Pathfinder - Slayer 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.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
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.
Rogue talents define a Rogue in much the same way that feats define a fighter. Talents give you a lot of room to customize your rogue, and provide several excellent reasons to remain a single-class rogue.
* - 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.
Deadly Range (Ex): Potentially helpful for archery builds.
Foil Scrutiny: Very situational.
Poison Use (Ex): Poison is a complex subject, but if you plan to use it, this is required.
Ranger Combat Style (Ex): Combat Styles are one of the best Ranger class features, and getting to take as much or as little of a combat style as you want is great. See my Ranger Combat Style Breakdown for help selecting a combat style.
Rogue Talent (Varies): You get to select from a subset of Rogue/Ninja talents.
- Bleeding Attack* (Ex): Bleed effects are always tempting, but rarely worthwhile. This could be useful for hit-and-run attacks, but you would be better served outright killing someone instead of waiting for them to bleed to death. At higher levels the bleed damage can become very scary, but fast healing and regeneration become more common.
- camouflage (Ex): Highly situational.
- combat trick: An extra combat feat can be very helpful for many builds, but the Ranger Combat Style Talent is a better option in most cases.
- Fast Stealth (Ex): This can be helpful for infiltrating and scouting, but if you're sneaky enough you shouldn't have a problem moving at half speed.
- finesse rogue: If you plant to use Weapon Finesse this is a good way to get it.
- firearm training (Ex): If you want to use Firearms, this is the way to do it with a Slayer. Regrettably, there isn't a Ranger Combat Style for firearms, but the Archery style can get you some essential feats.
- Grit (Ex): Effectively two feats for a talent. If you use firearms at all, this is a must.
- Hard to Fool (Ex): Rerolls are great, but this is very situational.
- Lasting Poison (Ex): The biggest problem with poison is the cost. This doubles your mileage with poisons, but exacerbates the issue of low DCs. If you're planning to use poison, definitely consider this.
- Powerful Sneak* (Ex): This applies a -2 penalty. and only increases your damage from 3.5 to 3.6. That is a rounding error, not an ability.
- Rogue Crawl (Ex): If you are prone, you are in serious trouble. The best use of this is to 5-foot step/crawl away, then stand as a move action.
- slow reactions* (Ex): I can't think of a common case where the Slayer would benefit from this.
- snap shot (Ex): You don't need to go first as much as a Rogue does, but if you really want to go first Improved Initiative and a high Dexterity will be a better investment.
- Sniper's Eye (Ex): Get Improved Precise Shot instead. If you are focused on ranged combat, you're going to want it.
- surprise attack (Ex): This can help you sneak attack during the surprise round, but your Sneak Attack damage isn't your only option, so you don't really need this.
- Swift Poison (Ex): Poison is a hard mechanic, and you typically want to pre-plan your poisons, so applying them in combat shouldn't happen enough to justify this talent unless you plan on pouring gold on enemies until they die.
- Terrain Mastery (Ex): Favored Terrain is one of the Ranger's worst abilities.
- Trap Spotter (Ex): This saves you the trouble of constantly looking around for traps.
- Unwitting Ally (Ex): Great for Two-Weapon Fighting builds in situations with multiple enemies. Unfortunately you can only use this on the same target once per day. This is normally an Advanced Talent for Rogues.
- weapon training: Weapon Focus is a small attack bonus, but it's nice for Two-weapon Fighting builds.
Slowing Strike* (Ex): Situational.
Trapfinding: Instantly replace the Rogue.
Assassinate (Ex): Considerably better than the Assassin's Death Attack. Don't forget that Studied Target adds to the DC.
Rogue and Ninja Advanced Talents: You get to select from a subset of Rogue/Ninja talents.
- Deadly Sneak* (Ex): This feels nice, but is statistically useless. Average roll on a d6 is 3.5, and if you make 1s and 2s into 3s, your average roll changes from 3.5 to 4.
- Evasion (Ex): Evasion is fantastic on any character
- Hunter's Surprise (Ex): Once per day, until the end of your turn, you get to Sneak Attack people without actually working for it. As good as Sneak Attack is, the Slayer's Sneak Attack damage just isn't high enough to justify this.
- Knock-out Blow (Ex): Basically Assassinate, but you knock the target unconcious instead of killing them.
- Master of Disguise (Ex): Buy a hat of disguise. By this level the cost is negligible.
Slayer Camouflage (Ex): Why would you waste a talent on Favored Terrain?
Woodland Stride (Ex): Very situational.