Return of the Illusionist/Thief!
Posted by Owen K.C. Stephens
There aren’t a lot of classic “old school” multiclass combinations left I haven’t addressed, having done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, fighter/magic-user/thief, thief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon. At least—there aren’t a lot left I think actually need any help to be used in Pathfinder. There are good ways to create characters filling the roles of the cleric/fighter (warpriest, inquisitor), cleric/magic user (Rogue Genius Games’ magister class), fighter/magic-user (magus), fighter/thief (just do a multiclass fighter/rogue), fighter/assassin (a fighter/rogue can take the assassin prestige class, or you can just play a slayer), and magic-user/thief (the eldritch scoundrel rogue archetype).
But there is still at least one I think would be tricky to build in a satisfying way in Pathfinder—the illusionist/thief. Being an illusionist has specific keynotes in Pathfinder, and it’s hard to hit those with any class with good rogue ability without losing significant effectiveness.
So, taking notes from the unchained rogue, the eldritch scoundrel, the arcanist, and my own fighter/illusionist, here’s a hybrid class for the illusionist/thief.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The illusionist/thief’s’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 (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Finesse training, sneak attack +1, trapfinding
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Rogue talent
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Finesse training, sneak attack +1d6
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Debilitating injury, rogue talent, uncanny dodge
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Sneak attack +2d4
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Rogue talent
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Sneak attack +2d6
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +2 Rogue talent
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 Sneak attack +4d4
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +3 Advanced talents, rogue talent
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +3 Finesse training, sneak attack +3d6
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Rogue talent
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Sneak attack +4d6
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +4 Rogue talent
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +5 Sneak attack +5d6
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Rogue talent
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Sneak attack +6d6
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Rogue talent
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Finesse training, sneak attack +7d6
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Master caster, rogue talent
The following are the class features of the illusionist/thief.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Illusionist thieves are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, short sword, and shortbow. They are proficient with cloth light armor (but no armor with a significant amount of metal or leather), but not with shields. Their illusionist/thief spells suffer no ASF when they wear light armor composed primarily of cloth.
Favored Class Bonuses
A character that takes a level of illusionist/thief as a favored class can select any favored class bonus the character would receive as a rogue or a wizard, as long as the selected favored class bonus does not grant or modify a class feature the illusionist/thief lacks.
Spellcasting and Illusions
An illusionist/thief has access to a broad range of magic, but can only cast a very few spells per day. This requires her to depend on her skills and talents for much of her adventuring effectiveness, while giving her the option to use spells when a situation becomes dire or when she can find some long-term synergy to deal with a problem.
At 1st level the illusionist/thief casts spells drawn from the bard class list (though she cannot cast any spell that requires or modifies a class feature she does not have, such as bardic performance), and all wizard illusions spells. The illusionist/thief gains the arcane school wizard class feature (including being able to prepare one additional spell of the specialized school for each spell level she can cast), but may only select the illusion school (or its associated focused schools) to specialize in, and automatically has evocation as its opposed school (but does not have to select a second opposed school). The illusionist/thief uses her illusionist/thief level as her wizard level for the illusion arcane school abilities.
An illusionist/thief must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, her spells are not expended when they’re cast. Instead, she can cast any spell that she has prepared consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level, assuming she hasn’t yet used up her spell slots per day for that level. An illusionist/thief can prepare a number of spells per day as a magus of her level, and uses Charisma to determine her bonus spells, maximum spell level she can learn or prepare.
To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the illusionist/thief must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against an illusionist/thief’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the illusionist/thief’s Intelligence modifier.
An illusionist/thief can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Illusionist/thief under “Spells per Day.” In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score.
An illusionist/thief may know any number of spells, but the number she can prepare each day is limited. At 1st level, she can prepare four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells each day. At each new illusionist/thief level, the number of spells she can prepare each day increases, adding new spell levels (using the same chart as the spells per day of the magus). Unlike the number of spells she can cast per day, the number of spells an illusionist/thief can prepare each day is not affected by her Charisma score. Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an illusionist/thief can prepare.
An illusionist/thief must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the illusionist/thief decides what spells to prepare and refreshes her available spell slots for the day.
Like a sorcerer, an illusionist/thief can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats). However, she may also prepare a spell with any metamagic feats she knows and cast it without increasing casting time like a wizard. She cannot combine these options—a spell prepared with metamagic feats cannot be further modified with another metamagic feat at the time of casting.
Table: Illusionist/thief Spells Per Day
Class Spell Level
Level 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 1 – – – – –
2 1 – – – – –
3 1 – – – – –
4 2 1 – – – –
5 2 1 – – – –
6 2 1 – – – –
7 3 2 1 – – –
8 3 2 1 – – –
9 3 2 1 – – –
10 3 3 2 1 – –
11 3 3 2 1 – –
12 3 3 2 1 – –
13 3 3 3 1 1 –
14 3 3 3 1 1 –
15 3 3 3 1 1 –
16 3 3 3 2 1 1
17 3 3 3 2 1 1
18 3 3 3 2 1 1
19 3 3 3 2 2 1
20 3 3 3 2 2 1
If an illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief’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 illusionist/thief flanks her target, or when the illusionist/thief has convinced the target she is something other than an armed humanoid (normally with an illusion)—in which case the illusion ends with the first sneak attack. This extra damage is +1 point at 1st level, 1d6 at 3rd level, 2d4 at 5th level, 2d6 at 7th level, 4d4 at 9th level, 3d6 at 11th level, and increases by 1d6 every 2 illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with total concealment.
An illusionist/thief adds 1/3 her level on Perception checks to locate traps and on Disable Device checks (minimum +1). An illusionist/thief can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.
Finesse Training (Ex)
At 1st level, an illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief from adding her Strength modifier to the damage roll, she does not add her Dexterity modifier. The illusionist/thief can select a second weapon at 11th level and a third at 19th level.
As an illusionist/thief gains experience, she learns a number of talents that aid her and confound her foes. Starting at 2nd level, an illusionist/thief gains one unchained rogue talent. She gains an additional rogue talent for every 2 levels attained after 2nd level. An illusionist/thief cannot select an individual talent more than once. She may select evasion (as the rogue lass feature) as a talent and, if she does, may select improved evasion as a talent beginning at 8th level. She may also select uncanny dodge as a talent and if she does, may select improved uncanny dodge as a talent beginning at 8th level.
Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to an illusionist/thief’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.
Debilitating Injury (Ex)
At 4th level, whenever an illusionist/thief 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 illusionist/thief can choose to apply any one of the following penalties when the damage is dealt.
Befuddled: The target becomes befuddled, taking a –2 penalty to saving throws against illusions and to Perception checks, and being considered distracted for purposes of creatures being able to make Stealth checks against it. The target takes an additional –2 penalty to saving throws against illusions cast by the illusionist/thief and to Perception checks regarding the illusionist/thief. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalties increase 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 illusionist/thief. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalty on attack rolls made against the illusionist thief 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.
At 10th level and every 2 levels thereafter, an illusionist/thief can choose an unchained rogue advanced talents in place of a rogue talent.
Master Caster (Ex)
At 20th level, once per round an illusionist/thief can combine the casting of a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less with a sneak attack. The spell affects only the target of the sneak attack, the number of sneak attack dice done is reduced by the level of the spell cast, and the spell does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the spell has a range of touch, the attack roll for the sneak attack counts as the touch attack roll.
If I May Steal a Moment of Your Time.
I have a Patreon. I even posted two illusionist/thief talents there, as bonus content, currently exclusively for patrons.
About Owen K.C. StephensOwen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens
Posted on August 8, 2017, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged Base Classes, Game Design, gaming, Hybrid Classes, Old School, Pathfinder First Edition, PC Options, QuickBaseClass. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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