What Is Yours Can Be Mine: A Thief's Handbook

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What Is Yours Can Be Mine: A Thief's Handbook 


GARRETT



I've always equated "feelings" with "getting caught"...they both get in the way of my money. Unfortunately not everyone is as committed to their work as I am. -Garrett, Thief II: The Metal Age



I can see you want to be a thief, which means you've already failed.  There's a lot more to being a thief than desire, though that's important: without desire, there would be no thievery.  But being a true master of theft takes time, patience, devotion, and, most of all... silence.  I can teach you these things.  Best start to pay attention



Selling Points: Why You Would Want To Play A Thief




Strikers are the most prevalent role in the system. Therefore, every Striker has to have a particular niche in order to set itself apart form the rest. Here are a few things that I feel make the Thief special and thus worthy of consideration:

Thieves are reliable - At-will DPR is the bread and butter of a Thief, and they're pretty darn good at it, whether melee or ranged.

Thieves are skilled - With the right choices, a Thief can be the best skill monkey in the game, as well as have amazing stealth abilities.

Thieves are simple - This is not a complex class; because the class features are so focused and there are so few levels to choose from gigantic power lists, the Thief is probably the easiest class to optimize in the game.


This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:


Red - Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option.
Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh.
Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this.
Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this.
Sky Blue - Seriously consider taking this option before anything else that isn't sky blue or gold.
Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class.



This Handbook covers the following sources:


AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
HotFK - Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
HotFL - Heroes of the Fallen Lands
MM - Monster Manual
MM 2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP 2 - Martial Power 2
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PHR: DB - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR: TF - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
PrP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power
RB - Red Box
SAC - Seekers of the Ashen Crown Adventure Module

Glossary

AP - Action point.

BBEG - Big bad evil guy.

Burst/Nova/Spike Damage - Generally understood to mean the highest amount of damage a character can inflict in the space of a single round. Usually, calculations for this allow 1 round of setup before the actual damage.

CA - Combat advantage.

DPR - Damage per round, which is generally meant to mean the character's expected damage value using At-Will powers against a standard enemy of the same level (eloquently described by Adslahnit as the Official CharOp Inanimate Block of Tofu™).

ED - Epic destiny.

HP - Hit points.

LX - Level X.

MAD - Multiple attribute dependency, which is defined as needing 3 or more ability scores for a given build.

MBA - Melee basic attack.

MC - Multiclass or multiclassing.

NAD - Non-AC defense.

OA - Opportunity attack.

PP - Paragon path.

RBA - Ranged basic attack.

SAD - Single attribute dependency, which is defined as a build that really only needs 1 ability score.

THP - Temporary hit points.





Props to:


Everyone posting, and the IRC for getting me through this.


On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Power Source and Role

Your power source is Martial, and your role is Striker. Translated, that means "aggressive and aggressive."  

Burst/Nova/Spike Damage
 - This is usually defined as the highest amount of damage you can come up with on short notice.  You don't have encounter powers (aside from Backstab) or dailies, so you don't have the same potential as others.  This changes quite drastically in epic, or even late Paragon for ranged.

Damage Per Round (DPR) - Your at-will DPR is amazing.  Thieves charge and charge and charge and it's great.  Ranged Thieves are less good at this.

Debilitating Effects - You're not nearly as good as a regular Rogue, but you can hand out a lot of prones, and prone is nice action advantage and penalties.  Ranged is less good at this.

Survivability - ...Er.  Got some bad news here.  Your armor proficiencies aren't great, your HP and surges are low, and you're not a Con class.  Also you want to be in melee.  You've got some utility to help out, and staying at range helps, but this is not your strong point.

Targeting Capacity - Despite the fact that your extra damage feature is conditional to having CA against your opponent and that you're comparatively fragile, the fact of the matter is that CA is not all that hard to get, and some rudimentary tactics will get you where you need to go with all of your limbs still attached. Not your area of expertise, but you are good at it.

Secondary Role Effectiveness

Controller - Not your forte, but there's some you can do here, especially with feats and Trick choices.

Defender - You're incredibly fragile and the entire fluff of your class is based around not atttracting attention.  Why would you want to be a defender?

Leader - Out of the box, you got nothin'.



Baseline Mechanics

You're an I-class: barring some riders, you've got exactly one ability score you care about in combat.

Your basic game mechanics are pretty standard-issue, with the notable exception of Weapon Talent: an accuracy bonus makes certain options much more appealing and forms part of the core Thief identity.

Game Mechanics

Hit Points - 12 + Con score at level 1, and 5 each level thereafter. You got the standard-issue Striker hit point total, which is all you could really expect, honestly.

Healing Surges - 6 + Con modifier. Standard issue for the role, and you'll be glad to have them.

Defense Bonuses - +2 to Reflex means your strongest defense is very strong, but the other two were kind of left hanging. Ah, well.

Proficiencies

Armor - Only having Leather and no shields means you got almost nothing on this deal.

Weapons - You get five weapons.  It's a really good thing you have ways of dealing with that.



Class Features

Level 1

First Strike - Getting a free round of Combat Advantage (since, barring horrible luck, you should be very high up on initiative orders) is never a bad thing.

Sneak Attack - The limitations are, for you, barely limitations, and you not only deal a ton of damage, you can deal it every turn.  Amazing.

Weapon Finesse - Improved Melee Training plus a damage bonus on the only weapons you're ever going to use.  Also the damage gets better later. Yesplz.

Backstab - It's like Power Strike, but also an accuracy boost and not an attack power.  This is very good.  You get more uses later on, too.

Level 2

Skill Mastery - Another skill training from a list of awesome and you can critical hit skill checks.  I love it.

Thief Weapon Talent - You want more awesome?  Here's some free awesome.

Level 4


Cunning Escape - While the bonus is only for one attack and thus doesn't help against enemy multiattackers, it really does help with durability and the shift can help you GTFO when you really need it.  I'm a fan.

Level 9

Thief Combat Readiness - You should be pretty amazing at this anyway, but hey, free +2 init.

Level 16

Slip From The Grasp - An awesome escape plan.  I love it.

Level 19

Evasive Backstab - Free shift is great, though you certainly have other ways to accomplish this.

Level 22

Invisible Stalker - You have a ton of shifts and powers that want to consume your move actions.  It's not horrible or useless, but I'd power-swap this, personally.

Level 23


Elusive Thief - RtB is pretty great, especially since you hate these conditions.  COMBOS WITH DISCIPLE OF FREEDOM GUYS

Level 27

Reliable Thief - Sure why not.

Level 29

Epic Skill Mastery - Let me put this in perspective: if you take Jack of all Trades, you will have the equivalent of every skill trained.  This is good.




Skills

You get the same skills as the Rogue, which is to say AWESOME: four from a great list plus two set ones that are hella good.

Class Skills

Acrobatics - Given the bonkers amount of nice powers that require you have this skill, as well as general Rogue flavor, combined with the fact that it keys off your most important ability score, this is as much a non-choice as the other Dexterity-based skills.

Athletics - Kind of redundant with Acrobatics in some aspects, but it can do things the other can't.

Bluff - The classic con-man skill, any Thief with a positive Charisma modifier should be considering picking it up.

Dungeoneering - In all likelihood, the party radar should have this skill covered. If you're the party radar, grab it.

Insight - No one likes falling for their own tricks; this skill ensures that won't (at least not as often).

Intimidate - This skill is great if you want to have a wide plethora of social skills, plus it can help speed up combat.

Perception - While your Wisdom may or may not be awesome, there really is little reason to skip out on this skill.

Streetwise - While its usefulness does vary by campaign, you likely will be one who will be very good at it, and at the very least it's a good fluff fit.


Recommended Non-Class Skills

Diplomacy - Helps round out your social arsenal.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Ability Scores

Thanks to Melee Training, you are in the incredibly odd position of being able to make your abilities whatever you want; as your damage bonus is independent of any ability, you'll lose out on 7-8 damage per hit.  That's quite a bit, but can be worth it if you have a compelling reason to do so.  That said, there generally isn't one.

As a standard Dex-loving Thief, start with Dexterity 20 and make either Charisma or Wisdom as a secondary.  If you're melee, you want Strength 13 for multiclassing; ranged wants 13 Wisdom instead.  Spare points are for whichever defense your multi doesn't raise.



Races
Due to the above, there's not a lot of call for me to make a huge list of races.  Take something that boosts your primary stat, whatever it is, and has a good set of features for charging or ranged depending.  Drow is by far the best option for ranged, due to the existence of the Dread Fang PP; for non-crossbow users it's practically required to keep up. My top pick for melee is Human, due to the bonus feat, but you're not going to lose a ton by going somewhere else.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Thief Tricks

The Essentials model for Martial Classes is distinctive because of its reliance on the basic attack. To supplement it, you get a choice between a handful of At-Will Stances, each with a different effect. You get to pick two from this list at L1, and another at L4, L7 and L17, so don't sweat it if you didn't have room for a Stance you liked at the beginning of your career: you'll have another go.

Note that these are all move actions.  Also note that the rating of most of these goes up slightly if you can regularly get Combat Advantage without having to use a Trick

Acrobat's Trick (HotFL) - Power bonus to damage, and if you're smart, this can be good as at-will flight.  I love it.  While this might not be your first-level choice, every Thief should have it by 7 at the absolute latest.

Acrobatic Maneuver (RB) - Compared to powers that let you shift, this is just lackluster. It's also useless if Strength isn't your secondary.

Ambush Trick (HotFL) - While there are a ton of ways to get CA, this is a pretty good one since it allows you to hit those that your party can't spare a flanker for.  Also, since ranged Thieves don't get flanking, this is amazing for them.

Athletic Advance (RB) - Ignoring difficult terrain is nice, and it's an at-will Athletics boost. Still very Strength-dependant, though.

Escape Artist's Trick (HotFL) - The ability to slip out of total concealment, shoot, and then slip back in cannot be overstated. Neither can charging and then shifting two squares away. This trick is fantastic.

Feinting Trick (HotFL) - I cannot think of a situation in which you wouldn't have CA and couldn't generate it by taking something else.

Nimble Positioning (RB) - Strictly worse than at least two other options.

Sneak's Trick (HotFL) - Hey, you know what's awesome? Being a Cunning Sneak. Now, for the low, low price of one trick, you can be one too! And even better: once you get your Phantom Chausseures or Shadowband, this is permastealth. I would have a hard time not taking this at level 1.

Tactical Trick (HotFL) - After some serious playtesting, I can say that this is now my favorite level 1 Thief trick to take. It not only promotes focus fire, but lets you charge every turn relatively safely. This is really good. Ranged obviously loves it as well.

Thug's Trick (HotFL) - It's not bad--it's an easy way to cause out of turn attacks, for crying out loud--but it's not what you should be doing.

Tumbling Trick (HotFL) - The shift 3 is good; the damage diffusion and secondary stat dependancy isn't. Ranged can't use this.

Unbalancing Trick (HotFL) - This trick's utility entirely depends on whether or not you can consistently get Combat Advantage without using another Trick.  If you can, it's great.  Ranged can't use this.

Rogue At-Will Powers 



While a typical Thief has nothing to do with these powers, a Human member of the class can choose to take one of these instead of the Heroic Effort power. For their benefit, we will mention them and how they apply to a Rogue:
Rogue At-Wills
Melee

Acrobatic Strike (MP 2) - Light Blade only, but auto-escaping a grab is nice, if situational.  Could be worse.
Clever Strike (PHH 2) - You have better ways of getting CA.
Duelist's Flurry (D 381) - I want to like this power... but honestly, you should be able to get your CA anyway.  The slide is nice, if outside your focus.
Piercing Strike (PHB) - A good accuracy boost until level 11, when you get Deft Blade and reflexively retrain this.
Riposte Strike (PHB) - Honestly, you're probably better off charging... but if for some reason you're not, this is an interesting idea.

Ranged

Preparatory Shot (MP 2) - You have better ways of getting CA.  Ones that don't require secondary investment and have damage rolls.

Melee or Ranged

Deft Strike (PHB) - You honestly have better options for move-attack than this.
Disheartening Strike (MP) - Without Ruthless Ruffian, this doesn't have a lot to recommend it.
Gloaming Cut (MP 2) - Has its uses in some builds.  Not too bad.
Palming Strike (D 389) - Not my cup of tea, but situationally useful.  Useless if you took Fast Hands, though.
Probing Strike (PHH 1) - Okay, fine you get a freaking attack bonus.  So it's not red.  But you get so many of those that, well...
Sly Flourish (PHB) - if Cha is your secondary, this is probably your choice.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Utility Powers



Level 2, Utility



Sneak in the Attack is easily my favorite here, especially if you did the smart thing and grabbed Backstabber.

Level 2 Utility List

Adaptable Flanker (MP) - 1/encounter Tactical Trick for those who don't have it or need their move for something else for some reason.  Not horrible.

Agile Footwork (D 381) - If he ends his turn next you, you move away. It won't help you dodge an attack, but out-of-turn repositioning is nice to have, though a bit unreliable.

Arm and Edge (MP 2) - Not a bad choice if you're taking the weapons listed, but really: how often do you find yourself out of range?

Cunning Step (MP 2) - Int is a pretty useless stat for you, but if you're using it anyway, this actually comboes nicely with a few tricks.

Deadly Knowledge (MP 2) - Situational + dump stat = no.

Double Take (MP) - Reroll Perception ain't bad, especially if you've got a Cha mod.  There's better, though.

Fleeting Ghost (PHB) - Straight-up worse than Sneak's Trick. (Okay, well, you get to move your full speed, but that's it.) Take that instead.

Great Leap (PHB) - To get over your speed is DC 35, and you have tricks for this kind of thing. Better out of combat, though

Hop Up (MP) - This really doesn't compete with similar options, out of turn or no.

Lurker's Cloak (MP 2) - Decen for turtling, but not my favorite.

Marked Escape (MP) - Strictly worse than False Bravado, and you should have Bluff trained.  Even if you don't, Obscured Avoidance is still better.

Master of Deceit (PHB) - Pretty basic.  Could do worse, could do better.

Quick Fingers (PHB) - Not sure when Thievery's action expenditure comes up outside of combat, and I'm even less sure of when making a Thievery check in combat will come up at all (barring your DM getting Tomb of Horrors-level trap-happy). Not sold on this one.

Reap the Rattled (MP) - It requires a rattled enemy, only grants CA for two turns, and it's a Daily? Garbage.

Sneak in the Attack (MP) - Handing out your Sneak Attack damage to your flanking partner without having to give it up yourself is a strong benefit to have. The best thing about this power is that it doesn't specify who gets the free Sneak Attack damage, so anyone can come in and deliver.  COMBO WITH UNBALANCING TRICK GUYS

Sudden Leap (HotFL) - A minor action move equal to half your speed can help advance your movement pretty nicely.

Switcheroo (MP 2) - While this may not be useful all the time, you can use it all the time, and sometimes you or your ally may need it to get where you need to go. This does get a lot better if your allies take the Agile Opportunist Paragon feat, since switching places counts as a slide.

Tumble (PHB) - Not quite as good for you as a normal Rogue, since you probably have at least one trick that can mostly simulate this.  Still nice though.



Level 6, Utility



Find something you like and roll with it.  I personally would go for Swift Parry or perhaps Vexing Flanker, and if you're a stealth Thief you probably want Chameleon.

Level 6 Utility List

Blind Spot Advantage (MP 2) - Concealment against a single enemy sounds like an overly complicated way of getting CA for the average Thief. However, it can be key for the Stealth lovers among you to get your act together even when the terrain is not conducive to your antics. Solid enough.

Chameleon (PHB) - I actually really like this, especially as you don't have a lot of use for minor actions.  Not so great if you're not stealthing a lot, but I promise it'll come in handy at one point.

Ferret Out Frailty (MP) - You get CA against one enemy for one turn, or 2 turns if he's taking a Rattling penalty. Of course, it's hard for you to get such a thing, so this is generally one turn only.  Still, CA is CA.

Fortuitous Dodge (MP) - This power is lolzy as hell, and it actually can have a rather nice effect.  Killed by it being a daily.

Hidden Blade (PHH 1) - Sure it's conditional, and it only works for one attack, but CA without being target-specific leaves your options wide open, and that's got to be worth something.

Ignoble Escape (PHB) - Same deal as Tumble.  Don't take both.

Mob Mentality (PHB) - A useful trick for skill challenges, especially if you're not the party face.

Nimble Climb (PHB) - You have a trick that does this so very much better.

Perfect Feint (MP 2) - 2 turns of CA against any adjacent enemy. This can come in very handy, as it gives you options as to who you're going to attack.

Sidestep Stance (MP) - +2 to AC against one enemy, and you can keep switching enemies. This can come in handy, though it is a bit limited.

Slip Aside (HotFL) - Given that AC is the most targeted defense, you're bound to get hit sometime, and at that point an ability to take half damage might save your skin.

Slippery Mind (PHB) - +2 to Will isn't all that and a bag of chips, but it's an Encounter power, so it's not all that bad (it IS one of the few defensive Utilities you have...).

Swift Parry (D 381) - CA as an ImmInt?  Yesplz.

Threatening Glare (MP) - Cute, but not something you generally want to be doing.

Ugly Finish (MP 2) - It may be a Daily, but a mass -2 to attacks and CA for dropping someone or landing a crit is a good power to have in my book.

Vault Position (MP) - ...Huh? +1 to Reflex on a Stance is rather marginal, and an Athletics check is nice, but not as a Daily...

Vexing Flanker (MP) - Insta-flanking for your ally, and for you on your turn.  As an ImmInt.  I like.



Level 10, Utility



Acrobat's Escape or Counter-Step are clear favorites here; I prefer the latter.  That said, a sneaky Thief might also look to Shadow Stride.

Level 10 Utility List
Acrobat's Escape (HotFL) - Whoa. This power gives you an instant bailout against a Melee opponent approaching you. An amazing power for any sort of Thief, unless you're doing something crazy with abilities.

Brisk Stride (MP) - +4 speed for one move and 2 turns of no difficult terrain as an Encounter power can come in handy.

Certain Freedom (PHB) - The fact that you really hate this condition is the only thing making this not red.

Close Quarters (PHB) - I don't like that it has a size restraint, is a daily, and draws an OA, but the benefits are nice enough to make it someone's cup of tea.

Combat Tumbleset (MP) - Another good mobility power, moving through enemy spaces while not risking OA's means you can pretty much go wherever you want, which is a good freedom to have.

Counter-Step (HotFL) - This has everything I love in a utility and more.  Yesplz.

Dangerous Theft (PHB) - This is not what combat is for.

Daring Gamble (MP 2) - Limited because you likely can't coerce people to attack you and it only lasts a turn, but free CA for the whole encounter is worth finding a way to make trigger while not getting yourself in too much trouble.

Deadly Sacrifice (MP 2) - I see few Thieves as sturdy enough to take a hit for another class (Controllers or badly injured characters for the most part), and while CA and more Sneak Attack damage for the whole encounter is nice, it is a Daily and based of a likely dump-stat, so it has its limitations.

Executioner's Mien (MP) - It's a cute trick, and combos with a few feats you might take for the purpose.  I'm a fan.

Gap in the Armor (MP) - I love accuracy buffs, and you don't get a lot of the same ones that other E-classes do.

Nimble Fingers (HotFL) - Now first of all, notice that this is just about straight-up better than Dangerous Theft.  It has out-of-combat utility, but frankly, you have better things to take this level.

Peripheral Concealment (MP) - I really doubt this is a problem for you by this level.

Shadow Stride (PHB) - A Fleeting Ghost upgrade.  Remember the move restriction, though.

Sneaky Roll (D 375) - I'd like this more if you could use it BEFORE you got hit, but you can't. Still, movement outside your turn that doesn't provoke OA's and disregards enemies being there is not all bad.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Skill Powers

Skill powers here have been categorized into whether the skill is a class skill for your not. Within these categories, they have been split up into levels. Most of your powers are pretty good, though, so a Skill power will likely have to be real awesome to be a genuine option.


Class Skill Powers



Acrobatics Powers


Level 2:



Agile Recovery
 (PHB 3) - Forever changes standing up to a Minor Action. Pretty cool.


Level 6:



Dodge Step
 (PHB 3) - The trigger goes off too late to avoid a hit. Unimpressive.

Graceful Maneuver
 (PHB 3) - You already got this at L2, only twice as good: it's called Tumble.

Perfect Balance (PHB 3) - It provides a small speed advantage while traversing narrow or difficult terrain, and doesn't require checks. Decent.

Tumbling Dodge
 (PHB 3) - An example of a power that gets better as time goes on. Right now, you're likely getting a +2 bonus to all defenses at best (which is still good), whereas later on you'd be looking at +4 or so. Nice.


Level 10:



Drop and Roll
 (PHB 3) - How often does this really come up? Not enough to occupy a Utility slot in my experience.

Rapid Escape (PHB 3) - The definitive answer to being grabbed; it allows you to escape as a Minor Action, grants you CA if you do escape, AND it’s an At-Will. It faces stiff competition and grabbing ain’t exactly the most common status effect under sun and moon, but this is awesome when it does come up.



Athletics Powers


Level 2:



Bounding Leap
 (PHB 3) - A power that subs your move action for a jump that carries a bonus. Unless you optimize your Athletics check or roll very well, this is only worth it later on in your career when you can reliably clear an Athletics check equal to your speed + 1 (DC 30 for speed 5, DC 35 for speed 6, and a whopping DC 40 for speed 7). At least it’s useful out of combat...

Scrambling Climb
 (PHB 3) - It's a great movement Utility if you have to climb up stuff a lot. The question is, will you? Not in most campaigns.


Level 6:



Mighty Sprint (PHB 3) - Speed +4 is nice. Ignoring difficult terrain is also nice. An Athletics bonus for whatever stunt you may want to pull off along the way is just gravy. This is a pretty decent pick.

Sudden Leap
 (PHB 3) - Essentially, this is flanking without provoking OA's, no matter how big your opponent is, once per encounter. It can definitely see use on a Rogue.


Level 10:



Incredible Stride
 (PHB 3) - Whoa. +4 speed for the encounter is a big buff. A very nice choice.


Bluff Powers


Level 2:



Battle Feint (PHB 3) - Not the flashiest thing in the world, but CA does have its uses for you.

Serpent's Tongue (D 389) - Getting a bonus after you fail can be of some usage.

False Bravado (PHB 3) - Shedding off a mark just because you want to is a solid benefit to have.


Level 6:



Confusing Blather (PHB 3) - It can potentially allow you and your allies to maneuver and disengage unmolested by your enemies. Nice.

Dirty Tricks (PHB 3) - This just seems like a lesser version of Confusing Blather to me, so just take that instead.

Fast Talk (PHB 3) - Saving you from yourself. Could be useful for those times you roll a 3 or less on a Diplomacy check, assuming you bother to train it.


Level 10:



Improvisational Arcana (PHB 3) - If you were to choose to use rituals, this has the handy effect of making sure you don't suck at them. Solid enough.

Stall Tactics (PHB 3) - It might as well say, "Once per day, your party wins initiative, no questions asked." This can set up some devastating tactical advantages for you and your allies.


Dungeoneering Powers


Level 2:



Deep Shadows (PHB 3) - Your Dungeoneering should never trump your Stealth. Ever.

Otherworldly Lore (PHB 3) - Though conditional (not only do you have to encounter an aberrant creature, you have to nail the check), it DOES hand out +4 to hit essentially for free...


Level 6:



Eyes of the Deep Delver (PHB 3) - Blindsight for a turn, just because you can. Usually, one turn is all you need.

Stonecunning (PHB 3) - There is no reason your Dungeoneering should beat your Perception by enough of a margin as to justify taking this power.


Level 10:



Trap Sense (PHB 3) - A sweet trap-redirection ability, it’s rather conditional, which is what holds it back against pretty stiff competition.



Insight Powers


Level 2:



Anticipate Maneuver (PHB 3) - Creating CA for yourself is something that's nice to have, at the very least.


Level 6:



Empathic Read (PHB 3) - Saving your allies from themselves is nice, but some of you will likely be the party face, which means that you'd much rather have someone use this to your benefit.

Insightful Counter (PHB 3) - A very nice way to negate disadvantages from running into a tight spot.

Prescient Maneuver (PHB 3) - This doesn't seem like your thing at first glance, but there are characters that can wring some use out of it.


Level 10:



Insightful Comment (PHB 3) - A very nice out-of-combat power, especially because it also affects you. Can effectively put a non-combat encounter on Easy Mode.

Prescient Defense (PHB 3) - A solid defensive bonus for you when you are attacked, which helps keep you around dangerous siuations.


Intimidate Powers


Level 2:



Ominous Threat (PHB 3) - Freeing an ally from a mark while slapping on one of your own is a bit too risky for my taste.


Level 6:



Demoralize Foe (PHB 3) - A free debuff when you hit is always nice for keeping your allies up on their feet.

Everybody Move (PHB 3) - A mass push 1. It can be useful for rearranging the battlefield or allowing allies to escape situations they really don't want to be in.

Try the Stick (PHB 3) - Subbing Intimidate for Diplomacy every now and again can have some use on certain flavors of Rogue.


Level 10:



Snap Out of It (PHB 3) - Absolute flavor gold, and it can help you support your Leader on the saving throw department, which can be very important, especially at higher levels.


Perception Powers


Level 2:



Far Sight (PHB 3) - A nice way to pick your target without worry about what's around him.


Level 6:



Guided Shot (PHB 3) - Given that Reflex is usually a whole lot worse than AC, this can turn a few misses into hits for your allies, which can help you provide some support.

Trapfinding (PHB 3) - Understandably, this can help you in certain situations.

Warning of Peril (PHB 3) - Your Passive Perception covers a huge area. Can work better for you if your Passive Perception is a strong suit.


Level 10:



Focused Sight (PHB 3) - Far Sight's big brother. A solid choice if obstacles consistently give you the blues.

Perfect Sight (PHB 3) - Should you need to see an elusive enemy for a turn, this will help you get him in your sights.

Spot Weakness (PHB 3) - A hefty damage buff for your next attack. Pretty respectable.

Uncanny Instincts (PHB 3) - While it sounds nice at first glance, your Perception shouldn't be beating your initiative.


Stealth Powers


Level 2:



Obscured Avoidance (PHB 3) - You get At-Will mark avoidance, sans the conditional requirement, later, so this has less luster for you than for most others.


Level 6:



Concealed Shift (PHB 3) - Shift you when you’re missed if you have cover/concealment. Meh.

Shrouding Gloom (PHB 3) - A bit of action economy for your Stealth checks. Can be useful if you're scurrying from cover to cover or need a do-over on your last Stealth check.


Level 10:



Crowd Cover (PHB 3) - A pretty cool way to mess with enemy Ranged combatants, but it has its limitations (only works against ranged attacks, cover only provides +2 to all defenses). That said, it can be pretty cool if it does work.

Persistent Tail (PHB 3) - A decent power to keep yourself out of sight. Great out-of-combat utility for this one.



Streetwise Powers


Level 2:



City Rat (PHB 3) - Your Streetwise shouldn't be beating your Stealth.

Nose for Trouble (PHB 3) - Your initiative check will rarely lose to your Streetwise check.


Level 6:



City Dweller (PHB 3) - Once per day is too steep a limitation for this level of power.

Slow Pursuit (PHB 3) - Rather conditional, but creating difficult terrain can help defend allies you're not standing in front of.


Level 10:



Navigate Crowds (PHB 3) - Functionally, this is a clone of Combat Tumbleset, and thus will be rated identically.


Thievery Powers


Level 2:



Fast Hands (PHB 3) - A miniature Quick-Draw Trick for anyone who’ll train in the skill. Could be useful.

Lock Tap (PHB 3) - Action economy on Thievery checks can be useful in certain situations, but I don't think those situations are all that common outside of combat, and you shouldn't be popping locks open in most fights anyway.

Quick Palm (PHB 3) - Again, action economy on a Thievery check, but for something you're more likely to need to do fast.


Level 6:



Hasty Retreat (PHB 3) - A decent emergency shift away, it could get you out of the range of a few traps' triggers, especially ones like poison needles in doorknobs and the like.

Quick Switch (PHB 3) - Though the effect doesn't cover all that much space, it could help you introduce your enemy to your Defender without an OA for either of you, which is nice.

Stolen Defense (PHB 3) - This is Anticipate Maneuver... Leader edition. You could just flank, you know.


Level 10:



Disruptive Stunt (PHB 3) - An attack debuff as part of an opportunity-free move action through an adjacent enemy's space. The movement likely won't be all that earthshaking, but a repositioning power with a free debuff can be decent.



Recommended Non-Class Skill Powers:



This category is kept from getting too out of hand by only talking about skill powers when it's already recommended that you pick the skill up.

Diplomacy Powers


Level 2:



Master Diplomat (D 389) - Rerolling Diplomacy checks ftw.

Soothing Words (PHB 3) - Essentially, you get a little extra bang for your buck on your healing surges while you rest. More on the Leader side than what you typically go for, and its benefits are not that great, anyway.


Level 6:



Haggle (PHB 3) - Redundant with Master Diplomat.

Stirring Speech (PHB 3) - Again, more on the Leader side of the spectrum than what you're typically comfortable with.


Level 10:



Befriend (PHB 3) - In skill challenges, this is a hefty boost to have. Otherwise, it's a bit marginal, but I like it as an aid for non-Charisma Rogues to be the party "face".

Cry for Mercy (PHB 3) - A very nice Leader-y power. +4 to all defenses and no OA's on movement for a Bloodied ally every encounter can be effective.

Noble Sacrifice (PHB 3) - While the spirit of helping others is nice to have, you're not as capable of taking prolonged punishment as some members of your party are, so this is a gamble I'd rather not take.


On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Equipment

This is a bit out of order for a normal class handbook, but before I talk about feats and PPs I have to talk about weapons.  There are exactly three weapons an optimal Thief will ever use: rapier, dagger, or hand crossbow.  Which you use will determine your entire build, from Paragon Path down to the vast majority of your feats. 

Why is this?  Because, frankly, a Thief's class features make certain weapons miles better for them, to the point where nothing else can at all compete.  Compounding that with the fact that certain weapons are just better at certain things than others -- the big offender here is hand crossbows versus shortbows, for example -- the choices are down to three.

If you are a melee Thief, you are using a rapier.  No ifs, ands, or buts; it's flat-out better than anything for you.  You'll take the Gritty Sergeant background to get it.  If you're ranged, you either pick dagger or hand crossbow: the former has a slight edge in Heroic and a larger one in Paragon, but is blown out of the water by the latter in Epic.  Anything else is, in general, almost strictly suboptimal, if that.


Armor



Cloth - No reason to wear this.

Leather - The best armor you're proficient with out of the gate, and likely the one most of you will stick around in. It offers a decent bit of extra AC with no penalty to skills, which is always nice.

Hide - While it is better AC than Leather, it costs a feat (along with attribute placements), and the skill penalty kind of stings, too. The feat cost really, really stings, as defenses are really not what a Thief wants to be concentrating on; that said, melee already wants Str 13 for their Fighter multiclass.

Chainmail - Costs feats, reduces speed and skills, and offers lower AC than light armor. No.

Scale - Even more expensive (and unnecessary) than chain.

Plate - The most egregious alternative considering the cost and the lack of benefits accrued.

Shields - You're not proficient with them out of the box (so they cost feats), they pigeonhole some stat points, but they're a quick and easy way to get a good AC and Reflex bonus. The feat cost is, to me, the dealbreaker.  Not completely awful, but not your priority -- and feat space is limited.

Magic Items 

This is probably going to be the last section of the handbook I do.  So, obviously, WIP.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Feats
This section is honestly going to be pretty depressing, for two reasons.  First of all, it's basically empty.  Second of all, the reason why it's basically empty.

Thief is, in essence, a "solved" class: there are so few actual choices to make with it in terms of construction that pretty much every choice is clearly ranked in terms of how good it is.  To that end, pretty much every feat for any kind of Thief is "set:" you can take something else, but you'll almost definitely end up worse at what you do.

There are exceptions to this, but not many, and they're mostly non-mechanical.  So yeah, go ahead and take something else if you think it's cool, but in terms of optimization there are really only about four feat progressions you want to use.  They're found in "Sample Builds," two posts below.

Because of that, and because of the sheer number of feats in this game, I'm not going to list all of the various feats you could take like most of the other handbooks.  The priorities for a Thief are, however, listed below.

Accuracy: Reliable DPR comes first and foremost from the ability to deliver the damage your hits will deal.  You do want to strike a bit more of a balance than, say, a controller, but this is still paramount for you.

At-Will Damage: Static damage mods, or things that make your bread-and-butter attacks better.  After all, if you hit all the time but don't deal damage, what's the point?

Defenses: You're fragile enough that this takes the edge over bursts; that said, a few feats and you'll be fine.  I'm including things like Disciple of Freedom and/or Superior Will in this category.

Burst Damage: Unlike many strikers, this isn't that huge of a priority for you.  Thieves are good at consistent, always-on damage, and this isn't a huge thing for them.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Paragon Paths/Multiclassing
So Kulkor got nerfed. Ow.

Fortunately, there are a number of good PPs out there left to take. KAM just isn't worth the investment any more, so the field's a little more open than it once was.  With that said, though, the vast majority of Rogue PPs are just not that good for you--so your multiclass feat will probably depend on your PP choice.

PPs
Cloaked Sniper: This is everything for a which a hand-crossbow user could possibly ask. Great features and great powers--especially  Unseen Shot.

Contract Killer: Everything you like to do. works for both ranged and melee. Not legal in LFR.

Daring Acrobat: The daily's great and the ability to take actions after charging is fantastic. Too bad everything else is so worthless.

Daring Slinger: You just had to ignore my advice about ranged weapons, didn't you? If you're really going to insist on slings, this is actually a pretty neat option that stays competitive all through paragon. Unfortunately, because there's no feat to make sling RBAs target Reflex, I can't really recommend this path. Oh, and use dejadas.

Darkstrider: Wis+3 extra damage on all attacks while hidden is hard to pass up, but that's about the only feature that really stands out.


Dread Fang: Kind of like a less good Cloaked Sniper. Good Drow flavor, though.

Jack-of-all-Trades: You're already one of the most skill-versatile classes in the game; this just brings that even further. It's also packing an amazing daily.


Kensai: +1 to hit and +5 damage. Love it.

Master Thief: The utter awesomeness of not losing Steath when attacking cannot be overstated, though everything else besides the U12 is pretty lackluster.

Mithral Arm: ...Why is this on here? Because almost every Thief trick talks about moving your speed, and this gives you Teleport 2. Consider being an undead Dragonborn for this purpose.

Moonstalker: There is a lot--a lot--to like here. The powers are relevant (though the E11 suffers from the annoying 2/4/6 scaling) and thanks to Unbalancing Trick, you can pretty much guarantee that extra 1d6+Wis. It would be sky blue if not for some very harsh competition.

Nocturnal: A pretty neat alternative to some of the more traditional melee picks, this class gives you a bunch of nice charge-related features. It's only blue because some of the base features are kind of situational, but not a terrible grab. Your recommended multiclass for this is Barbarian.

Ocular Adept: If you don't mind being a member of one of the silliest PPs in the game, you can seriously spike your damage output here. Ranged only, but awesome for them.

Paragon Multiclass (Ranger)So in general, this is a terrible idea... except for one extremely broken trick. Because PMCing just has you swap an at-will for an at-will and not a level 1 at-will for a level 1 at-will, you can switch a trick for Dual Weapon Attack. Which is just absurdly good for you. Many expect that this will be errata'd soon, though, and it obviously doesn't work at all for ranged attacks.

Shock Trooper:
 Almost everything about this class is amazing for you; heck, even the Strength-based daily is made up for a little by having a really absurd to-hit bonus to begin with. You'll also end up being tougher than a normal melee Thief, as you can skip getting Rapiers with a background and just use a shortsword.

Traveler's Harlequin: It's a neat way to get Shadow Walk--which would matter a lot more if there weren't a paragon boot item that did the same thing. There's nothing bad here; it's just that a lot of other paths give you a lot more.

Thuranni Shadow Killer: A classic, though not legal in LFR. This does just about everything a melee Thief wants, and a lot that a ranged one wants as well.

Winter Fury: Not so good against more than one monster, but using Winter Fury's Rage with Escape Artist's trick can be hilarious. You also get frostcheese capability without the associated weapon.




Epic Destinies
Epic Destinies have the unfortunate problem of having lots of cool abilities that generally aren't as good as something from the Demigod family. You want something that gives +2 to Dex and preferably +2 somewhere else, as well some kind of applicable bonus; that means that Destined Scion is probably your best bet.  That said, you don't lose a ton by going for one of the other thematic choices, and in some games, some might even be better. 
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Sample Builds

Below are a few sample Thief builds.


Half-Orc Shock Trooper
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Super Trooper, level 30
Half-Orc, Thief, Shock Trooper, Destined Scion
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Dexterity)
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Strength)
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 24, Con 12, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 13.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 11.



AC: 45 Fort: 42 Reflex: 46 Will: 41
HP: 187 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 46


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +33, Thievery +33, Bluff +24, Insight +27, Acrobatics +34, Athletics +30, Dungeoneering +25, Streetwise +24


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +18, Diplomacy +19, Endurance +21, Heal +20, History +18, Intimidate +21, Nature +20, Perception +22, Religion +18


FEATS
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Backstabber
Level 4: Surprising Charge
Level 6: Silvery Glow
Level 8: Battle Awareness
Level 10: Wintertouched
Level 11: Deft Blade
Level 12: Slaying Action
Level 14: Icy Heart
Level 16: Improved Defenses
Level 18: Scoundrel Training
Level 20: Nimble Blade
Level 21: Light Blade Mastery
Level 22: Epic Will
Level 24: Martial Mastery
Level 26: Superior Will
Level 28: Disciple of Freedom
Level 30: Mobile Warrior


POWERS
Scoundrel Training: Low Slash
Thief utility 1: Tactical Trick
Thief utility 1: Acrobat's Trick
Thief utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Thief utility 4: Unbalancing Trick
Thief utility 6: Chameleon
Thief utility 7: Escape Artist's Trick
Thief utility 10: Counter-Step
Thief utility 17: Tumbling Trick


ITEMS
Badge of the Berserker +6, Horned Helm (epic tier), Bracers of Mighty Striking (epic tier), Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (epic tier), Ring of Free Time (epic tier), Feytouched Starleather Armor +6, Frost Short sword +6, Wraithblade Dagger +6
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Human Kensei
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Ken Doll, level 30
Human, Thief, Kensei, Destined Scion
Kensei Focus: Kensei Focus Rapier
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Dexterity)
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Strength)
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Gritty Sergeant Benefit: Weapon Proficiency (Rapier)
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 17, Con 12, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 13.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 11.



AC: 45 Fort: 43 Reflex: 47 Will: 41
HP: 169 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 42


TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +28, Stealth +33, Thievery +33, Bluff +24, Insight +28, Acrobatics +34, Athletics +26, Dungeoneering +28, Streetwise +24


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +18, Diplomacy +19, Endurance +19, Heal +23, History +18, Intimidate +19, Nature +23, Religion +18


FEATS
Human: Light Blade Expertise
Level 1: Backstabber
Level 2: Surprising Charge
Level 4: Silvery Glow (retrained to Lasting Frost at Level 11)
Level 6: Slaying Action
Level 8: Battle Awareness
Level 10: Wintertouched
Level 11: Deft Blade
Level 12: Reserve Maneuver
Level 14: Icy Heart
Level 16: Improved Defenses
Level 18: Superior Will
Level 20: Nimble Blade
Level 21: Light Blade Mastery
Level 22: Epic Fortitude
Level 24: Disciple of Freedom
Level 26: Martial Mastery
Level 28: Scoundrel Training
Level 30: Mobile Warrior


POWERS
Reserve Maneuver: Snap Shot
Scoundrel Training: Tumbling Strike
Thief utility 1: Tactical Trick
Thief utility 1: Acrobat's Trick
Thief utility 2: Sneak in the Attack
Thief utility 4: Unbalancing Trick
Thief utility 6: Chameleon
Thief utility 7: Escape Artist's Trick
Thief utility 10: Counter-Step
Thief utility 17: Tumbling Trick


ITEMS
Badge of the Berserker +6, Horned Helm (epic tier), Bracers of Mighty Striking (epic tier), Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (epic tier), Ring of Free Time (epic tier), Feytouched Starleather Armor +6, Frost Rapier +6, Wraithblade Dagger +6
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======



Thrown Dagger
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Knives Rodriguez, level 30
Drow, Thief, Dread Fang, Destined Scion
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Dexterity)
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Wisdom)
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 14, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 24, Cha 14.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 12.


AC: 46 Fort: 41 Reflex: 47 Will: 42
HP: 187 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 46


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +35, Thievery +33, Perception +30, Athletics +24, Insight +30, Acrobatics +34, Bluff +25, Nature +30


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +18, Diplomacy +20, Dungeoneering +25, Endurance +20, Heal +25, History +18, Intimidate +22, Religion +18, Streetwise +20


FEATS
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Nimble Blade (retrained to Wintertouched at Level 12)
Level 4: Backstabber
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Superior Will (retrained to Primal Eye at Level 11)
Level 10: Primal Sharpshooter
Level 11: Deft Blade
Level 12: Lasting Frost
Level 14: Silvery Glow
Level 16: Reserve Maneuver
Level 18: Slaying Action
Level 20: Nimble Blade
Level 21: Martial Mastery
Level 22: Knife in the Dark
Level 24: Epic Fortitude
Level 26: Superior Will
Level 28: Disciple of Freedom
Level 30: Superior Initiative


POWERS
Lolthtouched: Cloud of Darkness
Primal Sharpshooter: Grappling Spirits
Reserve Maneuver: Snap Shot
Thief utility 1: Acrobat's Trick
Thief utility 1: Tactical Trick
Thief utility 2: Fleeting Ghost
Thief utility 4: Ambush Trick
Thief utility 6: Chameleon
Thief utility 7: Escape Artist's Trick
Thief utility 10: Counter-Step
Thief utility 16: Slip from the Grasp
Thief utility 17: Athletic Advance
Thief utility 22: Invisible Stalker


ITEMS
Cloak of Distortion +6, Eagle Eye Goggles (epic tier), Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Feytouched Starleather Armor +6, Frost Dagger +6, Rhythm Blade Dagger +1
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======



Crossbow
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bond, level 30
Drow, Thief, Cloaked Sniper, Destined Scion
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Dexterity)
Epic Heroism: Epic Heroism (Wisdom)
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 16, Dex 30, Int 10, Wis 23, Cha 12.


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


AC: 46 Fort: 42 Reflex: 47 Will: 41
HP: 187 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 46


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +35, Thievery +33, Bluff +24, Insight +29, Acrobatics +34, Athletics +24, Dungeoneering +29, Nature +29


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +18, Diplomacy +19, Endurance +21, Heal +24, History +18, Intimidate +21, Perception +24, Religion +18, Streetwise +19


FEATS
Level 1: Crossbow Expertise
Level 2: Backstabber
Level 4: Ruthless Hunter
Level 6: Two-Fisted Shooter
Level 8: Weapon Focus (Crossbow) (retrained to Lasting Frost at Level 11)
Level 10: Primal Sharpshooter
Level 11: Primal Eye
Level 12: Wintertouched
Level 14: Silvery Glow
Level 16: Improved Defenses
Level 18: Steady Shooter
Level 20: Slaying Action
Level 21: Deft Aim
Level 22: Bow Mastery
Level 24: Martial Mastery
Level 26: Knife in the Dark
Level 28: Epic Fortitude
Level 30: Superior Will


POWERS
Lolthtouched: Cloud of Darkness
Primal Sharpshooter: Grappling Spirits
Thief utility 1: Acrobat's Trick
Thief utility 1: Tactical Trick
Thief utility 2: Fleeting Ghost
Thief utility 4: Ambush Trick
Thief utility 6: Chameleon
Thief utility 7: Escape Artist's Trick
Thief utility 10: Counter-Step
Thief utility 16: Slip from the Grasp
Thief utility 17: Athletic Advance
Thief utility 22: Invisible Stalker


ITEMS
Feytouched Starleather Armor +6, Cloak of Distortion +6, Eagle Eye Goggles (epic tier), Bracers of Archery (epic tier), Frost Hand Crossbow +6, Frost Hand Crossbow +6, Gloves of Ice (paragon tier), Acrobat Boots (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======



On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Hey, excellent! Looking forward to this.
Well... maybe you shouldn't.  Here's the deal.

I know absolutely nothing about Thieves.  I'm going to be making this based on what little I know of the Thief, along with my idiotic opinions.  I fully expect and desire people to correct me, so the collective unconscious can create a handbook worth noting. 
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
You should do fine. Building a Thief isn't really rocket science. ;)

Also, cheers to you for taking this responsibility off my hands (I had no desire to make this Handbook).
Okay, the board is flipping out on me.  Work will continue when this stops happening.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.

Some notes on first reading:


Athletics refers to Brutal Scoundrels. Should just be Thieves with Strength as their secondary stat.


Speaking of, Strength is a viable secondary stat, if only for Half-Orc Thief/Fighter/Shock Trooper. There's probably more, but even if not, that's too good of a build to be ignored.


You should note that the dagger Thief is perfectly content flitting from ranged to melee. All of the important abilities and feats don't care if it's an RBA or MBA.


I would rate the single most powerful build as Drow Thief/Ranger/Darkstrider, taking Sneak's Trick after the obligatory Ambush and Tactical tricks and pumping Wisdom as its secondary of course. It's a little situational depending on light conditions and typical monsters in your campaign, but the Drow Darkstrider should start combat hidden, regain hidden once with his racial power, a second time with his PP utility, and after that with cover if necessary. That's generally enough to keep the stupendous PP fixed modifier flowing for a typical combat.


I'm also very fond of Dexterity-Wisdom Githzerai Thieves with Monastic Disciple and Zuoken's Centering. The encounter Flurry of Blows can be very useful for getting out of a jam, and Wisdom-based HPs and surges means you lose nothing by going Str 10, Con 11, Dex 20, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 10 except a point of Fortitude.


More later, I'm sure.

The single most powerful Thief build is almost definitely Thief/Fighter/Kulkor Arms Master.  I'm going to note the advantages of LBs when I get to equipment.  Good catch on Athletics.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
This is one I cant wait to see.
Show
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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
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Stances and human at-wills done.  That's it for tonight.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Props to you for writing this, I'm looking forward to it.
Well, I'd previously thought the most powerful steady-damage Thief build used Revenant, Half-Elf Soul for Twin Strike, Mark of Storm, and Lyrandar Windrider.
I would like to submit that if you take a human or eladrin thief and take the escaped slave theme, jack of all trades PP, and one multiclass feat of choice you could have 13 skills trained which leaves you with only 4 skills untrained and with the jack of all trades bonus combined with the bonus from your class you gave a chance even with those 4 skills.
Well, I'd previously thought the most powerful steady-damage Thief build used Revenant, Half-Elf Soul for Twin Strike, Mark of Storm, and Lyrandar Windrider.



That's a lot of shenanigans (and feats: Adept Dilettante, Half-Elf Soul, Mark of Storm, and Versatile Master) expended to do something the Kulkor does while also knocking the target prone, and without having to sacrifice a 20 primary (you need Con for Melee Twin Striking), without having to give up charge gear, without having to be from Eberron, without having to give up racial choice, and (finally) without having to give up the ability to layer on a Backstab on top.

tl;dr: The Thief/Kulkor is a much better build. Stealing Twin Strike has yet to be a top build for e-classes. At this point, I wonder why people keep trying to use it on them. They work off BASIC ATTACKS, people.
The single most powerful Thief build is almost definitely Thief/Fighter/Kulkor Arms Master.

Truly awesome on paper. Second best, at most, in play.

Let's go to the tale of the tape:

Entry Requirements: Goofy weapon, Fighter MC, and Kulkor Battlearm Student vs Ranger MC and Dungeoneering. Maybe the weapon proficiency is just a background, but that's a lost chance to deploy something potent like Born Under a Bad Sign. The MC feats are a wash. (Like a Thief needs the extra skill. ) Then there's the godawful KBS. Like most classes, Thieves are starved for feat slots. Pushing back Deft Blade, Defensive Advantage, etc for two levels is not trivial. Meanwhile, Dungeoneering is perfectly in class and uses up the Thief's cheapest resource (skill slots). Darkstrider by 3rd round TKO.

Build Requirements: As you imply by ignoring it on the first pass, Strength-Dexterity isn't really optimal for the Thief. You end up with a whole lot of skills pegged to crappy attributes. That's the same reason I would rate Shock Trooper good but not great. Technically,  Kulkor only requires Strength 13, but then the E11 and D20 become worthless. (You wanted to burn another precious feat slot on Reserve Maneuver?) Strength-Wisdom is tied as the most optimal Thief build, OTOH. Darkstrider by unanimous decision.   

PP Feature 11: Kulkor Master vs Darkstrider Edge. Kulkor Master? You're going to forgo Light Blade Expertise/Focus, Deft Blade, Thief bonuses, and the chance to get the SA that you didn't get on your Unbalancing Trick charge? Fuggedaboutit. We won't even mention the expense of maintaining a second weapon. Meanwhile, Darkstrider Edge is conditional, but it's nigh foolproof for the first few rounds (which are the most important), hugely powerful, and available for two-thirds rather than one-half of the Thief's career. Darkstrider by 1st round KO through the ropes. That hadda hurt! 

PP AP Feature 11: Kulkor Persistence vs Dark Action. Um, no. Darkstrider by failure to enter the ring.

PP Feature 16: Smite the Fallen vs Blindsense. Kulkor's taken his standing eight, he's got a glint in his eye, he's getting ready to land the haymaker that's made him a world contender! Exceeept, yea, there's a problem or two. Smite the Fallen would be a lot sexier if the SA on it wasn't there only because we had to forgo SA on our Unbalancing Trick charge to get the free attack in the first place. And of course we forgo the opportunity to drop Backstab on this turn to open the Smite the Fallen door. What does the free attack really amount to? A dagger MBA with a modest fixed modifier boost for being a Thief. Be still my beating heart. Meanwhile, Darkstrider Edge+Backstab has been adding higher damage for the first 2-3 turns of each encounter for 4 levels. And Darksense sure ain't no chopped liver; it's hugely cool. Light some brush on fire and fill the bad guys' lair with dense smoke before you skulk in and eat them alive! Kulkor Arms Master by TKO after Darkstrider hangs on for seven surprising rounds. 

I'm not going to rate the powers because a) this seemed like a cute idea but has become waaaay too long already and b) they're all three really, really nice for both PPs. Not a single loser in the mix, with two of my favorite U12s in all of 4E. Still, I think a little contemplation will place Darkstrider (and probably a few other PPs) well ahead of Kulkor Arms Master, as sexy as that free attack every turn may seem on paper.
Backstab is a free action Utility, not a free action Attack. You can use it and Smite the Fallen just fine. Also, Dagger MBA? Hardly. It's a Thief; Rapiers are what he does, since the Weapon Talent applies to ALL Light Blades.

You also didn't mention how Kulkor's U12 thoroughly trounces the Darkstrider's. Out-of-turn second wind vs. being able to hide next to a wall? Gimme a break.

And Thieves SHOULD be grabbing Reserve Maneuver. Low Slash or Snap Shot (aka a Thief with SOME smidgen of burst damage), anyone?

While Kulkor is certainly not the only way to skin this cat, I would definitely argue in favor of its being the most effective one, if you can get past the fact that all the goodness is back-loaded (which is something to consider).

I would also dispute the claim that Thieves are feat-starved; you need Light Blade Expertise, Backstabber, Weapon Proficiency, and Surprising Charge. That's feats through L4 if you're a Human (and I would argue that's the best Thief race - no secondary required, remember?). A Thief going Kulkor can then afford his 2 feats and then have a feat slot left over at 10, which means that any race can afford to go this route, and the Human can also throw Weapon Focus or even Lating Frost on top of it with no problem at all. How is that feat starvation, again?
This is a Kulkor nova turn.  I am being generous and giving myself Furious Assault.

Minor: Low Slash
Free: Furious Assault
Move: Unbalancing Trick
Standard: Charge
Free: MBA
AP: MBA

This is a Darkstrider turn.  I am being generous and giving you Gloaming Cut.

Minor: Low Slash, lose hidden
Move: Something
Standard: Gloaming Cut, not hidden so no damage bonus
AP: MBA 

You're at 6+2xWIS versus an attack and 4.5 from FA, and that gets even worse if we're using something like a Wraithblade or have Two-Fisted Shooter, or both.   The Ranger multiclass feat does not even begin to compare with how good Battle Awareness is on a martial E-class.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Backstab is a free action Utility, not a free action Attack. You can use it and Smite the Fallen just fine.

Huh. I never noticed that. OK, Smite the Fallen just went up a few notches in utility, certainly.

Also, Dagger MBA? Hardly. It's a Thief; Rapiers are what he does, since the Weapon Talent applies to ALL Light Blades.

I thought so, too, still I play-tested a bunch of fights. A Rapier equals a simple +2 damage and no ranged option. There's no multiple [W]s integral to the class. If the equipment budget is tight, I'd stick to a dagger. The feat budget is always tight, so I might even stick to one anyway. Having the option to avoid nasty auras and such is really nice in play.


You also didn't mention how Kulkor's U12 thoroughly trounces the Darkstrider's. Out-of-turn second wind vs. being able to hide next to a wall? Gimme a break.

Darkstrider, dude. "Huh, I could use a second wind. Think I'll Hide it on up, stroll over here, take my sweet time and watch these cats flail about trying to find me. Man, it rocks hard, being me. May even paint my nails while I'm at it."

While Kulkor is certainly not the only way to skin this cat, I would definitely argue in favor of its being the most effective one, if you can get past the fact that all the goodness is back-loaded (which is something to consider).

Well, you're right  that Backstab is a wash. So at level 16 you're looking at a ~23-hit extra attack vs an 8-hit damage rider. Against that, you're two feats behind (Kulkor Student and Weapon Proficiency (Rapier)), you've either forgone a ranged capacity or you're weapon-sunk in equipment costs, most of your skills are rapidly declining into suckage, and you lack the Darkstrider's capacity to get out of jail anytime he feels like the fight's not winnable.

That's not a trivial DPR differential, but I remain confident that in the hands of a good player the Darkstrider will win more fights and lose even fewer.

There's nothing preventing you from taking a Dagger in the off hand and tossing that around should you need a Ranged option, so the only problem would be the increased costs, and being a Ranger player, I've learned how to get around that just fine, thanks.

As for the skills, it's not like the Kulkor is going to be spreading points around all that much on his secondary. He'll have enough Str to take Light Blade Mastery (17 at L21 is not a tough investment at all - start at 12, 1 bump to take the MC feat, 1 bump from L11, Destined Scion bump at L21, done), he'll have his juicy 20 Dex, and the rest will go into Wis or Cha. His skills will be respectable enough, and his Stealth will be as good as anybody's (so he can take his ball and go home if the fight is against him, too), so I'm not really seeing what you're getting at here.
 Darkstrider, dude. "Huh, I could use a second wind. Think I'll Hide it on up, stroll over here, take my sweet time and watch these cats flail about trying to find me. Man, it rocks hard, being me. May even paint my nails while I'm at it."

So now you're three attacks behind, because you've spent a round with no offense while the KAM is out whacking things again.

 Well, you're right  that Backstab is a wash. So at level 16 you're looking at a ~23-hit extra attack vs an 8-hit damage rider. Against that, you're two feats behind (Kulkor Student and Weapon Proficiency (Rapier)), you've either forgone a ranged capacity or you're weapon-sunk in equipment costs, most of your skills are rapidly declining into suckage, and you lack the Darkstrider's capacity to get out of jail anytime he feels like the fight's not winnable.

That's not a trivial DPR differential, but I remain confident that in the hands of a good player the Darkstrider will win more fights and lose even fewer.

One feat because of background, the system is designed to allow for two-weapon spending, this has no effect on your skills at all since you want one of Wis/Cha and Str/Con anyway, and if you care that damn much about stealth use the Thievery Skill Power Utility 10.

Extra attacks are the most damaging ability in the game.  Grow up, admit you're wrong.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Well, I'd previously thought the most powerful steady-damage Thief build used Revenant, Half-Elf Soul for Twin Strike, Mark of Storm, and Lyrandar Windrider.



That's a lot of shenanigans (and feats: Adept Dilettante, Half-Elf Soul, Mark of Storm, and Versatile Master) expended to do something the Kulkor does while also knocking the target prone, and without having to sacrifice a 20 primary (you need Con for Melee Twin Striking), without having to give up charge gear, without having to be from Eberron, without having to give up racial choice, and (finally) without having to give up the ability to layer on a Backstab on top.

tl;dr: The Thief/Kulkor is a much better build. Stealing Twin Strike has yet to be a top build for e-classes. At this point, I wonder why people keep trying to use it on them. They work off BASIC ATTACKS, people.



The only thing that requires basic attack to work are if you charge and if you backstab...as well as feats like Deft Blade.

Revenant / Mark of Storm / Windrider works better as a primary ranged assailant (dagger thrower) IMO so you lose a little bit of flexibility vs. a Kulkor build, and you're paying the opportunity cost of raising a stat you might not have bothered with (Con), but it's pretty strong.
I would also dispute the claim that Thieves are feat-starved; you need Light Blade Expertise, Backstabber, Weapon Proficiency, and Surprising Charge. That's feats through L4 if you're a Human (and I would argue that's the best Thief race - no secondary required, remember?). A Thief going Kulkor can then afford his 2 feats and then have a feat slot left over at 10, which means that any race can afford to go this route, and the Human can also throw Weapon Focus or even Lating Frost on top of it with no problem at all. How is that feat starvation, again?

Any of the below add significantly to a Thief build, so even if most of them aren't mandatory it's not accurate to say there's no cost to delaying their selection by two to six levels, either.
Light Blade Expertise
Backstabber
Surprising Charge
Nimble Blade
MC Feat
Improved Defenses or Superior Will plus two.
Deft Blade
Weapon Focus (Light Blades)
Weapon Proficiency (Rapier)
Defensive Advantage
Wintertouched
Lasting Frost
Shadow of the Wild
Merciless Killer
Skill Focus (Stealth)
Improved Initiative
Resilient Focus
Etc.






None of the feats that are Paragon Tier and above are being delayed at all - regardless of how your feats in Heroic pan out, you're taking those before anything you couldn't afford from levels 1 through 10, so you should take them off of that list.

@MikeN: And yeah, the ability to hit Reflex instead of AC isn't trivial, dude. That's a huge accuracy boost. Additionally, taking away your de-facto Encounter power makes you unable to alpha strike (even if its alpha striking capacity is a bit limited), and that's most definitely a situation you do NOT want to be in.

Twin Strike is certainly better if you think about it as a Ranged combatant (I flat-out would not take it as a Melee one), but even then you're giving up the chance to use Primal Eye, Deft Aim, and the aforementioned Backstab (plus the benefits of any spare feats you may take instead of the ones you have to in order to have a working Twin Strike), so it's not exactly a slam dunk, either. Also, you probably don't want to stick with the Dagger-thrower concept all that long, since Crossbows have a much more awesome version of Lightning circa Paragon (Thunderbolt), and also bring Two-Fisted Shooter and an Arms item to get their item bonus to damage to the table (the Dagger will only get +2, and it'll eat up Hands instead of Arms) as well as more range, so I'm not really feeling the dagger-thrower.
One feat because of background

You already used that to gain familiarity with a versatile axe, hammer, or mace, as you'll recall. Two feats. Perhaps the Improved Defenses and Defensive Advantage that would have kept the build alive when you roll a 1 and Team Monster finally takes its shot.
Grow up, admit you're wrong.

I'll admit that I look at the whole build, not just DPR. If you find that somehow juvenile, then I'd suggest some self-assessment.

Human.

H: Light Blade Expertise
1: WP: Rapier
2: Nimble Blade
4: Surprising Charge
6: Weapon Focus (Light Blades)
8: Battle Awareness
10: Kulkor Student
11: Deft Blade
11: Reserve Maneuver (replace Weapon Focus)
12: Lasting Frost
14: Superior Will
16: Improved Defenses
18: WF

That was pretty easy, especially since about 1/4 of the feats you listed are crap.

This build loses nothing on skills besides Skill Focus, which is universally regarded as a waste of a feat; ergo, it is as well-rounded as any other.  Especially since, y'know, it's a thief and has more skills trained than anyone else by this time.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
I would contend that your analysis is flawed, because you're not taking into account that the Kulkor package is just a couple of more feats and the Paragon Path choice. It's a comparatively small package, and then it lets you attack again. The reward is worth the opportunity cost many times over, especially because you can have everything else look pretty much the same as a Thief from the build you described and quite simply embarrass it in a damage race.
Well, I'd originally built a Brutal Scoundrel / Kensai build to use both thrown and melee daggers and abuse Twin Strike.

Running the numbers, you can do just barely more sustained DPS (though less spike DPS) using a Thief design with Windrider to add Con to your Twin Strike.

Hand Crossbow and Two-Fisted shooter definitely would work; you lose 1 to hit (crossbow not quite as accurate as dagger) and the added damage from Light Blade Expertise, but if you can gear right it's a better choice (also, since you get a basic ranged attack from Two-Fisted Shooter, whenever that hits you get to backstab).

So then it becomes melee vs. ranged, and most games including this tend to be biased to melee.  Hidden Stalker and Phantom Chaussures or that ring to give you concealment, and you've got constant CA.  Bow mastery means you crit 1 out of 10 times, and that triggers a ranged basic attack from Two-Fisted Shooter that can give you the opportunity to use backstab.

So maybe not the powerhouse of Kulkor but it's a contender.
After seeing what escape artist trick can do combined with an elf thief, i'd think twice before rating it violet. Imho it is at very least black, especially since you can work it with constant flanking + coupling with the defender and is really gold for your survivability.

Chauntea/Lathander/Torm Cleric since 1995 My husband married a DM - καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/14.jpg)

I think Tactical Trick should be sky blue. Any Mob adjacent to an ally grants you CA. Flanking not necessary. Useable at range. What's not to love?
I love Tactical Trick and rate it higher than Unbalancing Trick for a charge based thief.

Tactical Trick allows you to back away freely as far as you like AND gives you CA for this attack. (assuming any melee characters)

Unbalancing Trick only allows a shift of 2, which while usually allowing you to charge (depends on where you can move to, shift 3 would be better) doesn't necessarily give you CA (unless you happen to get a flank), sure prone is good, but they will likely stand up again before your turn, so you are giving your allies CA not yourself. (which is good but you are a striker not a leader)

Tactical Trick - Light Blue

Unbalancing Trick - Dark Blue

Daniel.

Elusive Thief - RtB is pretty great, especially since you hate these conditions.  COMBOS WITH SUPERIOR WILL GUYS


Wait, how does Elusive Thief combo with superior will? Daze and stun don't immobilize, restrain or slow you.


Gloaming Cut (MP 2) - You don't need concealment to become hidden with this check.  If you've got an Int mod of any kind, this might be for you.


You do need superior cover and/or total concealment to become hidden even with gloaming cut (unless you are a cunning sneak), and at least cover and/or concealment to remain hidden.
Gloaming Cut is used to allow you to attack from hidden and regain your hidden status in the same action, which is normally prohibited.
After seeing what escape artist trick can do combined with an elf thief, i'd think twice before rating it violet. Imho it is at very least black, especially since you can work it with constant flanking + coupling with the defender and is really gold for your survivability.

Yeah, but that's true of many of the other tricks as well.  I'm honestly just not seeing why I'd want it over other, more useful things.

Tactical Trick - Light Blue

Unbalancing Trick - Dark Blue

Daniel.

A lot of people are saying this, but here's why I'm not going to change it.

As a Thief, your mobility is a-ma-zing.  If an ally is adjacent to an enemy, you should under almost all circumstances be able to get a flank.  If not, then you want Ambush Trick.  This is of course irrelevant if you're going for Frostcheese anyway.  Hence, for a melee Thief I would take Ambush and Unbalancing at level 1.


Wait, how does Elusive Thief combo with superior will? Daze and stun don't immobilize, restrain or slow you.

Whoops, should have been Disciple of Freedom.  Nice catch.


You do need superior cover and/or total concealment to become hidden even with gloaming cut (unless you are a cunning sneak), and at least cover and/or concealment to remain hidden.
Gloaming Cut is used to allow you to attack from hidden and regain your hidden status in the same action, which is normally prohibited.


How sure are you about that?  The wording seems to go either way.

On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
I would like to submit that if you take a human or eladrin thief and take the escaped slave theme, jack of all trades PP, and one multiclass feat of choice you could have 13 skills trained which leaves you with only 4 skills untrained and with the jack of all trades bonus combined with the bonus from your class you gave a chance even with those 4 skills.



If you multi-classed bard, you could take Bard of All Trades for a bigger bonus.