Rogues share little in common with each other. Some are stealthy thieves. Others are silver-tongued tricksters. Still others are scouts, infiltrators, spies, diplomats, or thugs. What they share is versatility, adaptability, and resourcefulness. In general, rogues are skilled at getting what others don't want them to get: entrance into a locked treasure vault, safe passage past a deadly trap, secret battle plans, a guard's trust, or some random person's pocket money.
Adventures: Rogues adventure for the same reason they do most things: to get what they can get. Some are after loot, others experience. Some crave fame, others infamy. Quite a few also enjoy a challenge. Figuring out how to thwart a trap or avoid an alarm is great fun for many rogues.
Characteristics: Rogues are highly skilled, and they can concentrate in any of several types of skills. While not equal to members of many other classes in combat, a rogue knows how to hit where it hurts, and a rogue who can hit an opponent with a sneak attack can dish out a lot of damage.
Rogues have a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding danger. Experienced rogues develop nearly magical powers and skills as they master the arts of stealth, evasion, and sneak attacks. In addition, while not capable of casting spells on their own, rogues can "fake it" well enough to cast spells from scrolls, activate wands, and use just about any other magic item.
Alignment: Rogues follow opportunity not ideals. They are more likely to be chaotic than lawful. Rogues, however, are a diverse bunch, and they maybe of any alignment.
Religion: Rogues most commonly worship Olidammara, god of thieves, though they are not renowned for their piety. Evil rogues might secretly worship Nerull, god of death, or Erythnul, god of slaughter. Since rogues are a diverse crew, however, many of them worship other deities, or none at all.
Background: Some rogues are officially inducted into an organized fellowship of rogues or "guild of thieves." Most, however, are self-taught or learned their skills from an independent mentor. Often, an experienced rogue needs an assistant for scams, second-story jobs, or just for watching her back. She recruits a likely youngster who then learns the skills of the trade on the job. Eventually, the trainee is ready to move on, perhaps because the mentor has run afoul of the law, or perhaps because the trainee has double-crossed her mentor and needs some space.
Rogues do not see each other as fellows unless they happen to be members of the same guild or students of the same mentor. In fact, rogues trust other rogues less than they trust anyone else. They're no fools.
Races: Adaptable and often unprincipled, humans take to the rogue's life with ease. Halflings, elves, and half-elves, too, find themselves well suited to the demands of the career. Dwarf and gnome rogues, while less common, are renowned as experts with locks and traps. Half-orc rogues tend toward thuggery. Rogues are common among brutal humanoids, especially goblins and bugbears. Rogues who learn their arts in savage lands, however, generally don't have experience with complex mechanisms such as traps and locks.
Other Classes: Rogues love and hate working with members of other classes. They excel when protected by warriors and supported by spellcasters. There are plenty of times, however, that they wish that everyone else was as quiet, guileful, and patient as a rogue. Rogues are particularly wary of paladins, either endeavoring to prove themselves useful or just avoiding them.
Role: The rogue's role in a group can vary dramatically based on her skill selection - from charismatic con artist to cunning burglar to agile combatant - but most rogues share certain aspects. They aren't capable of prolonged melee combat, so they focus on opportunistic sneak attacks or ranged attacks. The rogue's stealth and her trapfinding ability make her one of the best scouts in the game.
Game Rule Information
Rogues have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Dexterity affects many rogue skills and provides the lightly armored rogue extra protection. Intelligence and Wisdom are important for many of the rogue's skills. A high Intelligence score also gives the rogue extra skill points, which can be used to expand her repertoire.
The rogue's class skills are Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at each additional level: 8 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the rogue.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Rogues are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword. Rogues are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
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. Basically, 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. (See Attack Roll Modifiers and Armor Class Modifiers, for combat situations in which the rogue flanks an opponent or the opponent loses his Dexterity bonus to AC.)
Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. A rogue can't strike with deadly accuracy from beyond that range.
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, because she must make optimal use of her weapon in .order to execute a sneak attack. (See Nonlethal Damage.)
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 with concealment or striking the limbs of 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, bypass it (with her party) without disarming it.
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 on a successful save (such as a red dragons fiery breath or a fireball), she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless rogue (such as one who is unconscious or paralyzed) does not gain the benefit of evasion.
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 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, and to +6 at 18th level. Trap sense bonuses gained 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 has uncanny dodge from a different class (a rogue with at least two levels of barbarian, for example), she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A rogue of 8th level at higher can no longer be flanked; she can react to opponents at opposite sides of her as easily as she can react to a single attacker. 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.
Special Abilities: On attaining 10th level, and at every three levels thereafter (13th, 16th, and 19th), a rogue gains a special ability of her choice from among the following options.
Crippling Strike (Ex): A rogue with this ability can sneak attack opponents with such precision that her blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of her sneak attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.
Defensive Roll (Ex): The rogue can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the rogue can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the rogue must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll - if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character a Reflex save for half damage, the rogue's evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.
Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except that while the rogue still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon's breath weapon or fireball, henceforth she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless rogue (such as one who is unconscious or paralyzed) does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, the rogue can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as the rogue's attack of opportunity for that round. Even a rogue with the Combat Reflexes feat can't use the opportunist ability more than once per round.
Skill Mastery: The rogue becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A rogue may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for it to apply to each time.
Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the rogue's ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel her. If a rogue with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.
Knockout Blow (Ex)¹: When a rogue would make a sneak attack that deals subdual damage, she may instead attempt to stun her opponent before rolling her attack. If she hits, her opponent must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 15 + 1 per die of sneak attack damage) or be stunned for 1d3 rounds.
Painful Strike (Ex)¹: The rogue's knowledge of anatomy allows her to inflict tremendous pain. The rogue must make a sneak attack attempt with an unarmed strike. If she hits, her target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + per die of sneak attack damage + Intelligence modifier). If the target fails this save, he must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 1 per die of sneak attack damage + spell level) to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability for the next 1d6 rounds. The target suffers only normal damage for the unarmed strike, not sneak attack damage, when a rogue uses this ability.
Feat: A rogue may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability.
¹ Dragon #310
|Rogue||Hit Die: d6|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Sneak attack +2d6, trap sense +1|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Sneak attack +3d6|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Sneak attack +4d6|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+2||Improved uncanny dodge|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+6||+3||Sneak attack +5d6, trapsense +3|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||Sneak attack +6d6|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Sneak attack +7d6, special ability|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||Sneak attack +8d6, trapsense +5|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Sneak attack +9d6|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+6||Sneak attack +10d6, special ability|
In the Realms
In Faerûn, rogues are as often diplomats as thieves, a distinction often lost on those who have come out on the losing end of a diplomatic negotiation. Rogues are everywhere in Faerûn, but no one necessarily expects them to be thieves. Depending on their skills and inclinations, rogues may represent themselves as treasure-finders, tomb-breakers, investigators, spies, bounty hunters, thief-catchers, scouts, or - most commonly - as "adventurers."
While it's true that not every rogue is a thief, it's also true that many rogues are. Thieves' guilds are common in Faerûn. Some, such as the Shadow Thieves of Amn or the Night Masks of Westgate, are powerful enough to dictate orders to kings and lords, and ruthless enough to enforce their edicts through intimidation, terror, and outright murder. Most guilds are short-lived, local organizations that rise in a particular city or along a busy trade route, the creation of a charismatic or powerful individual capable of holding such a guild together.
Preferred Character Regions: Rogues are of two general stripes - thieves and brigands. Thieves are common near any large city, and brigands (sometimes charitably referred to as scouts) live in the wild. Rogues are common in Amn, Anauroch, Calimshan, the Dragon Coast, Evermeet, Luiren, Impiltur, the Lake of Steam, Lantan, the Moonsea, the Moonshaes, Mulhorand, Narfell, the Nelanther Isles, Sembia, the Shaar, Tashalar, Thesk, Unther, Vaasa, the Vast, Waterdeep, and the Western Heartlands. Gray dwarves, gold dwarves, shield dwarves, drow, moon elves, sun elves, deep gnomes, rock gnomes, lightfoot halflings, and strongheart halflings are commonly rogues, too.
The classic image of a seafaring rogue is, of course, the pirate. Buccaneers and freebooters of all stripes rove the oceans and even large rivers. Some are bloodthirsty and cruel, many simply in it for the profit, and a few honorable privateers take a freelance naval war to their nation's foes.
Rogues are also expert treasure hunters, whether seeking for wealth in sunken wrecks or looting a trove of giant pearls from a locathah city. Of course, the need for spies is just as great in an aquatic setting as any other, and rogues of underwater races are experts in wriggling through the deep crevices of an ixitxachitl maze or evading pursuit by a crowd of angry merfolk.
The epic rogue is a trickster and a thief, a trap-detector and a tale-spinner. Her skills are legendary and her tales of derring-do even more so. If you listen to the stories, there's nothing she can't do.
Hit Die: d6.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.
Sneak Attack: The epic rogue's sneak attack damage increases by +1d6 at every odd-numbered level (+11d6 at 21st, +12d6 at 23rd, and so on).
Special Abilities: The rogue does not gain additional rogue special abilities after 19th level, but can choose a rogue special ability from the Player's Handbook (crippling strike, defensive roll, improved evasion, opportunist, skill mastery, and slippery mind) instead of a bonus feat.
Bonus Feats: The epic rogue gains a bonus feat every four levels higher than 20th (24th, 28th, and so on).
Planar Substitution Levels
The only thing more varied and unpredictable than a rogue's intentions are the infinite planes of reality. No matter what a rogue wants to do, no matter what treasure or information or experience she seeks, it can be found somewhere on the planes.
A rogue who spends her life exploring the twisting realities and the gossamer walls that separate them comes away with a unique insight into the way the cosmos functions. She may not have a scholar's ability to understand it, nor a poet's skill to describe it, but the rogue has something eminently more useful - she knows the loopholes built into the laws of reality and how to bend them ever so slightly to her advantage.
To take a rogue planar substitution level, a character must be about to take her 6th, 10th, or 16th level of rogue.
Rogue planar substitution levels have the class skills of the standard rogue class plus Knowledge (the planes). Skill Points at Each level: 8 + Int modifier.
All of the following are features of the rogue's planar substitution levels.
Breach Sense (Ex): A 6th-level planar rogue gains an intuitive sense that alerts her of the imminent opening of a nearby conduit between the planes. She automatically detects the activation of any portal or the opening of any planar breach within 30 feet of her, as well as any spell or effect that crosses over or through the planes (such as summon monster, teleport, or plane shift) used within 30 feet of her. The rogue may immediately attempt a DC 25 Spot check to pinpoint the exact location of the portal, breach, or effect, as long as she has line of sight to it.
For example, a planar rogue would detect a demon teleporting to a spot within 30 feet of her, and with a DC 25 Spot check could even pinpoint the precise location where the demon appeared (though she would lose this precision as soon as the demon moved). This benefit replaces the improvement to the trap sense class feature gained by a standard rogue at 6th level. From now on, whenever the rogue gains a standard rogue level that grants an improvement to her trap sense, she gains the indicated bonus minus 1 (trap sense +2 at 9th level, trap sense +3 at 12th level, and so on).
Slip the Bonds (Su): A rogue who chooses this substitution benefit at 10th level knows how to slip momentarily into the periphery of the plane she is on. Once per day as a free action, she can turn ethereal for a single round.
This benefit replaces the special ability gained by a standard rogue at 10th level.
Blink (Sp): By 16th level, a planar rogue's understanding of how to skirt the periphery of a plane is such that she can use a blink effect on herself once per day. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 her rogue level (rounded down).
This benefit replaces the special ability gained by a standard rogue at 16th level.
|Rogue Planar Substitution Levels|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Slip the bonds|
Alternative Class Feature: Quick Fingers (Dungeonscape)
Sometimes only a few seconds make the difference between stopping the descent of a spiked ceiling and coming to a messy end. Through countless hours of practice, you have learned to make quick work of traps. But this speed comes at a price. Because you focus on disarming traps, you react more slowly when a trap activates.
Replaces: If you select this alternative class feature, you do not gain trap sense +1 at 3rd level. Instead, you gain trap sense +1 at 6th level, with an additional increase of +1 every four levels thereafter (to a maximum of +4 at 18th level).
Benefit: When you use Disable Device to disarm a trap, the time required to perform the check is reduced. Use the following table in place of the standard one.
|Device||Time||Disable Device DC|
|Simple||1 move action||10|
|Tricky||1 standard action||15|
|Difficult||1 full-round action||20|
Alternative Class Feature: Penetrating Strike (Dungeonscape)
Creatures that have immunity to extra damage from sneak attacks are a bane to rogues everywhere. Particularly in ancient tombs where undead are common, rogues must rely on their wits to survive. You have spent a significant amount of time studying this problem and have learned ways to harm even such resilient opponents.
Replaces: If you select this alternative class feature, you do not gain trap sense.
Benefit: Whenever you flank a creature that is immune to extra damage from sneak attacks, you still deal extra damage equal to half your normal sneak attack dice. This benefit does not apply against creatures that cannot be flanked, nor against foes that are otherwise denied their Dexterity bonus to AC or flat-footed but not flanked.
Source: Player's Handbook