So, here you are. You want to kill, but you want to do it with a little flair, a little style. You want to look good while you do it. Any old rogue can grab a dagger and a rapier and run around slashing and stabbing and making a mess of things. You want something better, something more elite. Well, it ain't easy, and often, it ain't pretty. But in the end, you can raise your head up high, proud of what you've done. Oh, and that tickling at the back of your neck, that feeling someone is ready to pounce on you...
Ok, so, bare with me as I make my first attempt with a handbook here. Not my first introduction to RPG writing, as I did work with the FANCC back in the yester-years of 3rd edition, but I've always been more a fan of the unique and exciting, rather than the overpowered. But I will do my best for you here. It will take a while to get this all put together, and I encourage (no, request) your help in evaluations, interpretations, and raw brain power.
That basic stuff every handbook needs to get out of the way (hint, if any of this is confusing to you, it is the same as almost any other handbook, so I'm just repeating it to be complete, but hiding it to not waste space) Spoiler:Show
This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:
Red - Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option. Often, actually makes you worse at your job. Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh. Won't actively hurt you. Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this. Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this. Sky Blue - You want this. Period. Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build.
Green - A few things that I can't really tell where or how they will work. Remember that the garrote rogue is about style and being memorable. This means, among other things, that these might be more appealing than under other builds, if you can find the room, of course.
This Handbook covers the following sources:
(don't know yet, but probably a bunch of them, I'll point out most things when I get to it, and come back to this later)
Ok, this Handbook doesn't include everything, every nuance, every tidbit!
That is correct. In fact, I am skipping whole sections like skills that are common to most other handbooks. Why? Because I don't have anything new or novel to say about them. In fact, if you see something not mentioned in the book, it is safe to assume I agree with what has been said here.
The most obvious advantage is style, flavor, panache. Any striker can pick up a weapon and have-to (heck, even barbarians and strikers can, not exactly an exclusive club). It takes style to use a weapon that no one else can (yes, yes, I see you assassins waving your hands, you don't count), and using a (as originally written) attack option that is almost never useful. Not only that, but you can make it work to amazing effect.
Also, rogues are a dime a dozen out there. Being unique (I'm not that kind of rogue) makes you (and your character) special and memorable. So why play a garrote rogue? Because you dare to do the unthinkable. Dream the impossible dream.
Ok, so, specifically, what do you gain by being a garrote rogue? A high strength (essential for actually grabbing people) makes your BrutalScoundrel feature amazing. getting a +3-4 damage at first level to almost every attack you make is amazing. Also, remember you are getting Sneak Attack damage almost every round too, because you always have CA against whatever you have grabbed. This makes you a very consistent rogue.
Ok, but it's not as easy as it sounds, right?
No, it's not. In fact, sometimes, to be honest, you will be nearly worthless in the wrong combat. Other times you will drop when your buddies need you the most. You will see amazing powers and feats, and walk on by them because they don't work for your tightly pigioned-hole build. You are giving up a bunch by focusing so tightly, and sometimes you will miss it.
So what are you giving up? Obviously, your weapon damage is laughable. This, unfortunately, also affects your nova damage (or "I do a whole bunch of damage in one turn/round" damage). As with all rogues, your front-line survivability is not the greatest, but not the worst. The bad news is, one of the key aspects of rogues (and most strikers), mobility, is by necessity, severely reduced. Oh, you still have it to get to the target when you want to, but once you are there, you aren't moving far, and that means the monsters can find you and whollop you back. Now, none of this is insurmountable, and with the right tactics and party, these liabilities can be turned into advantages (see later).
Ok, how does the grab attack action really work?
Well, no one is really sure, to be honest. There is a lot that is not answered, and a lot that is left open to interpretation, especially when comparing RAW and RAI, or when comparing Rules Text to Flavor Text. It also depends, of course, on what items and feats you have, and the interpretation options can lead to a whole array of options. That said, here is the most commonly accepted math. As always, when in doubt, work with your DM. (LFR folk, prepare to have your DM disagree and screw you over. Sorry, but that's how it works sometimes.)
For someone proficient in garrotes (and using a garrote in both hands), the Grab attack action is:
Standard action Melee - 1 Strength vs Reflex attack deals 1[W] (1d4) damage, and imposes the "Grabbed" effect on the target till the end of your next turn. (This grabbed effect (although not the damage) may be sustained as a minor action.)
Note that although it deals weapon damage, it is not actually a weapon attack, and thus does not gain bonuses from enhancements of magical weapons on either attack or damage, nor does it gain the proficiency bonus from garrotes, nor does it do strength modifier damage on top of the 1[W]. It does, though, gain bonuses to damage from other items or feats, such as Iron Armbands of Power.
Again, this interpretation is not universal.
There are those who feel (understandably), that by the grab attack action gaining a weapon damage (by virtue of being used by a proficient garrote user), the attack must be a weapon attack, as (with only a few rare and convoluted exceptions) only weapon attacks do weapon damage. If this is to be logically followed, the attack not only gains enhancement modifiers from magical garrotes, but also the +3 proficiency bonus from the garrote as well. This can be compared to the Grasping Weapon, which allows all of the above, but as it is a magical item giving these effects and bonuses, the comparison isn't exact.
Obviously, this interpretation is much more powerful for the player, but the interpretation makes some leaps in logic that aren't fully supported by the rules as written.
For the purposes of this handbook, we will use only the top interpretation, as it is the one that is fully and unequivocally supported by the rules.
Like most super-specialized builds of any class, the more base options you have, then better character you will end up with. As with most cases, this means that the original version (in this case Scoundrel) is better than the essentials version (Thief). That said, you don't lose out as much with the Thief as you might think at first thought.
While it is true that the Grab attack action does not count as a Basic attack, there is little reason you can't make Basic attacks after you have your target grabbed. Basic attacks are one of the easiest things in the game to boost, and the Thief is no exception to that.
All that said, the Scoundrel is still the better choice, if only because of the Brutal Scoundrel class feature. If you want to learn more about Thief options, I will point you to here. For the purposes of this handbook, however, we will focus on the Scoundral.
The Hybrid Question
Ok, so, the question that is always on everyone's mind since PHB3: To Hybrid or not. A character can gain a lot by hybridizing, but can also lose a lot too, if one isn't careful. Obviously, it is an option when building a Garrote Rogue, so let's spend some time exploring that.
While likely, it is possible that we lose access to leather proficiency (Avenger or Monk, for instance). This is HUGE, not because it can't be overcome, but because that 2 AC costs us a feat. As you will see later on, feats are precious to us, and having to spend another feat just so we are on par with other garrote rogues hurts
We lose (most likely) +1 to Reflex. Not a huge hit, but anything that allows our targets to escape more easily is always dangerous.
Sneak Attack ONLY works on Rogue attacks. This is normal for hybrid strikers, but is even more important for us than most hybrid strikers, as one of our more common attacks is the Grab Attack. We are losing out on a lot of damage here.
We lose out on First Strike too. While not a huge deal, it is yet another lose of SA damage each encounter. While it can be regained (or even surpassed) with a feat, again, we likely do not have feats to spare.
And finally we lose out on Rogue Tactics (AKA Brutal Scoundral). As with the armor issues, this can be regained with a feat, but it is yet another feat that we lose out on.
That all sounds tough. Can we gain anything worth it to make up for all we lose out on? Spoiler:Show
Don't lose hope, you can make up for the loses.
Ok, so, sad news time. You can't. Assuming you want to be effective, your multiclass ability will be taken up by learning the full power of the garrote. Yes, this means no triple class shenanigans, no grabbing daily heals from leaders, no skill training with an extra bonus, and no grabbing a class just so you can take their paragon paths. Oh well, it's worth it (or else you wouldn't be here, would you?)
Comparison to the Assassin and Brawling Fighter
In the grabbing world, these are really the only other contenders with the Garrote Rogue. Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses.
Here is one of the most interesting parts of your character. In fact, it is truly one of the areas of garrote rogues that makes them so unique compared to other rogues. "Normal" rogues are always flitting about, place to place, or hiding in shadow and on building, picking off enemies with relative impunity. Not you, no. You stand right behind your enemy, slowly draining their lifeforce away, and there is very little they can do about it.
So, how do you go about doing it?
Step one - chose your target. You can't just grab any old creature on the map and assume it will all work out. Tactics matter, especially for you. Let's start with the obvious. Nothing larger than 1 size larger than you (for most of us, this means nothing bigger than large). Now, try and focus on those who are attacking at range. They are less likely to be able to do anything seriously offensive to you while they are stuck in melee. On the other hand, avoid becoming the target of choice for those who can Daze, Stun, or Dominate. You don't want to be the "must target" choice for those. Also try to focus on targets that have lower Strength and Dexterity (like casters), as they are less likely to be able to escape your grip.
Step two - get your allies to assist you. No one can do everything on their own in 4th. See if you can get your defender to mark your target, or a control to drop a penalty on them. Get your leader to give you increased defenses and/or temp hps. Oddly enough, the group you work least well with are other strikers. You put a lot of effort in setting up the right positioning, right target, right everything to give you auto CA on future turns. If the guy you grab is always dead by the time you can make your first sustain, you aren't using your time effectively. As always, there are exceptions, but in general, you and the other strikers should go after different targets when reasonably possible.
Step three - maintain control. You must be in control of your part of the battle. If you have done your prep work (feats, items and powers), picked the right target, and have the right team, this shouldn't be a problem. As long as they aren't able to take you out, you will take them out.
When it all goes wrong. Have a backup plan. Have escape routes. Have back-up healing. Have tactics that don't require the garrote. You have to know when to hold them, and know when to let go and find a better option. As with all things in life, practice is the best teacher here. Don't assume you can solo a battle and that TPKs don't really exist. Play smart, live long.
There are three races that stand above and beyond the rest, for obvious reasons. I'll start with them, and then the rest.
Bugbear - Obviously a winner. Both Str and Dex, increased weapon size, extra scaling damage as an encounter, what's not to love? Well, the fact there is no further support for them, and in some cases (like you LFR), they aren't legal at all.
Half-Orc - When you think Str rogues, this is what comes to mind. Temp hp when bloodied, bonus damage per encounter and bonus speed when charging, all around great option. Unfortunately, the bonus damage is a [W] damage, and we don't charge very often despite our high strength. That said, they get some good feat support for increasing survivability (especially if you hybrid).
Thri-kreen - Our final Str/Dex race, the extra speed plus the minor action encounter attack can make an interesting choice. Very little feat support for you, but what is there is good.
Dragonborn - +str, minor action encounter attack, but not much else for you Dwarf - +str and resistance to forced movement is great for not getting your grabs broken. Eladrin - +dex and...? Elf - +dex and elven accuracy (or perception for initiative to go first) Half-elf - no stats, nothing you want here other than flavor Halfling - small size = less grab targets Human - either str or dex, extra defenses, skills, feats, all around solid option Tiefling - +1 attack bloodied enemies is nice, but that's all you get
Deva - no, nothing to see here Gnome - small size = less grab targets Goliath - +str, bonus to will, reduce damage, and an option of reach for your paragon path? Shifter, Longtooth - +str and regen is nothing to snif at Shifter, Razorclaw - +dex and occasional defense bonus ain't bad either
Githzerai - +dex, +defenses, +saves vs the worst effects for you, +init. if +str was in there, I would be tempted to make this gold. Minotaur - +str, bonus healing surge, and Ferocity has a chance of being used given the combo of being attacked and being squishy Shardmind - I guess the teleport could be useful, occasionally? Wilden - +dex, + a defense, and Wrath of the Destroyer works great for you
Changeling - +dex, +will, not much else Drow - +dex, and darkfire or cloud of darkness, which doesn't hurt your party as much when you are off on your own Genasi - +2 str, and many options give some bonus to a defense, but in general, not the greatest powers for you Kalashtar - early save vs daze and dominate Mul - + a surge, +str, and end nasty effects at the start of your turn Warforged - +str, +will, temps and saves and no failed death saves = pretty good
Bladeling - +dex and minor encounter attack isn't bad, but lack of support hurts Hamadryad - bonus to saves and resist damage can't make up for the lack of stats Pixie - so, you can grab up to small only????? Revenant - +dex, dark reaping, and fighting even while dying make for a potentially powerful character. Satyr - +dex, and bonus healing helps with your low hp and surges Shade - +dex, but minus a surge, and your bonus is training in what you already have. Pass Vryloka - +str or dex, and Lifebond isn't a bad thing. Too bad your surge value drops when you need it the most
(note that all of these are red for LFR and many other campaign settings) Bullywug - +dex, and an aura that will rarely ever have an effect Duergar - minor attack, darkvision, but neither stat Githyanki - will and initiative, but nothing else Goblin - small size = less grab targets Hobgoblin - +init and end a save ends effect, but nothing else Kenku - +dex, extra bonus when flanking (too bad you don't do that often) Kobold - small size = less grab targets Orc - +str and healing while damaging? not too bad
Ok, so here we are in the meat of things, finally. All powers are rated primarily for the garrote usage, but with notes for other uses, especially with your back-up plans (both ranged and melee). Some things to think about: unlike other strikers that can stack lots of [W] damage to insane amounts of damage, adding a d4 here and there aren't much to get excited about. Instead, focus on when you can add additional static damage or effects that tack advantage of your target being grabbed (daze, prone, etc.), or of them being all but forced to attack you (benefits to defenses, rattling, etc.).
There is only one GOLD power throughout the entire set of options, with most levels having multiple LIGHT BLUE and DARK BLUE options to choose from, so each Garotte Rogue can still be unique. Skill Powers are only listed when unique to how they interact with our build, otherwise, refer to the ratings listed here.
Ok, so, to be honest, one of your best at-will attacks will actually be the grab attack. It's vs reflex, does damage, imposes grab, and gives you CA for as long as you sustain it. Unfortunately, it does very little damage. Also, as mentioned above, the question of making the grab attack while grabbing the creature already is a bit murky. If your DM allows it, then it is awesome, as your damage is going to be coming from you Sneak Attack, not your weapon. If they say no, then you need to look elsewhere to do actual damage.
Acrobatic Strike (MP2) - not much here, as being grabbed is not an often enough condition to be concerned about, especially if you are trained in acrobatics (and you probably are. Two sqs of shifting at the end are nice, but with our lack of focus on movement, not that important
Clever Strike (PHH2) - Gives you combat advantage as long as an ally is adjacent to and able to attack the target. But wait, if you have them grabbed, you already have CA.
Deft Strike (PHB) - Starting to get better. Not much help for our main plan, but a good back-up plan power.
Disheartening Strike (MP) - This isn't bad at all, as Rattling is a nice effect to give a guy you are all but assured is going to be attacking you. It's like having your own Defender marking things for you. Obviously, though, it is only useful if you are trained in intimidate.
Duelist's Flurry (D381) - Ok, this, is pretty bad. While the lose of a weapon damage isn't that big to you, it does nothing for you. You have CA, so being able to do Sneak Attack as if you had CA... *yawn* As if that weren't bad enough, sliding and following isn't that great when you need to keep them next to you or lose your grip on them.
Gloaming Cut (MP2) - Ignoring the whole debate about whether this power does anything (imho, it does), it's just not that great for you. it needs a 3rd stat to do much, and hiding in melee is going to be difficult, plus, hiding is mostly about the CA. That said, if you can pull it off, a -5 penalty to attack you back isn't bad.
Palming Strike (D389) - while it is an interesting power, it's not for you as you have no free hands to use (well, except for the Thri-kreen, but even then, doesn't seem worth it).
Piercing Strike (PHB) - remember when we talked about whether you can grab someone you already have grabbed? Well, now it matters. If you can, there is almost no reason to take this (yes, a dex mod more damage, but about the same to hit, and no other effects). If you can't, then this becomes much better and more important.
Preparatory Shot (MP2) - on the surface of things, an attack that does two different mods worth of damage in exchange for the weapon damage seems like a worthwhile thing for you. But the second stat is Intelligence, and it is ranged only, so it serves very little purpose
Probing Strike (PHH1) - a +1 to hit with your next attack against the target is never a bad thing, and the fact that it works on any attack, even your grab attack, is just gravy.
Riposte Strike (PHB) - Now here is a power almost designed for this character. Not only is it Dex and Str based (just like you), but it gets better when your target attacks you on their turn (which usually they will). Add to this the fact that you get to do sneak attack again, and it is just beautiful. The fact that there are 11 feats that can boost this one (ok, not all of them are actually useful, but still), and you can see why it is the top of the line for the garroters.
Sly Flourish (PHB) - If you have Charisma, this is an awesome opportunity. Two stat bumps, and can be used ranged as a backup plan! Of course, if you have no cha, then it doesn't really pull its weight.
So here is where building the character begins to be tricky. While rogue powers are, in general, quite powerful, you need to look at what is better in the specific situation than grabbing or Riposte Strike. As it ends up, not that much.
Acrobat's Blade Trick (MP2) - So, well technically this works with the garrote, I can't imagine a DM allowing you to still have someone grabbed after this is over. Not what we need.
Dazing Strike (PHB) - Ok, now Dazing is never bad. and when it forces someone to try and get away or attack (you), that is even better. If you can do this, AP and Riposte Strike...
Distracting Shot (MP2) - ranged only, and designed for stealth rogues. Pass.
Fox's Gambit (MP) - while at first glance, it may seem to be better than Piercing Strike, It's actually no different. Removing the mark the guy you have grabbed has put on you...like you're going to be attacking anyone else? And shifting a sq after the attack is for running away, not continuing to pound on them.
Guarded Attack (MP) - unlike Fox's Gambit, this actually is an improvement over the at-will (Riposte Strike). While the improvement is only an extra d4 on the main, and a -2 to their attack on the second, every little bit helps. However, the increases decrease for every feat you've put into Riposte Strike.
Impact Shot (MP) - ranged only
King's Castle (PHB) - vs reflex, and 2[W], as well as melee or ranged make this an interesting choice. Too bad the Effect will rarely come into play.
One-Two Punch (MP2) - double sneak attack is always worth a look, but as before, the multi-targeting is actually a hindrance, not a benefit. Add to this the loss of our mod in damage, and it's just not worth it.
Opening Move (D381) - If you have Charisma, this could be great. Otherwise, 2[W].
Positioning Strike (PHB) - weapon attacks vs Will are always worth looking at. To bad that is all this has to offer, still, could be the right tool in the right situation.
Shadow Strike (MP2) - another "stay hidden" power. another pass.
Skip the Rock (MP2) - while potentially interesting for a back-up, it's not in our main plan.
Sly Lunge (MP) - Ok, so here is actually an interesting choice. It is obviously meant for the turn when AP to hit a second time, as it does extra damage (about 2/3 of your sneak attack at lvl 1) if you don't use your Sneak Attack on it, but you must have CA to do it. This is one of the few ways we have of "nova" damage, and of course, it's still not as high of a spike of damage as other strikers can do. But if that is what you are looking for, this is one of the best options at this level.
Termination Threat (MP) - another "charisma matters" power, both for damage and Rattling. Good if you've got it.
Torturous Strike (PHB) - 2[W], and for most Garrotes, your second stat as well on damage. No effects, but sometimes damage is just what you are looking for.
Blinding Barrage (PHB) - blind is awesome, unfortunately, can't do it with this weapon
Checking Jab (MP) - While slowed and CA are usually both good things to have, they aren't much against someone who is immobilized and granting CA. At least it has Rattling.
Confounding Attack (MP) - an odd power. If you hit your target, they attack an adjacent creature. If they hit, and if they or you have CA against that creature, then your sneak attack damage can be dealt to the second creature (but only if you didn't sneak attack anyone else this round). Ignore the power level issues here, you generally don't want to be around multiple bad guys at a time.
Duelist's Prowess (D381) - a stance that give you a riposte every round that any enemy attacks you. This could be great, as long as you remember that if you attack anyone you aren't grabbing, you release your grab. The fact the interrupt is against Reflex helps even more.
Easy Target (PHB) - so, this is Checking Jab, but can be ranged instead of Rattling.
Handspring Assault (MP) - hey, a 3[W] power! this actually does more damage than a 1d12 or a 2d6 on average. It's also Reliable, so extra bonuses if you miss a lot (which, of course, you shouldn't as a rogue with CA all the time). The charging bit, of course, doesn't really help, as unlike most rogues, your melee basic is ok to good.
Hounding Assault (MP2) - Rattling, plus give all melee attacks (including the grab attacks) Rattling till the end of the encounter. Nice!
Pommel Smash (MP) - another 3[W] attack, and a flat -2 attack penalty is a really nice bonus for you as well.
Precise Incision (MP) - 3[W] vs reflex. Not fancy, but not bad.
Press the Advantage (MP) - another odd one, 2[W] free action attack, but you've probably already used sneak attack this turn, so you're only looking at a little bit of damage, comparatively.
Scattering Shot (MP2) - ranged and hidden based power.
Spinning Blade Leap (MP2) - lots of shifting, both before and after. If you want this for a back-up plan, then it's a good option. For the main plan, of course, not much going for it.
Trick Strike (PHB) - 3[W], and sliding till the end of the encounter (but only on the initial target).
Twilight Menace (MP2) - a -2 to attack you isn't bad, but it's not actually that good, as there are many ways to ignore concealment, and even if you are normally able to hide with regular concealment, I don't think you could with this power.
So many interesting options here. Unfortunately, many "ehh" options too.
Adaptable Flanker (MP) - Now, normally in this book, I'm not so happy about spending resources to get CA, as you already should have that most of the time. This will be a rare exception, as it actually works well for you. You dropped someone and really need to grab another, but don't want to waste your turn doing only a d4 damage, or even worse, miss, this minor action power can really help you out on the rare occasion you need it, and be ignored the rest of the time.
Agile Footwork (D381/HFL) - yeah, this isn't for you.
Arm and Edge (MP2) - if you really can't find anything else at this level that you want, I guess it makes an ok back-up plan...but no, actually it doesn't
Cunning Step (MP2) - As your Intelligence is likely a dump stat, and speed isn't your forte...
Deadly Knowledge (MP2) - extra damage as a free action is nice! too bad it's Int mod.
Double Take (MP) - Charisma is at best a tertiary stat, and might be a dump stat for you. Not much help here.
Fleeting Ghost (PHB/HFL) - Could actually be of help, if you want to retain some of the sneakiness other rogues give up. Remember, though, grabbing someone from stealth is incredibly hard, and usually requires readying an action, and getting your allies to help.
Great Leap (PHB) - Well it isn't anywhere near your normal plan, mobility is always a plus. Being forced into your back-up ranged role because you can't get to the enemies just makes for a sad day.
Hop Up (MP) - Very situational. When it comes into play, it is great. When it doesn't... Also, remember that being knocked prone doesn't negate your grabs.
Lurker's Cloak (MP2) - great for stealth rogues. Not so great for you. If you could get the guy you're grabbing to give you cover from your other enemies, it would be nice though.
Marked Escape (MP) - So, in the rare situation you are grabbing guy X, and guy Y marks you, but you really want to keep grabbing guy X, this could help. However monsters that mark are rare, and rarely have significant punishment other than the -2 attack.
Master of Deceit (PHB) - While this is mostly geared towards non-combat, I guess it could be used for feint checks. That said, it is important to be useful to your part outside of combat too.
Quick Fingers (PHB) - Could be great if you are the trap-disabler, especially if you need to do it during combat, as every round you are disabling, someone isn't being strangled.
Reap the Rattled (MP) - this, while interesting on the surface, is pretty bad. Last round you hit someone with a rattling attack (assuming you even have one). This round, as a daily minor, you gain CA against them. So either you hit them while they weren't grabbed, or they escaped to give any effect here. Oh, and you can't gain CA any other way, because, hello, daily?
Sneak in the Attack (MP) - This is almost gold. An extra 2d6+4 (on average at low levels, increasing as you get higher) just for your buddies piling it on, and as an encounter? Very nice.
Sudden Leap (HFL) - If only it didn't provoke, then it could be interesting. But jumping 3 as a minor action isn't going to really change anything to significantly.
Switcheroo (MP2) - As long as you are remembering to stay adjacent to your target, this could provide some fun and powerful repositioning tactics. Interesting terrain features, auras, and more make this actually interesting instead of just an odd trick.
Tumble (PHB/PFL) - Not a bad power at all, as moving across a crowded battlefield to get a new target can be difficult. This lets you choose targets with far greater ease than normal.
Note: only those that are truly interesting and uniquely effective to this character are listed here.
Endure Pain (PHB3) - Let's face it. You are going to get hit. A lot. If you know when you are going to get hit multiple times in a round, this becomes quite nice. Unfortunately, bad guys are rarely so accommodating as to tell you their plans, so it becomes harder to do. But even if it means minions or others ignore you to focus elsewhere due to your invulnerability, that works for you too.
Inspiring Fortitude (PHB3) - The more you are able to help your allies, the more they are able to help you. Not only are you giving out a bunch of temp hp just for being near you (hint, encourages your allies to be near you to help you), but it also heals you without the leaders of the party needing to spend their limited resources on you. Obviously it's not going to be as great of a heal for you, and interrupts the damage train, but a great use of an action point when you have already dealt SA damage this turn.
Ominous Threat (PHB3) - The guy you are grabbing is likely to attack you, mark or no mark, but ending a mark they have tossed on someone else (especially on of those silly "till end of the encounter" marks), could be a nice thing to hand out to an ally.
Bait and Switch (PHB) - Weapon vs Will attacks are always nice, as it is numerically the most likely to hit against most creatures. The only downside, the additional effects don't do much for you. But if you want a (nearly) guaranteed hit, this one if for you.
Blade Vault (MP) - This is a really interesting one for you, because with our build, this is about a 5[W] attack. The shifts don't have to be towards or away, so they can be around your target so you don't loose your grip, and str mod is often better than an extra d4, so twice that...
Brutal Trick (MP2) - not a fan of this one, as you get attacked enough as it is, no need to invite more swings. The targeting of multiple defenses plus rattling is nice, though.
Darting Strike (D381) - off-turn attacks are always nice when looking to increase your damage. Unfortunately, this one just isn't as likely to trigger, unless you are targeting the ranged casters to begin with. If they escape, shift away, and attack, then you can get right next to them and punish them even more.
Defender's Cohort(MP) - really nicer if you have a defender working with you and you have some charisma. Otherwise, kind of meh.
Enforced Threat (MP) - 2[W] rattling. Not bad, but more interesting options exist.
Flailing Shove (MP2) - While it isn't normally what you want to be doing (moving the enemy away from you), It could be useful if you need to get away from someone you don't want to mess with. It is also useful for punishing the bad guy who dares try to grab you, and for clearing a tightly packed group of minions.
Flamboyant Strike (MP) - two mods of damage, but not one you are likely to have much in.
Flattening Shot (MP2) - ranged only, and int mod matters.
Fleeting Spirit Strike (MP2) - lots of movement, but nothing else for us. I guess if you are trying to cross a battlefield, and there happens to be a minion in just the right spot...
Jumping Blade Assault (MP2) - Effect: knock prone is a nice thing to grab, as it makes it even harder to escape your sticky grasp.
Low Slash (MP) - While sliding and slowing is not likely to make much of a difference, the possibility of adding Strength mod damage looks really nice.
Maneuvering Strike (MP2) - Works really well with Sneak in the Attack, or anyone else in your party that gains an additional benefit from CA.
Nasty Backswing (MP) - While you should never plan on missing with an attack, we all know it will happen. Why not have a backup that packs a little punch for when it happens. The added Str mod is just gravy.
Setup Strike (PHB) - if you are doing your job (keeping them grabbed), then this isn't needed. While it would be nice to use the turn before they escape, how can you actually plan around that?
Shadow Steel Roll (MP2) - hidden enabler, int mod on damage, not for us.
Strike and Move (D381) - lots of potential shifts, all for a fairly bland attack.
Topple Over (PHB) - While it's not increasing damage, OMG, look at that attack roll bonus! If you don't hit with this, you've done something wrong. Adding the knocked prone is almost too good to pass up.
Trickster's Blade (PHB) - Benefits to defenses are nice, and this power would be amazing if it were all defenses (to prevent escapes), and/or not based off of Charisma.
Bat Aside (MP) - While it is rattling, 3[W], and knocks prone, you still lose your grip on them when you toss them into their allies. Still, quite useful in the right situation.
Bloodbath (MP2) - Now this is an odd one. That could potentially be a huge amount of ongoing damage. The problem with ongoing damage, is it is relatively easy for bad guys to end, especially the bigger and badder ones, who are the ones we want to toss big effects on to start with. If you (or your allies) can lessen their saves, or force rerolls, then this gets quite good. Even without, a [W] damage as an effect is interesting to look into.
Clever Riposte (PH) - a free mod damage whenever your current target attacks you till the end of the encounter? Seems great, right? In practice, you usually only get a ping or two (if any) off of it. If you are attacking a solo or elite, they are going to have other targets besides the guy grabbing them (defenders, for instance). If you are attacking a non-big beefy guy, they drop in a round or two anyways. Still, extra damage is extra damage.
Compel the Craven (MP) - 2[W] vs Will is always fun to see, unfortunately the rest is junk for us, but could work well on our backup plans to give us breathing room.
Deep Cut (PH) - This is Bloodbath, but with between 2-16 less damage on the ongoing, and still less mode on a miss. And melee only. Would be raited higher if it weren't for Bloodbath.
Downward Spiral (MP) - This is the kind of power you never want to have a use for. In order to get real effect, you've got to have at least 3 guys adjacent to you (and 5 is what you are really shooting for), and not have the desire to have anyone grabbed. Rather, Tumble away and go grab someone else.
DrivingAssault (MP) - This is a power that requires some DM adjudication to use properly. It either allows you to push your grabbed guy away from allies (and hopefully knock prone) while keeping him grabbed, or the grab breaks before you can shift back into range for the second attack. As always, LFR be warned.
Duelist's Demand (D381) - So with this attack you get the normal effect of grabbing the guy, without them needing to be actually grabbed. The only real benefit here is that they can't attempt to escape, and could potentially allow you to grab another target. But then you have two people who have nothing better to do than whale on you till you drop...
Flashy Riposte (MP) - Quite useful for turns when you are not using Riposte Strike, this allows you to have your cake and eat it too. Plus, CA for all your friends!
Go for the Eyes (MP2) - Blind and penalties to attack rolls whenever you damage them till the end of the encounter is a nice controller power. Add in the no shift clause, and even if they escape your grab, they can't get away from you. (and yes, flavor can work even here, bursting blood vessels in the eyes as they choke or something like that).
Hobble (MP2) - Hey, look, you're a grappling fighter! Prone save ends is just a mean thing to do to someone who is being choked.
Lurker's Assault (MP2) - hiding and Int mod effects. Pass.
Mocking Strike (MP2) - Another 2[W] vs Will attack, and a -3 to all defenses vs your attacks is an amazing effect to toss out.
Staggering Assault (MP) - Slowed is rather hum-drum to you, and 2-3[W] isn't making you jump for joy here. Still, can be useful to keep up with a slippery fellow who is trying to run.
Surefooted Retort (MP) - A nice interrupt, the key part is the last sentence of the power - reducing forced movement by 4+ sqs means you are likely to remain grabbing your guy, no matter what shenanigans they try.
Walking Wounded (PH) - Very similar to Staggering Assault, in that it is sort of till the end of the encounter, and prevents someone from running from you successfully.
What do I need to learn to do what I need to do (Feats)
Ok, lets get these two out of the way: Garrote Training - In order to be a garotte rogue, you need to be able to use the garrote. Not only does it give you proficiency, but it gives you automatic Combat Advantage against anything you've got grabbed. Not enough for you? It lets you use your garrote on any rogue attack that you can use a melee light blade, so, you know, it is actually useful beyond grab attacks. Still not enough? it gives your victims a -2 on all attempts to get away from you. And finally, the piece-de-resistance, you can sneak attack with it. The downside? It takes your multiclass slot, so no additional classes for you! Improved Grab - a flat +4 to every grab attack action you make. Nothing else needed to make it work. Get it, use it.
So, what else should I be doing with my feats? Well, two things, really. Survivability, and more power.