The Martial Rogue

02.2008 at 1:16 am 14 comments

All of the below content is straight from DnD Insider, a “sneak attack” preview of the rogue class in the Player’s Handbook for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. I thought I’d share the wealth. Enjoy and be excited!


“You look surprised to see me. If you’d been paying attention, you might still be alive.”


Role: Striker. You dart in to attack, do massive damage, and then retreat to safety. You do best when teamed with a defender to flank enemies.
Power Source: Martial. Your talents depend on extensive training and constant practice, innate skill, and natural coordination.
Key Abilities: Dexterity, Strength, Charisma

Armor Training: Leather
Weapon Proficiencies: Dagger, hand crossbow, shuriken, sling, short sword
Bonus to Defense: +2 Reflex

Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution score
Hit Points per Level Gained: 5
Healing Surges: 6 + Constitution modifier

Trained Skills: Stealth and Thievery plus four others. From the class skills list below, choose four more trained skills at 1st level.
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dexterity), Athletics (Str), Bluff (Cha), Dungeoneering (Wis), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Stealth (Dexterity), Streetwise (Cha), Thievery (Dexterity)

Build Options: Brawny rogue, trickster rogue
Class Features: First Strike, Rogue Tactics, Rogue Weapon Talent, Sneak Attack

Rogues are cunning and elusive adversaries. Rogues slip into and out of shadows on a whim, pass anywhere across the field of battle without fear of reprisal, and appear suddenly only to drive home a lethal blade.

As a rogue, you might face others’ preconceptions regarding your motivations, but your nature is your own to mold. You could be an agent fresh from the deposed king’s shattered intelligence network, an accused criminal on the lam seeking to clear your name, a wiry performer whose goals transcend the theatrical stage, a kid trying to turn around your hard-luck story, or a daredevil thrill-seeker who can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush of conflict. Or perhaps you are merely in it for the gold, after all.

With a blade up your sleeve and a concealing cloak across your shoulders, you stride forth, eyes alight with anticipation. What worldly wonders and rewards are yours for the taking?


Characteristics: Combat advantage provides the full benefit of your powers, and a combination of skills and powers helps you gain and keep that advantage over your foes. You are a master of skills, from Stealth and Thievery to Bluff and Acrobatics.

Religion: Rogues prefer deities of the night, luck, freedom, and adventure, such as Sehanine and Avandra. Evil and chaotic evil rogues often favor Lolth or Zehir.

Races: Those with a love for secrets exchanged in shadows and change for its own sake make ideal rogues, including elves, tieflings, and halflings.
Creating a Rogue

The trickster rogue and the brawny rogue are the two rogue builds, one relying on bluffs and feints, the other on brute strength. Dexterity, Charisma, and Strength are the rogue’s most important ability scores.

Brawny Rogue
You like powers that deal plenty of damage, aided by your Strength, and also stun, immobilize, knock down, or push your foes. Your attacks use Dexterity, so keep that your highest ability score. Strength should be a close second—it increases your damage directly, and it can determine other effects of your attacks. Charisma is a good third ability score, particularly if you want to dabble in powers from the other rogue build. Select the brutal scoundrel rogue tactic, and look for powers that pack a lot of damage into every punch.

Suggested Feat: Weapon Focus (Human feat: Toughness)
Suggested Skills: Athletics, Dungeoneering, Intimidate, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery
Suggested At-Will Powers: Piercing Strike, Riposte Strike
Suggested Encounter Power: Torturous Strike
Suggested Daily Power: Easy Target

Trickster Rogue
You like powers that deceive and misdirect your foes. You dart in and out of the fray in combat, dodging your enemies’ attacks or redirecting them to other foes. Most of your attack powers rely on Dexterity, so that should be your best ability score. Charisma is important for a few attacks, for Charisma-based skills you sometimes use in place of attacks, and for other effects that depend on successful attacks, so make Charisma your second-best score. Strength is useful if you want to choose powers intended for the other rogue build. Select the artful dodger rogue tactic. Look for powers that take advantage of your high Charisma score, as well as those that add to your trickster nature.

Suggested Feat: Backstabber (Human feat: Human Perseverance)
Suggested Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Insight, Perception, Stealth, Thievery
Suggested At-Will Powers: Deft Strike, Sly Flourish
Suggested Encounter Power: Positioning Strike
Suggested Daily Power: Trick Strike

Rogue Class Features

All rogues share these class features.

First Strike
At the start of an encounter, you have combat advantage against any creatures that have not yet acted in that encounter.

Rogue Tactics
Rogues operate in a variety of ways. Some rogues use their natural charm and cunning trickery to deceive foes. Others rely on brute strength to overcome their enemies.

Choose one of the following options.

Artful Dodger: You gain a bonus to AC equal to your Charisma modifier against opportunity attacks.
Brutal Scoundrel: You gain a bonus to Sneak Attack damage equal to your Strength modifier.

The choice you make also provides bonuses to certain rogue powers. Individual powers detail the effects (if any) your Rogue Tactics selection has on them.

Rogue Weapon Talent
When you wield a shuriken, your weapon damage die increases by one size. When you wield a dagger, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls.

Sneak Attack
Once per round, when you have combat advantage against an enemy and are using a light blade, a crossbow, or a sling, your attacks against that enemy deal extra damage. As you advance in level, your extra damage increases.
Level Sneak Attack Damage
1st–10th +2d6
11th–20th +3d6
21st–30th +5d6
Rogue Powers

Your powers are daring exploits that draw on your personal cunning, agility, and expertise. Some powers reward a high Charisma and are well suited for the trickster rogue, and others reward a high Strength and appeal to the brawny rogue, but you are free to choose any power you like.
Deft Strike
Rogue Attack 1
A final lunge brings you into an advantageous position.

At-Will [ ] Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee or Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a crossbow, a light blade, or a sling.
Target: One creature
Special: You can move 2 squares before the attack.
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC

Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier at 21st level.

Piercing Strike
Rogue Attack 1
A needle-sharp point slips past armor and into tender flesh.

At-Will [ ] Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex

Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier at 21st level.

Positioning Strike
Rogue Attack 1
A false stumble and a shove place the enemy exactly where you want him.

Encounter [ ] Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will

Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square.
Artful Dodger: You slide the target a number of squares equal to your Charisma modifier.

Torturous Strike
Rogue Attack 1
If you twist the blade in the wound just so, you can make your enemy howl in pain.

Encounter [ ] Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Brutal Scoundrel: You gain a bonus to the damage roll equal to your Strength modifier.

Rogue Utility 2
You tumble out of harm’s way, dodging the opportunistic attacks of your enemies.

Encounter [ ] Martial
Move Action
Prerequisite: You must be trained in Acrobatics.

Effect: You can shift a number of squares equal to one-half your speed.

Crimson Edge
Rogue Attack 9
You deal your enemy a vicious wound that continues to bleed, and like a shark, you circle in for the kill.

Daily [ ] Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude

Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes ongoing damage equal to 5 + your Strength modifier and grants combat advantage to you (save ends both).
Miss: Half damage, and no ongoing damage.


Entry filed under: Scouring of the Shire: d&d evolution.

Excel-erate Your Gaming 4E Primer

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. truth9  |  02.2008 at 9:14 am

    This information fills me with foreboding for 4E.

    The rogue has 1/3 the number of skills compared to 3.5 10 vs. 29. All the traditional rogue skills (pickpocket, pick locks, detect traps, disarm traps, move silently, hide in shadows) are now divided into two skills (so it seems). It doesn’t look like INT affects the number of skills one gets, so the skill sets look to be extremely limited.

    The whole thing reads like rogues are just slightly lesser fighters. It looks like a rogue with high Dex will hit as well (or better than) a fighter. All of the skills presented here are combat based.

    Worst of all, there is not one thing in this to suggest that role-playing is of any importance whatsoever. This reads like a class description for a new version of Diablo. If this is the whole write-up for the rogue class, I want nothing to do with 4E.

  • 2. riphoudouso  |  02.2008 at 8:18 pm

    I see what you’re saying, but I don’t believe that this is the whole story behind the rogue. It does seem to centre on combat though, but that is nothing new, version 3 was already focused on combat.

    What I’m excited about is the refinement of the classes, abilities, and combat system. We always do the roleplaying for ourselves:D

  • 3. Dcagm Prayercutter  |  02.2008 at 11:57 pm

    I’m liking the similarity to an assasin type class… Having recently been completely hooked to Assasin’s Creed, I’m liking the sound of the Rogue’s abilities in the description… less of a chance to fail on attacks like you mentionned! AWESOME!

  • 4. truth9  |  02.2008 at 4:58 am

    See, and that actually bugs me. I want a rogue to be a rogue, and an assassin to be an assassin. There is little here to suggest that a rogue is anything but an assassin.

  • 5. Dcagm Prayercutter  |  02.2008 at 12:42 pm

    Humm! I see your point. I wonder what other classes have been tweeked!

  • 6. riphoudouso  |  02.2008 at 5:53 pm

    I’m not really sure what you define as a rogue. The above looks pretty similar to the rogue in 3.5, but they’ve put more roleplay into the actual combat. Your combat skills reflect the class nature. I don’t see how it’s saying that the rogue is nothing but an assassin. The rogue above has more fighting abilities than the 3.5 rogue, by far, ones that aren’t based on assassination, but melee combat. Besides, the 3.5 assassin prestige class was basically just an upgraded rogue with poison. What did the rogue before do? “I sneak attack/backstab” – that’s all they did.

    The whole point of 4.0 is that the characters have more options, more abilities. The rogue isn’t useless after the first strike, the mage isn’t useless after the first 2 spells. Each class will have ability tiers to choose from.

    If you want roleplay, that has always come from the players themselves. Nothing in 3.5 suggests roleplay, unless you take a prestige class of a certain order. In 3.5, if you wanted to play the underhanded assassin, you roleplayed, if you wanted to play a sneaky smooth-talker, you roleplayed, if you wanted to play the tough-guy thug, you roleplayed.

    Basically, I’ve seen nothing in 4.0 that suggests lack of roleplay, anymore than 3.5 did. What I do see is combat – 50% if not more of the whole game – becoming more interesting, having more options and choices, and keeping players more involved throughout the battle. I also see the battle system becoming more refined and not so slow. Battle can make or break a game, slowing it down to a grind or bringing the emotional turmoil to a climatic bang.

  • 7. riphoudouso  |  02.2008 at 5:54 pm

    Hey, Dcagm! There’s always room for rolling ones, our Wesley-apprentice.

  • 8. truth9  |  03.2008 at 1:17 am

    Okay, so a rogue isn’t an assassin, instead, a rogue is a little fighter. Yes, this does reflect how a rogue should fight, but I don’t really see how these new class powers are much different from the 3.5 feats. Tuumble is tumble, and if I looked I could probably find the rest in the old feat list, or at least things that are similar. How is that increasing role-playing?

    I think the thing that bugs me the most is the decrease in skills. I define a rogue as the old 2nd edition defined it, a person who has developed a wide array of talents through a hard-knock life.

    In 4E, if the rogue remains the master of skills, then they’ve decreased the available skills overall, which means the characters, from a development perspective, are bound to look closer to one another than in 3.5.

    I like the idea of a swash-buckling rogue who is acrobatic as all get out but who couldn’t sneak past a sleeping turtle. Viability in 4e, based on what I see here? None.

    This new edition is saying that as a rogue you have to be sneaky, and you have to be a thief.

    While a rogue is often a thief, the old editions never said that’s what you had to be, and we’ve had a few rogues who weren’t, who couldn’t pick pockets.

    Thus, while 4E looks like it may improve combat, it looks like it decreases the choices that will affect things outside combat. A player can choose to role-play the character however one wants, as always, but one must travel a certain skill path, so the player can’t specifically choose the skills that match that character concept.

    I don’t know how much this will improve combat, as the flow of that, and the role-playing that happens in combat will still be up to the players. Instead of saying, “I attack the orc,” the rogue can say “I use Deft Strike and attack the orc.” While it may encourage role-play, the option was always there.

    All that said, however, while I am still iffy, I will reserve judgment until more information comes out.

    Also, be fair, you never liked 3/3.5 anyways.

  • 9. riphoudouso  |  03.2008 at 9:28 am

    No one said they were increasing roleplay in 4th edition, but increasing battle smoothness and style. Regarding skills, I don’t think they were saying that was everything available to a rogue, and I believe they are keeping feats too. They aren’t eradicating 3rd edition, but building on it.

    Even in 2nd edition, you still started with a percentage of pick pockets – which doesn’t even exist in 3rd edition (universal slight of hand). I don’t see how it’s making you roleplay any certain way. It’s giving you combat maneuvers that define a rogue’s style of fighting, and different branches of styles as well.

    What’s a swashbuckling rogue? Isn’t that a swashbuckler – 3rd edition warrior class?

  • 10. truth9  |  03.2008 at 1:48 pm

    You know, all this back and forth over the merits of 4E could have been avoided if you’d posted this instead of the rogue thing:

    This makes me interested in 4E far more than this rogue write-up does, as it does give some good role-playing advice for monsters, even if that is mainly ‘how to fight’ advice.

    Also, have you seen this yet?

    Do note that they’re really pushing for people to use standardized grids and such, as all units of measurement are given in squares.

    Will you agree that the skill list is too short if it turns out that these are the only skills a rogue has available?

    And I would define a swashbuckling rogue (without moving into the separate “Complete Warrior” swashbuckler class) as a rogue with skills in the more social and acrobatic areas (bluff, diplomacy, perform, sense motive, balance, climb, jump, and tumble) with less emphasis in the thieving skills (disable device, forgery, hide, move silently, open lock, sleight of hand). In addition, the character would have feats that improve light melee weapons (Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus in a rapier or the like, probably Acrobatic and Agile as well).

  • 11. 4E Primer « Anatomy of a Halfling  |  03.2008 at 4:14 pm

    […] entry, then you’ll have noticed the second DM discussion I was having with a friend, found here. This was on a similar topic to a post from last year, which you can check out the discussion here […]

  • 12. Keiraxo  |  03.2008 at 4:12 am

    thanks much, man

  • 13. Vaughn  |  04.2008 at 3:46 am

    The way i played my rogues was pretty much determed by the personality, sure they wern’t as good at some things (remember my rouge who wore the full plate mail?) From what ive read about 4th edition it sounds good so far, they seem to be streamlining most of the classes which i feel gives you a lot more leeway in designing the character how you want it to play out. my two late cents though…

  • 14. bok ra  |  09.2013 at 7:26 pm

    magnificent post, very informative. I’m wondering why
    the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this.
    You should continue your writing. I am confident, you have a huge
    readers’ base already!


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