In this Solasta Crown of the Magister Rogue Guide I’m going to discuss my Shadowcaster Rogue Build, and show you what works in terms of choosing the best Ancestry or Race, Background, Abilities and a lot more. If you’ve been looking for a way to play as a Rogue that’s very deadly in wielding Melee Weapons and casting Spells, then this Guide is for you.
Solasta Crown of the Magister Rogue Build Guide: Shadowcaster
Rogues are masters of Stealth and Deception, so much so that they capitalize on the enemy’s weaknesses by frequently tricking them. They are also adept when it comes to disarming traps and picking locks. Rogues are versatile because of how precise they are in performing Sneak Attacks, which deal huge amounts of damage, as well as Crafting and using Poison.
As a Shadowcaster Rogue, you have access to offensive and defensive Spells on top of your default Melee Attacks. You can prevent targets from healing themselves or your allies can distract them so you can perform Sneak Attacks with ease, thereby making this Rogue Build even more menacing.
Rogue Character Creation
Elves, specifically the High Elf Subrace, make for excellent Rogues. As a High Elf, you get Ability Score Increases, specifically for Dexterity and Intelligence. You gain +2 Dexterity to raise your AC and hit chances from Dexterity-based Weapons, and +1 Intelligence to ensure that the Spells you cast will land on enemies. It may sound atypical to discuss Intelligence in the context of creating your most effective Rogue Build but later on at Level 3, you’ll choose your Subclass. The strongest Rogue Subclass is the Shadowcaster, which makes use of Spells to deal damage. As such, you’ll need to invest enough points in Intelligence to optimize your build.
When it comes to Background, I recommend choosing Spy. With Spycraft you enhance your Proficiencies in Stealth and Deception. You also gain Proficiency in both Nature and the Poisoner’s Kit. Nature helps you recall lore about terrains and plants and animals. Meanwhile, the Poisoner’s Kit is another good Tool to have because you are proficient when it comes to crafting Basic Poisons that you can hurl at enemies to debilitate them.
In this guide, I’ll be making use of the Point Buy Ability Generation System instead of Dice Rolls so I can control the points I allot for each Ability. The Rogue’s primary Ability is Dexterity. As I mentioned earlier, it increases your chances of hitting enemies with Dexterity-based Weapons. Also, your default Melee and Ranged Weapons such as Shortswords and a Shortbow are enough to deal decent damage at earlier levels. However, you won’t be equipping your Shortbow as much since you’ll mostly focus on switching to your Secondary Equipment Set, which should consist of nothing but your free hands, to cast Spells with the Somatic Component. To determine whether or not a Spell has this Component, you can hold ALT to get more information. One example is the Shield Spell.
Because of your high Dexterity, your AC is already good at earlier levels. Furthermore, your Initiative or chances of going first in Combat are also improved. Dexterity influences Skills that are useful to Rogues such as Stealth and Sleight of Hand to name a few. I recommend maxing out Dexterity to 17 in order to make use of your +3 Dexterity Modifier. You can add one more point to raise your Dexterity Modifier to +4 when you reach Level 4 with the Ambidextrous Bonus Feat.
The second Ability for the Shadowcaster Subclass is Intelligence, which is powerful in terms of debuffing enemies and dealing Ranged Damage with Spells. As such, I recommend increasing your Intelligence to 14 only because you’ll be equipping the Headband of Intellect. This Headband will automatically boost your Intelligence to 19. Next is Constitution, which you ought to raise to 14 so you can start with 10 HP.
It’s also good to raise your Strength to at least 10 if you wish to enhance your Athletics Skill so you can jump across longer distances and climb dangerous terrain with ease. You can then distribute the remaining points between Wisdom and Charisma.
Your Ability Score spread should look like this with Point Buy:
Skills and Expertise
For Skills, you’ll be picking four. I highly suggest choosing Sleight of Hand first as this will help you successfully trick targets or steal something from them.
You can then make use of your high Intelligence with the Investigation Skill to understand clues better. There’s also the option of selecting Acrobatics to keep you on your feet in case the enemy decides to use Shove against you or Athletics to further enhance your jumping and climbing Skills. Besides these, you can opt to choose any Skill you wish. Just remember to invest in the appropriate Abilities beforehand so you get additional bonuses for these.
What’s good with the Rogue is you also get to pick two additional Skills or Tools to double your Proficiency in due to the Expertise Feature. I highly recommend choosing Stealth and Thieves’ Tools. Stealth almost always guarantees triggering Surprise Attacks, which is very beneficial since having the upper hand at almost every combat encounter is a big deal given how challenging Solasta can be. And Thieves’ Tools help Rogues succeed in disarming traps and opening locks, which is essential, especially since you’ll be doing these activities quite a lot as you explore dungeons and caverns.
You can choose any Language you want.
Rogue Level 1 Dual-Wielding, Sneak Attack, and Cantrip
When building a Shadowcaster Rogue, it’s important to be cunning when you’re near the enemy. You’ll have to use Shortswords because this Melee Weapon possesses the “Light” property and well as the “Finesse” property, as opposed to the Rapier, which only has the “Finesse” property, until you gain Ambidextrous.
Because of this, Shortswords allows you to dual-wield in order to attack with a Bonus Action using your Offhand Weapon on top of your Main Hand Weapon, all in one turn. It’s important to remember that your Ability Modifier is not added to your Bonus Action so the damage you deal with your Offhand Weapon will not be as impactful. However, dealing extra Melee Damage is still preferable overall.
At Level 1, you gain the Sneak Attack Feature for your Finesse Weapon. This allows you to deal an additional 1-6 damage if you have Advantage or another party member is next to the target. Note that this increases by 1-6 damage every two levels. What’s good about this is that when a party member is next to your target, you can easily use your Sneak Attack on them for bonus damage.
As a High Elf at Level 1, you can choose one Cantrip. Cantrips can be cast without expending any Spell Slot, which means that you can use it extensively. Because you need to have an additional light source to prevent gaining Disadvantage when fighting enemies in unlit areas, I recommend selecting Dancing Lights. Dancing Lights let you summon a wisp of light that you can control for 1 minute to see the enemies hiding in the darkness.
Additionally, this Cantrip requires Concentration to remain active. Concentration is broken if you cast another Cantrip or Spell that also requires Concentration. For example, if Dancing Lights is active and you decide to cast True Strike, then True Strike will be the active Cantrip. Moreover, when you take damage while a Cantrip or Spell that requires Concentration is active, you’ll need to make a Constitution Saving Throw and succeed to maintain its effect, otherwise you’ll have to recast it. This is where a decent Constitution comes in handy in order to increase your Saving Throw’s success rate.
Since Dancing Lights has the Material Component, you’ll need to have a Component Pouch equipped to cast it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to cast this Cantrip. You can purchase the pouch from Gorim Ironsoot at Caer Cyflen.
Rogue Level 2 Cunning Action
At Level 2, you gain Cunning Action, which provides you with an extra Bonus Action for every turn in the form of Hide, Disengage or Dash. This is definitely useful because it allows you to hide, to flee from an enemy, or to rapidly move towards them in order to perform Sneak Attacks.
Rogue Level 3 Roguish Archetypes, Cantrips, and Spells
At Level 3, you’ll choose your Subclass from the different Roguish Archetypes. Among the Thief, Darkweaver, and Shadowcaster, Shadowcaster is a solid damage-dealing Subclass since you’ll utilize magic Spells in addition to your Melee Attacks. The Thief is underwhelming because it has Features that don’t boost damage. Instead, it makes you easily climb hazardous surfaces and jump longer distances at no extra Movement cost.
Quite similarly, Darkweaver lets you climb and jump better with Spider on Wall. You also become proficient with the Poisoner’s Kit, which you already are because of the Spy background. Because of this, the Shadowcaster is a well suited Subclass because despite its limited Spells, you can still make use of the ones available to you in order to debuff enemies or to deal enough damage. By limited, this means that not all Spells in the Wizard Spell List can be learned and therefore cast by the Rogue.
When you start as a Shadowcaster, you get to choose three Cantrips and three Spells. For Cantrips, I recommend the following:
Chill Touch deals 1-8 Necrotic Damage and inflicts a target with Chilled, thereby preventing them from healing themselves. This is very useful against the Undead, which you’ll encounter a lot of, since they’ll gain`Disadvantage every time they attack you.
True Strike guarantees Advantage on the first attack against an enemy on your next turn. Note that anyone in the party can benefit from it. This requires Concentration for its effect to remain active.
Shadow Dagger deals 1-8 Psychic Damage.
For Spells, I recommend the following:
Shield is a Reaction to further protect yourself by briefly adding +5 AC before the target hits you.
Color Spray inflicts multiple targets with Blindness for 1 round. Because of this, targets will gain Disadvantage every time they attack while you gain Advantage when you attack them. You can cast this up close.
For the last Spell, you can choose any that best suits your playstyle. Just remember that if you select Identify and cast it, you’ll use one Spell Slot rather than having a Wizard activate it. The reason is they have a dedicated “Ritual Button”, which spares them from expending a slot.
Additionally, you also gain the Shadow Dodge Feature, which is a Bonus Action that lets you teleport to a farther cell within 5 cells from where you’re currently standing. This helps you elude attacks especially if your HP is low.
Rogue Level 4 Ability Score Choice and Spells
At Level 4, you’re given two options to further enhance your character. First is with the Ability Score Choice, which allows you to allocate two points on an Ability or one point each to 2 Abilities. Second is with the Bonus Feat, which is part of a set of special Abilities available to almost all of the Classes. You’ll need to fulfill certain requirements before selecting a specific Feat. Some have a caution symbol beside them to warn you that that Feat is not recommended as you are already reaping some, if not all, of its benefits.
Between the Ability Score Choice and the Bonus Feat, I strongly advise picking the latter at this level. With this, you can choose Ambidextrous, which lets you dual-wield even if one of your Melee Weapons doesn’t have the Light Property. This lets you equip a Rapier with a Shortsword to increase your overall Melee Damage. You also get +1 Dexterity. As such, your Dexterity will become 18 with a +4 Dexterity Modifier.
At this level, you’ll be able to choose one more Spell from the Level 1 Rogue Spell List. If you haven’t previously selected False Life, you can pick it in order to gain a significant amount of temporary HP for 1 hour. This helps provide some HP until encounters end so you won’t die.
Rogue Level 5 Uncanny Dodge
At Level 5, you gain Uncanny Dodge, which lets you react to the enemy’s attack by reducing the damage you receive in half.
Rogue Level 6 Expertise
At Level 6, you gain additional Expertise so you can choose two more Skills you want to double your Proficiency in. For this, I suggest picking Sleight of Hand to master it, similar to Stealth. For the second Skill, you can pick whatever fits your Ability Score spread.
Rogue Level 7 Evasion and Spells
At Level 7, you gain Evasion. This lets you take 0 damage if you successfully roll a Saving Throw or only half of said damage if you fail. Note that Evasion is only applicable to AoE Spells that let you make Dexterity Saving Throws.
At this level, you also unlock Level 2 Spells. Since you get to choose one Spell, I suggest selecting Invisibility. Invisibility turns one of your party members invisible so that they have Advantage on their attacks. Conversely, enemies will gain Disadvantage when they attack your invisible ally. This can be super helpful in getting Sneak Attacks.
Rogue Level 8 Ability Score Choice and Spells
At Level 8, I recommend choosing the Ability Score Choice instead of the Bonus Feat. With this, you’ll be able to maximize your Dexterity at 20. As a result, you’re deadlier when it comes to hitting and dealing significant amounts of damage with your Dexterity-based Weapons. Moreover, your AC becomes higher, which protects you from incoming attacks.
Your improved Ability Score spread should look like this:
At this level, you can choose another Spell you want.
Rogue Level 9 Shadow Retribution
At Level 9, Shadow Retribution allows you to cast a Cantrip as a Reaction, instead of simply using your Melee Weapons, when enemies attack you with any offensive Spell. This is fantastic and adds versatility to the Class.
Rogue Level 10 Spell
At Level 10, you can choose any Spell to your liking.
If you’ve chosen the Ambidextrous Feat, you should equip Rapier +1 on your Main Hand. You can purchase this from Joriel Foxeye of the Circle of Danantar Faction provided that your reputation with her is Sympathetic. When it comes to Factions, it’s important to select the ones you’ll get the most important pieces of Equipment from since you only have a limited number of artifacts to give in order to improve your reputation with them. Doing so will allow you to purchase unique items at a lower cost. Rapier +1 provides you with decent Piercing Damage. You’ll hit enemies with this when you use your Main Action.
On your Offhand, I suggest equipping Dagger +2. Dagger +2 deals good Piercing Damage, though less than a Shortsword +1. However, you do gain an extra +1 to Attack Rolls vs the Shortsword +1, which can help ensure successful strikes. And since you don’t gain your Dexterity bonus to your off-hand when attacking, you need this.
In terms of Armor, I suggest purchasing Leather Armor +2 from Joriel Foxeye. This raises your base AC to 13 and accounts for your +5 Dexterity Modifier. When equipped, your total AC is 19.
When it comes to additional Equipment, I recommend obtaining the Headband of Intellect to bump your Intelligence to 19. In effect, your Intelligence Modifier increases to +4 and as a result, the Spells you cast hit enemies most of the time. Note that this Headband requires Attunement, which is limited to a total of three pieces of Equipment per character. You can only attune one piece of gear per Short Rest.
For Accessories, the Sigil Ring of Necromancy and Boots of Elvenkind are good to have. Both pieces of Equipment require Attunement. The Sigil Ring of Necromancy gives bonuses to all of your Saving Throws and AC by one each. As such, your total AC will be 20, making you highly durable when you equip this ring. This can be further increased to 25++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ when you activate the Shield Spell as a Reaction to enemy attacks. Additionally, you gain access to the Vampiric Touch Spell once per day. This lets you inflict Necrotic Damage to an enemy at every turn.
Meanwhile, the Boots of Elvenkind give you Advantage on Stealth Checks thereby making it easier to sneak up on enemies and to consequently perform Sneak Attacks.
As a Shadowcaster Rogue, you have to perform Sneak Attacks by hitting a target from behind to gain Advantage in order to deal extra Melee Damage. You can also do this if the target is engaged with a party member. You can simply Dash towards them with Cunning Action to get in range, but remember to be cautious when moving around these targets as they may hit you with their Attack of Opportunity if they see you.
If you don’t have a chance to get close to your target, position yourself at higher ground. This will allow you to gain Advantage again, and therefore increase your hit chances when you cast Ranged Spells. These Spells are relevant especially when you intend to deal Ranged Damage or to debuff enemies from afar. Note that you don’t get Sneak Attack when casting Spells.
Since your Constitution isn’t high at 14, there may be times when you’ll unsuccessfully roll Constitution Saving Throws for the Spells that require Concentration. However, it shouldn’t be a concern since there are only a few Spells that need this. Your HP won’t be impacted as well given the high AC you have, thereby making you resilient to the majority of attacks.
Lastly, when you’re already beside a target, remember to use your extra Bonus Action to attack with your Dagger +2 because this Weapon can deal decent Piercing Damage if it hits, and that +2 really helps.
Stay tuned for more Solasta Crown of the Magister content as we take a look at Classes and Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Solasta Wiki.