5E A Knife in the Dark, A Rogues Handbook
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  1. #1

    A Knife in the Dark, A Rogues Handbook

    "Rogues, would you live forever?"
    - Frederick the Great


    Contents:

    1. Overview

    • Know Your Role
    • Ability Scores
    • Races
    • Backgrounds

    2. Rogue Class Features

    • Skills

    3. Roguish Archetypes

    • Spells

    10. Multiclassing

    11. Feats & Example Builds

    12. Tips, Tricks & Handy Links



    Overview:
    Ah, the lovable rogue. The adventurer who lies, cheats, steals, stabs people in the kidneys, and really isn’t all that lovable now is he? Unless, of course, if he’s on your side. After all, no one else is crazy enough to stick their fingers into that spring-loaded trap, or to sneak off alone and make a grab for that ice giant’s key ring. He’s a useful chap to have around and you’re pretty sure you believe him when he says that your kidneys, at least, are safe.


    Know Your Role:
    Rogues in 5e can expect to dish out respectable amounts of single-target damage while also taking point on a variety of skill checks. Rogues are not front line warriors; they have neither the hp nor the AC for prolonged exchanges. Instead they dart in and out of combat or fire arrows from afar while using their dirty tricks to avoid, reduce or even negate any attacks that come their way. Keep in mind that although a rogue's damage output will likely be lower than a properly specced tank, their stronger out-of-combat presence and unique defensive features will make up for it.


    From this point forward, the following colour coding will be used:

    Sky Blue = Very good
    Blue = Good
    Black = Average
    Purple = Bad
    Red = Very bad


    Ability Scores:
    As most Rogues are a SAD (Single Ability Dependency) class, you have a surprising amount of stat placement options available. Pump up your attack stat and do as you will with the rest. Remember that certain class features (Expertise, Reliable Talent, Slippery Mind) can help compensate for low or mediocre scores for certain skills or saves.

    Strength: 1/1 related skills are available to Rogues. Viable dump stat. This is for Athletics checks only, and you can get by without it. Aspiring spider monkeys may want 10-14. Others want 8-12. You could build a Str-based rogue, but you’ll need specific race, feat, and/or multiclassing choices to make it work, and note that Sneak Attack still needs a finesse or ranged weapon.

    Dexterity: 3/3 related skills are available to Rogues. One of the big three saves. This is for attacks, damage, AC, Initiative, skills and class features. Everyone wants 16-17. Str-based rogues willstill want 12-15 here.

    Constitution: 0/0 skills. One of the big three saves. Hit points are important, but you will develop ways to avoid or mitigate damage. Everyone wants 10-16, depending on if you prefer ranged or melee.

    Intelligence: 1/5 related skills are available to Rogues. Viable dump stat. Arcane Tricksters will want 16-17. Others want 8-12.

    Wisdom: 2/5 related skills are available to Rogues. Viable dump stat. One of the big three saves. Everyone wants 8-14.

    Charisma: 4/4 related skills are available to Rogues. Viable dump stat if you aren’t a people person. Everyone wants 8-14.

    Common Races
    Dwarf: All dwarves get +2 Con, darkvision, advantage on saves vs poison and resistance to poison damage, proficiency with some non-finesse weapons and artisans tools, and a bonus to Int(History) checks with stonework. These husky fellows are built to be front line meatshields, not sneaky skirmishers. 25ft speed limits Cunning Action's mobility.


    • Hill Dwarf: +1 Wis and +1 hp per level.



    • Mountain Dwarf: +2 Str and racial proficiency in medium armor. This is the only race so far that gets dual +2s. These guys are probably your best bet for Str-based rogues.


    Elf: All elves get +2 Dex, Darkvision, Trance, advantage vs Charm, immunity to magic sleep, and Perception proficiency. Trance lets you sneak about for 4 hours while everyone else is sleeping.


    • High Elf: +1 Int. This subrace also a free wizard cantrip, an extra language, and longbows (among other non-finesse weapons). These guys were made to be Arcane Tricksters, although they'd still excel in any archetype.



    • Wood Elf: +1 Wis. Having +5 ft speed, longbow proficiency, and the ability to hide while only lightly obscured in a natural setting makes Wood Elves into excellent scouts and skirmishers.



    • Dark Elf (Drow): +1 Cha. Although they have decent stats, doubled Darkvision range and some neat innate spells, having disadvantage in direct sunlight not only hinders your accuracy, but also possibly negates Sneak Attack. Less of a hindrance in dense forests, dungeons, inside buildings, etc. You can also cast Darkness at level 5, but remember that regular Darkvision can't see though magical darkness.


    Halfling:+2 Dex; great. Lucky; great. Brave; great. Halfling Nimbleness; why not.Still, not having darkvision can prevent you from gaining advantage for Sneak Attacks while in darkness, and 25ft speed limits Cunning Action's mobility.

    • Lightfoot Halfling: +1 Cha. Naturally Stealthy (use Cunning Action to hide behind an ally and immediately shoot off a Sneak Attack), is probably the single best ability for rogues to have.



    • Stout Halfling: +1 Con. Being borderline immune to poison isn't even close to being equal with Naturally Stealthy, but still a great choice. Would be rated higher if it had darkvision.


    Human: +1 to every stat is more beneficial to a skill monkey class like the rogue than others, but even so you could still do better. Note: not having darkvision can prevent you from gaining advantage for Sneak Attacks while in darkness.

    Variant Human: +1 to two stats. Grab a skill and one of the recommended feats and go to town. Note: not having darkvision can prevent you from gaining advantage for Sneak Attacks while in darkness.

    Uncommon Races

    Dragonborn: +2 Str and +1 Cha. As a Str-based rogue, you will likely need to multiclass or pick up a feat to improve your armor. These guys don't have darkvision and their breath weapon doesn’t even key off of one of their racial stats. Stay away.

    Gnomes: +2 Int, 25 ft speed, darkvision, advantage on all mental spell saves. Only one subrace is worth it.

    • Forest Gnomes: +1 Dex and the minor illusion cantrip. These guys make great Arcane Tricksters.



    • Rock Gnomes: +1 Con instead of Dex and worse subracial features. They should just go wizard instead.


    Half-Elf: +2 Cha and +1 to two other stats. They have Darkvision, two extra skills, one extra language, advantage vs charm saving throws and immunity to magical sleep. A solid choice.

    Half-Orc: +2 Str and +1 Con. Like the Dwarves, Half-Orcs are made to smash, not to sneak. Unlike the Mountain Dwarf, you will need to multiclass or pick up a feat to improve your armor. At least Half-Orc rogues benefit from Darkvision, Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks.

    Tiefling: +1 Int and +2 Cha. While thematically having a Tiefling rogue makes a lot of sense, mechanically it's a weak choice. Not having a bump to an attack stat means you're playing catch-up, and I don't feel that Darkvision, fire resistance, and thaumaturgy make up for it.


    Rare Races

    Aarakocra (Elemental Evil Player's Companion): +2 Dex and +1 Wis. Flight (at first level!) plus Cunning Action and/or the Swashbuckler's Fancy Footwork pretty much gives you a flyby attack, which is super. Just note that you can't Sneak Attack with your talons and that you will probably need your DM's permission to choose this race. No darkvision.

    Aasimar (DMG): +1 Wis and +2 Cha. These shiny fellows are meant to be clerics or paladins, not rogues.

    Deep Gnome (EEPC): +2 Int and +1 Dex. Great Arcane Trickster stats with 120ft Darkvision and situtational advantage on Stealth. Same advantage on saving throws vs magic and 25ft speed as other gnomes. They also have access to a fantastic racial feat that grants at-will nondetection plus one casting of blindness/deafness, blur, disguise self each per long rest.

    Eladrin (DMG): +2 Dex and +1 Int. All the base elf traits plus Misty Step 1/short rest and longbow proficiency. Perfect for becoming an Arcane Trickster. Misty Step pretty much functions as an upgraded Cunning Action(disengage & dash), allowing you to escape even from grapples or restraints and travel a bonus 30ft in any direction and across obstacles as a bonus action.

    Genasi, Air (EEPC): +2 Con, +1 Dex. Okay stats, plus levitate once per long rest, and you can hold your breath forever.

    Genasi, Earth (EEPC): +2 Con, +1 Str. Pass without trace, once per long rest, and ignore rocky diffcult terrain. You could probably make a Strength-based rogue with this, I guess, maybe.

    Genasi, Fire (EEPC): +2 Con and +1 Int. No attack stat, no way.

    Genasi, Water (EEPC): +2 Con and +1 Wis. No attack stat, no way.

    Goliath (EEPC): +2 Str and +1 Con. Athletics proficiency and a once per short rest damage mitigator that doesn't scale. You could probably make a Strength-based rogue with this, I guess, maybe.


    Unearthed Arcana Races

    Changeling (Unearthed Arcana: Eberron): +1 Dex and +1 Cha. Deception proficiency, polymorph into other medium humanoids, 2 extra languages. I didn't rate Changelings higher because they don't get +2 +1 like other races, they don't get darkvision, and you can't polymorph into small size.

    Minotaur (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures): +1 Str and +1 Str, Int, or Wis. Oddly enough, you can build a Strength based Arcane Trickster with this, if that strikes your fancy. Note that you can't Sneak Attack with your horns.

    Shifter (UA:E): All shifters get +1 Dex, darkvision, and 1 minute of shifting (character level+Con bonus temp hp) per short rest. Despite the Dex bump, Shifters are a bit weak. I do not like how shifters only get +1 +1 and how their subrace feature is tied to shifting.

    • Beasthide: +1 Con, and +1 AC while shifting.
    • Cliffwalk: +1 Dex, and climb speed while shifting.
    • Longstride: +1 Dex, Dash as a bonus action while shifting. Made redundant by Cunning Action.
    • Longtooth: +1 Str, and gain strength-based 1d6 bite attack with grapple while shifting. Can't Sneak Attack with bite.
    • Razorclaw: +1 Dex, and make dex-based unarmed strike as bonus action while shifting. As written, does not give you proficiency in unarmed strikes nor does it add the finesse tag to unarmed strikes for Sneak Attacking. Ask your DM.
    • Wildhunt: +1 Wis, and advantage on Wis check and saves while shifting.


    Warforged (UA:E): +1 Str and + 1 Con. +1 AC, immune to disease. Like the rest of the UA:E races, I'm not happy that warforged only get +1 +1. The AC bonus is handy for a Strength-build but the total package is still underwhelming.


    Backgrounds:
    Aim for two good skills, or one good skill and some nice extras. Note that if a character gains the same proficiency from two different sources, you can choose a different one of the same type (ie a skill or tool). This might make Backgrounds with redundant proficiencies marginally superior as they basically let you choose whatever skill or tool you want in exchange*.


    Acolyte: Insight, Religion. Insight is good if you didn’t dump Wis, Religion is bleh, two extra languages can be a dud or a blessing depending on your campaign or DM, and the feature is very campaign specific (ie “What do you mean there isn’t a Temple of Waukeen in this town?”). Only take this if you really want to play an agent of Shar/Tymora/etc for roleplaying.

    Charlatan: Deception, Sleight of Hand. Two relevant skills, two relevant tools, 55gp worth of swag, and a fluff item like loaded die or signet ring. Sweet. The feature can be handy for forging DOA bounties for assassinations or warrants for search & seizures.

    Criminal: Deception, Stealth. Two relevant skills. You already have proficiency in Thieves’ Tools so choose whatever tool you want to replace it. Criminal Contact could be useful for “find that guy” type quests or sending warning messages or something (“the orcs are coming, pass it on”), but I’d bet it’ll more often than not turn into a DM tool for delivering quests/plot info. Spy variant can legitimize your activities.

    Entertainer: Acrobatics, Performance. One good skill, one okay tool kit & an instrument. One free instrument, costume, and 15 gp. This feature is actually pretty good. Can help advance plot as well as save money on lodgings. Less good if your DM regularly forgets to enforce such expenses. The Gladiator variant swaps the free instrument for an "inexpensive" weapon, and it doesn't change your tool(instrument) proficiency to match. So, no free whip proficiency for rogues unless your DM houserules it.

    Folk Hero: Animal Handling, Survival. Bleh. Bad skills, bad tools, bad equipment. Only saving grace is the feature which nets you free safe houses to hide from local authorities or rivals. Robin Hood fluff is nice for roleplaying.

    Guild Artisan: Insight, Persuasion. Two good skills (if you didn’t dump Wis), one language. Crafting mundane items is not generally worth it, but padlocks or manacles could be useful. Membership feature is DM-dependent for questing help, and won’t be of any help if there’s no nearby guildhall (“What do you mean there isn't a Scrivener Hall in this town?”). Another downside to this Background is that it actually costs you 5gp/month. Merchant variant can net you a free language and a mule & cart, and thematically it mixes better with the adventuring lifestyle.

    Hermit: Medicine, Religion. This does nothing for you.

    Noble: History, Persuasion. One good skill, one language. Feature can help get you into all the good parties. Just don’t blow your Sleight of Hand checks on the dance floor. Fluff can be interesting, playing as a bastard child or sliver tongued dandy. The Knightvariant feature is poop.

    Outlander: Athletics, Survival. Athletics is okay if you didn’t dump Str. While having a free trap can be nice at low levels, and the feature could potentially save your party on buying rations, nothing else here really speaks for you.

    Sage: Arcana, History. Yeah, no.

    Sailor: Athletics, Perception. Two decent skills, bad tools, some interesting swag. Too bad the free weapon doesn’t work with Sneak Attack. Ship’s passage can be nice depending on your campaign (note that Faerun is somewhat landlocked), but the variant Pirate could be so much fun (and so much trouble in the wrong player’s hand)! YMMV.

    Soldier: Athletics, Intimidation. Two decent skills, land vehicle proficiency could potentially be useful, lackluster tool and equipment. Choose Officer or Scout and go bully the local town’s guard with your rank.

    Urchin: Sleight of Hand, Stealth. Two great skills, one good tool, a free dagger, and a pet mouse (!). The feature is pretty bad though; it’ll be useful maybe once in your campaign and only then if you’re lucky.


    *Your DM may let you create a custom background as per pg. 125. If so, choose any two skills, any two tools/languages, any equipment package, and whatever feature appeals to you. I'd recommed one that gives free food and/or lodgings (eg Entertainer, Folk Hero, Outlander) or political influence (eg Guild Merchant, Noble, Solider).
    Last edited by clutchbone; Wednesday, 5th April, 2017 at 06:31 PM.
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  2. #2
    Rogue Class Features

    Hit Points: d8. You are beefier than the mages, but that's not saying much. You may visit the front lines, but you definitely don't want to live there.

    Proficiencies
    Armor: Light. This is fine, I guess. Unless you went for a Str Rogue, medium armor isn’t worth it.

    Weapons: All simple weapons plus hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, & shortswords. This gets you every finesse weapon except the scimitar (aka slashing shortswords) & whip (aka slashing daggers with reach), so you’re good to go. Note that you cannot Sneak Attack with longswords so don't bother with them. Also keep in mind that all of your weapons do piercing damage except slings, so keep one in your backpack in case piercing resistance ever comes up.

    Rapier – The simplest choice, works well with cunning actions. Hold a hand crossbow or throwing dagger in your off hand for those turns when you can’t quite get into position. Cunning Action will help keep you safe by dancing in and out of melee. You sacrifice optimized damage for versatility.

    Two Weapon Fighting – Two shortsword attack rolls equal two chances to land sneak attack, but you won't be able to use cunning action in the same turn. This is tied with ranged for the most damaging choice (with Dual Wielder feat and 2 rapiers). While TWF allows more wiggle room in your build than ranged, it's also the riskiest option as you have no bonus action left to disengage from melee.

    Ranged – Stay out of harm’s way while kill stealing from (um, i mean focusing fire with) your meat shield. This is the safest choice and with the right race/feat (halfling/Crossbow Expertise) it can be the most damaging if you gain advantage on attacks every turn via stealth. Other builds may not do as much damage. Also remember that your meatshield may grant your enemy cover, so train your bruisers to fight at the side of the enemy where they won't block your line of fire.

    Thank you to the mathemagicians below for running the numbers!

    Tools: Thieves’ tools probably get the most use out of all the tools. Unlock doors and disarm or set traps with this.

    Artisans Tools: Crafting anything is a waste of time. Crafting baskets or flower pots is even worse.

    Disguise Kit: Creating a disguise is an Int check with your tool proficiency bonus and passing off a disguise is a Deception check, so you need two different checks/proficiencies to make the most of disguises. Also, there are no rules for seeing through a physical disguise in the PHB. I'd rule that the Int check is vs a set DC to pass casual inspection and the Deception check comes up if you have to act face-to-face while in disguise. If your table resolves this issue, remember that you can disguise other characters too. Works well with certain Enchantment spells like Friends or Charm to protect your true identity from their anger at being manipulated.

    Forgery: Draft fake bounties, deeds, warrants, and writs for fun and profit!

    Gaming Set: This might come up during roleplaying, depending on your DM. Possibly uses include gambling with a powerful NPC for a favor or info, or ingratiating yourself into a seedy crowd, or to occupy someone and distract them from the real action, etc.

    Herbalism Kit: You can spend 10 full days of downtime and 50gp to create an antitoxin or a potion of healing... or you can just buy them at the nearest town on your lunch break for the same price.

    Musical Instrument: You're not a bard.

    Navigator's Tools: If you're going anywhere by boat, the crew probably has their own professionals to take care of this.

    Poisoners Kit: It takes 50gp and 20 full days of downtime to craft a basic poison with a piddly DC 10 Con save and 1d4 damage. The DMG has additional poisons, but they are too expensive off-the-shelf to be a regular addition to your arensal (if you can even find a seller), and it takes months of dedicated in-game time to craft most of them. At least using the kit to harvest poison from monsters is quick and free with no downside, but even this is dependant on what your DM throws at you.

    Vehicles: Some parties make use of carts or wagons if their DMs are particular about encumbrance... after all, that dragon's hoard won't carry itself.

    Saving Throws: Dex & Int. While every class gets one good save and one bad save, Int is probably the worst one in the game. Only 3 spells target it (Phantasmal Force, Symbol, Feeblemind). Note that you get Wis proficiency at level 15, which is nice if you play at that level.

    Starting Equipment: either go Rapier & shortbow, or 2x shortsword. Burglar’s pack is worth more gp so take it.

    Skills: Unlike some other classes, every skill you will ever need is already on your class list. Besides any Bards tagging along, and those with questionable feat choices, you will be the resident skill monkey. If possible, try to fill gaps in your party's repertoire while sticking to your strengths. Choosing only four (plus two Background skills) can actually be pretty tricky, so you’ll probably end up basing your choices on what your dump stat is, ie if you dumped Str then you’ll avoid Athletics, etc. However the Expertise class feature (more on that later) can help you compensate for an average stat like Str or Cha, so don't let a 10 or 12 hold you back.

    Acrobatics: A great choice. It keys off Dex, comes up fairly often, and some DMs may let you use this instead of Athletics in certain situations.

    Athletics: Climbing can be very common depending on your campaign, and Expertise can help make up for your mediocre Str. Thief archetypes may want this and all others can safely ignore it, but I recommend Acrobatics if you do. Check the Grappler's Manual on these boards for a rogue build that makes heavy use of Athletics.

    Deception: my personal favorite, but not every rogue needs to be good with words.

    Insight: someone in your party needs this, but it doesn't have to be you. Arcane Tricksters can avoid this.

    Intimidation: This comes up often enough to be useful, especially if your party tends to capture the last baddie in any encounter for interrogation.

    Investigation: Arcane Tricksters might want this, but as per the sidebar on pg. 178 you use Perception to find traps, not Investigation. This is for examining things, searching rooms, and looking for clues, so you'd think it'd work for trap finding, but apparently not. Ask your DM if he'd houserule trap finding into this skill; it's reasonable based on the fluff.

    Perception: This lets you “detect the presence of something”, like spotting traps or hidden foes, listening through doors, etc. Probably the most used skill in the game.

    Performance: This isn't the bard handbook.

    Persuasion: This comes up about as often as Deception, that is to say it comes up a lot, but beware of overlap.

    Sleight of Hand: Thematically relevant, but YMMV. Not all rogues are pickpockets and anyways this can potentially be very dangerous, either for you personally or for your party’s reputation/mission if you’re moonlighting.

    Stealth: You don’t have to take this, but you should.

    Animal Handling: No thank you. Although a mounted rogue taking advantage of the Mounted Combat feat (using the mount as an adjacent ally for Sneak Attack) could be interesting.
    Arcana: Thematic if you were planning on Arcane Trickster, but proficiency won’t come easy. Don’t bother.
    History: Leave the history to the guy in the pawn shop.
    Religion: Nope.
    Medicine: Buy a Healer’s Kit. Or better yet, befriend a cleric.
    Nature: You prefer alleyways and rooftops to grassland and forests
    Survival: Your prey is pocket change and you hunt in the streets. Avoid this.

    1. Expertise: This is quite good. No worries if your tertiary stat is average at best; this will effectively turn a 10 into a 14 for early level skill checks. By level 20, an Expertise skill with even a lowly 8 ability score will have +11 on rolls. That is equal to having a proficient skill with an ability score of 20! Alternatively you can sacrifice versatility for specialization if you only care about a couple of skills. Bards also get this feature, but at level 3.

    1. Sneak Attack: Roll special damage dice, under certain conditions, in addition to your attack. Sneak Attack is fairly easy to set up so take advantage of it (pun very much intended). Note that this limited to once per turn, so try to snag as many Reaction attacks (which fall on the enemy’s turn) so you can to maximize damage output. Feats will help with this. Downside: you still won’t do as much damage as a barbarian/fighter/paladin armed with a greatsword. *Sad trombone*.

    1. Thieves’ Cant: This is pretty much useless unless you beg your DM to utilize it. Maybe drop some subtle hints about how the Cant is sooo cool. This is better if, with your DM's permission as per pg 123, your party members are allowed know the Cant as one of their starting languages. Keep in mind that training in a new language after level 1 takes 250 days, which is probably never going to happen unless you do a "One Year Later" story break.

    2. Cunning Action: This combined with the new move rules is just plain awesome. Move in, stab, disengage, move out. The Spring Attack feat chain from 3.5 is now yours at 2nd level. Just remember that the 5e Opportunity Attack rules allow enemies to swing around your meat shield so watch your positioning. You can also use Cunning Action to move a total of three times on your turn, making rogues (even Halflings and Gnomes) the 2nd fastest class after monks.

    3. Roguish Archetype: See next section.

    4. Ability Score Improvement: Better than most as you get 6 of these in total (at 4th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th and 19th). Only the fighter gets more.

    5. Uncanny Dodge: Use your reaction to halve damage, as long as you can see the source. You’d prefer to use your reaction for damage, but that’s not always an option. Note that this stacks with Resistance, if you have any. Apply Uncanny Dodge first. Only good vs one attack roll so less potent vs multiattackers.

    7. Evasion: The classic is back. How does one evade an exploding fireball, exactly? Who cares! I make my save, zero damage.

    11. Reliable Talent: You will never fumble again on your proficient skills. A skill monkey’s dream.

    14. Blindsense: By the time they’re this close it may be too late, and it doesn't work with Uncanny Dodge as you can only hear them.

    15. Slippery Mind: Rogues get training in a second good save, buffing their traditional weak point. This helps a lot if your Wis is low. Too bad it’s so late in the game.

    18. Elusive: This is pretty weak for an 18th level feature, although I guess it depends on how easy/common it is for monsters to get advantage on attacks at this level.

    20. Stroke of Luck: Auto-hitting is nice, but at 20th level you’d think you’d be able to use it more than once per short rest, or at least let you be able to use it defensively and turn a hit against you into a miss. Oh well. Assassins might like this to ensure that their openers hit.
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Roguish Archetypes


    Thief
    This is your stereotypical rogue path, buffing your stealing, climbing, and sneaking, as well as granting the old favorite Use Magic Device and the awesome Thief's Reflexes. I find this Archetype to be a mix of good and bad features. It's up to you if the whole package is worth it.

    Fast Hands: Expanding your Cunning Action to cover Sleight of Hand, thieves' tools, and Use an Object actions. A DM may or may not let you pickpocket during a fight, although you may find using objects like ball bearings, poisons or potions as a bonus action to be handy. Works also with pouring oil, but not splashing it on someone as that's an attack roll (debated; ask your DM). Works very well with the Healer feat. See the sidebar on p.190 in the PHB for a non-inclusive list of other potential actions.

    Second Story Work: The need to climb fast rarely comes up. The jumping bonus is so bad it might be broken: an extra 1-5 feet with 12-20 Dex only gets you 1 extra square, if you're using a map & minis, and is nigh-useless in the Theatre of the Mind playstyle.

    Supreme Sneak: This would be great just taken at face value, but advantage on stealth is fantastic for setting up Sneak Attack. Wood Elves and Lightfoot Halflings will love this.

    Use Magic Device: With magic items being as rare as they are in 5e (p. 144), there won't be many extra wands of fireball lying around for you to use.

    Thief's Reflexes: Taking two turns is fantastic, and unlike Assassinate it works no matter how badly you roll your Initiative. Depending on the spread of rolls it's possible for you to get two turns in a row (ie if you go last normally, or if you're first and everyone else rolled terribly), potentially letting you Sneak Attack both times!

    Assassin
    This is your damage dealing class, specializing in surpise round openers along with some oddball disguise-type abilities that seem to be geared towards a solo campaign. Like the Thief, the Assassin is also a grab-bag of hits and misses in terms of features.

    Bonus Proficiencies: The only worthwhile use of the poisoner's kit is harvesting poison from dead monsters. Crafting takes too long and the off-the-shelf prices (if you can find a black markert dealer that sells them) are too high for poisons to be practical otherwise. The Disguise Kit has it's own issues; the rules regarding it's use are ambiguous at best. Please see the "Non-Class Tools" section for more info.

    Assassinate: Excellent combat opener - as long as you go before your target - and you get it 15 levels before Thieves get Thief's Reflexes. To make this work you've got to be stealthy (so you can surprise them) and perceptive (so no one surprises you), and make sure you Sneak Attack first and ask questions later! After all, if you let them start talking you'll lose surprise, and you can knock them out instead of killing them if you do actually want to ask questions. Max your initiative with Dex score improvements and the Alert feat to increase your chances. Even better if you have multiple attack rolls (via two-weapon figthing, Crossbow Expert, etc), and remember the granted advantage on attack rolls may last well into the second round of combat, depending on the initiative order.

    Infiltration Expertise: First, taking 7 days of downtime is a luxury that most campaigns can't afford, especially with pre-built campaigns. Second, you can't mimic an existing npc. Third, this is a great way to get separated from your party and die. Best case scenario is you leave the other players to play on their iPhones while you have a solo adventure, unless you can repeatedly find ways to sneak them in with you. ie "Hi, I'm a high ranking evil guy you've never heard of, arriving unannounced to inspect your evil lair. Please let me in and not check up on me, and also my friends too. Don't worry, they're cool."

    Imposter: This explicitly doesn't work with Infiltration Expertise, which is dumb. Also, it'll be hard to gain 3 hours studying anybody besides your party members outside of the stereotypical Fancy Masquerade or a long boat ride or something.

    Death Strike: This doubles ALL your damage, Sneak Attack, crit dice, static modifiers, poison, hex, whatever. You just have to make sure that 1) you surprise them, and 2) you don't miss. This works well with Stroke of Luck (if you ever end up playing at 20th level and didnt take any MC dips). This isn't rated higher because it allows a Con saving throw to negate the doubled damage.


    Arcane Trickster
    Although the Arcane Trickster doesn't have the damage dealing potential of the other Archetypes, it also doesn't have any truly bad features either. Since this archetype has two stats to keep up (Dex & Int), Arcane Tricksters might have less space for feats, maybe 2 or 3 at the most. You'll often want to keep one hand free for spellcasting, so stick with either a rapier or hand crossbow, and don't invest in two-weapon fighting.

    Spellcasting: 1/3 spellcasting (as opposed to 1/2 casters like paladins and full casters like wizards) means you only get up to 4th level spells, although most players will only see levels 1-3. It might be possible to dump Int and still be fine as long as you don't take any spells with saves or attack rolls (ie buffs, illusions), but Magical Ambush and Spell Thief will suffer and your spell list isn't that large. After all, you only get to choose from Enchantment and Illusion spells (excluding cantrips and 1 spell each at 1st, 8th, 14th and 20th level) from the Wizard spell list.

    Mage Hand Legermain: A nice buff for a fun cantrip. Not having to risk your personal safety while pickpocketing or disabiling traps is great. Doing it as a bonus action is even better. Remember that mage hand is non-concentration, so you can cast mage hand and then cast invisibility on yourself for maximum (1-minute) fun!

    Magical Ambush: The other Archetypes get damage openers, you get this. This actually might be more useful since you can use it multiple times per encounter. Imposing disadvantage on a couple of suggestions for example can turn a deadly encounter into a cakewalk.

    Versatile Trickster: A decent, if situational, source of automatic advantage and another nice buff for your mage hand. Note that this bonus action competes with Cunning Action (which includes moving the hand), but with a little planning it will serve you well. If you have the Crossbow Expert feat, you will likely be using that bonus action instead.

    Spell Thief: This functions as an alternative to counterspell. I wanted to rate this higher but unless mages in your campaign world run around shouting "lightning bolt!" your DM might require an Arcana check to determine what spell is being cast on you (eg if it is 4th level or lower), and that skill is not on your class list. Also, it's only once per long rest.

    Spells
    Tips for Picking Spells:
    Sneak Attack does not work with attack spells/cantrips, so if you want to do damage just shoot them with an arrow.
    Don’t pick too many spells with Concentration as you can only concentrate on one at a time, and damage can cause you to lose the spell.
    Try to pick spells that will see a lot of use rather than ones that are situational. You can't afford to pick niche spells.
    Many spells of the same level compete with each other, ie color spray vs sleep, blur vs mirror image, crown of madness vs hold person vs phantasmal force vs suggestion. Don't pick more than one from each group.
    If a spell allows additional saves per turn, end-of-turn saves are more powerful than start-of-turn saves.

    Acid Splash [Conjuration] (V,S) – Damage spell, so avoid. RAW, you can only target creatures, not objects, so no melting locks or ropes.

    Blade Ward [Abjuration] (V,S) – 1 action, range self, for resistance against physical damage only, and it only lasts 1 round? No thanks.

    Chill Touch [Necromancy] (V,S) – Damage spell, so avoid.

    Dancing Lights [Evocation] (V,S,M; Concentration) – Concentration is bad. Creating magical floating torches isn’t a terrible choice, but it isn’t a good one either.

    Fire Bolt [Evocation] (V,S) – Damage spell, so avoid. If you want to start fires just throw a regular torch or use prestidigitation.

    Friends [Enchantment] (S,M; Concentration) – Restricting the target to a non-hostile creature and turning the target hostile afterwards are major detriments to an otherwise powerful cantrip. Works best when you’re disguised as someone else.

    Light [Evocation] (V,M) – This doesn’t require concentration, and you can use it offensively to mark a creature, but there are still better choices.

    Mage Hand [Conjuration] (V,S) – It comes standard with Arcane Trickster and works with your class features.

    Mending [Transmutation] (V,S,M) – Too situational to take up one of your slots, although you might be able use it to fix broken doors, locks or windows that got damaged during a burglary.

    Message [Transmutation] (V,S,M) – This not only works great for stealth missions, but also in roleplaying to communicate strategy without giving away your plans (although they may see your lips move), and out-of-combat to freak out an NPC. The target doesn’t automatically know who (or what) is sending the Message, and both or either of you can be unseen as long as you know the target’s general location and no relevant physical barriers are in the way.

    Minor Illusion [Illusion] (S,M) – So good, and it’s not even concentration! RAW is silent on whether the image can be animated or not (magic gif!), but you can’t move it after it’s been cast, and you can only have 1 casting active. Still, create a 5ft cube of darkness/smoke/fog for instant total cover (you disbelieve your own illusion so you can see through it fine), perfectly mimic someone else’s voice, create an image of a floor made of dagger blades to discourage movement, “brick up” a window or a 5ft pit trap, put nailed 2x4s across a door, turn a willing ally into “stone” by casting on top of him (just make sure he’s sitting if he’s taller than 5 ft)… be creative!

    Poison Spray [Conjuration] (V,S) – Damage Spell, so avoid.

    Prestidigitation [Transmutation] (V,S) – Like Minor Illusion, this one is too much fun to pass up. Soil a rival's pants at a party (and then ambush him when he goes to change!), mark a target’s back for easy following in a crowd, flavor your fighter’s rations to taste like poop and yours to taste like fine cuisine, sell some pebbles to your fighter that taste like fine cuisine, clean off mud or blood from your clothes (if your DM won’t let you clean yourself 1 cubic foot at a time, then just take off your clothes and scrunch them into a ball), etc. There's so much fun to be had!

    Ray of Frost [Evocation] (V,S) – Damage Spell, so avoid, even if this is the best ranged one.

    Shocking Grasp [Evocation] (V,S) – Damage Spell, so avoid. You have Cunning Action to disengage anyways.

    True Strike [Divination] (S; Concentration) – This seems good, but the fact that it takes a whole action means that you can’t attack this turn, and you might lose the spell if your concentration breaks. Hiding with Cunning Action is a simpler method to get advantage without wasting your actions or cantrip selection.

    Charm Person [Enchantment] (V,S) – No concentration is good, although the target knowing it was charmed by you is bad. This can be used as an effective ambush spell, but otherwise don’t use it during combat. You can use this on a captured enemy as you are no longer fighting it, eliminating the need for interrogations. Also, it doesn’t necessarily know that you tried to charm it if it makes its save. Initial save only.

    Color Spray [Illusion] (V,S,M) – No save is good, but Sleep is better. While this affects more hp, both the range and duration are shorter and you won't get to Sneak Attack the blinded targets before this wears off. Convince the wizard to cast this instead.

    Disguise Self [Illusion] (V,S) – This is okay, but it won’t make a Gnome Trickster look medium sized and you can also just use a disguise kit.

    Illusory Script [Illusion] (S,M; Ritual, Expensive Components) – This is way to situational.

    Silent Image [Illusion] (V,S,M; Concentration) – Like Minor Illusion except this is much bigger and you can move it. Have fun!

    Sleep [Enchantment] (V,S,M) - Your best combat spell at low levels, affecting an average of 22.5 hp as a 1st level spell with no save, and an additional ~9 hp for every slot higher (for a max of ~58.5 hp). You’ll probably want to retrain this out eventually.

    Tasha's Hideous Laughter [Enchantment] (V,S,M; Concentration) - Prone and incapacitated are powerful conditions (Sneak Attack!), although the target gets to make a save each turn and another save (with advantage) each time it’s damaged, so it won’t last long. Additional saves are end-of-turn, except when triggered by damage.

    Blur [Illusion] (V; Concentration) – Concentration on a defensive spell? So I can't cast other concentration spells and if I get hit I might lose the buff? Just take Mirror Image.

    Crown of Madness [Enchantment] (V,S; Concentration) – This is useless against targets with a ranged attack and it can easily use it's own movement to essentially negate the debuff while still being affected. Additional saves are end-of-turn.

    Hold Person [Enchantment] (V,S,M; Concentration) – Suggestion has more utility and doesn’t allow a save each turn. However, auto-crit on sneak attack dice is very sweet. This is better if someone else casts it; at least then you might attack before the target has a chance to roll it's save again. Additional saves are end-of-turn.

    Invisibility [Illusion] (V,S,M; Concentration) – Redeem for one Sneak Attack (YMMV, ask your DM). You can cast this on yourself or others.

    Magic Mouth [Illusion] (V,S,M; Expensive Components) – Way too situational.

    Mirror Image [Illusion] (V,S) – Yes please. Unlike Blur this doesn't require concentration, although it does involve a bit of bookkeeping to track.

    Nystul's Magic Aura [Illusion] (V,S,M) – Way too situational.

    Phantasmal Force [Illusion] (V,S,M; Concentration) - Suggestion is better. Also, this spell suffers from too much TL;DR for a "take out one enemy" spell.

    Suggestion [Enchantment] (V,M; Concentration) – Take out one enemy (“fighting is tiring, lie down and rest”, “your weapons are really bad. Drop them and go find new ones”) or even two (“your buddy is making a mistake, grapple him before he hurts himself!”, “that other guard stole your sword, go take it back”). Initial save only. Some actions break spell.

    Fear [Illusion] (V,S,M; Concentration) - Take out a whole encounter, but in a dungeon be careful that they don’t run and alert others. Shorter range than Hypnotic Pattern but targets also drop their weapons and damage doesn't end the effect. Additional saves are end-of-turn and only happen if line of sight is broken.

    Hypnotic Pattern [Illusion] (S,M; Concentration) - Take out a whole encounter, but afterwards focus your fire so they don't wake each other up. Damage breaks effect. Take either this or Fear. Initial save only.

    Major Image [Illusion] (V,S,M; Concentration) – You can probably get by with just the first two illusions.

    Phantom Steed [Illusion] (V,S; Ritual) - Not worth it with your limited spells, especially since it doesn't let more than one person ride.

    Confusion [Enchantment] (V,S,M; Concentration) – Even if the enemy might attack you, it’s still better than them attacking you as normal. Excellent AoE crowd control. Additional saves are end-of-turn.

    Greater Invisibility [Illusion] (V,S; Concentration) – As a rogue, you want to kiss whomever made this.

    Hallucinatory Terrain [Illusion] (V,S,M) – No thank you, how often will you really use this?

    Phantasmal Killer [Illusion] (V,S; Concentration) - Targets one enemy. Frightened condition is pretty good, and this is your only damage spell. Additional saves are start-of-turn and only end damage, not frightened.

    Arcane Tricksters get to choose one non-illusion or enchantment wizard spell at 3rd, 8th, 14th, and 20th level. Try to pick spells that do something your other spells can't. Here are some suggestions, and try not to be overcome by analysis paralysis.

    3rd: Escape spells (Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Fog Cloud, Longstrider), defensive buffs (Protection from Good & Evil, Shield), other (Dectect Magic, Find Familiar, Grease)

    8th: Buffs/debuffs (Enlarge/Reduce, Levitate), movement (Misty Step, Spider Climb), other (Rope Trick)

    14th: Buffs (Haste), movement (Fly)

    20th: Escape (Dimension Door), crowd control (Evard's Black Tenacles)

    Swashbuckler
    The Swashbuckler, as introduced in an Unearthed Arcana online article, is an archetype oriented around melee combat. Every Swashbuckler feature is both useful and thematically consistent, providing defense, offense, mobility and even some awesome battlefield control and out-of-combat utility. In fact, it may verge on being too good. The only downsides are that you still need a tank/meatshield (or better yet, two) to run interference, and also your DM may not allow Unearthed Arcana material in their campaign. Works well with strength or dexterity builds.

    Fancy Footwork: Awesome mobility feature. This makes the Disengage action nigh-obsolete (except when you're adjacent to +2-3 foes), freeing up your bonus action for two-weapon fighting, Cunning Action(Hide), Elegant Maneuver or other shenanigans. You can even target two different creatures with two-weapon fighting for maximum coverage. Note that it doesn't require your melee attacks to hit to work.

    Toujours l'Audace: Initiative bonus? Sure I'll take one. Oh wait, there's a footnote here... melee Sneak Attacks now work whether an ally is adjecent to the target or not? Sweet! How is this not the main perk of this feature?

    Panache: An action to draw aggro better than any tank or to charm on par with any enchanter, at will. Seriously, this is so good it's broken. The taunt version in particular is open to a whole bunch of abuse: as written, if you taunt and then hide (or go invisble, fly, climb, etc) but stay within 60 feet of the target, it can't move away, it can't target you, and it can't attack anyone else. The charm version is Charisma(Persuasion) on steroids. The only weakness is you must share a language.

    Elegant Maneuver: Bonus action advantage on Athletics or Acrobatics checks, which I believe occur as part of your movement. You can combine this with Fancy Footwork for a verticle getaway, or with Panache to give your DM a migraine. Rules lawyers might argue if this feature works out of combat as it specifies "on your turn".

    Master Duelist: Once per short rest, if you miss an attack, roll again with advantage. Slightly diluted version of your level 20 feature Stroke of Luck
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:39 PM.

  4. #4
    Multiclassing

    For the sake of this guide (and my sanity), I generally won't review beyond losing more than 8 rogue levels to multiclassing. Go much farther than that and you're not really a rogue anymore anyways. Also, I'll leave some of the crazier/more intense multiclass theorycrafting for others to do; for a great example of this see "Dealing Death: Handbook of the True Assassin" in the Handy Links section.

    General Rogue Multiclassing - Any class feature that I've previously rated Blue or Skyblue is usually worth keeping in your build. Ability Score Increases are often worth it too. If you're going to multiclass, try to jump out before you hit a subpar feature or at least make an equal trade. Also keep in mind that when I say "keep x number of levels, then multiclass for y number of levels", you can break it up and insert those MC dips wherever you want within or after the x levels.

    Thief Multiclassing - Thieves will want 9 rogue levels at least for Supreme Sneak, will usually stay for Reliable at 11, ASI at 12, and/or UMD at 13, and it might be worth it to stay around for Thief's Reflexes at 17 as well. Fill in the gaps as needed.

    Assassin Multiclassing - Either jump out early at or soon after Assassinate, stay until your ASI at 12, or stick it out until Death Strike.

    Arcane Trickster Multiclassing - You will want to keep 13 levels for Versatile Trickster. Hardest Archetype to multiclass with as you potentially have to keep up 3 stats (Dex, Int, Wis/Cha), depending on the class. Jump out somewhere in 14-19.


    What You Lose When Multiclassing:

    1 level dip: I'd recomended this for most rogues; you lose nothing but a relatively weak capstone ability (1 auto hit/short rest).
    2-3 level dip - This is fine as well, depending on if the trade-off is worth missing an Ability Score Improvement (you won't miss Elusive or 1d6 worth of Sneak Attack).
    4 - You won't miss out on an ASI, but you lose a Roguish Archetype feature and 2d6 SA dice
    5 - As above, but with a net loss of 1 ASI. Note that many classes get an Extra Attack at this level, which is very good.
    6 - As above, but you also lose 3d6 SA and Slippery Mind (nooo!)
    7 - As above, but you also lose Blindsense. Not a big deal.
    8 - As above, but you also lose a Roguish Archetype feature and 4d6 SA.


    What You Gain When Multiclassing:
    Rogue/Barbarian
    Become a Savage, combining unconventional fighting styles with unpredicable rage to hit your enemies where it hurts.
    Suggested build: Thief 15/Totem Warrior 5
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Berserker 8

    Proficiencies gained: shields, martial weapons

    1. Rage - You must be a strength rogue for this to work and you still need a finesse weapon (i.e. rapier) for Sneak Attack. You basically become Inigo Montoya.
    1. Unarmored Defence - You need 16 Con to equal the AC of studded leather. Medium armor might be better, but some types hurt stealth without the Medium Armor Master feat.

    2. Reckless Attack - this can work well with Sneak Attack & Cunning Action (disengage)
    2. Danger Sense - With this and your Dex save proficiency, and eventually Evasion, you will never fear dex-save spells. Helps make up for a Str-build's lower Dex score.

    3. Primal Path
    Beserker: Frenzy - Bonus attack good, exhaustion bad. Use on a boss fight or not at all.
    Totem Warrior: Bear - Resistance stacks with Uncanny Dodge, so this is good. Eagle & wolf are useless to you
    4. ASI

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    5. Fast movement +10 in medium armor and lower.

    6. Primal Path
    Berserker: Mindless Rage - Helps offset your low Wisdom save, but fairly situational.
    Totem Warrior: Bear, Eagle or Wolf - Minor, situational benefits that might never come up.
    7. Feral Instinct - Advantage on initiative rolls and acting during an enemy's surprise round helps everyone, but especially assassins.

    8. ASI

    Rogue/Bard
    Become a Mountebank, swindling the gullible with tall tales and quick fingers.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Lore Bard 3
    Suggested build: Thief 13/Valor Bard 7

    Proficiencies gained: one skill, one instrument

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Bardic Inspiration d6 - Remember that this cannot be used to buff your own skills or attacks, only your allies.

    2. Jack of all Trades - Great! Buffs initiative too.
    2. Song of Rest - Free minor heals, but you will probably not take enough bard levels for it to improve.

    3. Expertise - Two more skills get double proficiency. Yay!
    3. Bard College
    Lore: 3 skills - you can use your new Expertise here.
    Lore: Cutting Words - good use of your BI as it can help defend yourself as well as others, but it conflicts with Uncanny Dodge.
    Valor: Medium armor is equal to 20 Dex and studded leather, but shields are nice. Whips are the best gain from martial weapon proficiency.
    Valor: Combat Inspiration - BI to buff the damage or defense of others, not yourself.
    4. ASI

    5. Font of Inspiration - BI is now d8 and recharges at short rests.

    6. Countercharm - This is okay, if overly specific, and it uses your action.
    6. Bard College
    Lore: Additional Magical Secrets - This gives you two spells of 3rd level or lower, but you will probably want to grab Hex (my preference) or Hunter's Mark.
    Valor: Extra attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    7. You get 4th level spells here.

    8. ASI

    Rogue/Cleric
    Become a Divine Blade, because your god's crusades are not always fought on a battlefield.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/War Cleric 8

    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Domain (Knowledge and War are best. War is best-of-best)
    Knowledge: Blessing of Knowledge - pick two 'knowledge' type skill proficiencies and double your proficiency bonus on them. This is okay.
    War: Bonus Proficiencies - Martial weapons are nice for whips, maybe longbows. Heavy Armor doesn't work with Stealth.
    War: War Priest - Bonus action attacks (Wis mod) times per long rest is pretty sweet.
    2. Channel Divinity 1/short rest (Turn Undead) - Worse than when an ally Turns as you can't get Opportunity Attacks when the monsters run away from you.
    Knowledge: Channel Divinity (Knowledge of the Ages) - This gives 10 minutes of proficiency with any skill or tool. This can help fill party gaps.
    War: Channel Divinity (Guided Strike) - This gives +10 on an attack roll, after roll is made but before DM calls result. Very nice.
    3.

    4. ASI

    5. Destroy Undead CR 1/2 - scales by cleric level, so not that great for multiclassing.

    6. Channel Divinity 2/short rest
    6. Domain feature
    Knowledge: Channel Divinity (Read Thoughts) - reading thoughts can be fun ("Don't think about the hidden treasure! Hah, you're thinking about it, aren't you!") and it's nice that they threw in the no-save Suggestion.
    War: Channel Divinity (War God's Blessing) - Now you can grant +10 an ally's attack roll as a reaction. Usually better to keep this for yourself.
    7. You get 4th level spells here.

    8. ASI, Destroy Undead CR1
    Knowledge: +Wis damage on cleric cantrips. No Sneak Attack on attack spells so this is bad.
    War: Divine Strike - You get +1d8 on a weapon attack, 1 use per turn, all day long. So good!

    Rogue/Druid
    Become a Shapeshifter, sneaking into areas no normal humanoid could with your Wild Shape.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Moon Druid 3
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.

    2. Wild Shape - claw/bite etc attacks do not work with Sneak Attack
    2. Circle
    Land - Extra cantrip, limited spell recovery, and bonus spells at certain levels.
    Moon - Wild Shape as a bonus action. CR 1 beast form.
    3.

    4. ASI

    4. Wildshape Imp. - You can now choose a form with a swimspeed, which means no athletics check needed.

    5.

    6. Circle
    Land: Land's Stride - Minor buffs related to terrain and magical plants.
    Moon: Primal Strike - Beast form attacks count as magical weapons. Still can't Sneak Attack with beast form attacks though. CR 2 beast form.

    Rogue/Fighter
    Become a Sellsword, using formal weapon training and dirty tricks to win a fight by any means necessary.
    Suggested build: Rogue (any)19/Fighter 1
    Suggested build: Arcane Trickster 13/(Battle Master or Eldritch Knight) 7

    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons

    1. Fighting Style - Archery, Two-Weapon Fighting, and Dueling are the best choices for you (in that order). Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.
    1. Second Wind - heal 1d10 + fighter level, once per short rest. Every little bit helps, but it helps a pure fighter more.

    2. Action Surge - One extra action per short rest is quite nice. Use it to Ready an attack with a reliable trigger to score Sneak Attack dice on a later turn in the same round!

    3. Martial Archetype
    Champion: Improved Critical - This is easy to use and effective.
    Battle Master: Combat Superiority - Very useful. Maneuver DCs, if applicable, scale with proficiency so multiclassing won't hurt them. Choose Precision Attack, Riposte, and Trip Attack.
    Battle Master: Student of War - I'm not sure why they bothered with this filler, Combat Superiority is already awesome enough.
    Eldritch Knight: Spellcasting - Based on Int so Arcane Tricksters might think about this, but remember that Evocation spells can't Sneak Attack. Even so, extra damage is extra damage.
    Eldritch Knight: Weapon Bond - Immunity to disarm and you can smuggle your 2 favorite weapons in anywhere, but otherwise not that useful.
    4. ASI

    5. Extra attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.

    6. ASI

    7. Archetype
    Champion - Remarkable Athlete gives half your proficiency bonus in untrained "physical" checks. This includes Initiative so it's quite nice.
    Battle Master - Know Your Enemy - This is really neat! The effect is useful and can't be replicated by any other ability or spell. "Armor Class" or "Current Hit Points" are probably the best options.
    Battle Master - +1 superiority die.
    Eldritch Knight: War Magic - Use True Strike or Minor Illusion to set up Sneak Attack, or just do extra damage with Poison Spray or Shocking Grasp if Sneak Attack conditions are already met.
    8. ASI

    Rogue/Monk
    Become a Ninja, mixing pressure-point attacks with mystic traditions to neutralize your enemies from the shadows.
    Suggested build: Assassin 14/Shadow Monk 6
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Unarmored Defense - You need 16 Wis to equal the AC of studded leather
    1. Martial Arts 1d4 - This does not grant the finesse property so you can't sneak attack with unarmed strikes, but extra damage is still extra damage.

    2. Ki - Flurry of Blows is your best option here as Cunning action already grants bonus action Disengage and Dash, although bonus action Dodge might be handy. Ki points scale 1:1 with monk level.
    2. Unarmored Movement +10 ft - More movement helps with Cunning Action utility. Goes up by 5ft at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level.

    3. Deflect Missiles - This conflicts with Uncanny Dodge, and effectiveness scales with monk level. Note that you can (potentially) Sneak Attack with returned missiles!
    3. Monastic Tradition
    Way of the Open Hand: Open Hand Technique - The prone condition option happens after your regular attack, so no Sneak Attack, but denying reactions allows you to flurry and still move away safely.
    Way of Shadow: Shadow Arts - Silence is useful for taking down sentries and/or spellcasters. Magical Darkness can hinder as much as it can help, but certain set-ups can really make this work wonders (Shadow monk + Warlock w/ devil's sight + sneak attack)
    Way of the Four Elements - Water Whip is the only worthwhile option; prone them w/ burst damage and then Sneak Attack them.
    4. ASI
    4. Slow Fall - Situational, but this compliments Uncanny Dodge as that can't reduce fall damage.

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    5. Stunning Strike - This specifically happens after your normal attack, but since it lasts until the end of your next turn you can Sneak Attack then.

    6. Ki-Empowered Strikes - Might be "handy" to have this. hehe.
    6. Monastic Tradition feature
    Way of the Open Hand: Wholeness of Body - Healing 3x your monk level, once per long rest, is less effective for a multiclass character.
    Way of Shadow: Shadow Step - Bonus action teleports within dim light/darkness + auto advantage goes great with Sneak Attack! Humans/Halflings need some method of darkvision to make this work.
    Way of the Four Elements - If you absolutely must take this, go with Clench of the North Wind.
    7. Evasion - Same as Rogue level 7 feature, making a 7 rogue/7 monk slightly redundant.
    7. Stillness of Mind - End charm or frightened as an action. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.

    8. ASI

    9. Unarmored Movement improvement - You can now run up walls and across water. Cool! Avoid unnecessary athletics checks.

    10. Purity of Body - Immunity to disease and poison. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.

    Rogue/Paladin
    Become an Inquisitor, rooting out and eliminating heretics, acolytes of rival deities, and unholy abominations.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Vengeance Paladin 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons

    1. Divine Sense - Extremely situational ("That used-cart salesman is a fiend! Literally!")
    1. Lay on Hands - Effectiveness is tied to paladin level. Probably best used to stabilize the dying.

    2. Fighting Style - Dueling is the best choice for you, or Defense if you must fight with two weapons. Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.
    2. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls. Too bad you don't get cantrips.
    2. Divine Smite - This is great for burst damage. You can't waste or miss with it either since you only decide to Smite or not after the DM confirms a hit. Uses spell slots.

    3. Divine Health - Immunity to disease. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.
    3. Sacred Oath: Channel Divinity 1/short rest
    Oath of Devotion: Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon) - Cha mod to attack rolls is good, but having your weapon glow bright light can be bad depending on your situation or playstyle.
    Oath of Devotion: Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy) - Turn fiends and Undead. Okay, I guess, for relevant scenarios.
    Oath of the Ancients: Channel Divinity (Nature's Wrath) - Restrained foes grant advantage, but too bad this takes an action and it can potentially make it's save before your next turn.
    Oath of the Ancients: Channel Divinity (Turn the Faithless) - Turn fey and fiends. Okay, I guess, for relevant scenarios.
    Oath of Vengeance: Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy) - Frighten any one enemy
    Oath of Vengeance: Channel Divinity (Vow of Enmity) - Advantage vs one enemy for 1 minute. So good. Plant it on whatever looks like it has the most hitpoints.
    4. Ability Score Improvement

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.

    6. Aura of Protection - +Cha modifier bonus on top of all saving throws, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome. Compensates for missing out on Slippery Mind.

    7. Sacred Oath feature
    Oath of Devotion: Aura of Devotion - Immunity to charmed, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.
    Oath of the Ancients: Aura of Warding - Resistance to all spell damage, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.
    Oath of Vengeance: Relentless Avenger - Hit an enemy with an opportunity attack? Go follow them. In my experience, DM's don't usually let their monsters trigger opportunity attacks.
    8. Ability Score Improvement

    9.

    10. Aura of Courage - Immunity to frightened, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.

    Rogue/Ranger
    Become a Vagabond, traveling the world and surviving however you can.
    Suggested build: Assassin 17/Hunter 3
    Suggested build: Thief 15/Hunter 5

    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons, 1 ranger skill

    1. Favored Enemy - This gives no combat benefit and sees limited use otherwise. Best to choose a race (ie goblinoids, elves) to receive the benefits vs all applicable subraces.
    1. Natural Explorer - This has more of an impact in the more inhospitable environments, but forests are probably the most common. Situational and fairly weak anyways.

    2. Spellcasting (Wis) - Hunter's Mark is what you're here for. Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls. Too bad you don't get cantrips.
    2. Fighting Style - Archery, Dueling, Two-weapon Fighting, in order of effectiveness. Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.

    3. Archetype
    Hunter: Colossus Slayer is your best bet. +1d8 damage vs hurt enemies shouldn't be too hard to set up, especially if you can make two attack rolls per turn somehow. Doesn't scale.
    Beast Master: Can small characters ride medium beast companians as a mount? If so... it's still a weak feature. Best used as a literal meat shield, and/or for Lightfoot Halflings to hide behind.
    3. Primeval Awareness - this doesn't even give direction, so knowing that there's undead *somewhere* nearby is a bad trade for a Hunter's Mark use. Actually gets less specific in your favored terrain.

    4. ASI

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to land Sneak Attack

    6. Additional Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer - Eh, barely worth the effort to write it down on your sheet.

    7. Archetype
    Hunter: Multiattack Defense is my pick. It helps cover for Uncanny Dodge's main weakness, multiattacks.
    Beast Master: Use the bonus action to Help and set up your Sneak Attack.
    8. ASI
    8. Land's Stride - Yay. So know you can really take the fight to all those plant monsters that you never actually fight. Even if this gave you immunity to magical plants, which it doesn't, it'd still be weak.

    Rogue/Sorceror
    Become a Hedge Mage, using your street smarts and natural magics to confound your foes.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Draconic Sorceror 3

    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Spellcasting (Cha) - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Sorcerous Origin
    Draconic Bloodline: You'll most likely use the double proficiency on Cha checks to plead for your life, but remember that it doesn't stack with Expertise. Otherwise more hp is always welcome, but does the AC increase stack with Unarmored Defense if you also have that?
    Wild Magic: Sugre equals a 5% chance of (19% good effect, 14% bad effect, 17% good and/or bad or neutral effect) every time you cast a spell. I'm not a fan. Tides of Chaos can give advantage on one attack/long rest though.
    2. Font of Magic - Sorcery points are based on sorceror level, so this is bad for a multiclass character.

    3. Metamagic - Quickened Spell works with the attack action. Twinned Spell is great too.

    4. ASI

    5.

    6. Sorcerous Origin
    Draconic Bloodline: You prefer Sneak Attacking to damage spells, and situational resistance to your damage type affinity is only situationally okay.
    Wild Magic: Bend Luck gives you a use for sorcery points that doesn't risk a Wild Magic Surge.

    Rogue/Warlock
    Become an Occultist, signing fell contracts with dark powers to further your pursuit of wealth and influence.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Blade Pact 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Otherwordly Patron
    Archfey: Adds some useful save-or-suck spells and some illusions. Gain a short range AoE charm/frighten ability, but note that it can affect allies too. Unlike the Charm spell, targets do not know that they were charmed by you, so there's plenty of opportunity for RP abuse here.
    Fiend: Adds mostly damage spells and some save-or-sucks. Gain Cha+warlock level temp hp whenever you kill a hostile creature. Less effective for multiclass rogues with unmaxed Cha.
    Great Old One: Adds save-or-suck spells and some divination. Gain telepathy 30ft. Ask your DM how this works with social skills like Insight or Imtimidate.
    1. Pact Magic - You can't SA with Eldritch Blast, but Hex is your new best friend. Impose disadvantage on Wis check to spot you or Dex checks to hinder their initiative rolls.

    2. Eldritch Invocations - see section below for some pointers.

    3. Pact Boon
    Chain: Have your familiar use the Help action to set up Sneak Attack. Help action doesn't break invisibility, so choose an Imp or Quasit, or Sprite if you're good.
    Blade: Smuggle your rapier into any location, or even use it to steal someone's ancestral weapon out of their keep.
    Tome: Learn any three cantrips. I strongly recommend Guidance as one of your choices.
    4. ASI

    5.

    6. Otherworldly Patron
    Archfey: Use your reaction upon taking damage to teleport and turn invisible. Better than Uncanny Dodge vs multiattackers but worse vs single attackers.
    Fiend: Add 1d10 to any of your ability checks or saving throws This includes initiative rolls and death saving throws.
    Great Old One: Impose disadvantage on one attack roll that targets you. If it misses, your next attack roll vs it has advantage. Really god for rogues.
    7.

    8. ASI

    Invocations
    Beguiling Influence - gain proficiency in Deception and Persuasion
    Book of Ancient Secrets - you can learn and cast any ritual you buy or find, regardless of class requirement. Top choice for Tome warlocks.
    Devil's Sight - Humans and other night-blind races will want this, but everyone can pair it with darkness to confound enemies - and allies - to great effect.
    Fiendish Vigor - 1d4+4 temp hp as an action. Use before every fight. Only useful at low levels so replace it eventually.
    Mask of Many Faces - thematic but weak, especially for small pcs as they can't use this to look medium sized.
    Misty Visions - silent image at will! So much fun to be had. Top choice.
    One With Shadows - works well with Sneak Attack and ambushes, but it costs an action to use and you can't move.
    Voice of the Chain Master - might be fun, but there are better choices.
    Thirsting Blade 5th blade pact - two attacks on attack action. Top choice for Blade warlocks.

    Rogue/Wizard
    Become a Magician, improving your skills in both sleight-of-hand and magic with constant practice and study.
    Suggested build: Arcane Trickster 13/Illusionist 7

    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Spellcasting - You'll want to max your Dex first, but Int comes right after.
    1. Arcane Recovery - This can recover your Arcane Trickster spells too! Works best with an odd-numbered amount of wizard levels.

    2. Arcane Tradition
    Abjuration - the prevented damage scales with wizard level. Trigger it with Shield and stack it with False Life.
    Conjuration - You can use this feature to create a shortsword, crowbar, telescope, key (although it might take weeks to guess the right shape), stepladder... use your imagination.
    Divination - Portent is the best school feature, at any level. Replace any d20 roll on any creature you can see with a pre-rolled d20, 2/day. Thwarted by being blinded, etc.
    Enchantment - Unlike the Charm spell, targets do not know that they were charmed by you, so there's plenty of opportunity for RP abuse here, but the 5ft limit is crippling.
    Evocation - I advise using weapons for damage (and Sneak Attack) and spells for everything else, so don't choose Evocation.
    Illusion - Learn 1 more cantrip and buff your minor illusion. Now you can create illusions of shouting dwarves, barking dogs, crying children, etc, at will. Great for ambushes or distractions.
    Necromancy - This only works when you kill creatures with spells, not weapons. Pass.
    Transmutation - Scam merchants with solid bars of "silver", then skip town. Turn an iron lock into wood, then set it on fire. Be creative.
    3.
    4. ASI
    5.
    6.
    Arcane Tradition
    Abjuration - Call me selfish (I don't care, I'm a rogue!), but I'd rather spend my class features on myself and not others.
    Conjuration - Teleporting 30ft as an action is okay for "oh no!" situations like being grappled, and swapping places with your meatshield can be a lifsaver.
    Divination - This is kind of like having a subsidy for casting Divination spells, which you otherwise might avoid using in favor of saving slots for combat.
    Enchantment - This works best if there are either two enemies and no allies nearby (in which case good luck to you), or vs ranged attacks which will probably target an ally instead.
    Evocation - I advise using weapons for damage (and Sneak Attack) and spells for everything else, so don't choose Evocation.
    Illusion - I actually didn't realize you couldn't do this already. Good to know. This would be better if you could use your reaction as well to adapt to monster actions. Oh well.
    Necromancy - There are plenty of ways to abuse this.
    Transmutation - This is really nice. Proficiency in Con Saves is probably the best choice to keep "always on", but darkvision is good for humans.
    7.
    8. ASI
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Feats:

    Hide
    Alert: +5 to Initiative is pretty much mandatory for Assassins. Thieves and Arcane Tricksters don't really need it.

    Athlete: Thieves already get the climbing bonus, and the rest isn't really worth it.

    Actor: You can already mimic the speech of another person with Minor Illusion if you're a Forest Gnome and/or an Arcane Trickster, and the bonus to disguises is situational.

    Charger: This does not gain any benefit from Cunning Action as you can't take two bonus actions on your turn. In fact it interferes with your Cunning Action to disengage.

    Crossbow Expert: Lets you ignore the loading property so you can draw ammunition as part of the attack. Taken with the feat's third property, a rogue armed with a hand crossbow can fire twice in one turn, although you need one hand free to handle the ammo. One of the few ways a rogue can get multiple attack rolls without multiclassing for 5 levels. Take either this or Dual Wielder.

    Defensive Duelist: This can potentially be one of the best defensive feats at high level, but note that it competes with Uncanny Dodge (both use your reaction) and it only protects against melee attacks.

    Dual Wielder: Take either this or Crossbow expert for optimizing damage. Better for Swashbucklers.

    Dungeon Delver: This is dependant on your campaign (and DM); fighting a horde of orcs? You don't need this. Raiding tombs? Might be a good idea. Arcane Tricksters can just use their Mage Hand to avoid trap damage entirely.

    Durable: Normal hit die recovery for rogues is ~4.5+Con. Con is usually +1 or +2 for rogues, so this benefit will turn your avg hit die recovery to ~5+Con or ~6+Con. Not worth it.

    Elemental Adept: You don't ever use elemental damage spells.

    Grappler: There's an interesting Grappler's Manual in the Handy Links section below. Check that out to make a Grappling Rogue, but it looks like a 2-7 level dip into rogue is preferred over going full rogue, emphasis on 2. Everyone else can avoid.

    Great Weapon Master: You can't Sneak Attack with these.

    Healer: This actually isn't that bad. Healer's Kits heals more hp per shot than a potion of healing and are also much more cost efficient (about 7 copper per hit point healed without even factoring the number of hit dice, vs about 7.1 gold per hit point with the potion). This feat ends up saving the party hundreds of gold over the long run, and Healer's Kits are also more common than magical potions. Try to convince someone else to take this. Better for Thieves wth their Fast Hands & Cunning Action(use an object) features.

    Heavily Armored: Maybe a Str-based Mountain Dwarf rogue would consider this, but they should just dip into fighter instead.

    Heavy Armor Master: No, this is too far even for the Mountain Dwarf.

    Inspiring Leader: Meh, this isn't really your bag of tricks.

    Keen Mind: Just straight bump Int instead, if you feel the need.

    Lightly Armored: Worthless to you.

    Linguist: Just straight bump Int instead, if you feel the need.

    Lucky: This is what the rogue's 20th level ability should have been. However, RAW this doesn't actuallly grant advantage per se, just an extra d20, so it doesn't work with Sneak Attack. Ask your DM.

    Mage Slayer: Spike your melee damage and defend against casters, but remember you need an ally nearby (or invisibility, etc) to trigger Sneak Attack. This uses your reaction to make a special melee weapon attack, not an opportunity attack, so it doesn't work with Sentinel. Overall this feat sees less use than Sentinel but is also less risky. Remind your DM that this works against innate spellcasting too, and ask their opinion on whether your attack interrupts or happens after the casting of the enemy's spell. Not for ranged rogues.

    Magic Initiate: Get hex and don't look back. The target won't know you've placed a hex on it (pg. 204) so casting this from hiding won't break surprise, and since initiative counts as a dexterity check this is great for Assassins to set up assassinate/death strike! Hex can also last multiple encounters (as long as you don't travel or take a short rest) because you can retarget it anytime after the initial target dies within the 1 hour duration. If you prefer a divine flavor, guidance, resistance and bless are solid selections from the cleric list; you don't even need any Wis to make them work.

    Martial Adept: 1 maneuver per short rest isn't that great. If you do take this, go with Precision and Riposte.

    Medium Armor Master: Str-based Mountain Dwarf rogues or multiclass rogue/fighters may want this, but no one else.

    Mobile: +10 speed is good for small rogues]) but, unless you really want to make the most of TWF, you already have Cunning Action to disengage.

    Moderately Armored: This may be worth it, or you could just dip into fighter, but note that with 20 dex you'll need to use a shield for this to provide any AC benefit at all.

    Mounted Combatant: Having automatic advantage on melee attack rolls is great on paper, but most campaigns will probably require you to become unmounted fairly regularly. Also as a rogue you generally don't want to encourage attackers to target you.

    Observant: If you have proficiency and Expertise in perception, this can be potentially game breaking in your DM's eyes. If not, this can still be useful. Note that this adds a modifier to your passive score only, not to any actual rolls.

    Polearm Master: Nope. No Sneak Attacks with two-handed weapons.

    Resilient: Choose Con and by 15th level you will be proficient in all 3 big saves. This works best if your character starts off with an odd Con stat.

    Ritual Caster: If you take this, choose Find Familiar and an owl (flyby attack + help action = advantage). Some DM's might not allow this interpretation of the help action; ask first.

    Savage Attacker: No, re-rolling one d8 (at best) is really weak for a feat.

    Sentinel: On paper, more opportunity attacks = more Sneak Attacks (as long as SA conditions are met), however this is quite risky as monsters will probably just end up focusing on you. Great if your party has a way of directing who your enemy attacks (ie Goading Attack maneuver, etc). General consensus says that Sentinel attacks resolve after the triggering attack so you can only avenge your friend's death, not prevent it. Not for ranged rogues.

    Sharpshooter: This is okay for those that prefer ranged, but try to only use it with advantage on your attack roll. Works better when paired with Skulker, especially for Assassins. This way your assassinate/death strike will do plenty more damage with less risk if you miss.

    Shield Master: This lets you shove(knock prone) as a bonus action before your attack to set up Sneak Attack conditions, but you need to grab proficiency with shields from somewhere first. For best results you should be trained in Athletics with Expertise. Also, the target can only be one size category larger than you so Halflings and Gnomes should pass.

    Skilled: Ehhh, not really neccesary. You already get at least 6 skills.

    Skulker: Pretty darn good for sniping! There's a bit of overlap though for Wood Elves and Lightfoot Halflings.

    Spell Sniper: You don't use spells with attack rolls.

    Tavern Brawler: Check the Grappler's Manual in the Handy Links section below. Otherwise avoid; you can't Sneak Attack with improvised weapons or unarmed strikes.

    Tough: More hitpoints are always welcome, but it's best for rogues to focus on other areas (like how not to get hit at al)..

    War Caster: Only for Arcane Tricksters, and even then it's not a top priority. Full casters get more use out of this feat than you.

    Weapon Master: Heavy crossbows, longbows, scimitars and whips aren't worth the price of a feat. For what it's worth, whips are the best choice here.

    Example Builds

    For these builds I have only included items where choice is a factor, so basic class and achetype features are not shown. Also they are meant to be examples of capable solo-class builds and therefore are not multiclassed, except for the strength build which needed a bit of help.

    Thief Build
    This Thief will have 30 passive perception at level 20, 2 points shy of the theoretical maximum. He's built for scouting in any environment, dealing with traps, and two-weapon fighting, taking feats that help his damage output and survivability.


    Race: Variant Human (Dex +1 Wis +1, Skill: Perception, Feat: Observant(Wis), Language: Orc)
    Ability Score Array: Str 10, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8
    Background: Urchin
    Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
    Level 1: Expertise: Perception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Athletics, Thieves Tools
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Dual Wielder feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Healer feat
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Resilient(Con) feat
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Mage Slayer feat
    Level 20:


    Assassin Build
    This Assassin is a ranged damage specialist and party "face". She is built to obtain a surprise round and/or high initiative and capitalize on her damaging 1st round Assassin features, preferably by sniping from ambush or from behind her allies.
    Race: Lightfoot Halfling
    Ability Score Array: Str 8, Con 12, Dex 17, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 14
    Background: Criminal
    Proficient Skills: Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth
    Level 1: Expertise: Perception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Crossbow Expert feat
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Deception, Intimidate
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Alert feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +1, Wis +1
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Skulker feat
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Sharpshooter feat
    Level 20:


    Race: Forest Gnome
    Ability Score Array: Str 8, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 17, Wis 8, Cha 12
    Background: Charlatan
    Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Deception, Investigation, Persuasion, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
    Level 1: Expertise: Deception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Crossbow Expert feat
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Persuasion, Sleight of Hand
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Magic Initiate feat (Cleric): Guidance, Resistance, Bless,
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Con +1, Int +1
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Int +2
    Level 20:


    Level 1:
    Level 2:
    Level 3: Message, Prestidigitation, Shield, Silent Image, Sleep
    Level 4: Charm Person
    Level 5:
    Level 6:
    Level 7: Mirror Image, swap Charm Person for Suggestion
    Level 8: Misty Step
    Level 9: swap Sleep for Invisibility
    Level 10: Hold Person
    Level 11: Disguise Self
    Level 12:
    Level 13: Hypnotic Pattern, swap Disguise Self for Major Image
    Level 14: Blink
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Phantom Steed
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Confusion, swap Phantom Steed for Greater Invisibility
    Level 20: Dimension Door


    Known spells at level 20: Shield, Silent Image, Hold Person, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Misty Step, Suggestion, Blink, Hypnotic Pattern, Major Image, Confusion, Dimension Door, Greater Invisibility. This is a solid mix of offense and defense across all spell levels.



    Strength-Based Thief Build

    At first I was skeptical, but you can definitely build a decent rogue that uses Strength for attacks. This rogue is a textbook hired goon, adept in shaking down, roughing up, and ransacking. Instead of sneaking around, this bruiser eventually masters the art of knocking enemies prone with a shield and then Sneak Attacking them while they lie in the dirt.


    Race: Mountain Dwarf
    Ability Score Array: Str 17, Con 15, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
    Background: Criminal
    Proficient Skills: Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand

    Level 1: Expertise: Athletics, Intimidation

    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Str +1, Dex +1
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Insight, Perception
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Medium Armor Master feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Str +2
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Multiclass: Fighter (Dueling fighting style)
    Level 13: Ability Score Improvement: Shield Master feat
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16:
    Level 17: Ability Score Improvement: Resilient(Con) feat
    Level 18:
    Level 19:
    Level 20: Ability Score Improvement: Lucky feat


    Swashbuckler Build
    This Swashbuckler is a decent party face and skill monkey with high charisma, 3 languages, and 8 skills. At mid-level, she's great at slipping through enemy ranks to take down enemy spellcasters, thanks to her Fancy Footwork and Toujours l’Audace features and the Mage Slayer feat. She becomes a lot beefier in the epic levels, perfect for staying alive in melee while dishing out pain with dual rapiers. Although she's fine as is, a one-level dip into Fighter for whip proficiency and Two-Weapon fighting style would be ideal.
    Fancy Footwork: Awesome mobility feature. This makes the Disengage action nigh-obsolete (except when you're adjacent to +2-3 foes), freeing up your bonus action for two-weapon fighting, Cunning Action(Hide), Elegant Maneuver or other shenanigans. You can even target two different creatures with two-weapon fighting for maximum coverage. Note that it doesn't require your melee attacks to hit to work.

    Toujours l'Audace: Initiative bonus? Sure I'll take one. Oh wait, there's a footnote here... melee Sneak Attacks now work whether an ally is adjecent to the target or not? Sweet! How is this not the main perk of this feature?

    Panache: An action to draw aggro better than any tank or to charm on par with any enchanter, at will. Seriously, this is so good it's broken. The taunt version in particular is open to a whole bunch of abuse: as written, if you taunt and then hide (or go invisble, fly, climb, etc) but stay within 60 feet of the target, it can't move away, it can't target you, and it can't attack anyone else. The charm version is Charisma(Persuasion) on steroids. The only weakness is you must share a language.

    Elegant Maneuver: Bonus action advantage on Athletics or Acrobatics checks, which I believe occur as part of your movement. You can combine this with Fancy Footwork for a verticle getaway, or with Panache to give your DM a migraine. Rules lawyers might argue if this feature works out of combat as it specifies "on your turn".

    Master Duelist: Once per short rest, if you miss an attack, roll again with advantage. Slightly diluted version of your level 20 feature Stroke of Luck.
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Multiclassing

    For the sake of this guide (and my sanity), I generally won't review beyond losing more than 8 rogue levels to multiclassing. Go much farther than that and you're not really a rogue anymore anyways. Also, I'll leave some of the crazier/more intense multiclass theorycrafting for others to do; for a great example of this see "Dealing Death: Handbook of the True Assassin" in the Handy Links section.

    General Rogue Multiclassing - Any class feature that I've previously rated Blue or Skyblue is usually worth keeping in your build. Ability Score Increases are often worth it too. If you're going to multiclass, try to jump out before you hit a subpar feature or at least make an equal trade. Also keep in mind that when I say "keep x number of levels, then multiclass for y number of levels", you can break it up and insert those MC dips wherever you want within or after the x levels.

    Thief Multiclassing - Thieves will want 9 rogue levels at least for Supreme Sneak, will usually stay for Reliable at 11, ASI at 12, and/or UMD at 13, and it might be worth it to stay around for Thief's Reflexes at 17 as well. Fill in the gaps as needed.

    Assassin Multiclassing - Either jump out early at or soon after Assassinate, stay until your ASI at 12, or stick it out until Death Strike.

    Arcane Trickster Multiclassing - You will want to keep 13 levels for Versatile Trickster. Hardest Archetype to multiclass with as you potentially have to keep up 3 stats (Dex, Int, Wis/Cha), depending on the class. Jump out somewhere in 14-19.


    What You Lose When Multiclassing:
    1 level dip: I'd recomended this for most rogues; you lose nothing but a relatively weak capstone ability (1 auto hit/short rest).
    2-3 level dip - This is fine as well, depending on if the trade-off is worth missing an Ability Score Improvement (you won't miss Elusive or 1d6 worth of Sneak Attack).
    4 - You won't miss out on an ASI, but you lose a Roguish Archetype feature and 2d6 SA dice
    5 - As above, but with a net loss of 1 ASI. Note that many classes get an Extra Attack at this level, which is very good.
    6 - As above, but you also lose 3d6 SA and Slippery Mind (nooo!)
    7 - As above, but you also lose Blindsense. Not a big deal.
    8 - As above, but you also lose a Roguish Archetype feature and 4d6 SA.

    What You Gain When Multiclassing:
    Rogue/Barbarian
    Become a Savage, combining unconventional fighting styles with unpredicable rage to hit your enemies where it hurts.
    Suggested build: Thief 15/Totem Warrior 5
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Berserker 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: shields, martial weapons

    1. Rage - You must be a strength rogue for this to work and you still need a finesse weapon (i.e. rapier) for Sneak Attack. You basically become Inigo Montoya.
    1. Unarmored Defence - You need 16 Con to equal the AC of studded leather. Medium armor might be better, but some types hurt stealth without the Medium Armor Master feat.

    2. Reckless Attack - this can work well with Sneak Attack & Cunning Action (disengage)
    2. Danger Sense - With this and your Dex save proficiency, and eventually Evasion, you will never fear dex-save spells. Helps make up for a Str-build's lower Dex score.

    3. Primal Path
    Beserker: Frenzy - Bonus attack good, exhaustion bad. Use on a boss fight or not at all.
    Totem Warrior: Bear - Resistance stacks with Uncanny Dodge, so this is good. Eagle & wolf are useless to you
    4. ASI

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    5. Fast movement +10 in medium armor and lower.

    6. Primal Path
    Berserker: Mindless Rage - Helps offset your low Wisdom save, but fairly situational.
    Totem Warrior: Bear, Eagle or Wolf - Minor, situational benefits that might never come up.
    7. Feral Instinct - Advantage on initiative rolls and acting during an enemy's surprise round helps everyone, but especially assassins.

    8. ASI

    Rogue/Bard
    Become a Mountebank, swindling the gullible with tall tales and quick fingers.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Lore Bard 3
    Suggested build: Thief 13/Valor Bard 7
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: one skill, one instrument

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Bardic Inspiration d6 - Remember that this cannot be used to buff your own skills or attacks, only your allies.

    2. Jack of all Trades - Great! Buffs initiative too.
    2. Song of Rest - Free minor heals, but you will probably not take enough bard levels for it to improve.

    3. Expertise - Two more skills get double proficiency. Yay!
    3. Bard College
    Lore: 3 skills - you can use your new Expertise here.
    Lore: Cutting Words - good use of your BI as it can help defend yourself as well as others, but it conflicts with Uncanny Dodge.
    Valor: Medium armor is equal to 20 Dex and studded leather, but shields are nice. Whips are the best gain from martial weapon proficiency.
    Valor: Combat Inspiration - BI to buff the damage or defense of others, not yourself.
    4. ASI

    5. Font of Inspiration - BI is now d8 and recharges at short rests.

    6. Countercharm - This is okay, if overly specific, and it uses your action.
    6. Bard College
    Lore: Additional Magical Secrets - This gives you two spells of 3rd level or lower, but you will probably want to grab Hex (my preference) or Hunter's Mark.
    Valor: Extra attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    7. You get 4th level spells here.

    8. ASI

    Rogue/Cleric
    Become a Divine Blade, because your god's crusades are not always fought on a battlefield.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/War Cleric 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Domain (Knowledge and War are best. War is best-of-best)
    Knowledge: Blessing of Knowledge - pick two 'knowledge' type skill proficiencies and double your proficiency bonus on them. This is okay.
    War: Bonus Proficiencies - Martial weapons are nice for whips, maybe longbows. Heavy Armor doesn't work with Stealth.
    War: War Priest - Bonus action attacks (Wis mod) times per long rest is pretty sweet.
    2. Channel Divinity 1/short rest (Turn Undead) - Worse than when an ally Turns as you can't get Opportunity Attacks when the monsters run away from you.
    Knowledge: Channel Divinity (Knowledge of the Ages) - This gives 10 minutes of proficiency with any skill or tool. This can help fill party gaps.
    War: Channel Divinity (Guided Strike) - This gives +10 on an attack roll, after roll is made but before DM calls result. Very nice.
    3.

    4. ASI

    5. Destroy Undead CR 1/2 - scales by cleric level, so not that great for multiclassing.

    6. Channel Divinity 2/short rest
    6. Domain feature
    Knowledge: Channel Divinity (Read Thoughts) - reading thoughts can be fun ("Don't think about the hidden treasure! Hah, you're thinking about it, aren't you!") and it's nice that they threw in the no-save Suggestion.
    War: Channel Divinity (War God's Blessing) - Now you can grant +10 an ally's attack roll as a reaction. Usually better to keep this for yourself.
    7. You get 4th level spells here.

    8. ASI, Destroy Undead CR1
    Knowledge: +Wis damage on cleric cantrips. No Sneak Attack on attack spells so this is bad.
    War: Divine Strike - You get +1d8 on a weapon attack, 1 use per turn, all day long. So good!

    Rogue/Druid
    Become a Shapeshifter, sneaking into areas no normal humanoid could with your Wild Shape.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Moon Druid 3
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields

    1. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.

    2. Wild Shape - claw/bite etc attacks do not work with Sneak Attack
    2. Circle
    Land - Extra cantrip, limited spell recovery, and bonus spells at certain levels.
    Moon - Wild Shape as a bonus action. CR 1 beast form.
    3.

    4. ASI

    4. Wildshape Imp. - You can now choose a form with a swimspeed, which means no athletics check needed.

    5.

    6. Circle
    Land: Land's Stride - Minor buffs related to terrain and magical plants.
    Moon: Primal Strike - Beast form attacks count as magical weapons. Still can't Sneak Attack with beast form attacks though. CR 2 beast form.

    Rogue/Fighter
    Become a Sellsword, using formal weapon training and dirty tricks to win a fight by any means necessary.
    Suggested build: Rogue (any)19/Fighter 1
    Suggested build: Arcane Trickster 13/(Battle Master or Eldritch Knight) 7
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons

    1. Fighting Style - Archery, Two-Weapon Fighting, and Dueling are the best choices for you (in that order). Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.
    1. Second Wind - heal 1d10 + fighter level, once per short rest. Every little bit helps, but it helps a pure fighter more.

    2. Action Surge - One extra action per short rest is quite nice. Use it to Ready an attack with a reliable trigger to score Sneak Attack dice on a later turn in the same round!

    3. Martial Archetype
    Champion: Improved Critical - This is easy to use and effective.
    Battle Master: Combat Superiority - Very useful. Maneuver DCs, if applicable, scale with proficiency so multiclassing won't hurt them. Choose Precision Attack, Riposte, and Trip Attack.
    Battle Master: Student of War - I'm not sure why they bothered with this filler, Combat Superiority is already awesome enough.
    Eldritch Knight: Spellcasting - Based on Int so Arcane Tricksters might think about this, but remember that Evocation spells can't Sneak Attack. Even so, extra damage is extra damage.
    Eldritch Knight: Weapon Bond - Immunity to disarm and you can smuggle your 2 favorite weapons in anywhere, but otherwise not that useful.
    4. ASI

    5. Extra attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.

    6. ASI

    7. Archetype
    Champion - Remarkable Athlete gives half your proficiency bonus in untrained "physical" checks. This includes Initiative so it's quite nice.
    Battle Master - Know Your Enemy - This is really neat! The effect is useful and can't be replicated by any other ability or spell. "Armor Class" or "Current Hit Points" are probably the best options.
    Battle Master - +1 superiority die.
    Eldritch Knight: War Magic - Use True Strike or Minor Illusion to set up Sneak Attack, or just do extra damage with Poison Spray or Shocking Grasp if Sneak Attack conditions are already met.
    8. ASI

    Rogue/Monk
    Become a Ninja, mixing pressure-point attacks with mystic traditions to neutralize your enemies from the shadows.
    Suggested build: Assassin 14/Shadow Monk 6
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Unarmored Defense - You need 16 Wis to equal the AC of studded leather
    1. Martial Arts 1d4 - This does not grant the finesse property so you can't sneak attack with unarmed strikes, but extra damage is still extra damage.

    2. Ki - Flurry of Blows is your best option here as Cunning action already grants bonus action Disengage and Dash, although bonus action Dodge might be handy. Ki points scale 1:1 with monk level.
    2. Unarmored Movement +10 ft - More movement helps with Cunning Action utility. Goes up by 5ft at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level.

    3. Deflect Missiles - This conflicts with Uncanny Dodge, and effectiveness scales with monk level. Note that you can (potentially) Sneak Attack with returned missiles!
    3. Monastic Tradition
    Way of the Open Hand: Open Hand Technique - The prone condition option happens after your regular attack, so no Sneak Attack, but denying reactions allows you to flurry and still move away safely.
    Way of Shadow: Shadow Arts - Silence is useful for taking down sentries and/or spellcasters. Magical Darkness can hinder as much as it can help, but certain set-ups can really make this work wonders (Shadow monk + Warlock w/ devil's sight + sneak attack)
    Way of the Four Elements - Water Whip is the only worthwhile option; prone them w/ burst damage and then Sneak Attack them.
    4. ASI
    4. Slow Fall - Situational, but this compliments Uncanny Dodge as that can't reduce fall damage.

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.
    5. Stunning Strike - This specifically happens after your normal attack, but since it lasts until the end of your next turn you can Sneak Attack then.

    6. Ki-Empowered Strikes - Might be "handy" to have this. hehe.
    6. Monastic Tradition feature
    Way of the Open Hand: Wholeness of Body - Healing 3x your monk level, once per long rest, is less effective for a multiclass character.
    Way of Shadow: Shadow Step - Bonus action teleports within dim light/darkness + auto advantage goes great with Sneak Attack! Humans/Halflings need some method of darkvision to make this work.
    Way of the Four Elements - If you absolutely must take this, go with Clench of the North Wind.
    7. Evasion - Same as Rogue level 7 feature, making a 7 rogue/7 monk slightly redundant.
    7. Stillness of Mind - End charm or frightened as an action. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.

    8. ASI

    9. Unarmored Movement improvement - You can now run up walls and across water. Cool! Avoid unnecessary athletics checks.

    10. Purity of Body - Immunity to disease and poison. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.

    Rogue/Paladin
    Become an Inquisitor, rooting out and eliminating heretics, acolytes of rival deities, and unholy abominations.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Vengeance Paladin 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons

    1. Divine Sense - Extremely situational ("That used-cart salesman is a fiend! Literally!")
    1. Lay on Hands - Effectiveness is tied to paladin level. Probably best used to stabilize the dying.

    2. Fighting Style - Dueling is the best choice for you, or Defense if you must fight with two weapons. Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.
    2. Spellcasting - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls. Too bad you don't get cantrips.
    2. Divine Smite - This is great for burst damage. You can't waste or miss with it either since you only decide to Smite or not after the DM confirms a hit. Uses spell slots.

    3. Divine Health - Immunity to disease. I'm not familiar enough with the Monster Manual to judge the effectivenes of this.
    3. Sacred Oath: Channel Divinity 1/short rest
    Oath of Devotion: Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon) - Cha mod to attack rolls is good, but having your weapon glow bright light can be bad depending on your situation or playstyle.
    Oath of Devotion: Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy) - Turn fiends and Undead. Okay, I guess, for relevant scenarios.
    Oath of the Ancients: Channel Divinity (Nature's Wrath) - Restrained foes grant advantage, but too bad this takes an action and it can potentially make it's save before your next turn.
    Oath of the Ancients: Channel Divinity (Turn the Faithless) - Turn fey and fiends. Okay, I guess, for relevant scenarios.
    Oath of Vengeance: Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy) - Frighten any one enemy
    Oath of Vengeance: Channel Divinity (Vow of Enmity) - Advantage vs one enemy for 1 minute. So good. Plant it on whatever looks like it has the most hitpoints.
    4. Ability Score Improvement

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to hit Sneak Attack.

    6. Aura of Protection - +Cha modifier bonus on top of all saving throws, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome. Compensates for missing out on Slippery Mind.

    7. Sacred Oath feature
    Oath of Devotion: Aura of Devotion - Immunity to charmed, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.
    Oath of the Ancients: Aura of Warding - Resistance to all spell damage, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.
    Oath of Vengeance: Relentless Avenger - Hit an enemy with an opportunity attack? Go follow them. In my experience, DM's don't usually let their monsters trigger opportunity attacks.
    8. Ability Score Improvement

    9.

    10. Aura of Courage - Immunity to frightened, and nearby allies benefit too? Awesome.

    Rogue/Ranger
    Become a Vagabond, traveling the world and surviving however you can.
    Suggested build: Assassin 17/Hunter 3
    Suggested build: Thief 15/Hunter 5
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: medium armor, shields, martial weapons, 1 ranger skill

    1. Favored Enemy - This gives no combat benefit and sees limited use otherwise. Best to choose a race (ie goblinoids, elves) to receive the benefits vs all applicable subraces.
    1. Natural Explorer - This has more of an impact in the more inhospitable environments, but forests are probably the most common. Situational and fairly weak anyways.

    2. Spellcasting (Wis) - Hunter's Mark is what you're here for. Unless you have >16 Wis, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls. Too bad you don't get cantrips.
    2. Fighting Style - Archery, Dueling, Two-weapon Fighting, in order of effectiveness. Mariner (Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures) is also decent.

    3. Archetype
    Hunter: Colossus Slayer is your best bet. +1d8 damage vs hurt enemies shouldn't be too hard to set up, especially if you can make two attack rolls per turn somehow. Doesn't scale.
    Beast Master: Can small characters ride medium beast companians as a mount? If so... it's still a weak feature. Best used as a literal meat shield, and/or for Lightfoot Halflings to hide behind.
    3. Primeval Awareness - this doesn't even give direction, so knowing that there's undead *somewhere* nearby is a bad trade for a Hunter's Mark use. Actually gets less specific in your favored terrain.

    4. ASI

    5. Extra Attack - Doubles your basic damage potential and your chance to land Sneak Attack

    6. Additional Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer - Eh, barely worth the effort to write it down on your sheet.

    7. Archetype
    Hunter: Multiattack Defense is my pick. It helps cover for Uncanny Dodge's main weakness, multiattacks.
    Beast Master: Use the bonus action to Help and set up your Sneak Attack.
    8. ASI
    8. Land's Stride - Yay. So know you can really take the fight to all those plant monsters that you never actually fight. Even if this gave you immunity to magical plants, which it doesn't, it'd still be weak.

    Rogue/Sorceror
    Become a Hedge Mage, using your street smarts and natural magics to confound your foes.
    Suggested build: Thief 17/Draconic Sorceror 3
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Spellcasting (Cha) - Unless you have >16 Cha, try to avoid taking spells with saves or attack rolls.
    1. Sorcerous Origin
    Draconic Bloodline: You'll most likely use the double proficiency on Cha checks to plead for your life, but remember that it doesn't stack with Expertise. Otherwise more hp is always welcome, but does the AC increase stack with Unarmored Defense if you also have that?
    Wild Magic: Sugre equals a 5% chance of (19% good effect, 14% bad effect, 17% good and/or bad or neutral effect) every time you cast a spell. I'm not a fan. Tides of Chaos can give advantage on one attack/long rest though.
    2. Font of Magic - Sorcery points are based on sorceror level, so this is bad for a multiclass character.

    3. Metamagic - Quickened Spell works with the attack action. Twinned Spell is great too.

    4. ASI

    5.

    6. Sorcerous Origin
    Draconic Bloodline: You prefer Sneak Attacking to damage spells, and situational resistance to your damage type affinity is only situationally okay.
    Wild Magic: Bend Luck gives you a use for sorcery points that doesn't risk a Wild Magic Surge.

    Rogue/Warlock
    Become an Occultist, signing fell contracts with dark powers to further your pursuit of wealth and influence.
    Suggested build: Assassin 12/Blade Pact 8
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Otherwordly Patron
    Archfey: Adds some useful save-or-suck spells and some illusions. Gain a short range AoE charm/frighten ability, but note that it can affect allies too. Unlike the Charm spell, targets do not know that they were charmed by you, so there's plenty of opportunity for RP abuse here.
    Fiend: Adds mostly damage spells and some save-or-sucks. Gain Cha+warlock level temp hp whenever you kill a hostile creature. Less effective for multiclass rogues with unmaxed Cha.
    Great Old One: Adds save-or-suck spells and some divination. Gain telepathy 30ft. Ask your DM how this works with social skills like Insight or Imtimidate.
    1. Pact Magic - You can't SA with Eldritch Blast, but Hex is your new best friend. Impose disadvantage on Wis check to spot you or Dex checks to hinder their initiative rolls.

    2. Eldritch Invocations - see section below for some pointers.

    3. Pact Boon
    Chain: Have your familiar use the Help action to set up Sneak Attack. Help action doesn't break invisibility, so choose an Imp or Quasit, or Sprite if you're good.
    Blade: Smuggle your rapier into any location, or even use it to steal someone's ancestral weapon out of their keep.
    Tome: Learn any three cantrips. I strongly recommend Guidance as one of your choices.
    4. ASI

    5.

    6. Otherworldly Patron
    Archfey: Use your reaction upon taking damage to teleport and turn invisible. Better than Uncanny Dodge vs multiattackers but worse vs single attackers.
    Fiend: Add 1d10 to any of your ability checks or saving throws This includes initiative rolls and death saving throws.
    Great Old One: Impose disadvantage on one attack roll that targets you. If it misses, your next attack roll vs it has advantage. Really god for rogues.
    7.

    8. ASI

    Invocations
    Beguiling Influence - gain proficiency in Deception and Persuasion
    Book of Ancient Secrets - you can learn and cast any ritual you buy or find, regardless of class requirement. Top choice for Tome warlocks.
    Devil's Sight - Humans and other night-blind races will want this, but everyone can pair it with darkness to confound enemies - and allies - to great effect.
    Fiendish Vigor - 1d4+4 temp hp as an action. Use before every fight. Only useful at low levels so replace it eventually.
    Mask of Many Faces - thematic but weak, especially for small pcs as they can't use this to look medium sized.
    Misty Visions - silent image at will! So much fun to be had. Top choice.
    One With Shadows - works well with Sneak Attack and ambushes, but it costs an action to use and you can't move.
    Voice of the Chain Master - might be fun, but there are better choices.
    Thirsting Blade 5th blade pact - two attacks on attack action. Top choice for Blade warlocks.

    Rogue/Wizard
    Become a Magician, improving your skills in both sleight-of-hand and magic with constant practice and study.
    Suggested build: Arcane Trickster 13/Illusionist 7
    Hide
    Proficiencies gained: none

    1. Spellcasting - You'll want to max your Dex first, but Int comes right after.
    1. Arcane Recovery - This can recover your Arcane Trickster spells too! Works best with an odd-numbered amount of wizard levels.

    2. Arcane Tradition
    Abjuration - the prevented damage scales with wizard level. Trigger it with Shield and stack it with False Life.
    Conjuration - You can use this feature to create a shortsword, crowbar, telescope, key (although it might take weeks to guess the right shape), stepladder... use your imagination.
    Divination - Portent is the best school feature, at any level. Replace any d20 roll on any creature you can see with a pre-rolled d20, 2/day. Thwarted by being blinded, etc.
    Enchantment - Unlike the Charm spell, targets do not know that they were charmed by you, so there's plenty of opportunity for RP abuse here, but the 5ft limit is crippling.
    Evocation - I advise using weapons for damage (and Sneak Attack) and spells for everything else, so don't choose Evocation.
    Illusion - Learn 1 more cantrip and buff your minor illusion. Now you can create illusions of shouting dwarves, barking dogs, crying children, etc, at will. Great for ambushes or distractions.
    Necromancy - This only works when you kill creatures with spells, not weapons. Pass.
    Transmutation - Scam merchants with solid bars of "silver", then skip town. Turn an iron lock into wood, then set it on fire. Be creative.
    3.
    4. ASI
    5.
    6.
    Arcane Tradition
    Abjuration - Call me selfish (I don't care, I'm a rogue!), but I'd rather spend my class features on myself and not others.
    Conjuration - Teleporting 30ft as an action is okay for "oh no!" situations like being grappled, and swapping places with your meatshield can be a lifsaver.
    Divination - This is kind of like having a subsidy for casting Divination spells, which you otherwise might avoid using in favor of saving slots for combat.
    Enchantment - This works best if there are either two enemies and no allies nearby (in which case good luck to you), or vs ranged attacks which will probably target an ally instead.
    Evocation - I advise using weapons for damage (and Sneak Attack) and spells for everything else, so don't choose Evocation.
    Illusion - I actually didn't realize you couldn't do this already. Good to know. This would be better if you could use your reaction as well to adapt to monster actions. Oh well.
    Necromancy - There are plenty of ways to abuse this.
    Transmutation - This is really nice. Proficiency in Con Saves is probably the best choice to keep "always on", but darkvision is good for humans.
    7.
    8. ASI
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:40 PM.

  7. #7
    Feats:

    Hide
    Alert: +5 to Initiative is pretty much mandatory for Assassins. Thieves and Arcane Tricksters don't really need it.

    Athlete: Thieves already get the climbing bonus, and the rest isn't really worth it.

    Actor: You can already mimic the speech of another person with Minor Illusion if you're a Forest Gnome and/or an Arcane Trickster, and the bonus to disguises is situational.

    Charger: This does not gain any benefit from Cunning Action as you can't take two bonus actions on your turn. In fact it interferes with your Cunning Action to disengage.

    Crossbow Expert: Lets you ignore the loading property so you can draw ammunition as part of the attack. Taken with the feat's third property, a rogue armed with a hand crossbow can fire twice in one turn, although you need one hand free to handle the ammo. One of the few ways a rogue can get multiple attack rolls without multiclassing for 5 levels. Take either this or Dual Wielder.

    Defensive Duelist: This can potentially be one of the best defensive feats at high level, but note that it competes with Uncanny Dodge (both use your reaction) and it only protects against melee attacks.

    Dual Wielder: Take either this or Crossbow expert for optimizing damage. Better for Swashbucklers.

    Dungeon Delver: This is dependant on your campaign (and DM); fighting a horde of orcs? You don't need this. Raiding tombs? Might be a good idea. Arcane Tricksters can just use their Mage Hand to avoid trap damage entirely.

    Durable: Normal hit die recovery for rogues is ~4.5+Con. Con is usually +1 or +2 for rogues, so this benefit will turn your avg hit die recovery to ~5+Con or ~6+Con. Not worth it.

    Elemental Adept: You don't ever use elemental damage spells.

    Grappler: There's an interesting Grappler's Manual in the Handy Links section below. Check that out to make a Grappling Rogue, but it looks like a 2-7 level dip into rogue is preferred over going full rogue, emphasis on 2. Everyone else can avoid.

    Great Weapon Master: You can't Sneak Attack with these.

    Healer: This actually isn't that bad. Healer's Kits heals more hp per shot than a potion of healing and are also much more cost efficient (about 7 copper per hit point healed without even factoring the number of hit dice, vs about 7.1 gold per hit point with the potion). This feat ends up saving the party hundreds of gold over the long run, and Healer's Kits are also more common than magical potions. Try to convince someone else to take this. Better for Thieves wth their Fast Hands & Cunning Action(use an object) features.

    Heavily Armored: Maybe a Str-based Mountain Dwarf rogue would consider this, but they should just dip into fighter instead.

    Heavy Armor Master: No, this is too far even for the Mountain Dwarf.

    Inspiring Leader: Meh, this isn't really your bag of tricks.

    Keen Mind: Just straight bump Int instead, if you feel the need.

    Lightly Armored: Worthless to you.

    Linguist: Just straight bump Int instead, if you feel the need.

    Lucky: This is what the rogue's 20th level ability should have been. However, RAW this doesn't actuallly grant advantage per se, just an extra d20, so it doesn't work with Sneak Attack. Ask your DM.

    Mage Slayer: Spike your melee damage and defend against casters, but remember you need an ally nearby (or invisibility, etc) to trigger Sneak Attack. This uses your reaction to make a special melee weapon attack, not an opportunity attack, so it doesn't work with Sentinel. Overall this feat sees less use than Sentinel but is also less risky. Remind your DM that this works against innate spellcasting too, and ask their opinion on whether your attack interrupts or happens after the casting of the enemy's spell. Not for ranged rogues.

    Magic Initiate: Get hex and don't look back. The target won't know you've placed a hex on it (pg. 204) so casting this from hiding won't break surprise, and since initiative counts as a dexterity check this is great for Assassins to set up assassinate/death strike! Hex can also last multiple encounters (as long as you don't travel or take a short rest) because you can retarget it anytime after the initial target dies within the 1 hour duration. If you prefer a divine flavor, guidance, resistance and bless are solid selections from the cleric list; you don't even need any Wis to make them work.

    Martial Adept: 1 maneuver per short rest isn't that great. If you do take this, go with Precision and Riposte.

    Medium Armor Master: Str-based Mountain Dwarf rogues or multiclass rogue/fighters may want this, but no one else.

    Mobile: +10 speed is good for small rogues]) but, unless you really want to make the most of TWF, you already have Cunning Action to disengage.

    Moderately Armored: This may be worth it, or you could just dip into fighter, but note that with 20 dex you'll need to use a shield for this to provide any AC benefit at all.

    Mounted Combatant: Having automatic advantage on melee attack rolls is great on paper, but most campaigns will probably require you to become unmounted fairly regularly. Also as a rogue you generally don't want to encourage attackers to target you.

    Observant: If you have proficiency and Expertise in perception, this can be potentially game breaking in your DM's eyes. If not, this can still be useful. Note that this adds a modifier to your passive score only, not to any actual rolls.

    Polearm Master: Nope. No Sneak Attacks with two-handed weapons.

    Resilient: Choose Con and by 15th level you will be proficient in all 3 big saves. This works best if your character starts off with an odd Con stat.

    Ritual Caster: If you take this, choose Find Familiar and an owl (flyby attack + help action = advantage). Some DM's might not allow this interpretation of the help action; ask first.

    Savage Attacker: No, re-rolling one d8 (at best) is really weak for a feat.

    Sentinel: On paper, more opportunity attacks = more Sneak Attacks (as long as SA conditions are met), however this is quite risky as monsters will probably just end up focusing on you. Great if your party has a way of directing who your enemy attacks (ie Goading Attack maneuver, etc). General consensus says that Sentinel attacks resolve after the triggering attack so you can only avenge your friend's death, not prevent it. Not for ranged rogues.

    Sharpshooter: This is okay for those that prefer ranged, but try to only use it with advantage on your attack roll. Works better when paired with Skulker, especially for Assassins. This way your assassinate/death strike will do plenty more damage with less risk if you miss.

    Shield Master: This lets you shove(knock prone) as a bonus action before your attack to set up Sneak Attack conditions, but you need to grab proficiency with shields from somewhere first. For best results you should be trained in Athletics with Expertise. Also, the target can only be one size category larger than you so Halflings and Gnomes should pass.

    Skilled: Ehhh, not really neccesary. You already get at least 6 skills.

    Skulker: Pretty darn good for sniping! There's a bit of overlap though for Wood Elves and Lightfoot Halflings.

    Spell Sniper: You don't use spells with attack rolls.

    Tavern Brawler: Check the Grappler's Manual in the Handy Links section below. Otherwise avoid; you can't Sneak Attack with improvised weapons or unarmed strikes.

    Tough: More hitpoints are always welcome, but it's best for rogues to focus on other areas (like how not to get hit at al)..

    War Caster: Only for Arcane Tricksters, and even then it's not a top priority. Full casters get more use out of this feat than you.

    Weapon Master: Heavy crossbows, longbows, scimitars and whips aren't worth the price of a feat. For what it's worth, whips are the best choice here.

    Example Builds

    For these builds I have only included items where choice is a factor, so basic class and achetype features are not shown. Also they are meant to be examples of capable solo-class builds and therefore are not multiclassed, except for the strength build which needed a bit of help.

    Thief Build
    This Thief will have 30 passive perception at level 20, 2 points shy of the theoretical maximum. He's built for scouting in any environment, dealing with traps, and two-weapon fighting, taking feats that help his damage output and survivability.


    Race: Variant Human (Dex +1 Wis +1, Skill: Perception, Feat: Observant(Wis), Language: Orc)
    Ability Score Array: Str 10, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8
    Background: Urchin
    Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
    Level 1: Expertise: Perception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Athletics, Thieves Tools
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Dual Wielder feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Healer feat
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Resilient(Con) feat
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Mage Slayer feat
    Level 20:




    Assassin Build
    This Assassin is a ranged damage specialist and party "face". She is built to obtain a surprise round and/or high initiative and capitalize on her damaging 1st round Assassin features, preferably by sniping from ambush or from behind her allies.


    Assassin Build
    This Assassin is a ranged damage specialist and party "face". She is built to obtain a surprise round and/or high initiative and capitalize on her damaging 1st round Assassin features, preferably by sniping from ambush or from behind her allies.

    HideRace: Lightfoot Halfling
    Ability Score Array: Str 8, Con 12, Dex 17, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 14
    Background: Criminal
    Proficient Skills: Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth
    Level 1: Expertise: Perception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Crossbow Expert feat
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Deception, Intimidate
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Alert feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +1, Wis +1
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Skulker feat
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Sharpshooter feat
    Level 20:





    Arcane Trickster Build
    This Arcane Trickster is a swiss army knife of ranged damage, spell support, and classic "tricky" skills. His spells are mostly save-or-sucks or defensive in nature, with some utility thrown in. Illusion magic works very well with Sneak Attack.


    Race: Forest Gnome
    Ability Score Array: Str 8, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 17, Wis 8, Cha 12
    Background: Charlatan
    Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Deception, Investigation, Persuasion, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
    Level 1: Expertise: Deception, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Crossbow Expert feat
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Persuasion, Sleight of Hand
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Magic Initiate feat (Cleric): Guidance, Resistance, Bless,
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Con +1, Int +1
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Int +2
    Level 20:

    Spell SelectionLevel 1:
    Level 2:
    Level 3: Message, Prestidigitation, Shield, Silent Image, Sleep
    Level 4: Charm Person
    Level 5:
    Level 6:
    Level 7: Mirror Image, swap Charm Person for Suggestion
    Level 8: Misty Step
    Level 9: swap Sleep for Invisibility
    Level 10: Hold Person
    Level 11: Disguise Self
    Level 12:
    Level 13: Hypnotic Pattern, swap Disguise Self for Major Image
    Level 14: Blink
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Phantom Steed
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Confusion, swap Phantom Steed for Greater Invisibility
    Level 20: Dimension Door




    Known spells at level 20: Shield, Silent Image, Hold Person, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Misty Step, Suggestion, Blink, Hypnotic Pattern, Major Image, Confusion, Dimension Door, Greater Invisibility. This is a solid mix of offense and defense across all spell levels.






    Strength-Based Thief Build

    At first I was skeptical, but you can definitely build a decent rogue that uses Strength for attacks. This rogue is a textbook hired goon, adept in shaking down, roughing up, and ransacking. Instead of sneaking around, this bruiser eventually masters the art of knocking enemies prone with a shield and then Sneak Attacking them while they lie in the dirt.


    Race: Mountain Dwarf
    Ability Score Array: Str 17, Con 15, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
    Background: Criminal
    Proficient Skills: Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand

    Level 1: Expertise: Athletics, Intimidation

    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Str +1, Dex +1
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Insight, Perception
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Medium Armor Master feat
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Str +2
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Multiclass: Fighter (Dueling fighting style)
    Level 13: Ability Score Improvement: Shield Master feat
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16:
    Level 17: Ability Score Improvement: Resilient(Con) feat
    Level 18:
    Level 19:
    Level 20: Ability Score Improvement: Lucky feat



    Swashbuckler Build
    This Swashbuckler is a decent party face and skill monkey with high charisma, 3 languages, and 8 skills. At mid-level, she's great at slipping through enemy ranks to take down enemy spellcasters, thanks to her Fancy Footwork and Toujours l’Audace features and the Mage Slayer feat. She becomes a lot beefier in the epic levels, perfect for staying alive in melee while dishing out pain with dual rapiers. Although she's fine as is, a one-level dip into Fighter for whip proficiency and Two-Weapon fighting style would be ideal.


    Race: Half-Elf (Dex +1 Con +1 Cha +2, Skills: Acrobatics, Persuasion, Language: Goblin
    Ability Score Array: Str 10, Con 15, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Background: Sailor
    Proficient Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth,
    Level 1: Expertise: Persuasion, Stealth
    Level 2:
    Level 3:
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 5:
    Level 6: Expertise: Athletics, Deception
    Level 7:
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvement: Dual Wielder
    Level 9:
    Level 10: Ability Score Improvement: Dex +2
    Level 11:
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement: Mage Slayer feat
    Level 13:
    Level 14:
    Level 15:
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement: Resilient(Con) feat
    Level 17:
    Level 18:
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement: Tough feat
    Level 20:


    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 21st September, 2015 at 09:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Tips, Tricks & Combos

    Always try to gain advantage, even if your target already has an adjacent ally. Increasing your odds to hit will increase your damage output.
    Sneak Attack doesn't necessarily require an ally to be adjacent to the target, only an "enemy" of the target. This can be handy in a 3-way fight (berserking monsters, released prisoners, Gated fiends, etc) or with dominated enemies compelled to fight against their former allies.
    You can safely move through an enemy's space if it is two sizes larger or smaller than you, treating it as difficult terrain. ie Halflings can move through a Dire Wolf's space but not a Rat's, and vice versa for Humans.
    Your damage will spike upwards if you manage to get reaction attacks with Sneak Attack. See "Ways to attack with your Reaction" in the Handy links section.
    Have your allies force monster movement with Turn Undead, Dissonant Whispers, Confusion, etc to trigger Opportunity Attacks. Pushes and pulls don't work.
    An owl familiar, yours or not, can do a flyby Help action to set up Sneak Attack.
    Thieves: Use healing kits in conjunction with your Fast Hands feature and the Healer feat to heal 1d6+4+level as a bonus action.
    Assassins: Hidden intentions and sudden betrayal can be just as surprising as a hidden position and sudden ambush. Et tu, Brute?
    Arcane Tricksters: You can see through your own, and possibly your allies', illusions. Use this to establish Sneak Attack conditions from behind or even inside an illusion.

    Gaining Advantage

    Hide
    Attacking while hidden from your target, ie with a successful stealth check
    Attacking while unseen from your target, ie while invisible or behind/within Total Cover or a Heavily Obscured area
    Target is blinded, paralyzed, petrified, prone (within 5'), restrained, stunned, unconscious
    Target is under the effect of Faerie Fire, Guiding Bolt, Otto's Irresistible Dance
    Target is squeezing through a space one size smaller than itself
    You are under the effect of Foresight, True Strike
    You have inspiration from your DM
    You have the Assassinate or Versatile Trickster class feature
    Ally uses the Help action on your target

    Attacking from long range with a ranged weapon
    Attacking with a ranged weapon within 5' of an enemy
    Attacking while underwater without a swim speed, except with a dagger or shortsword
    Target uses the Dodge action (and you are visible)
    Target is unseen, ie invisible, etc.
    Target is prone (>5' away)
    Target is under the effect of Blur, Foresight, Holy Aura
    You are blinded, poisoned, prone, restrained
    You are under the effect of Otto's Irresistible Dance,
    You are wearing armor/shields you are not proficient in
    You are under the effect of level 3 exhaustion
    You are encumbered
    You are squeezing through a space one size smaller than yourself
    You have been raised with Resurrection after being dead for more than a year
    Remember that it only takes one source of advantage or disadvantage to cancel both out, no matter how many sources of each there are.

  9. #9
    Hi Zardnaar. Thank you for saving my guide. Would you kindly credit me with authorship of the content? Alternatively I can just repost it.
    XP TarionzCousin gave XP for this post

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by clutchbone View Post
    Hi Zardnaar. Thank you for saving my guide. Would you kindly credit me with authorship of the content? Alternatively I can just repost it.
    I can transfer ownership of the posts to you if you like? Seems the most expedient way!
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