Anyone else tired of the miserly begrudging Rogue design of 5E?
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  1. #1
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    Anyone else tired of the miserly begrudging Rogue design of 5E?

    The design of the 5E Rogue class is not generous.

    In games without feats, and where every adventure day is 8 encounters long, then maybe, just maybe, can the Rogue hold his own in the combat department.

    But in games with feats the fighter get upwards of 35 or more damage a round, along with a host of other tricks. That's 10d6! There is no feat to meaningfully increase sneak attack damage.

    And in games where the Sorcerer can cast a Fireball together with two Firebolts each combat (for something like 8d6+3d10+3d10+10 damage) the Rogue's so-called "alpha strike" looks just sad.

    But the design is not only too stingy with damage. It is poor and counter-intuitive. There is no burst/nova capability. Correct play requires absolute system mastery, to gain two sneak attacks in as many rounds as humanly possible. The Assassinate ability is just mean to the Rogue player, enclosed in so many requirements it basically never happens in games where the party consensus is that solo raids are boring for the rest of the players; much more fun if everybody joins in to the combat simultaneously!

    Sure the Rogue has its uses outside of combat, but let's be honest - D&D is a combat-heavy game, and there needs to be a straightforward way to build a Rogue that is competitive in combat.
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  2. #2
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    No one at my table has played a rogue yet, and the only feat that boosted offense that's ever been taken was Martial Adept to supplement what the battlemaster already had.

    So I have not seen this issue.

  3. #3
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    Rogues are amazing because they escape so much damage. Between Cunning Action (disengage as a bonus action) and Uncanny Dodge/Evasion ("What is half damage, Alex?"), they laugh off the big stuff. Also, consider Sentinel as a feat for a rogue, to trigger an occasional extra sneak attack. You can attack the rogue, who will use Uncanny Dodge for half damage, or attack his friend leaving you open to the rogue's Sentinel attack. Yummy.

  4. #4
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    Titan (Lvl 27)



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    I've been disenchanted with it since it was the Thief.

    You could fold every toy the rogue ever got in any edition of D&D into a fighter with every toy it had ever had, and it still wouldn't rise any higher than Class Tier 3.
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  5. #5
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    In the light of this, here are my suggestions:

    • Change sneak attack from once per turn into once per round. It's simply too difficult and mechanical and fiddly for most players to set up a reaction-sneak each round (for some, even when you get all the help you need, such as with Haste).
    • Instead, grant one sneak d6 each level instead of every other. You're a level N Rogue? You have N sneak dice. Bam - simple!


    This does not change balance meaningfully. It merely turns "expert play" into "regular play".

    Then, a way to gain a burst.
    • You gain one "backstab die" every other level, which are regained during a short or long rest. You may use any or all of your backstab dice on any attack that qualifies as a sneak attack. Each adds 1d6 to the sneak damage. You can decide how many backstab dice to use after you see whether you hit or miss.

    Note how this feature specifically avoids wasting dice on misses. Nobody likes wasting dice.

    As a burst, it isn't super-huge, but should still feel satisfying (especially if used on a crit).

    Finally, a feat for the minmaxers.
    • Opportunist. You may sneak attack once per turn instead of once per round. Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

    This feat reinstates the raw rule, in the anticipation that regular players won't bother, and thus, that the feat won't be considered a feat tax.

  6. #6
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    Defender (Lvl 8)



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    I get the frustration, but it seems to me to miss the 'point' of the rogue. A fighter's speciality is fighting, hitting things with a big chunk of wood and/or metal, ideally all day long. A rogue is more of an opportunistic combatant because that is more their secondary focus as a class. The true strength of a rogue comes from having around a good third more skills than anyone else and among those several that almost cannot fail.

    While a spellcaster (with the right selection, and even then mostly just wizards) can be good at solving out of combat challenges while they have the open slots, a rogue can address those issues consistently. Then if the sneaky or diplomatic methods completely fail you have the option of dropping to the side (or back) and whipping out the sneak attack. On top of that they have excellent damage mitigation to offset the lower hit die.

    A rogue is not a sword, a rogue is a toolbox. It just happens to have a knife hidden in there as well.
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  7. #7
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    I agree that the 1/turn limit is counterintuitive and silly, incentivizing cheesy tricks. Rogues should not be taking the Sentinel feat to double their DPR.

    That's about all I agree with, though. The rogue is designed to encourage creative play*, both in and out of combat; that's why you get Cunning Action, Expertise, et cetera. It works, too. I've played a high-level rogue, and while I did not get the steady high DPR of a fighter, I got more than my share of awesome moments due to absurdly high skill bonuses and Reliable Talent enabling me to use them without fear. Fighters can win fights fairly. Rogues can't... but boy, can they ever cheat.

    If rogues get a buff, it should reinforce their skills, not their DPR. I'd like to see Reliable Talent come earlier, and change Expertise to a fixed +4 or +5 instead of double proficiency. Make low-level rogues feel more roguish.

    *That's "creative play," not "creative builds." The Sentinel thing is a bug, not a feature.
    Last edited by Dausuul; Thursday, 29th March, 2018 at 05:42 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)



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    I have never had any problems with the rogue class in any edition, except ADnD, where it was amazing that all the thieves weren't either dead or imprisoned, since they were so bad at thieving.

    Lately, the rogue has become a little too much a combat machine, as players demand more and more that they have the same damage output as the fighter. The rogues so far in our 5e games are matching, or even exceeding the combat capabilities of most other classes, plus good skills, and the enviable position of having dex as their needed stat. Sneak attack is ridiculously easy to orchestrate, plus expertise, bonus actions, evasion...

    I mean, what more do you want?

  9. #9
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    No I'm not tired of the rogue design.

    It is different from a fighter. It does things different than the fighter. It is different from a sorcerer. It does things different than a sorcerer. If all you want is combat damage, then play a fighter or a sorcerer.

    The rogue does it's job as envisioned by the developers just fine. If that's not the job you want a character to do, then don't use the class. If you want a class that does things differently and you want it to be called "Rogue" then do it.
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  10. #10
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    Honestly, every time we see a rogue in action a commonly said thing at our table is, "I'm surprised we don't see more rogues in play." They're very good at what they do.
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