Ever want to sneak attack your enemies with brutal efficiency? Today in Iconic Design, we’re going to be looking at a class / feat combo that will enable you to circle your foes and strike them down with a barrage of devastating attacks.
Starting today, I’m going to be trying something different for the next few Iconic Designs. Instead of providing a full 20-level character build, I’m going to hyper focus the Iconic Design articles on a single combo, whether that combo takes a specific combination of feats, class levels, alternate class options, or even all of the above. In effect, I’m only going to focus on the parts that you need to make the combo work, effectively making everything else a “FREEBIE” thereafter.
Why am I switching up my Iconic Design column in this way? A few reasons, actually. Completely filling out a build is time consuming, and listing options for things that aren’t needed is a drag. This is why I already like to leave freebees in my builds when it comes to spellcasting—I’m just progressing this to its obvious next step. In hearing from others, I’ve found that these articles work better when they’re short and to the point, and time is becoming more and more precious to me as of late (I’m starting my Graduate Degree program in January). So, a shorter, more focused iteration of Iconic Design sounds pretty good to me!
With this in mind, let’s get started by looking at the Circling Scout design!
Here’s the basics of the combo:
- Classes: Unchained Rogue (minimum 8 levels).
- Archetypes: Scout (Rogue Archetype).
- Abilities: Dex 13+
- Feats: Canny Tumbler, Circling Mongoose, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack
- Skills: Acrobatics 5+.
- Other: slow reactions (rogue talent)
The idea revolves around the combination of the Circling Mongoose (Pathfinder Player Companion: Melee Tactics Toolbox) and Canny Tumbler (Pathfinder RPG: Advanced Class Guide) feats. Essentially, Circling Mongoose allows you to move around your opponent while attacking, but provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. Canny Tumbler allows successful Acrobatics checks made to move through a threatened space or area to render your foe susceptible to sneak attacks. Basically, you move around your foe, provoke the AoO, dodge it with Circling Mongoose, and then when you make your attack, Canny Tumbler kicks in and costs your opponent some major penalties.
Obviously you want to be a rogue to maximize the benefit of Canny Tumbler, but why the scout archetype? Well, the scout is ALL about mobility, so it makes the Spring Attack prerequisite a little bit less painful to swallow. (With the scout’s 8th level ability, you’ll be able to sneak attack on your Spring Attack, regardless of ally positioning.) This also gives you the option to charge in, trigger the scout archetype’s scout’s charge ability, and then use Circling Mongoose on your next turn to dance around your foes. I recommend slow reactions, because it basically turns off your foe’s attacks of opportunity. One attack, then boom. They’re done.
Basically, you can become super flexible with your sneak attacks while moving, and no matter what type of action you take, you’re moving around the battlefield.
Continuing the Build
In my opinion, sticking with options that continue to enhance your Dexterity and mobility are your best bet. This build is very feat-intensive, so going slayer might not be a bad idea. Slayer will give you more sneak attack at a slower rate, plus full BAB and access to more feats via a slew of awesome slayer talents. Another good option would be to go swashbuckler. The unchained rogue is already a finesse class, and swashbuckler gives you a great mobility option in swashbuckler’s dodge. Precise strike is also great for damage if you qualify, and options like menacing swordplay are cool and could lead into Shatter Defenses. Finally, NEVER underestimate the power of the 5th level swashbuckler weapon training ability—getting free Improved Critical with your weapon is amazingly potent.
That’s it for this week’s Iconic Design! Tune in after two weeks for more ideas for your next PC or NPC. Take care!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the Know Direction Facebook Group.