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How to Create Great Pathfinder 2nd Edition Characters: Rogue

Instead of discussing a new Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2) mechanic at the beginning of this entry, I wanted to touch on a bit of formatting in the Core Rulebook. Formatting is easy to do, but difficult to do well, and Paizo certainly stepped up their game with the new ruleset.

The beginning of each Class chapter walks through the characteristics of that class. Similar to this Character Concepts series, the writers give a handy overview before providing key aspects of the class.

At the top, we get a general summary showcasing the main bullet points of the class. Underneath that is a short section on your Key Ability and Hit Points. Then the right column lists mechanical benefits like proficiencies, saving throws, skills, and attacks.

Probably the most helpful section, however, is below the mechanical information. It gives you some stepping stones on what your character might do in certain situations like combat or exploration.

Reading through the initial page of each class in the Core Rulebook will do wonders to spark your imagination during character creation. I highly recommend spending some time doing so!

This week I’ll be talking about the Rogue class, offering up some example character concepts to help your creativity really flourish. As always, you’ll also get a helpful Pathmap to point you in a potential mechanical direction for that character.

Let’s spring into action!

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Rogue Class

Rogues are generally a sneaky bunch. Oftentimes they stick to the shadows, but sometimes they’ll hide in plain sight. Deception is their specialty. In fact, their trickery shines on the battlefield through sneak attacks, and it also is prevalent in social situations through disguise.

Pathfinder Second Edition Rogue Merisiel, ready to dish out damage with her slender rapier and sharp knife.
Merisiel, the 2E Iconic Rogue

Most of the time, Rogues are seen as rulebreakers and criminals. This is a by-product of their association with assassination and thievery. Not all Rogues fit this description, however, so don’t get tied down to being a lawless ruffian.

At their core, Rogues typically value their status as an individual first, and their dedication to a group second. By themselves, they are a force to be reckoned with; they take risks and are willing to put themselves into harm’s way to complete an objective. After all, the rewards are worth it!

Rogues are often hard to trust and may take awhile to trust others. Some see their actions as a means to an end, while others may place a higher value on their societal reputation. They are quick, versatile, and resourceful, using every opportunity to their advantage. You definitely don’t want to cross a skilled Rogue. And double-cross? Don’t even think about it.

  SURVEILLANCE DEALER

You have a keen eye to see what the criminals see. You’re not one of them; that line of work stopped interesting you long ago. Nowadays, you’re on the other side of the fence – helping others protect their property and valuables from undeserving hands. That fence? It should angle outward at the top to thwart burglars from climbing over. That old lock? Why not replace it with one of sturdier construction? Or, better yet, try one of these magical alarms!

Although you aren’t pushy, you are insistent that your products are going to make all of the difference. People trust you and appreciate your insight. There are very few people who know of your troubled past. In fact, you’ve even sold home security upgrades to people that you’ve previously stolen from. It just comes with the territory of being an expert.

What sort of products do you deal with? Do you produce any of them yourself? Are there any notable partners that help you scout out potential ‘targets’? Have you ever done any sabotage to persuade homeowners that they require your services? What are your sales tactics? Are you charismatic and forthright, or are you intimidating? Have you ever been a victim?

How do your skills translate to the world of adventuring? Are you just as perceptive in forests and mountains as you are in urban ones? What tricks of the trade are you still familiar with? Do you ever have lapses into your old life? Do you have many connections to the seedy underbelly of the city? Have you constructed your own traps before? What is your weapon of choice?

Pathmap

  • Rogue’s Racket: Thief
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Dexterity
  • Skills: Scouting Lore, Deception, Intimidation
  • Rogue Feats: Trap Finder, Unbalancing Blow (2nd), Sabotage (4th), Light Step (6th), Delay Trap (8th), Sneak Savant (10th), Fantastic Leap (12th), Sense the Unseen (14th), Cloud Step (16th), Powerful Sneak (18th), Hidden Paragon (20th)

  RIVERSIDE RAIDER

You grew up alongside the water and that’s where you feel most at home. It’s an added bonus that the constant stream of barges and merchants floating along the river might as well be money bags. Swimming is second nature; you might even prefer it to being on land. Everybody has to make a living and yours happens to come at the expense of others. The way you see it, savvy merchants should factor in the risk of theft into their operating costs. It only makes sense.

Pathfinder Second Edition Rogue, a riverside wetlander riverfolk opening oysters with a sharp knife.

Due to your affinity to waterways, you are familiar with topography and geography. You’re also acutely aware of the authoritative infrastructure in neighboring cities. For example, if a barge is assaulted downriver from one of the smaller towns, the guards who respond might not be as numerous or as well-trained. Your finger is on the pulse. You are patient and ambitious, sometimes waiting for hours for your perfect opportunity.

Do you utilize camouflage to hide yourself in the water, or do you stealth along the shore? Who taught you how to swim? Did you grow up living on a river barge? What was the first thing you stole? Are you ever afraid of retribution? When was the last time a robbery went wrong? Have you ever murdered anyone, either by accident or on purpose? Where do you sell your ill-gotten gains?

Do you keep the majority of your spoils or do you give them away to others? Are there specific merchants that you specifically target? Do your targets share a similar psychological or emotional profile? Have you spent time at sea or in prison? Were you ever a merchant or have you always just preyed upon them? Do you work alone or in a group? Does your family know about your criminal life? How do they feel about it? How long can you hold your breath?

Pathmap

  • Racket: Ruffian
  • Ability Scores: Strength, Constitution
  • Skills: Water Terrain Lore, Intimidation, Athletics
  • Rogue Feats: You’re Next, Quick Draw (2nd), Poison Weapon (4th), Gang Up (6th), Sly Striker (8th), Improved Poison Weapon (10th), Critical Debilitation (12th), Defensive Roll (14th), Blank Slate (16th), Powerful Sneak (18th), Impossible Striker (20th)

  ESCAPE ARTIST

It’ll take more than chains, ropes, or a loving partner to keep you tied down. You can break out of any restraint faster than a jackrabbit on a runway carriage. Whether you spent some time as a performer, or you adopted an obscure hobby, it’s always been in your blood to be moving. You aren’t satisfied with your freedoms being restricted. That might be a physical restriction, but it could also be a mental one. You are a proverbial nomad, always moving onto the next big thing.

Your father always told you to never tie a knot that you couldn’t untie yourself. Those words have bounced around your head for ages, and you’ve taken them quite literally. Maybe you worked on a ship tying rigging, or perhaps your expertise comes from architectural pursuits. Either way, you are able to wiggle yourself out of dangerous situations and live to fight another day.

How did your skills develop? Did someone teach you or are you self-taught? Have you ever spent time performing to show off your talents, or do you generally keep them secret? In what ways have your skills assisted your professional career, and what might that career be? Has there ever been a restraint that you weren’t able to escape from? What are the harshest conditions that you’ve ever been in? Have you ever been tortured?

Have you ever been involved in street magic? Did your skills develop naturally from a hobby of deceit and illusion? Are you claustrophobic? Is there a place that you’ve always wanted to travel to but something seems to always get in the way? Where are you from and why did you leave? Is there anything, or anyone, that could persuade you to settle down?

Pathmap

  • Rogue’s Racket: Scoundrel
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Constitution
  • Skills: Engineering Lore, Performance, Acrobatics
  • Rogue Feats: Nimble Dodge, Minor Magic (2nd), Magical Trickster (4th), Skirmish Strike (6th), Blind-Fight (8th), Tactical Debilitations (10th), Spring from the Shadows (12th), Instant Opening (14th), Cognitive Loophole (16th), Trickster’s Ace (18th), Hidden Paragon (20th)

  INGENIOUS VIZIER

You are a close adviser and a trusted friend. People confide in you with their secrets because they know that you’re aware of much more than they’re even willing to share. You’ve gotten to where you are because of your uncanny ability to make things happen. Even things that seem impossible tend to become possible whenever you’re involved. There’s no task too small for those you are loyal to. The political game of cat and mouse is your pastime, and you are constantly moving the cheese.

Pathfinder Second Edition Rogue, a regal elf clothed in an animal skin cloak and dark brown robes.

Behind the scenes, you stick to the shadows and pull the strings. You’ve planted evidence, investigated internal affairs, and reported back with your findings. If there’s dirt to uncover, you’ll find it, or you’ll cover it up if that’s what’s required of you. Where there’s a mouth, your ears aren’t far behind. Not only are you adept at sabotage and posturing, but you are also exceptional at reading people and understanding their motives.

Who do you work for? Can your loyalty and allegiance be bought, or do you value your reputation as reliable? Do you tend to stick to the shadows or do you work out in the open? Are you a delegator or do you handle tasks yourself? Does your liege view you as an equal or just another employee? Do you blackmail others by leveraging their secrets? What’s the most interesting secret that you hold?

Have others tried to undermine your authority? Did anything mysterious or unfortunate happen to them? Do you have any other loyalties? What is your endgame motive? Is there any dirt that you’ve kept on your current employer, in case something goes awry? Do you have an impeccable memory, or do you have to write things down?

Pathmap

  • Rogue’s Racket: Scoundrel
  • Ability Scores: Intelligence, Wisdom
  • Skills: Politics Lore, Society, Diplomacy
  • Rogue Feats: You’re Next, Minor Magic (2nd), Magical Trickster (4th), Twist the Knife (6th), Opportune Backstab (8th), Sneak Savant (10th), Spring from the Shadows (12th), Sense the Unseen (14th), Dispelling Slice (16th), Powerful Sneak (18th), Hidden Paragon (20th)

  INTERNATIONAL PERSON OF MYSTERY

Let’s put it simply – you’re a spy. You work for a group putting agendas in motion. Maybe you’ve infiltrated an underground tortoise-racing ring, or tracked down a criminal mastermind. You are suave, charismatic, well-dressed, and always up for a challenge against a worthy adversary. Sure, the money is nice, but the thrill of the hunt is what really gets you going. Your charm gets you behind doors that are supposed to remain closed, and your fighting abilities get you into the doors that refuse to budge.

You’re something of a legend; people aren’t really sure when you came onto the scene. But now that you’re here, you’re not planning on going anywhere. Adaptation is your middle name because you never know what your mission is going to throw at you next. Your travels have taken you many different places, and it’s made you more cultured and expanded your worldview. There’s nothing quite like traveling on someone else’s silver.

Pathfinder Second Edition Rogue, an Anadi Rain-Scribe who is wearing a colorful set of blue-trimmed robes and a golden cloak.

Have you always been so well-liked? Where does your fashion sense originate from? Do you prefer diplomatic missions or ones that involve a bit more stabbing? Where do your orders come from? Do you ever question your objectives? Has your cover ever been blown? What is the longest undercover mission that you’ve done, and how did it end up? Do you use a pseudonym?

Are there any people that you would consider to be your nemesis? Do you take credit for your operations, or are you required to keep things a secret? What’s the closest to death that you’ve ever been? Have you ever faked your own death? Are you afraid of anything? Is your bravado genuine, or is it just a persona that you show? Are there any songs written about your personal legend?

Pathmap

  • Rogue’s Racket: Scoundrel
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Intelligence
  • Skills: Espionage Lore, Deception, Diplomacy
  • Rogue Feats: Twin Feint, Mobility (2nd), Reactive Pursuit (4th), Twist the Knife (6th), Opportune Backstab (8th), Tactical Deliberations (10th), Reactive Interference (12th), Leave An Opening (14th), Perfect Distraction (16th), Trickster’s Ace (18th), Reactive Distraction (20th)

Pathfinder 2E Rogue Class – Be Sneaky!

Rogues have so much potential for intriguing character builds. I actually encourage you to check out the archetypes from Pathfinder First Edition, as there are a ton of really interesting hooks ripe for the picking.

We only have two weeks left before all of the original classes are complete! Next week you can look forward to an entry on the Sorcerer. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve covered a magic-user, so I’m amped to get back in that arena.

Until then, embrace the shadows!

How to Create Great Pathfinder Second Edition Characters