D&D 5E Companion thread to 5E Survivor - Subclasses (Part XII: Rogues)

Undrave

Hero
Man, people really piled on the Mastermind for some reason. What's up with that?
Plus, a lot of subclasses suffer from weak or rarely-applicable level 9 abilities, so once you finally get there, it's pretty underwhelming. The assassin and the mastermind in particular. And on the other hand there's the Phantom who has to wait all the way to 9th level to even get access to their signature ability.
They should all get a non combat ability at level 6. You're getting an extra expertise so it would be fitting. Doesn't even need to be particularly strong, just something to add flavour to the mix.
 

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Man, people really piled on the Mastermind for some reason. What's up with that?
Because it gets no class features worth a damn after 3rd level?

I love the idea of a mastermind. But at higher level the Mastermind does such a bad job of masterminding that it's just a big fat let-down. I keep trying to think of another class i can multiclass into after Mastermind level 3 and still be a functional character that's going to carry their own weight and not be a drag on the party. Perhaps battlemaster fighter? Bardic inspiration would be great but losing 3 levels of spellcasting is just too painful, barbarian and rogue weapon requirements are too incompatible, and the rules block you from doing the most logical thing and going into another Rogue subclass.
 





CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't know how Scout managed to beat Arcane Trickster, though. I suspect it was all the folks trying to level the playing field. Or maybe it was too many Trickster fans hoping to eliminate the Swashbuckler?

Nothing gets weirder, faster, than a Survivor thread amirite?

At the beginning of the contest, I predicted Thief > Swashbuckler > Arcane Trickster > Assassin > Scout would be the top five. I had no idea that there would be so much hate for the assassin, and so much love for the Mastermind. Ah well. Looks like my top pick is in the lead, though.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I’m happy that my top three all survived and that the wicked witch/magicuser is dead! Got to get rid of the ranger then hopefully Thief will get through as the classical rogue, but swashbuckler is cool too …
 

The inevitable Swashbuckler vs. Thief showdown is gonna be ugly.
Usually is for the last two things. I'm pretty sure only Bard has had an absolutely runaway, slam-dunk victory.

It'd be kind of cool for one of these threads to prop up something I actually liked from the start though. That'd be a refreshing change from the "ensure none of the top three things Ezekiel likes even make it to the final four" pattern that's held sway since after Cleric. Which was the first of these I joined. (Perhaps this better explains why I have such a dim view of certain maneuvers and have been something of a grouch in these threads.)

I don't know how Scout managed to beat Arcane Trickster, though. I suspect it was all the folks trying to level the playing field. Or maybe it was too many Trickster fans hoping to eliminate the Swashbuckler?
Well, I can only truly speak for myself. But I suspect it's primarily for the reason most people mentioned in the thread: "I don't want a spellcaster rogue to be the winner." (Or "...the representative in the final round.") The underlying idea of the Arcane Trickster is great, and a worthy inclusion in D&D. But having it be "the" Rogue is a bridge too far for me, and it would seem to be so for others as well. I know most of my downvotes went elsewhere because I knew the real threat was always Thief, which threatens to win purely by not actually doing anything at all, the Caspar Milquetoast option.

And to think: some folks still think that the bard shouldn't be a subclass of Rogue.
Because...it shouldn't. I honestly can't tell if you're being actually facetious, "double ironic," or sincere.

But just in case you are being sincere (or "double ironic"), the problem of shoehorning things together in this way is that at least one of the things involved is gonna get watered down as a result, at least assuming you ignore the slippery-slope problem that this sort of thing all too often engenders.* That is, make Bard a Rogue subclass, and now you have to fit in extra music proficiencies, spellcasting, Inspiration, and the small bits like Song of Rest, all without overstepping the extremely limited space of a subclass. Or, you have to find a way to have "I'm a spellcaster" Bard cover "I'm actually not a spellcaster at all" Rogue in a way that won't alienate the Rogue fans who choose it specifically because it doesn't cast spells. Either way, when you're faced with a problem like that, the temptation is, and always will be, "eh, it's fine, just cut some features or make a looser fit." AKA, watering down the archetype.

Now, of course, there is a risk of going the other direction here, and making a profusion of pointlessly over-narrow classes, but at least in the current design climate that's not really a risk worth considering. WotC has added exactly one new class to the game, and only tested two, in nearly a decade. That's a pretty good indication that new classes aren't getting added to D&D anytime soon. Instead, I find the bigger risk is in adding subclasses that suck, in part because of the antipathy for new classes and thus the belief that all concepts, no matter how weighty, must be expressed through the subclass lens. The failure of the proposed multiple-class subclasses, for example, was a pretty major disappointment to me, because it closed off one of the only other avenues for addressing the issues enforced by a "never, ever add any (more) new classes" rule. It's looking like the new 5e playtest is moving toward a more standardized setup for subclasses in part to permit such "generic" subclasses, though, so that's a spot of hope for me.

*E.g. when you've folded Bard and Ranger and Monk in, then say, "welllll, Rogue and Fighter are pretty close...let's make Rogue a Fighter subclass!" But that is a massive and difficult undertaking when you have four different full classes all bundled together, unless you abandon them entirely....which is what most folks who propose this end up doing.
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
Arcane Trickster is, conceptually, miles ahead of Eldritch Knight, which really was more "<shrug> it's a Fighter w/ spell ig". The added business with Mage Hand introduces so many fun gameplay possibilities.

Thief is so incredibly bare-bones that I really don't get the appeal at all.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
I was curious, so I checked who knifed which of the various eliminated subclasses.

Arcane Trickster (Player's Handbook) - eliminated in post #185 by the Swashbuckler
Assassin (Player's Handbook) - eliminated in post #88 by the Thief
Inquisitive (Xanathar's Guide to Everything) - eliminated in post #165 by the Swashbuckler
Mastermind (Xanathar's Guide to Everything) - eliminated in post #178 by the Thief
Phantom (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything) - eliminated in post #86 by the Scout
Revived (Unearthed Arcana, "Fighter Ranger Rogue," 2019) - eliminated in post #31 by the Swashbuckler
Soulknife (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything) - eliminated in post #43 by the Thief

So, the Swashbuckler has three kills, the Thief has three kills, and the Scout has one.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I don't know how Scout managed to beat Arcane Trickster, though.
Scout is actually my favorite, but I knew with all the Swashbuckler love it would never make it to the end. And while I love the Thief, I am surprised so many others support it as well (it is my second favorite subclass).
 

niklinna

Legend
I was curious, so I checked who knifed which of the various eliminated subclasses.

Arcane Trickster (Player's Handbook) - eliminated in post #185 by the Swashbuckler
Assassin (Player's Handbook) - eliminated in post #88 by the Thief
Inquisitive (Xanathar's Guide to Everything) - eliminated in post #165 by the Swashbuckler
Mastermind (Xanathar's Guide to Everything) - eliminated in post #178 by the Thief
Phantom (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything) - eliminated in post #86 by the Scout
Revived (Unearthed Arcana, "Fighter Ranger Rogue," 2019) - eliminated in post #31 by the Swashbuckler
Soulknife (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything) - eliminated in post #43 by the Thief

So, the Swashbuckler has three kills, the Thief has three kills, and the Scout has one.
I do not understand how subclasses are eiliminating other subclasses. I thought enworld posters were the ones doing the eliminating!
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Scout is actually my favorite, but I knew with all the Swashbuckler love it would never make it to the end. And while I love the Thief, I am surprised so many others support it as well (it is my second favorite subclass).

scout is a ranger so it would be sad to have it be the star rogue whereas thief is the rogue in its purest, original form. Fast hands is useful too.
Swashbuckler is the cinematic rogue hero so works for me too
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
scout is a ranger so it would be sad to have it be the star rogue
One of my favorite PCs was a Ranger/Rogue (Scout) multiclass... What makes it really "rogue-appropriate" is the "urban scout" and "expert treasure hunter" roles.

You might not see it as being very "rogue-y", but it is IMO. Yet, as I said, I know it is not as "popular" as swashbuckler... or even thief apparently LOL! :)
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
I do not understand how subclasses are eiliminating other subclasses. I thought enworld posters were the ones doing the eliminating!
It's how I picture the eliminations. Lots of backstabbing. What I actually mean is which subclass did the poster vote up while eliminating one of the others. I was curious which fans were doing the eliminating, and it turns out it's fans of Swashbucklers and Thieves. (And one Scout stan.)
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Because...it shouldn't. I honestly can't tell if you're being actually facetious, "double ironic," or sincere.

But just in case you are being sincere (or "double ironic"), the problem of shoehorning things together in this way is that at least one of the things involved is gonna get watered down as a result, at least assuming you ignore the slippery-slope problem that this sort of thing all too often engenders.* That is, make Bard a Rogue subclass, and now you have to fit in extra music proficiencies, spellcasting, Inspiration, and the small bits like Song of Rest, all without overstepping the extremely limited space of a subclass.
I'm quite serious. Borrowing from the different bard abilities and other rogue subclasses, you could cobble a very playable "bard" together easily. Using your outline above ("extra music proficiencies, spellcasting, Inspiration, and the small bits like Song of Rest, all without overstepping the extremely limited space of a subclass") I came up with what I feel is a workable first-draft:

In this exercise, I'll eliminate the Bard core class, and make it a subclass of Rogue instead.

Bonus Proficiencies:
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with two musical instruments of your choice. (Identical to Assassin, except musical instruments instead of stealth skills.)

Bardic Inspiration:
At 3rd Level, you can inspire others through stirring words or music. (Identical to the Bard's 1st-level ability. Whether or not you include "Font of Inspiration" at 5th level is up to you.)

Bardic Magic:
When you claim this subclass at 3rd level, you augment your abilities with the ability to cast spells.
(Same spell table as the Arcane Trickster, except Bard spells instead of Wizard.)

9th Level Ability: Song of Rest
(Identical to the bard's 9th level ability. You could also substitute in Countercharm instead, or give the player a choice between the two, if that's a deal-breaker. Or give both at 9th level, it probably won't break anything.)

13th Level Ability: Magical Secrets
(same as the Bard's 10th level ability)

17th Level Ability: Spell Thief
(Identical to the Arcane Trickster's ability of the same name)

Or something along those lines. I threw it together in ten minutes; I'm sure it's not perfect. But at the very least, I think this subclass has everything that players expect a "Bard" to bring to the party.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
(Great. I thought I saw a really nice Old School Essentials Swashbuckler just a few hours ago, but I can't find it again. My browser history is impenetrable today. I won't be unhappy if the Swashbuckler wins, but there are several subclasses I really like that are left. EDIT: Found it.)

Heck, I like Assassin just fine. It's not meant for what people at my table tried to do with it. If you want a guy who does more like the Assassin's Creed thing, that's kind of like a DEX-y Duelist Fighter (EDIT: Or Swashbuckler Rogue). The Assassin Rogue is the guy who takes one shot at the target from a long ways off with the best weapon available and a heavily-poisoned round, and then immediately leaves the scene whether he hits or misses. If he hit and killed the target, great. If he missed or didn't kill the target, well, there's backup plans and contingencies, and he'd be better off figuring out next steps in the Safe House anyway, rather than in an alleyway while fighting irate guards.
See, to me, that isn’t the assassin archetype, that’s a hit man.

If there is an assassin PC option, and there should be, it should be able to fight and shadow-gank. Hell, it should also be able to intimidate and inspire covertly and indirectly, somehow, because assassins are about a cause or a people, not just money.

The assassins that give the archetype its name were in it for money at all. They left daggers on the pillows of powerful individuals to push them to change course, or they ganked them and then let themselves be seen with the bloody dagger held high and then disappeared, and they were trained to fight when needed.

Which you can do with the assassin rogue, it’s just that very little of it comes from the subclass.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm quite serious. Borrowing from the different bard abilities and other rogue subclasses, you could cobble a very playable "bard" together easily. Using your outline above ("extra music proficiencies, spellcasting, Inspiration, and the small bits like Song of Rest, all without overstepping the extremely limited space of a subclass") I came up with what I feel is a workable first-draft:

In this exercise, I'll eliminate the Bard core class, and make it a subclass of Rogue instead.

Bonus Proficiencies:
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with two musical instruments of your choice. (Identical to Assassin, except musical instruments instead of stealth skills.)

Bardic Inspiration:
At 3rd Level, you can inspire others through stirring words or music. (Identical to the Bard's 1st-level ability. Whether or not you include "Font of Inspiration" at 5th level is up to you.)

Bardic Magic:
When you claim this subclass at 3rd level, you augment your abilities with the ability to cast spells.
(Same spell table as the Arcane Trickster, except Bard spells instead of Wizard.)

9th Level Ability: Song of Rest
(Identical to the bard's 9th level ability. You could also substitute in Countercharm instead, or give the player a choice between the two, if that's a deal-breaker. Or give both at 9th level, it probably won't break anything.)

13th Level Ability: Magical Secrets
(same as the Bard's 10th level ability)

17th Level Ability: Spell Thief
(Identical to the Arcane Trickster's ability of the same name)

Or something along those lines. I threw it together in ten minutes; I'm sure it's not perfect. But at the very least, I think this subclass has everything that players expect a "Bard" to bring to the party.
Yeah it duplicates the 5e bard class pretty well, but that really showcases how badly they interpreted the Bard in 5e…

I may build a non-full caster Bard class one of these days that actually looks and feels Bardic.
 

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