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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

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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.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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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.
Indeed, it's technically something you could always do... if the gm allowed it... but the rules never made it particularly clear how/if to adjudicate it & there is the additional bar where that a player doesn't always have the social background to grok it.

@Jessica Wolfman you go from saying "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)." to suggesting rogues have the ability to get the campaign's important magical know stuff skill from int/wis based classes with those skills too. Seems more than a little out of place to add it to the rogue when your just came off explaining why it shouldn't be there. If a rogue player feels like they need one of those skills there are background options that makes the choice fit the campaign. People always say that backgrounds allow players to get skills they wouldn't normally be allowed in order to fit new mold shapes, let the backgrounds do that.

The "but my swashbuckler..." complaint misses how problematic that near munchkin level rakish audacity ability is & you do it unintentionally by saying "she gets her sneak attacks in 1v1 combat, not from hiding" because it doesn't change sneak attack to work 1v1 it just adds nearly every other situation where you don't automatically get sneak attack through working with a flanking buddy with the exception of "wow that's a nice cluster of baddies for a fireball". Hopefully that is something they manage to avoid & the amount of reciprocity baked into stuff so far makes me think I don't have anything to worry about there. Personally I kinda wish the sneak attack wording was reverted to be more like the past when certain creature types were explicitly not something it could work on as others have noted but 5e makes things like that difficult until we get to things like a5e's feats that allow loopholes & modifications to be added back to that immune

Fighters don't get improved crit because they get higher damage dice, extra attacks, & abilities that give them better odds when hitting or more damage when hitting. combining both is problematic but the loss of crit fishing builds (among other things deemed badwrongfun like DR) is problematic in a lot of ways for 5e. Level 5 is a good level for it that avoids the front loaded scorlock MC is better than straight $class problem while allowing it to be gained at a level where it will get significant use in the campaign that still allows for multiclass options.
 

Jeff Carpenter

Adventurer
  • 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!

Having or not having Darkvision is a make or break on how effective a scout, assassin, ect. You can be compared to others.

Great idea to level the playing field so humans and halfling have a chance to be as effective as other races.
 

Faolyn

Hero
@Jessica Wolfman you go from saying "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)." to suggesting rogues have the ability to get the campaign's important magical know stuff skill from int/wis based classes with those skills too.

When I said that Rogues are nonmagical experts, I mean in the sense that they don't have any inherent magical abilities. Bards can cast spells; Rogues can't. Arcana, the skill, is used to recall lore about magic, other planes, monsters, e

The "but my swashbuckler..." complaint misses how problematic that near munchkin level rakish audacity ability is & you do it unintentionally by saying "she gets her sneak attacks in 1v1 combat, not from hiding" because it doesn't change sneak attack to work 1v1 it just adds nearly every other situation where you don't automatically get sneak attack through working with a flanking buddy with the exception of "wow that's a nice cluster of baddies for a fireball".

I did note that I was specifically referring to the fact I couldn't completely convert my character exactly, not that the Combat Tactics were bad. Did you mean to completely misinterpret what I said? If I had been building her from the ground up entirely in this system, it wouldn't be a problem.

Fighters don't get improved crit because they get higher damage dice, extra attacks, & abilities that give them better odds when hitting or more damage when hitting. combining both is problematic but the loss of crit fishing builds (among other things deemed badwrongfun like DR) is problematic in a lot of ways for 5e. Level 5 is a good level for it that avoids the front loaded scorlock MC is better than straight $class problem while allowing it to be gained at a level where it will get significant use in the campaign that still allows for multiclass options.

I wouldn't know, as my fighter is level 3 with Str 16 and my rogue/fighter is level 6 with Dex 18., so of course my rogue is hitting a bit more often. But I still think giving a rogue Improved Crit like this is a bad idea. If it were just for sneak attacks, or a limited times per rest, it would be better. At low levels, though, rogues are going to out-damage fighters by a lot.
 

When I said that Rogues are nonmagical experts, I mean in the sense that they don't have any inherent magical abilities. Bards can cast spells; Rogues can't. Arcana, the skill, is used to recall lore about magic, other planes, monsters, e
If only there were a class where knowing arcana & all things arcane were part of the identity of that class?... perhaps it could be int based even. Seems like that would fill the missing niche you note ;). Until we start seeing more classes it's probably the wrong time to start calling for rogue to gain access to the niches of those classes we don't yet have a5e versions for.

What you said wasn't misinterpreted, it was a useful point to draw attention to.
I wouldn't know, as my fighter is level 3 with Str 16 and my rogue/fighter is level 6 with Dex 18., so of course my rogue is hitting a bit more often. But I still think giving a rogue Improved Crit like this is a bad idea. If it were just for sneak attacks, or a limited times per rest, it would be better. At low levels, though, rogues are going to out-damage fighters by a lot.
Completely unrelated to your fighter/rogue, look at the maneuvers & stances in the fighter packet. Fighters know more of them, have more to select from & have a larger exertion pool thanks to "reserves". A lot of those do things like give minor advantage or extra damage. Of course the extra attacks class feature itself is well known. Fighter doesn't have improved critical because they have something else that is a different distinct path rather than the same one. Rogue has improved critical in their a5e because they have always gained more benefit from criticals than classes like fighter who have their own toolbox. There is no reason to make everyone the same again just because wotc made a poor choice by doing that in core so everyone plays pretty much the same.
 

Faolyn

Hero
If only there were a class where knowing arcana & all things arcane were part of the identity of that class?... perhaps it could be int based even. Seems like that would fill the missing niche you note

Not even slightly.

Nowhere did I say that I wanted to give Rogues an option to add expertise dice to non-thiefy skills just so they could learn Arcana. People have used Rogues to play historians, writers, cartographers, doctors, and lots of other skills. And opening up expertise dice for more skills or tools would make it easier to play low-magic settings where nonmagical healing is important.

Completely unrelated to your fighter/rogue, look at the maneuvers & stances in the fighter packet. Fighters know more of them, have more to select from & have a larger exertion pool thanks to "reserves". A lot of those do things like give minor advantage or extra damage. Of course the extra attacks class feature itself is well known. Fighter doesn't have improved critical because they have something else that is a different distinct path rather than the same one. Rogue has improved critical in their a5e because they have always gained more benefit from criticals than classes like fighter who have their own toolbox. There is no reason to make everyone the same again just because wotc made a poor choice by doing that in core so everyone plays pretty much the same.

And again, you're complaining about something completely unrelated to what I said. I used my character as an example of converting a 5e character to 5.5--I was not claiming that it was a bad ability to have. In that case the options weren't useful for me.

And paladins also get a great deal of benefit from criticals, due to their smites, but, well... I guess we'll see if they get an improved crit range as well.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Oh, another thing.

If the rogue is to keep the ''trap'' features (which I hope), I think it would be nice to have the opportunity to use more ''mental'' traps, such as lure, repellant or traps that gives condition to the targets or a (lowkey) advantage to the party, for the more ''mental'' rogue's archetypes such as Mastermind and Inquisitive, or even social traps to entangle targets in a web of intrigue, deception, faux-pas and etiquette, for the swashbucklers and assassins of this world!
 

aco175

Legend
I agree with @Jessica Wolfman with changing critical 19-20 to attacks only when backstabbing. This may be be a bit picky since you do not declare if you are trying to critical, hence the 2-weapon fighting trick.

There was also a power, maybe carver, that allows you to add +1d6 damage. I would think of changing that to having daggers doing 1d6 and short swords 1d8. I wouldn't allow rapiers to go to 1d10.

There should also be a way to make other weapons have the finesse property. Something like a hand ax for dwarves, or even for anyone should not break anything.
 

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
And I agree with @aco175 :)

I wonder if Carver should be the general single-weapon Combat Tactic and just allow any finesse weapon to be d10? (Or any weapon with Slashing, Piercing or Bludgeoning?). If d10, this should probably specifically state that the other hand is free (i.e. does not permits shield from multi-classing/background). If d8, you could probably allow it. Either way, helps players diversify from the ubiquitous rapier!

Does Sniper as it stands specifically cover thrown weapons too? It probably should.

Also love the idea of a 4th Combat Tactic that allows any weapon to have the finesse property.

So:
  • Ambusher: Two-weapon rogue (or multi-classed martial with Extra Attack)
  • Carver (?Skillful Striker): Single weapon, classic close-combat rogue
  • Sniper: Ranged attack/ thrown weapon rogue
  • ?Martial Finesse: rogue that uses alternative weapons
P.S. I can't immediately see any of these being broken when multi-classed with a martial Fighting Style and like that they're distinct. But need to avoid Martial Finesse being a broken combo with the Great Weapon Master Feat...
 

And I agree with @aco175 :)

I wonder if Carver should be the general single-weapon Combat Tactic and just allow any finesse weapon to be d10? (Or any weapon with Slashing, Piercing or Bludgeoning?). If d10, this should probably specifically state that the other hand is free (i.e. does not permits shield from multi-classing/background). If d8, you could probably allow it. Either way, helps players diversify from the ubiquitous rapier!

I think this would be too much, what you suggest is a big jump that gets increased by the improved crit. Also more importantly doing that would need either further changes when we get weapon revisions or require a large pool of weapons themselves to be limiteddue to how the new weapon would combine with carver. If you just wat a d10 averaging 5.5 min1 instead of 1d6+1d4 averaging 6 min2 then you can pick one of the other options & use a weapon with a bigger damage die.

@Jessica Wolfman You brought up a niche that couldn't be filled by the current playtest options & were given reasons why it was a badly shortsighted niche that should not be filled. You aren't arguing that "basically every situation but being ganged up on with no nearby ally & too scary/far off to approach to melee range" is a good limitation for sneak attack so it seems you recognize that it's an indefensible position trying to defend a boneheaded ability in core and instead chose to argue irrelevant details if your comment really justified a response or not.
 

Stacie GmrGrl

Adventurer
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.

Not a bad idea to just make this game it's own edition of 5e.
 

Faolyn

Hero
@Jessica Wolfman You brought up a niche that couldn't be filled by the current playtest options & were given reasons why it was a badly shortsighted niche that should not be filled. You aren't arguing that "basically every situation but being ganged up on with no nearby ally & too scary/far off to approach to melee range" is a good limitation for sneak attack so it seems you recognize that it's an indefensible position trying to defend a boneheaded ability in core and instead chose to argue irrelevant details if your comment really justified a response or not.

You read things into my post that I didn't write. My entire intent was to say "hey, these choices aren't an exact match for my 5e character, but that's OK I'll pick something else." I would say the exact same thing if I were trying to convert a D&5e character to a completely different system, like GURPS or Fate. I'd probably say the same thing if I were trying to convert her to 3.x.

You chose to argue for... I don't even know why, because I wasn't even making any of the arguments that you're claiming I was. I wasn't even expect a response on that, beyond possibly a "hey, if you're playing a Swashbuckler, I figured out a hack for a particular maneuver is surprisingly good for that, even if it doesn't appear so."

Since you didn't seem to get what I said the first however many times: I am playing a multiclassed character with a distinct personality and fighting style. She's a Swashbuckler in class only--her actual in-character profession is duelist, cool cheek scar and all, and she certainly doesn't swing around the rigging of a boat. I at no point ever expected Level Up to fully be able to replicate this character exactly. I made an off-hand comment about this. Apparently you have a problem with Swashbucklers or with sneak attack--I can't even figure out what your problem is, or what "boneheaded ability" you mean--and decided to use me as an excuse to talk about it.

My personal opinion on crit ranges and fighters--assuming that's what you're talking about--is just my personal opinion. Which I'm allowed to have, and you attacking me for my opinion is uncalled for.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
@Jessica Wolfman You brought up a niche that couldn't be filled by the current playtest options & were given reasons why it was a badly shortsighted niche that should not be filled. You aren't arguing that "basically every situation but being ganged up on with no nearby ally & too scary/far off to approach to melee range" is a good limitation for sneak attack so it seems you recognize that it's an indefensible position trying to defend a boneheaded ability in core and instead chose to argue irrelevant details if your comment really justified a response or not.
Calm down please, You're being unnecessarily aggressive.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
I have to say, I'm having a hard time imagining a finesse greataxe or glaive. Perhaps limit this to weapons that aren't heavy or require two hands.

I think that's a reasonable enough limitation. Limiting to only what's in the PHB rules is meh but this is a nice middle ground. (but should still allow two-handed ranged weapons, of course)
 

Faolyn

Hero
I think that's a reasonable enough limitation. Limiting to only what's in the PHB rules is meh but this is a nice middle ground. (but should still allow two-handed ranged weapons, of course)

Fortunately, rogues can sneak attack with ranged weapons. Are there any other classes or archetypes that give benefits for finesse weapons?
 


Faolyn

Hero
I think the only other thing is the Defensive Duelist feat, which requires finesse weapons but is also pretty bad.

Is it bad? I took it for a character in another game but I barely got a chance to use it before the game folded. It's basically Parry, a trait which can raise the CR of a monster. (I make more monsters than PCs, so I'm less aware of how powerful PC options are.)
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
Is it bad? I took it for a character in another game but I barely got a chance to use it before the game folded. It's basically Parry, a trait which can raise the CR of a monster. (I make more monsters than PCs, so I'm less aware of how powerful PC options are.)

Bad is perhaps not the right word. I'm bad at saying things are bad just because I don't personally like the option.

It gives you an ability that eventually works a bit like the Shield spell, but the Shield spell lasts for an entire round off of the one reaction and always gives a +5 to AC. Of course, the Shield spell usually requires you to spend a resource and you can only do it as many times as you have that resource.

So my personal take is that it doesn't give enough of a defense boost at low levels and at high levels is underwhelming compared to other reactions you might find. But, you can do it at least once a round assuming you aren't using your reactions for other things, so it's a bit of a tradeoff.

If you know that you won't get a lot of attacks or other effects out of your reactions (such as a DM that never provokes opportunity attacks while you're playing a melee character), it can be nice to have as an option.

That's comparing it to another defensive ability. If comparing to other feats, I personally tend to go for damage-boosting feats. But that's not what everyone likes.

As for the monster CR, that makes some sense as monsters often only have the default reaction options. Getting any reactions at all improves their survivability. I suppose for PCs its just that there are so many reactions, as well as so many feats, that are generally considered as just really quite good that I don't consider this one.

In summary, ignore me and choose the things that you enjoy.

Aside, If Level Up is going to tackle feats at all, I'd hope they'd raise the power level of this one slightly. Maybe give it a die roll on top of the proficiency bonus, or have the increase be a static number or based on something else from the character statistics.
 

Horwath

Hero
My 2 cents.

I mostly liked rogue as whole but some things IMHO could be different.

1st, I am probably one of the rare that hates expertise dice. It's just a needless hassle to add to skill checks.
Is expertise too much for a skill monkey to have? Double proficiency is just much cleaner and better to use.

Just replace dice with default expertise.

2nd, Trapsmith as mentioned. Not all rogues should/must have this. It's somewhat useful feature.
It would be nice if it can be traded for extra knack or two or 2nd Innocent facade option.

Also 10 minute time preparation seem kind of long for just few extra d6's

maybe scale the damage with time spend on preparing the trap and maybe add AoE effect for longer trap preparation.

I.E.
1 action prep time. One less d6 from you sneak attack damage.
1 minute; sneak attack damage,
10 minutes; 1d6+sneak attack damage,
1hr; 2d6+sneak attack damage,
8hrs; 3d6+sneak attack damage,

then you can double the time for 5ft AoE or triple for 10ft AoE

this would also mean that improved trapsmith would be molded in with base 3rd level ability.
 

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