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 Post subject: Revising rogues
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:54 pm 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
While I don't have a full rogue class worked up yet, there are a number of basic changes I've been thinking about.

Skills. To be changed as follows: Cross class skills do not cost double. Permanent increases to int (or decreases) are fully retroactive. Max ranks in a skill is 3 + number of class levels where it's in class + one half number of class levels where it's cross class (rounding down.)

You can (especially at character creation) be a little better at skills that aren't your focus.
There's no penalty for buying cross class skills, and thus no need to avoid getting them until they're in class.
There's no need to track exactly when you got specific skill points, or exactly when you applied stat adds or inherent bonuses to intelligence.

Calculating max ranks in any given skill, especially if you have more than two different classes, is going to be annoying.
There is an actual and lasting penalty for multiclassing; a rogue / fighter will never be quite as sneaky as a straight class rogue. (Compare to: a wizard / fighter will never be quite as spell-caster-y as a straight class wizard. Skills are what being a rogue is all about, really; I figure this is fair - though it's definitely a drawback from the point of view of a player trying to keep a few specific skills topped off.)

The other changes I've been thinking about are more relevant directly to the rogue class.

I'm planning on removing the trapfinding ability. If you have the skill to find it - you can find it.
However - rogues *do* deserve some kind of rapid search ability. Possibly starting with a more lenient interpretation of search than the one in the DMG (where a rogue had to separately search each 5'x5' area square in a tunnel - floor, ceiling, and both walls) - one full round action per square on the map seems much more reasonable.
I'm also considering removing door-dar as an elven racial power, and making it part of the rogue class.

Sneak attack. Something has to be done about it. I'm not going to go so far as 4e, where it works on everything all the time, but you shouldn't need wonky custom spells to get it to work on, say, a mechanical construct filled with delicate clockwork. Ideally, whatever gets designed here should be easy to generalize to other forms of precision damage, like weapon critical hits, or the careful strikes of an expert duelist. The simplest way I can see is to just add precision resistance as a stat, kinda like fire resistance. This, however, fails in two ways: One is that it would be really annoying for calculating crit damage - suddenly you need to know which dice are the base damage and which dice are the bonus damage. The other is that precision damage varies hugely in scope - a ranger might get a few points of it from favored enemy; a rogue gets a solid block of sneak attack, and a fighter with a scythe crits for an absolutely absurd amount of bonus damage. A flat damage reduction that would be reasonable against the rogue would shut out the ranger entirely, and be almost negligible against the fighter.
The best idea I've come up with so far is a "crit reduction" stat, and a "dice reduction" stat. You'd need to tell players what these are - but they could then apply them appropriately. Crit reduction would work as follows: each point reduces the threat range by one, until you only threat on a 20. Excess points beyond that start reducing the crit multiplier (minimum: x1 - yes, an x1 crit might still mean something with certain weapon enchants). Dice reduction would simply reduce the number of d6s of sneak attack (or whatever) that you get to roll.

Yeah. I dunno. This is getting into tinkering with some pretty basic mechanics, and I'll probably need to actually do some math to figure out what I want to do with sneak attack.

 Post subject: Re: Revising rogues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:08 pm 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
Ooh! I just realized - I can make a simple spreadsheet to calculate max skill ranks for any given class progression. Still not quite ideal, but I'd rather have to make that spreadsheet once, than to have to, on every character, track exactly what skill points got spent where, when.

Hm. I suppose technically there are still a few corner cases where allocating skills as just a block of points at some higher level can give results that you couldn't get if you went one level at a time. That's annoying. I wonder if I care? Maybe I should add some kind of retraining rule? Or not require people to spend skill points immediately?

(Example: Level one is rogue. Level two is cleric. You have no int bonus. Block allocation would let you get four ranks in each of knowledge: religion, concentration, and spellcraft. Per level allocation would not - because cleric only gave you two skill points.)

 Post subject: Re: Revising rogues
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:30 pm 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
Revised Rogue prototype (Mk. 1)

1: 1d6 skirmish, trap sense +1
2: evasion, rapid search
3: 1d6 sneak attack, trap sense +2
4: path special
5: 2d6 skirmish, rapid trapsmith
6: lesser skill mastery, trap sense +3
7: 2d6 sneak attack
8: really rapid search, improved path special
9: 3d6 skirmish, trap sense +4
10: improved evasion
11: 3d6 sneak attack
12: quicker than the eye, trap sense +5
13: 4d6 skirmish, greater skill mastery
14: instant search
15: 4d6 sneak attack, trap sense +6
16: rogue special
17: 5d6 skirmish, instant trapsmith
18: rogue special, trap sense +7
19: 5d6 sneak attack
20: superior skill mastery, rogue special

skirmish: if you move at least ten feet on your turn (total distance from one location to another - hopping back and forth between two squares doesn't cut it, though moving two squares away and then two squares back would) then you can add skirmish damage to the next hit you land during your turn. You may not deal skirmish damage more than once per turn. Skirmish damage is precision damage, with all the limitations that implies. (Specifically, target must be within 30', cannot deal nonlethal damage except w/ sap or appropriately enchanted weapon, subject to precision resistance or immunity.)

sneak attack: functions as normal. Stacks with skirmish if both apply. Note that precision resistance applies once per attack; if you land a dagger hit on a zombie (precision resistance 5), roll a 2 for damage with the dagger, crit (x2, so 2 points precision damage), roll 3 for skirmish damage, and 6 for sneak attack damage, the hit deals a total of 8 damage: 2 base, plus 11 - 5 = 6 precision.

Note to self: concealment status effect needs to provide precision resistance. Possibly also some resistance granted by large size differences? (Original text: A rogue cannot sneak attack a creature with concealment or when striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.)

trap sense: +1/3 level +1 bonus to AC and reflex saves against traps and ambushes - in general, this applies to any attack where you would be denied your dex bonus (though it does not apply if you're helpless, restrained, etc.), as well as any attack from a trap you were aware of.

rapid search: move action to search one square for traps or secret doors - note that this applies to gross map level effects; it may take more time to, for example, find the trapped secret compartment hidden at the back of the bottom left drawer of a locked desk, or find the mystical portal trigger item hidden in the middle of a barrel full of salted fish. Such detailed searches are also sped up, but are beyond the scope of generic rules; talk to your GM.
really rapid search: full round action to move your move, searching each square in your path before you enter it. Or standard action to go half your move (rounding down).
instant search: Automatically considered to be searching all adjacent squares, all the time. Though you're at -10 to search checks if you run or charge.

rapid trapsmith: open lock or simple disable device checks take a standard action; complex disable device checks take a full round action (instead of multiple rounds)
instant trapsmith: open lock or simple disable device checks take a swift action (immediate action at -10). Complex disable device checks take a move action (swift at -5, immediate at -15).

rogue special: choice of: bonus feat, crippling strike, opportunist, slippery mind, defensive roll, or a path special from one of the two paths you didn't take, or the improved path special from one of those two if and only if you already took the normal path special from that path.

Three paths: sneaky rogue, bouncy rogue, tricksy rogue.

sneaky: hide / move silently - possible special, ability to hide even without concealment? May need restrictions? (Ability to hide while observed part of hide in plain sight is covered by QttE, see below.)

bouncy: tumble / balance
path special: Swift and Certain. Reduce the skill penalties for rapid movement by ten points - this generally applies to balance, climb, hide, move silently, and tumble. (This removes most such penalties, though hide and move silently will still have -10 penalties when running or charging.)
improved path special: Unbalanced Strike. When you charge, you can declare an unbalanced strike, gaining an additional +2 to hit and +2d6 skirmish damage. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target (resolve this before making your attack roll) - but, (for this one AoO only) instead of attacking versus your AC, your foe must beat your balance check. (Penalties to balance from difficult terrain *do* apply, though.)

tricksy: bluff / sleight of hand
path special: ?
improved path special: Watch the Hand. You may feint in combat as a swift action, using your sleight of hand skill instead of bluff, and with no penalty due to creature type. (Keep in mind, this may only be done once per round, and if you miss on the following attack, that attempt is wasted.)

lesser skill mastery: applies to search, disable device, open lock, the two path skills, and two skills of choice. If you roll 2-5 on the d20 for a skill check, treat the result as if you had rolled a 6 instead. In addition, when taking ten on these skills, you get a +1 bonus - effectively taking 11 instead of 10.
greater skill mastery: add two more skills of choice, makes rolls of 2-7 count as 8, and take 12 instead of 10.
superior skill mastery: add two more skills of choice, rolls of one now also count as 8, and take 13 instead of 10.

quicker than the eye (aka QttE, aka vanish) - as a move action, make a check with your primary path skill (hide / tumble / bluff); any observer whose spot score you beat, is unable to see what you do with the remainder of your turn.


Some random feats that a rogue might care about:

Sneak. Requires dex 15. +2 to hide and move silently. In addition, both skills now calculate their bonus off of your ranks in the "sneak" skill; this skill is in class for a given level if either hide or move silently was in class for that level; move all existing skill ranks in hide or move silently to sneak - any points above max rank are refunded and can be spent on other skills.

Athletics. Requires dex 13 & str 13. +2 to balance, climb, jump. In addition, all three skills now calculate their bonus off of your ranks in the "athletics" skill; this skill is in class for a given level if any of balance, climb, or jump was in class for that level; move all existing skill ranks in balance, climb, and jump to athletics - any points above max rank are refunded and can be spent on other skills.

Trickery. Requires dex 13 & cha 13. As above, applies to bluff, sleight of hand, and escape artist. (Note: use rope is getting rolled into escape artist.)

 Post subject: Re: Revising rogues
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:18 pm 
Needs a Guide

Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 7:43 pm
Posts: 47
Hi, I'm Suggestions man!

On precision resistance: A creature two sizes larger than you should have at least 25% precision resistance against you regardless of whether or not you can reach. Precision damage just won't work as effectively against a creature so much larger than you.

instant search: Automatically considered to be searching all adjacent squares, all the time. Though you're at -10 to search checks if you run or charge.
Add: Disclaimer: Just because you know the location of a trap 5 feet in front of you doesn't mean you can stop in time not to activate it. (plus, say you are charging happily along at a move speed of 60. You would have .5 seconds to realize "OMG A TRAP", figure out a plan to avoid it, and implement said plan. IMO, this would probably require a moderately difficult reflex save. Of course, if you are moving faster than that, the reflex save would quickly approach "No chance")

Sneak. Requires dex 15. +2 to Sneak...
Well, i think this is probably clearer, but i suppose that is a judgement call really.

Here's my suggestion on the tricksy path special:
You may, as a swift action, change what you have in one of your hands so long as the objects involved are no larger than a dagger[for a creature your size]. If the object now in your hand is something you can use (such as a potion, bag of tricks dustball, etc.), you may immidiately activate it without using an action. However, this provokes an attack of opportunity, even if it would not normally.

Though that might be a tad powerful for level four. Meh.

Oh, and just for completeness, a crazy idea on the hide/movesilently path.
Bring a friend: One ally adjacent to you may use use half of your ranks in hide and move silently instead of their own. (You still use your normal check) However, if by some rediculous amount of strangeness they are detected and you are not, you are also detected.

I know rogues aren't supposed to be much of a team player, but i suppose just this once...

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