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Pathfinder - Character Optimization - Unchained Rogue Talents Breakdown


I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.


The Unchained Rogue also brought updates to several Rogue talents, as well as a couple of new talents which offer some fantastic options for Rogues. The Pathfinder Unchained book reprinted a lot of talents without actually changing them, so those talents have been omitted from this list.

For talents which weren't updated, see my Rogue Talents Breakdown.

* - 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.


Certainty (Ex): This makes Rogue's Edge cnsiderably more powerful. It might even allow you to justify picking bad skill unlocks on important skills like Diplomacy, Disable Device, and Perception so that you can get the rerolls.

Combat Swipe: I have never liked Steal as a combat maneuver. It's very rarely useful because you use Disarm for weapons, and you can use Sleight of Hand to steal. If you insist on using Steal, this is an improvement over the original version because you can upgrade to Greater Steal without taking Combat Expertise.

Expert Leaper (Ex): Similar to the old version, but you get your class level as a bonus. Of course, why would anyone care about jumping in a game where you can fly so easily, or purchase a 50gp potion of Jump.

Hold Breath (Ex): Better than the old version, which was absolute garbage, but you can still buy scrolls and potions of water breathing.

Lasting Poison (Ex): Lasting poison was a trade-off with the old version; you got two attempts, but they were less likely to succeed. This is a clear improvement, and any poison-user should grab this as fast as they can get it.

Ledge Walker (Ex): No actual improvements over the old version, but the wording is clarified significantly.

Major Magic (Sp): The original version's single user per day was the only thing holding it back. 3/day would have been passable. 5/day would have made this a go-to option. 1 use per two levels means you can get as many as 10/day uses, so this is an absolutely fantastic option. Vanish is still a great option, and since you get so many uses you can justify picking up meta-SLA feats like Quicken Spell-like Ability.

Minor Magic (Sp): Cantrips are fantastic for many reasons, and being able to use them at will is one of their biggest draws. The original version limited you to 3/day, which wasn't nearly enough to justify a Talent. Consider utility options like Mage Hand or Prestidigitation, but don't discount the usefulness of attack options like Acid Splash for a reliable ranged Sneak Attack option.

Multitalented ():

More uses per day

Nimble Climber (Ex): Why would you invest in climb when a potion of Spider Climb costs 50gp?

Powerful Sneak* (Ex): The math on this version is a bit more difficult than I can quickly figure out, but it's not much better. You're still only getting about half a point of damage per die, which isn't a big payoff.

Quick Disable (Ex): Clarification of original wording.

Resiliency (Ex): Double the effect of the original version. Might be helpful if you're in melee a lot.

Rogue Crawl (Ex): An improvement over the original version, but still too situational.

Stand Up (Ex): This is actually worse than the original version, which is tragic because the original version was overpowered in the one exact case to which it applied, but worthless the other 99% of the game.

Surprise Attack (Ex): It's only 1 damage per two Rogue levels, and since it's a surprise round you'll almost definitely only get one attack, but this is nice if you're planning to one-shot something at the beginning of each encounter.