Dungeons and Dragons Classes the Rogue

The rogue in Dungeons and Dragons is one of the most complex character classes that a player can choose to play. That is due to the rogue having the ability to be so many things. The rogue can be a thief, a quick talking con man, robber, bandit, thug, scout, spy, or even the politically motivated diplomat. Rogues take things and get into places that people are trying to keep them out of. The things that are taken are not always of a material nature, either. Taking ones trust, or even knowledge, can be accomplished by the rogue.

The rogue is, however, limited in several ways, especially in a stand up fight. In order for the abilities that a rogue cherishes to be effective, they are limited to either light armor, or no armor at all. However, the rogue does have abilities in a fight, just not in the traditional sense that a warrior could appreciate. Possibly the rogue’s biggest weapon is an attack that negates the dexterity bonus of his victim. This ability is called a sneak attack. As with most character classes, abilities are gained as levels are achieved. The sneak attack is among them, coming to the rogue at first level with a 1d6 bonus to the damage roll on a successful attack (and the attack happening without the opponent’s dexterity bonus). Every two levels the rogue advances gives another d6 to the damage roll (third level would be 2d6, fifth level would be 3d6, etc.). The advances stop at nineteenth level when the damage modifier is 10d6. If a critical hit is achieved (rolling a 20 most times), the extra damage is not modified.

Other special abilities that the rogue gets with their levels achieved are: trap finding at level one, evasion at level two, trap sense (+1 at level 3, +2 at level 6, +3 at level 9, +4 at level 12, +5 at level 15, +6 at level 18), uncanny dodge at level 4, improved uncanny dodge at level 8, and a special ability at levels 10, 13, 16, and 19. The special abilities that the rogue can choose from are: Crippling strike (adding a -2 penalty to the opponents strength score when hit with a sneak attack), Defensive roll (taking half damage when attacked with a successful reflex save and can only be done once per day), improved evasion (where evasion allows you to take no damage from dragon breath weapon or fireball with successful save throw, and full damage if failed, improved evasion reduces this damage to half if the rogue fails the save), opportunist (getting an attack of opportunity on an opponent just hit and damaged by another character, once per round), skill mastery (where the rogue becomes so proficient with his skills that he can perform them the same under duress or under ideal circumstances, slippery mind (can break magic control or compel spells with two saving throws at the original difficulty challenge rating), or they can choose a feat instead of the ability.

The thief relies on three main ability scores to perform his craft. These abilities are dexterity, intelligence and wisdom. Dexterity can aid in overcoming the detriment of needing light or no armor, and intelligence and wisdom help with the success of the class skills usage. The rogue has a laundry list of class skills at his disposal, as follows: appraise, balance, bluff, climb, craft, decipher script, diplomacy, disable device, disguise, escape artist, forgery, gather information, hide, intimidate, jump, knowledge (local), listen, move silently, open locks, perform, profession, search, sense motive, sleight of hand, spot, swim, tumble, use magic device, and use rope. As a result of having so many class skills to choose from, the starting skill points of a thief are (8 + intelligence modifier) X 4. This gives a minimum of 32 points, and as many as 48 points to divide up amongst the class skills. Each additional level give the rogue 8 + intelligence modifier.

The rogue is proficient with all types of simple weapons, as well as hand crossbows, rapier, short bow and short sword. They are proficient with light armor, and they are not proficient with a shield.

The rogue is a personal favorite character of mine because they are not relegated to just being a thief, which is how they started out when Dungeons and Dragons first hit the shelves. Because of the diversity that now encompasses the rogue, I believe that it is one of the most interesting character classes to play in the game.