a pain. I suggest you use primarily ranged weapons before level 3; Bows, Crossbows, thrown stuff, etc. You get Dex to damage with them inherently and frankly, while you might not get as much sneak attack damage as often, being able to hit offers more damage than any amount of damage bonuses.

    In a case like yours with the bonus Dex item, I would've selected a race with bonus Constitution (for instance Gnome is a fair call) but that's gone already I suppose. For low hit die classes like Rogue, Constitution is an extremely key stat if you're interested in melee combat.


    Later on you could of course consider Leadership-feat if you want another Rogue to fight with; they're generally much better in pairs. Alternatively, you could have a buffing Bard or Mage, perhaps a warrior/mage hybrid so they can also participate in the melee.
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    Default Re: Advice on Build

    You may want to consider Arcane Trickster in the future. Something to the tune of Rogue 3/Bard 9/Arcane Trickster 8 gets you +6d6 SA, 6th level Bard spellcasting to help you sneak, and Impromptu Sneak Attack for when you really need those extra SA dice. You lose out on 4 BAB compared to a straight Rogue, but get +2 of that back with bardic music, and also have spells. You also have a little less HP, and slightly fewer skill points, but you become a lot more versatile.
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    Another option, if you want to flank and your party flankers are mean about it, is to invest in a Wand of Summon Monster I CL 3 for your party mage or for a cohort to use. It's a pricey way to get a few crucial rounds of flanking from time to time when you're in a bind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    You'll gain the same BAB through Rogue as through multiclassing for the next 4 levels at least so that won't influence your chance to hit. But really, yeah, before you get Weapon Finesse it'll be a pain. I suggest you use primarily ranged weapons before level 3; Bows, Crossbows, thrown stuff, etc. You get Dex to damage with them inherently and frankly, while you might not get as much sneak attack damage as often, being able to hit offers more damage than any amount of damage bonuses.
    You don't add your Dexterity modifier to ranged damage rolls.

    Here FESage333, a list of ways to get sneak attack. From Person Man's Mini-Guide to Rogues.
    Spoiler
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    Ways to Qualify for Sneak Attack:

    1) Ambush: If you ambush your enemy, you get a free Surprise Round against them. A Flat Footed enemy loses their Dex bonus until they act. Remember the the Surprise Round is only a Standard Action. So you'll need Greater Manyshot or Pounce (remember that you can still Charge if your actions are limited) to get a full attack.

    2) Win Initiative: If you win Initiative, you enemy is still Flat Footed, and still denied their Dex bonus.

    3) Flanking: Have someone summon a lot of weak creatures. Here's a good list of magic items to do just that.

    4) More Flanking: Invest in Handle Animal. Buy a lot of dogs. They're cheap and easy to train.

    5) Still More Flanking: Invest in Tumble, get behind your enemies, have your party's meatshield fight in front of them.

    10) Invisibility: Note that most Invisibility effects duplicate the Invisibility spell, which ends as soon as you make your first attack. So it's only useful at low levels, and for traditional scouting and ambushing tactics. The Ninja has Invisibility that lasts for 1 round, but with limited uses per day.

    11) Greater Invisibility: Once your party hits level 7ish, there's really no reason someone in your group shouldn't cast this on you at the start of every combat.

    12) Ring of Blinking: If you're party members are jerks and refuse to cast Greater Invisibility on you, use this item instead. Pick up the Pierce Magical Concealment feat (Complete Arcane) to ignore your own 20% miss chance.

    14) Fear: If your enemy is Cowering, he loses his Dex bonus. There are a large variety of ways to get and use Fear effects, and a variety of ways to corner or immobilize him.

    15) Stun: If your enemy is stunned, he loses his Dex bonus. Work with the Monk in your party, or ask the caster to use spells with this effect.

    16) Blind: If your enemy is blind, he loses his Dex bonus. There are a variety of spells and alchemical items that do this, plus the Focalor (Tome of Magic) or Kas vestige (Dragon Magazine 341), the Sand Dancer feat (Sandstorm), and others.

    17) Helpless: There are a variety of spells and a few effects that render your foe paralyzed or otherwise helpless. A Rogue's Coup de Grace almost never fails.

    18) Hide in Plain Site: There are many ways to get this. My favorite is a dip into Warlock let's you Hide in Plain Site every round as a Swift action. This means that any enemy who fails their Spot check is denied their Dex bonus against your next attack. Not efficient if you want to make full attacks, but helpful nonetheless.

    19) Grappling: An opponent who is grappled loses their Dex bonus to everyone except the grappler, another way to tag team with your party members. Or invest in Handle animal and buy mules, which are a cheap and effective Grapple partner.

    20) Net, Razor Net, Lasso: Each of these is a touch attack that imposes a -4 penalty on Dex. Penalties from different sources stack. Enemies with 0 Dex count as being paralyzed. I wouldn't even bother with taking the Exotic Weapon feats, because touch attacks are easy, so the -4 penalty to hit is palatable. Though I would definitely invest in Spell Storing weapons, and find spells that deal Dex damage/penalties. Here's a list of ways to deal Dex damage.

    21) Feint: This is a retarded waste of an action in most cases. But it works well at low levels if you're only making 1 attack per turn. Can be augmented to a limited degree with the Insightful Feint spell (Spell Compendium), and if you're an Invisible Blade with the Surprising Riposte feat (Drow of the Underdark) it works for a full attack.


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    Hire an NPC spellcaster (PHB p129, 132) to cast Deeper Darkness for you, I'd suggest getting it at the highest possible caster level for a longer duration. Later on the party's Cleric can do this for you for free.

    Wear a cheap mundane necklace, a small stone on a string is sufficient. The Deeper Darkness should be cast on the stone. Still wearing it, pick up the stone and place it into your mouth, which blocks the effect of the Deeper Darkness. If you find yourself in a situation that doesn't allow you to hide, 'drop' the stone as a free action by spitting it out, it returns to hanging around your neck and the room is plunged into darkness, guaranteeing you concealment.

    Later on you'll have to combine that with Darkstalker, but it's definitely going to be viable. You'll want at least one level of Shadowdancer, or Assassin 8, or ideally if more books are allowed a Greater Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis from Tome of Magic, all of which give you Hide in Plain Sight. Wilderness Rogue can also get HiPS, but it may be too late for that.

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    Here's one character I built once for a PbP game with similar restrictions, with 32 PB. The DM, however, did not enforce multiclass XP penalty, so I used that to my advantage

    Race: Dwarf
    Stats: S 18, D 14, C 13+2 (15), I 13, W 8, Ch 8-2 (6)

    Build:
    Rog1, Feat: Combat Expertise
    Barb1
    Rog2, Feat: Improved Trip
    Rog3, Boost Constitution
    Barb2
    Rog4, Feat: Power Attack
    Rog5
    Barb3, Boost Dexterity
    CLr1 (Domains: Luck, Travel), Feat: Improved Initiative
    Barb4
    Rog6
    Rog7, Boost Dexterity, Feat: Quick Draw

    And then, party wipe. But anyways, that gave me, at lv12:

    > 100 HP
    +9 BAB
    +4d6 Sneak Attack
    Improved Uncanny Dodge
    Rage
    1 round per day of freedom of movement (domain power)
    1 re-roll per day (domain power)
    1st level divine spells (I got myself a nice periapt of Wisdom by then)
    Quite a few skill points

    Was a pretty cool character

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    Quote Originally Posted by BShammie View Post
    You don't add your Dexterity modifier to ranged damage rolls.
    I never claimed you did. What I meant is that a hit for 1d8 does infinitely more damage than a miss, no matter how much damage said miss would do if it hit, so maximizing attack bonus should generally be a priority on low levels and ranged weapons use Dex to hit by default.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    Hire an NPC spellcaster (PHB p129, 132) to cast Deeper Darkness for you, I'd suggest getting it at the highest possible caster level for a longer duration. Later on the party's Cleric can do this for you for free.

    Wear a cheap mundane necklace, a small stone on a string is sufficient. The Deeper Darkness should be cast on the stone. Still wearing it, pick up the stone and place it into your mouth, which blocks the effect of the Deeper Darkness. If you find yourself in a situation that doesn't allow you to hide, 'drop' the stone as a free action by spitting it out, it returns to hanging around your neck and the room is plunged into darkness, guaranteeing you concealment.
    How do you deal with the Concealment you yourself have though? Any Concealment negates sneak attack (Blink works since it doesn't create Concealment, just a miss chance).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2012-10-08 at 06:27 PM.
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    Play a sneak attack Thug Fighter. Use human as your race.

    Power attack and Exotic weapons Proficiency: Spiked Chain at lvl 1 for feats.

    At lvl 3, Improved Bulls Rush.

    At lvl 6, Combat Reflexes.

    Beg the Dm to also allow you to add on the Dungeon Crasher AFC for fighter from Dungeonscape. You now have about 2 or 3 variable combat options. More so if you can get Large Size somehow, like a CL 20 Permanincied Enlarge Person, and get the DM to approve Rampaging Bulls Rush and Knock Back from races of Stone. Your still mostly in Core, but you can fight under more then one set of circumstances. Enjoy.
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    You can use Rogue to build a reasonable face type character, or a technician type (Search, Disable Device, UMD), or several other character types.

    The sneaky type is just the most obvious.

    How does your DM close this down ? If its just lack of cover then use smokesticks or have the wizard cast fog cloud etc.
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    1. Flask rogues are the most combat-powerful rogues in Core. TWF + Rapid Shot + Touch Attacks = lots of damage on a full attack. Alternatively, thrown knife rogues still work decently.

    2. Sneaking is impossible in Core without Darkstalker. Past about level 3, two thirds of all monsters have blindsense, tremorsight, scent, heat vision, listen checks of +50, etc etc. Often if your DM likes ensemble encounters, there won't be ANY encounter without at least one of these beasties.

    3. UMD is the most powerful skill in the game and should be maxed at all times. Consider yourself a mini-wizard. Don't be sitting there using round/level buffs on yourself while the combat finishes without you, but do consider scrolls of useful spells and wands of stuff you're going to use a lot (grease). It's often better to be using a Bandoleer to draw a scroll and use it than to plink with your crossbow or something.

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    My first thoughts are a dip in wizard or sorcerer for ray attacks, rely heavily on crossbows or kukris, or just dip in rogue for skills, trap senses, evasion, sneak attack, and uncanny dodge, up to level four, probably, then spend the rest of your days as a ranger or fighter.

    If you can persuade him, my other thought is the telling blow feat, which allows you to apply sneak attack damage on critical hits. It is not in one of those three book,s but it is from Player's Handbook 2, which might pull some wait. If you can get that one, duel wielding feats and keen kukris would be an awesome way to go.

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