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Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #3: Rogue

Welcome to the third Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of game’s rogue class.

o.l.d page 140.jpg


You will also need to refer to the previous fighter playtest document for information on Traditions and Maneuvers, as we haven’t repeated that information in this document.

Download the playtest document

Are you ready to level up your 5E game? Welcome to Level Up, the standalone 'advanced 5E' backwards compatible tabletop RPG coming in 2021!

A crunchier, more flexible version of the 5E ruleset which you know and love. If you love 5E but would like a little more depth to the ruleset, Level Up is the game for you!

What this is
This is a playtest document. We’d love you to try out the rules presented here, and then answer the follow-up survey in a few days.

What this is not
This is NOT the final game. It’s OK if you don’t like elements of these rules; that’s the purpose of a playtest document. Be sure to participate in the follow-up survey in a few days. All data, positive or negative is useful.

What we use this for
Your survey responses help form the direction of the game as it goes through the development process.

Don’t forget!
Sign up for the mailing list for notifications of playtests, surveys, and news, and to make sure you get notified on Kickstarter when the project launches in 2021.

Continue reading...
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

shmeeb

Villager
Things I liked:
  • All these new exploration knacks are really on point for the Rogue
  • I like that Tactics and Defense Styles can be swapped out on a level up, that feels appropriate
  • I'm glad that not every class gets access to every tradition, that makes the Fighter appropriately versatile and customisable
  • I like the ability to stack expertise on a skill if you want to really specialise

Things that could be better:
  • Expertise dice kind of remove some of the consistency that came with regular Expertise, but that's not a big problem, it's mostly personal preference
  • What I feel is a problem is that locking all the features that give you expertise in social skills behind levelled abilities means the social rogues kind of get shafted - maybe those should be reworked into Knacks, and Rogues should just get more of them at those levels? At the very least, you should be able to get training/expertise in Persuasion, Deception and Insight via the skill training/expertise knack
Edit: Forgot to mention - Trapsmith taking 10 minutes makes it pretty situational. Maybe 5?
 
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RSIxidor

Adventurer
Distraction seems like the penalty should only count against things other than the Rogue.

Veiled Threat should be stated as a choice when you make the Intimidation check. Sometimes you want the whole room to know, sometimes you don't.

Not sure I like Trapsmith as a core Rogue feature. It fits a number of the themes a rogue archetype might have, so I suppose that's easier. Maybe have an alternative to it for those who don't care about making traps? Automatically spotting other traps made by you after having a trap sprung on you seems odd as well. Maybe a bonus instead?

Improved Critical is a nice thing for Rogues to have, and I like that you're building it in a way that lets it get better if you build to focus on it. I also like that the limit of it is 18, because going as deep as 15 lik PF/3.5 does feels like too much.

Not sure how I feel about Defense Style. Were rogues getting too much having Uncanny Dodge and Evasion separately? Then again, they got the critical boost at 5, so something had to change, I suppose. I do like that you can swap it out every level but honestly, I'd just as easily be fine with it being on long rests.

It also seems that Expertise Dice can be applied to skills in which you aren't proficient. Is that intended? It can allow for a sort of pseudo-proficiency in a non-proficient skill, especially if you find a way to double or triple up on it. If that's not intended, I'd make that plain in the Expertise section.

I love the Boobytrapper knack for the builds that enjoy such things.

Hide in the Shadows maybe needs something like "as if obscured" or "you are considered obscured for this check." I don't know, hidden still confuses me some times. The intention is clear but I fear the rules bullies.
 

akr71

Adventurer
Trapsmith FTW! I've always found it odd that setting traps isn't mentioned in the PHB. It could use a bit of polish still, I think.

I'm not crazy about having Uncanny Dodge or Evasion, not both.
 

Stacie GmrGrl

Adventurer
Like it. Looks great fun.

Idk if you have this as part of the design philosophy but have you considered giving every class a core defining ability they get at first level that increases in power at higher levels but the only way a character can get these Class Core Abilities is at Level One?

This means that even if you multipass later you never get another classes core defining feature.

This was done in other past games like Stargate SG-1 rpg, Spycraft 1 and 2, and Fantasy Craft.

I bring this up because it would cause a Player to really consider what class they choose at first level and it would be an important choice.
 


Larrin

Entropic Good
I think trap smith is awesome for those that want it, but not every rogue is going to want it. It could be an option thing like, pick your shtick form these preparation-based "attacks" : trap-smith, poisoner, con job (for the talky rogue).

I can see why insight, persuade, deceive and intimidate are not offered in the exploration knacks (they are social skills) but it is unfortunate that rogues don't have the same level of "get expertise dice of your choice" in the social skills in the same way they do in the exploration skills. At least that is what I see on first reading. It could just be a mindset thing, maybe level up rogues are more versatile explorers than they are socialites and that is just part of the system. I could probably adapt to that way of thinking if I had to. They still get some social expertise.
 

Marcelus14

Explorer
I think trap smith is awesome for those that want it, but not every rogue is going to want it. It could be an option thing like, pick your shtick form these preparation-based "attacks" : trap-smith, poisoner, con job (for the talky rogue).

I can see why insight, persuade, deceive and intimidate are not offered in the exploration knacks (they are social skills) but it is unfortunate that rogues don't have the same level of "get expertise dice of your choice" in the social skills in the same way they do in the exploration skills. At least that is what I see on first reading. It could just be a mindset thing, maybe level up rogues are more versatile explorers than they are socialites and that is just part of the system. I could probably adapt to that way of thinking if I had to. They still get some social expertise.

I assume this is to set up the Bard to be the social master?
 

Stalker0

Legend
There are two general things I think should be clarified in the documents:

1) Is it assumed we can use 5e archetypes with these classes, or do they come with their own "levelup archetypes?" Aka can I use the thief archetype with a level up rogue?

2) How do minor disadvantage / minor advantage interact with various mechanics.... for example sneak attack. Do you generally assume Minor Advantage "counts as advantage" for such purposes, or does it specifically "not count as advantage". This position needs to be clarified generally as it affects a number of things.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There are two general things I think should be clarified in the documents:

1) Is it assumed we can use 5e archetypes with these classes, or do they come with their own "levelup archetypes?" Aka can I use the thief archetype with a level up rogue?

2) How do minor disadvantage / minor advantage interact with various mechanics.... for example sneak attack. Do you generally assume Minor Advantage "counts as advantage" for such purposes, or does it specifically "not count as advantage". This position needs to be clarified generally as it affects a number of things.
Yes, you can use existing archetypes.

The fighter survey very clearly rejected minor advantage, so we’re not pursuing that mechanic.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Overall reaction is that much like the fighter, I really enjoy the extra options this new class has. Just a few observations:

1) I'd prefer to see sneak attack allow for greater versatility with weapons allowed, although I'd be OK with that being gated behind a class feature or subclass feature.

2) I think I would prefer for expertise die being 1d6, and extra dice then being "keep highest 1" instead of die size increase. Die size increase doesn't feel quite right for features that are "gain extra dice".

3) I don't really like Trapsmith being baked in as a class feature. Feels like too much baked-in flavor on the flexible chassis. Maybe give a free tool proficiency at level 1 instead of thieves tools, and have this feature give an expertise die and a benefit to various types of tools? Tool proficiency is an underused niche in 5e.

4) Having maneuvers not be fighter-specific is excellent, and I hope to see that continue.

5) The interaction/exploration menu of features (Innocent Facade, Shrewd Judgment, and Low Profile) are uniformly excellent and easily one of the strongest points of this system as a whole.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm not fond of being able to change up tactics. If you know how to carve, you shouldn't forget that at second level and then pick it back up at 4th. It should be something that you know. If you want rogues to be able to use all three and not be confined to just one forever, then perhaps give them 10 uses per day divided up however they choose, but no more than once per round. Round 1 the rogue carves up an orc. The second orc screams in fear and runs. Round 2 the rogue whips out his crossbow and snipes the fleeing orc.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Hmmmm.....obviously just a quick read so far....

I like the trap stuff a lot, but I'm thinking not everyone wants a trap based rogue. Maybe offer 1-2 other archetypes? Poisoner? Actual thief (stealing stuff, selling it for more money than others, connections)? Assassin? "ninja"? Con artist?

Not sure, but I felt it needed another set of choices or something.
 

Hmmmm.....obviously just a quick read so far....

I like the trap stuff a lot, but I'm thinking not everyone wants a trap based rogue. Maybe offer 1-2 other archetypes? Poisoner? Actual thief (stealing stuff, selling it for more money than others, connections)? Assassin? "ninja"? Con artist?

Not sure, but I felt it needed another set of choices or something.

I agree that rogues shouldn't all be trap-based (especially for people who use rogue as a stand-in for expert) but the traps aren't an archetype. Since this is supposed to be backwards compatible, "actual thieves," assassins, ninjas, and con artists are already archetypes (Thief, Assassin, Mastermind) have already been covered. If this were a true new edition that didn't have to be completely backwards compatible, I'd agree with you entirely.

OTOH, trap-finding (along with lock-picking, pocket-picking, climbing sheer walls, and listening at doors) has been part of the rogue since Basic.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I agree that rogues shouldn't all be trap-based (especially for people who use rogue as a stand-in for expert) but the traps aren't an archetype. Since this is supposed to be backwards compatible, "actual thieves," assassins, ninjas, and con artists are already archetypes (Thief, Assassin, Mastermind) have already been covered. If this were a true new edition that didn't have to be completely backwards compatible, I'd agree with you entirely.

OTOH, trap-finding (along with lock-picking, pocket-picking, climbing sheer walls, and listening at doors) has been part of the rogue since Basic.

admittedly, I was struggling to come up with a new archetype (though, they could redo some of them with their new rules and have them be different enough to be different)......

I really miss lock picking, pocket picking, etc. being skills/abilities that are truly unique. Just rolling them into the same skills everyone has is not my favorite
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
  • I like the change to starting equipment> 125gp or package a/package b of less gold+equipment
  • expertise dice is a much improved version of the overly generously scaled default expertise so I like that & having seen it in play both from hero points along with dragonmarked races feel that it works better. I'm also going to second the positive things said about tightening the allowed skill choices a little being a good thing.
  • Combat tactics: Carver & sniper are great, that +1d6 with a dagger is really nice, but I'd suggest changing "your attack deals" to "your sneak attack deals" would preemptively clear up any confusion over if it doubles with a crit or not & with later levels giving improved crit range it has a good chance of coming up. Changing it at level up is good & reasonable for adapting within the party/adventure.
    • Ambusher is one of those things that probably sounds cool/good in theory, but it pushes "stealth is invisibility" trope & without extra attacks it's not really even meaningfu to say "attacks" or "until the end of your next turn". This sort of mechanic tends to be a bit annoying for a lot of the table if not significantly handwaived by the gm so why not just make it a stance like intuitive combat stance or something like taking the dodge action to trigger it?
  • Cipher/deception/veiled threat. all three are pretty cool & fit well with different rogue type tropes.
  • The ASI's: Not sure if going from default 4/8/10/12/16/19 to 4/8/12/16/19 is intended or oversight but worth mentioning.
  • Improved critical: it says "If you gain Improved Critical from another class", should "class" be "source" to allow a gm to put it on a keen weapon equivalent without needing to juggle edge cases? It's also great that they get it early enough for this to be a core component of the rogue rather than something that would be cool in avery high level one shot or something
  • Shrewd judgement: All three of these are awesome. I like that the diplomancery spot tell/tricky interrogation try to cover different niches within the social encounter... but doesn't spot tell also cover what tricky interrogation covers? With quick frisk it's great that it gives general information a gm could fill in on the fly rather than an explicit list you'd get from "strip & put your stuff on the table for inspection"
  • Defense style: I like that this is split three ways. Some might cry foul because two of them were previously just given at 5 &7 rather than a choice, but by splitting it as a choice it allows more cool design space like improved critical.
    • Noteworthy is that page 6 defense style says level 7 but the table on page 3 says level 8, which is intended?
  • Improved trapsmith: having this "within 10 feet of the booby-trapped area or object must make a saving throw or be damaged by the trap" makes a lot of sense for a useful ability people will want to use for reasons other than "because it's my skill" and adds a lot of leeway to how players make the trap they "design" so I really like it even before adding how it allows for potential cool use of various artisan tools... On the artisan tools note though, maybe change "each trap you build" to "design" as it would allow things like bobRogue to give plans to chuckCarpenter, daveMason, or even $townNPCs.
  • Low profile: All of these are pretty cool & I think it's good to see an ability that explicitly grants them rather than just "proficient with x" on some.
  • exploration knacks
    • Agile athlete: I like that it pegs climb speed to your walk speed allowing it to move around to match the player's abilities. giving an expertise die on athletics is a nice benefit to go with what would otherwise be a rather niche ribbon.
    • boobytrapper: This goes well with players in parties who want to make heavy use of traps so good stuff but the wording is unclear on if the concealed traps are traps that have been set/deployed or hidden on your person so can be both & neither depending on the table.
    • Delay Trap: This kind of thing is done all the time in movies & such so it's neat to see, but "everyone leave the room while I do this trap" has the same effect & is almost standard practice in a lot of parties, perhaps giving an expertise die on the save would be fitting?
    • Expertise training: great for folks who want to be skill monkey types & I've already said that the expertise die is a nice improvement over expertise. It doesn't say if you need to be proficient or if it grants proficiency in the event you are not though.
    • Extra skill training: skill monkey training continues, good thing for those types.
    • Hide in shadows: Great for stealth types & good ability as it is.
    • Observer: I like that this does something for both active & passive perception. With observant one of the few ways of getting +1 int on a feat that's also useful I've seen the frustration of only having one from both sides of the gm screen
    • Scout leader: This is interesting but it doesn't specify if you can apply it to one ally before or after they roll.
    • Sense for secrets is a nice little searching ability & the can't use twice in same area is a good little anti-hotter/colder thing if the party can't figure out what triggered spidy senses
    • Tuck & roll: on paper this seems useful, but fall damage is such a minor thing I wonder if this is worth it on its own without adding something more or if this is a trap choice that snares newer less experienced players
 

A suggestion: a lot of people use the Rogue as a stand-in for nonmagical expert (since Bards, the other good choice for Expert, are very magical). This version very much limits the skills you can get to thiefy skills. Perhaps include an option under Shrewd Judgement or an Exploration Knack that allows for proficiency or expertise dice in other Int or Wis skills, or in other tool sets. (I'll include this when the survey is out).

To go with this, perhaps you get X number of Expertise dice based on your level and you can apply them to whatever skill you want, whenever you want. And traits like Distraction give you a dedicated Expertise die. So if you wanted to spend another Expertise die on Performance, you would increase the die size to d6.

--

Sadly, I can't truly recreate my 5th-level rogue/1st-level fighter, because she's actually a professional duelist; i.e., a Swashbuckler (and so far, Level Up hasn't included anything like Levestus tieflings), but here goes:

Exploration Knack: I get three of them. Sadly, my character is a bit of a flake (chaotic neutral) and not particularly observant, so no knacks that improve those traits. I'm going to take Agile Athlete, Expertise Training (Acrobatics), and Tuck and Roll.

By the way, how many knacks are going to be available by 20th level? Because it's five at 10 level, but there are only ten knacks. I know most games don't go up to 20th level, or even 15th level, but I'd hope that you wouldn't get every available knack eventually.

Combat Tactic: Aaaand none of these really fit my character: as a Swashbuckler, she gets her sneak attacks in 1v1 combat, not from hiding, and the Dueling fighting style she took from being a fighter makes her use one weapon (rapier) not two (rapier-and-dagger). I know that's niche because she's multiclassed, though. I guess I'll take Carver.

I dislike Ambusher. You already get advantage when attacking from hiding, and you lose that benefit when you attack because you reveal yourself. This tactic both negates that and gives you a huge bonus for an entire round.

Martial Maneuver: I'm slightly confused. Do I get to pick two maneuvers from any of those three traditions, or do I get to pick two out of the three traditions to choose maneuvers from? Anyway, I'll take Deft Feint, Feinting Assault, and Eye Slash.

Innocent Facade: It's bugging the heck out of me that you forgot the cedilla (here you go: façade... did I mention I'm an Aspie?). But my character. Remember how I said she was unobservant and flaky? We were exploring a wrecked house in an incredibly poor part of town. The city was completely ignoring the place and leaving dangerous, burnt-out ruined buildings behind. I found a locked box and decided to open it. Turns out, I forgot that Rogues were pretty MAD and dumped Int ('twas a 10) and didn't have any skill in Investigation. So I didn't find the trap (a glyph of warding, I believe). Then I rolled a 1 on my Sleight of Hand to pick the lock. Boom! Fireball, totally destroyed the wrecked house and set fire to the surrounding buildings. All of the destitute neighbors came a-runnin'. What's going on?! I decided to put the blame on the extremely nearby wizard's university--they're chucking spells right and left, not caring whose house they're destroying! They're to blame! Down with the wizards! Rolled either Deception or Persuasion, can't remember which. Got a nat 20. Started a riot that ended up razing a couple of city blocks. I was a pleased chaotic neutral rogue that day. Now the city would have no choice but to remove the hazardous wreckage and rebuild!

What I mean to say is, Distraction is the perfect Innocent Façade for my character here.

Improved Critical: No. No, no no. Rogues should not get a dedicated Improved Critical when fighters don't. Limit this to sneak attacks only, or put it at a higher level, or get rid of it entirely.

That's it for Rogue... but my character is multiclassed. Let's see how that works. At the moment, I have to assume that I get the Exploration Knack, Fighting Style, and two Maneuvers.

Fighter Style: Duelist, of course. The prime reason I multiclassed, in fact.

Exploration Knack: It doesn't quite fit, but I'll take Extreme Leap.

Maneuvers: Hey, I just realized I read this wrong before--you can potentially gain multiple Combat Traditions. How did I miss that? So I'll take Rapid Current Razor's Edge, and Mirror's Glint. And for the maneuvers I get, I'll take Warning Strike and Dangerous Strikes.
 
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maceochaid

Explorer
WALK IT BACK IS BRILLIANT!!! This is like already the gold standard for the kinds of mechanics that should play into social pillar. A really targeted look at what the "social" game is would be worthwhile. But this is absolutely right on. When you someone does something stupid, or takes a risk and fails it slows the whole group down.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Its an incredible first attempt. Rogues are my go-to class anyway, but this is the class I now want to play!

A few preferences:
  • Allow for more weapons to be able to use sneak attack: at least add the longsword, staff, club and hand-axes.
  • Maybe allow a few more choices of Maneuvers family. I'm thinking about the one that jumps everywhere (''something and claw''?) would be super nice for a scout rogue.
  • I absolutely adore the trap feature myself, but having it as a core feature for the rogue might displeases some.
  • I think it needs a feature to gain darkvision X for those poor human/halfling thieves that cant sneak or spy on their target in the shadowy alleys because they lack the sight!

Other than that its pretty good. I feel like the rogue is the absolute master of the Urban Exploration Pillar.
 
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