Monday, February 9, 2015

Pathfinder Musings: Roguish Revisions

I've mentioned this before, but I feel like discussing this topic again. The Pathfinder version of the Rogue is extremely underpowered, mostly due to some poor design choices and the fact the designers keep taking away the Rogue's shticks and handing them to other classes that happen to do those shticks better. It's really sad because the Rogue is an interesting archetype and deserves a lot more.

Although Pathfinder Unchained will supposedly contain a reworked Rogue that's supposed to be better, that won't hit store shelves until April. Until then, I have to make the current version of the class work. Thankfully, I have some house rules that I hope will help beef up the Rogue a little.

I've done my best to make these rules as intrusive as possible to the version of the Rogue presented in the Core Rulebook. Mostly, these were created with the hope of covering some of the class' weak points and make it much better at its job.

The first house rule is that Rogues are now proficient with the buckler and the whip. This mostly to give players more options.

The second addition is another flavor addition, utilizing an idea that was revitalized in 5e. Rogues automatically receive a new bonus language called "Thieves' Cant". This language is an unspoken one, utilizing different signs and symbols to deliver secret messages. It takes twice as long to deliver any message in Thieves' Cant as it does in any normal language.

The third rule is the addition of a new ability at 1st level called "Dirty Tactics". At 1st level, the Rogue receives a +1 bonus to attack rolls when fighting an opponent who's denied their Dexterity bonus to its AC (whether it has a Dexterity bonus or not) or she is flanking the target. This bonus increases at +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This ability helps make up for the Rogue's lackluster base attack bonus when attacking someone in a situation she would normally get her sneak attack damage against. This is also based off an ability presented in Trailblazer, a d20 toolkit book that everyone should check out if you're interested in the d20 system and like neat ideas.

Finally, let's take a look at the Rogue Talents, which are one of the most underwhelming aspects of the class. The first change I've made is to allow the Rogue to select certain talents multiple times. These talents are Combat Trick, Major Magic, Minor Magic, and Feat. These talents should have allowed this from the get go.

Next is a much more drastic change, with every talent that possesses a once per day limitation now has the following revision. Instead of once per day, you can use these abilities a number of times per day equal to 1/2 your Rogue level (minimum 1/day). These abilities are usually the most pathetic, mostly because you can only get this little benefit once per day. It hurts even more when its an advanced talent, so you can only get these after 10th level. That's just bad. This change hopefully mends that a little.

Have you created any house rules to help the much maligned Pathfinder Rogue? What are they? Also, what changes would you like to see made to the Rogue in Pathfinder Unchained? I'd love to know.