The 3.5 Rogue Handbook

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I. Editorial

This guide is not a complete update to Yekoj's work on Uberling's Rogue Handbook (link in the library). That guide has some valuable tips on magical items and skills that are just as useful now as they were back in 3.0. That said, I will focus mostly on races, feats, and builds.


II. Races

1. +0 LA Races


1.1. Human

Humans are great, aren't they? One bonus feat and the bonus skill points, as well as the often house ruled free multiclassing still make the human an optimal race for rogues. Besides this obvious benefits, humans have access to the Human Paragon class and the Able Learner feat. I'm so proud to be human myself!

Cons: no 20 as a starting stat.



1.2. Illumian (Races of Destiny)

If you're willing to multiclass, Illumians are a great choice. If you take all 6 sigla, you'll have +2 on every single skill you have. They also have access to the Improved Sigil: aesh feat, which is a valuable damage source for 2 weapon fighters (which many rogues are). It's also a great choice for rogue/spellcasters, with spellcasting boost from a sigil (no need for Practiced Spellcaster) and you can use Dex for bonus spells. You have human subtype, which means access to Able Learner feat (RoD) and the Human Paragon class (UA), awesome for arcane rogues.

Cons: Having pesky shiny sigils floating over your head is not really a wise way to be sneaky. As such, you'll have to burn a feat on subtle sigil, and remember you don't have the human bonus feat. Also, no 20 as a starting stat.


1.3. Halfling

Only the Strongheart subrace (FRCS) grants a bonus feat at 1st level. Besides having the best of the human, you have all the other halfling boni, such as the size goodies and advantageous stats. In 3.5, RotW brings some nifty halfling-only bonus feats and at least 1 nice halfling-only PrC - the Whisperknife. The racial sub levels are also nice, but not a must. The +1 bonus to thrown weapons can be useful for Master Throwers.

Cons: compared to humans, you have a slight lesser damage output, less skills, and no free multiclassing. As you have favored class: rogue, I don't see much problem in here. Other halfling subraces, with the lack of bonus feat, are still fine, but they're not as appealing as humans.


1.4. Elves

The gray/sun variety is the best one, with +2 Dex/Int and -2 Str/Con, but the SRD version is fine, too. The gray/sun variety is specially good for rogue/wizards and rogue/swashbucklers. Being an elf also unlocks many good elf-only PrCs, such as the all-mighty Champion of Corellon Larethian, which makes this race an excellent choice for melee rogues that dip into CoCL or arcane rogues. The auto-Search feature and the added +2 on Search checks can be useful for trapfinding.

Cons: it's not easy to multiclass, since your favored class is wizard. Also, many COers, such as Yekoj himself, consider the -2 Con a major hit. I don't agree, but that's me. You also lack the bonus feat granted by Humans and Strongheart Halflings. Suboptimal for skill monkey rogues.


1.5. Whisper Gnome [i](Races of Stone)[/i]

Probably designed to be the quintessential rogue race, the Whisper Gnome is, indeed, one of the best around. Stat boni, fav class: rogue, skill bonuses, 30-feet movement despite the small size, and silence as a spell-like ability makes this a fearsome sneaky fellow. It also unlocks some good gnome-like-only feats, such as Titan Fighting. No bonus, though.


1.6. Changeling (Eberron Campaign Setting)

Probably the best social rogue race around. They also have access to good sub levels in RoE, with 10 skill points/level (!). They also make good melee rogues, since they can freely take a 2-level dip into Warshaper, but that deviates a little from the typical rogue niche.


1.7. Half-Elf

:thumbsdow :thumbsdow :thumbsdow Other than the half-elf hippie, what good is this race for anyway? Well, it's still might be useful if you want the 2-level dip into CoCL but could not multiclass as an elf.


[b][SIZE=4][FONT=Palatino Linotype]2. LA +
[SIZE=6][FONT=Palatino Linotype]III. Offsetting the weaknesses [/SIZE][/FONT]


Rogues are excellent damage dealers, and the wide skill selection makes them versatile and useful even at high levels. However, they have many fatal weaknesses as well. There are quite a few rogue builds around with a +1Zingabillion d6s Sneak Attack, but with no free feats whatsoever and a +0 Will save. So, when making that roguish build of yours, keep in mind if he can be killed all too easily by one way or another. Below, I will present some handy tips to overcome these obstacles without the need of magical aid (for useful magical items, refer to Yekoj's thread).


1. The +10d6 Sneak Attack myth

Having the higher Sneak Attack possible is not always the best option. Your huge sneak attack is of no use if you attack only once in a round with a low, low BAB. It's better to have a lowier sneak attack, suck as +6d6, but with high BAB, 2-weapon fighting and flurry. By focusing too much on SA, you forget the rest. Of course, every rogue wants the maximum SA possible, but remember: that's not all.


2. Scarce Feats

Specially for melee rogues, feats are scarce, to the point that that nifty feat chain is a dream achievable only by 15th level. You don't want that, do you?

Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Guild Thief 3 is an excellent starting point. In 8 levels, you have pretty much the same goodies a Rogue 8 has (including +4d6 SA), with the addition of 3 bonus feats and somewhat better hit points. You do lose some skill points, though, but it's worth it for any melee rogue.


3. Low BAB

The best tip here is this: with 16 levels of Rogue, you need only 4 levels of a full BAB class to have +16 BAB by level 20. The easy way to accomplish that is going Rogue 16/Nightsong Enforcer 4, for +10d6 SA - just as much as a straight Rogue, and you don't lose much.

Nightsong Enforcer is, btw, a key Prestige Class for any melee rogue. Good dips are at 1st, 4th, or 7th level, when you gain an extra SA die, and at 6th, when you gain optimal saves and Opportunist feature.

And, of course, we have the rather common Invisible Blade and his best friend, the Master Thrower. Oddly enough, Whisperknife is sort of a mix of both. Ronin grants +1d6 SA at 1st level, but it's harder to qualify to.


4. Low AC

Yes, Rogues have high Dex - so what? You still can't wear heavy armor and you don't have feats to spare. What to do?

One of them is going Whisper Gnome. If you take Dodge/Titan Fighting chain, you have, compared to a human, a total of +7 AC (+1 Dex, +1 size, +1 dodge, +4 TF) against opponents larger than you, which means pretty much everyone from mid-low levels & up. 2 feats are not that much if you start as suggested in 1.2.

The halfling-only feats in RotW and the Whisperknife PrC have some good bonus to AC as well.

The Thief-Acrobat PrC grants nice bonuses as well. 2 levels will do.

Combat Expertise is also a good choice, but it's useless if your BAB is too low. If you manage a BAB of +17 or +18, maybe you'll find some good usage for this feat, specially if you have Weapon Finesse and uber-high Dex.

The Citadel Elite prestige class (Sharn, City of Towers) grants +4 BAB, good Will saves, +4 AC, possibly +4 to hit, and 2 bonus feats in 4 levels. They also have 4 skill points. It seems to be about the best way to surpass all rogue weaknesses at once. Too bad the concept doesn't fit for many rogues around. The 5th level is also nice, with a further +1 on everything above. It's not as necessary as the previous 4, though.

Edit: the Sharn errata completely nerfed the Citadel Elite, to the point of turning it into a complete waste.

Skullclan Hunter 4 (MiniHB) grants permanent Protection From Evil, which means +2 AC against evil.

Monk 1 grants Wis to AC. Wisdom is usually a dump stat for Monks, but you can grab the Carmendine Monk feat from Champions of Valor, which lets you add your Int instead of Wis to AC. There’s a good synergy in there with Invisible Blade’s Unfettered Defense.

Arcane Rogues, of course, can rely on their spells, but I think that's pretty much obvious, right?


5. Poor saves

The low fort save is somewhat compensated by the fact that there's a good synergy between rogue and many melee classes (such as Fighter, Swashbuckler, or Ranger), and also with the fact that Rogues appreciate a good Con.

The Rogue's weak will save, though, gets even worse by multiclassing into the said melee classes, and Wis is often the dump stat for most rogues. In addition, almost all roguish prestige classes have low Will. That said, herein lies one of the major rogues weaknesses.

The first way to surpass that is by taking Divine Grace somehow. Of course, this only works if you have a decent Cha... however, with a starting 14 and a +6 cloak, we've got something. Of course, only melee or roguish prestige classes matter... Paladin 2, Slayer of Domiel 2, and Soldier of Light 2 all grant Divine Grace at low levels. I'm pretty sure there are more, but I'm not aware of.

The other way is picking those few roguish prestige classes that have good Will saves, after all. Temple Raider of Olidammara (CD) is even worse now than in 3.0, with more restrict spell list and the lack of a domain, but a 2- or 5- level dip is still good, as the requirements are pretty easy. Skullclan Hunter (MiniHB) is a nice PrC as well, but requires Turn Undead, which is better accomplished by Soldier of Light 2 or Cleric 1. Yup. That's right... 1 level of Cleric grants Turn Undead, +2 will saves, and, possibly, 2 bonus feats, if you choose your domains wisely. That said, it's not a bad thing at all!

Skullclan Hunter 4, as previously stated, also grants permament Protection from Evil, granting good protection against mind-affecting spells from evil creatures.

The Force of Personality feat (CV) lets you use Cha mod instead of Wis for Will saves. Only works if you have good Cha (ideal for social rogues, that is), and it synergizes nicely with Divine Grace.

The Keen Intellect feat (Draon Magazine #?) substitutes your Wis mod for the Int one for Will saves, as well as for wis-based skills.


6. Reliance on flanking

It's irritating when you just don't get the opportunity to flank your foe in time to deal some good damage before your fellows shifter druid and frenzied berserker cut the critter into ribbons.

That said, the first way to offset that is, obviously, by improving your flanking options. The Superior Flanking teamwork (HoB) and Tactical Soldier 1 (MiniHB) both let you flank more easily. You could also beg your druid to summon more critters before unleashing hell in melee. The more allies you have, the more chances you'll have to flank.

Perhaps, though, you just don't want to rely on anyone else all the time. So, the second way is having a secondary source of damage besides sneak attack. Normally, solely pumping up your Str is not a good deal, since rogues usually wield 2 weapons - the optimal choice for sneak attackers. Thus, it's best to choose damage sources compatible with 2 weapon fighting. Some of these are:

Edit: There are quite a few options oin PHB2 with that regard, which I’ll add later. Not to mention Tome of Battle, which I haven’t aquired yet.


  • Divine Might: Since turn undead is a good way to achieve higher will saves somehow, make it a package and pick this feat. +Cha to damage to all your attacks in a given round.

  • Champion of Corellon 2: 2 levels and there you go: Dex to damage. Plus, you have good Will save and a bonus feat to offset the high feat investment. The quintessential roguish warrior PrC, IMO.

  • Swashbuckler 3: In 3 levels, you net a useful bonus feat (Weapon Finesse), 4 skill pts/level, d10 HD, full BAB, good Fort, and add Int to damage. Great 3-level dip class, but remember it's a base class, thus incurring in XP penalties if you don't plan ahead. Rogue 3/Swashbuckler 3 is an awesome start.

  • Dervish: but then you'll deviate too much from rogue, specially since Dervish kicks ass in melee. You'll end up being more of a fighter than a rogue. Anyway, it has good saves, nice skill pts, full BAB, and incredible AC. As good for rogues as for anyone else.

  • Improved Sigil: Aesh: only available to Illumians, may add up to +6 damage to every attack. Nice. Edit: not overly so. Upon re-reading the race features, it seems that you’re only allowed a maximum of 2 sigils, which means only a +2 to damage. Not bad, but not that good either.

  • Favored Enemy: evil: the easier way to have this is by taking 2 levels of Stalker of Kahash (BoED). 2 levels of Harper Paragon (PGtF) also grant it, but that's better for spellcasters. You may improve your Fav Enemy bonus via Ranger 5, Harper Paragon 5, Nemesis (evil), or the Improved Favored Enemy (evil) feat. Refer to one of the many "Stalker of Evil" threads around. Oversized 2wf + Power Attack + Favored Power Attack, if not really roguish, may lead to good results.

  • Invisible Blade 5: Invisible Blade has feint as a free action, which means you have the possibility to sneak even without someone to flank with you. It was gravely nerfed in a recent errata: now they can only feint once a round. Not every DM knows this errata exists, however.

  • Improved Feint: This feat makes you IB's poor cousin. It takes a move action instead of a free action to feint, in this case.

  • Flurry: At any case, 1 level of Monk is excellent for a melee Rogue. +2 to all saves, 4 skill points, and flurry! Since your damage will be based more on Sneak Attack dice than your actual weapon, you can use any finesseable monk weapon and you'll be fine.




7. Undead & constructs

Rogues are useless when fighting undead, constructs, and oozes. For the latter, there's no solution, but there are ways to fight the former 2.

To fight undead, the best way is to pick 3 levels of Skullclan Hunter (yes, him again). 2 levels grant Divine Strike, but hey, the 3rd level grants immunity to undead fear and +1d6 SA, so, it won't hurt. Divine Strike lets you sneak attack undead. Freely.

The feat Razing Strike doesn't let you exactly sneak attack Undead or Constructs, but lets you sacrify spell slots to deal some GOOD damage against these creatures. It requires sneak attack ability, and affects undead if your spells are divine, or constructs, if arcane. Of course, undead are usually much more common than constructs, and divine rogues are not that great... so, UMD + Wand of Gravestrike (or Golemstrike) is still your best bet. Too bad you can't wield 2 weapons that way. Edit: spell trigger magical items always take a standard action to activate. That means that these wands are actually poor choices.



Champion of Corellon Larethian (RotW)
Citadel Elte (Sharn)
Dervish (CW)
Guild Thief (FRCS)
Harper Paragon (PGtF)
Invisible Blade (CW)
Master Thrower (CW)
Nightsong Enforcer (CV)
Ronin (CW)
Skullclan Hunter (MiniHB)
Slayer of Domiel (BoED)
Stalker of Kahash (BoED)
Soldier of Light (D&D)
Temple Raider of Olidammara (CD)
Whisperknife (RotW)



IV. Feats



  • Able Learner (RoD): a must-have for most multiclass rogues.
  • Arcane Strike (CW): this one, of course, only works with arcane rogues. It's nice, but far from being a must-have, since you don't power attack anyway and you won't have that many slots to spare. Take it if you have feats to spare for some reason, or if you want to maximize your Combat Exertise without losing too much.
  • Ascetic Rogue (CV): it's a really good feat if your DM lets you use the chart text, which is overruled by the description. The chart text states you add Rogue and Monk levels to determine Sneak Attack. It sucks otherwise.
  • Blooded (PGtF): some multiple bonuses that are useful for anyone. It lets you use Cumbrous Will for free, but that's a harsh investment.
  • Carmendine Monk (CoV): use Int bonus instead of Wis monk bonus to AC, plus some other goodies.
  • Close-quarters Fighting (CW): only useful if you have a reasonable damage source other than SA. Otherwise, you're better off with Escape Artist.
  • Combat Expertise: one good way to increase your AC. It's also pre-requisite for some good feats, and to the awesome Champion of Corellon PrC (RotW).
  • Combat Reflexes: not that great, since not that many rogues will ever use a reach weapon. It's good if you have the Opportunist class feature, and, if you take tis feat, it'worth it to take Double Hit as well, if appropriate.
  • Confound the Big Folk (RotW): man, this feat is awesome! It's a good reason to be a halfling.
  • Craven (CoR): the ultimate sneak attacker feat. It's so great that it's worth it to avoid taking 3 levels of Paladin, since you can't take this feat if you're immune to fear. Given the option, take Paladin of Freedom (UA) instead.
  • Cumbrous Will (SavSp): +6 to will saves, but you become shaken, unless you have the Blooded feat. You'll also need Iron Will as a pre-requisite. I saw this trick first used by Funny Slaughter... it's quite good, but few rogues will have enough feats to spare.
  • Darkstalker (LoM): use your hide to foil Blindsight. Mandatory for high levels.
  • Deadly Precision (XPH, SRD): reroll the 1s you've rolled in your sneak attack. Nice, but overall wore than Craven… but hey, why not take both?
  • Dive for Cover (CV): simply perfect for a Thief-Acrobat 1. Never fail a Ref save again.
  • Double Hit (CW): nice synergy with Sneak Attack, it also works wonderfully with the Elusive Target feat and the Opportunist class feature.
  • Double Wand Wielder (CA): arcane rogues can unleash hell with this feat, specially since one of the pre-requisites for this feat is likely to be fulfilled anyway (2wf).
  • Dual Strike (CV): avoid this one! It doesn't work with SA.
  • Force of Personality (CV): an odd way to increase your will saves if your Wis sucks and your Cha is great.
  • Elusive Target (CW): harsh prerequisites, but it's an awesome defensive feat.
  • Hamstring (CW): it's quite good, but, given the choice, I'd take Staggering Strike. On the other hand, both synergize quite well. Good for Spring Attackers.
  • Improved Initiative: a nice 1st level feat, when you don't have BAB enough to pick anything else besides this and 2wf.
  • Keen Intellect (Dragon Magazine): Add Int mod instead of Will for will saves and wis-based skills.
  • Kung Fu Genius (Dragon Magazine): Uses Int instead of Wis to AC. Good for multiclassed Monk/Rogues, specially if your DM allows Ascetic Rogue to work like the chart text. Edit: Carmendine Monk from Champions of Valor is just plainly better.
  • Improved Feint (CW): it requires a move action to activate this, so, that means you can't attack with 2 weapons. Make sure your Bluff is uber-high if you pick this feat.
  • Razing Strike (CV): a good way to damage undead and constructs. Only works with divine and arcane rogues, respectively.
  • Sacred Strike (BoED): use d8s instead of d6s for SA. Pre-requisite for the good Slayer of Domiel PrC.
  • Silencing Strike (RoS): Whisper Gnome-only. Good for an assassin-like fellow.
  • Spell Hand (CA): useful to qualify for Arcane Trickster if your spell list doesn't grant Mage Hand (such as Nar Demonbinder).
  • Staggering Strike (CV): very useful if your damage is high enough.
  • Titan Fighting (RoS): available only to dwarfs and gnomes, and it's specially good for the latter. +4 AC against pretty much everyone.
  • Two-weapon Fighting: the easiest way to double your damage output.
  • Weapon Finesse: no rogue should get past level 3 without this one.
V. Builds

Nightsong Enforcer is a key PrC for many multiclass rogues, unless you follow the arcae or divine route. Many of the melee builds are open from levels 10 & up... remember, Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Guild Thief 3/Nightsong Enforcer 1 is an excellent beginning. Just make sure you improve your sucky will saves somehow and you're set!

More builds to come later.


Melee Rogues

Rogue 16/Nightsong Enforcer 4
Rogue 3/Swashbuckler 3/Invisible Blade 5/Duelist 8/Nightsong Enforcer 1
Rogue 3/Ranger 2/Invisible Blade 5/Nightsong Enforcer 7/Guild Thief 3
Rogue 5/Monk 1/Fighter 2/Shou Disciple 3/Dervish 3/Nightsong Enforcer 6
Rogue 3/Bard 4/Fighter 2/Arcane Duelist 4/Nightsong Enforcer 7
Rogue 4/Fighter 2/Guild Thief 3/Nightsong Enforcer 1/Occult Slayer 5/Invisible Blade 5
Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Invisible Blade 5/Whisperknife 10 (halfling)
Rogue 7/Fighter 2/Warshaper 4/Nightsong Enforcer 7 (changeling)
Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Guild Thief 3/Nightsong Enforcer 6/Champion of Corellon 2/Citadel Elite 4 (elf or half-elf)
Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Guild Thief 3/Nightsong Enforcer 1/Champion of Corellon 2/Duelist 9 (elf or half-elf)


Holy Rogues

Rogue 4/Fighter 2/Soldier of Light 2/Skullclan Hunter 4/Nightsong Enforcer 7
Rogue 3/Paladin 4/Shadowbane Inquisitor 7/Nightsong Enforcer 1/Slayer of Domiel 5


Arcane Rogues

Rogue 3/Fighter 1/Wizard 1/Daggerspell Mage 10/Arcane Trickster 4/Spellsword 1
Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Daggerspell Mage 10/Arcane Trickster 4/Wizard +1 (illumian)
Rogue 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon 3/Daggerspell Mage 10/Arcane Trickster 4/Wizard +1
Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Daggerspell Mage 5/Arcane Trickster 10
Rogue 1/Ex-Paladin 1/Blackguard 10/Nar Demonbinder 2/Arcane Trickster 4/Spellsword 2



Divine Rogues

Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Ur-priest 4/Scar Enforcer 8/Dragonslayer 3 (Half-Elf, triple threat)


Plus, see The 3.5 Rogue Thread
I will definitely need this one, too.
Bump.

Really, no comments whatsoever? I mean, come on... I'm trying to do something good. I've seen clamors for a 3.5 Rogue Handbook for quite a while. There quite a lot of views and not one comments? I will not continue this unless anyone's interested.
I see you have analyzed Illumians and Whisper Gnomes, why not take all races from the Races books? I mean, Catfolk are great also for exampel.

Might want to make some build examples for different rogues. Damage rogue, assassin rogue, face rogue, trapspringer rogue, scout rogue.

How about some words on the Psionic Rogue and the Wilderness Rogue.

Multiclass rogue with what? How does the rogue synergize with the other base classes, and what penalties would you get. How could you ofset these penalties with feats? Kung-fu Genius for a Monk/Rogue.

I like the format. Might want to make a table of contents or something. I for one would love some builds, did I already say this? I think of mean_liars monk handbook, nice builds, the crunchy part. Sells your work. :D
Looks good. Some of these thread do need a little updating since there creators disappeared off the face of the earth and negleted them. How about some of the builds and items from the new books? Don't lose heart, great work takes time to get noticed. Just keep working hard at it, and they will come.
I see you have analyzed Illumians and Whisper Gnomes, why not take all races from the Races books? I mean, Catfolk are great also for exampel.

Might want to make some build examples for different rogues. Damage rogue, assassin rogue, face rogue, trapspringer rogue, scout rogue.

How about some words on the Psionic Rogue and the Wilderness Rogue.

Multiclass rogue with what? How does the rogue synergize with the other base classes, and what penalties would you get. How could you ofset these penalties with feats? Kung-fu Genius for a Monk/Rogue.

I like the format. Might want to make a table of contents or something. I for one would love some builds, did I already say this? I think of mean_liars monk handbook, nice builds, the crunchy part. Sells your work. :D

Agreed. And also, for some, add some unofficial stuff and variants (ea. Dragon mag and Unearthed Arcana) for those who allow it. Me... I like them legal and official so keep those updated and coming as well. I like the Updated Druid Handbook format myself. Every thing is label to where I could find it and its easy on the eyes. Don't forget the salt.
I'll leave Psionics and Dragons for whoever wanst to colaborate... I don't use those, so, I can't help with that. I didn't write anything on catfolk and the like because I usually foirget +1&up LA races exist. I will give a look and will also write something about some good templates.

As for the builds, I haven't started that part yet. Thanks for the replies; I will proceed soon.
I'd add Rilkan (Incarnum) to the Races list. The substitution levels are superb, and include Flanking bonus and Bardic Knowledge.

I'm normally averse to Dragon Magazine, but the 3.5 Oriental Adventures update may be passable by DMs who otherwise veto Dragon and it has:

- Keen Intellect: Use your Int. mod on Will Saves and for some wisdom skill checks. Great for Rogues.
Looking forward, I love rogues. Im sure PhaedrusXY have some mean builds that will suit this thread great.
I'd add Rilkan (Incarnum) to the Races list. The substitution levels are superb, and include Flanking bonus and Bardic Knowledge.

I'm normally averse to Dragon Magazine, but the 3.5 Oriental Adventures update may be passable by DMs who otherwise veto Dragon and it has:

- Keen Intellect: Use your Int. mod on Will Saves and for some wisdom skill checks. Great for Rogues.

I will add that. As for Incarnum, I don't own the book, so, if you want to write something, just PM me and I'll post it. That's for whoever is interested in that.
Great. Love the rogues, so keep the good hints/yips/builds/etc coming.
Updated.
I've posted some builds. There are still a lot more to come, but I won't have time post them until sunday afternoon or so.
hi Sang-Drax,
great to see you working on such a valuable ressource, going to add it to the build FAQ of course.

as a proposal: post rogue-builds to the 3.5 rogue builds thread (linked in the build faq). it was mucknuggles and my initial concept to keep the advisory (this thread) and the builds (the other thread) seperated to allow people to comment on both things seperately.

gs
Funny
The Skulk (2HD+1LA) from races of destiny is really good for a hide&sneak build.
The following is pretty much well-known by the C.O. Regulars. But for new folks, the following is a key primer for new folks.

Special mention should be made of the ever-popular "Rogue 16 / XXX 4" builds (hereby tagged as R16 builds).

R16 builds are usually preferable to R20 builds. This is due to the fact that in a quick 4 level sidetrip, you can accumulate a lot of frontloaded and synergetic class abilities that mesh well with the various "pure" Rogue archetypes. Alternately, it allows you to compensate for some of the R20's glaring weaknesses (WILL save being the biggest).

The selection process for fleshing out those 4 levels is the tough part. There's a lot of core classes and PrC's to mix-&-match from. Some key selection criteria for choosing these 4 levels are:

1. At least a +3 BAB total ... +4 preferably. A Warlock-4 dip is a good example of a strong +3 option. +4 is highly emphasized because of it's ability to get you a BAB +16.

2. Significant bolstering of your weak WILL and/or FORT saves. And of course, "Divine Grace"-like class abilities from Pal-2, SoL-2, Hexblade-2, etc. are helpful here.

3. Maintain continuity of your Rogue skill suite. This is not always important, but oft-times, a Ranger-2 dip can get you a lot more than a Fighter-2 dip if skills are very important to you.

4. Stack up on the Goodies! In your 4 levels, you need to cherry-pick and pack-in as many class abilities, feats, skill ranks, etc. as possible so that you do not regret taking those last 4 levels of Rogue.

***

That said, my fave R16 is this human build:

Rogue 16 / Soldier of Light 2 / KotMC 1 / Nightsong Enforcer 1

And that's for a Holy Rogue with a high CHA and a TWF fighting emphasis. Even the Power Attack feat does not go to waste here (pre-req. for Divine Might) if you fight with a quarterstaff or you use the Oversized TWF feat with, say, Longswords.

Feat selection is fairly modular, depending upon your campaign style. I.I., PA/Divine Might, and the TWF/GTWF feats are mandatory. Other good ones throughout various stages of the build include Dreadful Wrath, Darkstalker, Nymph's Kiss, etc.

***

For R16 builds with a 1 or 2 level dip of Ranger ... you should think of playing the UA "Wilderness Rogue" to get Survival as a class skill and as a compliment to your Ranger Track feat.

For R16 builds that want to "pounce" with their TWF emphasis ... you should look into your XXX4 levels as being Singh Rager-4 (OA). For Charisma Rogues with Dreadful Wrath, this can be a strong acquisition. Singh Rager has 2 good saves (FORT & WILL), fighterly BAB & HD, access to Iaijitsu skill, and other nice class bennies.

***

Tons more ... but I gotta run.
The following is pretty much well-known by the C.O. Regulars. But for new folks, the following is a key primer for new folks.

Special mention should be made of the ever-popular "Rogue 16 / XXX 4" builds (hereby tagged as R16 builds).

R16 builds are usually preferable to R20 builds. This is due to the fact that in a quick 4 level sidetrip, you can accumulate a lot of frontloaded and synergetic class abilities that mesh well with the various "pure" Rogue archetypes. Alternately, it allows you to compensate for some of the R20's glaring weaknesses (WILL save being the biggest).

The selection process for fleshing out those 4 levels is the tough part. There's a lot of core classes and PrC's to mix-&-match from. Some key selection criteria for choosing these 4 levels are:

1. At least a +3 BAB total ... +4 preferably. A Warlock-4 dip is a good example of a strong +3 option. +4 is highly emphasized because of it's ability to get you a BAB +16.

2. Significant bolstering of your weak WILL and/or FORT saves. And of course, "Divine Grace"-like class abilities from Pal-2, SoL-2, Hexblade-2, etc. are helpful here.

3. Maintain continuity of your Rogue skill suite. This is not always important, but oft-times, a Ranger-2 dip can get you a lot more than a Fighter-2 dip if skills are very important to you.

4. Stack up on the Goodies! In your 4 levels, you need to cherry-pick and pack-in as many class abilities, feats, skill ranks, etc. as possible so that you do not regret taking those last 4 levels of Rogue.

***

That said, my fave R16 is this human build:

Rogue 16 / Soldier of Light 2 / KotMC 1 / Nightsong Enforcer 1

And that's for a Holy Rogue with a high CHA and a TWF fighting emphasis. Even the Power Attack feat does not go to waste here (pre-req. for Divine Might) if you fight with a quarterstaff or you use the Oversized TWF feat with, say, Longswords.

Feat selection is fairly modular, depending upon your campaign style. I.I., PA/Divine Might, and the TWF/GTWF feats are mandatory. Other good ones throughout various stages of the build include Dreadful Wrath, Darkstalker, Nymph's Kiss, etc.

***

For R16 builds with a 1 or 2 level dip of Ranger ... you should think of playing the UA "Wilderness Rogue" to get Survival as a class skill and as a compliment to your Ranger Track feat.

For R16 builds that want to "pounce" with their TWF emphasis ... you should look into your XXX4 levels as being Singh Rager-4 (OA). For Charisma Rogues with Dreadful Wrath, this can be a strong acquisition. Singh Rager has 2 good saves (FORT & WILL), fighterly BAB & HD, access to Iaijitsu skill, and other nice class bennies.

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Tons more ... but I gotta run.

Nice. Now thats how its done.

[Edit] Which books are Dreadful Wrath and Darkstalker located, sounds fun.
Not much to add, but one little mention: the word is spelled "synergy."
One other nitpick...

The plural of bonus is bonuses not boni
The Guild Thief (FRCS) was replaced by the Shadow Thief of Amn (Player's Guide to Faerun) in 3.5. The class is virtually identical except that the requirements have been increased to include 3 ranks in bluff and the persuasive feat. I honestly think that the Assassin (DMG) has more to offer, especially if you can ignore the evil alignment requirement.

I am hesistant as to the inclusion the Soldier of Light (Deities & Demigods) on the prestige class list as its level 1 turning runs counter to the 3.5 trend of delaying melee classes' acquisition of the turn undead abilty.

Also, intstead of Knight of the Middle Circle (Defenders of the Faith), I would instead recommend the Justiciar of Taiia (Deities & Demigods) as it gains the same Combat Sense in additionan to sneak attack, divination abilites and tertiary divine spellcasting.

Of course, I am somewhat hesitant to include any of these PrCs period as my current gaming group has an ill-conceived prejudice against any campaign-setting-related material as well as any material not explicitly updated to 3.5 (irrational, I know). As I doubt I am the only one with these sorts of limitations, it may be a good idea to subdivide builds by sets of supplements allowed.
Ok, come now... I know the Shadow Thief of Amn, but the PrCs are only updated if there's something officially stating that. That holds true both to GT as to SoL. I mean, SoL is a horribly broken PrC compared to the paladin. However, nowhere is it stated that it has been updated. So, according to the 3.5 conversion rules, it still works.

One other nitpick...

The plural of bonus is bonuses not boni

Really? it's not my mother language, but isn't this one of those cases with weird plural because it's a Latin word, such as pegasus/pegasi, mage/magi or bacteria/bacteriae? I've seen "boni" quite a few times on these boards.
English has a few words with unstable plurals like cactus (cactuses/cacti), octopus (octopuses/octopi), ninja (ninjas/ninja), and formula (formulas/formulae). "Bonus" looks enough like the Latin pattern that "boni" makes sense, but the majority use "bonuses".

Also, the plural of "bacteria" is "bacteria". Its singular is "bacterium". Latin neuter pattern, also followed by "datum"/"data" although "data" is shifting to a singular mass noun.
"Have a nice day." - Guardia de Mieux Every time a peasant child goes to bed with a full stomach, somewhere a druid cries. Qui istal tengwa quentele sina, orinyel hauta tengwa ar auta et coalyallo.
How about the chameleon PRC? It can be a combat rogue, arcane rogue & IHMO probaly about the best divine casting rogue about.


human rogue4/swashbuckler3/Chameleon10/nightsong enforcer3
arcane & combat focus,
mimic SA & X,
ability boons +6 int & dex

1.otherworldly, able learner
3.TWF
6.improved toughness
9.craven, X
12. ITWF
15.GTWF
18.X
The reasons it make a great combat rogue is 16 BaB, TWF, int>damage, compitence bonuses to attack/damage, 6D6 SA & 6th level arcane spells. The best ones are nightstalkers transformation (another 3D6 SA) & draconic polymorph (used for kelvezu for & another 6D6 SA)
I'm pretty sure the plural for bacteria is bacteriae! :P


Khazra, the Chameleon deserves its own thread, I think. It's worth taking 7-10 levels, which means you'll be much more of a Chamaleon than a Rogue, hence the absence of builds using this PrC.
I'm pretty sure the plural for bacteria is bacteriae! :P
QUOTE]
bacterium....maybe
I'm pretty sure the plural for bacteria is bacteriae! :P

That's like saying the plural of cats is catses. Cats is already plural. :P
"Have a nice day." - Guardia de Mieux Every time a peasant child goes to bed with a full stomach, somewhere a druid cries. Qui istal tengwa quentele sina, orinyel hauta tengwa ar auta et coalyallo.
That's like saying the plural of cats is catses. Cats is already plural. :P

Fun english word make me. Happy word I am.

In other words, who cares. Stick with the topic.
That's like saying the plural of cats is catses. Cats is already plural. :P

So says Sméagol :-p
first thing....


second, which book is CV agein?? I know what the others mean... and its not in the Wizards dictionary either
Races of the Wild has Wildrunner, which grants both hide in plain sight and pounce (elf/half-elf only).

I'm not seeing wand of gravestrike as that great. The spell lasts for one round, and that means you can't get many attacks in, since you have to activate the wand.

It seems to me that a level of cleric is far better if you want to go that route. I'd suggest instead that a wand of searing light will give you more mileage. It's even good against fungi and such, and rogues should be able to hit a touch AC all day long.

Overall, this is a solid thread. No worries there.
Amen Rara. Great thread but I don't come here for english lessons.
Has anyone considered the Gestalt variants from UA?
Make sure to add in the MT's sneaky shot feat at level 1. It's like a sneaky spring attack with a throwing weapon, leaving a melee rogue able to focus on two-weapon fighting. For example, rogue 3, Fighter 2, IB 1, Mt1, IB.....

Also synergizes well with whisperknife as you already stated.
Nobody's suggested Rogue 8/Soldier of Light 2/Skullclan Hunter 10?
I see quite a few combat rogues, but few skill-monkeys. What about the classic Rogue 5 / Thief-Acrobat 5 / Exemplar 10?
Nobody's suggested Rogue 8/Soldier of Light 2/Skullclan Hunter 10?

Thats because some fear the books in which those two PrC stem and considered overpowering. As for myself, me gusta mucho. Bien hecho senior Blade2718, bien hecho
my favorite is rogue 3/fighter 2/assassin 8/teflamar shadowlord 6/+1 class of your choice

its not overpowered, not weak and just fun to play...
7. Undead & constructs

Rogues are useless when fighting undead, constructs, and oozes. For the latter, there's no solution, but there are ways to fight the former 2.

This isnt quite right, get your hands on the spell Grave Striker and you can sneak attack undead. 1st level divine spell from Complete Adventurer. Perhaps as scrolls or potions?
This isnt quite right, get your hands on the spell Grave Striker and you can sneak attack undead. 1st level divine spell from Complete Adventurer. Perhaps as scrolls or potions?

Wand would be best, UMD to use it. The problem is that it lasts for 1 round if I remember right, so you'd be casting the spell one round, sneak attacking second round, casting the spell again third round, sneak attacking fourth round, etc. There is also a spell in the same book for sneak attacking constructs. And I think (don't remember for sure) that in some book there is a spell for sneak attacking plants, but that may just be my memory failing me. :D
Okay, I wanted to drop my own small pointer.

From the 3.0 Fiend Folio comes the race 'Feytouched'. They are basicly Feys with more humanoid apearances, mostly they become loners and they have some 'feyish' touch about them.

Feytouched
Medium-Size Fey
30 ft
Spelllike Ability: Charm Person 1/day (DC 11, casterlevel is characterlevel)
Special Quallities: Immunity to Mind-Affecting Effects, Lowlight Vision
+2 dex, -2 con, +2 cha
+0 fort, +2 reflex, +2 will
+0 BAB
Bonus Skills: +2 on Hide and Move Silently
Alignment: Usually Chaotic
Favored Class: Bard or Rogue

Please note that they are Fey, which means that spells with 'humanoid' as a target in the description don't target you.

All that for a +1 LA.
Nice work overall, keep it up. ;)