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Unchained Rogue

Image used by permission of Yama Orce.

Life is an endless adventure for those who live by their wits. Ever just one step ahead of danger, rogues bank on their cunning, skill, and charm to bend fate to their favor. Never knowing what to expect, they prepare for everything, becoming masters of a wide variety of skills, training themselves to be adept manipulators, agile acrobats, shadowy stalkers, or masters of any of dozens of other professions or talents. Thieves and gamblers, fast talkers and diplomats, bandits and bounty hunters, and explorers and investigators all might be considered rogues, as well as countless other professions that rely upon wits, prowess, or luck. Although many rogues favor cities and the innumerable opportunities of civilization, some embrace lives on the road, journeying far, meeting exotic people, and facing fantastic danger in pursuit of equally fantastic riches. In the end, any who desire to shape their fates and live life on their own terms might come to be called rogues.

Role: Rogues excel at moving about unseen and catching foes unaware, and tend to avoid head-to-head combat. Their varied skills and abilities allow them to be highly versatile, with great variations in expertise existing between different rogues. Most, however, excel in overcoming hindrances of all types, from unlocking doors and disarming traps to outwitting magical hazards and conning dull-witted opponents.

Unchained: While much of the unchained rogue will be familiar to those who have played the original rogue, there are a number of new class features that greatly enhance the power and flexibility of the rogue. Chief among these is the debilitating injury class feature. A rogue with this ability can severely hamper her foes, giving her a much-needed boost to her offense or defense, depending on the situation. In addition, with finesse training, the rogue now gains Weapon Finesse for free at 1st level. This ability also lets her add her Dexterity to damage rolls with one weapon starting at 3rd level. Finally, the rogue’s edge ability ties into a new system called skill unlocks. With this feature, the unchained rogue can master a small set of chosen skills, outperforming all those characters without access to such talents.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The rogue’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Table: Rogue
LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+0+0+2+0Finesse training, sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding
2nd+1+0+3+0Evasion, rogue talent
3rd+2+1+3+1Danger sense +1, finesse training, sneak attack +2d6
4th+3+1+4+1Debilitating injury, rogue talent, uncanny dodge
5th+3+1+4+1Rogue’s edge, sneak attack +3d6
6th+4+2+5+2Danger sense +2, rogue talent
7th+5+2+5+2Sneak attack +4d6
8th+6/+1+2+6+2Improved uncanny dodge, rogue talent
9th+6/+1+3+6+3Danger sense +3, sneak attack +5d6
10th+7/+2+3+7+3Advanced talents, rogue talent, rogue’s edge
11th+8/+3+3+7+3Finesse training, sneak attack +6d6
12th+9/+4+4+8+4Danger sense +4, rogue talent
13th+9/+4+4+8+4Sneak attack +7d6
14th+10/+5+4+9+4Rogue talent
15th+11/+6/+1+5+9+5Danger sense +5, rogue’s edge, sneak attack +8d6
16th+12/+7/+2+5+10+5Rogue talent
17th+12/+7/+2+5+10+5Sneak attack +9d6
18th+13/+8/+3+6+11+6Danger sense +6, rogue talent
19th+14/+9/+4+6+11+6Finesse training, sneak attack +10d6
20th+15/+10/+5+6+12+6Master strike, rogue talent, rogue’s edge

Class Features

The following are the class features of the unchained rogue.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Rogues are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, short sword, and shortbow. They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.

Sneak Attack

Precision Damage & Critical Hits

Precision damage (such as that dealt by a rogue’s sneak attack ability) applies to more creatures than it did in previous editions of the game.

Some may balk at this but it can easily be imagined or explained as the rogue having found a weak point in the undead’s “body” (such as a zombie’s head) or even finding a crack or flaw in a construct’s “body.”

There is some degree of confusion as to what should separate a “critical hit” from a “precision-based attack” but in any event, in some cases they are treated differently.

Critical Hits

The following creature types (or subtypes) have immunity to critical hits (that is, they do not take any additional damage from critical hits):

  • Aeon (subtype): “Immunity to cold, poison, and critical hits.
  • Elemental (subtype): Elementals are “not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as sneak attack.
  • Incorporeal (subtype): “An incorporeal creature is immune to critical hits (unless the attacks are made using a weapon with the ghost touch special weapon quality.)
  • Ooze (Type): <Oozes are…> “not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)
  • Protean (subtype): (50% chance to ignore, see below*)
  • Swarm (Type): “A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits.

Precision-Based Damage (like Sneak Attack)

The following creature types (or subtypes) do not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack):

  • Elemental (subtype): “<An elemental…> does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)
  • Incorporeal (subtype): “An incorporeal creature is immune to precision-based damage (such as sneak attack damage) unless the attacks are made using a weapon with the ghost touch special weapon quality.
  • Ooze (Type): “<An ooze is…> does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)
  • Protean (subtype): (50% chance to ignore, see below*)

Creatures Immune to Flanking

Opponents do not gain any special flanking bonuses against the following creature types (or subtypes):

  • Ooze (Type): “<An ooze is…> not subject to … flanking.
  • Swarm (Type): “A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to flanking.
  • Elemental (subtype): “<Elementals are…> not subject to flanking.

*Special: Proteans have a special ability called “Amorphous Anatomy” which might protect them: “<Amorphous Anatomy> grants <a protean> a 50% chance to ignore additional damage caused by critical hits and sneak attacks,”

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue’s attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every 2 rogue levels thereafter. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. This additional damage is precision damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (such as a sap, unarmed strike, or whip), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack—not even with the usual –4 penalty.

The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with total concealment.


A rogue adds 1/2 her level on Perception checks to locate traps and on Disable Device checks (minimum +1). A rogue can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

Finesse Training (Ex)

At 1st level, a rogue gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. In addition, starting at 3rd level, she can select any one type of weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse (such as rapiers or daggers). Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Whenever she makes a successful melee attack with the selected weapon, she adds her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier to the damage roll. If any effect would prevent the rogue from adding her Strength modifier to the damage roll, she does not add her Dexterity modifier. The rogue can select a second weapon at 11th level and a third at 19th level.

Evasion (Ex)

At 2nd level, a rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she succeeds at a Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Rogue Talents

As a rogue gains experience, she learns a number of talents that aid her and confound her foes. Starting at 2nd level, a rogue gains one rogue talent. She gains an additional rogue talent for every 2 levels of rogue attained after 2nd level. A rogue cannot select an individual talent more than once.

Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a rogue’s sneak attack. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual attack, and the decision must be made before the attack roll is made.

A rogue cannot choose a ninja trick with the same name as a rogue talent.

Danger Sense (Ex)

At 3rd level, a rogue gains a +1 bonus on Reflex saves to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. In addition, she gains a +1 bonus on Perception checks to avoid being surprised by a foe. These bonuses increase by 1 every 3 rogue levels thereafter (to a maximum of +6 at 18th level). This ability counts as trap sense for the purpose of any feat or class prerequisite, and can be replaced by any archetype class feature that replaces trap sense. The bonuses gained from this ability stack with those gained from trap sense (from another class).

Debilitating Injury (Ex)

At 4th level, whenever a rogue deals sneak attack damage to a foe, she can also debilitate the target of her attack, causing it to take a penalty for 1 round (this is in addition to any penalty caused by a rogue talent or other special ability). The rogue can choose to apply any one of the following penalties when the damage is dealt.

Bewildered: The target becomes bewildered, taking a –2 penalty to AC. The target takes an additional –2 penalty to AC against all attacks made by the rogue. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalty to AC against attacks made by the rogue increases by –2 (to a total maximum of –8).

Disoriented: The target takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls. In addition, the target takes an additional –2 penalty on all attack rolls it makes against the rogue. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalty on attack rolls made against the rogue increases by –2 (to a total maximum of –8).

Hampered: All of the target’s speeds are reduced by half (to a minimum of 5 feet). In addition, the target cannot take a 5-foot step.

These penalties do not stack with themselves, but additional attacks that deal sneak attack damage extend the duration by 1 round. A creature cannot suffer from more than one penalty from this ability at a time. If a new penalty is applied, the old penalty immediately ends. Any form of healing applied to a target suffering from one of these penalties also removes the penalty.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 4th level, a rogue can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A rogue with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against her.

If a rogue already has uncanny dodge from a different class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Rogue’s Edge (Ex)

At 5th level, a rogue has mastered a single skill beyond that skill’s normal boundaries, gaining results that others can only dream about. She gains the skill unlock powers for that skill as appropriate for her number of ranks in that skill. At 10th, 15th, and 20th levels, she chooses an additional skill and gains skill unlock powers for that skill as well.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 8th level, a rogue can no longer be flanked.

This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Advanced Talents

At 10th level and every 2 levels thereafter, a rogue can choose one of the following advanced talents in place of a rogue talent.

Master Strike (Ex)

At 20th level, an rogue becomes incredibly deadly when dealing sneak attack damage. Each time the rogue deals sneak attack damage, she can choose one of the following three effects: the target can be put to sleep for 1d4 hours, paralyzed for 2d6 rounds, or slain. Regardless of the effect chosen, the target can attempt a Fortitude save to negate the additional effect. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the rogue’s level + the rogue’s Dexterity modifier. Once a creature has been the target of a master strike, regardless of whether or not the save is successful, that creature is immune to that rogue’s master strike for 24 hours. Creatures that are immune to sneak attack damage are also immune to this ability.

Unmodified Rogue Talents

The following rogue talents can be used without modification.

Rogue Talents: Assault leader, black market connections, canny observer, cunning trigger, deft palm, distracting attack*, fast getaway, firearm training, getaway artist, grit, iron guts, ninja trick, positioning attack, quick disguise, quick trapsmith, rope master, strong impression, strong stroke, survivalist, swift poison, underhanded, wall scramble.

Advanced Rogue Talents: Another day, confounding blades*, deadly cocktail, familiar, fast tumble, frugal trapsmith, getaway master, hide in plain sight, hunter’s surprise, knock-out blow, redirect attack, rumormonger, stealthy sniper, unwitting ally, weapon snatcher.

Archetypes & Alternate Class Features

When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

By their nature, unchained rogues are varied and versatile. There are rogues who haunt the city, those who stalk the forest, and those who serve as agents of law. Wherever there is space for someone to make her mark with agility and wit, the rogue is there, using her wide range of skills and abilities to make a place for herself, whether openly or through cunning and subterfuge. And where a rogue’s natural cunning and quick thinking aren’t enough to win the day, well—there’s always the option of a knife in the back.

The following themes represent some of the most popular and effective unchained rogue archetypes. Each archetype comes with one or more class features that must be taken. In addition, each archetype includes a number of new rogue talent suggestions that, while not mandatory, help to flesh out the character.

Table: Archetypes / Alternate Class Features
Archetype / Alternate Class FeatureClass Features Changed or Replaced
Class SkillsSkill Ranks per LevelWeapon & ArmorFinesse TrainingSneak
TrapfindingEvasionRogue TalentsAdvanced
Danger SenseDebilitating InjuryUncanny DodgeRogue’s EdgeImproved Uncanny DodgeMaster Strike
Note: Most of the the core rogue‘s existing archetypes will also work with the unchained rogue.
3rd Party Publishers
Note: Most of the the core rogue‘s existing archetypes will also work with the unchained rogue.
Everyman Gaming, LLC.
Arcane Charlatan   XXXX                       C X     
Bruiser   XXXX                               
Contender   XXXX            X                  

(alternate class)
(The following archetypes further modify the Unchained Ninja alternate class:)
Goto                 X X   X     X        
Hoka-han                 XCX X X     X        
Kishu                 X   X       X        
Konran                 X X         X        
Oniwaban                 X   X       X        
Star Master                 X            X       

X=replaced, (X)=optional replacement, C=changed

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Unchained © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Ross Beyers, Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Robert Emerson, Tim Hitchcock, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Robert Schwalb, Mark Seifter, and Russ Taylor.