The Real Rogue Problem

 I'm not a major fan of the new Rogue for much of the same reasons as everyone else as it is a crappy fighter in combat. I slept on it however and then started to play around with some of the mechanics to test it out. In a way they kind of broke the Rogue in 2 ways. Put simply the Rogue is now a strictly worse fighter than a fighter all of the time. Every other edition of D&D has let them have a back stab or sneak attack to  situationally get extra damage. The 4th ed Rogue did not do as much damage as the other stirkers and probably some fighter builds but it done a reasonable amount of damage and was good at targetting NADs. I'll make a comparison of the new Rogue in Pathfinder/3.5 rules as it probably makes a bettwer example than 4th ed which used powers. Next doesn't have powers as such and most of the Rogue and fighter ones are identical or simial enough that on 2-3 of the Rogue ones stand out and one of them is skill mastery.

 In 3.5/PF terms they have powered the fighter up. He would get.
4 skills not two.
can pick any skills
1d6 deadly strike every two levels. Doesn't need to flank or win initiative though. Rogue still does.

Rogue gets
Sneak attack when flanking/flat footed
+4 skill points
Can disable traps (via class exclusive thieves tools).

 THe fighter is strictly better 100% of the time as a rogue at combat. The Rogue cannot come close unless the fighter does not use sneak attack. Its broken in the Fighters favour. However some games involve less combat. Around 3 sessions ago I ran a session for the PCs around interacting with nobles. They attended a ball and won the Annual Magnimar Yacheting Regatta. One of the PCs had a few skill points in Profession:Sailor. He wasn't a great sailor but they had one advantage.

 They cheated their **** off.

 Their friends in the city watch arrested some members of the competing crews and an alchemist provided laxatives to dose some of the opposing crews with. They also sabotaged some of the other ships by cutting ropes, sails, rudders and the like. THey also had to defend their own ship from similar accts of Sabotage. The nobles of Magnimar are a corrupt bunch what can I say. This involved a wide selection of skills from Profession:Sailor for the race  through to diplomacy, athletic checks for swimming, and even a untrained profession carpentry check. Most of the DCs were suitably low because its not that hard to cut a rudder or a rope- even I can do it IRL without a single rank in any of the relevent skills.


Anyway this leaves the Rogues skill master thing me jig. They can use their dice on skill checks. Roll 3d10 keep the highest at level 10. Reminds me of Vampire the Masquerade d10 system and I hated that system. I vaguely recalled 3d10 keep the highest was a reasonably powerful vampire as the most powerful ones had 5d10 IIRC. I rolled the 3d10 10 times to see what my results would be. I was going to do it 100 times but couldn't be bothered- I am a gamer after all and that invloves effort.

9
8
8
9
10
9
9
8
10
10

 Lowest was an 8. It  similar to advanatage I suppose but you roll 3 dice keep the best one. In D&D next however skill DCs are alot lower. A DC 40 3rd ed check is DC 25 in this system. Going back to my 3.5/PF Rogue example from earlier he also gets skill focus in all of his skills at level 1 (1d4 average 2.5 rounds up to 3= skill focus sort of). +3 is more like +5 so its skill focus 4th ed/Saga style in a 3.5 based game. But in the mid levels the lowest I tried out was a +8. Thats more or less a class ability that is +12 on all his trained skills. Even in D&D Nexts lowe DC world a +8 modifer is insane as it stacks with the Rogue being trained and ability score modifications. A Rogue will have a large amount of dex based skills as well and gets at least another +7 off them.  If a Rogue can take 10 for any reason he auto succeeds on DC 25 skill checks although it is remotely possable he rolls less than 7 on his 3d10. The annual Magnimar Yachet race doped with laxatives would have been a non event had the PCs had a D&DN Rogue along. To balance the Rogue out as written around half of a session would have to be non combat related which is fine as I'm not going to tell people how to run their games (personally I try for 1/3rd combat/RP world building/ skills) with the ocasional session being 100% combat or none at all. Out of combat the Rogue is kinda broken when compared to everyone else. Overall its a badly designed class as even if the Rogue is shining everyone else is going to be bored or sucking. Even in 3.5 with the much mocked fighter he was at least good at beating on things and had some skills the Rogue wouldn't be trained in. The D&DN Rogue may as well take feats that grant him extra skills or be an elf as there is only a few skils in the game and he can be trained in most of them by level 6 or so. Rather than spending feats to try and catch up to a fighter who has feats as well might as well get really good at the one thing they are good at. Then the Rogue can rub everyone elses face in the ground for every skill check in the game even if he has an 8 in the relevent ability score.

 Overall a big meh from me on the Rogue class. It sucks completely at combat (always kinda has but has been but no relevent situational modifier anymore or niche like the 4th ed Rogue), and its broken outside of combat from early in the game.


 The Rogue is to good at doping nobles with laxatives. True story. And drugs are bad m'kay kiddies. In ye good old days someone would have to take one for the team and be the heal bot. Now its take one for the team and be the skill bot.Everyone else is better off sitting around twiddling their thumbs while the super Rogue does it all.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

An interesting note: while the rogue is superior to the fighter outside of combat, unlike in combat (when the rogue always sucks), once in a while, outside of combat, the fighter will now get the chance to shine over the rogue. Mighty Exertion works just like Skill Mastery, except it works on any Strength based check instead of any Trained Skill. There will be times when the rogue cannot apply Skill Mastery, the fighter can apply Mighty Exertion, and as a result the fighter will shine... outside of combat. 

Yeah thats wh the Rogue is best served at being trained in multiple skills but the fihgter will beat him most of the time in strength based skills if the fihgter takes that manuveur. Fighter is best served taking somehting else and getting the rogue to pickup as many skills as possable.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

And outside combat, if a player keeps an honorable reputation for his fighter and don't create him with a Charisma lower than 9, the fighter is accepted in more social circles for what they are than a rogue, and without cheating.

And discussing with NPCs without rolling Sense Motive checks at the end of any sentence is something possible.
Lack of skills is a problem when you want to gain control over everything, and i saw a lot of player being anxious when they do not control absolutly all the parameters they can.

Skills are not enough important to make the skill mastery a balance for the crappy combat addition a rogue offers to an adventuring group.

• Fighter brings skills, higher resistance, damage and offensive combat maneuvers, option to protect fragile members of the group, high physical abilities helping untrained checks related to them, more attacks per rounds (more dps by itself, and twice the chance to apply expertise dice, so even more dps). He can specialize in skills through feats.

• Wizard brings skills, utility effects (that have the most OP potential of the game if the devs forget a detail in the description), some interesting combat options including AoE, one or two useful high mental abilities helping untrained checks related to them. He can specialize in skills through feats.

• Cleric brings skills, higher resistance, group resistance increase, offensive group buffing, influencial gang membership, Some high mental and/or physical ability scores helping untrained checks related to them. He can specialize in skills through feats.

• Rogues brings twice the skills the others have, solo defensive abilities, lowest offensive combat potential, bonus (1-6) on untrained skills (if he sacrifices his offense or defense). He can specialize in skills through feats.

So rogues have +3 on four more skills (but still gain 1 point/2 levels like everyone).

If they take skill mastery as one of their maneuvers, they can make untrained skill with a bonus. That's where it becomes funny !
At 1st level, the average bonus is 2.5
At second level, the average bonus is… 3.5 ! Better than these trained skills he will never augment ! So having more trained skill is actually a penalty, as he can't augment them like untrained checks.

At tenth level, instead of being able to roll 3d10 (keep the highest) for a skill check, the rogue will have to roll some trained skills with a poor +3 bonus.

Maybe I get something wrong, but I really that rogues are a crappy choice for any group.

I agree that the rogue lacks that situational advantage that it needs. I also think it needs to go a step further and be given a few ways to force that situation to occur.


My biggest issue with this rogue is I don't really see any situation where I would want to play the field and work with tactics to get the upper hand. To me, that should be what I automatically want to do when I roll up a rogue.

I ran a computer simulation with 1 million trials.


Average for dice taking the highest value only


3d10 = 7.96


2d8 = 5.8


2d6 = 4.47

I figure the average of 3d10 keep the highest would be 7. 7.96 is more like an 8 but w/e.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

At level 1, the rogue is pretty good. You don't get the fighter's combat power, but you get a pile of skills instead, and your expertise applies to any of them. That's not a bad trade. Skill monkeys would love it. Rogue level 1 is a great choice.

The REAL real problem is that the rogue gets nothing else for the rest of its life.
I think what we're seeing is the basic failure of the underlying assumption that "best at one pillar" equals "viable class."

In order to make the fighter 'best at combat,' they're forced to make the rogue suck out loud at it.  That's not viable in typical, combat-heavy, D&D games, even if they're also pretty exploration-heavy.

Casters, OTOH, get spells that out-do the fighter at sweeping away foes in combat, or out-do the rogue at out of combat tricks, 'balanced' by the fact that each spell can only be used once.  Even when that 'balance' is working, a caster might shine in each of the three pillars in the course of a day (that includes all three), all he has to do is have one really good combat spell, one really good interaction spell, and one really good exploration ritual in reserve.  Casters are, so far, the majority of classes, and if most classes have the potential to shine in all three pillars, why do the fighter and rogue have to be shoved into one?  At least give 'em two, and at least make it possible for the poor rogue to choose to make combat one of them...  

 

 

 

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If you actually work out all the permutations and take the average (hurrah for excel):

3d10: 7.975
2d8: 5.778
2d6: 4.429

Which means, at level 10, the rogue is as good at a skill with 0 modifier and no extra points than someone else is at a stat of 20 and a +6 skill bonus.  In other words, if a wizard really really tries to be as awesome as he can be at lore, he can know ever so slightly more about exactly one thing than the rogue, who can outknowledge him on 7 other subjects.  9 if he goes skill specialist, which he'd be crazy not to given that even if he spends every last feat he's got to maximize his combat ability he's still going to be worse than the fighter in every way and every situation.

You know what the real problem with the rogue is, at its very heart?  It's the fighter.  Someone got it into their heads that a class named after fighting should be the master of fighting.  Sounds logical, but D&D is a game about fighting.  Sure there's other stuff going on, but a huge part of the game is about fighting.  Wizards and clerics got around it because they got spells, so when they have really awesome combat spells nobody complains that they're stepping on the fighter's toes (until they get so awesome that they've hedged the fighter out of the game altogether).  But anytime someone tries to give the rogue something to contribute in combat, the "fighter should be king" types ask why the fighter shouldn't be able to do it too?  It's about fighting, and he's the fighter, so he should be able to do it!  And do it better, too, because he's the king of combat.

Let me tell you something folks, this is a lie.  A dirty lie born of an unimaginative name with no conceptual integrity to it.  Making fighters "the king of combat" is incompatible with having any sort of non-fighter, martial class worth playing.  It makes it impossible to carve out any conceptual combat space for them, which forces them into the "like fighters, only worse in combat but with some kind of non-combat abilities to make up for it" box, which in turn forces fighters into the "useless outside of combat" box, or makes it the only martial class worth playing.  The fighter's concept needs to be narrowed so that it stops swallowing up everyone elses's niche.

I agree that the current system is kind of silly... fighters might as well be a specialization of rogues if they share the expertise mechanic. However, it was probably a response to "people really like the fighter, and the rogue is messed up... lets take what people like about the fighter and give it to the rogue."



I am sure that in 1 or 2 playtest updates they will change the rogue again to something completely different (unless most people like the changes...)

The changes are fine but they id to tweak the sneak attack part of the rogue. Extra dice or crits on advanatge or something.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Let me tell you something folks, this is a lie.  A dirty lie born of an unimaginative name with no conceptual integrity to it.  Making fighters "the king of combat" is incompatible with having any sort of non-fighter, martial class worth playing.  It makes it impossible to carve out any conceptual combat space for them, which forces them into the "like fighters, only worse in combat but with some kind of non-combat abilities to make up for it" box, which in turn forces fighters into the "useless outside of combat" box, or makes it the only martial class worth playing.  The fighter's concept needs to be narrowed so that it stops swallowing up everyone elses's niche.


to be honest, I don't mind that the fighter's concept is a little broader than in previous editions but IMO fighters should be the best at fighting - not neccessarily the king of combat but the whole package of armor+accuracy+decent weapons+some nifty maneuvers=fun+combat versatility.  If that means they stand around out of combat with their finger in the proverbial, so be it - they've done that for the last 4 editions and peeps who play fighters are used to it.  Hell, they probably enjoy a quick blast of angry birds while the rest of the group are doing thier talky-blah-blah stuff.  

The problem isn't so much the fighter as the nerfing of the rogue making this iteration of the fighter better and the rogue an out-of-combat skill monkey.  Instead, just fix (or unfix depending on how you look at it) sneak attack, rogue schemes (admittedly they're pants!) and/or the rogue's expertise dice. 
The Rogue is boring. So are all strikers, no matter how cool they try to be. My second 4e character was a Warlock. Great concept, boring class.
Sounds logical, but D&D is a game about fighting.  Sure there's other stuff going on, but a huge part of the game is about fighting.  

This says more about your playstyle than it does the game or the conceptual basis for each class.

I've played entire campaigns that were based on avoiding combat and they worked just as awesome as the ones that consisted of (mindlessly) rampaging and pillaging.
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

Someone got it into their heads that a class named after fighting should be the master of fighting.  Sounds logical, but D&D is a game about fighting.



I have always thought the fighter was the poorest excuse for a class in an RPG that centers itself around fighting that ever existed. I said this exact thing back in 1986, and have been saying it ever since. Why in the 9 Hells do we need a class whose only shtick is fighting? This sets up a model that A) all other classes try to emulate using their own shtick, or B) has to be cirumvented by designing classes that excel in things other than fighting to be considered viable. The fighter has always been the pink elephant in the room, but it's such an iconic class that people would rather eat their own socks than consider a D&D game that didn't have them...even if that did mean the other melee classes could be independently awesome without the clumsy fighter around to compare them to.

Consider if the pure "fighter" did not exist. Melee combat prowess would be gauged by individual classes without the need for comparisons. As it stands (and has always stood), the other classes are constantly trampling on the toes of the fighter. Considering that, traditionally, the fighter has been one of the game's worst classes in regards to killing things and taking their stuff, I find that both ironic and sad. The thief could do basically everything the fighter could, but could also be a skill monkey and back-stab for ungodly amounts of damage. He did a bit less dmage per swing, but when you've got constant combat advantage it hardly matters. The wizard was always outshining the fighter in regards to killing. The ranger was a ranged fighter that got two-weapon fighting and access to more skills and spells. It seemed the fighter was always his own worst enemy. You had the wizard on one end of the spectrum, and all magic-user classes were compared to it in relative power. On the other end of that spectrum was the fighter. All melee classes were measured against it. Unfortunately, most of them surpassed him in several different areas, while the wizard could always hold up his own end.
Maybe the fighter is a place holder for the 'real' fighter classes!

So:

1. Right-click, select New, type Barbarian, click OK.
2. Right-click, select New, type Ranger, click OK.
3. Select Fighter, press Delete key.

FIXT Laughing
Socks taste good.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

If someone wants to be sneaky guy that kills stuff and not a skill monkey, why not just be a lightly armed fighter and let someone else play the rogue?
You are gonna have to convince someone to play the Rogue is the probelm. You used to have to convince someone to be a heal bot. Now its a skill bot. Apart from skill checks outside combat the rogue is obsolete. And he is broken at that.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I think the real problem with the rogue is on a conceptual level.  In fact, I think that's what the problem is with all four core classes.

Fighter = king of combat
Rogue = skill monkey
Cleric = healbot




There's not much you can design that doesn't step on any one of those.


  • Paladin = Battle Cleric or Fighter multiclass Cleric

  • Ranger = Dual Wield/Bow Fighter with a dash of divine magic

  • Barbarian = Fighter with Rages instead of armor and weapons

  • Swordmage = Fighter/Wizard hybrid or multiclass

  • Witch = Wizard with nature-y orientation

  • Warlock = Wizard with evil bent

  • Necromancer = Cleric or Wizard who does necromancy-y stuff

  • Warlord = leader-y Fighter (battle cleric rehashed to mundane?)

  • Bard = multiclass all the classes!

  • Assassin = Rogue, but for killing instead of just skills


Honestly, there's so much that the Core Four covers, it easily becomes ridiculous.  And unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to fix the perceptions of people.

Now if only the entire system was reorganized in such a way that you had


  • non-combat options = backgrounds & skills

  • combat options = classes


Then had the classes designed around specific concepts (as opposed to overbearing concepts such as "skill monkey" and "king of fighting"), then you could easily have variety within the system without breaking the bank.  And I think D&D Next can actually allow for it, within the existing design.  The main problem however is that as it stands the Rogue (super)class as presented doesn't have enough in it that makes it significantly "rogue-ish" enough that the Fighter (super)class can't do (although enough system mastery allows you to see the differences).

Currently the Fighter has 8 maneuvers that are unique to it, while the Rogue has 5 that are unique to it.  Of those...


  • Great Fortitude and Iron Will are effectively "patch feats" turned into maneuvers

  • Controlled is the "protect self from falling damage" version of Protect's "protect ally from damage"

  • Mighty Exertion is the Strength-based version of Skill Mastery (which saves itself from mediocrity by the fact that unlike Skill Mastery, you benefit from this even in untrained checks; should be fun for Bull Rush)

  • Deadly Strike is the superior version of Sneak Attack

  • Defensive Roll is the "protect self from failed dodge damage" version of Protect's "protect ally from damage"


And three of the maneuvers -- controlled, defensive roll, and protect -- are variations of the Parry maneuver, with differences lying mainly in a) who gets protected, and b) what's the source of the damage.  Which means the Rogue has only 4 MOAR SKILLS to compensate for the fact that he has nothing to bring to the table that a Skill Specialist Fighter can't.  Skill Specialist Rogue perhaps, but then why not just have the other party members handle it?  I mean, Fighters automatically cover the Strength-based department with just one talent, Wizards and Clerics get a free knowledge skill, and some casters even get away with at-will spells that make Bluffing to feint ridiculous (see Minor Illusion).

Speaking of which, I wouldn't be surprised if whatever the Rogue or Fighter does is rendered obsolete even just once per day by spells.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
After a night to sleep on it, I would be happy with the new rogue if sneak attack was more damage (roll twice take highest), or an extra expertise dice when used for sneak attack.  I would also like a small benefit for taking a Scheme, for example I really liked the hide in dim light/shadows ability the thief got in the 1st and 2nd playtest packet, it doesn't even need to be that powerful, but something flavorful and fun from each scheme, not just a technique list.
I've only read the rogue. Haven't play tested it yet.

The problem seems to be that he's dissatisfying. The design and mechanics are aimed at a reasonable goal but the execution seems weak. Schemes, for example are ok.

Honestly how many of us remember the 1E rogue? That was a terrible class, IMO. 2e? Better. 3E Ninja!

Here's what I'd like: sneak attack to be some kind of critical hit deal instead of a deadly strike -1. And slight tweaking of the Maneuvers for rogue.

Was giving him expertise dice a mistake?
I've only read the rogue. Haven't play tested it yet. The problem seems to be that he's dissatisfying. The design and mechanics are aimed at a reasonable goal but the execution seems weak. Schemes, for example are ok. Honestly how many of us remember the 1E rogue? That was a terrible class, IMO. 2e? Better. 3E Ninja! Here's what I'd like: sneak attack to be some kind of critical hit deal instead of a deadly strike -1. And slight tweaking of the Maneuvers for rogue. Was giving him expertise dice a mistake?


Nah, giving him expertise dice was pretty logical.  It's the execution of the Rogue maneuvers that was silly bad.

The "turn sneak attack into an auto-crit" isn't such a bad idea.  Perhaps turning Sneak Attack into

Whenever you hit with an attack and you have Advantage for the attack, you can expend an Expertise Die to turn the attack into a critical hit automatically.

 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I still stand by my earlier fix...

Level 1: Backstab
Add maximum damage whenever succeeding at a Sneak Attack with which you have Advantage.

...which gives you an incentive for gaining advantage above and beyond the simple ability to use Sneak Attack, but always rewards the extra effort (since you could just tandem with a buddy and gain Sneak Attack more easily).

As written, it can be spammed as many times as you can gain advantage, and it doesn't eclipse the fighter in the long run. It's essentially an auto-crit that is repeatable if you consistently meet the situational prereqs. 

Danny

I like it Mrpopstar. 
I like it Mrpopstar. 

Ah, nice!

Danny

Honestly how many of us remember the 1E rogue? That was a terrible class, IMO. 2e? Better.



I don't know if it'd be possible to design a class that was worse than the 1E/2E rogue. 15% chance to hide in shadows. Good luck man. 

I'll second (or third... whatever we're up to) the idea that a lot of the problem comes with the insistance to not balance the classes and PCs across the pillars. It's fine to give each class an edge here or there in a particular area, absolute balance isn't really possible anyways, but they should be close.


The classes themselves should be about their particular approach to those three pillars. In combat, an equal level rogue and fighter should each be able to overcome a similar foe, but with different tactics. The fighter may use the combat arts, but the rogue should be equally effective through dirty tricks or clever tactics.


The rogue's current design doesn't do that however, and it creates no real incentive for this to happen at the table. Focusing the rogue on the exploration pillar and giving them obscene bonuses to skills while making their combat abilities fighter-light doesn't work. The best part about sneak attack in previous editions, was that it was a simple way to somehow model the idea that the rogue, while not as skilled at weapons as the fighter, made up for it through clever positioning, timing, and dirty tricks. It was nice in it's simplicity, but also poor in it's simplicity (it became more about flanking, and less about carefully picking your time to strike). They should let the class model that aspect in a little more detail. Imagine a rogue that actually spends every other round performing a neat trick that allows them to still keep up with the fighter damage-wise, or tricks that do double duty in an out of combat (making the rogue just as good at winning fights as he is at avoiding them).


Some examples manuevers might go as follow.


Blind-Sand in the eyes, hat over their head, or hide behind the wizard, it doesn't matter how you've done, but you've done it. Make a dexterity check vs. your opponents wisdom, if you succeed, you are hidden from the target and have advantage on attacks against them until the end of your next turn.


Hobble-Dex vs Con; if successful, you foe falls prone and has their movement cut in half until they make a succesful DC13 Con check at the end of their turn. You have advantage against them while they are prone.


Sneak Attack-If you have advantage vs. your target due to a previous action or because you are hidden from the target (not just flanking), you attack does max damage and you may spend expertise die to increase your damage. These expertise die are also maximized (you could also not maximize damage and have expertise die do double damage as others have mentioned on this board).


Obviously very rough, but the first two are worthy of an action, useful for getting away or avoiding combat, and set the rogue up for a deadly sneak attack the next round if necessary. In contrast, fighter maneuvers should be more about doing something while doing damage (knock prone or push & do damage...). Then the two classes feel and play very differently in combat, but are equally effective.


Conversely, giving the rogue a bunch of bonuses for skill use outside of combat, and then hanging the fighter out to dry is an equally poor decision. Yes, technically, everyone can contribute to exploration and RP checks in Dnd next, because if all you have is a +1-3 bonus, the game is really just about rolling higher than a 10 on a d20 (a whole 'nother issue), but what's the point if the rogue will just autosucceed at pretty much everything. At that point you could just as well have the rogue just narrate how sneaks into the mansion, picks every lock, sees and disables every trap, and escapes with the loot unnoticed. Where's the challenge in that?


They need to dial back the bonuses, and focus more on other ways to demonstrate how a particular class would approach the challenges in those pillars. In other words, don't just give the rogue a bunch of extra trained skills and bonuses to every skill that overshadows everyone else. Give them the ability to do do skills faster or more reliably, let them make a skill check as part of another action so they can lift that purse while punching or sweet talking their target. They have the start of this in some maneuvers, but they have a ways to go. The same goes for the fighter, being focused on the combat arts does not preclude amazing physical ability, an intimidating demeanor, alert senses, keen perception, or any number of other abilities that would be useful outside of combat. Where are these? Mighty exertion is a great start, but there needs to be more of this.


Creating a lot of abilities that pull double duty across the pillars, or even just giving players the choice of which pillar to focus on for each class, will go a long ways towards fixing the problems they have with the rogue as well as make it easier for players to make PCs suited for the variety of campaign styles. Wizards have had this for years with spell choice (although the spell list could use a little more double duty), they just need give the other classes a similar level of versatility.

I dunno, I think everyone has a totally mixed up idea on what a rogue should be doing in combat.

the OP mentioned the rogues in PF... in the 15th level PF game I just quit, the rogue out damages everyone. those extra sneak attack dice are WAY to easy to get when all you need is flanking, toss in bleed damage, feats that bypass DR, etc etc. its just sick. 

IMHO A rogue should not be standing side by side with a fighter and putting out more damage at the risk of having less HP but a better AC due to dex bonus and dodge.

there is one archtype in PF I really like... I like the assassin archtype there because... if a PF assassin is unobserved and can observe his target for three rounds, he can dart in strike for massive damage, and force his target to make a very hard save or die roll... 

That is really the essence of a rogue to me. a rogue isnt a fencer or a duelist, he's an assassin. he should be doing massive burst damage in a set of very specific conditions namely not being observed before he strikes, a rogue takes time to measure and plan his attack for the most effect. He does not lumber into combat with the fighters and the rest of the cannon fodder.  
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I dunno, I think everyone has a totally mixed up idea on what a rogue should be doing in combat.

the OP mentioned the rogues in PF... in the 15th level PF game I just quit, the rogue out damages everyone. those extra sneak attack dice are WAY to easy to get when all you need is flanking, toss in bleed damage, feats that bypass DR, etc etc. its just sick. 

IMHO A rogue should not be standing side by side with a fighter and putting out more damage at the risk of having less HP but a better AC due to dex bonus and dodge.

there is one archtype in PF I really like... I like the assassin archtype there because... if a PF assassin is unobserved and can observe his target for three rounds, he can dart in strike for massive damage, and force his target to make a very hard save or die roll... 

That is really the essence of a rogue to me. a rogue isnt a fencer or a duelist, he's an assassin. he should be doing massive burst damage in a set of very specific conditions namely not being observed before he strikes, a rogue takes time to measure and plan his attack for the most effect. He does not lumber into combat with the fighters and the rest of the cannon fodder.  


I dunno.  For me Assassin = Assassin, or at best Assassin is just one type of Rogue, specifically a Rogue specializing in killing stuff in one hit.

I think D&D Next took the right direction in terms of allowing swindler rogues, assassin rogues, and thug rogues to use the same maneuver pool and make Sneak Attack -- your assassin-y ability -- an optional ability (for those who want their skill monkeys), the fact remains that the execution was downright horrible, because if my being an assassin makes me only marginally as good as a Fighter, then why again am I going for a Rogue with Sneak Attack, when I can be a Fighter with stealth? 
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Everyone his archetypes.

For me rogues are tricksters, based on hindering enemies.
If they are alone, they hinder the enemies and flee the fight.
If they are part of a group, they hinder the enemies and open a lot of options for allies who want to kill them.

Rogue is not an aggressive archetype for me. 

Anyway this leaves the Rogues skill master thing me jig. They can use their dice on skill checks. Roll 3d10 keep the highest at level 10. Reminds me of Vampire the Masquerade d10 system and I hated that system. I vaguely recalled 3d10 keep the highest was a reasonably powerful vampire as the most powerful ones had 5d10 IIRC.



That would be a valid point if what you described was anything like the Storyteller, or Storytelling, system(s). (The "Storyteller system" was used for the oWoD games - Masquerade, Apocalpyse, Ascension, etc - while the "Storytelling system" is used for the nWoD games - WoD core, Requiem, Forsaken, etc.)

Briefly, here's how they work, apart from permutations: you assemble a dice pool based on certain criteria, most often an Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, Presence, Manipulation, Intelligence, etc) plus a Skill (Academics, Drive, Firearms, Brawl). You then roll that many dice - all d10's - and accumulate successes. The biggest difference is that in the Storyteller system, the difficulty number that you are attempting to roll over on any given d10 is variable, whereas in the Storytelling system you are always trying to roll an 8 or higher. Also, in the Storyteller system, 1's cancel successes, and if you roll more 1's than you do successes, it is called a "Botch" and something bad happens.

In either system, having a pool of 3 is very average, a pool of 5 is slightly above average. Truly powerful supernatural creatures can get dice pools in the 20's (in the nWoD, a slightly spec'd mortal with equipment and spending Willpower can garner a pool of 15 somewhat easily). Even so, at no time do you "drop the lowest," it simply doesn't count (excepting rolling 1's as noted above).

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.