If there is any class in Pathfinder more mutable and changeable. Like the Bard, the Rogue is a Jack of all Trades, and master of None.
The difference is the Rogue trades spellcasting power with the ability to hit an enemy where it really hurts with sneak attacks and a skill list a mile wide.
Rogues can be just about anything. The iconic thief of the party, the stealthy assassin, the treasure/lore hunter, the streetwise kid, or the rebel out to topple a regime. All of these are classic Rogue archetypes.
The most powerful part of the Rogue, and where it really shines best, is their role on the battlefield. Rogues can deal out damage better than almost anyone else, even the Fighter.
What can make or break the Rogue (and really all Pathfinder characters) is your Feat Choice! Feats will bolster your normal abilities or add powerful new techniques to your repertoire.
However, the name of the game is Efficiency (actually it is Pathfinder, but that’s beside the point).
Here though we are going to break down the best feats for Rogues when it comes to dominating the battlefield.
Qualities in a Feat Selection
When choosing the right feats for any build, there are a few things to look for:
- Applicability: How often you are going to be able to use this feat in a given situation. The more it can be applied, the more valuable the feat is going to be for use.
- Availability: How early or soon can you grab this feat, or how steep the prerequisites are to acquire it. If you can get it early in a build, that means you have more time to really get used to it.
- Flavor: Cool Factor! How awesome is the feat divorced from a mechanical perspective and more for just a badass perspective. TTRPGs are a great way to live a power fantasy, and cool feats are just icing on the cake for that.
Pathfinder Rogue Feats – 4 Top Options
Of the feats listed here, these are not necessarily ranked in order of importance, neither are they the only options you should take.
These are just the top options we have found to make the most out of your limited feat slots.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Combat, there are a few Feats we should discuss first. Four specifically!
1. Skill Focus
Rogues have powerful potential when it comes to skills. They have one of the largest in-class skill lists in the game and get more skill points than any of the other base classes. If you are going for a skill build, or have skills that you use often, this should always be a feat to look into if you have a free slot.
Always a good choice if you are not sure about what to do next. Rogues have access to a large list of talents, and adding more to your repertoire is certainly always an option.
3. Twist Away
This is a great feat for Rogues or any character with Evasion. Rogues typically have a horrible Fort Save, and this one gives you a chance to avoid the effect if you happen to fail (and you will).
4. Iron Will
This feat isn’t as flashy as Twist Away, but it is definitely something Rogues need. Shore up the defenses of those lesser saves.
When it comes to physical Roguish combat in Pathfinder, there are two schools of thought: Melee and Ranged.
Ranged Rogues are typically the safest place for a Rogue because they aren’t mixing it up in melee combat. This route is really best used with thrown weapons, a composite bow, or a crossbow.
It may be somewhat difficult to maintain your sneak attacks with a ranged battle unless you can find a way to get your opponent flat-footed and “reset” over again often (such as an Invisibility spell).
Ranged is going to protect you more, and give you more mobility than Melee.
The first feat any ranged fighter takes. This one provides a small bonus on its own, but also opens up the later ranged weapon trees.
A must have ranged combat feat. This is going to keep you from accidentally sneak attacking your own party as you launch arrows/bolts/throwing knives at the baddies.
Power Attack for Ranged Fighters. Trade some of that considerable attack bonus for extra damage. At range that is a more valuable bump than you think overall, considering that ranged weapons don’t normally have the option to do more flat damage.
Gain a second attack for just a -2 penalty. This one is very much a no brainer when you want to rain ammo on target.
This one is going to depend on which direction you went with your chosen ranged weapon. Manyshot works like Rapid Shot above, but without the penalty.
Select Rapid Reload if you are using a crossbow, so you can stay mobile while still reloading. Quick Draw will let you draw your throwing weapons quicker and stay mobile just like Rapid Reload.
Melee Rogues are the ones who are going to wade into combat though and start slashing for those vital areas. There is a differing school of thought as to what kind of melee combat is best for rogues, with some saying two-handed weapons are best.
I however subscribe to the idea of getting as much sneak attack damage as possible, so two-weapon fighting is the superior choice here. You are going to be in the thick of it, so make sure to be light on your feet and not get hit.
Getting into flanking positions where you can maintain sneak attack is your bread and butter here.
Rogues specialize in Dexterity. It is perhaps their most important stat. This feat is a must have in melee. This makes your Dexterity apply to your attack rolls rather than your Strength, so you don’t have to split your attention too much.
It is just a +1 to your attack roll, but this feat opens up entire trees of combat feats you might want to take. It also helps reduce the penalties for…
The more often you hit, the more chances you can hit with your sneak attack. You can maximize that by hitting with two weapons rather than one. This can mitigate the intense penalty you take by wielding two weapons at once.
Upgrading Two-Weapon Fighting to get an extra attack! More chances to get that sneak attack!
And Yet another Extra Attack! More Sneak attacks and more hits!
FUN FACT: These two types of Rogues can overlap even! A Rogue using throwing weapons can double up the Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon Focus feats to go from Ranged to Melee to Ranged again with little extra effort. Like I said, Jack of All Trades.
Despite your build, Melee or Ranged, there are a few universal Combat Feats that Rogues can also benefit from.
This is good for any character, but it is great for Rogues. This will improve your chances of going first and getting that Flat-footed sneak attack.
Great for Rogues with good Charisma. You can use your action to demoralize a range of opponents, causing them to be shaken and set up for…
The Combo! Because they are shaken from Dazzling Display, you can catch your enemies flat-footed, and hit them with your sneak attacks all over again!
Stay Sneaky Rogues!