Rogue Skill Integration

In keeping with the D&D Next focus on Rogue as skill specialist, this is my vision of a rogue who's skill talents bear more directly on her combat prowess. These are rough drafts of abilities that could be incorporated as manuevers, replacing some current choices so the rogue overlaps less with the Fighter, as class features, or as something entirely new (Rogue Tricks?) which could help the various rogue schemes specialize and differentiate.


Unnerve
In combat, you can sometimes catch your foes off guard with a taunt or a look that shakes their confidence to its very core.


Effect
When an enemy attacks you for the first time in melee combat, you may spend expertise dice to make an intimidate check against them. This roll is a contest. Roll all expertise dice you spend, but add only the highest to your skill roll for this contest. If you win, add your Charisma modifier to your AC for attacks by this opponent for the rest of combat. If your total for this contest is more than double your opponent's, that foe cannot attack you this turn.


Sneak Attack
You use cunning and guile to deliver a deadly attack against an unsuspecting foe.


Effect
When you make a melee attack against a foe and have advantage, or it is in reach of a creature friendly to you, you may spend expertise dice to make the attack a deadly blow. Roll all the expertise dice you spend and add only the highest to your Dexterity modifer. The result is subtracted from the d20 roll required for this attack to be a critical strike.


(Example: you roll 2d6 expertise dice and get a 2 and a 5. Your Dexterity modifer is +3. Your sneak attack total is 8, so this attack will critical on a roll of 12 or better)


Shadow Dodge
You are adept at making yourself difficult to spot. In the confusion of battle you can use this to your advantage.


Effect
In any environment where you could hide, or if you are in reach of three or more creatures, you make spend your action to make a Sneak roll. Any creature that fails its perception check will still be able to see you, but will have disadvantage on attacks of opportunity against you until your next turn. You may spend one additional expertise die to take the Dodge action when using this manuever.


Level 3: Vital Strike
You have studied the biology and vital systems of various species. When you successfully assess a foe's vulnerable points, it makes you even more deadly in combat.


You gain training in the Knowledge: Anatomy skill. When you make an attack with a piercing or slashing weapon you may roll this skill against your target's AC. If you succede, add your Intelligence bonus to your damage for the attack, in addition to other bonuses. If you have advantage or disadvantage on the attack it applies to this roll as well. If the target is of your own race you gain a +2 to this check. For attacks against certain magical beings or constructs the DM may rule that a different knowledge skill applies instead.


Level 5: Artful Dodge
You have learned to use your sure-footing and nimbleness to your advantage, putting your foes off balance. When you successfully avoid a melee attack you may make a Tumble or Balance check, with DC equal to the attack roll total. If you succede, until your next turn melee attacks against you have disadvantage.


Level 6: Deadly Grace
You use your skills so well in combat that luck tends to find you when you need it. Once per day, when you roll a natural 20 on a trained skill in combat, you may roll again (including any expertise dice) and use the second result. If you succeed you may apply the natural 20 to an attack roll later in the same combat. This ability increases to twice per day at level 12 and three times per day at level 18.

Your sneak attack idea intrigues me. The math seems rather broken but the ide behind it seems pretty cool. Certainly it's more interesting than "you do the same damage as a fighter but only when you have advantage".
Some interesting ideas. I don't want to nitpick them... but I'm going to anyways

Unnerve: Great concept, but having it last until the end of combat might be too extreme. Maybe d4 rounds. I'm also not sure how I feel about it working on every creature the first time they attack you, that might lead it to be overpowered.

Sneak Attack: Interesting, however considering the new rules for Critical hits I don't think this is a good idea. Critical hits are now max damage on weapon and expertise dice plus 2-6d6 (starts @ 2 by level 1, rises to 3 by lv 3, 4 lv 5, 6 level 7) meaning a high level rogue just massively hit on an ability he can use every turn. Overpowered by quite a bit.

Deadly Grace is a little confusing. You crit on a skill, so you save the crit to be used later on an attack roll? I don't think this one works at all, though I like the name.

I just want to show what the proposed sneak attack would do to a rogue's damage per round:

A rogue, using a katana, deals 1d8 damage. It will have a 20 in Dex at 10th level if it is optimized. So, its damage will be 1d8+5. Average damage will be 9.5. On a critical its damage will be 13+6d6. Average critical damage will be 34. Rolling 3d10 and taking the highest you will statistically roll 7.something. For the sake of making my life easier I am going to round up to 8. That means that you will score a critical hit 70% of the time (if you hit). Based on my calculations, in the past, 75% seems to be the average hit rate for such a rogue at 10th level. So, its DPR would be: (9.6*0.05)+(34*.7)=24.28. This is actually a litter higher than it would really be as I rounded the average result of 3d10 take the highest up to 8. 

A fighter's DPR is currently 38 (rounded off). A monk's is currently 25. You can see the calculations in my fighter vs. monk thread (link in my signature). In other words, Chaosmancer, his sneak attack is not overpowered at all... and that is assuming that he gets to use it every single round. Even with those conditions, that will not always be the case. Any round in which he cannot sneak attack the rogue's DPR (over the course of that fight) will drop even lower. Likewise, using a more thematic weapon will further drop the rogue's DPR, and somehow I don't think that the current situation (where a katana is the best rogue weapon) is going to last into release...


Before concluding that something is overpowered people really need to actually calculate how effective it really is. 

Anyways, I like the idea for sneak attack. I worry that it is a little too complicated to actually use at a table. It will slow down the rogue's turn if he has to recalculate what his potential critical hit range is each round. But, mathematically speaking, it ups the rogue's DPR by a very slight margin (3ish points of damage a round) and allows him to deal his extra damage via a different model than the fighter. It will still, however, leave the rogue and the monk as fairly sub-par compared to the fighter...

the sneak attack idea seems to confusing, but the idea of making it a critical is cool! What if the rogue sneak attack dice were automatically highest die roll possible? still fits as a maneuver and makes it outshine fighters deadly strike in effectiveness while still requiring the rogue to have advantage.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

I worried that the math on my SA might be too complicated. What if Sneak Attack were a class feature that simply said,

Level 1: Sneak Attack
Whenever you have advantage on an attack roll, or a friendly creature is within reach, subtract your Dex modifer from the d20 result needed for a critical.

This way Rogues can simply write their sneak attack critical on their character sheet, and change it only once or twice a campaign. According to Cyber-Dave's math (thanks!!) this would probably reduce the rogue's DPR further below the fighter/monk's than we'd like, but allows the rogue to take an extra manuever to make up for it. Maybe the Rogue could have a manuever that allows her spend expertise dice to add effects like slow, stun, or disarm to the Sneak Attack, or take an additional action like Knock Down, Disenage, or Dodge if the attack is successful.

I would rather they changed Deadly Strike to read: Roll any ED you spend and add the best result to your damage roll (that would drop a fighters DPR to about 32); they should then leave the rogue's sneak attack as is in terms of damage, but add in a feature where a creature hit by sneak attack grants advantage to anyone attacking it until the start of the rogue's next turn. After that they need to up a rogue's hid dice to 1d8 and give rogues the same maneuver progression rate as fighters. Finally, they need to fix both Mighty Exertion and Skill Mastery. Right now, both break the skill system. 


Alternatively, they can leave things as is but give the rogue the following feature at level 6: when you have advantage and you score a hit with both your attack rolls you score a critical hit. On a normal round a rogue would then have a DPR of 21.4. On a round when a rogue has advantage his DPR would go up to 49.455. The fighter's DPR is 38 right now. So, if a rogue can get advantage 1/3 of the time things would be fair (with its DPR being 30, which is still lower than the fighter's 38). A rogue could already get advantage about once every combat via bluff/stealth. Maybe make it a little more of a sure thing by giving the rogue advantage if he attacks a creature before it has had a chance to take an action in any given encounter. But, combat tends to be about 3-4 rounds and you tend to have about 16-20 rounds of combat a day. So, for that 1/3 number to be achieved, in combination with that power a rogue would need to be able to make a creature grant advantage (somehow) about 5 times per day. In a 16 round day that would give a rogue a DPR of 30. In a 20 round day a rogue would have a DPR of 28 (and I rounded those numbers off). That is assuming everything goes perfectly for the rogue. Any round in which a rogue cannot sneak attack (and that will happen) or fails to use bluff/stealth/attack a foe that has not yet moved its DPR would go down a little more. So, maybe adding a feature to sneak attack such as the feature I described above would still be in order. They would also still need to up the rogue's hit dice and fix Mighty Exertion/Skill Mastery. They would also need to find some way to boost a monk’s damage at level 6 (I would suggest giving it one free use of FoB, which would up its DPR to 30 as well--though, its damage would be more static/more of a sure thing than the rogues).


In any case, an extra maneuver is never going to balance out to a lower DPR; not unless the maneuver grants more DPR somehow. That is not to say that everyone has to have DPR in the same range. But, the discrepancy right now is way too large, and your last proposal would not fix that. In fact, it would hurt it. A rogue’s DPR (at level 10, given my above assumptions) would become: (9.5*.5)+(34*.25)=13.25. Right now it is 21. So, yea, thumbs down to that idea…

Chaosmancer:

I posted the ideas to be nitpicked! Like I said, it's a first draft, so I don't mind it being turn apart.


For Unnerve, what if you can only have it up on one creature at a time? You focus on one enemy and trash talk him each round to throw him off his game. Also, I think a significant number of monsters are going to be immune to Unnerve (undead, constructs, the mind controlled, etc.)

Another option is to let them roll only one expertise die for Unnerve. Have it last until the rogue's next turn, but each turn they get an option to not regain that expertise die and extend the effect. This would not only give the player an interesting choice to make based on the situation, but also reflect the focus and mental energy required to maintain the manuever. Are you going to spend that half-second trash talking and menacing your foe or lining up your Sneak Attack to do more damage? This would work better on a system where experitise dice are increasing numbers of d6s instead of capping at 3d10.

Cyber-Dave:

I meant that the extra manuever would have to provide another source of damage. I like rogues getting a passive bonus to their crit chance because it reflects that the Rogue fights differently than the Fighter, and gives the rogue a passive bonus that feels unquiely rogueish, in the way the Monk's Mindful Defense feels uniquely monkish. I think it would be cool if we could balance the rogue's damage with the fighter's by giving them more crits, superior crits, more advantage, etc., rather than just extra damage dice.

What do you think of having different schemes get different Level 6 features? If Rogue damage is made the lowest of martial classes, but still viable, then the player could have their choice of a damage boost, status effects added to attacks, Improved Skill Mastery, more survivability, the option to take a bonus non-attack combat action on a SA, and so on.

PS. Thanks for doing the math! Your other posts on this board are awesome too. 
I like the idea of one enemy and deciding not to regain the expertise die to extend the effect, but I might give a creature a save against that continuation to maket more dynamic. Great ideas Smile