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Four Shadowy, Sneaky, Stabby Players That Should Build a 5e Rogue

5e Rogue

Some Dungeons and Dragons players yearn to hold arcane power in their fingertips… others wish to ride into battle with the sun shining off their armor…

But some players just want to sneak in the shadows so they can stab their unsuspecting victims and steal their gold.

The D&D 5e Rogue is the “edge-lord” of the party. Players often make them brooding city orphans with a knack for pick pocketing and using “Thieves Cant” to navigate the criminal underworld. This can range from a ruthless assassin to a smuggler with a heart of gold.

Or, you can just be a whimsical, silly goose.

Here are the 4 types of people that need to give the D&D 5e Rogue a try when they create their next character.

Players That Like Combat Efficiency.

D&D 5e Rogue

Barbarians and Paladins bring their weapons crashing down with mighty strength. And monks and fighters punch and slash with a flurry of attacks.

But with a dash the Rogue makes a single, precise cut at a weak point and wipes her blade while the monster falls dead to its knees.

The Rogue class is entirely based around its primary mechanic: “Sneak Attack”. It even has its own section on the level up chart.

If you hit a creature with advantage you get to roll an additional pool of D6’s for your damage. This happens when an enemy puts themselves into a compromising position (falls prone), or is flanked by an ally (optional), or… more reliably… when you strike while hidden from the shadows.

And don’t worry, for you long ranged “snipers” out there, there is an optional rule called “Steady Aim” which uses your bonus action to automatically give you advantage if you don’t move during your turn.

Players Who Want To Dodge and Not Wear Armor

dnd Rogue
The Thief by capprotti

Similar to the monk, it is pretty much impossible to create an effective rogue character that doesn’t have Dexterity as the primary ability modifier. I mean, you can’t even use Sneak Attack unless you have a ranged or finesse weapon, and those are wielded with Dexterity .

But another reason they HAVE to be Dex based is because rogues don’t wear armor. They don’t use shields. Their only defense is the ability to NOT get hit.

  • Uncanny Dodge: If you can see the attack coming, it is assumed that you instinctively get out of the way, reducing the damage by 50%.

  • Cunning Action: The KEY class ability that enables your “Sneak Attack” to be used multiple times in combat (rather than only at the beginning of initiative). Allows you to use your bonus action to do one of three things that are usually actions: Dash, Dodge, and Hide.

  • Evasion: You are particularly gifted at finding cover from blasts. If an area of effect attack forces a Dexterity saving throw, you never take full damage. And you take no damage if you succeed.

If you are using these class abilities correctly, you will not only be effectively breaking the action economy, but it will be darn near impossible for an enemy or monster to deal a life threatening blow. Your defense is your ability to avoid getting hit in the first place!

Players That Want to Be Good at Everything

Rogue sneak attack
Keys from the Golden Vault art by Evyn Fong

Just like every Bard… every Rogue gains “Expertise” in two skills; 4 skills by level 6. That means you get to double your proficiency for those skills. Hellooooo +9 Deception check!

But that’s not all… at level 11 you get “Reliable Talent”, which gives you a FLOOR of 10 whenever you roll in a skill you are proficient in. If you roll lower than a 10… POOF!... its now a 10. Which means that if the whole party trusts you to sneak through the castle and open up the gate, an untimely and unfortunate NAT 1 won’t ruin everything.

Finally, Rogues get “Blindsense”... no one can do what you do to everyone else: sneak up and stab. A valuable skill indeed.

Players Who Want to Solo Once in A While.

Rogue dodge ability

No matter what rogue subclass you choose, there is a high likelihood that your “particular set of skills” will not be shared by anyone else in the party.

Not only that, but when you use those skills, there is a good chance you won’t want a raging barbarian, unpredictable sorcerer, or virtue-signaling paladin.

In other words, sometimes, you’re on your own.

The subclass you choose will determine what kind of “solo adventure” situations you find yourself in:

Arcane Trickster: You become “Mr. Magic Sticky-hand” (Mage Hand Legerdemain), allowing you to still steal while you gamble at the table. And you can “Magical Ambush” from the shadows with some additional, limited spell casting.

Assassin: The deadliest rogue out there for one simple reason: your surprise attacks are ALL critical hits. Plus, the wildly fun role playing with disguise kids, “Infiltration Expertise” and “Imposter”, you can become ANYONE you need to in order to get riiiiiight next to your target.

Inquisitive: You are Sherlock Holmes. Basically unable to get lower than a 9 and able to get well over 30 on insight and perception checks… literally NOTHING gets past you.

Mastermind: A subclass suited for campaigns that lean heavily on role playing. Intuit NPC ability scores, see (and redirect) attacks before they happen (“Master of Tactics”), and blend in with the crowd.

Phantom: Do more than kill people… infuse yourself with death itself. Gain skill proficiencies of those you kill, and steal life-essence to enhance your attacks.

Scout: A less-magical, more nature, more marital rogue for those that really don’t want to play a ranger. You can move freely about the battlefield (“Superior Mobility” and “Skirmisher”) and are EXCELLENT at long-ranged ambushing.

Soulknife: A psionic-rogue with extra dice to spend on your mental abilities. Who needs sheath when you can store them in your mind powers?

Swashbuckler: Jack Sparrow anyone? An acrobatic, duel wielding charmer who EXCELS in one-on-one combat.

Thieves Cant

Thief: The rogue-est rogue that ever rogued. “Fast Hands” lets you lock-pick and snatch faster, and you can sneak and climb much better so you always get away.

To Learn More About The Rogue Subclasses, Check Out RPGBOT Here

Dex Rogue
Brazen Borrower by Eric Deschamps

Conclusion: “Why Should I Play A Rogue?”

The D&D 5e Rogue class is a Dexterity based class with opportunity for charismatic role play. Players that want to sneak and hide in the shadows, strike with deadly sneak attacks, and dodge any responses will love playing it!

Like this post, but would prefer something less edgy or cut-throat?

Check out some of our other posts on the D&D character classes:

Rogue character class

Should I play a Rogue?

And don’t leave without trying our fantasy candle sampler pack.

It’s our free gift to you… all you need to pay for is shipping!

Why should I play a Rogue?


Riley Rath

Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!


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