Friday, May 15, 2015

Pathfinder Unchained's New Rogue

The Unchained Rogue

To opine about what’s better (or worse) about the Unchained Rogue, you’ll need to know exactly where the changes are.  So, at the end of this review is an explanation as to how the class has been changed.  Items struck through in the Core Rogue column are abilities removed from the traditional class.  In the Unchained Rogue column, bold text indicates a new ability and italics indicate that a previous ability has been modified (usually one that’s struck through in the Core column).  Everything else is pretty self explanatory, but you can read it in depth on pp. 20-24 of the book.

What’s New
(c)2015 Paizo Publishing, illustration by Jorge Fares
Used with permission under the Community
Licensing Policy
A lot is new.  The Unchained rogue has grown quite a bit from its Core Rulebook predecessor.  That makes sense—the complaint was that the rogue was underpowered (though I think those people were just not playing in RP-heavy or skills-heavy campaigns and/or were PFS folks).  The Unchained rogue is a lot more powerful.  All rogues now get weapon finesse as a bonus feat.  Additionally, at third level, rogues can apply Dexterity to damage (cue holy grail music) using a single type of weapon.  Two more weapons get added in further down the line.

Sneak attacks have been buffed with the debilitating injury ability and with various rogue talents.  In fact, only one rogue talent (terrain mastery) gets any sort of nerf, and I think that the decision to deal with higher bonuses for terrain mastery by creating an advanced terrain mastery, greater talent makes a lot more sense and provides good balance with the ranger.  Rogue’s edge gives rogues extra versatility in using skills by opening up a whole subsystem only to them.  With edge, rogues really do become the masters of skills they are supposed to be.  Finally, changing master strike to make the DC based on the rogue’s dexterity bonus instead of her intelligence bonus doesn’t seem like a huge change, but it’s a nice nod to the fact that capstone abilities should make the player feel awesome rather than limited.

Overall, I’m very excited about these changes.  Dexterity to damage feels appropriate, but balance is maintained by requiring the rogue to get to third level to access it.  3 levels is a little much for another class to take a “dip,” (though that might make more sense now if you’re using fractional bonuses).  The rogue’s skill abilities have been beefed up and sneak attack can do a lot more than it could before with debilitating injury.  I’d be happy to convert my PFS rogue over to the Unchained version.

Updated Crunch
Core Rogue
Unchained Rogue
Sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding
Finesse Training, sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding
Evasion, rogue talent
Evasion, rogue talent
Sneak attack +2d6, trap sense +1
Danger sense +1, finesse training, sneak attack +2d6
Rogue talent, uncanny dodge
Debilitating injury, rogue talent, uncanny dodge
Sneak attack +3d6
Rogue’s edge, sneak attack +3d6
Rogue talent, trap sense +2
Danger sense +2, rogue talent
Sneak attack +4d6
Sneak attack +4d6
Improved uncanny dodge, rogue talent
Improved uncanny dodge, rogue talent
Sneak attack +5d6, trap sense +3
Danger sense +3, sneak attack +5d6
Advanced talents, rogue talent
Advanced talents, rogue talent, rogue’s edge
Sneak attack +6d6
Finesse training, sneak attack +6d6
Rogue talent, trap sense +4
Danger sense +4, rogue talent
Sneak attack +7d6
Sneak attack +7d6
Rogue talent
Rogue talent
Sneak attack +8d6, trap sense +5
Danger sense +5, Rogue’s edge, sneak attack +8d6
Rogue talent
Rogue talent
Sneak attack +9d6
Sneak attack +9d6
Rogue talent, trap sense +6
Danger sense +6, rogue talent
Sneak attack +10d6
Finesse Training, sneak attack +10d6
Master strike, rogue talent
Master strike, rogue talent, rogue’s edge

Finesse Training: There’s some awesome stuff going on here.  At first level, the Unchained Rogue gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.  Additionally, at third level, the rogue picks one light weapon and gains to dex to damage with that type of weapon.  The rogue adds another at 11th and 19th levels.

Rogue Talents:
·      Bleeding Attack: No change
·      CamouflageAPG: No longer limited to one use/day.
·      CertaintyNEW: The rogue can make one reroll/day on a skill check using the skill she selected rogue’s edge in.  She gains an extra reroll at 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.  Talent can be selected multiple times, but for different skills each time.  Must be 5th level.
·      Coax InformationAPG: When using bluff or diplomacy in place of intimidate to make another act friendly, the target’s attitude returns to its original state instead of dropping one level.
·      Combat SwipeAPG: No change
·      Combat Trick: No change
·      Esoteric ScholarUC: No change
·      Expert LeaperAPG: In addition to all initial benefits, a rogue with this skill adds her rogue level to Acrobatics skills checks to jump.  When deliberately falling, in addition to ignoring first 20 feet fallen, she ignores another 10 feet for every 5 by which she exceeds the DC 15 check.
·      Fast Stealth: No change
·      Follow cluesAPG: No change
·      Hold BreathUC: Rogue doubles the amount of time she can hold her breath but this talent can now be taken only once.
·      Lasting PoisonAPG: When a rogue applies poison to a weapon, it lasts as many rounds as her Dexterity modifier (min. 2) instead of only 2.  Still need swift poison to apply poison as a standard action instead of a full-round one.
·      Ledge Walker: In addition to the previous bonuses, a rogue can also move along uneven or slippery surfaces full speed using the Acrobatics skill.  In addition to not being flat-footed, Pathfinder Unchained makes it clear that she retains her dexterity bonus to AC.
·      Major Magic: Increases number of uses of first-level spell as a spell-like ability from 2 to equal to the rogue’s level.
·      Minor Magic: Increases number of uses of 0th-level spell as a spell-like ability from 3/day to unlimited castings.
·      MultitalentedNEW: Rogue can use a rogue talent normally usable only once per day another time.  Gains another extra use at 10th and 18th levels and extra uses can be on different once per day talents.  Does not work with advanced rogue talents.
·      Nimble Climber: Instead of making a climb check with a DC of surface base DC + 10, the rogue makes a Reflex save at the same DC as the original Climb check to avoid falling.
·      Powerful Sneak: Still take the -2 to attack rolls, but reroll 1s on sneak attack damage rather than just treating them as 2s.  Can reroll all sneak attack dice that come up as 1, but get only one reroll.
·      Quick Disable: In addition to complex locks taking only half the time, disable device checks that normally require a full-round action can be performed with a standard action.
·      Resiliency: Doubles temporary hit points gained to twice the rogue’s level.
·      Rogue Crawl: In addition to all previous benefits, the rogue also reduces attack rolls and AC penalties for being prone by 2 (normally to -2).
·      Slow Reactions: No change
·      Stand Up: Rogue can still stand up as a free action that provokes attacks of opportunity, but can also choose to stand up as a swift action that does not provoke.
·      Surprise Attack: In addition to treating all opponents as flat-footed during the surprise round, the rogue adds ½ her rogue level to sneak attack damage during the surprise round.
·      Terrain MasteryUC: When the rogue takes second, third, etc. favored terrains, she no longer gains a +2 bonus for her previously selected favored terrains.  (Only nerf I’ve found yet!)
·      Trap Spotter: No changes.
·      Weapon TrainingUC: No changes.

Danger Sense (replacing Trap Sense)
In addition to +1 on Reflex saves to avoid traps and +1 dodge bonus to AC, the rogue also gains +1 bonus on Perception checks to avoid being surprised.  Rises by another +1 every 3 levels.  Counts as trap sense for qualifying for archetypes.  If another class grants trap sense bonuses, these stack with those.

Debilitating Injury: In addition to a penalty attached to a rogue talent, the rogue can cause negative conditions to affect targets of her successful sneak attacks for 1 round.  Three possible conditions including -2 to AC (bewildered), -2 to attack rolls against the rogue only, reduces target’s movement by half and target cannot take a 5 ft. step.  Penalties don’t stack, but can be extended with more successful sneak attacks.  Creature cannot suffer from more than one penalty form this attack at a time.  FAQ Note: Unclear if this means the creature cannot suffer from more than one of these effects at a time or if the creature cannot suffer from more than one of these effects from each rogue dealing them at a time.  I’d rule the latter.  Healing the creature also ends the effect.

Rogue’s Edge: This new ability is very cool.  It basically incorporates another sub-system allowing PCs to specialize in skills as a rogue class ability.  Each skill gets special uses unlocked at 5, 10, 15, and 20 skill ranks.  Rogue gets this ability at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.  Other characters have to use a feat to get skill unlocks.  I’ll cover those in more depth in a later post, but this a great ability!

Advanced Rogue Talents
·      Crippling Strike: No changes
·      Cutting EdgeNEW: Immediately select two more skills for her rogue’s edge ability.  Option to select this multiple times.
·      Deadly Sneak: Instead of traditional ability counting all 1s and 2s on sneak attacks as 3s, rogue now rerolls 1s and 2s.  But, gets only one reroll.  Editorial: I’m 50/50 as to whether this is better than the traditional ability.  The Unchained powerful sneak attack is clearly better, but this one is less clear cut.
·      Defensive Roll: No changes
·      Dispelling Attack: No chanages
·      Double DebilitationNEW: When inflicting penalties using her debilitating injury effect, the rogue can impose two types of penalties instead of just one.
·      Feat: No changes
·      Improved Evasion: No changes
·      Light WalkerNEW: Rogue can move at full speed through difficult terrain and take 5 ft. steps into difficult terrain.  Ledge walker is a prerequisite talent.
·      Master of DisguiseAPG: Use still limited to once per day, but it’s now just a standard action to make the disguise and retain the +10 bonus to the disguise check.
·      Multitalented, GreaterNEW: Allows selecting the multitalented rogue talent again to gain even more uses of once per day talents.  FAQ Note: The text on this ability is really vague.  I think that’s what they mean here, but would to hear other thoughts!
·      Opportunist: Removes the restriction on using Combat Reflexes feat to use this rogue talent to gain more than one attack of opportunity against a struck opponent per round.
·      Quick ShotNEW: Whenever a rogue is holding a readied range weapon and makes an initiative check, she gets a bonus attack as part of the initiative rolling process.  Note: This talent is out of order in the book, appearing between Slippery Mind and Terrain Mastery, Greater.
·      Skill Mastery: Limits skills selected for mastery to only three, but adds all skills for which the rogue has taken rogue’s edge to be counted as well. (i.e., since this talent isn’t usable until 10th level, selecting it at 10th level means a minimum of 4 skills: two from rogue’s edge and two chosen by the PC).
·      Slippery Mind: No changes
·      Terrain Mastery, GreaterNEW: Bonuses in a favored terrain selected through normal rogue talent increases to +4, and then to +6 at 13th level and +8 at 18th level.

Master Strike: Save DC against a master strike is now 10 + ½ rogue’s level + Dexterity modifier instead of Intelligence modifier.