Swashbucklers and Sneak-Thieves: A Rogue Handbook

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I'm not expecting to resume work on this handbook.  I'm on a time crunch with school, and some personal issues have eaten up my remaining time.  I may come back later and resume, but life will have to change a lot between now and then.  Meanwhile, there is another Rogue handbook here by the esteemed lordduskblade.


 



Swashbucklers and Sneak-Thieves


A Rogue Guide



Listen up, you lunkheads!  I don't care if you're a charmless, bumbling snatch-and-grab artist or a fancy-pants swashbuckling sissy.  You're all here to learn the same thing: the art of the sudden, deftly-placed strike, right where it hurts.  How to fight smart, creating openings where there were none and stacking the deck against the enemy by grabbing every advantage you can and creating them where they weren't before.

This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:
Red: Do not take this.  Worthless.
Purple: Situationally useful, but you'd be better served with almost anything else.
Black: Viable.  Maybe not the best, but it will work.
Blue: Very nice.  You should definitely consider this.
Sky Blue: This is awesome.  If you can fit it in, do so.
Gold: I don't care what your build is.  Fit this in however you have to.

This Handbook covers the following sources:
AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
MM - Monster Manual
MM 2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PP - Primal Power

References:
The Manual of Rakes, Sneaks and Thugs (a.k.a. The Rogue Handbook) - Litigation
Is Rogue|Ranger worth it? - for upcoming multiclass/hybrid section
The Right Tool for the Job: Blades for the Discerning Rogue - for the upcoming equipment section
(more will be added later)

Special Thanks To:
Litigation, whose hard work on the previous handbook laid the foundation for this one, and author of several other excellent handbooks.
lordduskblade, another great handbook author whose example I strive to follow.
The community, for indulging my wacky schedule and helping me to better understand and evaluate the material.


So, Why Play A Rogue?


Well, that's a good question, isn't it?  Rogues are good damage dealers, but not the best in the game.  They're accurate, but not the most accurate, either.  Other classes are stealthy.  Other classes have good skill selection.  Other classes are also less dependant on teamwork and setup for their damage... so why the Rogue?

The Rogue does many things that other classes can do too, sure, but no other class can do all of what the Rogue does.  It rewards clever play with accurate and solid damage output, conditions, and positioning in a very satisfying way.

Rogues are a very teamwork-oriented class.  Some people consider this a drawback, but I love it.  You'll be best buds with your Defender as you double up on some sap and ruin his day, but good.  Your positioning and effects will grant you some options, to save your butt or set another sucker up for a hurting.

Besides that, Rogues are cool.  You can be the knife in the shadows, or the slim blade dancing in the sun.  The laughing ladies' man, or the quiet guy who makes everybody nervous.  The sniper, the poisoner, the thug or the schemer.

If any of these ideas appeal to you, this might just be your class.

Contents


There will be some contents pretty soon!


 


Note


Anybody that knows of some good art that reflects the awesomeness of the Rogue, please PM me with a link!

How You Do This Thing


Class Feature Selection


Brutal Scoundrel: When you're asked if you like finesse or brute force, you answer "yes" and kick the nosy jerk in the teeth while he's not expecting it.  The highest damage output of the Rogue builds, and the most likely to master weapons.



Artful Dodger: All about being slick and tricky, you're almost impossible to contain, you get Combat Advantage nearly at will, and while your damage output might not match your more musclebound peers, you've got a bigger bag of tricks.  My personal favorite.



Ruthless Ruffian: You're scary.  You're really scary.  You can use weapons your buddies can't, and you specialize in powers that unsettle your enemies.  In theory.  In practice, sadly, you can use weapons that you don't want to, and you get to use the same damage bonus Brutal Scoundrels get, provided you use much crappier powers.  You've even got to drop a ton of points into Constitution to qualify for weapon feats.  Strictly inferior to Brutal Scoundrel, even before Dragon 381.  Afterward, everyone can spend a feat to get a better weapon selection than what you spent a class feature on.  Don't be a Ruthless Ruffian.


Cunning Sneak: Ranged sneaks suddenly got a lot more viable.  Doesn't help much in small, bare rooms, but in more typical situation, this makes it a lot easier to get combat advantage at a range.


========


Rogue Weapon Talent vs Sharpshooter Talent: The dagger is great for melee and ranged attacks, gets all the benefits of being a light blade, and is the focus of one of the game's most powerful Paragon Paths.  The shuriken portion of Rogue Weapon Talent is pretty much a waste, because they still suck.  Still, Rogue Weapon Talent is just generally really solid.  If you want to focus more on ranged combat, though, Sharpshooter Talent is great.  It makes you more accurate with crossbows and slings, and gives you Far Shot for free - no wasting half the feature this time.  They're both great options.  Pick the one you need based on the range you want to fight at.


What You've Got


Attribute Priority


Strength: One of two possible secondary stats.  Brutal Scoundrels should start with a 14-16 and boost at every opportunity.  Ruthless Ruffians need some Strength, but don't have a lot of attribute points to spare.  12-14, boost when you can.  Artful Dodgers like a bit of Strength if they want Light Blade Mastery - 14 to start, get to 17 by Epic - but Daggermasters can safely put a 10 here.

Constitution: After you've covered everything important to your satisfaction, put your remaining points here.  It won't help most of you do any damage, but extra hit points are always appreciated (10-12). Ruthless Ruffians need to focus here for feats (14 to start, 17 by Paragon Tier for Hammer Rhythm, 19 by Epic Tier for Bludgeon Mastery).

Dexterity: You like to hit things, right?  What about not getting hit, does that work for you?  This is what keeps food on your table and your innards on the inside (16-20 to start, boost every time).


Intelligence: Paired to the stat that determines your attack and damage bonus, your AC, your Reflex defense, your initiative, and several of your skills, Intelligence isn't an optimal stat to boost, even if you want to take advantage of the new stuff from MP2.  Most rogues will want to dump this completely (8), while others will want to have a positive modifier, but not boost it except through reaching a new tier (11-13).

Wisdom: A helpful stat overall, but you don't have a lot of points left to spend here, and besides, it's paired to a potential secondary stat.  It's good to have some (10-12) for skills, but overall not a good place to focus.

Charisma: Priceless for Artful Dodgers (14-16+, boosting every time), valuable for Ruthless Ruffians when they can spare the points (12-13), and pretty much a waste of time for Brutal Scoundrels - go for Wisdom instead (10).


--------------------

Any Rogue is dependent on mostly two, and at worst, three stats, so they can aggressively go for those key stats at the expense of others:

18, 14, 11, 10, 10, 8 (before racials) is a stat array that Rogues can actually get away with (for a potential natural 20 in Dexterity). Best for Brutal Scoundrels and Artful Dodgers that only plan to multiclass lightly, if at all, with anything other than archery-based Ranger powers and paragon paths. Offers the best chance to hit a target, as well as the best AC and Reflex defense.

18, 13, 13, 10, 10, 8 (before racials) is better for Ruthless Ruffians than the above array, as they need more positive modifiers (STR and CON) for their methods. They'll get Hammer Rhythm by upper Paragon Tier, but they unfortunately won't get Bludgeon Mastery. It's a good array for the other Rogues as well, and is preferable for any build that wants a tertiary stat. Same concept of optimizing for attack rating applies, and best for those who are only going to multiclass lightly, at most, with anything other than archery-based Ranger powers and paragon paths.  This is a good array for Cunning Sneaks who want to use some Intelligence-based powers.

16, 16, 12, 12, 10, 8 (before racials) is for those in our line of work who plan to go after other class' powers and paragon paths, such as Artful Dodgers multiclassing with Warlock, or Brutal Scoundrels and Ruthless Ruffians with Two-Blade Ranger or Fighter. The two high stats go up every time when leveling, allowing two attack-caliber stats out of the deal, and the secondary also boosts the effects of certain Rogue exploits.

16, 14, 14, 13, 10, 8 (before racials) is mainly for Ruthless Ruffians going for Bludgeon Mastery in addition to Hammer Rhythm. It's also the way Artful Dodgers get Light Blade Mastery.

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(I lifted the above section directly from Litigation's guide, the array section even word-for-word.  I really have nothing original to contribute here.  The analysis is solid.)

Tools of the Trade


Weapon Selection


 


Basic Rogue Weapons
Dagger: One of the best options.  Not only is it the most accurate option the rogue has, but it's the only thing you can use with one of the most powerful Paragon Paths in the game.

Short Sword: No.  It's bigger than the dagger, but not as accurate, resulting in an overall loss of damage, and you can't use it with Daggermaster.


Shuriken: No.  See short sword.  If you must throw something, throw a dagger.


Hand Crossbow: A solid option, with decent range and feat support, now including Sharpshooter Talent.


Sling: In a sudden reversal, the sling is actually one of the better weapons for a ranged rogue post-MP2.  Sharpshooter Talent works with it, and Deadeye Shooter gives it decent stats.



Other Weapons
Rapier: A classic.  Good die size, +3 proficiency bonus, and it's a light blade.  Plus, it's flavorful.  Dragon 381 gives it even more feat support.  A great choice.

Parrying Dagger: Not worth the feat slot for proficiency, particularly since it doesn't work with Daggermaster.  If you hold it in your off-hand, it's basically a shield that looks like a dagger.  With the introduction of the Rhythm Blade, it's basically obsolete.  If you need the defense so badly that you're willing to jump through the hoops to use the parrying dagger, the spiked shield would do more for you anyway.


Double Sword (AV): The errata has kicked this weapon around until it finally makes some mechanical sense, destroying all effectiveness in the process.  If you're seen carrying one around, you might as well complete the look by wearing your underpants on your head - it looks goofy as can be.  What you've basically got is a short sword that robs you of your dignity and the possibility of having a ranged option in the other hand, for the sake of the Defensive property.  Woo?


Superior Crossbow (AV): Amazing for ranged Rogues who want to pack a punch.  It's accurate, and the loading restriction can be bypassed with an enchantment, a feat, or a Paragon Path that's decent anyway.  It was premium before MP2, and now Sharpshooter Talent works with it.  Score!


Spiked Chain: Accurate, has Reach, and decent damage, too.  Only problem is, it's the wrong weapon group.  Rogues can't use it effectively.  Ever.  Oh, hey, hold on  A feat makes it a light blade, as well as a double weapon, and stout on top just in case?  It's a multiclass feat, though... so I guess you're probably going to be from Windrise Ports, like everybody else.


Kukri: Trap.  Don't waste your time.


Katar: It's right next to the rapier, so I'm guessing you picked this up by mistake.


Bastard Sword: This is an option for you since Dragon 381.  You've got to spend two feats just to use it properly, and since it's not a light blade, you can't use Nimble Blade.  But suddenly you're rolling d10s for damage dice, and the way Rogue powers work, that means you can hit like a truck.  Still, the rapier's not that much smaller damage, and you could take Nimble Blade instead.  You could make it work, particularly in a specialized multiclass situation, but otherwise, the rapier will probably work better for you.  Brutal Scoundrel only, since they can actually get Heavy Blade Mastery.


Longsword: You could use it instead of a rapier now, and it doesn't require a Weapon Proficiency feat like the bastard sword does.  Still, unless you've got a really good reason, just use the rapier.  It will work a little better for you.


What You Look Like


Race Selection


Standard Races
Changeling (EPG): A brilliant and flavorful option for Artful Dodger, but somewhat lacking in feat support, preventing them from hitting top-tier in many common play styles.  However, if your game is more like mine, then sometimes you can do some insane tricks, like engineer situations where the enemy's buddy is in fact your buddy instead, resulting in the most hilarious and satisfying Sneak Attack ever.  Highly dependant on play style.  If you don't believe this sort of subterfuge will work at your table, the changeling is still good, but not the best.

Deva (PHB2): No mechanical reason to play a deva rogue.  None.  Okay, a secondary stat boost for Cunning Sneaks, but apart from that, nothing.


Dragonborn (PHB): Boosts to both the secondary stats, excellent feat support in general, and a good race all around.  Just... not a lot of reason to be a rogue, specifically.


Drow (FRPG): Obviously made to be Artful Dodgers, both fluff and crunch.  Excellent choice.


Dwarf (PHB): Can't be good at everything.


Eladrin (PHB): The belle of the ball, as of MP2.  The new class feature encourages a race with a bonus to Dexterity and Intelligence, and this is just such a race.  Plus, they can teleport.  If you want to be a Cunning Sneak, this is the first choice, because you don't actually have to sacrifice anything worthwhile for a positive modifier.


Elf (PHB): Quick, mobile, and accurate, the elf is everything that a rogue should be.  Solid feat support seals the deal.


Genasi (FRPG): Could make a decent Brutal Scoundrel due to the Strength boost, or Cunning Sneak with Intelligence, but it's really got nothing else to offer.


Githzerai (PHB3): A very solid option for Brutal Scoundrel.  They get a Dexterity boost, and their racial proficiency feat makes the bastard sword an appealing choice.  Their racial power is nice too.


Gnome (PHB2): Some spiffy tricks and a Charisma and Intelligence boost keep these guys from being totally useless, but they're nothing to wow over.  The most worthwhile of their new feats doesn't come in until Epic-tier anyway.


Goliath (PHB2): As usual, Strength and Constitution are nice to have.  Really, though, not a great match of race and class.


Half-Elf: Nabbing Twin Strike is, as always, absurdly powerful when you hit Paragon.  Better When Dead - Revenant (Half-Elf) is strictly better.

Halfling (PHB):
The original Artful Dodger, and still champion.  Stats, features, feats, they're perfect for the job.


Half-Orc (PHB2): One of the best possible choices for Brutal Scoundrel.


Human (PHB): The ability to have a Dexterity bonus is good.  Rogue at-wills are solid, and an extra option is great to have.  Great feat support rounds out this choice.  At Epic, Verastile Rogue lets humans take another class feature for the price of a feat, which is just crazy.


Kalashtar (EPG): The Charisma bonus is pretty much all.


Revenant (D376): Extremely exploitable, particularly the Half-Elf Soul variety.  Possibly sky blue.


Shifter, Longtooth (PHB2): Decent Brutal Scoundrel, but no Dexterity bonus and little support leave a lot to be desired.


Shifter, Razorclaw (PHB2): Pretty good.  You're basically an elf, without the racial feat support.


Tiefling (PHB): I really wish tieflings made better rogues.  Sure, Charisma or Intelligence helps, but Hellfire Blood will only make up for the lack of a Dexterity bonus if you're willing to invest in the feat and a Flaming Weapon.  No thanks.  Their other racial abilities are lackluster.  The race as a whole could use a buff, if not a complete rewrite.


Warforged (EPG): They don't offer much specifically to a rogue, but they're too strong and sturdy to ignore completely.


Monster Manual Races
Bugbear: WHOA.  One of the best races in the game for melee classes, even if its support isn't stellar.  As it happens, the bugbear also has the perfect stats to be a Brutal Scoundrel, or even a Ruthless Ruffian if you hate yourself that much.

Doppelganger: Be a changeling instead.  Same thing with better stats.


Githyanki: No mechanical reason to play a githyanki rogue.


Gnoll: Interesting choice.  They've got a Dexterity boost and a 7 square movement rate, which are some of the more appealing elements of the elf.  They've got a damage-oriented feature, and a damage-oriented power.  Rogues like damage.  Definitely solid.  They don't have the level of support the elf does, though.  If you want to go Ruthless Ruffian, this is a good pick.


Goblin: Not the first thing the Artful Dodger makes me think of, but amazingly, the goblin is a perfect AD rogue.  Still a MM race, and thus not the same level of support races from other sources get, but such a perfect foundation that it doesn't matter all that much.


Hobgoblin: Similar to the half-elf in attribute boosts, which isn't a great start, and then follows up with nothing that helps a rogue be a rogue.  Look elsewhere.


Kobold: The ultimate rogue of any type, right here.


Minotaur: If you want to play a minotaur, you're probably not wanting to play a rogue.


Orc: See minotaur.  Rogues can be strong, but they must be quick and precise and tricky and technical.  Neither of these races are designed for that at all.


Shadar-Kai: Now this is more like it.  Not perfect, but not bad at all.  Think emo eladrin, with a bit less support.


What You Know


Skill Selection


Stealth: A non-choice.  You have to take it.  Not that you wouldn't anyway.  A rogue lives by Combat Advantage, and this skill is a great way to get it.

Thievery: Not quite as useful as stealth, but then, few things are.  Disarming traps, opening locks, that sort of thing.  The traditional role of this class from back when it was called 'thief.'  Unfortunately, you're probably not the most perceptive person in your group, and you may need a radar on hand to spot the traps for you.

Class Skills
Acrobatics: Rogues love movement, and this skill helps you move and escape from grabs and other unpleasantness.  It's also based on your attack stat.  Take this.

Athletics: Similar to the previous skill, this helps your ability to move.  However, it isn't required as often, is based on one possible secondary stat, and seems a bit redundant with Acrobatics.  It's still a solid choice, though.

Bluff: Great for powers and skill challenges.  Don't bother wasting your standard action to gain combat advantage, though.

Dungeoneering: Not really all that useful, and based on a stat you've got no reason to boost.  Skip it.

Insight: In a better world, you'd want this.  How can you bluff someone you can't read?  Unfortunately, WotC put these two very related skills on two attributes keyed on the same defense and very few characters will have decent scores in both.  Hope your party radar takes this too, and stands behind you whispering in your ear about what the other guy's thinking so you can manipulate him better.

Intimidate:  Insanely useful, especially for Ruthless Ruffians, who depend on it.  This is a Charisma-based skill, so the flashier among you can enjoy exploiting this.

Perception: Another Wisdom skill, but this time, you want it anyway.  There can never be too many people with a good chance to make it when the DM calls for those Perception rolls.

Streetwise: A Charisma-based skill, so many of you could be great, or at least decent at it.  It's highly campaign-specific, though.  If you're playing LFR, you might want to take it, as I hear it comes up a lot.  Otherwise, the skill's usefulness depends on your group.  Lots of dungeons or wilderness?  Skip it.  Personally, when my group digs for information, we roleplay it and skip the dice, and I've never rolled this skill.

Other Skills
Diplomacy: Highly useful to talk your way out of problems.  Artful Dodgers have the advantage here once again.

Endurance: Being able to tough it out is always a good thing.  Obviously, works best if you've got a decent Constitution score.

Arcana, Heal, History, Nature, and Religion: Okay, as of MP2, you might actually have a decent Intelligence score, all of a sudden.  Still no reason to take over book-knowledge duty.


Skills finished.  Powers will be something of a HUGE undertaking.  I'll work on it tomorrow, when I'm done studying.

What You Do


Power Selection


Keep in mind that these aren't universal.  Some builds really like some powers, while others don't at all.  Don't grab the first sky blue power you come across and call it good.  Take a look at how you're building your character first, and see if you can take full advantage of it, or if something else might be better.  It may just be that something rated purple for most situations is just what you need.  (Not reds, of course.  Don't bother with anything rated red.)

Lv 1
Lv 1 At Will Powers, melee
Piercing Strike (PHB): Accuracy rocks.  Weapon attacks targeting NADs are priceless.  Some builds may now find it worthwhile to take Deft Blade at Paragon and retrain this out to something else.

Riposte Strike (PHB): Artful Dodgers won't have the strength, and even Ruthless Ruffians are a bit too MAD for this, but for Brutal Scoundrels with the stats for it, this rocks.

Clever Strike (PHH2): Like Deft Strike, it helps you get combat advantage when you don't already have it.  It's less versatile, but safer, if you're too big a sissy to leave the Defender's side.  Protip: Don't be a sissy.


Duelist's Flurry (D381): Low damage, but it allows you your sneak attack even if you can't get combat advantage.  This tends to be useful if you fail to get combat advantage often.  Thing is, getting combat advantage isn't that hard for you.  If you feel you need this power, you should probably still not take it.  Instead, sit down with your party and have a discussion about what you're all doing wrong.  The less often you fail, the less often you need this power.


Acrobatic Strike (MP2): Like Deft Strike, only not as good.


Lv 1 At Will Powers, melee and ranged
Deft Strike (PHB): A lot of your effectiveness depends on positioning.  This gives you the ability to position yourself better.  Sounds like a win to me.

Sly Flourish (PHB): Artful Dodgers love this.  Adding your second highest stat to your damage roll is very good, and it's for melee and ranged.  Beautiful.

Disheartening Strike (MP): Ruthless Ruffians will want this, no question.  Ranged rogues will want to consider this for their second at-will.  It allows them to act as mini-controllers, handing out attack penalties around the battlefield.  Most non-Ruffian melee rogues have better options.

Probing Strike (PHH1): A +1 power bonus to your next attack against the target is good.  Unfortunately, it's part of a standard action attack, so you only get it next turn, or if you spend an action point.  There's a lot that can happen in a turn, and if you're spending an action point, you generally want to use something better than this anyway.  Typically inferior to every other choice.

Gloaming Cut (MP2): Whether or not you want to use this power is pretty much the determinng factor in whether or not you want to bother putting any points in Intelligence.  This is a staple of the ranged sneak rogue's arsenal.

Lv 1 At-Will Powers, ranged
Preparatory Shot (MP2): Waste of ink.

Lv 1 Encounter Powers, melee
Dazing Strike (PHB): The ability to daze the enemy at level 1?  Yes, please.  It robs them of their actions, and grants you Combat Advantage, allowing you to rob them of their future.

Positioning Strike (PHB): Artful Dodgers love this one.  Best if the DM uses bridges, cliffs, bonfires, traps, and the like around combat areas, but still great even without that.  Ever feed an enemy spellcaster to your Defender for lockdown?  Hilarious.  Every time.

Torturous Strike (PHB): More damage than King's Castle, but less accurate.  If you're not a Brutal Scoundrel, don't bother.  Even for Brutal Scoundrels, King's Castle is better.

Fox's Gambit (MP): Similar in many ways to Positioning Strike, but instead of shoving the enemy into trouble, it allows you to bail yourself out of it.  A very useful panic button.  I favor making the other guy panic, but this is still very solid.

Guarded Attack (MP): Hey, look.  They upgraded Riposte Strike a little.

Sly Lunge (MP): Brutal Scoundrels, use this when you don't think you'll be able to get CA next turn.  As a point of slight interest, if you spend an action point, and use Sneak Attack on the other attack, this could even give you another d6 of bonus damage.  Not the most powerful thing in the world, but worth noting.

Termination Threat (MP): Not bad damage, if you're a Ruthless Ruffian, and it's rattling.  The killer here is that you need to set it up with another Rattling attack, and attacks start to look a lot less attractive if they absolutely require two standard actions.

Opening Move (D381): Artful Dodgers, obviously, get the best use out of this, and it rewards a very aggressive, daring playstyle.  As the name suggests, it is best used in the opening round.  Run in and hit somebody for solid damage before they can act, and rely on the awesome defense boost to keep you alive until the next turn.  Then, you can GTFO and find someplace a little less full of people who want to kill you.  Fun and flavorful.  My new favorite.

Acrobat's Blade Trick (MP2): I'd rather focus on actual attack powers, rather than panic buttons like this power.

One-Two Punch (MP2): Two Disheartening Strikes against two different targets.  Only worth considering if you can reliably get CA against two enemies in melee at the same time, and even then, I'd go with something more focused.

Lv 1 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
King's Castle (PHB): Good damage, attacks a NAD, and offers positioning.  Sounds great.  What's the catch?  The positioning is pretty situational.  Eh.  Still good.

Shadow Strike (MP2): Basic attack that incorporates a Stealth check.  Wheee.

Lv 1 Encounter Powers, ranged
Unbalancing Shot (MP): Decent damage, and slow effect keeps enemies at a range.  That's where you want them, if you took this power.  Solid.

Impact Shot (MP): Strictly inferior to Unbalancing Shot and King's Castle.

Distracting Shot (MP2): Somewhat better than Shadow Strike, but not much.

Skip the Rock (MP2): A sling-only RBA that has a possibility of granting you a second attack against a different creature.  Even if the second attack does a little more damage and dazes, this isn't exactly grade A stuff.  C'mon, WotC, throw us a bone here.

Lv 1 Daily Powers, melee
Checking Jab (MP): If you're a Ruthless Ruffian or otherwise think that Rattling is worth more than 1[W], this might be better for you than Easy Target.  Provided you're in melee, of course.

Handspring Assault (MP): Big damage, and you can use it on a charge.  Handy.  The fact that you can move afterward is excellent.  The Acrobatics requirement shouldn't be too onerous, and it's Reliable.

Pommel Smash (MP): Again, big damage, and this time you get to include a save-ends attack.  Even has decent effect on a miss.

Precise Incision (MP): Reliable, so you don't expend it on a miss, and targets Reflex to help make sure you don't.  3[W] in the bargain makes this a pretty sweet deal.

Press the Advantage (MP): Free action attack for respectable damage when you bloody an enemy, with half damage on a miss.  This kind of thing makes it very difficult to choose between daily powers at this level.

Duelist's Prowess (D381): A stance that lets you punish enemies with an immediate interrupt swipe against Reflex every time they take a swing at you, hit or miss.  Would be sky blue for Artful Dodgers if you could take immediate actions on your own turn, but still pretty sweet.

Spinning Blade Leap (MP2): In a level full of solid daily power options, this comes up short.  The movement is great, but other powers have movement and better damage.

Twilight Menace (MP2): Meh.

Lv 1 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Blinding Barrage (PHB): Decent damage and blinding on a hit, and some damage on a miss.  Okay.  Party-friendly close blast 3?  Nice!

Easy Target (PHB): Similar damage to Blinding Barrage, and slightly better effect, but only a single target.

Trick Strike (PHB): Big damage, and an interesting positioning effect.  Very handy.

Confounding Attack (MP): More interesting than effective.

Hounding Assault (MP2): It amuses me that a level 1 Daily has a similar effect to a higher-level stance.

Lv 1 Daily Powers, ranged
Scattering Shot (MP2): Ghetto-Reliable, and with a grab-bag of effects on enemies adjacent to the target.  Really, WotC?  Is this the best you can do?

Lv 2 Utility Powers
Master of Deceit (PHB): Decent for skill challenges, mostly.

Quick Fingers (PHB): Its actual usefulness is very situational, but the idea behind it is awesome, and when it's good, it's great.  Probably purple would be more honest, but... come on.  Minor action Thievery checks?  Often hilarious, occasionally very useful.

Fleeting Ghost (PHB): This one's time has past.  If you want to use it, you probably want to be a Cunning Sneak instead.

Great Leap (PHB): Definitely has its uses.  If mobility because of terrain was a huge issue during your first level, this might interest you.  However, it's very conditional.

Tumble (PHB): A long shift once per encounter can definitely help you out of a pinch.  Compare to Agile Footwork.  Remember, Artful Dodgers don't need to shift as much.

Adaptable Flanker (MP): Other powers at this level can help you establish combat advantage just as well, some of them (like Fleeting Ghost) more frequently.  Those other powers are more versatile, too.

Double Take (MP): Sort of helps make up for your lack of Wisdom in Perception checks.

Hop Up (MP): You don't like to be on your back.  Well, maybe you do, but probably not while people are trying to stab you.  Well... nevermind.  Let's not go there.  Anyway, this helps you get back on your feet and lets you back on up out of the way.

Marked Escape (MP): Very useful, when you're marked.  You're not going to be marked very often.

Reap the Battlefield (MP): Might've been useful for certain builds, as an at-will.  As a daily, it's a joke.

Sneak In the Attack (MP): It amazes me that they call this a utility power.  Boost your damage output by letting your buddy Sneak Attack once per encounter?  SWEET.

Agile Footwork (D381): Interesting comparison to Tumble.  It's a flat 3 squares, instead of half your speed, but that should rarely be different anyway.  Instead of a move action whenever you want, it's an immediate action under certain conditions.  Less versatility, but it does trigger in a situation that would likely be when you use Tumble anyway, and you use your immediate action to do it, not your move action next turn.  On balance, I favor this one, but don't be ashamed to keep track of how you use it and be ready to retrain if you think you'd be better off with Tumble.

Arm and Edge (MP2): You probably shouldn't need this very often.

Cunning Step (MP2): Would be better if it wasn't one of the very few worthwhile powers to reward a high Intelligence.

Deadly Knowledge (MP2): A couple points of extra damage once per encounter.  Conditional.  Yeah, no.

Lurker's Cloak (MP2): Not bad, if you can anticipate when you're going to be taking a lot of shots.

Switcheroo (MP2): Useless for typical players.  If you know how to take advantage of it, it might be a prime pick, but this takes some planning.

Lv 3 Encounter Powers
Lv 3 Encounter Powers, melee
Bait and Switch (PHB): Hit Will, reposition your opponent, and then run away to laugh at them from a safe distance.  Artful Dodgers love this.

Setup Strike (PHB): Boring.  You don't need it.

Topple Over (PHB): Being super-accurate is very nice.  Knocking prone is nice.  Both in the same power is like Christmas.  Only in this case, it's like the really old kind of Christmas that involved people dying.

Blade Vault (MP): Not as good as it might look at first glance.  A little bit of positioning and extra damage to season a basic attack.  Skip it.

Defender's Cohort (MP): Similar to other mediocre powers at this level, but more conditional.

Flamboyant Strike (MP): Just isn't that much better than your at-wills.

Low Slash (MP): Minor action attack against Reflex.  That's a winner.  Slowing, shifting and the possibility of extra damage just adds to the hilarity.

Nasty Backswing (MP): Low Slash is usually better, but that doesn't actually make this bad.  A nice extra swing.

Daring Strike (D381): A power that uses an opportunity action to sneak in an extra attack, guaranteeing combat advantage to boot, is pretty interesting.  It's not as accurate or otherwise spiffy as Low Slash, though.

Strike and Move (D381): Good damage, superb mobility options.  It targets AC, but setting up flanking shouldn't be much trouble, especially for an Artful Dodger.

Brutal Trick (MP2): You're not a barbarian.

Flailing Shove (MP2): Weak damage, with the ability to do VERY weak damage to nearby secondary targets.  No thanks.

Jumping Blade Assault (MP2): Good damage, good accuracy if you use it on a charge, and you knock the enemy prone even if you miss.  Very solid.

Maneuvering Strike (MP2): Damage and accuracy are good, but granting combat advantage is weak.

Lv 3 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Trickster's Blade (PHB): Marginally better than Enforced Threat, but very marginal.  Probably the best choice at this level for ranged rogues, which is sad.

Enforced Threat (MP): Underwhelming.

Fleeting Spirit Strike (MP2): For general purposes, this is alright.  For Cunning Sneaks, this is awesome.

Shadow Steel Roll (MP2): Hey, look.  Hide, attack, hide.  You're certainly never going to see this at any other level in this book, or even again at this level.  This is a totally unique power.  Sarcasm aside, this is a solid power.  If you're a Cunning Sneak, Fleeting Spirit Strike is better, though, and if you're not, then you're probably not looking for something like this.


Lv 3 Encounter Powers, ranged
Flattening Shot (MP2): If you're considering this, consider Fleeting Spirit Strike instead.

Lv 5 Daily Powers
Lv 5 Daily Powers, melee
Clever Riposte (PHB): Underwhelming.

Deep Cut (PHB): Decent power for Brutal Scoundrels and Ruthless Ruffians.  Attacks Fortitude, and does damage on a miss.  Not fantastic, though.

Downward Spiral (MP): Targets Reflex, knocks prone and rattles in a burst.  Solid.  Ruthless Ruffians want this, unless they want Flashy Riposte instead.

Driving Assault (MP): Sweet, sweet single-target multi-attacking.  Half-damage on a miss, with positioning and the possibility of knocking the enemy prone.

Flashy Riposte (MP): Immediate Reaction to paste somebody who's beating on you.  Cheap shots for everybody, regardless of whether or not you hit!  Remember, everybody: cheap shots are the best shots.  Might even be sky blue.

Duelist's Demand (D381): Enables you to square off and slug it out with your enemy, which is, of course, what the rogue is all about. ...  Okay, not really sure what the point of this one is.  It might be useful in some builds, but I think there are better options.

Bat Aside (MP2): Nice damage, and the possibility of knocking several enemies prone.  Not bad.

Mocking Strike (MP2): Targets Will, does okay damage, and reduces the enemy's defenses against your attacks for the rest of the encounter.  Even helps on a miss.  Very handy against solos.

Lv 5 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Walking Wounded (PHB): Knocks the opponent prone, and then continues to knock them prone for the rest of the encounter if they move too fast.  The semi-slow they can't get rid of for the rest of the encounter is really cool, but unlikely to come into play that much.  Still, decent damage for the level and knocking prone at range is pretty sweet.

Compel the Craven (MP): Attacks Will, which is nice, and, of course, it's funny, which helps, as I'm sure you've noticed by now.  Best if you've got a melee-heavy party with some heavy hitters that aren't you, and they're surrounding some poor schlub.

Staggering Assault (MP): No Walking Wounded, but it's not bad.

Surefooted Retort (MP): Like Flashy Riposte, only a bit less generally useful.

Bloodbath (MP2): Totally dropped the ball on this one.  Not sure why I focused on the ongoing Sneak Attack damage - which is okay, if you want to drop multiple dailies for a Knockout/Bloodbath combo on a solo - and not the fact that it has a damage roll as an effect line, AFTER the damage roll on the hit line.  Very nice indeed.  Also targets Fort instead of AC.

Go for the Eyes (MP2): Blinding, restriction of movement, and a recurring penalty.  Stack on ghetto-Reliable, and you've got a solid power.

Hobble (MP2): For all the comedic mileage you'll get out of "I've fallen and I can't get up," this isn't quite as appealing as other powers at this level.

Lurker's Assault (MP2):  Hey, look!  It's Fleeting Spirit Strike again!  Hello, Fleeting Spirit Strike!

Lv 6 Utility Powers
Chameleon (PHB): Keep hidden, even when your cover is blown.  Ranged like this a lot.

Ignoble Escape (PHB): Get out of a jam, even if you're jammed really hard.

Mob Mentality (PHB): Not much help, really.

Nimble Climb (PHB): Cool, but too situational.

Slippery Mind (PHB): Not going to save you very often.

Ferret Out Frailty (MP): If you're a Ruthless Ruffian and trained in Insight, this is the CA-granting power of choice for you at this level.  Of course, if you're a Ruthless Ruffian and trained in Insight, you haven't been paying attention to this guide so far, so why start now?

Fortuitous Dodge (MP): Not useful very often.  Not good enough to be daily, too situational to come into play often enough to be an encounter power.

Sidestep Stance (MP): Not bad, but I have a hard time imagining situations where this would be the best choice.

Threatening Glare (MP): Artful Dodgers about to wade into combat could easily find a use for this.  The fact that it's an Encounter power is interesting.

Vault Position (MP): Waste of ink.

Vexing Flanker (MP): Flanking for free, whenever your Defender buddy shows up to do his job.  Not that it was all that hard to get CA to begin with.

Hidden Blade (PHH1): Dagger-users got Combat Advantage for the cost of a minor action once per encounter.  Not bad at all.

Swift Parry (D381): Intriguing option for Artful Dodgers.  Big defense boost in response to an attack, and free combat advantage too.  Worth considering.

Blind Spot Advantage (MP2): If you absolutely can't hide any other way, I guess.  Ranged sneaks only.

Perfect Feint (MP2): Two rounds of CA against adjacent enemies, guaranteed.  It's okay.  Seems most useful when something gets in a ranged rogue's face.  Use this, shift out, attack with CA, and have CA next turn too.  Also one of those really rare ways of reliably getting CA against multiple enemies at once in melee.

Ugly Finish (MP2): Would be overpowered if you could do this on demand.  As it is, it's okay. Everything in the radius takes an attack debuff and grants combat advantage.


Lv 7 Encounter Powers
Lv 7 Encounter Powers, melee
Imperiling Strike (PHB): Brutal Scoundrels, take this home and love it and cuddle it and treat it right.

Sand in the Eyes (PHB): Damage is weak, but attacking Reflex is nice, and blinding is always good.

Circling Predator (MP): Multi-attack powers continue to be awesome.  Probably the best choice for a non-BS melee rogue.

Dismaying Slash (MP): Not just a clever name.

Slice Free (D375): Why not get out the usual way and do something more lethal instead?

Lashing Blade (D381): Fairly conditional, but not absurdly so.  It's got the potential to make lots of attacks, particularly if you're playing in the aggressive style encouraged by this issue's other powers, but it's conditional and risky and all around the sort of thing that is never top-tier.  I really like it, but I think black is the best place for it.

Double Fall (MP2): Two attacks, but against different enemies.  Ugh.  And it's hard to take advantage of an enemy you knocked prone on your own turn, because you have to spend an action point to attack before the target gets up.

Leg-Breaker (MP2): Not enough damage to be truly interesting, for a damage-only power.

Pinning Blade (MP2): Weak damage, and restrained.  Okay.  Not spectacular.

Shadow Boxer (MP2): Superior cover on demand, but unless you set up for this, your cover will probably leave you on its next turn, ruining the effect.  It would be useful for ranged sneaks to hide, but this is an attack power, not a utility, and it's melee too.

Lv 7 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Cloud of Steel (PHB): Great for popping minions.  Why are you popping minions, though?

Rogue's Luck (PHB): A mediocre attack, but if you miss, you've got a better chance to hit with a second, weaker attack.  Woo?

From the Shadows (MP): A solid choice for sneaky ranged Artful Dodgers.

Hectoring Strike (MP): This, at level 7?  Seriously?

Spring the Trap (MP): Useful for Ruthless Ruffians who are surrounded, but Lashing Blade is better if you don't actually need the Rattling keyword specifically.

Killer's Ambush (MP2): Good damage, and some shifting.  Cunning Sneaks get a big shift and a hide.  Worthwhile.

Lv 7 Encounter Powers, ranged
Snap Shot (MP): Minor action attacks are basically multi-attacks.  Easily best choice for ranged this level.

Painful Shot (MP2): Sling only, decent damage and combat advantage.  Not stellar.  Killer's Ambush is similar, but more versatile.



Lv 9 Daily Powers
Lv 9 Daily Powers, melee
Crimson Edge (PHB): This seems similar in power to level 5 dailies.  Not what I was looking forward to, all those encounters.

Deadly Positioning (PHB): See Crimson Edge.

Knockout (PHB): Inflicts UNCONSCIOUSNESS as a condition.  I'm not even kidding.  Holy crap.

Into Harm's Way (MP): It's like other multi-attacking, only harder to use effectively.  Worth considering, if you've got the right group.

Not Worth My Time (MP): You can immobilize the enemy, even on a miss.  Not too shabby.

Vexing Escape (MP): Lots of shifting, but I feel it's largely wasted, particularly as a melee power.  It's an immediate action, so if the enemy is coming for you, you'd better hope it reaches you at the end of his movement, because if not, all you've succeeded in doing is making him move another square to catch you.  Maybe you could use it to shift into flanking position before your turn?  I don't know.  Still think it's not as good as it looks.

Aerial Assault (MP2): Movement and good damage.  Even grants you combat advantage for the attack.  Very nice.

One Hundred Knives (MP2): Need to study the rules of specifically when static modifiers apply before I have a solid opinion of this one.  I thought itwas pretty sweet, but someone mentioned not getting static modifiers, and now I'm thinking it might be crap.

Profit From Weakness (MP2): An immediate interrupt that protects you, grants you combat advantage against the target and an attack to take advantage of it, and oh yeah, the enemy falls down, too.  Maybe not as powerful as Knockout, but my personal favorite.

Lv 9 Daily Powers, ranged
Agonizing Shot (MP): Slow is a weak condition, and the ongoing damage isn't going to add up to a whole lot barring extreme luck.

Burst Fire (MP): Hey, look!  You're a Sorc-Lite!

Lv 9 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Not It (MP): Another power that might've been okay several levels before this.

Rogue's Recovery (MP): Mediocre accuracy and weak damage, but tied to a chance to recover an encounter power or get more damage if you have CA.  Not a bad power, if you've got a large-ish weapon, but burning a daily to recover an encounter power is sort of a sucker's trade.

Swift Strike (MP): The only thing special about this power is that it might be able to get you an additional [W] in the first combat round.  Skip it.

Vexing Sting (MP): It's official.  Level 9 is the dumping ground for excess level 5 dailies.

Bewildering Assault (MP2): Acceptable damage, lets you remain hidden, and grants vulnerability 5 to all damage.  Definitely worth the attention of a CS rogue.

Lv 9 Daily Powers, ranged
Raining Death (MP2): Potentially lets you unload a ton of attacks, in the right encounter.  A bit situational, but freaking scay in that situation.

Lv 10 Utility Powers
Certain Freedom (PHB): Daily utility powers are a bummer, but that's okay, because you probably won't need this one even that often.

Close Quarters (PHB): When you can use it, this is amazing.  Extra points for being so cool.  Keep in mind that the rating is a bit generous due to 'cool' factor, and if you don't find yourself fighting Large or bigger monsters that often, you should probably look elsewhere.

Dangerous Theft (PHB): Awesome, when you need it.  How often do you need it?

Shadow Stride (PHB): Another formerly good power slain by a class feature.  If you want to be sneaky, you probably have Cunning Sneak and don't need it.

Brisk Stride (MP): I originally thought this was a daily, due to a misprint in my copy of the book.  Anyway, if you often feel the need to make a daring surge across the field, this might just be for you.  If you dive into trouble, though, make sure the rest of your party can extract you.

Combat Tumbleset (MP): Big shifting, and through enemy squares.  This one might be just worthwhile, if it was a daily.  But it's an encounter power.  Very nice indeed.

Executioner's Mein (MP): It's okay.  Not as great for Ruthless Ruffians as you might think.  You've probably got all the Rattling powers you need, and this is a daily stance, so you only get it for one encounter, so there's no point in training out any lackluster Rattling powers for better ones and fix it with Executioner's Mein.  Point of interest: a level 1 Daily does the same thing as a side effect of the attack power, but only for melee attacks.

Gaps in the Armor (MP): Pretty useful, if you can pick out in advance the best target to use it on.

Peripheral Concealment (MP): If this was an Encounter power that used something other than a standard action, it'd be worth considering.

Sneaky Roll (D375): Ranged rogues can use it to get out of trouble, I suppose.  This has its uses.  Not the best choice for this level, though.

Daring Gamble (MP2): Really rewards that daring playstyle encouraged by D381, wherein you boost your defenses, charge into danger, and then laugh as people miss you.  Artful Dodgers of all kinds can enjoy darting across the battlefield, provoking AoEs, getting missed, and having everybody's number for the rest of the day.  Encounter-long CA rocks.  Sort of reliant on your DM not being a jerk.

Deadly Sacrifice (MP2): Powerful, yes, but you aren't designed to take it on the chin intentionally.  Daring Gamble, at least, still works on a miss.  The Intelligence modifier probably won't mean much either.

What You Do When You're Awesome


Paragon  and Epic Power Selection


 


Lv 13 Encounter Powers
Lv 13 Encounter Powers, melee
Fool's Opportunity (PHB): Great in the right situation, so-so otherwise.  At least it targets Will.

Stunning Strike (PHB): In case the name didn't clue you in, this stuns.

Unbalancing Attack (PHB):  Pretty good.  Nice damage.  It'd be better if it was at all likely the enemy would trigger an OA from you and thus bring the secondary effect into play, but still pretty good.

Daunting Attack (MP): Take Stunning Strike instead, unless you're a Ruthless Ruffian and need Rattling.

Toppling Slash (MP): Boring.  Weak.

Vaulting Charge (D381): Another power designed to reward the suicidally insane, and it works pretty well.  Good damage, good mobility, and if you act first, good accuracy.  Just in time to replace the similar Opening Move, too.

Strike of Dancing Shadows (MP2): Cunning Sneaks are easily most effective at range.  Mediocre melee powers that are for melee Cunning Sneaks are therefore not great.

Lv 13 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Tornado Strike (PHB): Not the most potent attack, but good positioning and the possibility of attacking two different enemies is solid.

Bounding Escape
(MP): A mediocre attack with the side effect of letting you run like a scared sissy.  If you really need the ability to run like a scared sissy once per encounter, you should probably have a talk with your group.

Cunning Cyclone (MP): In most groups, it is unlikely that you're going to get combat advantage against a ton of adjacent enemies at once.

Fitting Demise (MP2): Not a lot of variety in the hide-and-shoot attacks, is there?  Solid damage this time, though.  Cunning Sneaks and other varieties of hidey-guys will want this, because it continues their thing.

Wicked Reminder (MP2): This would've been rated black at level 3.  Ten levels later, not so much.

Lv 13 Encounter Powers, ranged
Powerful Shot (MP): Decent damage.  The accuracy and effects aren't going to impress anybody.

Skip Shot (MP): Medium damage and the opportunity to damage something else just a little.  Yay?

Numbing Shot (MP2): A bit single-target controllery for my tastes, but prone and weakened together basically mean some enemy's turn is basically going to waste.

Veiled Missile (MP2): Okay, if you're not a Cunning Sneak, don't bother, but if you are, this is what you want.  Fitting Demise is okay, but this is more accurate, and you can re-hide after this one too.


Lv 15 Daily Powers
Lv 15 Daily Powers, melee
Garrote Grip (PHB): When a daily power is pretty much useless without expending other powerful attacks to follow up, it's probably not the best choice.

Bold Feint (MP): When trigger lines have the word "and" in them, you know it's time to move on.

Finish It (MP): Not that impressive, and conditional as well.  You're not going to get much mileage out of the ongoing damage, because it doesn't come into effect until you hit an already bloodied enemy with a daily power that does more damage.

Ripple Effect (MP): Accurate, same old damage numbers you've been seeing before, but with the addition of a pretty sweet slide.  Half damage and a little sliding on a miss, too.  The followup attack is almost an afterthought.

Vicious Cooperation (MP): Conditional, but a pretty common condition.  You'll need a decent damage die and a partner with a decent MBA.  Lack of accuracy or miss benefit keeps this one off the top shelf.  Go to some effort to set it up, and this can be pretty sweet.

Lurker's Threat (MP2): Decent damage, slide and daze the target, and then make a secondary attack that can daze more enemies in a burst.  Ladies and gentlemen, I think we may actually have something worth taking this level.  Provided you're melee, of course.

Whirlwind of Blades (MP2): Move into flanking without OAs from the target before you attack.  Not horrible.

Lv 15 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Bloody Path (PHB): Far too little is under your control here.

Slaying Strike (PHB): Sort of like Finish It, only significantly better, particularly if you've got a decent Strength.  You can use it if your foe isn't bloodied, if you need to.  If the target is bloodied, though, it's a whole lot nastier.  Worth looking into if you use a rapier or bastard sword.

Mind-Boggling Onslaught (MP): Rattling power that offers miss insurance and a dazing option.  Okay.

Wounding Strike (MP): Aren't daily powers supposed to pack more punch as you gain levels?  Seems like we're standing still a bit.

Arterial Slice (MP2):  Accurate, and decent damage.  The ongoing damage is okay, but nothing special.

Courage Breaker (MP2): Good damage, rattles, and slows.  The bit with adjacent enemies might even be helpful a few times.  Solid power.

Vicious Slash (MP2): Adequate damage, save-ends debuff, decent miss effect.  We've seen worse.

Lv 16 Utility Powers
Foil the Lock (PHB): Awesome on every occasion where you must have a lock open right now.  I bet that happens a lot in your game, and this should be available more often than once per day.  As a handbook writer, I am entirely above sarcasm and would never consider including it in something so solemn as a power description.

Hide in Plain Sight (PHB): Conversely, this is only useful on those occasions where you might like to be invisible to your enemies.  Can't imagine that coming up much, right?

Leaping Dodge (PHB): Completely invalidating a melee attack once per encounter is kinda nice.

Raise the Stakes (PHB): Just what you need - inviting the enemy to hit you by allowing them to hit you harder.  Seldom worth the trade.

Anticipate Attack (MP): This would be a good power, if it didn't require a crappy skill.  If for some reason you are trained in Insight... Leaping Dodge is still better because it lets you defend yourself by not being there instead.

Defensive Roll (MP): In a level with multiple options for defending yourself, this one doesn't work until you know you're safe.  Sure, the shift is nice, but requiring the enemy to miss just isn't as good as negating the attack.

Denying Stance (MP): If an enemy misses you once, it has a somewhat reduced chance to hit you next time.  I'm not really convinced that this is going to mitigate a ton of damage.

Grasshopper Leap (MP): When you absolutely must leap as far as you possibly can, for some reason.

Magpie Filch (MP): Following up on a theme of doing something amazingly well when you rarely need to do it at all.

Opportunistic Relocation (MP): Still more movement.  These powers seem to be getting progressively more useless.

Vigilant Footwork (MP): A level 16 power that gives you a small, situational defensive bonus as a stance, once per day.

Clever Move (MP2): This is really cool, but I just can't see it unseating Hide In Plain Sight as the stealth power of choice for this level.

Dishonorable Tactics (MP2): Again, would be decent if there wasn't much better already.

Shadow Master (MP2): Wow, it's like the devs didn't even realize Hide In Plain Sight was available this level, right out of the PHB.  Three Stealth powers?  Really?

Trap Master (MP2): Opening a lock or disabling a trap as a minor action would only be useful in combat.  There's no reason you can't take a round otherwise.  And it's not useful in most combats.  Skip it.

Lv 17 Encounter Powers
Lv 17 Encounter Powers, melee
Stab and Grab (PHB): The damage is okay.  The grabbing isn't good for much.

Audacious Strike (MP): Path of the Blade is usually better.  Not for every character, though.  Particularly those with low Charisma.  Tumbling Strike, on the other hand, pretty much torpedos the crap out of this.  It's not bad, but outdated by much better upgraded versions of itself.

Blistering Outburst (MP): It's a weak Rattling attack, but doesn't even have the Rattling keyword.  Wasn't there a better version of this several levels ago?  There's even a better version this level too.

Escape Artist's Gambit (MP): Situationally useful, but very, very useful in those situations, and they'll come up more often than you want.  Not a top pick, but maybe worth retraining to later.

Stinging Squall (MP): Burst Rattling and weakening.  Worth considering for Ruthless Ruffians, maybe.

Path of the Blade (D381): Y'know, technically this lets you make four attacks.  The attack power it lets you use lets you attack twice, and you can use the power twice.  As you shift, and if you're an Artful Dodger, this can let you shift a long way.  I think this one will receive errata.

Tumbling Strike (D381): This would be decent as a standard action, but it's a minor action instead.  Just as a movement power, it's impressive, but then it throws in an attack with decent damage.  If you have any melee capacity at all, this is just too awesome.

Leaping Dagger Kick (MP2): Accurate, decent damage, dazes, and you can use it on a charge.  Not bad.

Lv 17 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Dragon Tail Strike (PHB): Riposte Strike+, but range-friendly and big enough to be interesting.

Hounding Strike (PHB): Attacks Will and grants combat advantage and a defense bonus.  Nice pick.

Guerrilla Blitz (MP): This is the move-and-attack option for ranged rogues.  Not quite as awesome as the melee option, as usual, but still good.

Excruciating Reminder (MP2): A very appealing option for Ruthless Ruffians.

Surprising Assault (MP2): For Cunning Sneaks, primarily.  Damage isn't great, but stunning is.

Lv 17 Encounter Powers, ranged
No Escape (MP): Useful for dagger-users who want to prevent an opponent from getting away, or ranged rogues who want to prevent some joker from slipping off into hiding.

Dazing Shot (MP2): Decent.  Surprising Assault is better, though.

Unerring Shot (MP2): Another very solid Cunning Sneak option, being able to repeatedly use a power that does 3[W] is awesome.

Lv 19 Daily Powers
Lv 19 Daily Powers, melee
Flying Foe (PHB):

Blood Squall (MP):

Bloodbath Attack (MP):

Stolen Vitality (MP):

Strong-Arm Loyalty (MP):

Blurring Assault (MP2):

Hilt Slam (MP2):

Merciless Cut (MP2):

Lv 19 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Feinting Flurry (PHB):

Snake's Retreat (PHB):

Daunting Barrage (MP):

Marked Beating (MP):

Maiming Strike (MP2):

Lv 19 Daily Powers, ranged
Uncanny Ricochet (MP):

Demoralizing Shot (MP2):

Lv 22 Utility Powers
Cloud Jump (PHB):

Dazzling Acrobatics (PHB):

Hide from the Light (PHB):

Mountebank's Flight (MP):

Scoundrel's Epiphany (MP):

Seize the Moment (MP):

Thief of Fortune (MP):

Unnerving Footwork (MP):

Wall Crawl (MP):

Clinging Shadows (MP2):

Indomitable Agility (MP2):

Killer's Instinct (MP2):

Somersault Dodge (MP2):

Uncanny Aim (MP2):

Lv 23 Encounter Powers
Lv 23 Encounter Powers, melee
Scorpion Strike (PHB):

Collapsing Riposte (MP):

Death Dance (MP):

Felling Gash (MP):

Shimmering Blade (D381):

Cutthroat's Rebuke (MP2):

Killer's Retreat (MP2):

Tendon Tear (MP2):

Lv 23 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Knave's Gambit (PHB):

Blindside (MP):

Dazing Double Shot (MP2):

Lv 23 Encounter Powers, ranged
Steel Entrapment (PHB):

Crack Shot (MP):

Fettering Shot (MP):

Fell the Strong (MP2):

Lv 25 Daily Powers
Lv 25 Daily Powers, melee
Ghost on the Wind (PHB):

Acrobatic Assault (MP):

Cruel Pursuit (MP):

Gory Slash (MP):

Shocking Execution (MP):

Visceral Strike (MP):

Reaching Blade (D381):

Astounding Assault (MP2):

Persistent Menace (MP2):

Lv 25 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Biting Assault (PHB):

Hamstring (PHB):

Magnetic Shot (MP):

Rogue's Resurgence (MP):

Bounding Assault (MP2):

Ricocheting Strike (MP2):

Lv 25 Daily Powers, ranged
Perfect Shot (MP2):

Lv 27 Encounter Powers
Lv 27 Encounter Powers, melee
Dance of Death (PHB):

Hurricane of Blood (PHB):

Hurling Pounce (MP):

Skirmishing Strike (MP):

First and Final Strike (D381):

Craven's Bane (MP2):

Deflected Strike (MP2):

Sheathe the Blade (MP2):

Lv 27 Encounter Powers, melee and ranged
Perfect Strike (PHB):

Safe Bet (MP):

Stunning Assist (MP):

Stupefying Violence (MP):

Killer's Gift (MP2):

Lv 27 Encounter Powers, ranged
From Pebble to Boulder (MP2):

Perfect Sniper (MP2):

Lv 29 Daily Powers
Lv 29 Daily Powers, melee
Deathweaving Strike (MP):

A Murder of One (MP):

Kiss of Death (MP2):

Steel Nettle Rain (MP2):

Throat Cut (MP2):

Lv 29 Daily Powers, melee and ranged
Assassin's Point (PHB):

Immobilizing Strike (PHB):

Moving Target (PHB):

Cagey Killer (MP):

Treachery's Reward (MP2):

Lv 29 Daily Powers, ranged
Sight-Stealing Strike (MP):

Killing Storm (MP2):


Formatting for the powers is done.  Now I've got to rate them all, which will be far easier to do now that this part is taken care of.  Progress should be fairly quick.
RESERVED
RESERVED
RESERVED
RESERVED

RESERVED

Final.  You may post.  Kilpatds, YD, please remove the (very helpful) posts you made before this point.  Thanks again.

Feel free to lift my Rogue Item guide wholesale.  It's within Litigation's guide.  It is quite out of date though (pre-November errata). 
Builds and Guides The Cosmonaut a build that teleports foes into space. November Errata Item Guide a guide to equipping Avengers and Strikers after the November errata. 100% Crit Rate Ardent Champion an Avenger combo that autocrits and/or inflicts infinite damage at level 11.
I recommend a link to Anomalousman's Artful Dodger Drow Daggermaster which can be found here:  community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

It focuses on multi-target attacks in order to crit fish with the Daggermaster PP.  A very fun build.

Edit:  weird formatting on this post but I can't seem to fix it.  Oh well, you get the idea.
Thanks for your contributions, guys!  I appreciate it.

I'm working on the introduction right now.  Can't wait to get to the meat of it.
Glad to see it's up and running. I wish you luck.
Thanks!  It's going to be interesting as I try to find where the errata and the new material fits in.  That's going to help me in establishing my own voice, because right now I'm finding no reason not to copy a lot of stuff directly from Litigation.  It's a little outdated, sure, but a lot of it is still applicable and very good.

Good luck!  Shouldn't dex be at least sky blue?

Huh, that's weird.  I thought it was sky blue.  Thanks!
Dexterity has to be Gold, for sure. A Rogue without Dexterity is a dead Rogue.
Looking great! Only three comments are that you mention Ruthless Ruffians twice under Charisma, when I think you mean Brutal Scoundrel for one of them, and I'd add "assassin" (and eventually monk, but they're still not fully released yet, and don't have a multiclass feat) after archer ranger for MC options for full dex rogues (stat array 1), and under Constitution, you only need 15 for Hammer Rhythm.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Actually, what he said is correct: Hammer Rhythm requires Str 15, Con 17.
Ha, I was about to chime in with my distaste for Ruthless Ruffian, but I see that you have it covered. Kudos.

Looking good so far. Oh, and don't feel the need to copy and agree with all my previous ratings. In fact, I've changed my own opinions on more than a few of them. 
Ha, I was about to chime in with my distaste for Ruthless Ruffian, but I see that you have it covered. Kudos.


Yeah, that thing is crap.

Looking good so far. Oh, and don't feel the need to copy and agree with all my previous ratings. In fact, I've changed my own opinions on more than a few of them. 


I still agree with a lot of your assessments.  I disagree with some others, and those are going to get changed.  You did a lot of good work, and I'm not above borrowing (with credit) where I see your opinion as good sense, but I'm hoping to make this as much as possible my Handbook.

@LDB: You're right.  I think that's why I took off the sky blue; intending to change it to gold.

@Lesp: Checking Charisma entry.  Thanks for checking me for errors.  I'm trying to put up a framework as quickly as I can honestly manage, and stuff gets a little mangled in the process sometimes.
Actually, what he said is correct: Hammer Rhythm requires Str 15, Con 17.

D'oh. Had it conflated with HBO in my head. My bad.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
That's all I've got for tonight, guys.  Pick it over and tell me if I forgot anything, if you please, and I'll return to work tomorrow night.
n the weapon section, you forgot the kukry. It was done whit rogues in mind, after all.
Actually Play'ng: Nothing. My old party is full of short-sighted racists and sexists (on their own admission), so I left.
So I did.  My mistake.
Kukri and katar will both be red.  Waste of a feat, both of them.
Kukri sucks. No reason to ever use it over a standard dagger.

I think the double sword, post-errata, is no higher than black for a Rogue, and maybe even lower. Defensive is all that's keeping it from being equal to dual-wielding shortswords, and I'm not sure it's a viable selling point. You lose your ranged options when you wield it, too, which can make life difficult.

Also, I'm not sure rapier shouldn't be bumped back up to sky blue. Main hand rapier + off-hand dagger is a perfect setup. Both benefit from the same Weapon Expertise feat (light blades), both benefit from Nimble Blade, which is now THE feat that keeps the light blades ahead of the heavy blades with Versatile Master, and the off-hand dagger gives you a ranged option when you need it (or when you've got to hit with a daily power and don't care about the damage as much as the effect).
I'm very new to char op, but am pretty confused about why Ruthless Ruffians should care about Hammer Rhythm and Bludgeon Mastery?  I've been working on ruffian builds all through the winter break (frustrating work but I really want to salvage the great concept) and can't see any reason a ruffian should have more than 15 con for thunder hammer and a decent dizzying mace debuff (fighter MC).  Is a 5% higher chance to crit and rather piddly bit of con dmg on a miss really worth all this extra MADness?

Don't get me wrong, Ruthless Ruffians are in the least very hard and frustrating to build.  I can only hope that Martial Power 2 sets all this somewhat right someday.  But I'm prepared to show some decent mc fighter builds if you guys are interested.  One thing though: they're not really strikers at the end of the day, if they're worth anything, imo.

Anyway, much respect to you working on a new rogue handbook.

Guess I couldn't sleep right away.  Anxious to see feedback, I guess.

Kukri sucks. No reason to ever use it over a standard dagger.


Agreed.

I think the double sword, post-errata, is no higher than black for a Rogue, and maybe even lower. Defensive is all that's keeping it from being equal to dual-wielding shortswords, and I'm not sure it's a viable selling point. You lose your ranged options when you wield it, too, which can make life difficult.


I hadn't seen too much discussion on it, being away from the forums for a while.  I knew I didn't like it, but I wasn't comfortable knocking it all the way down like that without seeing some feedback, and I was both busy and tired.  Thanks for explaining why I felt what I did - it does make sense to me now.  Short sword is a waste, so a pair of them stuck together is the same.  Red it is.

Also, I'm not sure rapier shouldn't be bumped back up to sky blue. Main hand rapier + off-hand dagger is a perfect setup. Both benefit from the same Weapon Expertise feat (light blades), both benefit from Nimble Blade, which is now THE feat that keeps the light blades ahead of the heavy blades with Versatile Master, and the off-hand dagger gives you a ranged option when you need it (or when you've got to hit with a daily power and don't care about the damage as much as the effect).


One good argument in favor was all I needed to hear.  Sky blue.  Thank you.  I guess you agree with my take on the options opened up by Versatile Duelist?

I'm very new to char op, but am pretty confused about why Ruthless Ruffians should care about Hammer Rhythm and Bludgeon Mastery?  I've been working on ruffian builds all through the winter break (frustrating work but I really want to salvage the great concept) and can't see any reason a ruffian should have more than 15 con for thunder hammer and a decent dizzying mace debuff (fighter MC).  Is a 5% higher chance to crit and rather piddly bit of con dmg on a miss really worth all this extra MADness?

Don't get me wrong, Ruthless Ruffians are in the least very hard and frustrating to build.  I can only hope that Martial Power 2 sets all this somewhat right someday.  But I'm prepared to show some decent mc fighter builds if you guys are interested.  One thing though: they're not really strikers at the end of the day, if they're worth anything, imo.

Anyway, much respect to you working on a new rogue handbook.


Replacing a 5% crit chance with a 10% is huge for a Striker.  Crits are awesome, and considering the number of you roll between 21 and 30, +5% adds up pretty quick.  Hammer Rhythm is all that really distinguishes the mace mechanically from an inaccurate version of a longsword, and you're paying a class feature for the ability to use it, where any rogue can use a better weapon for the price of a feat.

The distinguishing features of the Ruthless Ruffian are the mace (a bad choice of weapon, with or without the special feat for it, but at least there should be some point behind using it) and Rattling powers, which tend toward the cream of the crap.

Really, the answer to your question is no, it's not worth it, but then it's pretty much the only way to build a distinct Ruthless Ruffian, which is why the Ruthless Ruffian is such a failure.  You're free to posts examples of how you've made use of it, though.

Martial Power 2 should ignore the unfortunate fact that the Ruthless Ruffian exists and come up with actual useful options.  Rogues are the one martial class most sorely in need of new goodies, and I hope they're hooked up.

Thanks for the nod, though.  I appreciate it.
Red it is.


re: double sword. No objections there. Really.

I guess you agree with my take on the options opened up by Versatile Duelist?


Yup. Totally agree with both ratings. Although you might also want to mention that only Brutal Scoundrels have a chance to master those weapons.

And on that note, I had changed my mind on the importance on STR on an Artful Dodger. I think that if you're not going for Daggermaster, you DO need to care about Light Blade Mastery. Rogues don't nova on command like a Ranger or a Barbarian, so you want all the crits you can get.
I had been meaning to look into the idea of why you wouldn't care about Light Blade Mastery.  Now I know.  Thanks for the guidance.  The attribute section is possibly my weakest, since my group rolls dice.  Plus, my experience with Rogues is limited to AD Daggermasters, and their general build intricacies didn't really interest me all that much until I suddenly found myself volunteering for this project.

I had meant to mention that about the Brutal Scoundrel.  I didn't get it in?  Huh.  I'll add it.

Races:
The fey charge+fey gambit+roundabout charge (probably with a rapier) combo for charging into combat advantage every round is probably worth a mention, especially with the surprising charge feat. That combo is good enough that IMO, if you want to build a charging rogue, you need a reason to pick a race other than eladrin.

Weapons:

Reasons for bastard sword wielding: githzerai rogues with the gith blademaster feat and brutal scoundrels using vigilante justice with riposte strike. On the whole, I think the feat cost is only worthwhile if you are either githzerai (in which case, you're saving a feat on weapon focus, so it's really the same feat cost as a rapier) or plan to abuse vigilante justice in which case you're getting into the multi-attacking game. (Circling predator, low slash (with a bastard sword--or even a rapier--low slash beats any of the ranger minor action attack powers senseless), and press the advantage are other ways rogues can get their hands on some multi-attacking nova action without going outside their class).

Rapier: One other thing to note in rapier makes surprising charge a really nice feat. Charge into a flank for 4d8+2x strength? That's pretty darn nice. It competes with dagger, bastard sword, and spiked chain, but I think that the ability to have a hand free puts it ahead of the spiked chain (also, it can be a bit difficult to make surprising charge work with a reach weapon because you cannot charge into a flank). You can have a rhythm blade dagger in your off-hand for higher defense or a hand crossbow for more range capability (and I think there are a couple drow feats that capitalize on the rapier/hand crossbow combo). Vis a vis the bastard sword, it requires fewer feats, is compatible with surprising charge, and your weapon mastery/weapon focus/weapon expertise feats all apply to the dagger as well which leaves you with a good throwing weapon. Vis a vis the ordinary dagger, rapier offers higher damage potential and more nova and multi-attack potential. On the whole, I think rapier probably deserves sky blue.

Hand Crossbow: I think the blue rating is correct, but magical ammunition from AV 2 deserves a mention here. IMO, every rogue who isn't using a superior crossbow should probably carry a non-magical hand crossbow for situations where:
1. They want better range than a dagger delivers
2. They want to use magical ammunition. Surprise bolts and lightning bolts deserve special mention since they allow a rogue to potentially sneak attack at range even without stealthing.

Parrying Dagger: This probably deserves a downgrade to purple now and a mage's parrying dagger is a dud. If you're not going to get proficiency, you should just get an ordinary rhythm blade dagger. That gives you +1 Ref as well as +1 AC and it can be thrown (which is one of the main weaknesses of the rapier/parrying dagger combo: you can't easily draw and use a ranged weapon). You could still get parrying dagger proficiency and have a rhythm blade parrying dagger (and potentially two weapon fighting and two weapon defense) for maximum defensiveness, but that's a pretty corner case build.

Races: That specific build is a special case.  It will get a mention, but probably not in the Races section.

Weapons: Again, special case with the Githzerai.  I'll probably mention those options in the descriptions of the specific feats and powers.  Thanks for pointing it out, though.

Interesting points on the rapier.  I've already made it sky blue, and it looks to be firmly in that territory.  Wow.

AV2 isn't something I've spent a lot of time with.  Thanks for pointing me to the ammo and the rhythm dagger.  I agree - parrying dagger gets downrated with the introduction of the Rhythm Blade.
Great new writeup on the double sword. God, I despise that weapon.
Ok.  Let me see what I can say about Ruffians.

I'll admit a number of the rattling powers suck in various ways, most of all damage, of course.  As for the mace, it's inaccurate and really just a pain in the ass, also true.  However, I've found some synergy in MCing fighter, and arguably the Bravo multiclass as well with Windrise-ness. 

Honestly, I'm not done trying to figure out the ruffians, I've been just taking a week off of them to let the anger ease back and get some perspective.  In the end, I might even decide they do, in fact, suck.  At the moment, however, I'm seeing that they can conceivably blow attack penalties through the roof, with good defenses to boot, at the cost of damage.  I keep ending up with effective debuffing at-will (crossbow rogue is better by a bit) and pretty great nova debuffs, maybe, with major save-ends penalties with dailies.


Synergies:
Save-ends Dailies:
Ruthless Injury+Thunder Hammer+Cunning Weapon gives you a fairly respectable -6 to saves at lvl 11 with your dailies from heroic [Checking Jab, Staggering Assault (not rattling but who cares) and Not Worth My Time.) You can push this farther in some situations with the Death Dealer PP, ending up with like a 24% chance of saving the first round, 33%~ the second, and then 50% the third.  There's also some synergy later on, with save-ends powers like Visceral Strike and Immobilizing Strike (a lovely -13 by that time.)

Also, you have Dizzying Mace, which stacks with other beautiful save-ends dazes such as Marked Beating, to give a target an even more hefty attack penalty.  In late paragon and epic, especially with the save-ends Bravo daily, you can make most of your encounters and dailies bestow dazed or stunned.

In short, you want to use your dailies, rattling or not, to pass out difficult save-ends powers.  Even immobilize is nice enough if you can separate your target a little, using the Bloodhound Style+Disheartening Strike to shift an enemy a little.


Attack Penalties:
As I mentioned, Dizzying Mace+your numerous daze powers are a pleasant addition to any rattling you might pass out.  It goes without saying that every sneak attack you make will also use Underhanded Tactics.  However, that's hardly the end.  What I'm finding important here is which PP is chosen.  The goal is to combine defense increases with attack penalties to make it very difficult for a single target to hit you.  For multiple target debuffs, useful when a bunch of monsters mob you while you're picking on someone important, there are also a few options, depending on the PP.

First off, without a PP you can combine Stinging Squall with Whirlwind Sneak Attack, assuming you can find a way to gain CA on a bunch of baddies at once.  This is easiest done with a drow's dark cloud thingy, but maybe there are other ways to get CA on more than 1-2 monsters at a time?  Anyway, the PP's have their advantages:

Death Dealer gives an incredible -2 attk penalty to anything that can see you, At-Will, when you kill something.  Your damage is low for a striker, but when mobbed you could probably manage to trigger this at least once vs some minion.

Rakish Swashbuckler is a tag-team rogue's dream, imo, and I'm seeing Ruffians as typically tag-teaming or hitting a single-target off to the side, so this is a PP to be considered.  The extra -2 vs marked creatures makes a defender your best friend, while the AP -2 will help when you get mobbed behind enemy lines (when you're burst rattling, as I mentioned earlier).  The 20th lvl power is absolute crap unless you're a Dodger.  But you're not.  Sigh.  On the other hand, Mocking Footwork+Disheartening Strike+Bloodhound Style is a fairly effective way to separate an enemy, unless you can get someone else to do it for you.

Doomspeaker (get it via Revenant cheese) stacks well with Ruthless Terror in Epic to give a pretty respectable -3 attk penalty whenever you miss (unless they don't stack? idk.)  Gaining rattling thru an AP is pretty damn sweet, if you ask me, and puts this PP really on the map.  Other than that, the encounter and daily have like 45-50% hit rates with a str/cha split ruffian (assuming 15 con) or less with just str, but on the upside you still rattle and give out a -3 even on a miss...and that daily is close burst 5, with nice save-ends...if you go with this PP, I think it might be worth the feat to pick up Psychic Lock.  You could also use the headband of intellect to get slightly more accuracy.

Finally, we have Strong-Arm Enforcer, the PP that's actually (supposedly, anyway) designed with Ruffians in mind.  This PP. Is. Frustrating.  If you cha only you get incredible damage at lvl 16, especially if you spend an AP to make Sly Flourish rattle, or use the encounter Bravo power, or decide to beat everyone's ass and use Executioner's Mien.  The cha damage stacks, so if you can manage to keep the hits coming you can start to deal str+dex+cha x3 everytime you hit with CA, while picking up somewhat helpful temps and marking.  Only problem is that you will really suck at life until 16th, making this a pretty bad idea.  Alternatively, you could go str/cha mixed ( start 13 str, 13-14 con, 13 ish cha, depending on race) which would give you fairly nice benefits while also allowing you to use riposte strike with some effectiveness (like 50% hit rate on the riposte).  Make Riposte Strike rattling and you can really take advantage of the cha dmg stacking while tacking on Warborn Fury style to give out a spare -3 attk penalty on top of it all.  Still, without ripstrike this idea is kinda lackluster imo, and with it you have to deal with a damn 50% hit rate (with CA, even...)  TBH, this entire PP is a friggin trap to anyone but a crossbow rogue, which uses it to become the devil incarnate of at-will penalties (-8 or -9 if you go half-elf+paladin mc) in addition to the actual damage you'd be doing with a Sly Flourish+high cha.

---

Further Notes: Combine Warborn Fury+Impending Doom styles to give Riposte Strike a -5 on a hit with the riposte, which becomes like a 65%~ with a str/con ruffian.  Throw in the Bravo encounter power or Executioner's Mien for a respectable -9 (always use Underhanded Tactics).  You can become even more pseudo-defender if you get the style that lets you riposte when the victim attacks an adjacent ally. 

In general, combining Light Shield Prof., Stout Shield, the Buckler feat from the Duelist rogue article last month, and Defensive Advantage puts you at AC 36 by 20 (average monster hits you on 11 up.)  Combine with rattling+tactics+mark to make that a 17 up.  Throw in any small amount of further penalties, such as a Rakish Swashbuckler's mark penalty, or a recent kill via Death Dealer, or Dark Wanderer's Not My Fate feature, and you've exceeded the average monster's ability to hit on anything but a 19-20 or worse.  Combine with the riposte strike above to push even a BBEG to the limit, assuming you get somewhat lucky with the hits.  Essentially, if you face off against it mano y mano, you're pretty insanely hard to get rid of.  This is where the synergy between the dailies and the attack penalties comes in, of course. 

Of course, all bets are off if you start taking Will attacks, against which you probably have no defense.  Better to GTFO or shut that sucker down quick if that starts happening.



Epic Destinies:
I haven't really put together a conclusive list, but the Perfect Assassin is obviously sweet for any rogue, even a weird one like a ruffian.  As I mentioned above, Dark Wanderer gives you a really hilarious -4 attk penalty vs anything your level or lower that manages to hit you.  The utility means you can use Executioner's Mien again, which all in all makes this ED worth the stat hits you take from not doing Demigod.  Of course, if you want to be boring, or you're tired of being weird by the time you make Epic, Demigod works just fine.

---

TL;DR: Ruffians that mc into fighters can become weird single-target missiles that can't be hit easily and hand out powerful save-ends effects, at the cost of damage.  They're also pretty impossible to kill with a defender buddy and can eventually handle a mob unto themselves for a few rounds.  For everything else debuff-concerned, you're better off with a superior crossbow+artful dodger+strong-arm enforcer. 

      
Thanks for taking this on.

I've taken the liberty of linking you to the excellent 'Rogue Crossbow Sniper' build:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

The ranged rogue is often overlooked, but IMO can be a very powerful build.
IF changling doesn't have the feat support shouldn't it be dark blue instead of light blue?
Thanks for taking this on.

I've taken the liberty of linking you to the excellent 'Rogue Crossbow Sniper' build:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

The ranged rogue is often overlooked, but IMO can be a very powerful build.


Thanks!  I agree.  I wish it was easier to implement, but ranged rogues can be awesome.

IF changling doesn't have the feat support shouldn't it be dark blue instead of light blue?


Can I get some more input on this?  I'm not as familiar with the Eberron material as I could be, and I don't know what racial feats the changeling has.  Right now though, based on my gut feeling, I think that the third race outright designed with the Artful Dodger Rogue in mind is going to be almost as awesome as the halfling and the drow.  When I need to take a break from my studies, I'll do some digging on the Compendium.
Thanks for taking this on.

I've taken the liberty of linking you to the excellent 'Rogue Crossbow Sniper' build:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

The ranged rogue is often overlooked, but IMO can be a very powerful build.


Thanks!  I agree.  I wish it was easier to implement, but ranged rogues can be awesome.

IF changling doesn't have the feat support shouldn't it be dark blue instead of light blue?


Can I get some more input on this?  I'm not as familiar with the Eberron material as I could be, and I don't know what racial feats the changeling has.  Right now though, based on my gut feeling, I think that the third race outright designed with the Artful Dodger Rogue in mind is going to be almost as awesome as the halfling and the drow.  When I need to take a break from my studies, I'll do some digging on the Compendium.



A lot probably depends upon how you rate the non-combat utility of shapeshifting. If you rate non-combat utility as important, then combined with a naturally good bluff score, that ability is probably enough to make them sky blue despite a lack of racial feats. On the other hand, if you want to focus exclusively on combat or don't think that shapeshifting is useful, drow is probably a clearly better choice for better combat racial abilities and better feats.
One other note for the future. The traditional rating of at-will powers puts piercing strike at sky blue because the accuracy offers superior DPR. Now that I've been playing a human rogue with piercing strike, deft strike, and riposte strike for a while, I think it should probably be downgraded to blue. Of my various powers, it has turned out to be the least used one by a long ways. Deft strike is used when I want to hide+sneak attack at range or when I need a little bit of extra movement and can't charge. Riposte strike makes sense if I'm in a situation where I can't sneak attack or want some defense to mitigate the beatdown that is pretty obviously going to come my way if the target survives my actions. Piercing strike would, in theory, make sense for situations where I am already where I want to be or can get there with a shift and I don't have reason to think that the defensive uses of riposte strike would be useful. The thing is, those situations just don't come up all that often. If I were to drop down to two at-wills based on their in-play utility, they would be deft strike and riposte strike.

Now, my experience with one particular rogue is not enough to say that deft strike and riposte strike are the best at-wills out there or that piercing strike is a bad at-will. It's not and there are a lot of characters who will make good use of it. But, I think it is enough to say that piercing strike is not, hands down the best rogue at-will for brutal scoundrels (or for artful dodgers).
One other note for the future. The traditional rating of at-will powers puts piercing strike at sky blue because the accuracy offers superior DPR. Now that I've been playing a human rogue with piercing strike, deft strike, and riposte strike for a while, I think it should probably be downgraded to blue. Of my various powers, it has turned out to be the least used one by a long ways. Deft strike is used when I want to hide+sneak attack at range or when I need a little bit of extra movement and can't charge. Riposte strike makes sense if I'm in a situation where I can't sneak attack or want some defense to mitigate the beatdown that is pretty obviously going to come my way if the target survives my actions. Piercing strike would, in theory, make sense for situations where I am already where I want to be or can get there with a shift and I don't have reason to think that the defensive uses of riposte strike would be useful. The thing is, those situations just don't come up all that often. If I were to drop down to two at-wills based on their in-play utility, they would be deft strike and riposte strike.

My problem has been that every time I'm in position to use piercing strike, I find it's better to use an encounter power. And every time I can't get sneak attack another way, deft strike seems to help out. I'm thinking Piercing Strike is good at low levels, but retraining to Clever Strike around level 7 is going to be better because sometimes in tight quarters, or with cornered opponents, it's just plain handy. I'd almost rate every single rogue at-will blue, other than Probing Strike. That one's kind of stinky.