Hope everyone’s having a great 2021 so far, although, I can say it’s been pretty much just 2020 version 2.0.
Regardless, I’ve been having fun playing an Unchained Rogue in a game of the Emerald Spire Super-dungeon for Pathfinder with my usual group. I’ve reached a point in the game where the Vitalist in our party has Psychic Reformation and I can go back and change a few decisions I made while leveling up and I need to work it out, so this is going to be something of a braindump as I figure out what I want to do. Up to this point, my goal has been to get the feat Circling Mongoose and basically circle-strafe enemies on my own to wipe them out. There are obviously several ways to make this work and that’s what makes it complicated.
To start, here’s the basics:
Dolivar, the Half-Elven, Chaotic Good, Level 8 Unchained Rogue
- Strength: 14 (+2)
- Dexterity: 20 (+5)
- Constitution: 16 (+3)
- Intelligence: 16 (+3)
- Wisdom: 16 (+3)
- Charisma: 17 (+3)
Yes, I rolled well. I added my racial +2 stat bonus to Dexterity at level 1, my level 4 point went into Wisdom, and my level 8 point went into Constitution. I swapped out the Multitalented Racial Trait for the Blended View Racial Trait so I could have Darkvision 60ft. I chose Skill Focus (Acrobatics) for the Adaptability Racial Trait and I chose Resilient (+1 Fortitude Saves) and Elven Reflexes (+2 Initiative) for my character traits. For my favored class bonus, I chose the Human bonus of +1/6 Rogue Talent.
I have max ranks (8) in the following skills: Acrobatics, Appraise, Climb, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Perception, Stealth, Swim, Use Magic Device, Knowledge (Dungeoneering), and Knowledge (Local)
I chose the following rogue talents at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, and a bonus one at 6 due to my favored class bonus: Minor Magic (Detect Magic), Major Magic (Vanish), Fast Stealth, Combat Trick (Canny Tumble), Shadow Duplicate. I chose Acrobatics for my Rogue’s Edge at level 5 and for Finesse Training I chose the Dagger.
My equipment are as follows:
- Dagger +2
- Dagger +1 (I have two of these)
- Dagger, Cold Iron, Masterwork
- Dagger, Silvered, Masterwork
- Dagger (I have two plain ones)
- Mithril Shirt +1
- Cloak of Resistance +1
- Boots of Elvenkind
- Ring of Protection +1
- Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone, Cracked
- A wand of cure light wounds (20 charges)
- A wand of magic missile (level 3, 25 charges)
- A wand of cure moderate wounds (50 charges)
- A waterproof scroll case (3 scrolls of invisibility)
- 2 potions of cure moderate wounds
- 2 potions of cure light wounds
- 1 potion of invisibility
- A Burglar’s Outfit
- Masterwork Thieves Tools
- Masterwork Snorkel (found at the start of a water level and has come in handy since then)
- Antidote Mask (found in a different level and haven’t had much use for it since)
- A pair of weighted bone dice
- Backpack, Waterskin, Rations, Bedroll
So that’s how my character stands now. As I said above, the party Vitalist (read: psionic healer) has the power Psionic Reformation which allows me to change nearly everything about my character. I’m going to take this opportunity to optimize and adjust some things, but I have some choices to make. Namely, do I stay as a TWF Dagger wielder or do I switch to the Elven Curve Blade and two-hand wield it. I did some “back of the napkin” calculations and I THINK I’m staying with daggers and two-weapon fighting, but that’s why I’m doing this braindump.
The main issue is the weapons. The dagger does 1d4 points of damage, piercing/slashing. Due to Finesse Training, I can add my Dexterity to damage, so on the main hand it’s 5 and on the off hand it’s 2 (half, round down). I also can’t forget the magical enhancement bonus on each dagger, so that’s +2 on the main hand and +1 on the off hand. With my level 8 sneak attack, I’m getting an additional 4d6 assuming I can trigger the conditions required. At this level, I get three attacks with the daggers, two with my main hand and one with my off hand at +11/+6 and +10 (base attack of +6/+1, +5 for dexterity, +2 magic bonus on main dagger, +1 magic bonus on off hand dagger, -2 on each for two-weapon fighting with light weapons). Critical range is 19-20 x2. So we’re looking at two attacks at +11/+6 for 1d4+7 damage and one attack at +10 for 1d4+3 with the potential for an additional 4d6 sneak attack on each attack, assuming a full attack action.
If I use the Elven Curve Blade, I’d be doing 1d10 points of damage, slashing. With Finesse Training, I can add Dexterity to damage and since I’d be two-handing the weapon I’d get 1.5x Dexterity added for a +7. Let’s assume I have a +2 Elven Curve Blade, so that’s +2 more damage. Again, level 8 sneak attack is an additional 4d6. At level 8 I’d have two attacks with the Curved Blade at +13/+8 (base attack of +6/+1, +5 for dexterity, +2 magic bonus) with an 18-20×2 critical threat range. Here we’re looking at two attacks at +13/+8 for 1d10+9 damage with the potential for an additional 4d6 sneak attack on each attack, assuming a full attack action.
Average damage on a d4 is 2.5 and average damage on a d10 is 5.5. We can estimate that average damage on the daggers will be 9.5 on the main hand (twice due to two attacks) and 5.5 on the off hand. The estimate for the curve blade is 14.5 (twice due to two attacks). Added together, the daggers do an average (without sneak attack) of 24.50 damage in a full attack and the curve blade does 29 damage in a full attack.
However, we need to include an additional variable in the equation. At level 9, I’m taking Circling Mongoose which allows for self-flanking on an enemy if you succeed in an acrobatics check and you hit the enemy at the start of a full attack action. I’m simplifying, but basically if you’re next to them, you take a 5-foot step, roll acrobatics and attack. If you succeed on both the attack and the acrobatics check, your subsequent attacks (assuming you continue to succeed on hitting and the acrobatics checks you need to make) will be considered flanking and will be sneak attacks. Note that I took the Combat Trick Rogue Talent up above which gave me the Canny Tumble feat. This lets me get a +2 on my next attacks if I succeed on an acrobatics check to avoid attacks of opportunity and it makes it so the opponent cannot add their dexterity to their armor class.
I said all that to say this: if I succeed on the initial acrobatics check, I will be able to get a +2 on the first attack and get a sneak attack. The following attack(s) will gain flanking from Circling Mongoose which will increase the next attack(s) by +4 and also include sneak attack.
Daggers, as above, three attacks. First attack at +13 with 1d4+7+5d6 damage (sneak attack dice go up to 5d6 at level 9). Second and third attacks will be +4 to attack and include 5d6 sneak attack on each. That comes to Main/Off/Main of +13/+14/+10 (61%/65%/48% chance of hitting average CR9 AC of 23) at 1d4+7+5d6, 1d4+3+5d6, and 1d4+7+5d6. Assuming an average 3.5 damage per sneak attack die, we get the following formula: (9.5(3.5*5)+5.5+(3.5*5)+9.5+(3.5*5)) = an estimated 77 damage. For the curve blade, we have only two attacks, so that comes to +15/+12 (70%/57% chance of hitting average CR9 AC 23) at 1d10+9+5d6 and 1d10+9+5d6 or (14.5(3.5*5)+14.5+(3.5*5)) = an estimated 64 damage.
This is a risky combat style, so if I miss an acrobatics check early, it falls apart. If I don’t make the first attack, it’s not the end of the world, but it makes it harder to hit later.
I’m looking to replace the Resilient trait with Crowd Dodger for an additional +2 to Acrobatics, Minor Magic Rogue Talent for Slow Reactions (opponent cannot make attacks of opportunity for one round following a successful sneak attack), and Major Magic Rogue Talent for Weapon Training so I can get a very necessary +1 to attack with whatever weapons I’m using. Those steps will help, but the road I’ve chosen isn’t easy. Here’s hoping I roll well!
Until next time!
P.S. “Mathematics is good for the soul, getting things right enlivens a sense of truth, efforts to understand automatically purify desires.” – Iris Murdoch, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals