I am new to Pathfinder 2e. I am absolutely not familiar with the Champion, and just a little bit with the Thief.

How do the Champion and Thief compare regarding damage output (at level 1, 5, 10, and 15)?

We have a Shelyn Champion. Paladin [Lawful Good], glaive (two-handed, so no shield); the Thief uses rapier and dagger with Sneak. Archetypes are not allowed.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to PF2e ruedi! I hope you enjoy the system :) We need a little more parameters to answer this question. What Champion cause are we using? Are we assuming the target is flat footed (for Sneak Attack, etc.)? Will the Champion be able to use their Champion reaction? What weapons are we using? (The highest damage Champions are probably using a 2h weapon, but many Champion builds use a shield, limiting that). Are archetypes allowed? Lots of questions, I know. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 18:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Absolute resonable questions. Since we have a Shelyn Champion. Paladin[Lawful God], Glaive (two handed so no shield), The Thief uses Rapier and Dagger with Sneak. Archetypes are not allowed. I hope that I gave all needed information. \$\endgroup\$
    – ruedi
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are we able to assume the champion gets to use their Retributive Strike reaction? And is the champion striking against a flat-footed enemy as well? \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes you can assume both. \$\endgroup\$
    – ruedi
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


Damage Comparison

The Chart:

Paladin beats all Rogue permutations in damage

The Summary:

Paladin outdamages Rogue at all levels except for level 5, when the Rogue has Double Slice (e.g. from the Dual Weapon Warrior archetype). However, said Rogue keeps pace such that the difference is minimal. Attacks are against a Flat-Footed Moderate AC enemy of the same level

Chart Explanation:

The Paladin, according to the parameters stated in the question, is making 3 attacks on their turn with a glaive, and taking one attack using their Retributive Strike each round. I assumed no feats nor other abilities from either character, with the exception of giving the Rogue Double Slice for some of the calculations. A Rogue using a dagger and rapier doesn't actually benefit from using the dagger except as part of Double Slice; otherwise the damage die decrease plus absence of the Deadly trait means that a dagger only outdamages a rapier minimally in a few scenarios at higher level. I did include a line on the Thief only striking with their rapier, or striking with their rapier for the first action and then a short sword for the next two. The third attack on the Double Slice Rogue with a rapier plus short sword is also a short sword attack.

But, Why?

The parameters of this question do heavily favor the Paladin; Rogues have a lot of ways to get the Flat-Footed condition easier (e.g. Dread Striker, Gang Up) that wouldn't work the Paladin, and guaranteeing the Paladin their reaction every round is quite generous. Additionally, this doesn't account for other damage increasing abilities; Thief Rogues can get Precise Debilitations, which adds a large chunk of extra damage. The Paladin has options to increase their damage, but they tend to be much more situational (e.g. only effective vs evil creatures, like Smite Evil or Blade of Justice).

So which class does more damage?

The classes in a realistic situation are probably going to be similar in terms of damage, at least before feats are considered. Their biggest differentiation is not their damage, but rather their playstyle; Champions are very defensive, with a high AC and the ability to protect allies from effects. Rogues are a bit squishier (8 health per level vs the Champion's 10), but make up for that by being extremely good at Skills, and having more of a "skirmisher" feel. Their debilitations at higher levels will make them feel more like a controller/debuffer than the Champion as well.

NB: Yes, the Double Slice calculations technically ignore the "no archetypes allowed" rule. But if you are serious about two-weapon fighting on a rogue, Double Slice at 2 is basically a necessity. Twin Feint at level 1 does help a little bit, but you'll generally be better off stepping into flanking position and Double Slicing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you account for differences in critical rates? If a rogue is getting sneak attack every attack, we can assume the target is flat-footed, effectively giving the rogue a +10% chance to hit and crit compared to the champion. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ruedi specified that they Champion also was striking a flat-footed target in the comments on the question. So, I don't :) removing flat-footed from the Champion gives the Rogue a significant edge, but it's a little overly simplistic to run damage numbers saying that Rogue always has flat-footed while the Champion never has it, especially given that flanking is easy enough for both of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeQ I would think the most complete way to do it is compare non-flat-footed damage and flat-footed damage, and maybe rogue flat vs champion non-flat as a third choice (only because, as ESCE points out, rogues have various ways to get flat-footed that don't apply to allies). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 23:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't seem right to me, playing a Thief rogue with a Champion in the party... but they're also a shield tank, not a glaive wielder. So that's a pretty significant difference haha \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 23:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ruedi My pleasure! I hope you are able to make a character you enjoy! Yes, you can take an archetype instead of a class feat; most archetypes start at level 2, but some are later (like Shadowdancer). Here are the archetype rules if you are curious: 2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=167 \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 5:23

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