Rogue

Globe4.3.bmp“Right then,” growls a voice from the shadows behind you. “Just drop your weapons and your purses and walk away, and there won’t be no trouble.”

- Any alley, any city.

Rogues might be a distinct class but they are unique individuals. Some rogues are little more than thieves. Others are confidence tricksters. Some others are scouts, spies, cutthroats, bandits, assassins, or even diplomats. What they do have in common is a dynamic adaptability that allows them to excel in a number of different challenging situations. Rogues specialize particularly in getting into places people might not want them to be and retrieving objects not meant to be retrieved.

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Background: Rogues adventure for their own reasons as a means to meet their own needs. This might mean that their motivation is nothing less than acquiring quick riches, or it might be fame or infamy, to test their own skills, or they might adventure for the sheer exhilaration. Many rogues belong to a guild, gang or organized crime family. Legitimate patrons like the army or the city employ rogues. Still others are self-taught and serve no-one but themselves. A rogue feels no comradeship with another rogue unless they happen to be members of the same guild or apprentices of the same master (and even then it is no guarantee).

Other Classes: Rogues are at their best when more martial companions protect them and spellcasters are available to support them. But they often desire to work alone where their less stealthy companions will not give them away with the rattle of a scabbard or a misplaced footstep.

Rogue Archetypes

First Age: The city-states of the First Age are filled with thieves and assassins, while bandits and highwaymen plague the deserts, marshes and mountains. Some rogues are slavers who oversee stables of chattel.
NPCs: The Green Mamba, The Prisoner, Reka the Snake, Selar Zelane.

Second Age: Thieves frequent crowded market places and busy tavern common rooms where they are able to cut the strings of a person’s purse unnoticed.
NPCs: The bawd who is available as a guide-for-hire for the seedier and less respectable portions of a city.

Third Age: Rogues are skilled at avoiding the eye of the city tax collector and make a living by aiding those wishing to bring their goods (both legitimate and otherwise) into the city without paying extortionate fees.
NPCs: The footpad lurking in the alleyways ready to waylay a passerby and relieve her of her pouch.

Fourth Age: Thieves are well renowned for their ability to research, locate and plunder ancient burial sites. Local communities often revere these locations and so the rogues are skilled at operating under the cover of darkness or with an elaborate ruse. Of course, many tombs are guarded by traps and devices designed to keep the likes of these thieves out and they have learned many skills to disarm and bypass these hazards.
NPCs: The professional gambler who sits at the tavern table and is ready to fleece all comers.

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Skills

Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) x4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier
Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Geography) (Int), Listen (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Sneak (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha) and Use Rope (Dex).

Hit Dice: d6

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Class Features

Armor Proficiency: Light.

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Sneak Attack: If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty.

A rogue can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies – undead, constructs, oozes, plants and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Trapfinding: Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A rogue who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it.

Weapon Proficiency: Simple, plus hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow and shortsword.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion.

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Trap Sense (Ex): At 3rd level, a rogue gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to danger from traps, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses rise to +2 when the rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th level, +6 at 18th level, +7 at 21st and +8 at 24th level.

Trap sense bonuses from multiple classes stack.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a rogue can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a rogue already had uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A rogue of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.

This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

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The Rogue character class was designed by a Dungeons & Dragons fan by the name of Gary Switzer. Switzer shared his Thief class with Gary Gygax by phone and Gygax liked it enough to develop it for publication in 1975’s Greyhawk supplement. This version of the class is derived from the D&D 3.5 version written by Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet and Skip Williams.

Artwork by Brom, Penko Gelev and Michael Komarck. Used with love and not permission.

Cartography by Ian Hewitt.