• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Fixing the Rogue with one Feat

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
I love playing rouges, and my problems with the design of the rogue class focus around the limited choices of builds and basic combat options. I make no pretense that anyone other than myself sees these as issues needing a fix.

The changes that I would like are all (I believe) minor, and implementing them would make for a much wider range of rouge builds. They are things that a DM might allow in any case. But pooling them together in a feat demonstrates the importance I would place on them when designing a character. So here is a homebrew feat, which offers three benefits that would be of conceivable interest to rogues, spellcasters, monks, bards, and tavern brawlers.
FOUND WEAPONS
You have mastered techniques that allow you to use ordinary objects as deadly weapons. You gain the following benefits.
  • Your unarmed strike counts as an attack with a finesse weapon.
  • Clubs, light hammers, and sickles have the finesse property when you use them to make a melee attack.
  • You may use Intelligence (anatomical knowledge), Wisdom (precision strikes), or Charisma (deft feints) instead of Strength or Dexterity for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks when using a dagger, club, light hammer, or sickle.
The first benefit is different from the monk ability because it allows unarmed strikes to be used with Sneak Attack. For the second I’ve deliberately only chosen weapons that do d4 damage. For the third, Dexterity remains important for defense, but a greater range of options become possible for builds.

I’d welcome your thoughts and comments – what am I missing? is this too strong? Are there synergies that I’ve not thought of that make these overpowered? Do you have a better name for the combination of effects described?

Thanks!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Stormonu

Legend
Sickles? Why sickles?

I'm not really a fan of "use your best ability score for a weapon" sort of solutions. About the only thing I like is making unarmed strikes light & finesse weapons (so you can punch with two fists or a punch & headbutt or somesuch, for example). Probably something I would straight-up change, no feat, ability or skill required.

If you are intending to go down this path, however, I think I would break it out bit.

INTELLIGENT FIGHTER
You observe your opponent and strike where they are weakest.
+1 Int, up to a maximum of 20.
You can use Intelligence instead of Dexterity with Finesse weapons.
If you have the Unarmored Defense ability, you add your Intelligence modifier and Dexterity to your AC instead of any other ability score.

PRECISE FIGHTER
You instinctively seek out an opponent's weak points.
+1 Wis, up to a maximum of 20.
You can use Wisdom instead of Dexterity with Finesse weapons.
If you have the Unarmored Defense ability, you add your Wisdom modifier and Dexterity to your AC instead of any other ability score.

FLOURISHING FIGHTER
You strike at an opponent's weak spots with pananche.
+1 Cha, up to a maximum of 20.
You can use Charisma instead of Dexterity with Finesse weapons.
If you have the Unarmored Defense ability, you add your Charisma modifier and Dexterity to your AC instead of any other ability score.

FAST HANDS
You have unusual dexterity in your hands.
+1 Dex, up to a maximum of 20.
You gain proficiency in the Sleight of Hand Skill.
You treat any one-handed weapon as if it had the Finesse property.
 

aco175

Legend
It appears ok for a limited use and may be fine for your game. Myself and my players would not have much use for it unless maybe multiclassing with monk or something. I do not find much wrong with rogues, although we play with flanking and that may account for something and we seem to have adopted an earlier edition option where rogues that go first in combat can use backstab on opponents that have not gone yet.
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Thanks!

sickles -- because they are d4. Obviously one could easily add d6 weapons (hand axe, short sword, etc.), but I'm really trying to make choosing suboptimal weapons sustainable, and to make rouges without dexterity as their main or secondary ability.

I understand breaking them out as you suggest, @Stormonu, but each of your stunts reads to me as more powerful than what I am proposing.

@tetrasodium - can you explain please?
 

Dausuul

Legend
If anything, I'd say that seems like a very weak feat. It's basically a sidegrade--your power level stays the same, you just use different-looking gear--but you pay for this essentially cosmetic change with an entire feat slot.

If you were in my campaign, I'd give you most of this stuff for free, or at most a token payment. Maybe swap it in for your background feature? Certainly not a feat. I'd have to think about the stat swap, but the rest is trivial.
 

Thanks!

sickles -- because they are d4. Obviously one could easily add d6 weapons, but I'm really trying to make choosing suboptimal weapons sustainable, and to make rouges without dexterity as their main or secondary ability.

I understand breaking them out as you suggest, @Stormonu, but each of your stunts reads to me as more powerful than what I am proposing.

@tetrasodium - can you explain please?
unless I'm mistaken "You may use Intelligence (anatomical knowledge), Wisdom (precision strikes), or Charisma (deft feints) instead of Strength or Dexterity for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks when using a dagger, club, light hammer, or sickle." could allow for a SAD pally rather than MAD pally by spending a feat instead of taking a level in hexblade. It's not an obvious problem but could easily become one with a creative player through a campaign. Th rest seems pretty nonissue
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
I love playing rouges, and my problems with the design of the rogue class focus around the limited choices of builds and basic combat options. I make no pretense that anyone other than myself sees these as issues needing a fix.

The changes that I would like are all (I believe) minor, and implementing them would make for a much wider range of rouge builds. They are things that a DM might allow in any case. But pooling them together in a feat demonstrates the importance I would place on them when designing a character. So here is a homebrew feat, which offers three benefits that would be of conceivable interest to rogues, spellcasters, monks, bards, and tavern brawlers.

The first benefit is different from the monk ability because it allows unarmed strikes to be used with Sneak Attack. For the second I’ve deliberately only chosen weapons that do d4 damage. For the third, Dexterity remains important for defense, but a greater range of options become possible for builds.

I’d welcome your thoughts and comments – what am I missing? is this too strong? Are there synergies that I’ve not thought of that make these overpowered? Do you have a better name for the combination of effects described?

Thanks!
Meh.

I am not a fan, especially if you allow mutliclassing (in which case dex can be dumped to 13 easily with no repurcussions) or feats (in which case your Rogue will be OP)

#1. The first ability is too good when you consider the tavern brawler, grappler and fighter initiate feats. This would make a Rogue OP as a grappler.

Experise in athletics, cunning action dash, tavern brawler and high strength are already extremely powerful in a Rogue grapple build, and when doing this you need to choose between taking the BA grapple or doing the SA damage on the first turn - either/or not both. With this you would be able to do both and then when you added grappler feat you would have advantage all the time as well while being able to drag your oponent around at full move with cunning action.

Under the current rules with tavern brawler you have to give up SA damage on the turn you grapple to make everything else work and that is an acceptable opportunity cost. I think if you changed this so he could use dexterity with improvised weapons or unarmed strikes without being "finesse" it would be fine.

I am not concerned at all about #2

For #3 I find Rogues very flexible already, they have the most skills and with expertise they are the best skill guys in the game and a couple of the subclasses add more skills and you get more expertise later. You can easily give yourself 16 in Dex and either 16/14/10 in RP stats (I/W/Ch) or 14/14/12 or with a human 14/14/14. This is all while maintaining a 10 constitution. Any of these combinations and you will be good at damage while being gangbusters at skills. I don't think any other class really allows that flexibility. I am not sure what this change would afford that is not already there except for people that want to metagame. If you feel you want the off-stat weapon stuff for a particular play style then multiclass to artificer or warlock to get it. In this case you give up some SA damage to get it, which again is an acceptable trade IMO.
 
Last edited:

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
If anything, I'd say that seems like a very weak feat. It's basically a sidegrade--your power level stays the same, you just use different-looking gear--but you pay for this essentially cosmetic change with an entire feat slot.

If you were in my campaign, I'd give you most of this stuff for free, or at most a token payment. Maybe swap it in for your background feature? Certainly not a feat. I'd have to think about the stat swap, but the rest is trivial.
Thanks-- this is my sense, too. But I am aware that there might be hidden synergies I'm not seeing.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
#1. ... you need to choose between taking the BA grapple or doing the SA damage on the first turn - either/or not both. With this you would be able to do both and then when you added grappler feat you would have advantage all the time as well while being able to drag your oponent around at full move with cunning action.
Thanks.
I don't see that as OP, but I take your point.
For #3 I find Rogues very flexible already, ... You can easily give yourself 16 in Dex and either 16/14/10 in RP stats (I/W/Ch) or 14/14/12 or with a human 14/14/14. This is all while maintaining a 10 constitution. Any of these combinations and you will be good at damage while being gangbusters at skills. I don't think any other class really allows that flexibility. I am not sure what this change would afford that is not already there except for people that want to metagame.
Your description of a Rogue with a 16 dexterity and another ability indicates to me its LACK of flexibility. It's exactly this that I find weak in the rogue design. Given how few mudane options there are, I want the rogue to be more robust.
 


ECMO3

Adventurer
Your description of a Rogue with a 16 dexterity and another ability indicates to me its LACK of flexibility. It's exactly this that I find weak in the rogue design. Given how few mudane options there are, I want the rogue to be more robust.

Among 5E classes Rogue is the most SAD class there is. I don't get what you are saying here or what you mean by Robust. If you are saying you want them to be more powerful in combat I get you, but that is more than balanced by their out of combat capabilities and a Rogue as powerful as a fighter should not have access to the other things they have.

To be clear you can do a lower dex Rogue and they do play well. You typically need a high strength and 12+ constitution if you want them to be as effective in combat though.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
I am not sure that's a great reason for a farm implement that should hardly be a viable weapon at all to get the bonus. There aren't a lot of farm-themed rogues, are there?
ha ha ha.

Fair, but I've had more than one Rogues take folk hero backgrounds. As you know, though, the question is about mechanics.
 
Last edited:

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Among 5E classes Rogue is the most SAD class there is. I don't get what you are saying here or what you mean by Robust. If you are saying you want them to be more powerful in combat I get you, but that is more than balanced by their out of combat capabilities and a Rogue as powerful as a fighter should not have access to the other things they have.

To be clear you can do a lower dex Rogue and they do play well. You typically need a high strength and 12+ constitution if you want them to be as effective in combat though.
I don't think we are disagreeing.

I'm not looking for them to be stronger in combat (I don't think the proposed feat gives them that, but I am asking if others do). And yes, it is viable to build a strength rogue, though I have not seen one with less than a 12 Dexterity.

The third benefit seeks to give alternatives, and I'm asking to see consequences of such a change, and proposing what I think is a significant cost to it.
 

I love playing rouges, and my problems with the design of the rogue class focus around the limited choices of builds and basic combat options. I make no pretense that anyone other than myself sees these as issues needing a fix.

The changes that I would like are all (I believe) minor, and implementing them would make for a much wider range of rouge builds. They are things that a DM might allow in any case. But pooling them together in a feat demonstrates the importance I would place on them when designing a character. So here is a homebrew feat, which offers three benefits that would be of conceivable interest to rogues, spellcasters, monks, bards, and tavern brawlers.

The first benefit is different from the monk ability because it allows unarmed strikes to be used with Sneak Attack. For the second I’ve deliberately only chosen weapons that do d4 damage. For the third, Dexterity remains important for defense, but a greater range of options become possible for builds.

I’d welcome your thoughts and comments – what am I missing? is this too strong? Are there synergies that I’ve not thought of that make these overpowered? Do you have a better name for the combination of effects described?

Thanks!
I flat-out just removed the Finesse Weapon restriction on Sneak Attack completely.
I've yet to see a thematic or balance issue with it yet.

I chose not to charge a character resource for the ability because Dexterity is still such a powerful stat for any character. Allowing a rogue to invest in Str instead does not increase their power.

However I'm not a fan of just letting a character pick any ability score to base attacks off.
 



Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
However I'm not a fan of just letting a character pick any ability score to base attacks off.
I'm not either, which is why I'm suggesting a feat. This seems preferable to me than the free-rejigging of stat bonuses in TCoE (though I do understand what motivated that choice).
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If anything, I'd say that seems like a very weak feat. It's basically a sidegrade--your power level stays the same, you just use different-looking gear--but you pay for this essentially cosmetic change with an entire feat slot.

If you were in my campaign, I'd give you most of this stuff for free, or at most a token payment. Maybe swap it in for your background feature? Certainly not a feat. I'd have to think about the stat swap, but the rest is trivial.
Agreed. Make it a half-feat (+1 to a stat), and allow the stat swap to apply to any finesse weapon, and I'd put it in the "good feat category". Right now, this is purely a reskin that happens to cost a feat.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Instead of attribute substitution for another, what if we look into "presumed accuracy" techniques and allow them via a feat.

Combat Drill
You have practiced and drilled at combat, giving you a +1 bonus to constitution. When making an attack roll where you add your proficiency bonus, you gain the following benefits:
  • You may replace both your proficiency and attribute bonus to hit on the roll with twice your proficiency bonus.
  • If you have advantage and your attack hits, if both dice rolled the same value, your attack becomes a critical hit.
  • Whenever you roll a natural 1 on any attack roll, you can reroll it, but must keep the result of the reroll.
This intentionally does not replace attribute bonus to damage.

At level 17+, it gives you a +12 instead of the "baseline max stat" +11 to hit. The "reroll 1s once" is similar to rolling in the range 2-20 instead of 1-20, which acts a bit like a +1/2 to hit (average of your d20s is a smidgen under 11 not 10.5), and also almost (but not completely) avoids auto-miss.

The "doubles are crits with advantage" is fun. It acts as less than a full point of extra critical range, and only when you have advantage. If you crit on a 20 and hit on a 10+, your crit chance before this feat was almost 10%; afterwards, it is 12.5%. A fun, if marginal, benefit.

The meat is being able to attack without having to boost your attack attribute. So you can make a int-based rogue. You aren't as good for most purposes as someone who does boost their attack attribute (because you miss attribute to damage), but you are serviceable.

This still leaves said rogue with low AC. They could take moderately armored, and with 14 Dex and a shield have decent AC, but that is yet another feat tax.
 
Last edited:

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top