I'm currently a level 2 half-orc rogue, I have 18 dex and 18 int, I'm very focused on skill points with my 18 int. and am maxing out my UMD at every level to use wands and scrolls as best as possible. I was looking at some of the talents for rogue and saw I can pick up cantrips and then 1st level spells with two respective talents; Minor Magic & Major Magic. this got me thinking of ways I could add flavorful rp and a bit of depth by "faking" being a spellcaster. Using prestidigitation and the like to "break locks" and in general being really cool looking.

Now I would only need one talent for prestidigitation, and that sounds totally worth it for adding a bit of flair to my character.

My question is thus: What if anything can I do to enhance being magical without, taking away from my mechanical roll of being sneaky and making with the stabby stabby?

Bonus: I've looked into Arcane trickster and this seems perfect. is it too late to really go with that? one of the requirements is to be able to cast 2nd level spells which is 3 levels into wiz.That would likely hurt me alot in these early levels, besides the group already has a wiz and I doubt if he would be glad to see me snuggling up into his biscuit, if you will.

Update: found out 3.5 is open but will need to be reviewed by DM prior to being allowed, I will now be taking the factotum and the unseen seer to my DM to see if they gets approved. thanks you guys!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related enough. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2014 at 7:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: 3.5 player looking for a similar sneaky-wizard. Even with 3.5 material allowed, not a duplicate because the two rogue levels change matters. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking at multiclass options and strict mechanical ways or suggestion for RP could suffice? Using bluff, spreading rumours, hiring people to act like they've heard of your magical prowess and running cons like that are on the table? \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Sep 2, 2014 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrJinPengyou those are some awesome idea's for RP I really like hiring people to act like I'm Mr. Magic. suggestions for Rp could suffice \$\endgroup\$
    – Ethereal
    Sep 3, 2014 at 0:01

3 Answers 3


Fake Spellcasting

If 3.5 is on the table, go with the factotum, from Dungeonscape. Basically “Indiana Jones, the class,” the factotum makes incredible use of Intelligence, and also gets a smattering of spell-like abilities off of the sorcerer/wizard list. An excellent class in general, though you will have somewhat less stabby.

See how to optimize a factotum for (a lot of) ideas.

Real Spellcasting

Of course, fake spellcasting is nice and all, but real spellcasting is better. Also, the factotum doesn’t really get that much Sneak Attack damage, while (at least in 3.5) we can get that with spellcasting.

Arcane trickster is, sadly, pretty poor. It’s not awful by any means, but it has a dramatically fewer skill points. In general, Pathfinder prestige classes are much less good than 3.5 prestige classes, an intentional choice on Paizo’s part, a reaction (overreaction, in my opinion) to the perceived over-use of prestige classes in 3.5. Since you want to combine two different things (rogue and spellcasting), though, a prestige class is the natural place to look. Thus I hope your DM does allow 3.5 material to be used here.

In 3.5, the unseen seer from Complete Mage is much better: 6+Int skills, full spellcasting, ¾ BAB, and bonuses to precision damage (e.g. Sneak Attack) at 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th (i.e. 1d6 less than a rogue would get over the same levels). Plus they get the ability to poach divination spells from other classes: the big win for you here is hunter’s eye, a 1st-level ranger spell from Spell Compendium which grants quite a few Sneak Attack dice.

Spellwarp sniper from Complete Scoundrel is another interesting choice if you’re a ranged rogue, either in addition or instead of unseen seer. Only 4+Int skills, which sucks, and Sudden Raystrike is quite a bit weaker than Sneak Attack (but the primary difference doesn’t apply to ranged attacks), but the Spellwarp feature is awesome. It allows you to turn area spells into rays, which you can Sneak Attack with, and better still, if that spell offers a Reflex save, it’s replaced by the ranged touch attack of the ray. It is much easier to land a ranged touch attack, particularly against a flat-footed foe, than it is get them to fail a Reflex save.

A really simple build would be rogue 1/wizard 4/unseen seer 10/spellwarp sniper 5; since you have 2 rogue levels already, that becomes a rogue 2/wizard 3 entry. I’d probably get the first three levels of spellwarp sniper ASAP, since you definitely want Spellwarp, and you don’t want to go too long without Precise Shot. So probably more like rogue 2/wizard 3/unseen seer 2/spellwarp sniper 3/unseen seer +8/spellwarp sniper +2. This works out pretty well because it means you get hunter’s eye right before jumping ship onto spellwarp sniper.

If you don’t want to mess with rays and are really focusing on stabby for applying Sneak Attack, arcane trickster is probably better than spellwarp sniper for the 5 levels after completing unseen seer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for spellwarp sniper - definitely my favourite rogue/wizard PrC. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Sep 3, 2014 at 0:05

this got me thinking of ways I could add flavorful rp and a bit of depth by "faking" being a spellcaster.

Why not use Wands and Sleight of Hand?

As long as you can use the wands reliably, you should be able to use sleight of hand to cast with the wand while making it look like there is nothing in your hand :)

The challenge here might be using wands reliably. Take a look at Use Magic Device.

Normally, to use a wand, you must have the wand's spell on your class spell list. This use of the skill allows you to use a wand as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. Failing the roll does not expend a charge.

The DC for this roll is 20, so it's hard to use reliably until you get to higher level. Scrolls are slightly more difficult to use.

The Use Magic Device problem is universal

One of the challenges with UMD is simply that it's very hard to use. Even if you take Minor/Major Magic rogue talents you still don't get easy access to wands or scrolls or any item that lets you cast reliably.

I've looked into Arcane trickster and this seems perfect. is it too late to really go with that?

You're not too late for this. Arcane Trickster basically needs 3 levels of Rogue + 3 levels of Wizard (4 levels of Sorcerer) and doesn't start until level 7. Your character likely has the right basic design for this, but obviously 3 levels of Wizard is a big deal.

Arcane Tricksters are still sneak attack experts, but their primary ability is the wand sneak attack. Your fire Scorching Rays into unsuspecting opponents and do sneak attacks on each of the multiple ranged touch attacks.

That's not necessarily what you are describing.


The Advanced Class Guide recently added an archetype that actually fits exactly this. Behold the Counterfeit Mage.

Charlatans and stage magicians use slight of hand to fake magic. A counterfeit mage goes a step further, parroting the motions and activation phrases used by arcane casters to activate wands or other magical accoutrements. While counterfeit mages rarely fool a real wizard, their command of the arcane is enough to convince most lay people.

As for the rules, it mostly focuses on wands and Use Magic Device.


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