D&D Next Classes – Previewing the Rogue

By Ken Wai Lau

D&D Next Classes

Should have worn a raincoat instead…
Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva
Merchandise available for purchase here

The rogue is a trickster, thief or scoundrel who is at home in the criminal underworld. He is most effective when deployed in missions that require stealth and his versatility rivals that of the bard.

Adventuring parties wishing to hire a rogue would be advised to keep an eye on their wallets, but the biggest danger is the possibility of betrayal at the worst possible moment. Rogues are generally a cowardly lot and will often look out for number one, although there are exceptions to the rule.

That said, a rogue can be a valuable member of an adventuring party, even if his integrity is suspect.

Rogues generally travel light (unless they are carrying bags of loot around), therefore they rarely equip heavy armours or use weapons heavier than longswords. They rarely travel without a full compliment of tools that aid in his craft, whether that is picking locks or deactivating traps.

Bandit Territory

Rogues generally do not have a concept of a fair fight, therefore they seek to end a fight before it starts by targeting vital areas on the opponent’s body while the opponent is distracted or unaware of the rogue.

Mobility is king for the rogue and this is reflected in their ability to slip away from combat with more ease compared to other classes in D&D Next.

A rogue’s greatest asset in combat is his ability to avoid harm. A potentially life threatening wound can be reduced to a mere graze and years of avoiding danger has honed his reflexes to the point where he can completely dodge lightning bolts.

A rogue who has seen and done it all takes this evasive ability to a new level, negating any combat advantages against him and acquiring a mental agility that makes it difficult for a wizard to trap him with mind influencing magic.

He also carries a few tricks up his sleeve that are usable as a last resort, resulting in the uncanny ability to get out of any tight situation unscathed.

A rogue must always remain alert against the enforcers of law or assassins hired by those he has crossed. Thanks to his keen hearing, it is almost impossible to catch an experienced rogue off guard.

Living his life on the edge constantly has forced the rogue to master many of his trademark skills to an unusually high level out of necessity. Once he reaches a high level of overall competence, his skillset become almost second nature to him and he can routinely accomplish tasks that would vex everyone else.

The rogue also learns a secret code that is used as part of normal speech. These secret messages can also be conveyed with a special form of sign language. In either case, this secret code is most useful for exchanging information covertly.

Get Away With Murder

d&d next rogue

Hopefully, you won’t meet this chick in a dark alley. Oh wait…
Artwork © by Jordan Kerbow

Some rogues walk the path of the assassin for profit, while others might do this out of their own sense of justice.

Whatever his motivation, the assassin excels in the art of slaying his opponent without being seen.

If a foe is slow to react to battle, a well trained assassin needs only a split second to deliver a decisive blow. Those who are unaware of the assassin are also vulnerable and elite assassins can often slay opponents with a single blow.

The assassin is also adept at concocting special poisons which are not lethal on their own, but can either induce slumber, intoxicate or muddle the senses of the imbiber.

He is also a master of disguise and infiltration. A savvy assassin can forge a new identity if given a week to prepare and can perfectly imitate the characteristics of other people by studying them for an hour.

Cat Burglar

Other rogues live the life of a burglar or bandit, viewing the law with contempt and always looking out for number one.

Most thieves hone their leaping ability in order to safely hop from one roof to another and they can scale walls more readily than their peers. They can use many of their niche skills in the middle of a frantic battle and their mastery of stealth is second to none.

The thief can also study and decipher writings in languages not familiar to him and can even use magic items that he is not trained to use.

In the Dock

The rogue paths are reminiscent of the options available to rogues in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. You can either focus on your talents as a rogue or choose the path of the assassin. It seems as though alignment restrictions for the assassin have been removed as well.

Let me know whether or not you think this is a good thing in the comment box.


  1. Leo March 28, 2014 10:49 pm  Reply

    The assassin here sounds very similar to the D&D 3.5 prestige class. Can he still cast spells as well?

    • Ken Wai Lau March 28, 2014 11:25 pm  Reply

      It doesn’t seem like it.

  2. Draco May 28, 2014 5:27 am  Reply

    Rogues are in no way shape or form cowards. Seriously what coward in the world would willingly delve into an ancient dungeon full of deadly traps and monsters. My rogues and thieves that I play are basically daring swashbuckling adventurers, heroes and scrappers.

    • Ken Wai Lau May 28, 2014 4:11 pm  Reply

      I guess it depends on the type of game you want to play. What I wrote is just a sample rogue concept, but if you prefer to play a daring swashbuckler, don’t let me stop you :).

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