[RPG] Will these low-level sorcerer spells and abilities stay useful for a high-level Pathfinder rogue


I am playing a Pathfinder rogue, currently at level 1 but soon to progress. The character backstory is that he has always thought he had "magical ancestors", even though he's just a street urchin thief. So I plan to take the Minor Magic and Major Magic rogue talents, plus one level of draconic sorcerer after that.

I like the idea of magical powers that sort of bubble up over time to add a few-times-per-day "special sauce" to what is otherwise a pretty straightforward high-dexterity thief with a rapier and no shield, who prioritizes skills, mobility, feinting, and sneakiness:

  • Ray of Frost – a few ranged-touch sneak attacks per day
  • Shield – survive a few minutes in the middle of melee
  • Draconic claws – a few rounds of no-penalty two-weapon fighting per day
  • True Strike for occasional impossible hits
  • Expeditious Retreat for all kinds of situations
  • plus Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Mage Hand, etc.

However, will these stay useful at higher levels? I don't mind if this concept displaces other, mechanically "better" rogue play styles. (From reading around it sounds like everyone thinks two-weapon fighting specialist is mandatory for a rogue.) But I don't want to pursue a path that gets nullified in later levels, particularly since it would be character level 6 or so before these "powers" had all even fully expressed themselves.

For context, our group is a mix of a few old folks like me who played AD&D ages ago at a casual level and some others new to tabletop RP. Our DM is very experienced with D&D through version 3.5. We are using only the Pathfinder Core Rulebook for now.

Best Answer

Yes, but with contingencies...

So, first off, I will say that these will most definitely stay relevant. As the rogue, when you get into higher levels the ONLY way you stay relevant is doing the stuff other party members can't. Pathfinder isn't as bad as its DnD 3.5e roots in this line, but Rogues are still far less powerful than many other classes in a "traditional power" sense.

That said, your goal, again, is to do what they can't. What you do best is take out people that would pose serious problems. You are the master of 1v1 stealth attacks, the "getting the final killing hit in a hard battle" person.

For that, these abilities do stay relevant. Ranged Touch SA, for example, are drastically underestimated, but especially vs tanky opponents they can be a huge boon because you can bypass normal defenses.

As a Rogue, you want to aim towards "toolboxing" yourself a bit. Toolboxing refers to the idea of having an good answer to many problems as opposed to a few ridiculously powerful answers to a few problems. These things you are looking at help you do just that.

As a personal note, yes...you will lose straight up melee power and SA damage of dual-wielding rogues. That's fine, though...that isn't your gimmick, and in my opinion it is a waste of rogue potential. You, however, are swapping that pure damage for a rather nice set of utilities that enable you to penetrate defenses, deal damage, stay alive, etc.

Also remember that higher-level encounters will generally go quickly with a good party, so things that can't be used often have more weight because you don't need to worry about 5 rounds of trying to deal with a random enemy like you do at lower levels.

From the perspective of a person who enjoys Pathfinder rogues and rogue-likes, I can say you definitely are making a good choice. Just make sure you play to these strengths and don't go after the same format as those stereotypical two-dagger users. ;)