Believe it or not, but the Rogue - especially the 4th edition Rogue - can be one of the most entertaining and useful classes to play in D&D. Personally, I feel that 4th edition has really liberated the Rogue, by building in every sneaky, skullduggerous, underhanded trick that you could think of into the class itself. No longer is a Rogue confined to just stabbing people in the back. Now, you're a blinding, stunning, tripping, slowing, bleeding, dazing menace to society, and you even have a Thieves' Guild license to prove it.
So what does the Rogue do? And going by the maxim that you are what you do, what is the Rogue?
In combat, the Rogue is a Striker. Note, this is not shorthand for "does the most damage." Rather, a Striker is someone who specializes in doing a lot of damage to one (or a few) targets, and who strikes past or around the enemy's front ranks to go after their healers, their casters, and their leaders (possibly all three in the same target!). This means that, unlike a front-line player like the Fighter or the Paladin, your job is not to go toe to toe with the biggest brute in the army; Rogues should always stay mobile and elusive on the battlefield, looking for opportunities and openings. Moreover, in addition to raw damage, the Rogue also has one of the largest arsenals of single and small group forced-moves, disables and debuffs, so that you can "lock down" particular targets very effectively, taking them out of the battle even if you aren't killing them. One of the best ways a Rogue can do this is through forced movement - and this is good both for the group and for yourself, in terms of relieving pressure on the front ranks, keeping the back ranks clear, and keeping the enemy in a position where you and your party are always flanking them, so that you can Sneak Attack at all times.
Out of combat, the Rogue is one of the most versatile and important of the party members. Primarily, you should be working as a scout, moving ahead of the party to use your superior Stealth skills to see what's ahead, scout out hidden enemies, traps, and secret doors, steering the party in the most advantageous direction. However, you also are on hand to deal with traps and locks, which are best dealt with by a Rogue, to avoid delays and enemy-attracting noise. Finally, the Rogue also has a broad array of skills, from Dungeoneering and Streetwise to provide expert advice on the dangers ahead, to Perception to see what's hidden, to Bluff and Intimidate for crucial social interactions.
Acrobatics[**]- This depends entirely on your DM, it does a lot of useful stuff, and has a lot of great potential RP use. For example, you can use Acrobatic Stunt to gain CA, or cover, or distance, or the high ground; escaping from grapples is important for squishy rogues, and less falling damage can never be a bad thing. The powers for acrobatics are an odd mix, but seem kinda so so. Acrobatics Powers: 1.Tumble: Useful, [Edit: shifting 1/2 your movement should almost always allow you to get into flanking or get out of harm's way.] 2.Ignoble Escape: Lets you escape from a mark once per encounter... honestly if you get marked you're doing something wrong. 3.Certain Freedom: This would make an awesome Encounter power... too bad it's a daily. 4.Close Qaurters: only works on large or bigger targets. AND inflicts a penalty on you AND prevents you from hiding...not worth a +4 AB. 5.Dazzling Acrobatics: ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! this one is great! Note that you cant get it until level 22.
Athletics[* for dodger, *** for brute] This is a useful skill for brutes as they will be better at it, it does Climb, Jump, escapes from grabs, and swim. In terms of what the skill itself can do, for example, let's say you take a running start of 2 squares (or use Deft Strike to move 2 squares before attacking); with a decent Strength bonus, you should be able to add a good 3-4 squares to your movement, and still have a least 4-5 squares of normal movement on top of that. That's a big mobility boost for the Brutal Scoundrel, who doesn't have some of the mobility bonuses that his Dodger peers do. The powers are ok providing a couple of Super jumps, and a very nice dodge at higher levels. Athletics powers: 1.Nimble Climb: Climb at full speed instead of half. Ok I guess. but as far as utility powers go not that great. 2.Great Leap: Basically a super jump [Edit: it's actually great; it allows you to add at least 3-4 squares without taking a running start, allows you to jump further than your movement speed, which is important at higher levels when your checks start to exceed your movement speed] 3.Leaping Dodge:A reaction skill that prevents you from being hit,this one is GREAT. 4.Cloud Jump: Double Jump anyone? [Edit: essentially a rogue teleport, allowing you to cross a standard room in one movement on the first turn, to hit that caster in the back ranks.]
Bluff[***] This is a must have skill for Artful Dodgers,on a successful check it will allow you to hide without cover once per encounter, and it can also give you CA on a successful check. Thats TWO opportunities for a sneak attack, and thats just the distinct combat abilities it gives you. It's got a myriad of out of combat uses too. In addition it has a pretty decent set of powers. Bluff Powers: 1.Master of Deceit: Lets you reroll a bluff check. No influence on the value of bluff as a skill since you need bluff for it to be useful. 2.Slippery Mind: +2 to a single will save; Not bad. Not Great either. 3.Raise the stakes:Your critical hit range goes up,but so does your enemy's...Risky but potentially useful.
It's wisdom based, and handles things like monster identification. Possibly useful for a skill-master Rogue. No Powers here.
Again, it's wisdom based, useful out of battle, but not so much in battle. No Powers here either.
Intimidate[***] The ability to make bloodied creatures surrender seems pretty good. [Edit: seem? seem? It's like having an at-will ability that lets you auto-kill Bloodied enemies!] It's Charisma based, which means as an Artful dodger you should be pretty good at it. Only one Power, and it seems to have pretty limited applications. Intimidate Power: 1.Mob mentality lets you improve your ally's CHA attacks. Seems kind of specific for an encounter power.
Perception[**] Its Listen, Spot, and Search all rolled into one. UNFORTUNATELY, it's also wisdom based [Edit: which might suggest that too much stat-dumping creates a rogue who can't actually find traps or hidden opponents. Good luck with that] No Powers for Perception.
Stealth[*^N, where N=a hojillion] You get this no matter what but I can't emphasize enough how important it is; it is so important that "Skill Focus: Stealth" is very much worth taking as a feat. Stealth Powers: All rogues will have access to these so I'm not going to discuss them in a ROGUE guide they are more of a concern for multi-class rogues.
Only serves one real purpose: Its the New Gather Information, this is rarely a terribly important skill, it usually results in more fluff, and little else. [Edit: actually, it will probably be very useful for bartering, haggling, fencing, finding thieves' guilds, finding out-of-the-way merchants for special equipment, etc.] No Powers.
Thievery[***] This one you get for free,but it bears mentioning anyway. Lets face it Open Lock and Disable Trap are basically your primary purpose outside of combat. Pickpocket is pretty pathetic in 4e. [Edit: I still think it can be decently useful for lifting keys, etc.] Sleight of hand is OK. Thievery Powers: All rogues will have access to these so I'm not going to discuss them in a ROGUE guide they are more of a concern for multi-class rogues.
Although I'm happy to be corrected on this, I don't think there is a single best Rogue race out there. Rather, many different races bring things to the table. Note: I'm only looking at the PHB races, and not the MM races. Maybe it's because I'm new to the world of CharOp, but the idea of all rogues running around as Bugbears and Minotaurs is just not working for me.
Human - the big advantage of the Human Rogue is versatility. Other people can do things you can't, but you can do more things than anyone else. To begin with, the extra At-Will Power. This is extremely handy, considering that you will be relying on the At-Will extensively in the lower levels, but even still in the top levels, when you've burned through your Dailys, and are past Round 4 in an encounter. And as I will discuss below, the Rogue At-Wills are quite good. The extra +1 to all Defenses is also very useful, given the limitations imposed by the Rogue's need for light armor. The +2 to any stat is not as wonderful as other races double +2s, but the versatility does still allow you to start out with an 18 Dex for the price of 16, which is quite handy. Finally, the extra skill is perfect for a skill-heavy character who might really need Dungeoneering at that crucial moment.
Eladrin - the Eladrin gives +2 to Dex, but the Intelligence is rather wasted on Rogues, most of whom were never much for book-learning when there's so much you can learn by getting out of the library and poking into dark corners. Likewise, the Longsword Proficiency isn't very useful at all. The big thing here is Fey Step - a Rogue needs to be maneuverable, and the ability to teleport is a big draw. It's basically an ace up your sleeve for when you need it; "jumping" past your enemies to stab their leader, or getting out of a pack of bad guys who have you surrounded, it's up to you.
Elf - like the Eladrin, the Elf is a mixed bag of useful and useless. The +2 to Dex is good, and the +2 to Wisdom isn't useless, as it does help with some Rogue skills like Perception and Dungeoneering. The Longbow and Shortbow proficiency is wasted, since you can't use them to Sneak Attack with - although if this gets errata'ed, that might change. The skill bonuses are also rather handy; a Rogue can't have too much Perception, and the nature is a nice way to round out your expertise. Wild Step is modestly good - since Rogues shift around a whole lot and need to keep moving, difficult terrain is quite dangerous. However, it's the Per-Encounter Re-Roll that's really handy here. Especially with high-damage Dailys, a miss wastes a lot of power, and could potentially put you in danger if you let a dangerous enemy go un-locked-down.
Halfling - a really good choice for Rogues. +2 to Dex and Cha makes them natural Artful Dodgers, the skill bonuses are great, the extra AC is great, and the re-roll Encounter power is also good. Halfling racial feats are also some of the better feats in the heroic tier. In addition, their small size doesn't shrink their weapons anymore, so that they can wield shortswords and rapiers with impunity. However, I wouldn't say they're a go-to race necessarily. They aren't any better at being Brutal Scoundrels than any other race, and their advantages are much more defensive than aggressive.
Tiefling - Racial stat bonuses are a mixed bag; again, more useful for Artful Dodgers. Skill bonuses are good; Bloodhunt is ok but rather situational; Infernal Wrath is quite good for Artful Dodger Rogues.
Dragonborn - A decent choice, actually. The racial bonuses equally gravitate to Artful or Brutal builds. The + to Intimidate isn't bad. And the bloodied and surge things can be ok, but in general you should avoid being hit too much. Dragonbreath is ok, but needs to be fiddled with - you want to have it linked to a good stat to hit, the damage isn't going to be much since your Con isn't going to be super-high. Think of it as a goose to your Sneak Attack, or to a burst-attack power.
Dwarfs - bad all around. Don't bother. Which is sort of a shame, really.
Half-Elf -a decent choice for Artful Dodger Rogues, but not the best pick overall. Unless you really want to play a con-man character, go with a racial choice that has more oomph.
Bugbear (***): Excellent BS Rogue, +Str Dex, good skills, good power Drow (***): Excellent AD Rogue, +Dex Cha, good skills, good power Goblin (***): Excellent AD Rogue, +Dex Cha, good skills, good power
Githzerai (**): either Rogue, +Dex Wis, a defensive power and helpful skills Gnome (**): AD Rogue, +Int Cha, only speed 5, but a good power and ability Kobold (**): either Rogue, +Dex Con, good skills, Shifty keeps you in position Razorclaw Shifter (**): either Rogue, +Dex Wis, Razorclaw Shifting improves mobility
Doppelganger (*): AD Rogue, +Int Cha, more for a city based game. Githyanki (*): either Rogue, +Con Int, bad stats, but abilities are okay. Gnoll (*): either Rogue, +Dex Con, weak abilities Hobgoblin (*): AD Rogue, +Con Cha, good power Minotaur (*): BS Rogue, +Str Con, poor stats but your power can knock people prone Orc (*): BS Rogue, +Str Con, bad stats but a bit of self healing Shadar-Kai (*): either Rogue, +Int Dex, meh stats and limited power. Longtooth Shifter (*): BS Rogue, +Str Wis, Longtooth Shifting keeps you in the fight Warforged (*): BS Rogue, +Str Con, meh stats, durable if nothing else
These builds are more different than people realize, and require different tactical mindsets as well as different stat/feat/power layouts to play well. Ultimately, the difference between a Brutal Scoundrel and an Artful Dodger is more important in distinguishing Rogues than their race. However, don't think of the roles as a straight jacket - Artful Dodgers are going to want to pick up a few powers that let them go to town on a single target so that they can down their targets and keep moving; Brutal Scoundrels are going to want some sliding and moving powers to get into position to assassinate that one target, and possibly some AOE as well.
Brutal Scoundrel - beyond the obvious of grabbing some decent Strength and Con, some things you might want to take into account. First, your defining characteristic is that you are a single-target killer, so you should be always focusing on downing one target after another, not going after groups, and making that target's life miserable by debuffing them, doing extra damage to them, and so forth. In terms of powers, there are some that are made for you that you need to look out for and grab that I will talk about later.
Things to Do as A Brutal Scoundrel: - Get proficiency with a Rapier, and Backstabber to boost your hits to their maximum potential. - I would really advocate grabbing some poisons, since they can add status effects and ongoing damage to your arsenal. Here, dual-wielding becomes more tactically fun, even if it's not doing more attacks, because you can layer on two poisons onto your target. Not that the Artful Dodger won't want poisons, but since the Dodger will be focusing on groups more than single-targets, you get more use out of them. More about this later. - In general, fight in melee, not ranged, where you can take advantage of your + Strength. - Since you're going to be in melee quite often, you might want to look for ways to quickly regain stealth in combat by becoming invisible and the like. - When the equipment book comes out, definitely get some smoke/flash bombs to disorient your enemies if you start to get crowded.
Artful Dodger: - besides having a high Dex and Cha, some other things to take into account: you are a mobile fighter, even more so than most rogues. A lot of your powers allow you to move yourself and your enemies around the battle-field, so you need to use space to full effect. Look for ways to use space to screw with your enemies - push them into difficult terrain, slide them so that they are being flanked or losing flanking or formation bonuses, if there are handy pits or cliffs or fire sources or whatnot, dump them into that. Best of all, if you can get multiple enemies chasing you, you can reduce the overall group effectiveness of the enemy force, and line up some good clumps for your Wizard (or you if you multiclass).
Things to Do As An Artful Dodger: - pay attention to Bloodied status and abuse the hell out of Intimidate. Since you have a high charisma and not as big a punch as the Brutal Scoundrel, successfully Intimidating your enemy is like doing 1/2 of your enemy's HP as a free action. How cool is that? - definitely invest in some ranged weaponry. Since you don't have much in the way of strength, you don't get much of a bonus using melee weapons compared to the Brutal Scoundrel, and ranged attacks nicely synergize with mobility. - consider multi-classing into Wizard or Warlock to complement your maneuverability and enemy-controlling abilities. - look for knots of enemies that you can mess around with, to maximize the use of your burst abilities, since you get some nice bonuses to them.
Here, the feats are rather lackluster. They're intended to complement powers in minor ways, not to be significant. Still, there are some jewels that just can't be passed up.
Rated in order, in a scale from one asterisk (*) to three (***).
Action Surge (***): AWESOME! This gives a real incentive to spending action points, as all of sudden, that extra power is much more likely to land. If you can, always try to save the big daily powers or the most powerful encounter powers to use with an action point, so that you'll get this juicy bonus.
Alertness (**): The perception bonus is nice, but it'll be a cold day in hell before you are surprised. Get this if you have spare feats, but not in any other circumstances.
Armor proficiencies (*): It's not that they're BAD, per se, but they ask for stats you simply don't have. It's a pity, since hide would be pretty nice, but c'est la vie.
Backstabber (*************...you get the idea): Incredible is the only word that can describe this feat. With a scaleup only surpassed by Power attack, you want this feat, and you want it NOW. It will probably be your first feat, or at most, your second one.
Blade opportunist (**): Brutal scoundrels might want this one, but only after getting the essential feats.
Combat reflexes (*): It's a castrated Blade opportunist. The bonus is so minor even Artful dodgers should ignore it, unless feats are burning a hole in your pocket.
Defensive mobility (** or *, for Brutal Scoundrels and Artful Dodgers, respectively): For brutal scoundrels, this is one of the "pick up if you have spares" feats. For artful dodgers, this one is summarily ignored, as the CHA bonus already makes the chance of an enemy landing an attack incredibly low.
Dodge giants (*): Would be nice, but dwarves suck as a rogue race. Skip it.
Dragonborn frenzy (*): Dragonborns do not make good rogues (Not having a Dex bonus is a travesty), so, even if the feat is quite good, skip it.
Dragonborn sense (*): Completely useless by itself, and it requires a bad race. Skip it, or if it chases you, kill it with fire.
Durable (*** or **, depending on the party composition and encounters): An excellent feat. If you have a Warlord or Cleric friend who will trigger Healing surges for you, this feat can be really good. I rank this as the number one feat to pick up once you have the essentials.
Dwarven Weapon Training (*): Bad race, bad feat for rogues, and if it didn't suck so much for the class, it'd be singing Bad To the Bone.
Eladrin Soldier (*): The race isn't THAT bad, but the feat is incompatible with rogues, so it's a slightly less sucky companion to the feat above.
Elven Precision (***): The elven answer to Action Surge. Get it and never look back. One of the first feats you should get.
Enlarged Dragon Breath (*): Awful, but it's not the feat's fault. The race is the problem.
Escape artist (*): Or how to make a feat out of fail and lose. It's almost as bad as Dilligent was in 3.5, but acrobatics is a good skill.
Far shot (**): Neat, but not essential. Get it as one of the last spares.
Far Throw (*): Same thing as above, only worse.
Fast runner (*): If you have to run or charge, you're doing it wrong.
Ferocious rebuke (*): Tieflings are so-so, and this feat honours the race.
Group Insight (**): Very meh, but it stacks with Improved initiative if the group took it. If you made the mistake of being a half elf, the feat is at least salvageable.
Halfling Agility (***): While not quite on the insane level of Elven precision and Action surge, this is a pretty good feat, and an excellent choice for the most excellent halfling race.
Hellfire blood (*): You have no fire or fear powers, and you don't want a fire weapon for reasons explained below. We savvy here?
Human Perseverance (***): Notice it is Saving throws, not save defenses. This means this feat works for the death saving throws, and with those "save ends" powers and abilities, and the like. Since it's one of the few ways to make ending those nasty status effects more likely, this feat ranks high in the "spares" list.
Improved Initiative (***): The day this feat stops being useful, meteors will fall from the sky. Get it after the other essentials.
Jack of all trades (**): Seems really useless, but it's very nice for those untrained rolls. If you put your spare point in Int after maxing your key stats, you'll be able to get this feat at epic by retraining something. It's not that much by then, but reducing the gap between trained and untrained skills never hurt anybody.
Light Step (*): Pretty fluffy. +1 to Stealth and Acrobatics is nice, but not enough to warrant spending a feat.
Linguist (*): You have no use for this. Let the wizard take it.
Long Jumper (**): Could come pretty handy. Get it if you like the jump powers as a spare feat.
Lost In The Crowd (***): While being adjacent to more than one enemy is bad, almost anything is larger than you, so getting an extra edge against those big oafs is invaluable. Excellent as a spare feat.
Mounted Combat (*): You probably won't use mounts, so it's not too useful.
Nimble Blade (***): An awesome feat. More AB is always handy. One of the essentials for anyone who doesn't use crossbows.
Power Attack (*** or *, depeding on being a BS or not): Brutal scoundrels want this feat to add excellent damage, Artful Dodgers can't get it without sacrifices. Simple as that, for BS's, this one is essential.
Powerful Charge (*): You do not charge or run. Period.
Press The Advantage (**): Comes in handy for Artful Dodgers, though it's probably retrainable by the paragon tier.
Quick Draw (*): Doesn't stack with improved initiative, so it's pretty useless.
Ritual caster (*): You do not have the stats to cast rituals. Skip it unless it's for fluff purposes.
Shield feats (*): You do not want shields. Skip it.
Skill focus (**): "'Cause sonny...when you want to succeed, there's skill focus". Essentially, it boosts your chances of succeeding at a skill check enormously. I'd get it for Thievery as a spare, but not for anything else.
Skill training (Unrated): Depends on the group.
Sure Climber (*): Too situational. You're probably not going to do many climbs in combat.
Surprise Knockdown (***): Eat your heart out, Artful Dodgers, Brutal Scoundrels got a better version of your lame Press The Advantage!
Toughness (***): Awesome. You're squishy, so when an attack finally lands, you REALLY want this one to help cushion the blow.
Two weapon fighting feats (*): If you're not going to multiclass into ranger, skip 'em.
Weapon Focus (***): Take this one. The bonus really adds up.
Weapon Proficiency (Unrated): I'd take the rapier if I were a BS, but otherwise, I'd refrain from it.
Wintertouched (Either * or ***, see explanation): This one seems useless, but if you take a Frost weapon (And you should, it's an awesome enhancement), and combine this one with Lasting Frost in the paragon tier, you're making sure to get Combat advantage each turn against enemies who aren't resistant to cold.
The paragon tier is where feats start getting interesting. Here, the bonus increases, and feats give you new things to do or add a significant modifier to the things you could do previously.
Action Recovery (**): Combined with Human Perseverance, this is very good. The problem is that you're not always going to be under the effect of a "save ends", so it can be wasted by using an action point when you do not have to recover from anything. Get it as a spare.
Agile Athlete (***): Sometimes, you need to roll for athletics and acrobatics, and this skills usually depend on a very high result (And athletics affects a few very useful powers). Get this one after the other essentials.
Arcane reach (*): What are you doing casting spells?
Armor specialization feats (*): All of them require stats you don't have. Pity that there's no leather specialization.
Back to the wall (*** or **, depending on the DM): This feat is either excellent or pretty good, depending on how much your DM likes outdoor battles. One of, if not THE first feat to get as a spare.
Blood Thirst (**): Enemies that are bloodied are at their most dangerous, and while small, this bonus will help down those powerful foes. Good spare feat.
Danger sense (**): [Insert Deadpool or Spiderman joke here]. For a rogue, this actually ain't that great. You already have a maxed Dex, and with improved initiative, it'll be a very unlucky day when you don't go first. Get it as a spare after the essentials and super spare feats.
Deadly Axe (*): Axes don't get Sneak Attack. Skip this one.
Defensive Advantage (***): Awesome feat. Essentially, a permanent +2 against one or more foes. Get this one as one of your first feats.
Devastating Critical (*** or *, depending on which Paragon Path you took): Daggermasters love this one. Everyone else thinks it's meh.
Distant Shot (*** or *, depending on weapon choice): Crossbow and shuriken users love this one. The rest of you sneaks, skip it.
Dwarven Durability (*): As soon as you see Dwarven or Dwarf, skip it.
Empowered Dragon Breath (*): That goes for anything that says Dragon, too.
Evasion (***): An essential feat. Say bye bye to that irksome unavoidable damage.
Feywild Protection (***): Another incentive to use your fey step. Get this and use the step when you expect some nasty retaliation.
Fiery Rebuke (**): Pity that Tieflings make bad rogues, because this is a kickass feat. If the race didn't suck, it'd have three stars.
Fleet Footed (***): Excellent feat. Get this one and don't look back.
Great Fortitude (*, or ***, depending on being a Brutal Scoundrel or Artful Dodger): Scoundrels have a lot of strength and don't need an extra push to their fortitude defense. Dodgers, however, could use this feat, so it's a good spare.
Hammer Rhythm (*): Excellent feat, but with brutal requirements and an incompatible weapon. Skip.
Heavy Blade Opportunity (*): Another excellent feat that doesn't feat with your weapon choice. It's a pity, really.
Improved Second Wind (**): It's pretty nice, but notice it says second wind, and you can only catch that once per encounter. Get it if you're consistently mauled by big brutes.
Inescapable Force (*): You have no Force powers. 'Nuff said.
Iron Will (*** or *, depending on being a Brutal Scoundrel or not): Scoundrels want this one to shore up defenses and should pick it as a spare. Dodgers don't need it and would be better served by other feats.
Lasting Frost (*** with a Frost weapon): Using the combo explained with Wintertouched, this one's awesome. Without it, it's useless, but why wouldn't you use that advantage?
Light Blade Precision (***): Finally, your weapon feat. Should be one of the first feats you get in Paragon, if not the first one.
Lightning Arc (*): You have no lightning powers, and on top of that it's very situational.
Lightning Reflexes (*): Your Dex should be maxed or a 16 at least, so this feat is pointless.
Mettle (***): Like evasion, but for the other two defenses and with no requirement. Get it as one of your first spares.
Point Blank Shot (*): Neat bonus, but too situational.
Finally, the epic feats. The crème de la crème, the big ones, the dream feats. Without further ado, I present them to you:
Axe Mastery (*): Can't use axes.
Blind Fight (***): If you picked up perception, get this one, as it'll shoot up your damage output against those foes.
Bludgeon Mastery (*): Not your weapon.
Epic Resurgence (***): If you didn't get into demigod, you REALLY want this one. Get it after your crit feat and don't look back.
Flail Mastery (*): Not your wep.
Flanking Maneuver (* or ***, depending on if you're a Brutal Scounder or not): A weaker and higher leveled Underfoot for the other races. An Artful Dodger wants it, a Brutal Scoundrel should pass it up.
Font Of Radiance (*): No radiant powers.
Heavy Blade Mastery (*): Not your weapon.
Irresistible Flame (*): No flames.
Light Blade Mastery (*** or *, depeding on your Paragon Path choice): If you didn't enter Daggermaster, this is THE feat to grab at level 21. If you did, ignore it, as you have a better version.
Pick Mastery (*): Not your weapon.
Spear Mastery (*): Also not your weapon.
Triumphant attack (***): Adds some neat extra punch to your attacks. Get it.
Two Weapon Flurry (*): This one's for rangers.
Unfettered Stride (**): It's like a bigger Elf step for everyone. Grab it as a spare.
To take 'em or not to take 'em? Here's my analysis.
Initiate of the Faith (*): You do not have the stats for it.
Student of the Sword (*): Brutal scoundrels DO have the stats for it, but you don't get much out of it.
Soldier of the Faith (*): No have stats, boss man.
Warrior of the Wild (***): Excellent feat. Even if you don't want ranger powers, pick this up for Hunter's quarry. If you do, grab the Lethal Hunter feat to get even MORE bang for your buck.
Pact Initiate (*** for Artful Dodgers, * for Brutal Scoundrels): Warlock synergizes neatly with Rogue, so this could be picked up, but only if you intend to get powers from this.
Student of Battle (*** for Brutal Scoundrels, * for Artful Dodgers): Brutal Scoundrels who don't take Warrior of the Wild should take this one. The Inspiring word is invaluable, and it can bail you or the defender out of very sticky jams.
Arcane Initiative (*): You simply don't have the stats, so you can't take it.
The nice thing about the Rogue At-Wills, and the reason why I happen to have a personal preference for human rogues, is that they are all good at different things, meaning that there shouldn't be one that you're using all the time.
Deft Strike - useful for when you need to hit a target at range, or when you need to maneuver for flanking, since it effectively adds +2 to your movement. Piercing Strike - very important, because it attacks Reflex, and a lot of Rogue attacks go for AC (generally the highest of the defenses), and in general, you should find Reflex easier to hit. Riposte Strike - I love this attack, because it's perfectly suited for one-on-one combat, and it provides a disincentive for a creature to attack the rogue that just attacked it. Plus, Rogues don't get the Ranger's dual-wielding awesomeness, so any source of extra attacks is good. Sly Flourish - if you're an Artful Dodger, and you're attacking a target you can hit fairly effectively, use this for extra damage over Piercing Strike as a "vanilla attack."
Level 1 Encounters: Dazing Strike - a handy, Combat-Advantage giving attack. You'll find this representative of a lot of Rogue attacks that are status-effect granting; in general, go for the best status-effect you can. Dazed isn't a bad one, in that it prevents target from flanking or taking opportunity effects, but it's not the best either. King's Castle - an ok attack, in that it does 2W and is against Reflex, but the swapping thing requires a good deal of coordination. Positioning Strike - excellent for Artful Dodgers; it attacks Will instead of AC, and allows you to push the target around the map. I would imagine this would be very good for when a really nasty monster is trying to kill you; push them back a bunch of squares, then leg it out of their threat range. Torturous Attack - straight-up damage for the Brute Scoundrel. Take something else if you're a Dodger.
Level 1 Dailys Blinding Barrage - good damage, does damage on a miss, and blinds. This is great, because it gives you CA, and total concealment. And it's an AOE! Hence, this allows you to effectively render useless a whole bunch of adversaries until the end of your next turn, giving you added battlefield control. Easy Target - a solid single-target attack, in that it auto-damages, auto-CAs, and slows. Trick Strike - compared to Easy Target, this is something of a riskier tactic, but it does good damage, and allows you to synergize your pushing abilities (like Positioning Strike) to keep one enemy moving around the battlefield uncontrollably. Probably better for Dodgers.
Level 2 Utility Exploits Fleeting Ghost - important for maintaining your mobility and your stealth at the same time, quite handy. Great Leap - allows you to be even more maneuverable than you were before, a first step toward turning the rogue into a bouncy-ball of death. Master of Deceit/Quick Fingers - meh. Avoid these, not really useful. Tumble - very handy for getting out of range, or into flanking position.
Level 3 Encounters Bait and Switch - primarily a defensive move, best for Dodgers. Again, allows you to leg it out of harm's way. If you want to get clever, you can use this to break open formations, and run through battle-lines. Works on Will, which is good. Setup Strike - essentially the same thing as Easy Target, only usable on an encounter basis. Topple Over - really nice for Brutal Scoundrels when you need to make that hit, doesn't do much damage, but prone is a really good CA-granting status-effect. Trickster's Blade - a very nice defensive move, best for Dodgers, since they have high Charisma.
Level 5 Dailys Clever Riposte - a very nice-single-target move, allowing you to peel off a target, and make him go fight someone else, or suffer the punishment. Deep Cut - great for Brutal Scoundrels, a key part of your single-target bleed arsenal; combine with poisons to layer on some really nasty on-going damage. Also, it's versus Fort, which is good. Walking Wounded - a real bastard of a move, like a souped-up Topple Over that just doesn't stop, turning a target into a limping liability who can be easily outmaneuvered. Also damages on a miss.
Level 6 Utilities Chameleon - really really good, allows you to Stealth without having Cover/Concealment. Goes a long way towards turning Stealth into Invisibility. Ignoble Escape - not very good as said before. Mob Mentality - also kind of meh. Might be marginally useful, but still. Nimble Climb - also kind of meh; how often is speed a factor when you need to climb? Slippery Mind - somewhat meh, I guess.
Level 7 Encounters Cloud of Steel - another AOE attack; I would perhaps skip this unless you're making an AOE-based rogue. Imperiling Strike - a really good debuff attack for Brutal Scoundrels, it's against Fort, and it can give a really nasty -AC/Reflex to soften up those hard-to-hit targets. Rogue's Luck - A decent attack for anyone, given the two chances to hit, but really shines for Dodgers. Use against hard-to-hit-targets. Sand in the Eyes - a nice versus Reflex debuff, I'd replace Dazing Strike with this if you haven't already.
Level 9 Dailys Crimson Edge - it's against fort, it does on-going damage, gives you CA, and does damage on a miss. Best for Brutal Scoundrels, who take the most advantage from the +Str on the on-going. Deadly Positioning - a super-slidey attack, definitely best for a maneuvering-style Rogue. Knockout - it's against fort, it grants CA even on a miss, guarantees a crit on a hit, potentially a one-shot kill. I would advise taking this in strong terms.
Level 10 Utilities Certain Freedom - a get-out-of-jail-free card, but you should generally avoid being grappled. Close Quarters - not that great. I wouldn't go near this unless you're a Halfling. Even then, eh. Dangerous Theft -unless there's a McGuffin you need to grab in combat, I would avoid this. Shadow Stride - a good ability, allowing you to move and stealth, part of the parcel of improving your stealth. I would recommend taking this.
Level 13 Encounters: Fool's Opportunity - Attacks Will, but the damage would be rather low unless you have CA and can add your Sneak Attack damage. Seems too situational to be of great use, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this could have some broken potential against a very small number of really big enemies with low Will scores. Stunning Strike - The damage isn't great, but Stunning is one of the best status-effects there is, preventing them from acting in any way, and it lasts until the end of your next turn without a chance for a save. This skill works best in combination - use this, then burn an Action Point and hit the target with a damn-near guaranteed attack, then attack them again next turn. Especially if you coordinate with your group, this can be a one-shot kill. Tornado Strike - kind of a tricky ability, but it allows you to attack two targets, and you can move yourself three and the enemy two. Really shines for Artful Dodgers, who should be able to move the enemy at least five. However, I would recommend getting this attack only if you are going the movement-build route. Unbalancing Attack - A very good attack for pinning down a slippery target, does a lot of damage, prevents shifting, and you can knock them prone with a really nasty OA if they provoke one. Definately worth getting if you go for the single-target assassin build.
Level 15 Dailys Bloody Path - useful for movement-build rogues or AOE-build rogues, in that it allows you to run around and force the enemy to hit themselves. However, if you're not going that route, pass it up. Garrote Grip - a really good pick, especially for single-target assassin builds. It's against Reflex, it grabs the opponent, gives you cover (which means you can Hide and then Sneak Attack), and it turns your opponent into your personal meat-shield, and you can sustain it to knock the opponent out, setting up for a Coup de Grace. Personally, I love this and I think you should get it, if only for the cool points. Slaying Strike - lots of damage, does half on a miss, and will probably kill any Bloodied target it hits. Also really good, also very good for a single-target assassin. Probably better for Brutal Scoundrels, since it adds + str on the bloodied hit.
Level 16 Utilities Foil the Lock - Too situational to be worth the pick. If it also applied to traps, then maybe. But no. Avoid. Hide In Plain Sight - Good for ranged rogues, but melee rogues should wait for Hide from the Light (Level 22 Util). Leaping Dodge - gets you out of harm's way, and allows you to move a fair distance. Definitely worth taking as a get out of jail free card. Raise the Stakes - a bit of a risky move, but it gives you the largest crit range in the game for two turns (until the end of next turn). So for two rounds of attacks? And possibly three (or more, if your allies can give you extra attack powers, or you get off any AOs) attacks worth of damage. Really good. I would recommend getting this if you're going with an offensive build, or if you've already loaded up on defensive moves.
Level 17 Encounters Dragon Tail Strike - it's against Fort, does good damage, allows you an extra hit if you get hit again. I see this as a really nice upgrade from Riposte Strike, and if you have both, it makes the Rogue not an automatic first target. Especially good for Brutal Scoundrels, who get a nice +Str to attack on the interrupt attack. Hounding Strike - it's against Will, does good damage, gives you CA, and adds to defenses . Especially good for Artful Dodgers, who get a +Cha bonus to defenses, but worth taking for Brutal Scoundrel Rogues who want to go the single-target route. Stab And Grab - it's against Reflex, does good damage, and stops a target from getting away. But it really shines with Garrote Grip, since that means you gain CA. So if you get this, use it only after you connect with Garrote Grip (or if you actually make a normal grab attack).
Level 19 Dailys Feinting Flurry - against Will, does superb damage, and can severally debuff an opponent for two rounds. Especially good for Artful Dodger Rogues, since their high Cha scores really make the debuff shine. Flying Foe - versus Fort, a bit less damage than Flurry, and lets you throw your target into another target, in which case the +1d6 damage to both helps to offset the lesser damage. Also slides target on a miss. Good for Brutal Scoundrels, since their high Strength scores really allow you to push the target a ways across the map. Snake's Retreat - it's versus AC, which isn't as good, but it does huge amounts of damage, and allows you to retreat from subsequent attacks against the target. Personally, for a Brutal Scoundrel, I would advise picking this over Flying Foe unless you don't have enough versus other defenses attacks.
Level 22 Utilities Cloud Jump - really ridiculously good. Two super-jumps in a row without having to land as a move action; with this, you should be able to move anywhere you want to on the map. Replace Great Leap and the like with this. Dazzling Acrobatics - Also ridiculously good. Huge amounts of movement with improved defenses, allowing you to shift at least 10-12 squares. Replace Tumble and the like with this. Hide From the Light - Also ridiculously good, improved version of Hide in Plain Sight. Turns you invisible for a whole encounter, as long as you obey the movement restriction (can still attack with at-wills, too!).
Level 23 Encounters Knave's Gambit - good damage, does damage on a miss, better for Dodgers, but kind of underwhelming, compared to Level 17s. Actually, this whole level seems odd underpowered, and possibly ripe for errata. Scorpion Strike - poor damage, but allows you to move around a lot anyway, better for Scoundrels. But still a bit weak. Steel Entrapment - The only decent one of the lot, it's an AOE vs. Fort that immobilizes. Really good for AOE Rogues.
Level 25 Dailys Biting Assault - versus Fort, doesn't do too much damage on the front end, but it's on the back end that it really shines with 10 ongoing damage, and it weakens (target does 1/2 damage. Does damage on a miss as well. Good for a single-target build. Ghost on the Wind - But not as good as this, which is freaking fantastic. Huge amounts of damage, turns you invisible, and sets you up with CA on the end, and does damn near the same as a miss. Every Rogue should get this power. Hamstring - sort of halfway between Biting and Ghost, but I'd avoid it in favor of Ghost.
Level 27 Encounters Dance of Death - a nasty burst attack that allows you to redirect your enemies' attacks into themselves, really good for Dodgers, AOE Rogues. Hurricane of Blood - Solid damage, and for Scoundrels, the +Str to hit almost guarantees it. Perfect Strike - I'm not good enough at math to really evaluate it, but I like it. Allows you to roll against all defenses, and can add extra damage or stun if you hit more than one defense. Shines if you can soften up their defenses first, so better for a Single-Target-Assassin build. Not sure if it's better than Hurricane - can someone do the math on this?
Level 29 Dailys Assassin's Point - the most damage a Rogue can possibly do with a single attack. Get it, don't ask any questions. Immobilizing Point -versus Fort, solid damage, immobilizes. Worthwhile, but probably works best for Range-Rogues, who can pin those pesky runners. Moving Target - kinda weird, only recommend for Dodgers, but it's a nice get-out-jail plus hurt them back move.
A note on weapons: you will see many threads posing the question of which weapon to get as an either or. This is wrong. Weapons are an and-and question; you should always have a lot of them, and I would advocate picking up multiple different weapons so that you can take advantage of different special abilities. The art is a hint: pretty much all characters shown bristle with weaponry, and there is a reason.
On dual-wielding; even if you don't take either feat there is no penalty for dual-wielding. So I would always dual-wield, if only for the versatility of using different weapon types. Once you start getting magical weapons, the ability to layer magical effects is very good. Likewise, read the section below on poisons.
Shuriken/Crossbows/Daggers In terms of ranged weapons, your Shuriken is doing a D6 and you should have plenty of ammo since you buy them in bunches of 5. Daggers are less damage, but you pick up +1 to hit. Hand crossbow is really lack-luster; the full crossbow does a bit more damage and a bit more range, but the only +2 to hit is a turnoff for me. Verdict: bring along both shuriken and daggers, use the Shuriken for ranged AOE where ammo becomes a factor, use the dagger for single-target attacks to pick up that +1 to hit.
Daggers/Shortswords/Rapiers A subject fiercely under debate. While I await the number-crunching from here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1043542, I'll just lay out what my initial impressions are. Until you get to Paragon, I would say that Daggers versus Shortswords or Rapiers are more or less even, depending on how hard a target you're attacking, and this is why I advocate dual-wielding. If you need that extra boost, stab with the dagger; if you can hit easily, grab some extra damage with the Shortsword. As far as rapiers go, my sneaking suspicion is that they are really quite good; they double the damage of a Dagger, should definitely be used over a short-sword, and they have +3 to hit. Verdict: until you hit Paragon, carry both a dagger and something else. For the price of a feat, Rapier seems a cheap damage upgrade to me.
A note on Poisons. Always, always use them. Why? Because they're wonderful, funderful things that perfectly synergize with the Rogue's methods and goals. Namely, they do damage, lots of it on-going damage, and they produce a number of delicious status effects. In short, if you have the money, you should be using these. Here is a selection of some of the more useful poisons.
Stormclaw Scorpion - level 5 poison, +5 v. Fort, and causes 5 ongoing poison damage, and immobilizes. Deathjump Spider - level 5 poison, +8 v. Fort, causes 5 ongoing poison damage, and slows. Carrion Crawler Brain Juice - level 5 poison, +8 v. fort, causes 5 ongoing poison damage, and slows, then immobilizes, then stuns.
Note, of the 3 5th level poisons, none of them grant CA per se, but they all debuff the opponent, cause on-going damage, and CCBJ grants CA after two failed saves.
Drow Poison - level 10 poison, +13 v. fort, opponent takes -2 to attack rolls, then weakens, then unconscious.
Also does a nice cocktail of effects, in terms of debuff, then granting CA after two failed saves.
Hellstinger Scorpion - level 15 poison, +18 v. fort, causes 10 ongoing poison damage, and weakens. Blood of Zehir - level 15 poison, +18 v. fort, causes 10 ongoing poison damage, and dazes. Demonweb Terror - level 15 poison, +18 v. fort, causes 10 ongoing damage, slows, -2 to defenses.
Here's where it gets fun, lots of nasty debuffing, and CA-granting. For best effect, might want to combine Blood of Zehir with Demonweb to really tenderize a target, or Zehir with Hellstinger to "shrink" a brute.
Insanity Mist - the big one, Level 20 poison, +23 v. will, stuns, then dazes. Not usable on weapon.
The message I want you to take away: use poisons, Dual-Wield weapons with two different poisons, and layer them on until the target is so wobbly that you can push them over with a feather. Seriously folks, it's like firing off two powers at once every time you land one of these.
Not too much to say here. Stick with leather, and grab the best you can get. I'll have more to say about which enchantments are best below.
Unfortunately, the relative paucity of equipment in the PHB makes most of this preliminary until the equipment book comes out. But just to throw some things out there: obviously grab the adventurer's kit, Thieves' Tools are a no-brainer +2 to Thievery, you should probably also grab a Grappling Hook to go with your rope.
Watch this space later on once the equipment guide comes out. Traditionally in D&D, there is a lot of gear that a Rogue can pick up to get that extra edge on the opposition, but we'll have to wait.
So once you get past the point of mundane equipment, what sorts of stuff should a rogue go for? Naturally, you should look for items that complement a rogue's natural abilities, provide useful bonuses, and synergize with feats and abilities, but there's some sneaky things to look out for. Spoiler:Show
Armor: Deathcut (Daily - 1d10+Cha Necrotic v. enemy who hits you) might be good for Dodger rogues, Elven Battle Armor (+5 v. slows/immobilizes, Encounter - +2 to Speed until end of next turn) is really good for movement, Shadowflow (+X to Stealth, Encounter- Gain Concealment/Invisibility) is a superb high-end armor, Sylvan (+X to AC, Stealth) is a nice low-end armor. My recommendation: if you can, start with Sylvan, then go up to Elven Battle, then Shadowflow.
Weapons: Dancing is a traditional one, it's kind of funky, but a decent way to get extra attacks; Duellist (+1d6 on crits, +1d8 if you have CA, Daily to gain CA on next target) is great for rogues until high levels when you have lots of ways to gain CA, Flameburst and Flaming are good for Tieflings, Frost (+1d6 Cold on Crit, At-Will - turn all damage into cold damage, Daily - add 1d8 cold damage and slow) has a really nice combo if you combine it with Wintertouched and Lasting Frost as an auto-CA-granting combo, but since you have to wait until Paragon for the combo to work, wait on this until later, Vicious (+1d12 per plus on crits) is a good enchantment (but you should wait to grab this until you can pick up feats or features that expand your crit range). My recommendation: if you can, start with Duellist's, then move up to Frost in Paragon, grab Vicious if you go Daggermaster or Light Blade Mastery.
Arms: Braces of Defense (Daily - reduce damage when you get hit) are ok, but Braces of Mighty Striking (+X to melee damage) or Braces of the Perfect Shot (ditto for ranged) are better. My recommendation: Mighty Striking or Perfect Shot, depending on melee or ranged focus.
Feet: Lots of handy stuff here. Acrobat(+1 to Acrobatics check), Balance(+5 to Acro, allow a reroll) are ok, Striding (+1 to speed) is good, Elven are a bit underpowered as encounter-only, Striding and Springing (+1 to speed, +2 to jumps) is a good upgrade from Striding, Infinite Stride (+1 to speed, Daily - teleport up to 1 mile) is best. My recommendation: Stiding to Striding and Springing, to Infinite Stride.
Hands: Also some good stuff here. Burglars, Rogues, and Guildmasters (various +Thievery) are handy but situational, Ogre Power is ok but more fighter-oriented, Destruction (reroll all 1s on damage attacks until no longer 1s) is best. My advice: sort of an even shoot with the + Thievery stuff, grab Destruction and keep them.
Head Some ok stuff here. My recommendation: eh, takes yer picks.
Neck: Some good defensive stuff here, but Cloak of Feywild Step and Invisibility or Elven Cloak are better for Rogues.
Rings: Flight, Freedom of Movement, Invisibility, Regeneration, Star Opal, all good stuff.
Waist: Dynamics ok, but not much here.
Wondrous Items: Bag of Holding and Handy Haversack are classics, and Rope of Climbing isn't bad.
To begin with the build process, I thought I'd start with an assessment of the Rogue Paragon Paths, as these paths will play a huge part in terms of what you build towards. Oddly enough, I think there are a few clear choices here, not too hard to make.
Cat Burglar A really subpar choice, and one I'm surprised at. Compare the features: first, when you spend an Action Point, you get a free move action (which isn't even unique to the Burglar) - the Daggermaster gets the chance to reroll attack and damage rolls, and the Shadow Assassin gets three attacks' worth of +4 to hit. Second, you can reduce the number of squares you are forcibly moved by one; compare that to the Daggermaster's expanded 18-20 crit, or the AOE damage on misses "aura" that the Shadow Assassin gets. Third, you get to re-roll Athletics checks once; compare this to the Daggermaster's potential three attack CA or the Shadow Assassin's +1d6 to Sneak Attack. Heck, it even lags behind the Master Infiltrator's killing-blow-invisibility feature. The powers are a bit better, but even there, not as good as the other choices.
IMHO, Wizards needs to errata this Paragon Path sharpish or replace it all together.
Daggermaster A superior choice, as has been conclusively demonstrated in the Daggers v. Rapier thread. Features: re-roll on damage or attack hit when you spend an AP, 18-20 Crit with Daggers, and CA when you grant a crit. Nicely themed, nicely synergizing. The powers are good too, An extra attack on a crit, increasing daggers to d6s, and a superb on-going damage attack. Overall, an example on how to do a Paragon Path right.
Master Infiltrator Not a bad choice like the Cat Burglar, but not as good as some other picks. As for features, you get an extra move when you spend an AP, you get some nice skill bonuses, and you gain invisibility when you take an enemy to 0 HP or below. So far so good. But the powers are really subpar compared to the Daggermaster, for example. The Encounter attack is weak and duplicative (at a certain point, you stack up enough reliable ways of creating CA that one more becomes redundant), the Utility is great, an invisibility spell in your back pocket, but why is Painful Puncture so inferior to Deep Dagger Wound? An added ranged option is not sufficient to justify that, in my excuse. However, I think Master Infiltrator is rescueable with relative ease. All you need to do is goose the Encounter and Daily powers, and you've got a solid Paragon Path.
Shadow Assassin Another superior choice, and a good complement to the Daggermaster. The features: +4 to attacks on spending an AP is fantastic, the damage aura is great and synergizes nicely with some Rogue Powers, and the extra sneak attack damage is just gravy. The powers are good too: Killer's Eye is not as good as Critical Opportunity, but it's more reliable; Bad Idea Friend is a solid defensive ability; and Final Blow is a great finishing move. Not perhaps as good as the Daggermaster, but a solid Paragon Path that isn't far behind either.
I'm still working on the details here, but I'll give some rough sketches as you go.
One-Target Assassin Here, the emphasis is on putting down one BBEG as fast as possible, through a combination of high-damage single target attacks and ongoing damage, as well as disabling and debuffing attacks to ensure that the target can't fight back when you're killing him. Probably want to go Brutal Scoundrel/Daggermaster or Shadow Assassin. Powers to focus on: Assassin's Point, Perfect Strike, Hamstring, Ghost on the Wind, Feinting Flurry, Stab and Grab, Slaying Strike, Garrote Grip, etc.
SlideMe-PushYou Movement Rogue Here, the idea is to become a living bouncy ball of doom, knocking yourself and your enemies around the table, keeping yourself out of danger, and your opponents out of range of your teammates and yourself. Not so much a damage optimized build as a party-optimizing build. Probably want to Artful Dodger/Cat Burglar. Powers to look out for: Moving Target, Ghost on the Wind, Dazzling Acrobatics, Flying Foe, etc.
AOE Bomb Rogue A bit of a tricky build, this one combines a lot of movement abilities with all the AOE abilities possible, and then probably multiclasses to Wizard to pick up even more. I'm not entirely sure this is optimal, but it's worth a try. Knives everywhere! Everywhere! Bwahaahahaaha!
Range-Rogue Basically a Rogue that relies entirely on throwing weapons or crossbows, focusing on abilities that work from range. Especially pick up stealth/invisibility powers that don't depend on you moving, find a spot, and snipe your little heart out. Multiclass to Ranger for additional snipery goodness.
Superstealthy Rogue Again, might not be the most optimal build; heck, may not even be a true build, just more of a choice as to whether you emphasize sliding versus stealth versus jumping versus abilities to get CA, move around, do your job. Basically entails getting all the stealth utilities and then going for master infiltrator PP.
In addition to the Rogue Paragon Paths, there are also a number of options for multi-classing, either before or after the paragon-path level. Some of these options are quite strong.
Rangers make for very good combinations. For ranged Rogues, it's a no-brainer, picking up a lot more ranged options. Even for melee rogues, the multiple-attack/multiple target powers make for a nice combination - although the fact that most of these key off of Strength should mean that you should only do this if you're a Brutal Scoundrel. Even though Hunter's Quarry multiclass was nerfed somewhat, you still can rip off two (or three if you spend an Action Point) attacks with an additional die of damage.
Another superb choice, Warlocks can blind their opponents, turn insubstantial, gain concealment easily, and so forth. Given the reliance on Charisma attacks, probably better for Artful Dodgers. Fey Pact is probably best for Rogues, since Eyebite and Misty Step synergize well with Rogue Powers. And though they'll never allow it, having Shadow Walk on a Rogue would be amazing.
A bit of a tricky build, since Rogues don't really want to defend. The +Attack is handy, but the marking less than useful. The key here is the Paragon Paths - Kensei is probably the single best Paragon Path for a Brutal Scoundrel who doesn't use daggers, so it's well worth spending a feat to gain access to it down the road.
Again, really tricky, you don't really have the right stats for most of these builds. Cleric might be doable - self-healing is always good, but the real gem here is Divine Oracle. With this Paragon Path, you get to avoid being suprised, roll twice for initiative, gain an extra move action when you spend APs, auto-crit, reroll an attack, and some other crazy cool stuff. Warlord might be ok for Dodger Rogues, not sure.
The Rogue is a highly-tuned stabbing machine, based around a single principle: Always Be Sneak Attacking. ABSA might have the ring of some sort of bogus physical fitness equpment, but it's true. The good news is that you now have TONS of different ways to gain Combat Advantage over your foes, and...stab them, naturally.
The Art of Flanking
The old reliable, flanking is the default way to gain Combat Advantage, in that it is usable all the time, doesn't rely on status effects and the like, and is rather easy to visualize. (For those of you who are new to D&D, you are considered to flank an opponent when you and an ally are on opposite sides of the same enemy, drawn from the center of the enemy's square) Hence, as a Rogue, you should always be moving in such a way to place yourself in a position to flank, and always keep in mind the position of your allies - and for best results, you want to place yourself "partnering" with a good Defender, like a Fighter or Paladin, who can compel the attention of opponents, keeping you alive. If possible, try to maneuver so that you can avoid Opportunity Attacks; however, there are some times when it's worth while risking an attack to get into position. In any case, you have many abilities that help you with movement for a reason.
The key ability here is Deft Strike, which allows you to move two squares before attacking. If you plan it carefully, you should be able to move half-way or wholly around your enemy. For example, if you're positioned like this: X X X X X E X X P F R X
If you move up and diagonally to the right, then diagonally up and left, you're flanking with the Paladin; if you move directly up and then diagonally to the left, you're flanking with the Fighter. All this without actually using a movement - movement just makes it easier to flank enemies. In any case, the key here is abusing the diagonal to move to flank while moving as little as possible, which is important for avoiding OAs.
Other abilities you can count on to help with this: - Moving Abilities: Great Leap, Tumble, Ignoble Escape, Bloody Path, Leaping Dodge, Snake's Retreat, Cloud Jump, Dazzling Acrobatics, Ghost on the Wind - Sliding Abilities: Positioning Strike, Trick Strike, Bait and Switch, Clever Riposte, Deadly Positioning, Tornado Strike (both), Flying Foe
In addition, you can also use your skills. Acrobatics allows you to: "Make an Acrobatics check to swing from a chandelier, somersault over an opponent, slide down a staircase on your shield, or attempt any other acrobatic stunt that you can imagine and that your DM agrees to let you try." There's enough loophole there for a Rogue to drive a truck through...to carry all the loot you've stolen. Athletics allows you to jump, but both Long Jumps and High Jumps are considered "part of a move action," which means you should be able to do both as part of the same movement, allowing you to jump up and over a target.
Stealth in Combat - the Dance of Death
A bit more tricky than flanking, Stealth is the most iconic way of gaining Combat Advantage, the classic image of the Rogue sneaking through the shadows to plant a dagger in someone's ribs. It's also safer than Flanking, in that you're less exposed to your enemies, and don't have to make potentially OA-granting moves, to get it. In terms of stealth, there are really two ways to go here: one is to go primarily ranged, in which case your emphasis is finding cover and then staying in place while you shoot away. For plenty of info on how to do it, may I suggest this handy thread: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1055118. Hide in Plain Sight is your advantage here, since you stay invisible as long as you don't move, so you can just fire away.
To Stealth in Melee, here are some tricks to make it work. First, is that you can use Deft Strike to move two squares out of cover and Sneak Attack, then retreat back into cover. Second, if I'm right about this, you can use Chameleon to run out of cover, keep stealth by beating it's Perception check, and Sneak Attack. You lose your concealment after this, but you at least get one in. Third, Shadow Stride should be allow you to hit-and-run with Sneak Attacks, as long as you plan out your route to end in cover. Fourth, Hide from the Light, combined with Deft Strike, should allow you to move four squares, then attack.
One last tip is that the in-combat rules regarding universal line of sight doesn't count out of combat. Hence, it's always a good idea for a Rogue to move about in stealth before combat, and to collaborate with your party, so that you can get in one Sneak Attack before combat starts, allowing you to start the fight with a bang.
Psych! - Bluffing
Bluffing is another way to grab CA. You can use it twice per encounter; once to feint and gain CA, and once to create a diversion, hide, then gain CA. Hence, it's very worthwhile to train Bluff since it's also handy in non-combat situations. Master of Deceit, Mob Mentality, and the like make this a bit more viable. Generally, it will be more useful for Artful Dodger rogues who specialize in melee, but even for a Brutal Scoundrel rogue, it's still worth a roll of the dice on an even chance.
Creating Status Effects - Abilities
In addition to things that you can do to yourself to gain CA, there are lots of things you can do to your enemies to gain Combat Advantage. These things often have the benefit of disabling your opponents in addition to helping you, which makes them less of a threat to your bodily existence. As a Rogue, you get LOTS of abilities that can do it - Dazing Strike (Dazes), Blinding Barrage (Blinds), Easy Target (straight CA), Setup Strike (straight CA), Topple Over (Makes Prone), Walking Wounded (Makes Prone), Sand in the Eyes (Blinds), Crimson Edge (straight CA), Knockout (Makes Unconscious), Stunning Strike (Stuns), Garrote Grip (restrains then unconscious), Stab and Grab (synergizes with Garrote Grip), Ghost on the Wind (straight CA), and Perfect Strike (Stuns).
In general, you're looking for the best kind of Status Effect. In general: Unconscious>Stun>Blind>Daze>Restrained>Straight CA. You don’t need too many of these abilities, so in general stick with the best Status Effect.
Creating Status Effects - Equipment
In addition to abilities, there are other ways of creating status effects. Duellist’s Weapons are good for this, since they grant CA straight-up. However, a more powerful and more expensive combination that’s been described before is to grab Frost Weapons and Wintertouched/Lasting Frost. It requires two feats and at least Paragon Tier, but it’s a very reliable combination. This allows you to shift your other abilities and powers to doing damage, and allows you to re-direct your strategy away from focusing on flanking or keeping cover and towards attacking the right kind of enemies and keeping moving across the battlefield.
Creating Status Effects - Allies
In addition to your own abilities, there are many things that other people can do to help you (aren't they nice?). This includes any ability that moves a target, moves an ally, or creates a status effect that creates Combat Advantage. Hence, you should kindly and gently teach your allies how to make you more effective in killing things that would ordinarily kill them.
Cleric - Cause Fear (can move a target into flanking), Wrathful Thunder (Dazes), Command (Dazes, Prones, Moves), Daunting Light (straight CA), Searing Light (Blinds), Blinding Light (Blinds), Sacred Word (Stuns), Seal of Binding (Stuns). Fighter - Tide of Iron (can move a target into flanking), Covering Attack (allows you to shift), Spinning Swipe (knocks prone), Get Over Here (can move a target into flanking), Anvil of Doom (dazes, stuns), Seroent Steel Strike (knocks prone0, Vorpal Torpedo (knocks prone), Mountain Breaking Blow (can move a target into flanking), Reaving Strike (can move a target into flanking), Skullcrusher (dazes, blinds). Paladin - Radiant Delirium (Dazes), Staggering Smite (can move a target into flanking), Divine Reverence (Dazes), Thunder Smite (Knocks Prone), Terrifying Smite (can move a target into flanking), Righteous Inferno (straight CA), Corona of Blinding Radiance (Blinds), Resounding Smite (Knocks Prone), Here Waits Thy Doom (can move a target into flanking), Blinding Smite (Blinds), Stunning Smite (Stuns), Restricting Smite (makes unable to gain line of sight). Ranger - Beyond Sneak Attack - Rogues in Combat
Now that you have enough ways to gain Combat Advantage (and keep in mind, you don't need more than necessary), what's next. Keep in mind that after a certain point when you have enough ways to gain CA that you can rely upon always having CA - two Frost Weapons plus Wintertouched/Lasting Frost, Ring of Invisibility, a bunch of CA-granting abilities, and the like - more Combat Advantage abilities are subject to diminishing returns, and you should start to shift your abilities and gear in the direction of doing more damage.
Reserved to comment on the stuff to come, and very interested and willing to contribute.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).