Optimizing Ghostwalk Rogue 8-21+

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Okay.  So I'm playing soon in a Ghostwalk campaign setting soon, and I've got some issues that may complicate the creation of my character (the fact that I've never played a primary Rogue doesn't help), and rather than continue to muddle along myself I figured the WotC Hivemind might be able to clarify issues somewhat.  Pretty much anything is fair game except Stances, Psionics, and Skill Tricks.

Concept:  Female Human sneaky-rogue.  Useless noble who didn't take especially well to education, responsibility, or the idea of political marriage; opted instead to spy on everybody everywhere and sneak out of the manor through gate, roof, or basement to enjoy herself however she wanted.  Borderline obsessive over the principle of power through voyeurism and going unseen (the character's mother had a planar mishap into the Plane of Shadow while pregnant, resulting in a sort of "planar claustrophobia" she's been trying to ease by stealth and mobility her whole life).  The character is compelled to wander back to Manifest, where her shadow-infusion originally took place.  Eventually, I think I can talk the DM into allowing the Dark template from ToM to represent the metamorphosis as her taint reaches maturity (bonus to movement, small cold resistance, hide in plain sight, BIG bonuses to Hide and Move Silently.

One of the complications for this character is the fact that we'll be reaching epic levels very quickly, and none of the epic prestige classes I'm considering (Perfect Wight, Void Incarnate) have great skill points, feats, or sneak attack, so while I don't normally do HEAVY optimization, I'm kind of feeling like I'll need to start early to stay competitive with the other players (oh, yeah, other players; necromancer, melee cleric, barbarian, paladin(?), and blackguardUndecided).  Her party role will likely be recon, negotiator, flank-granter, strategic mook-killer, and (reluctantly) trap-finder.

Crunch:  St&Wis 11, Con 15,  Cha 16, Int 18, Dex 21.  Max HP/level.  Maxed skills are Tumble, Hide, Move Silently, Spot.  Heavily invested in Balance, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Listen, Search, Sense Motive, and Sleight of Hand.  Moderate investment in Disguise.  Slight investment in Appraise, Climb, Forgery, Gather Info, Knowledge (Arcana),  Knowledge (Nobility),  Perform (Dance) and Profession (Commerce).  60,000 starting GP.

I'm eyeballing two levels of Swashbuckler to get Weapon Finesse, with the Daring Outlaw Feat to get Grace (to make Improved Uncanny Dodge unnecessary) and the Dodge bonus at Rogue+Swashbuckler level.  Potentially I'll take the third level if Precise Strike is worth it. 

Invisible Blade keeps catching my eye for a dip, but it's Feat-heavy to get in, and I've got mixed feelings about the ability to get along COMPLETELY without armor.  Please advise?

Human Paragon:  My Will save is going to be ABYSMAL, and the extra feat looks nice, but off the top of my head I'm not thinking I can afford to split my levels THIS much.

Thief-acrobat; again, mixed feelings.  It's good conceptually, but the abilities gained don't really overwhelm, esp. if I can afford an 8,000 GP ring of Accelerated Movement.

Shadowdancer:  wanted it SO bad, then discovered it sucks in all the ways.

Epic Classes:  Never played Epic before, so if anyone has an examination of Perfect Wight or Void Incarnate, or just any advice about epic Rogues in general it'd be great.

Feats:  Largely undecided.  Probably Stealthy just because it feels I'm obligated, conceptually.  I'm thinking part of the Two-Weapon Fighting tree, to stay competitive at epic levels with lots of sneak attacks.  Probably won't take the Dodge tree, since Tumble is maxed out.  I'd appreciate advice on Feats especially, considering how Feat-starved Rogues are.

Equipment:  Considering Cloak of Resistance +3, Ring of Protection +1, Boots of Striding and Springing, a few Elixers for sneakin', Gloves of Dexterity +4, Vest of Escape, Belt of Pockets, Mithralmist Shirt, a pair of +1 daggers, +1 buckler or dastana (ssssshhhhh) and like 200 pounds of mundane every-contingency equipment.

I apologize if my questions or my intent are too vague, but I'm kind of arrested at this semi-committed stage just 'cause I don't know this aspect of the game very well.  Any and all tips, reccomendations, criticisms and questions are, as always, appreciated.

Are you looking to stay mundane? Otherwise beguiler (Player's Handbook II, p6) or unseen seer (Complete Mage, p81) are good options.


The darkstalker feat (Lords of Madness, p179) lets you use stealth against creatures with blindsense, blindsight, scent, and tremorsense.


As for your will save, can you get the keen intellect feat (Dragon 318, p38) allowed? It lets you use intelligence instead of wisdom for will saves, as well as the heal, sense motive, spot, and survival skills.


As a human, you can take the able learner feat (Races of Destiny, p150) to allow you to buy cross-class skill ranks for one skill point per rank. Since your maximum rank in a skill is based on whether it's a class skill for at least one of your classes, you can overcome a poor skill list when multiclassing.

Don't be a rogue. Seriously, they just don't work.

The real question is what do you want to do? From the sound of it, you should look at Factotum. They can do some serious fun things, although, if you're serious about competing with a melee cleric, full caster is the way to go. Sorcerers are always fun, if you start as a Mailman, until, of course, you get access to the crazy spells, although, since you seem to be oddly interested in skill points, for reasons I cannot fathom, the Wizsassin, which is actually compatible with a good alignment1.

1You may want to, if you go down that route, try to talk your DM into allowing Avengers access to the expanded Assassin lists from SpC and the like.
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Are you looking to stay mundane? Otherwise beguiler (Player's Handbook II, p6) or unseen seer (Complete Mage, p81) are good options.




Yeah.  I figured I'd have enough on my plate with a new setting, new class, and epic features without having to worry about spell lists too.  Thanks for the mention, though.



The darkstalker feat (Lords of Madness, p179) lets you use stealth against creatures with blindsense, blindsight, scent, and tremorsense.




Oooh.  Thematic.



As for your will save, can you get the keen intellect feat (Dragon 318, p38) allowed? It lets you use intelligence instead of wisdom for will saves, as well as the heal, sense motive, spot, and survival skills.




The DM's pretty easy-going, but if it's not in a book it could be an uphill struggle.  I'll look into it.



As ahuman, you can take the able learner feat (Races of Destiny, p150) to allow you to buy cross-class skill ranks for one skill point per rank. Since your maximum rank in a skill is based on whether it's a class skill for at least one of your classes, you can overcome a poor skill list when multiclassing.



Crap.  Will it be that much of an issue with those classes?  What am I saying, Undecidedof COURSE it will; cross-class has been the bane of my existence since 3.0.  Thanks for reminding me, though.
Why not just go Hellfire Warlock/Binder? It gets you the "face skills", UMD, and thematically fits with a "tainted soul".
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
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Why not just go Hellfire Warlock/Binder? It gets you the "face skills", UMD, and thematically fits with a "tainted soul".


Eh.  Too blaster-ey.  Plus I never really learned anything about Warlocks other than they're halfway between Rogues and Sorcerers *hyperbole*.
I'm going to have to second Factotum. Rogue REALLY doesn't hold a candle to it from pretty much any angle. You don't get much more skill monkey then an int based class that gets EVERY skill as a class skill and not to mention adds its int mod to str and dex based stuff just for kicks. My personal favorite class to pair with it just so happens to be The Chameleon  for a splash of even more spellcasting. When it comes to feats with Factotum I'd say going with Font of Inspiration three-ish times is a solid investment. 

As far as items go I'd take a look at a Rod of Ropes from Complete Scoundrel for all your grappling hook needs, ditch the belt and just go with a Bag of Holding, also ditch the Vest of Escape as you should be A. taking 20 on open locks or B. be using some variation of Knock when in a hurry, make that Cloak of Resistance into a Vest of Resistance to free up the much more valuable shoulder slot, and get some teleportation effects such as a Shadow Cloak from Drow of the Underdark (because immediate actions rock and it'd let u scratch the Ring of Protection) or a Cloak of Mysterious Emergence from Dragon Magic if you want more distance and to spend more money. 
for invisible blade do you use the prequisite as written or the the pre intended by the creatoe if the spell. cause the wold be WF(dagger) and weapon finesse if i remember right
You could fight fire with fire, by taking the 1st
level of the Ghost Template racial progression.
You don't have to take the whole thing right away.
Hence the "trick" of 1 level now --- the others whenever.
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Here comes your 19th forums breakdown ... ohh who's to blame, it ain't 5E driving you insane.

 

Don't be a rogue. Seriously, they just don't work.
although, if you're serious about competing with a melee cleric


Let me rephrase that; in combat, I want to stay relevent, considering I'm looking at epic prestige classes that don't have sneak attack progression.

for invisible blade do you use the prequisite as written or the the pre intended by the creatoe if the spell. cause the wold be WF(dagger) and weapon finesse if i remember right


Oops.  Mine says different.  Did it get errata'd?  And does the addition of the class actually stay playable, considering you have to give up (relatively) cheap enhancement bonuses and special abilities for bracers/rings/etc. to compensate?

You could fight fire with fire, by taking the 1st
level of the Ghost Template racial progression.


Ghostwalk has its own manifested ghost classes tailored to the setting, but that's a good thought.


As far as items go...


Rod of Ropes:  NiceCool  I was wondering if there was a Batman-grapnel item out there, esp. since the character's Climb isn't very good.  BTW, do you know what the Listen check to detect a falling grappling hook would be?

Bag of Holding:  Really?  *starts reading description*  I thought the reduced capacity was compensated for by the advantage of the faster move action usage and removal of...
...oh.  A storage device that uses a body slot.  How clever.  Never mind.

Vest of Escape:  I hate getting grappled.  I REALLY hate it.  If I need to, though, I could lump the Resistance and Escape qualities together for an additional... 2.5k?

Shadow Cloak:  Also nice.  I didn't see where that was an immediate action, though.

If you want to be able to do some rogue-ish stuff. Factotum is seriously the way to go. Remember, Iaijutsu focus is awesome. The real question is what do you want this character to do?

And Vest of Escape is bad. What you want is a Third Eye: Clarity, with TE:Freedom functionality added. Serious good coverage for basic defenses for relatively cheap.
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