Rogue Handbook: ”Once me and my crew stole the wand of Orcus, I swear!”
”I tell you kids, when I was just a bit older than you, I stole the kings scepter after seducing the queen and killing of his guards. A bit later though, i got into trouble with a fellow called Orcus, but me and my gang didn’t let ourselves down just because he got a legacy. No we did the same to him; stole his scepter, seduced his wife and killed his guards. Its really not that hard, and when you get used to it, its even quite rewarding.”
Introduction In this handbook I will look into the Rogue as a class, analyzing different ideas and options, and try to provide both inspiration and facts, as to create the rogue you seek. While parts of the guide include work of optimization, it is not made with optimization as its core virtue.
Scope This handbook takes into account Adventurer's Vault, Dungeon Master Guide I, Monster Manual I and Players Handbook I.
Who is the rogue; Styles of play The rogue is a great many things, which is also his greatest strength. In this section I will detail some of the most common ideas of what he is.
Assassin The assassin is a great many things, thus hard to pin down. You who want to play one are in luck though, cause the 4th edition made the rogue much closer to a fantasy-assassin than any core class have been before. That said, there is nothing such as an assassin build, assassination is just something you do as part of the other builds pressented hereunder. If you want to play a classic mastermind who can do anything, including killing the king, my personal recommendation would be to look at the Jack of all trades below, and modify as you see fit.
Brigand The Brigand specialise in brutal assaults, and act more like a warrior than a sneak. The Brigand is a devastating force on the battlefield, hardly paralelled by anyone.
Favoured Enemy have done some great work in optimizing a Brigand build in this thread.
Infiltrator The infiltrator focusses entirely on getting into places, survailance, thievery and escape. In addition, the Infiltrator makes for an incredible social master, able to persuade, intimidate and bluff his way around. Sample buildShow
This is just a sample of how I imagine one could build a master infiltrator.
Jack of all trades The Jack of all trades is the true rogue, the man who can yeald out death while actually getting in a position to do so. The jack of all trades is sociable, resourceful and full of unexpected tricks not known by lesser rogues. Sample buildShow
As an avid rogue-fan, this is the build of my own character, who examplify the Jack of all trades/assassin concept.
Drow Rogue/Daggermaster/Deadly Trickster Starting stats: Strength: 8, Dexterity: 20, Constitution 10, Intelligence: 11, Wisdom: 10, Charisma: 16 Feats in order: Student of the wild, Backstabber, Quick draw, Skill focus (bluff), Skill training (Arcana), Ritual caster, Secret stride, Weapon focus, Danger sense, Fleet footed, Agile athlete, Nimble blade, Linguist, Jack of all trades, *, Unfettered stride, Flanking maneuver, Epic resurgence Skills in order: Stealth, Thievery, Bluff, Acrobatics, Intimidate, Perception, Insight, Arcana Powers by level 30: Piercing Strike, Sly Flourish, Critical Opportunity, Tornado Strike, Steel Entrapment, Dance of Death, Knockout, Feignting Flurry, Deep Dagger Wound, Assassin's Point, Master of Deceit, Ignoble Escape, Shadow Stride, Meditation of the Blade, Hide in Plain Sight, Dazzling acrobatics, Epic Trick
Swashbuckler The Swashbuckler is a lithe warrior, specialising in movement, and the perfection of his art of swordplay. The Swashbuckler also possess a graceful tongue, and his wit is equally dangerous as his blade. Sample buildShow
Given that accuracy and movement are key to a Swashbuckler, a rapier wielding elf should fit the bill nicely.
Rating system I will rate different abilities using the standard colour codes. Light blue beeing the near mandatory, Black beeing moderate and Clear red beeing useless.
Great, Good, Moderate, Bad, Hopeless
Rogue related reading The following are threads of information and insight, of particular use or interrest for rogues.
Do you wonder how Stealth really works? Vonklaude elaborates exactly what you can and cannot do with Stealth in this thread.
You want another look at every aspect of rogues? Luckily, Vikingq have created a similar guide, which provide different views and enlightment regarding the most dreaded rogue. You can find his work here.
You want to look at the "fluffy" part of your rogue? Vikingq have created this guide, on how to play a rogue, and all a rogue emphazise.
You want to know all ways to obtain Combat Advantage? Phase has created a list of all ways to obtain combat advantage, which will be of great use to rogues. You can find his work here.[/FONT]
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Races While all races sport rogues, some do it more frequently, and some do it with greater ease than others. In this section I will go into detail about the different races, and how they relate to beeing a professional rogue. RacesShow
Bugbear (1st Monster Manual) While others crown the artful dodger, you are the king of brutal scoundrels. With a bonus both to strength and dexterity and bonus to two useful skills you are set. As one of few races, you can also wield bigger weapons, which allow you to use a d10 rapier to incredible effect. Your encounter power is also optimized for a brutal scoundrel, and makes you insanely dangerous.
Doppelganger (1st Monster Manual) Although they do not gain a bonus to dexterity, the doppelganger is likely the best rogue class in the game. With a bonus to charisma and two useful skills you have a fair chassis for an artful dodger. What makes the Doppelganger so powerful though is their racial power, which is far better than anything else anyone can provide.
Dragonborn (1st Players Handbook) Big and scary, the Dragonborn is viable if you want to go down the path of Brutal Scoundrel, but hardly an optimal choice. Since dragon-breath doesn’t really make you better at what you are doing, and you likely don’t have a high constitution, the only things synergising with a Brutel scoundrel are the bonus to Strength and the +2 bonus to intimidate. Not a good choice, but neither the worst.
Drow (Latest edition from ”Living Faerun” The paragon of artful dodgers, along with halflings. Packing both dexterity and charisma, two useful skills the drow are darkness incarnate. When we also take into account that they have darkvision it is obvious that they have a vast advantage over others. The drow encounter power(s) are also very powerful, and as with the Eladin they trance, which can protect you from ambush.
Dwarf (1st Players Handbook) All-together a rotten egg for rogues. A race without any stat-synergy is at a horrible disadvantage, and the abilities of the race are equally useless.
Eladrin (1st Players Handbook) The Eladrin are not to bad as a rogue, and especially if you want to aim for versatility. With a bonus to dexterity you cover the most important stat for any rogue, and a teleport effect is always useful for walking through doors, windows etc. unnoticed. In addition, you thrive of skills, and an extra skill is of great use to you. Trance can be useful if you are on the run, and a bonus to intelligence makes it even easier to take feats like Linguist and Jack of all trades.
Elf (1st Players Handbook) Of all the races from the first Players Handbook, the Elf is a perfect fit for any rogue. Not only do they gain a bonus to dexterity, they gain a tremendously useful encounter power, +1 bonus to speed and great racial feat selection. There is little bad to say about the elf from a rogues perspective.
Githyanki (1st Monster Manual) Useless, and not worth mentioning.
Githzerai (1st Monster Manual) While teh Githyanki is useless, the Githzerai is not. With a bonus to dexterity and wisdom, and two useful skills you are well of no matter which path you chose. While Githzerai have an abysmally hopeless racial power, they also have a neat untyped bonus to initiative, which is useful. Definantely a race with some potencial.
Gnoll (1st Monster Manual) Gnolls make rather good brutal scoundrels. With a bonus to dexterity and constitution and a useful skill bonus you have a fair start. In addition you thrive when wounded, and can shell out some amount of extra damage in such circumstance. As a last bonus, you are one of the very few races with a base speed of 7, which is a great boon. Alltogether, Gnoll is a very good, but somewhat different choice.
Gnome (1st Monster Manual) Gnomes gain a bonus to intelligence and charisma, making them so-so as rogues. Anyhow, the Gnome packs a very useful ability as well as a great encounter ability, maing them very good as infiltrators, but not so much for actual combat. Difficult to rate, but in general a Gnome is rather good at filling a rogues role.
Goblin (1st Monster Manual) Amongst the best, simply put. With a bonus to dexterity and charisma, as well as two useful skills, goblins make exceptional artful dodgers. Of abilities, they all suplement your role, and the encounter ability gives you a huge advantage in combat.
Half elf (1st Players Handbook) The half elf is a rather weak rogue option, with the only real synergy being in charisma. It could be a fair artful-dodger, but will never be as powerful as the best.
Halfling (1st Players Handbook) Equalled only by the elf, the halfling is made for rogues, and especially artful dodgers. With a bonus to both dexterity and charisma, bonus to very useful skills and other abilities that further support a rogues role you cannot really go wrong with a halfling rogue. The halfling racial power is also very powerful when built for it. Finally, the racial feats provided by halflings are excellent for a rogue.
Hobgoblin (1st Monster Manual) Hobgoblins are not very useful as rogues, but pack a bonus to charisma and initiative, thus they escape the stamp of useless.
Human (1st Players Handbook) A human is as it says, good at everything but excelling in none. For a rogue, the human is possibly slightly more useful than regular, since a rogue can take good advantage of an extra at-will power. An extra feat and an extra skill is very very valuable, and a bonus to defences is useful to anyone. The racial feats of a human is possibly even more useful, especially if you are going for a action-point flash build.
Kobold (1st Monster Manual) Very similar to Goblins, the Kobold makes for an excellent rogue. The Kobold lacks the bonus to charisma though, but makes up for it by having one of the most incredible racial powers on the market. Of the the absolute best choices, despite only one perfect stat-boost.
Minotaur (1st Monster Manual) Quite simply a lesser version of Bugbears as far as rogues are concerned. Useful, but not good.
Orc (1st Monster Manual) While Orcs have some synergy with brutal scoundrels, it is not much, and Orcs make bad rogues.
Shadar-Kai (1st Monster Manual) With a bonus to dexterity and two useful skills, Shadar-Kai are good rogues. Apart from that, their racial power is good. Altogether Shadar-Kai are good, but not exceptionally good rogues.
Shifter, Longtooth (1st Monster Manual) As with the warforged, you have some synergy with a brutal scoundrel, but not enough to make it worthwile.
Shifter, Razorclaw (1st Monster Manual) With a bonus to dexterity and two useful skills, Razorclaws make for great rogues. When bloodied though, a razorclaw turns exceptionally quick, which can be a great boon in certain situations. A very decent choice.
Tiefling (1st Players Handbook) While not among the very best, Tieflings are able artful-dodgers. With a bonus to charisma and bonus to two of the most useful skills you have you have a solid basis for your ply. Low-light vision is also useful for a rogue, and the encounter power can be very helpful if used correctly. Racial feats also supplement you nicely.
Warforged (1st Monster Manual) Although they have a strength bonus, warforged synergize very poorly with rogues.
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Skills For a rogue, skills is half your life, if not more. No skill is useless, but some are more obviously interresting than others. In this section I will look into the various skills, and rate them using the normal system. SkillsShow
Acrobatics A very useful skill for a multitude of purposes.
Arcana For the normal rogue, Arcana is not very useful. That said, if you opt to take ritual caster, Arcana is your best friend, and should be mandatory.
Athletics As with Acrobatics, this skill is very useful for all rogues. I would personally say Acrobatics is more useful though, so if you have to chose, chose Acrobatics.
Bluff Perhaps the most important skill for a rogue, and especially artful dodgers. Bluff lets you get out of jail, get into jail, trick enemies and get free money. Bluff is mandatory.
Diplomacy Diplomacy is not as useful as it was in 3rd edition, and I do not recommend picking it up, unless you have nothing else to use your skills on.
Dungeoneering Useful, but not ”that much”. You have more important things to spend your skills at.
Endurance Somewhere in the middle range, endurance can be a lifesaver, and allow you to swim and generally survive hostile environments. If you are a ”commando” type of rogue, endurance may well be worthwile, but is hard to recommend outright.
Heal Its not really your thing, skip it.
History Useful, but you have more important stuff to do.
Insight Now this is your game. If you lie you don’t want others to do it, cause you know how much it hurts. Insight lets you know when someone bluff you, and more importnatly, it lets you know if someone know you are bluffing. A very important skill.
Intimidate Great in concept, intimidate is only good if you specialise in it. If you are an artful dodger, Intimidate is mandatory, if you are not an artful dodger, skip it.
Perception Mandatory for obvious reasons.
Religion See arcana, but less useful doe to the kind of rituals it govern.
Stealth You got it for free, so yes, it is mandatory.
Streetwise This one is nice, but not important. A fine pick if you have extra skills to spare.
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Heroic Feats Feats is anyones friend, and in the case of the rogue, it is what more clearly define your path, and your personal style of ply. In this section I will elaborate on different feat-paths, and what feats are essential to the rogue. Heroic tier featsShow
Action surge (1st Players Handbook) If you happen to be a human, this feat is why you are a human. Take it and never look anywhere.
Alertness (1st Players Handbook) Although it sounds nice, I would say that as a rogue you should take part of the surprise round without this feat in most combats, which limits this feat greatly. A good feat, but not for you.
Armor proficiency (Hide) (1st Players Handbook) This is a flat +1 armor class, which is ok by itself. Unless you are looking for a spesific hide armor enchantment though, I do not think this feat is all that great.
Backstabber (1st Players Handbook) This feat is a given, and its damage bonus is hard to equal with a single feat. This is a very useful feat.
Blade opportunity (1st Players Handbook) This feat is great if you are a brutal scoundrel, but useless if you are not.
Combat reflexes (1st Players Handbook) As a lesser version of Blade opportunity, this feat is hardly worth it for anyone. If you already have Blade opportunity, this feat may be worth taking if you have good reason to land basic attacks.
Defensive mobility (1st Players Handbook) This feat falls between two chairs. Artful dodgers don’t need it, and brutal scoundrels have otehr things to spend their feats on. Its not worth taking unless you are an artful dodger with a very clear strategy.
Elven precision (1st Players Handbook) This feat is debated, and while it gives you an even higher chance to land a critical exploit I am hard pressed to recommend it as it is simply a +2 bonus to hit once per encounter. Take it if you are an elf Flash-Gordon.
Escape artist (1st Players Handbook) Useful, but not enough. This feat is long down on the list.
Far shot (1st Players Handbook) If you specialise in using the crossbow, this feat is a given, if not don’t take it.
Far throw (1st Players Handbook) This feat immediately seems useful for a daggermaster, but is outshined by Distant shot at the paragon tier. It is not worth taking.
Fast runner (1st Players Handbook) You are never supposed to ”run”, so this is wasted.
Halfling agility (1st Players Handbook) See Elven precision.
Hellfire blood (1st Players Handbook) If you are a Tiefling and don’t mind using a flaming weapon, this feat is made for you. An additional permanent +1 to hit and damage greatly help you offset the fact that you don’t have a racial dexterity bonus. A great choice for a Tiefling.
Human preservance (1st Players Handbook) While not particulary ”roguey”, this is a good feat none-the-less, and should be taken by all humans.
Improved initiative (1st Players Handbook) You are better served by taking quick draw, and since they don’t stack, it makes this feat useless.
Jack of all trades (1st Players Handbook) Well, this is the namebrother of a typical rogue concept and it is a great one. If you have the intelligence to take it, do so. You use skills all the time, and no matter how many you have trained, you will roll the rest a bunch of times anyway. In total this skill typically grant you a +20 bonus to skills, which is outstanding. For instance, you want this for all the times you roll knowledge checks, endurance, diplomacy, heal etc.
Lethal hunter (1st Players Handbook) Only applicable for those multiclassed into ranger, this feat increases your damage equally to weapon focus twice per encounter. This is only worthy if you try your outmost to maximize damage, and should be avoided by anyone else. Its not a good feat for a rogue/ranger.
Light step (1st Players Handbook) If you are an elf, this feat is perfect for a rogue. You travel faster, you are harder to find and you become better at your stuff. Brilliant. It must be said thoguh that this feat is campaign dependant, and if your campaign is all about going from room to room in the Dungeon of doom, well then take something else.
Linguist (1st Players Handbook) This one is highly campaign dependant and requires intelligence. I think it is safe to say that if you already play an intelligent rogue and enjoy it, then your campaign will also reward you greatly from taking Linguist. It is worth noting that Linguist and Jack of all trades both require an intelligence score of 13, which is achievable at low cost.
Long jumper (1st Players Handbook) If you want to be a cat in disguise, take it. If not, skip it. This is a moderate choice.
Lost in the crowd (1st Players Handbook) Outright incredible. If you are a halfling, and you go for it, chances are this feat will come into play a good lot of times. Do considder taking Hide proficiency first though, as they both synergise neatly.
Nimble blade (1st Players Handbook) Since you already need combat advantage to be effective, this is pretty much a flat +1 to hit for a mere feat. What is that? That is great. Take it unless you have very good reason not to.
Power attack (1st Players Handbook) No, not for you, and not for you brutal scoundrel either. You don’t wield two-handed weapons and hit bonuses are rare, so not throw them away.
Press the advantage (1st Players Handbook) No, not worth it. A daggermaster gains this for free, and anyone else is even less likely to need this. You will get combat advantage anyway.
Quick draw (1st Players Handbook) This is a mandatory feat. Gone are the days of potion belts, and quick draw lets you draw weapons, potions, poisons and anything else as a free action, and it provides a bonus to initiative. For you, Quick draw easily outshadows improved initiative.
Ritual casting (1st Players Handbook) If you have the feats to spare for it, Ritual caster provides you with a whole bag of tricks and goodies. Generally, this feat grants you all the traditional wizard powers you want, from divinations to teleportation. If you play a Jack of all trades, this feat is mandatory.
Skill focus (1st Players Handbook) This one is tricky. You want this for a whole bunch of skills, but you only have so many skills. I would say that you should aim to take this for at least your core skill (be it Bluff, intimidate, stealth or thievery) and then for as many as you can afford. If your campaign feature a lot of skill challenges involving the skill in question this is pretty much a free +3 bonus to hit...
Skill training (1st Players Handbook) You already have a lot of skills, and when you multiclass (not if, ”when” you gain an extra one. Anyhow, if that is not enough, Skill training is great. As a rule of thumb I would recommend to take skill training before you start taking skill focus, simply because there are enough useful skills for you to learn before oyu specialise (seeing how the focus bonus is smaller than that of training). I recommend training Arcana, thus qualifying for the all powerful Ritual caster feat.
Sure climber (1st Players Handbook) See long jumper.
Surprise knockdown (1st Players Handbook) Now this is a neat feat. If you have the strength for it, take this feat. This feat becomes even more useful if you are a daggermaster, allowing you to knock foes prone ever so often. This goes to the A-list.
Toughness (1st Players Handbook) Ah, another of these very useful generalist feats. Take it if you can, but chances are you have a ton of more important stuff to take.
Two weapon fighting (1st Players Handbook) You have more important feats to take. The only person who should considder this feat is a brutal scoundrel who wants to take two-weapon flurry when he reaches the epic tier.
Two weapon defence (1st Players Handbook) If you already have the Two weapon fighting feat, this feat is great. The only problem is that it requires a really weak feat.
Weapon focus (1st Players Handbook) This feat is useful to anyone, including you. It should be one on your list unless you have good reason not to take it. One character who do not need this feat is a specialised infiltrator, who would rather improve his many skills than his combat skills.
Weapon proficiency (1st Players Handbook) If you are not using either dagger or crossbow as your main weapon, take proficiency with rapier.
Wintertouched (1st Players Handbook) This feat is very potent when used in conjunction with a frost weapon and the paragon tier feat Lasting frost. It will let you deal extra cold damage, and gain free combat advantage all over the place. If you are willying to invest the feats and use a frost weapon this is for you, though I would not agree with those who say this combination is broken or even extremely good. It is a valid choice, but thats it. You can gain combat advantage in a hundre ways, and some extra damage is neat, but you do spend big opportunity cost.
Paragon Feats In this section I will look into the more advanced Paragon feats. Paragon tier featsShow
Action recovery (1st Players Handbook) Fair, it can be useful but its once per encounter at best. I would not take it myself.
Agile athlete (1st Players Handbook) Now THIS is a great feat. Take it and love it in all kind of ways. Rerolls are always neat, and especially for success or die skills like these have a tendancy to be...
Armor specialisation (hide) (1st Players Handbook) How you get a constitution of 15 is beyond me, but say you do, and you wear hide armor, then take this feat, it is great.
Back to the wall (1st Players Handbook) This feat is difficult. It is situational, but its in many ways up to you, so if you do things right you may well have a troup of bonuses all the time, at a bargain price. Think hard on this one, and if you like it, take it.
Blood thirst (1st Players Handbook) Very assassiny, but unfortunately you have a whole bunch of more important stuff to pick up.
Combat anticipation (1st Players Handbook) No, you have other things to think about.
Danger sense (1st Players Handbook) Yes! Since you do not have Improved initiative, now is your time for revenge. This feat in combination with quick draw should insure you win initiative almost every time.
Defensive advantage (1st Players Handbook) Very useful, but personally I hever found space for it. Take it if you can.
Devastating critical (1st Players Handbook) If you are building a coup-de-grace machine this is worth taking. If you are not making a coup-machine it is not worth taking, even as a daggermaster.
Distant shot (1st Players Handbook) This is a neat feat, and should obviously be taken as a crossbow sniper. If this feat should be taken as a daggermaster is difficult to say, but I would absolutely considder it. An unpenalized range of 10 is rather far when talking of indoor battle, which is your home. Considder it, and see if it fits.
Evasion (1st Players Handbook) I say no, but others would disagree. Definantly not as useful as in 3rd edition though.
Fiery rebuke (1st Players Handbook) Definantly worth it if you are a tiefling. This makes you a great coup-machine.
Fleet footed (1st Players Handbook) Take it and don’t look at it, it is supposed to be there.
Great fortitude (1st Players Handbook) Its nice, but I cannot see how you will fit this in.
Iron will (1st Players Handbook) See Great fortitude.
Lasting frost (1st Players Handbook) Yes or no. See the heroic feat Wintertouched for more information.
Light blade precision (1st Players Handbook) A mere +2 bonus to damage, and only against certain enemies. This is not worth it.
Lightning reflexes (1st Players Handbook) See Great fortitude.
Mettle (1st Players Handbook) See Evasion.
Point blank shot (1st Players Handbook) Useful for dagger-wielders, but not ”that useful”. Its worth considdering.
Running shot (1st Players Handbook) IF you are an elf and wield a crossbow, this feat is great. For anyone else; no.
Secret stride (1st Players Handbook) Yes. Take it, its kind of who you are.
Seize the moment (1st Players Handbook) No no no. You already do this stuff.
Steady shooter (1st Players Handbook) How you will have a constitution of 15 as a crossbow-wielding rogue I don’t know. Why you should wnat to stay still is neither understandable. One of the weirdest feats in the book, and completely useless for everyone.
Uncanny dodge (1st Players Handbook) No, not worth it.
Underfoot (1st Players Handbook) If you happen to be a Halfling you are in luck, cause this is superb! Take it and look to the sky.
Epic Feats In this final feat-column I will go into detail about Epic feats. Epic tier featsShow
Blind fight (1st Players Handbook) Definantly useful, but if you have room for this you are in luck. Take it if you can.
Epic resurgence (1st Players Handbook) Somewhat hyped, this feat is indeed useful, and particularily if you are either a daggermaster or a divine oracle. In those two cases, this feat is near mandatory. To anyone else, it is fair.
Flanking maneuver (1st Players Handbook) This is very useful if you often fight in cramped space, as a rogue often does. Its definantly worth taking.
Light blade mastery (1st Players Handbook) Unless you are a crossbow specialist or a daggermaster, this feat is essential. If you don’ take it, there better be a good reason.
Triumphant attack (1st Players Handbook) This feat looks promising and I am not entirely sure how to look at it. If you are Flash-Gordon this feat is useful, but unless you go for big combos the ”save ends” makes this feat so-so.
Two weapon flurry (1st Players Handbook) If you are a brutal scoundrel and took two weapon fighting, this feat is great. For anyone else, it is hopeless.
Unfettered stide (1st Players Handbook) IF you are an elf, you already have half of this and don’t need it that badly. If you are anything else though, this feat is mandatory.
Deft strike (1st Players Handbook) Sure, you gain a tiny bit of flexibility, but this is not a very good attack in most situations. If you are a human, this is your third at-will, if you are not, don't bother.
Piercing strike (1st Players Handbook) Now this is a must have. The ability to target reflexes with a weapon, and with an at-will attack is incredibly useful and should always be taken.
Riposte strike (1st Players Handbook) This one is useful for not getting hit, but only if you have to low charisma to benefit from Sly Flourish. I typical take for a Brutal scoundrel.
Sly Flourish (1st Players Handbook) Another great at-will. With this power and a good charisma score, you will deal out massive damage on a regular basis.
Dazing strike (1st Players Handbook) Nice and all, but completely overshadowed by other powers.
King's castle (1st Players Handbook) A nice defensive trick when your day turns dark, but again, it is hard to imagine choisng this instead of one of the others. Since this power targets reflexes, it is a worthy choice for Brutal scoundrels, who cannot take Positioning Strike.
Positioning strike (1st Players Handbook) This is a superb choice for an artful dodger, and by far the best power at this level. Beeing able to slide an enemy a long distance not only lets you get him away from you, it could put him in a very disadvantageous position.
Torturous strike (1st Players Handbook) If you are a brutal scoundrel, chances are you want to deal a heap of damage. In that case, this is your friend. You will likely deal enough damage with this power to kill enemies instantly, at level 1. Not bad at all.
Blinding barrage (1st Players Handbook) Your first area attack, and its actually not bad at all. With fair damage, blinding and a good area, this power is great. The blinding ability gives you a lot of opportunities you don't want to miss.
Easy target (1st Players Handbook) Fair enough, but the saving clause really makes this close to useless against bosses, where you will likely want to use your daily attacks.
Trick strike (1st Players Handbook) A very situational power. In certain circumstances, this can be a winner, while in others it is meaningless. Altogether though, I think it is a good choice.
Fleeting ghost (1st Players Handbook) Useful to all rogues, this ability is very useful and will come into play all the time. This ability can be recommended until paragon tier, when you gain this ability as a feat.
Great leap (1st Players Handbook) Fair enough, but I don't recommend it.
Master of deceit (1st Players Handbook) This is a very useful ability, as it improves your chances at doing all you need to do outside combat. Considdering this is an encounter power that affects social situations, this ability may well come into play a whole bunch of times every day.
Quick fingers (1st Players Handbook) Useful only if you plan on playing a pick pocket. In that case, you should take this power.
Tumble (1st Players Handbook) Useful, but not moreso than the others.
Clever riposte (1st Players Handbook) A very interresting power that is useful to anyone. Enemies will be greatly disencouraged from attacking you. This ability also synergize well with the Shadow assassin paragon path.
Deep cut (1st Players Handbook) Walking wounded is stricktly better. 5 points of ongoing damage is not going to make a huge difference, and when a save can end it it turns rather useless. It targets fortitude though, so its not entirely useless.
Walking wounded (1st Players Handbook) This one is interresting. If you have a habbit of fighting lithe bastards limke yourself, this is a great choice. If you indead meet a lot of stable brutes, don't bother.
Cloud of steel (1st Players Handbook) As a large area attack with low damage, this power is excellent when you are up against a bunch of minions.
Imperiling strike (1st Players Handbook) This power can be useful for a Brutal scoundrel who wants to set up a flash attack the next round. Not a bad choice, especially if you coordinate properly, and have friends with daily powers waiting.
Rogue's luck (1st Players Handbook) An absolutely hopeless power. If you need to land a hit, using Piercing strike at no cost is equally effective, and the damage is pretty much the same.
Sand in the eyes (1st Players Handbook) Not good enough.
Crimson edge (1st Players Handbook) Useful to a brutal scoundrel, but likely less useful than Knockout also for him.
Deadly positioning (1st Players Handbook) Not good enough.
Knockout (1st Players Handbook) Possibly the best rogue attack in the game. As the only rogue power that knocks your opponent unconcious, it will let you set up a Coup de Grace, which is your best friend.
Certain freedom (1st Players Handbook) Although nice, this ability is not good enough to compete with Shadow stride and Close quarters. It would be nice to have though...
Close quarters (1st Players Handbook) Seemingly divine, this power is great. The only major drawback is that enemies can end it rather easily, making it less useful. If you are a halfling though, this ability is exceptionally powerful since you have both feats and a racial power that enhance its usefulness.
Dangerous theft (1st Players Handbook) I would think this ability would see very little play, but if your GM tend to give enemies very useful small items, you may take it. Usually though, this is not the case, and this ability fails.
Shadow stride (1st Players Handbook) A great ability, allowing you to move around unseen. For most rogues, this ability is a must.
Fool's opportunity (1st Players Handbook) This is a very interresting attack. If you encounter monsters with nasty basic attacks this ability could be very useful, but in general I wouldn't bother. (I have a feeling this should have been an interrupt...)
Stunning strike (1st Players Handbook) This is a rogues only stunning attack, which makes it something. Apart from that though, it deals very low damage. If you usually encounter single enemies, this feat may be worth taking.
Tornado strike (1st Players Handbook) As an upgrade to a great power, this power gives you a bunch of battlefiled control. For an artful dodger, this ability is gold.
Unbalancing strike (1st Players Handbook) For a brutal scoundrel, this power can come in handy.
Bloody Path (1st Players Handbook) This is the ultimate in mass-combat abilities. Line up your enemies, and let them kill themselves. The only problem is that it doesn't really deal that much damage, and it requires some forework to make it effective. Anyhow, an interresting choice.
Garrote Grip (1st Players Handbook) I am not sure about this ability, it seems somewhat unlikely that you will be able to utilize it to its full potencial. I will leave it for now, and return when I have actually tried it.
Slaying Strike (1st Players Handbook) For a brutal scoundrel, this is mandatory. This will deal a tremendous amount of damage, and has a huge critical range to boot. At the level you gain this power, it is massive.
Foil the Lock (1st Players Handbook) Since this would end a skill-challenge with a single roll, it could be a great choice. How many chests have locks that require extensive skill challenges though, I don't know...
Hide in Plain Sight (1st Players Handbook) If you are a mobile guy, this choice is so-so. If you on the other hand use a crossbow, or for some other reason stay put, this ability is full of pure win. I would personally take this with all my rogues, for use out of combat.
Leaping Dodge (1st Players Handbook) Escaping an attack is always nice, and this one is guaranteed. A solid choice.
Raise the Stakes (1st Players Handbook) If you could do this without spending anything it may be worth it, but as a power it is not worth it.
Feignting Flurry (1st Players Handbook) Yesyesyes, if you are an artful dodger you have no choice. This power not only target will, it also deals good damage, and is a superb setup for some great nastyness for the whole encounter. This is mandatory for artful dodgers. When you use this, you want to make sure it hits, maybe more than any other power on your list, so use rerolls if you must. Given that the whole party will absolutely devastate your opponent, be prepared to take a lot of attention, and attacks from your target. Flying Foe (1st Players Handbook) This exploit is good for one reason; it slides your target even on a miss. If you are a brutal scoundrel, this is worth considdering, anyone else should look away. Snake's Retreat (1st Players Handbook) As an extremely damaging attack, Snake's retreat is a good choice for anyone who is looking for pure damage. The secondary effect of this ability is also strong, letting you get a chance to slip out of harms way.
NOTE: It is not clear if the secondary effect of Snake's retreat lasts only one round, or if it lasts for the rest of the encounter if the enemy continue to fail saves. If the latter is the case, this power is very powerful.
Cloud Jump (1st Players Handbook) An absolutely insane movement ability, allowing you go get virutally anywhere. You can jump across a canyon, jump up a tower or do something else crazy. A good choice.
Dazzling Acrobatics (1st Players Handbook) If you are trained in Athletics, Cloud Jump is stricktly better. If not, this is a fair ability, but not outstanding.
Hide from the Light (1st Players Handbook) Given that invisibility is nothing special at this level, and acheivable in a number of ways, I would say this ability is somewhat lackluster. It forces you to refrain from your greatest advantage (movement), and is limited to near stationary combat. I cannot see myself wanting this ability over the others.
Knave's Gambit (1st Players Handbook) This is a weird power, especially since it could potentially be better to miss with it. At least it insures good damage almost unconditionally, and even more so as an artful dodger.
Scorpion Strike (1st Players Handbook) Utterly useless. Yes, you gain a free attack, but at this level, a free attack dealing low damage is nothing. And shifting is all fine, but nothing special.
Steel Entrapment (1st Players Handbook) This is a good ability. As your best area attack, steel entrapment is great since it imobilizes your enemies.
Biting Assault (1st Players Handbook) How this can be a daily power is beyond me, and in general this is a really weak ability. Weaken is nice, but a save ends it, making it so-so. The damage is far to low to justify taking this ability. Ghost of the Wind (1st Players Handbook) It targets will, deals great damage, and turns you invisible for a round. This is an absolutely great ability. Hamstring (1st Players Handbook) Very similar to Biting Assault, Hamstring is no longer useful at its level. The damage is to low, it targets AC and the status effect is not powerful enough. Simply bad.
Dance of Death (1st Players Handbook) Now this have potential. If you happen to face a bunch of nasty stuff alone, this will make them think twice about attacking you again. It targets will, actually deals some damage and can lead to a complete mess for unsuspecting enemies. Great for artful dodgers.
Hurricane of Blood (1st Players Handbook) An almost assured medium damage hit. Nothing extraordinare.
Perfect Strike (1st Players Handbook) Pretty equal to Hurricane of Blood as far as power is concerned, I suspect this power looks better than it is. Since defences tend to be near each other, chances are you will either deal 5[W] and probably stun yourr enemy, or miss altogether. Fair.
Assassin's Point (1st Players Handbook) Yes! Finally will you be able to do your job. Line it up with some way of automatically scoring a critical hit (The level 9 exploit Knockout is great for this purpose) and deal damage you worthy, possibly killing stuff outright if you perform a coup de grace, in combination with Knockout or Sleep etc.
Imobilizing Strike (1st Players Handbook) Good if you fight against a single melee combatant with low saving throw, but unfortunately you are level 29 by now, and that is a dream. This power is not comparable to Assassin's Point.
Moving Target (1st Players Handbook) A neat interrupt that may also damage another enemy. Still, I find little reason to chose this over Assassin's Point.
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Multiclassing In this section I will look into what other classes have to offer a rogue. ClassesShow
Cleric (1st Players Handbook) As with the Paladin, there is a tiny bit of synergy between cleric and rogue, but it is minor, and hardly worth it for that reason alone. That said, by multiclassing into cleric you can take the Divine Oracle paragon path, and you gain knowledge religion for free, making it easier to take ritual caster. A few powers are also worth noting, such as the lv 9 utility power Knights of Unyielding Valor, which is forever useful to anyone in almost any situation.
Fighter (1st Players Handbook) Multiclassing into fighter is mostly useful if you opt to take one of the fighter paragon paths. Especially a brutal scoundrel looking for the Kensai path should multiclass into fighter.
Paladin (1st Players Handbook) There is a certain synergy between rogues and paladins, but it is certainly minor. There is little practical reason for a rogue to multiclass into a paladin.
Ranger (1st Players Handbook) Unless you have reason to multiclass into something else, taking the Student of the wild feat is mandatory for all rogues. Not only do you get an extra useful skill, you also improve your damage when you really want to. For a Brutal scoundrel though, it doesnt stop there. By taking the Adept power, taking the lv 15 daily power Blade cascade is definantly worth it, making you a capable assassin.
Warlock (1st Players Handbook) Warlock have a lot of synergy with artful dodgers. From the lowly eyebite, to the more advanced powers, multiclassing into warlock is a fully viable choice, bolstered by the Pact dagger, which makes this choice even more viable.
Warlord (1st Players Handbook) As an artful dodger, a warlord have one trick up his sleeve that may well be worth the trade. While healing and a skill is all good, the real boon is from the Acolyte power feat, used to change a 22th level utility power for Heart of the Titan. This ability alone can make you into a terrible foe which is difficult to contain.
Wizard (1st Players Handbook) Although Sleep would be any rogues wet dream, the reliance on intelligence is difficult to bear for a rogue. Wizard is not a good choice for multiclassing a rogue, except maybe for certain utility spells, such as [i]Time stop[/1] at level 22. A good point none the less is the free Arcana skill, which lets you qualify for ritual caster.
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Paragon paths In this section I will look into the various paragon paths that have some use to various rogues. Paragon pathsShow
Cat Burglar (1st Players Handbook) This path is useful to anyone, but master of none. The abilities of this class lend themselves well to a Swashbuckler though, if you see that as a guy who always gets out of trouble.
Daggermaster (1st Players Handbook) As one of the most powerful paths of the game, daggermaster makes you into just that. Daggermaster is especially useful for artful dodgers, who will otherwise have a hard time gaining light blade mastery. If you are an artful dodger and don't quite know which path to take, take this, it is safe.
Divine Oracle (1st Players Handbook) Unlikely but true, the Divine oracle is one of the best paths for a rogue who wish to act as a one-shot assassin. Although it would depend on GM-interpretation, the usefulness of Prophecy of doom is your best friend and takes the role of 3rd editions ”death attack”. This path is especially useful for thouse who want to act as assassins with a high-damage weapon, such as the rapier or crossbow. In the case of crossbow though, note that prophecy of doom have range 5.
Kensai (1st Players Handbook) Kensai is a great choice for a Swashbuckler who wield a Rapier, and a fair choice for any offense-oriented rogue
Master infiltrator (1st Players Handbook) Master infiltrator is good if you opt for subterfuge and not combat, the class is not very pwoerful though, and only the lv 12 utility power really give you what you seek. Still, this class could be useful in certain games that feature less combat.
Pit-fighter (1st Players Handbook) Though not common, a rogue who focus on perception, and thus have a high wisdom score could take advantage of the Pit-fighter, and thus improve both his damage (which should be lacking due to lower strength and charisma), his AC and some extra action-point boost.
Shadow assassin (1st Players Handbook) Although not so bad in itself, you should look to the daggermaster or divine oracle if it is an assassin you want to play. The Shadow assassin is mostly useful for builds aimed at action-point optimization, and those aiming for minion-slaughter.
Watcher of the Night (Dragon Magazine 366)
Epic destinies This part is dedicated to epic destinies, and their use for rogues. Epic destiniesShow
Demi God (1st Players Handbook) Although very powerful and with the only obviously broken ability of the game, the Demigod is not really what you need. While you certainly take advantage of all the good stuff of beeing a half-god, godlyness isn’t as good as beeing a lowly, but deadly trickster.
Deadly trickster (1st Players Handbook) A rogue should always take this epic destiny, unless you have a very special reason to take one of the others. The ability to reroll stuff is the king of kings, and the most powerful power of the game doesn’t lessen the love.
Eternal seeker (1st Players Handbook) A destiny with a lot of potencial, and likely moreso the more books are released. Thus far though, I have not found any reason good enough to take this over Deadly trickster in the case of a Rogue.
Reborn Champion (Dragon Magazine 365) This destiny provide a rather incredible ability at level 20, but even more so at level 30. By that level, a daggermaster will have great reason to take this path, enough even to make it interresting in comparison to the Deadly Trickster.
[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]Weapons This section will detail the various weapon choices available to a rogue, and their perks and flaws. WeaponsShow
Dagger (1st Players Handbook) The dagger has a special place in a rogues arsenal. The dagger is the least damaging weapon, but makes up for it by beeing extremely accurate, throwable, concealable, dual-wieldable and it has a paragon path dedicated to its perfection. The fact that daggers can be thrown makes it a money-conserving weapon, in addition to the obvious benefits. If you happen to take the daggermaster paragon path, the dagger goes from beeing versatile and useful to become outright incredible. Not only do you now excel in melee, but you are equally dangerous at some distance. The dagger is finally an incredible weapon for rogues.
Short sword (1st Players Handbook) While it is one of the trademarks of rogues, the shortsword got remarkably little love from the designers. Currently, there is no reason to even carry a short sword.
Hand Crossbow (1st Players Handbook) The hand crossbow is your only medium ranged weapon, but unfortunately lacks in damage. Since most of your powers are also limited to a range of 5, there is little point is using a Hand crossbow over the Shuriken. If you want to do long-range sniping, invest a feat in crossbow proficiency instead.
Crossbow (1st Players Handbook) The crossbow is your ranged weapon of choice, and your most damaging weapon. Given that you have to spend a feat to gain proficiency, the value of the crossbow is somewhat reduced. Anyhow, no rogue weapon can come close to its range, and as such it is still a good weapon. If you want to play a sniper type of character, you should invest in this weapon.
Rapier (1st Players Handbook) Although it makes no sense, the Rapier is the most powerful melee weapon the rogue can effectively wield. Although it requires a feat, it is well worth it. For a brutal scoundrel, a Rapier is the weapon of choice.
Shuriken (1st Players Handbook) The shuriken is special in that it is a ranged ”light blade”. Apart from that, Shuriken falls between a dagger and a crossbow.
Magic items In this section I will elaborate about magic items, and how they relate to rogues. Armor slotShow
Assassinbane Armor (IL 15-20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 41) Armor of Night (IL 14-19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 41) Displacer Armor (IL 14-19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 44) Imposter's Armor (IL 6-11-16-21-26, Adventurer's Vault, pg 46) For companions Rat Form Armor (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 48) Robe of Contingency (IL 4-9-14-19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 49) Robe of the Archfiend (IL 20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 50) Skybound Armor (IL 5-10-15-20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 52) Slick Armor (IL 2-7-12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 52) Stalker's Armor (IL 18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 43) Summoned Armor (IL 6-11-16-21-26, Adventurer's Vault, pg 53) Vaporform Armor (IL 19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 54) Veteran's Armor (IL 2-7-12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 55)
Adamantine Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 63) Assassin's Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 63) Avandra's Whisper (IL 17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 63) Blade of Night (IL 12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 65) Bloodclaw Weapon (IL 2-7-12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 65) Bloodiron Weapon (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 65) Bloodthirsty Weapon (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 65) Brilliant Energy Weapon (IL 25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 65) Cloaked Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 66) Cunning Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 67) Determined Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 67) Elukian Clay Weapon (IL 12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 68) Farslayer Weapon (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 68) Flanking Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 68) Footpad's Friend (IL 10-15-20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 69) Graceful Weapon (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 70) Jagged Weapon (IL 12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 71) Legendary Weapon (IL 25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 71) Luckblade (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 71) Necrotic Weapon (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 73) Opportunistic Weapon (IL 4-9-14-19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 73) Poisoned Weapon (IL 5-10-15-20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 75) Quick Weapon (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 76) Radiant Weapon (IL 15-20-25-30, Adventuer's Vault, pg 76) Reckless Weapon (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventuer's Vault, pg 76) Shadow Spike (IL 22-27, Adventuer's Vault, pg 77) Sniper's Weapon (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventuer's Vault, pg 78) Subtle Weapon (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventuer's Vault, pg 79) Swiftshot Weapon (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventuer's Vault, pg 79) Tenacious Weapon (IL 19-24-29, Adventuer's Vault, pg 80) Thieving Weapon (IL 5-10-15-20-25-30, Adventuer's Vault, pg 80) Transposing Weapon (IL 14-19-24-29, Adventuer's Vault, pg 81) Vampiric Weapon (IL 9-14-19-24-29, Adventuer's Vault, pg 81) Wounding Weapon (IL 4-9-14-19-24-29, Adventuer's Vault, pg 82)
Dancing weapon Useless for Artful Dodgers, and great for Brutal Scoundrels. While what I said now made no sense fluffwise, it is due to the basic attack part of the ability, which is only useful for Brutal Scoundrels. Anyhow, this weapon is superb for you. Favourably, get a really big and nasty weapon that you are proficient with, such as a Rapier (you likely use it already), or if you are an Eladrin you could get a Longsword. Now, let the weapon attack for you, and sustain it since you don't have to much else to sustain. Remember though, this is a suplement, and should never be your main weapon.
Duellist's blade This one I consider an outright trap. You will be better served by a Vicious weapon in 95% of all situations, and the daily power gives you something you don't need to much, and its a daily power, which you need to fuel most important items.
Frost weapon This weapon is very useful if used in conjunction with the feats Wintertouched and Everlasting Frost, letting you get Combat advantage effortlessly, and shelling out some extra damage. The Daily ability is also somewhat useful. A good choice if you specialise for it.
Pact blade This weapon is very specialised, and only useful to rogues multiclassed heavily into Warlock. While you gain some nifty powers, you pay a huge opportunity cost, making me reluctant to recommend it, even for a multiclassed character. You would rather wield a normal weapon and an implement.
Perfect hunter's weapon Although it seems to be the coolest weapon in history, this weapon is really not that great. It is equal to Vicious for a ranged weapon, with the added daily of a near automatic basic attack. The fact that it's a basic attacks makes it a rather weak daily ability. If you have way to much money, go ahead, if not, you lose next to nothing by sticking to a Vicious ranged weapon.
Vicious weapon A solid candidate for a rogue, and especially a Daggermaster. You will deal tremendous damage on critical hits with this weapon.
Wraithblade This weapon is mandatory for a brutal scoundrel who use daggers. For everyone else, this weapon is still great, and outdamage a Vicious weapon in most circumstances. For more information on Wraithblades, see this thread.
Absence Amulet (IL 12-17-22-27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 147) Amulet of Material Darkness (IL 18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 149) Choker of Eloquence (IL 8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 150) Cloak of Displacement (IL 15-20-25-30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 150) Cloak of Distortion (IL 4-9-14-19-24-29, Adventurer's Vault, pg 151) Cloak of the Phoenix (IL 30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 151) Gloaming Shroud (IL 3-8-13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 152) Gorget of Reciprocity (IL 30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 152) Liar's Trinket (IL 13-18-23-28, Adventurer's Vault, pg 153)
Blink Ring (IL 22, Adventurer's Vault, pg 156) Chameleon Ring (IL 16, Adventurer's Vault, pg 156) Face-Stealing Ring (IL 18, Adventurer's Vault, pg 156) Magician's Ring (IL 14, Adventurer's Vault, pg 157) Nullifying Ring (IL 30, Adventurer's Vault, pg 157) Ring of Forgetful Touch (IL 16, Adventurer's Vault, pg 159) Ring of Heroic Insight (IL 21, Adventurer's Vault, pg 159) Ring of Retreat (IL 17, Adventurer's Vault, pg 159) Ring of Shadow Travel (IL 15, Adventurer's Vault, pg 159) Ring of Tenacious Will (IL 21, Adventurer's Vault, pg 162) Shadow Band (IL 27, Adventurer's Vault, pg 162) Star Ruby Ring (IL 19, Adventurer's Vault, pg 162) War Ring (IL 16, Adventurer's Vault, pg 163)
Cincture of the Dragon Spirit (IL 6, Adventurer's Vault, pg 165) Reinforcing Belt (IL 9, Adventurer's Vault, pg 166) Sash of Ensnarement (IL 8, Adventurer's Vault, pg 166) Totemic Belt (IL 11, Adventurer's Vault, pg 167)