A rogue is a versatile character, capable of sneaky combat and nimble tricks. The rogue is stealthy and dexterous, and the only class capable of finding and disarming many traps and picking locks. The rogue also has the ability to "sneak attack" enemies who are caught off-guard or taken by surprise, inflicting extra damage.
Class abilities such as evasion and uncanny dodge already makes them agile combatants. Also sneak attack and certain other skills (bluff, tumble, etc.) makes them tricky but dangerous combatants.
Party Role Edit
Rogues are deadly but somewhat vulnerable front line combatants. Their base attack bonus chart is similar to the monk or the cleric, but they have relatively low hit points and are proficient with fairly low-damage weapons. What advantages they have come from their high dexterity, which augments their armor class and missile weapon aim, and can apply to such mêlée weapons as a rapier if using the feat weapon finesse. All in all, in combat the rogue remains more interested in supporting teammates—and slipping around to sneak attack—than in standing up to an opponent with regular blows.
The value of rogues lies in the fact that they are the handymen. Without pure battle or magical power, a rogue can contribute in ways as varied as disarming traps, scouting enemies, and persuading possible allies, using their wealth of skill points and long list of useful adventuring skills. Where other characters have the power to defeat enemies, the rogue has the wit to track them down and lead the team past traps and barriers on the way to that fight.
The true strength of rogues lie in their potential to multi-class. Rogues are effective at combining their class with almost any other class, and in doing so change their party duties, so long as their ability scores match the class somewhat. Multi-classing with the fighter class gives rogues better weaponry and health, making them stronger in combat and almost viable as tanks. Cleric abilities can increase their support of other characters, healing while staying out of the way in battle. Mixing a wizard's magic with rogue stealth makes for an interesting combination, as magic can either give them more combat options or enhancements toward stealth. Of course, some classes can't mix with a rogue sometimes, and require improvisation in order to work.
Older usage of termsEdit
In the AD&D Second Edition, "rogue" was a more general term ecompassing both thief and bard classes. The thief was the equivalent class to what is here described as the rogue. This usage can still be seen in such contexts as the Baldur's Gate series of computer games.
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