Author Topic: Thief Optimization  (Read 2814 times)

Offline Delicate Swarm

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Thief Optimization
« on: August 27, 2016, 04:54:58 PM »
The Thief Archetype has to be one of the least popular.  Like Champion, it isn't bad, but it doesn't seem to do much other builds can't.

Naturally this makes me want to try optimizing it.  I'm guessing the best way is just to play it as a standard skill monkey/sneak attacker, but with some fast hands tricks and better sneak at level 9.  UMD is good but you can't really consider it reliable since you don't know what you will find.

Probably Variant Human for the race but what feat?  Healer + Fast hands lets you get people up as a bonus action.  Or Magical Initiate for the utility?

 

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 05:59:06 PM »
In what sense do you want to optimize it?  Any damage tricks you come up with a Thief will be higher damage on an Assassin, but Thief has superior mobility to other rogues because of Second Story Work.  You'll have the easiest time playing the Sneak Attack sniper style with Thief since it can get to covered perches so easily.  Multiclass at least 1 into fighter to get Archery fighting style.  Get Sharpshooter for your first feat.  You'll use Cunning Action a lot just to hide behind cover to gain advantage for your Sneak Attacks.  With the fighter multiclass, you'll gain longbow proficiency, so you can land those Sneak Attacks from 600 ft. away.  Supreme Sneak further increases the reliability of getting and moving between covered positions to get reliable long-range Sneak Attacks.
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Offline Delicate Swarm

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 08:10:35 PM »
In short, what's the best way to actually use the Thief abilities. 

That is indeed a good use of Second Story Work.  I was mostly thinking of fast hands letting you throw things around as a bonus action with the use object action.  Caltrops and Ball bearings are OK-ish BFC a lower levels. 

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 08:41:51 PM »
Use an Object gets a little weird with RAI.  RAW, it would seem you can throw acid, alchemist's fire, and oil around with Fast Hands.  The PHB makes a regular healing potion seem like something you can Fast Hands, but then the DMG is explicit about magic items not falling under Use an Object for some reason.

Throw caltrops down behind you as you disengage from an enemy. Use a light source like a torch or lantern if you're suddenly plunged into darkness.  Tool sets are intentionally vague but they probably could apply in certain situations.  Fast Hands is all around a very situational ability.
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2016, 04:29:45 PM »
Climbing as a substitute for Flying, is a really good idea.
I like it.

The Healer Kit + feat + use object trick, is dirt cheap-est healing.
For the emergency purposes in-combat, you're effectively trading
a Bonus and most of your Move to give to a currently downed PC
most of a round, and defensive action attention. 
And you have 3 or more rounds to figure out when to do it.

UMD keep getting better and better.
If your DM is not handing out Wishlist (and they shouldn't be)
the Very Rare and Legendary magic items are random enough,
the party should have 3 or 4 items otherwise unusable.
Thief gets to use them.
Thief is still in my "ultimate" party even with it's other quirks.


Further out, the Tome'lock's Tome is fair game,
anything the Wiz Artificer hands out,
probably all of the Wiz Techno thingy,
that 5 level prc thingy (wtf I forgot already).
There's gotta be more.

Weirdly, the Thief has an incentive to be in a party
with as many of those complimentary classes as possible,
but only up to level 13.  Kill (or "kill") the party ho hum.
Go join a new party, where he slums around ultra-kiting
until that group has finished level 20. "Kill" that party.
Then go join yet another party to finish out his own advancement.
mostly T.O. nobody is playing like this
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Offline Delicate Swarm

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2016, 08:20:46 PM »
"Ultimate Party"?

UMD is good but not reliable for this since you can't really tell what you will get.

Any race ideal?  I figured Var. Human for a feat, but I could see High Elf as well.  Dex and a cantrip?  Variant High Elves can also get a cantrip IIRC which could also be good if you wan't more Social Skills.




Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 11:56:39 PM »
If we're running with "Thief is a good sniper" I'd put wood elf for the movement and mask of the wild above high elf, since the cantrip isn't nearly as useful for an archer rogue.  The fighter dip is so worthwhile that the elf's weapon proficiency is redundant.  I'd lean toward variant human if only focusing on combat optimization.  I could see an argument for a feral winged tiefling too.

Let's assume default array or point buy where the maximum starting Dex you can attain is 16.  That means levels 4 and 8 of rogue are spent on Dex to max it out.  Levels 10, 12, and 16 can go to feats.  19 is a possible feat too, but getting up to 3rd level in fighter if you've already dipped 1 is a worthwhile consideration due to Action Surge and a fighter archetype feature.

The sniper stuff wants Sharpshooter for certain.  Alert is useful, especially with the level 17 Thief feature.  You will want exceptionally high initiative for the chance to take 2 turns before enemies take 1.  Resilient (Con) is a solid but not mandatory choice to cover for Cone of Cold and other such Con-based aoe abilities that could hit a ranged character.  The variant humans gains all this stuff earlier and still have an option open for level 16 of rogue for utility like Healer, Lucky, or Magic Initiate.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 12:07:54 AM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2016, 04:40:18 PM »
Feral for the +2 Dex and Abyssal for the +1 Con
and the decent pile of spells to make into items.

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Offline Power

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Re: Thief Optimization
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2016, 10:23:42 AM »
It's worth looking into what can be used with a Use an Object action. So far items like acid, alchemist's fire, oil, and holy water do work with Fast Hands. They very clearly have their own action (which falls under the Use an Object action) rather than using the attack action and create a single attack (which also means that your normal number of attacks is irrelevant). You can also use a hunting trap or caltrops or poison with it. You could even use a grappling hook with Fast Hands, climb your speed using Second-Story Work (quite possibly carrying up the bottom end of the rope with you), and then use your action to do things. I suppose you could also use a grappling hook to swing across spaces, although your GM might make you roll an acrobatics check for that.

The Healer feat + a Healer's Kit is also a good use of Fast Hands, but it does cost you a feat.