The Most Annoying Rogue Ever - Optimized Halfling Rogue

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Artful Dodger/Shadow Assassin/Destined Scion
(Optimized for elusiveness, mobility, hitting and damage)


 


Swashbuckler


July 25 updates- Changed Epic Destiny to Destined Scion


Synopsis
You are very hard to hit, you almost never miss, you can move anywhere freely, and you hit hard.

The halfling rogue is sky blue in everyone’s rogue optimization guide, but to my knowledge has never been optimized.  Drow are flashier, half-orcs and bugbears are more brutal, and elves are the most accurate.  I propose that halflings have something that none of these offer, true elusiveness.

One of the problems with melee strikers is that they have a big target on their heads.  This build gets around that problem with having defender defenses (higher in many cases), combined with second chance (which becomes better as your defenses get higher). I favor bonuses to AC that are always on, or that work till hit (in the case of magic items).  Also high defenses combined with Artful Dodger will make you virtually immune to opportunity attacks.

Shadow Assassin is mainly chosen for Shadow Assassin's Riposte, giving enemies a good reason not to attack you.

Demigod is chosen for the Divine Spark bonuses.  This build worships Dex for AC and Hit, and the +2 Str is needed to qualify for Light Blade Mastery.


Added-Playtests confirm high AC + Shadow Assassin's Riposte = Awesome, the damage dealt to enemies that attack you is very high, and being this annoying you may draw lots of attention.  


Also Artful Dodger + Shadow Assassin's Riposte means you actually want to draw OA's.


No Frostcheese Version


No Frostcheese (but very annoying)


Level 1 Snapshot

Halfling, Rogue
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant benefit for Rapier)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 20, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 15.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.

AC: 18 (22 vs OA) Fort: 11 Reflex: 18 Will: 12
HP: 24 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 6

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +10, Thievery +12, Bluff +7, Athletics +6, Perception +5, Acrobatics +12

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana -1, Diplomacy +2, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Heal, History -1, Insight, Intimidate +2, Nature, Streetwise +2, Religion -1

FEATS
Level 1: Shield Proficiency (Light)

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Opening Move
Rogue daily 1: Duelist's Prowess

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Rapier, Dagger (3), Adventurer's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Fine Clothing, Light Shield

Discussion
The goal is elusiveness and mobility.  You need to be able to get to flanking whenever you want and not be scared to be there.  So the light shield gives you the static +1 AC that will help.


Level 11 Snapshot

Halfling, Rogue, Shadow Assassin
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant benefit for Rapier)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 11, Dex 23, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 18.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.

AC: 28 (30 with LitC, 34 vs OA's) Fort: 20 Reflex: 31 Will: 24
HP: 73 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 18 (enemies take 6 damage on missed melee attack)

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +16, Thievery +18, Perception +10, Athletics +12, Acrobatics +18, Insight +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +4, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +5, Heal +5, History +4, Intimidate +9, Nature +5, Streetwise +6, Religion +4

FEATS
Level 1: Shield Proficiency (Light)
Level 2: Blade and Buckler Duelist
Level 4: Light Blade Expertise
Level 6: Backstabber
Level 8: Lost in a Crowd
Level 10: Nimble Dodge
Level 11: Improved Defenses

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Opening Move
Rogue daily 1: Blinding Barrage
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Bloodbath
Rogue utility 6: Swift Parry
Rogue encounter 7: Circling Predator
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Brisk Stride

ITEMS
Master's Blade Rapier +2, Amulet of Protection +2, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Helm of Able Defense (paragon tier), Light Shield, Rhythm Blade Spiked shield +1, Gambler's Suit Leather Armor +2

Discussion
You're at 30 AC (Helm of Able Defense), 32 with Lost in the Crowd, and 38 vs OA’s.  Helm of Able defense is simply too good to be true.  +1 Item bonus to will, and +2 to all defenses until you are damaged after the first turn.

Level 21 Snapshot

Halfling, Rogue, Shadow Assassin, Demigod
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Strength
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Dexterity
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant benefit for Rapier)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 17, Con 12, Dex 28, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 21.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.

AC: 40 (45 until damaged or hit, 47 or 51 vs OA's) Fort: 32 Reflex: 42 Will: 34
HP: 124 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 31 (enemies take 8 damage on melee miss)

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +24, Thievery +26, Perception +16, Athletics +18, Acrobatics +26, Insight +16

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +10, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +11, Endurance +11, Heal +11, History +10, Intimidate +15, Nature +11, Streetwise +15, Religion +10

FEATS
Level 1: Shield Proficiency (Light)
Level 2: Blade and Buckler Duelist
Level 4: Light Blade Expertise
Level 6: Backstabber
Level 8: Lost in a Crowd
Level 10: Nimble Dodge
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 12: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 14: Repel Charge
Level 16: Nimble Blade
Level 18: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 20: Shield Mastery (retrained to Shield Specialization at level 21)
Level 21: Light Blade Mastery

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Opening Move
Rogue daily 1: Duelist's Prowess
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Bloodbath
Rogue utility 6: Swift Parry
Rogue encounter 7: Snap Shot
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Brisk Stride
Rogue encounter 13: Stunning Strike (replaces Opening Move)
Rogue daily 15: Rogue's Recovery (replaces Duelist's Prowess)
Rogue utility 16: Anticipate Attack
Rogue encounter 17: Tumbling Strike (replaces Circling Predator)
Rogue daily 19: Hilt Slam (replaces Rogues Recovery)

ITEMS
Helm of Able Defense (paragon tier), Light Shield, Rhythm Blade Spiked shield +1, Gauntlets of Destruction (paragon tier), Belt of Vim (heroic tier), Boots of Eagerness (heroic tier), Master's Blade Rapier +5, Feyleather Armor of Dark Deeds +4, Cloak of Displacement +4, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier)

Discussion
Paragon items that give bonuses to defenses really shine.  Helm of Able Defense is simply insane combined with Cloak of Displacement, together adding +4 to most defenses.  At paragon we also have access to Armor of Dark Deeds which will give us concealment if he attack with combat advantage.  This is where you start to become harder to hit than a defender, and much harder when you add in Second Chance.

Level 30 Snapshot
Halfling, Rogue, Shadow Assassin, Destined Scion
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Rogue: Rogue Weapon Talent
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Dexterity
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Strength
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant benefit for Rapier)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 17, Con 13, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 22.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.


AC: 50 Fort: 47 Reflex: 49 Will: 45
HP: 170 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 42

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +29, Thievery +31, Perception +21, Athletics +22, Acrobatics +31, Insight +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +15, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +21, Dungeoneering +16, Endurance +15, Heal +16, History +15, Intimidate +21, Nature +16, Religion +15, Streetwise +21

FEATS
Level 1: Shield Proficiency (Light)
Level 2: Blade and Buckler Duelist
Level 4: Light Blade Expertise
Level 6: Backstabber
Level 8: Lost in a Crowd
Level 10: Nimble Dodge
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 12: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 14: Repel Charge
Level 16: Nimble Blade
Level 18: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 20: Shield Mastery (retrained to Shield Specialization at level 21)
Level 21: Light Blade Mastery
Level 22: Epic Fortitude
Level 24: Epic Will
Level 26: Martial Mastery
Level 28: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Level 30: Shield Mastery

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Opening Move
Rogue daily 1: Duelist's Prowess
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Bloodbath
Rogue utility 6: Swift Parry
Rogue encounter 7: Circling Predator
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Brisk Stride
Rogue encounter 13: Stunning Strike (replaces Opening Move)
Rogue daily 15: Rogue's Recovery (replaces Duelist's Prowess)
Rogue utility 16: Anticipate Attack
Rogue encounter 17: Tumbling Strike (replaces Snap Shot)
Rogue daily 19: Hilt Slam (replaces Rogue's Recovery)
Rogue utility 22: Indomitable Agility
Rogue encounter 23: Shimmering Blade (replaces Low Slash)
Rogue daily 25: Cruel Pursuit (replaces Hilt Slam)
Rogue encounter 27: Perfect Strike (replaces Stunning Strike)
Rogue daily 29: Kiss of Death (replaces Bloodbath)


ITEMS
Helm of Able Defense (paragon tier), Light Shield, Rhythm Blade Spiked shield +1, Gauntlets of Destruction (paragon tier), Boots of Eagerness (heroic tier), Master's Blade Rapier +6, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), , Cloak of Displacement +6, Ring of Tenacious Will (epic tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Displacer Elderhide Armor +6, Solitaire (Violet) (epic tier), Zephyr Boots (epic tier), Belt of Vim (epic tier), Teamstrike Tattoo (paragon tier)

Discussion
Ring of Tenacious Will suddenly gives you defenderish surges. And Shadow Band gives concealment, which will make you even harder to hit.  At lvl 28 we finally have access to Hide Armor, giving us 1 more AC.  Previous builds (before Rhythm blade) had a higher Con and allowed for a light shield and Hide at lvl 11, but meant a lower Cha and it was more feat intensive. 



Frost Cheese Version (Frost Cheese is good with Rogue)

Halfling, Rogue, Shadow Assassin, Destined Scion
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Rogue: Rogue Weapon Talent
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Dexterity
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Strength
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 17, Con 13, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 22.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 13.


AC: 50 Fort: 47 Reflex: 49 Will: 45
HP: 170 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 42

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +29, Thievery +31, Perception +21, Athletics +22, Acrobatics +31, Insight +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +15, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +21, Dungeoneering +16, Endurance +15, Heal +16, History +15, Intimidate +21, Nature +16, Religion +15, Streetwise +21
FEATS
Level 1: Shield Proficiency (Light)
Level 2: Blade and Buckler Duelist
Level 4: Light Blade Expertise
Level 6: Backstabber
Level 8: Nimble Dodge
Level 10: Lost in the Crowd (retrained to Lasting Frost at Level 11)
Level 11: Wintertouched
Level 12: Improved Defenses
Level 14: Lost in the Crowd
Level 16: Nimble Blade
Level 18: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 20: Shield Specialization
Level 21: Light Blade Mastery
Level 22: Epic Fortitude
Level 24: Epic Will
Level 26: Martial Mastery
Level 28: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Level 30: Epic Resurgence

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Opening Move
Rogue daily 1: Blinding Barrage
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Bloodbath
Rogue utility 6: Swift Parry
Rogue encounter 7: Snap Shot
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Brisk Stride
Rogue encounter 13: Stunning Strike (replaces Opening Move)
Rogue daily 15: Rogue's Recovery (replaces Blinding Barrage)
Rogue utility 16: Anticipate Attack
Rogue encounter 17: Tumbling Strike (replaces Snap Shot)
Rogue daily 19: Hilt Slam (replaces Bloodbath)
Rogue utility 22: Indomitable Agility
Rogue encounter 23: Shimmering Blade (replaces Low Slash)
Rogue daily 25: Hilt Slam (replaces Rogue's Recovery)
Rogue encounter 27: Perfect Strike (replaces Stunning Strike)
Rogue daily 29: Kiss of Death (replaces Knockout)

ITEMS
Helm of Able Defense (paragon tier), Light Shield, Ring of Tenacious Will (epic tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Cloak of Displacement +6, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), Boots of Striding (heroic tier), Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Frost Dagger +6, Gloves of Ice (epic tier), Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (epic tier), Rhythm Blade Spiked shield +1, Adventurer's Kit, Climber's Kit, Footpads, Inquisitive's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Displacer Elderhide Armor +6, Belt of Vim (epic tier)

Frost Cheese is probably the optimal option for halfling rogues.  For 2 Feats you gain about 4 extra damage and a reliable source of CA over the Goblin Totem/Gauntlets of Destruction combo.  You spend a bit more gold as well for the support of a more expensive weapon, gloves and the dragon shard.  That said not every campaign gives you the loot options to support Frost Cheese and not every player likes using a build with Cheese in its name.  The no frost cheese version works perfectly well and I will continue to keep it up-to-date.  Currently it is more defensive in nature and can be easily converted to do a more damage.

The Daggermaster version uses a dagger and a dagger offand.  It makes use of the Two-Weapon feat line, and Repel Charge since it already has Melee Training.  It does lose out on Shadow Assassin's Riposte but tries to make up for it with defensive bonuses from powers and feats (although less than the Shadow Assassin Build), and it also makes use of Spark Slippers for some added deterrence.  If you want more damage replace


How much defense is too much? Most enemies at or near your level will need at least a 16+ dice roll to hit you.  Melee will take damage on a miss.   There are many feats that are passed up in favor of defense.  Basically, it comes down to your group and dm play style as to how much defense is needed.  Halflings make better use of high defenses due to their racial abilities, but if your dm stops attacking you the moment you turn lvl 11 and get Shadow Assassin's Riposte, then obviously put the feats and weapons into putting out some more damage.


Hard to Hit (great combined with Nimble Dodge and other re-rolls or Defense buffing Int erupts)


At lvl 11 you have spend 4 feats and 2 item slots for +4 AC, +4 Ref and +2 to all defenses till damaged after the first turn (Helm of Able Defense), and +2 defense when adjacent to 2 or more larger enemies  Also you are +1 to hit, Ref, and AC vs rogue who didn't max dex lvl 1. Total +7 AC (+9 litc) above an unoptimized rogue.


At lvl 21 You have upgraded to paragon Belt of Vim and added Cloak of Displacement +2 AC and Ref till hit.  Shield Mastery gives you +3 to fort defense. Demigod has put you +1 more on Hit, AC Ref and Fort, and allowed for Lightblade mastery.  Total +10 AC (+12 litc) above an unoptimized rogue.


At lvl 30, you have Epic Fort, Epic Will, added Robust Defenses, boosted your surges with Ring of Tenacious Will, and added Concealment with Shadow Band.  Total +13 AC (15 litc) above an unoptimized rogue.


Things that are considered awesome but didn't make this build (though they might make yours).


Feats:

Two-Weapon Feat Tree
Melee Training: Dexterity
Harlequin Style
Weapon Proficiency: Rapier
Veratile Duelist (multiclass fighter, whole line of versatile weapon Feats to boost your defenses)
Slaying Action (earlier)
Defensive Advantage (you probably don't have the Wis to qualify)
Eyes in the Back of Your Head (MP3, flanking does not cause you to grant CA)
Repel Charge (MP3, charging enemies grant you a MBA as OA) (Not in Frost Cheese Shadow Assassin Build)

Powers:

Dazing Strike
Positioning Strike
Press the Advantage
Blinding Barrage
Fleeting Ghost
Adaptable Flanker

Paragon Paths:


Epic Destinies:

Deadly Trickster

Items:

Spark Slippers (now in Daggermaster version)

And many many others, please reply and help me add to the list and other work




Why do you have to take away the DM's fun? Melee strikers are supposed to be the DM's punching bag. Yell

I don't think starting with a 20 is worth it.   Bringing it down to 18 would give you 7 extra points to allocate to other stats for a negligible decrease on attack rolls.


Also, rogues are already proficient in the parrying dagger, according to the Adventurer's Vault.  Time to go back to the drawing board, young padawan.


I don't think starting with a 20 is worth it.   Bringing it down to 18 would give you 7 extra points to allocate to other stats for a negligible decrease on attack rolls.


Also, rogues are already proficient in the parrying dagger, according to the Adventurer's Vault.  Time to go back to the drawing board, young padawan.




This rogue is optimized for hitting and defense, and gets very little out of other attributes except for riders and NADs.  So the 20 is getting the most bang for the buck.  Dex gives +1 hit, +1 AC, +1 Init, +1 Ref.  The whole point of the most annoying rogue ever is to be hard to hit and to hit almost all the time.


Page 10 of The Adventurers Vault:


"Parrying Dagger: This narrow dagger features a specially designed guard that can deflect attacks. A rogue proficient with the parrying dagger can treat it as a dagger for the purpose of the Rogue Weapon Talent class feature."


Nowhere does it say that a rogue gets proficiency with the parrying dagger; it only states that those rogues who are proficient with it can treat it as a dagger.  Also, the character builder (I know, it does have some bugs) does not support the notion that rogues are proficient with the parrying dagger either.

One thing I find interesting is a lack of paragon defenses/robust defenses in your build.  I understand that they would not stack with great fort (likely more important at the time), but they do stack with the epic nad feats (as these are untyped)


So you could get an additional +2 to all NADS with robust that will stack with epic fort and epic will.


Though I am not sure what would be worth trading for it.

Slaying Action is retrained to Robust Defenses at lvl 22.  In many of my earlier builds I had Paragon Defenses instead of Great Fortitude, its pretty much a toss up, but at the paragon lvl my fort is dreadfully low and thought it would be best to have Fort instead of Paragon Defenses.

I must have read too quickly and missed that.  I agree that paragon defenses is not necessarily better than great fort, since that is where your primary nad weakness is. 


Mainly I just missed that you had robust in this build already.

I added some additional commentary and bolded the items and feats that were defensive minded.  This build has been one that I have been working on, and its not theoretical up to level 21.  I've ran it through many encounters at many different levels and its shown to be very strong and very fun to play. 


What I would like is a serious discussion as to what feats, powers, paragon paths, epic destinies, magic items, and possible multiclassing options are best for halfling rogues.

I'm making a character that's similar in style, but I'm choosing a slightly different tactic.  We're about to start Revenge of the Giants, so I'm starting at level 12 and going to about 18 or so.  I've chosen Master Infiltrator, along with the Cutthroat multiclass feat.  My plan is to be invisible and/or hidden as often as possible.  My defenses aren't particularly good, but they can't hit what they can't see.


 


 


I'm making a character that's similar in style, but I'm choosing a slightly different tactic.  We're about to start Revenge of the Giants, so I'm starting at level 12 and going to about 18 or so.  I've chosen Master Infiltrator, along with the Cutthroat multiclass feat.  My plan is to be invisible and/or hidden as often as possible.  My defenses aren't particularly good, but they can't hit what they can't see.




I find in actual games, that the most important question for a melee striker is how am I going to take that target off of my head.  I'd be interested in hearing how your character concepts works out. Smile

Here is my character right now.  As I said, I'm starting at level 12 and expecting to go to about 18 or so.  Suggestions are welcome.  In particular, I've been thinking about my last four feats.  Options I've been thinking about:


  • Change the offhand Parrying Dagger to a regular dagger, and change main hand to Rapier.  I want to have at least one regular dagger in hand though, so I can throw it if necessary.

  • Pick up Cull the Weak and Blood Thirst, for a total of +6 damage vs bloodied creatures (with the Gauntlets of Blood)

  • Cutthroat Expert, to swap out Agile Recovery for the Cutthroat Utility, which grants Combat Advantage and a 19-20 crit against a target for two rounds.

  • Lost in the Crowd

Here is the character:


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sir Oliver Thimblefoot III, level 12
Halfling, Rogue, Master Infiltrator
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Society - Noble (Diplomacy class skill)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 12, Dex 23, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 19.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 11, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14.


AC: 29 Fort: 19 Reflex: 28 Will: 22
HP: 79 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 19

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +22, Thievery +19, Diplomacy +15, Athletics +13, Acrobatics +21, Bluff +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +5, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +7, Heal +6, History +5, Insight +6, Intimidate +10, Nature +6, Perception +6, Religion +5, Streetwise +10

FEATS
Level 1: Backstabber
Level 2: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 4: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 6: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 8: Cutthroat
Level 10: Weapon Proficiency (Parrying dagger)
Level 11: Nimble Blade
Level 12: Harlequin Style

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Positioning Strike
Rogue daily 1: Press the Advantage
Rogue utility 2: Fleeting Ghost
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash
Rogue daily 5: Driving Assault
Rogue utility 6: Agile Recovery
Rogue encounter 7: From the Shadows
Rogue daily 9: Knockout
Rogue utility 10: Shadow Stride

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Flask (empty) (2), Climber's Kit, Oil (1 pint) (2), Pouch, Belt (empty), Torch (2), Thieves' Tools, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier), Shadowflow Drowmesh +3, Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Resplendent Circlet (heroic tier), Resplendent Boots (heroic tier), Periapt of Cascading Health +2, Goblin Totem Dagger +3, Rhythm Blade Parrying dagger +1
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

for the original build, is there any defensive benefit to buying a rhythm blade parrying dagger over +1?

No, the rhythe blade is just a +1 AC.

Really love this build.


When i play strikers i like to prioritize maneuverability and defenses: everyone always says "Dead Monsters don't hit back" but i like to point out that their friends almost always do. This build seems to accomplish this amazingly well. 


 

I love it... The little squirts need to get more love!


I am playing a halfling artful dodger in Living Forgotten Realms (LFR) right now and have climbed to level 3 so far. I will have to look into how this post will help my character out as he progresses.


I started my halfling artful dodger a little differently, but I believe that I have some similar destinations in mind...


Level 3 Snapshot
Vexrinien "Vex" Stoneskipper, level 3
Halfling, Rogue
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Nelanther Isles


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 18.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16.



AC: 17 Fort: 12 Reflex: 17 Will: 15
HP: 34 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 8


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +10, Thievery +12, Perception +6, Bluff +10, Acrobatics +12, Athletics +6


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance +2, Heal +1, History +1, Insight +1, Intimidate +5, Nature +1, Religion +1, Streetwise +5


FEATS
Level 1: Harlequin Style
Level 2: Backstabber


POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Clever Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit
Rogue daily 1: Handspring Assault
Rogue utility 2: Adaptable Flanker
Rogue encounter 3: Flamboyant Strike


ITEMS
Leather Armor, Dagger (4), Adventurer's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Shuriken (5), Lightning Dagger +1


 


I have some similar goals of hitting often, hitting hard and not getting hit in return. In the not getting hit category I have had resounding success, because this character has only been hit ONE TIME! Seriously, only one time has he been hit in three levels! Second Chance has done its job nicely, because a few hits were rerolled to misses. Deft Strike & Harlequin Style make the character a very mobile threat with a Charisma modifier bonus to AC versus OAs. The character also relies on the teamwork of a fighter's mark to interrupt OAs that are intentionally drawn.


LFR side note: At times, it seems that DMs do not waste a whole lot of effort on trying to hit the little guy. Since this is an LFR character it has seen and will see a variety of DMs.


Clever Strike is also excellent, because it earns CA if an ally is adjacent to the enemy, which is often the case. I tend to play this character as a satellite of the fighter. I cannot stress how awesome this character is when teamed with a fighter. A fighter can be like your big brother who smacks down on anyone who dares to swing at you.


Are you gonna hit me? Nope... The fighter just hit you!


Fox's Gambit is so very nice in being able to shed a mark and shifting your Dex modifier can set up the next victim (or get you out of trouble). Handspring Assault hits hard and has some shift.


And the +1 Lightning Dagger is a nice toy in these early levels. One heft of it and it dropped 6 Goblin Cutters. The rumor is that it was 7! (The legend grows!)


 


Really love this build.


When i play strikers i like to prioritize maneuverability and defenses: everyone always says "Dead Monsters don't hit back" but i like to point out that their friends almost always do. This build seems to accomplish this amazingly well. 


 




Agreed. Strongly!

Love the pic!  Where is it from!!?  :D


As for the build…


I would use Mage’s Parrying Dagger (giving you free proficiency with it), then take all the other feats one slot earlier.


Item-wise, have you considered Boots of fencing master, for that extra AC and reflex after a shift and Shadowflow armor, for the minor action concealment?


Also, I would consider defensive advantage, since you should have combat advantage quite often as a rogue.


Lastly, I would also get blinding barrage for its defensive usage that not only give them -5 to attack you but also -5 to attack your allies.  On similar token, I would also consider disheartening strike, for the rattling keyword. That works quite well with Ferret out Frailty lvl 4 untility feat, for those long fights with a solo controller.


Love the pic!  Where is it from!!?  :D


As for the build…


I would use Mage’s Parrying Dagger (giving you free proficiency with it), then take all the other feats one slot earlier.


Item-wise, have you considered Boots of fencing master, for that extra AC and reflex after a shift and Shadowflow armor, for the minor action concealment?


Also, I would consider defensive advantage, since you should have combat advantage quite often as a rogue.


Lastly, I would also get blinding barrage for its defensive usage that not only give them -5 to attack you but also -5 to attack your allies.  On similar token, I would also consider disheartening strike, for the rattling keyword. That works quite well with Ferret out Frailty lvl 4 utility feat, for those long fights with a solo controller.




Mage's Parrying Dagger is a good option if you want to free a feat.  I am actually leaning towards switching to Spiked Shield (I believe the general consensus is that you need prof. light shield to get the AC bonus too) and Shield Specialization, allowing me to make the spiked shield subtle.  Its 2 feats, instead of a feat and a magic item slot, but its +2 AC, +2 Ref for 2 feats and I get to do more damage as well.


Boots of the Fensing Master are great till paragon level where they don't stack with Cloak of Displacement since they are both feat bonuses.


Blinding Barrage is great and its a preference, I chose powers that either attacked out of turn or gave extra attacks to one target.  Basically single target damage.  Its a matter of preference though, and I do not deny the power of BB.


Hidden Blade works well without having to take Intimidate for  Ferret out Frailty, and I have tried Disheartening Strike (its really is great), but only being able to choose 2 at-wills I made the tough decision to take Deft Strike (mobility and possible CA with a wall and throwing my dagger) and Piecing Strike (the ultimate + hit power)


I don't need Shadow Flow Armor after I get Shadowband, but it might be good to have early epic.


If I knew where I got the pic from I would have given the source, sorry.  As you can see, there are many many ways to build the halfling rogue, everyone having their own preference, I'm just presenting my own experience and preferences, and learning from hearing others.  Keep the comments coming.


Time to make some updates thanx to some great advice.

awww. no source for the pic.


Your explanations make perfect sense.  I had totally forgotten that Press the Advantage is a free action!!!  So you can technically pull off Circling Predator, Low Slash, Driving Assault, and Press the Advantage for 6 attacks in one round?  :O  


I still think Blinding Barrage is more "annoying" and flexible than Press the Advantage, but that definitely made me think twice about grabbing BB and never looking back. haha


Also, spiked shield doesn't work with two-weapon defense.  They both give "shield" bonus to AC and Reflex, and shield specialization bonus are feat bonus. :X


awww. no source for the pic.


Your explanations make perfect sense.  I had totally forgotten that Press the Advantage is a free action!!!  So you can technically pull off Circling Predator, Low Slash, Driving Assault, and Press the Advantage for 6 attacks in one round?  :O  


I still think Blinding Barrage is more "annoying" and flexible than Press the Advantage, but that definitely made me think twice about grabbing BB and never looking back. haha


Also, spiked shield doesn't work with two-weapon defense.  They both give "shield" bonus to AC and Reflex, and shield specialization bonus are feat bonus. :X




I was wondering about the spiked shield (after I had spend the last 2 hours readjusting the whole build for it (luckily they were it was in separate saved files).


I will be updating the magic items to be more accurate, I think I have some bad math as to the total amount of expected the gold, and I have a few changes on a few of the items.


I love it... The little squirts need to get more love!


I am playing a halfling artful dodger in Living Forgotten Realms (LFR) right now and have climbed to level 3 so far. I will have to look into how this post will help my character out as he progresses.


I started my halfling artful dodger a little differently, but I believe that I have some similar destinations in mind...


Level 3 Snapshot
Vexrinien "Vex" Stoneskipper, level 3
Halfling, Rogue
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Nelanther Isles


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 18.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16.



AC: 17 Fort: 12 Reflex: 17 Will: 15
HP: 34 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 8


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +10, Thievery +12, Perception +6, Bluff +10, Acrobatics +12, Athletics +6


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance +2, Heal +1, History +1, Insight +1, Intimidate +5, Nature +1, Religion +1, Streetwise +5


FEATS
Level 1: Harlequin Style
Level 2: Backstabber


POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Clever Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit
Rogue daily 1: Handspring Assault
Rogue utility 2: Adaptable Flanker
Rogue encounter 3: Flamboyant Strike


ITEMS
Leather Armor, Dagger (4), Adventurer's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Shuriken (5), Lightning Dagger +1


 


I have some similar goals of hitting often, hitting hard and not getting hit in return. In the not getting hit category I have had resounding success, because this character has only been hit ONE TIME! Seriously, only one time has he been hit in three levels! Second Chance has done its job nicely, because a few hits were rerolled to misses. Deft Strike & Harlequin Style make the character a very mobile threat with a Charisma modifier bonus to AC versus OAs. The character also relies on the teamwork of a fighter's mark to interrupt OAs that are intentionally drawn.


LFR side note: At times, it seems that DMs do not waste a whole lot of effort on trying to hit the little guy. Since this is an LFR character it has seen and will see a variety of DMs.


Clever Strike is also excellent, because it earns CA if an ally is adjacent to the enemy, which is often the case. I tend to play this character as a satellite of the fighter. I cannot stress how awesome this character is when teamed with a fighter. A fighter can be like your big brother who smacks down on anyone who dares to swing at you.


Are you gonna hit me? Nope... The fighter just hit you!


Fox's Gambit is so very nice in being able to shed a mark and shifting your Dex modifier can set up the next victim (or get you out of trouble). Handspring Assault hits hard and has some shift.


And the +1 Lightning Dagger is a nice toy in these early levels. One heft of it and it dropped 6 Goblin Cutters. The rumor is that it was 7! (The legend grows!)


 




Luved your first hand experiences, and it looks like a very fun build, with a similar goal as mine.  Gotta luv the halflings.  Most of my experiences with (Lilika Silverheart, my halfling rogue) have also be with a dwarf fighter and the synergy is very between a rogue and a fighter is very nice.

Looks fantastic, now to adapt it to my current Drow rogue and see where it takes me in the rest of paragon =)


Cloak of distortion may be worth looking into once the daily on the cloak of displacement is used up depending on how you want to roll and the space your future fights are taking place in.

Blah blah blah


Looks fantastic, now to adapt it to my current Drow rogue and see where it takes me in the rest of paragon =)


Cloak of distortion may be worth looking into once the daily on the cloak of displacement is used up depending on how you want to roll and the space your future fights are taking place in.





For a drow I would consider the dagger hand-crossbow combo, if not just for flavor reasons, two fisted shooter is nice.  Drow have some added elusiveness already. 

Made some minor changes to the build.  Added Iron Will, and went through the magic items and made them very legit.  I took the expected gold and magic items given from each level and bought the items that I would need at each level (not just for the snap shots).  For example lvls 1-20; I bought a lvl +1 Goblin Totem/+2 Goblin Totem/+3 Goblin Totem/+4 Wraithblade, and sold (20%) the old items.  I did this for every item slot as I would have progressed, so the gold amount should be accurate. 


With careful gold spending I was able to purchase a Helm of Able defense at lvl 11, which goes along way into being super elusive.


Please let me know of your rogue experiences and contribute to making this build the best and most annoying ever.

Hi, loved your write-up.  I'm playing a halfing artful dodger rogue myself. 


Rufus, level 4


Halfling, Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Silent Hunter

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 11, Dex 21, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 11, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14.


AC: 19 Fort: 12 Reflex: 19 Will: 15
HP: 38 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +12, Thievery +14, Streetwise +10, Acrobatics +14, Bluff +10, Perception +7

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +2, Heal +2, History +1, Insight +2, Intimidate +5, Nature +2, Religion +1, Athletics +2

FEATS
Level 1: Backstabber
Level 2: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 4: Tribe of the Swift Jaguar

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Sly Flourish (retrained to Clever Strike at Level 4)
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit
Rogue daily 1: Blinding Barrage
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash

ITEMS
Deathstalker Dagger +1, Thieves' Tools, Leather Armor, Climber's Kit, Adventurer's Kit, Shuriken (30), Dagger


 


These are the feats I'm thinking about taking:


~~Key Feats~~ Def Build
*Heroic*
L1-  Backstabber
L2-  Weapon Prof (Parrying Blade)
L4-  Tribe of Swift Jaguar
L6-  Lost in the Crowd
L8-  Two-Weap Fighting
L10- Two-Weap Defense

*Paragon*
L11- Great Fortitude (@21 Epic Fort)
L12- Weapon Expertise (light blade)
L14- Nimble Blade
L16- Vexing Flanker
L18- Slaying Action
L20- Iron Will (@22 Epic Will)

*Epic*
L21- Robust Defenses
L22- Epic Resurgance
L24- Flanking Maneuver
L26- ?
L28- ?
L30- ?


 


Discussion:
Most of my team will take Tribe of the Swift Jaguar for the group initiative bonus.  I started with such a low strength that I think I'd be hurting myself by devoting my ability score bumps to Dex and Str until level 24 (when I'd hit the magic #17). I also know I need to go get a good parrying blade.


Any suggestions?


Hi, loved your write-up.  I'm playing a halfing artful dodger rogue myself. 


Rufus, level 4


Halfling, Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Silent Hunter

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 11, Dex 21, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 11, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14.


AC: 19 Fort: 12 Reflex: 19 Will: 15
HP: 38 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +12, Thievery +14, Streetwise +10, Acrobatics +14, Bluff +10, Perception +7

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +2, Heal +2, History +1, Insight +2, Intimidate +5, Nature +2, Religion +1, Athletics +2

FEATS
Level 1: Backstabber
Level 2: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 4: Tribe of the Swift Jaguar

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Sly Flourish (retrained to Clever Strike at Level 4)
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit
Rogue daily 1: Blinding Barrage
Rogue utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Rogue encounter 3: Low Slash

ITEMS
Deathstalker Dagger +1, Thieves' Tools, Leather Armor, Climber's Kit, Adventurer's Kit, Shuriken (30), Dagger


 


These are the feats I'm thinking about taking:


~~Key Feats~~ Def Build
*Heroic*
L1-  Backstabber
L2-  Weapon Prof (Parrying Blade)
L4-  Tribe of Swift Jaguar
L6-  Lost in the Crowd
L8-  Two-Weap Fighting
L10- Two-Weap Defense

*Paragon*
L11- Great Fortitude (@21 Epic Fort)
L12- Weapon Expertise (light blade)
L14- Nimble Blade
L16- Vexing Flanker
L18- Slaying Action
L20- Iron Will (@22 Epic Will)

*Epic*
L21- Robust Defenses
L22- Epic Resurgance
L24- Flanking Maneuver
L26- ?
L28- ?
L30- ?


 


Discussion:
Most of my team will take Tribe of the Swift Jaguar for the group initiative bonus.  I started with such a low strength that I think I'd be hurting myself by devoting my ability score bumps to Dex and Str until level 24 (when I'd hit the magic #17). I also know I need to go get a good parrying blade.


Any suggestions?




At least you didn't start with 10 Str, and if you go Demigod, you can hit Light Blade Mastery at lvl 21 with only bumps to Str.


As for the parrying dagger, it depends on how much the enemies attack you.  The two I like the best are Subtle and Rhythm, +1 AC or + enhancement bonus to damage with CA.

I am not sure about trying to get the STR needed for the Light Blade Mastery (extra crit chance for light bladed).


When you start with STR 10 (or less) as many a halfling rogue will, then I would accept that it is just a feat you will never get.


I know that critting less can be a quite a loss for a rogue, but considering what the CHA could buy you instead I am not 100% sure it is worth the trade off.


But it IS a hard choice since the starting with 13 ST only gives you 1 less CHA (which is only 1 less AC vs OAs every other period of 4 levels).

I felt the same way as your for awhile, but to be honest I would almost trade the +1 (2 at paragon) to fort for the +1 to OA's.  In this build by the time you get your defenses up (at least paragon), you will be almost unhittable with OA's anyways, and it is a little low on damage (compared to other optimized strikers). 


Forgetting about Light Blade Mastery does open up some other Epic Destinies, but Demigod is very strong in this build, since it raises the dex, with helps with hit/ac/ref/init, and damage.

Unfortunately my character did start out at 10 STR.  My original plan was to go Daggermaster for Paragon.  I find that in my party of a Warden, squishy Cleric, and backrow Sorc and Druid, I find myself side-by-side with my large Warden friend often as I should be.  But if he hasn't marked someone, I'm fair game.  Thus I'd like to make myself a little more unhittable.  I think I can do that per your guidelines but the main benefit I'll be missing is Light Blade Mastery.  Thus some feat suggestions for a character already in play would be helpful as I've got some gaps to fill.


Thanks!

Actually going Dagger Mastery you don't miss out on Light Blade Mastery, since you will crit on 17-20 with daggers. 

Should have clarified -- My plan WAS to go daggermaster.  I'm now going to go Shadow Assassin thanks to your convincing.

Well, keep your options open and at lvl 11 see if you would rather have better crits (more damage), or a reason for enemies to think twice about attacking you with melee attacks when adjacent to you.  It really depends on party make-up, GM, playstyle, and flavor. 

Agreed


Melee strikers are almost as fun to hit as an unprotected wizards. Although, all of that static damage attached to an at-will is always good when you can dominate them...


 


 



Why do you have to take away the DM's fun? Melee strikers are supposed to be the DM's punching bag.



Philip, what items would you suggest at Level 12 with the standard 11/11/12/13 magic item allotment?
Goblin Totem lvl 12
Gambler's Suit of Drowmesh lvl 11
Pariapt of Cascading Health lvl 10

Iron Armbands of Power 1800gold
Gloves of Recovery          1000gold
Rhythm Blade                    680gold

The last 2 have a set bonus for +2 to OA's

Next items to get are Helm of Able Defence lvl 14
Cloak of Displacement lvl 15

Keep in mind that you only need to boost the defence if the gm is still attacking you after you take the Shadow Assissin PP.
I've been intreagued by your build for the last few days, and have been fervently searching to find all the feats and powers you have suggested.  I have yet to locate the Lvl. 6 Utility Hidden Blade.  Where are is it from, and would you be able to post the details of the power here for me?

Thanks, and keep up the good work. 
Its from the Players Handbook Heroes v. 1.  Its a card that came in the miniature pack.  I will be doing an update to the build next week when the Winning Races: Halflings and the Rogue Essentials is updated on the character builder.  There are a few powers that I will be swapping out.  At this time I will try to reference where every power, feat or item comes from.

Hidden Blade

You conceal a small weapon in your hand until it’s time to strike!


Encounter   bullet.gif     Martial
Minor Action      Personal


Prerequisite: You must be trained in Thievery.


Effect: You gain combat advantage on the next attack roll you make with a weapon that has the off -hand property before the end of your turn.


First published in PH Heroes: Series 1.




I have playtested the character a lot, but never played through a whole campaign with her, but that is changing soon, as my wife and me will be alternating gming in our next campaign and this will be the character I use when not GMing.
Thanks for the update.  I am looking forward to seeing your improvements in the coming weeks.

A couple months has passed and Vex has climbed to 6th level. He continues to be a very fun character to play.

Being an LFR character, Vex does not have the luxury of a DM who spoils him with a menagerie of magical items. Although, he has put what he does have to good use!

A Vicious Dagger +2 is pretty nice for general melee and pain inducing dagger chucking. The crits are LUDICROUS! A Lightning Dagger +1 is a great minion sweeper, most notably when thrown. That dagger's daily power killed 7 goblin minions in one heft and in another adventure killed 6 orc minions. NICE. Now that is something to write home to the Shire about! The Frost Dagger +1 is nice when you want to slow an enemy down for a bit or if they need some cold based damage. Vex loves to juggle these three beauties when he introduces himself and the blades. Yes, the blades have names... Pshaw...

Skald's Leather Armor +1 fits with Vex's bold, slightly arrogant, highly spirited, yarn spinning and larger than life personality. The armor further complements his oft-filled role of party spokesman stemming from his high Charisma/Bluff/Diplomacy. Making an enemy miss and hit someone else (preferably a bad guy) is pretty cool too! The Elven Cloak +2 helps the NADs, adds to the Stealth and is one of the nicest sets of duds he has yet to find.

In playing Vex, I cannot say enough about how awesome Harlequin Style was early on. I am now wondering if it will outlive its usefulness at some point, so there will be more exploration on that feat in the coming levels.



Level 6 Snapshot
Vexrinien "Vex" Stoneskipper, level 6
Halfling, Rogue
Build: Trickster Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger
Background: Waterdeep (Waterdeep Benefit)


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 19, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 19.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16.



AC: 20 Fort: 16 Reflex: 21 Will: 19
HP: 49 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 12


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +14, Thievery +14, Perception +8, Bluff +14, Acrobatics +14, Athletics +8


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +3, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +4, Heal +3, History +3, Insight +3, Intimidate +7, Nature +3, Religion +3, Streetwise +7


FEATS
Level 1: Harlequin Style
Level 2: Backstabber
Level 4: Distant Advantage
Level 6: Improved Initiative


POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue at-will 1: Clever Strike
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit
Rogue daily 1: Handspring Assault
Rogue utility 2: Adaptable Flanker
Rogue encounter 3: Trickster's Blade
Rogue daily 5: Walking Wounded
Rogue utility 6: Vexing Flanker


ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Lightning Dagger +1, Skald's Leather Armor +1, Elven Cloak +2, Vicious Dagger +2, Potion of Healing (heroic tier) (3), Frost Dagger +1

I think that as soon as the Character Builder gets updated I may just go ahead and retrain Harlequin Style out for Rigged Chance from the recent Winning Races article for Halflings.
Wink
The character builder is only up to issue 280..... I might post some of proposed new powers anyways though.