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D&D (2024) Maybe this is a bit late, but let's talk about Rogue's Niche, and What Rogue Should Be.

I wonder if doing it the other way would be better.

IE when you explore you get penalties by default
  1. Hungry
  2. Thirsty
  3. Exhausted
  4. Lost
  5. Late
  6. Damaged by Trap
  7. Damaged by Hazard
  8. Took the long way
  9. Missed a secret
  10. Ran into monsters
  11. Can't get into locked room
Every room in the dungeon is just bad news.

Then the party rolls and uses equipment to cancel penalties. Everyone rolls and uses gear. The rogue just has more skills to roll against more penalties.
The thing is, a lot of newgen players don't want to do most of these things. I'm uninterested in having to worry about hunger and thirst every session. I don't want to worry about being lost all the time, or my players who are directionally challenged IRL suddenly lost in game. These three things seem to be the things certain exploration-pro players want hte most, but they are the most basic exploration challeneges available.

D&D is a fantasy game. Give me fantastical challenges! Magical diseases, portals that switch me to places, mazes created by nature deities to protect their forest, and so on. If all D&D can do to make exploration mechanical is say "YOU ARE HUNGRY" or "YOU ARE THIRSTY" then it's a really, really, really basic, boring, mediocre exploration game.

Exploration can be made fun by making things like fun, dynamic rules for hunting and pursuits, for setting up traps yourself against your hunters, for laying ambushes, for finding hazards and figuring out how to use them for your own gain, by wrestling with magical environments -- mountains that avalanche UPWARDS, not downards; blizzards filled with siren song trying to lure you to your death; deserts where the mirages come alive and try to replace you in the party.

At no level of the game do I want to go into the woods and spend an hour of real game time hunting for food, finding water, and building a tent. I can do that in real life and it's a lot more interesting then doing it at the table.

EDIT: If you like those things, that's fine, I don't care.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The thing is, a lot of newgen players don't want to do most of these things. I'm uninterested in having to worry about hunger and thirst every session. I don't want to worry about being lost all the time, or my players who are directionally challenged IRL suddenly lost in game. These three things seem to be the things certain exploration-pro players want hte most, but they are the most basic exploration challeneges available.

D&D is a fantasy game. Give me fantastical challenges! Magical diseases, portals that switch me to places, mazes created by nature deities to protect their forest, and so on. If all D&D can do to make exploration mechanical is say "YOU ARE HUNGRY" or "YOU ARE THIRSTY" then it's a really, really, really basic, boring, mediocre exploration game.

Exploration can be made fun by making things like fun, dynamic rules for hunting and pursuits, for setting up traps yourself against your hunters, for laying ambushes, for finding hazards and figuring out how to use them for your own gain, by wrestling with magical environments -- mountains that avalanche UPWARDS, not downards; blizzards filled with siren song trying to lure you to your death; deserts where the mirages come alive and try to replace you in the party.

At no level of the game do I want to go into the woods and spend an hour of real game time hunting for food, finding water, and building a tent. I can do that in real life and it's a lot more interesting then doing it at the table.

EDIT: If you like those things, that's fine, I don't care.
I run sharknadoes, reverse mountains, time pits, and poisonous lightning snakes.

I just used stuff everyone understands as examples.
 




tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The thing is, a lot of newgen players don't want to do most of these things. I'm uninterested in having to worry about hunger and thirst every session. I don't want to worry about being lost all the time, or my players who are directionally challenged IRL suddenly lost in game. These three things seem to be the things certain exploration-pro players want hte most, but they are the most basic exploration challeneges available.

D&D is a fantasy game. Give me fantastical challenges! Magical diseases, portals that switch me to places, mazes created by nature deities to protect their forest, and so on. If all D&D can do to make exploration mechanical is say "YOU ARE HUNGRY" or "YOU ARE THIRSTY" then it's a really, really, really basic, boring, mediocre exploration game.

Exploration can be made fun by making things like fun, dynamic rules for hunting and pursuits, for setting up traps yourself against your hunters, for laying ambushes, for finding hazards and figuring out how to use them for your own gain, by wrestling with magical environments -- mountains that avalanche UPWARDS, not downards; blizzards filled with siren song trying to lure you to your death; deserts where the mirages come alive and try to replace you in the party.

At no level of the game do I want to go into the woods and spend an hour of real game time hunting for food, finding water, and building a tent. I can do that in real life and it's a lot more interesting then doing it at the table.

EDIT: If you like those things, that's fine, I don't care.
Even back in the day there were times that it got hand waved because there was a focus elsewhere on the elements that were covering it for the party. I think that the self referential point that was being refuted by suggesting that those kinds of things be the default unless the players have or do something to reward them with the nourished/unlocked/etc type states is the circular {I dislike that and don't know how to constructively in a way that I enjoy so nobody can.} Since everyone dislikes it how dare you punish players instead of rewarding them".

When the only non-subjective element of that is the "punishment" instead of reward claim it's easy to solve that by shifting the default to lost/hungry/locked. Once that's done gm isn't punishing anyone and everyone can hand wave it or focus on doing constructive things instead of complaining about the rules changes that the GM needed to make just so some of those elements can influence play.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
There's some hyperbole in the OP, but I agree with the broad points.

All other martial classes gained more than the rogue did in this UA, which means that rogue effectively took a step back. Given that rogue is already a consensus B tier class, I think they will wind up being at the bottom in the 2024 revision.

I think this misses two key points however.

1) The UA 6 rogue received a ~90% approval rating. It did exceptionally, incredibly well. And we have not seen the full impact in play yet of their abilities.

2) If the fighter and Barbarian got better at skills (and the general consensus I saw for Fighter and Barbarian non-combat utility in the 2014 version was "if you have literally no other options available, might as well try") then they took a step forward... but that doesn't mean the rogue took a step back. They didn't also need to get better at skills, so that the fighter and barbarian were still the worst choice.

Their current niche is that they are a good skirmisher, scout, and a skill monkey. But the OP correctly points out that in the UA most other martial classes are getting boosts to their skill checks in various ways, which de facto lessens the usefulness of a rogue. The UA monk crushes the rogue when it comes to being a skirmisher; it's faster, more maneuverable, does better damage, and is much more survivable in most situations (after level 7 or so, a UA monk can easily be your main tank in most encounters). Rogues still have a package that makes them an effective scout, but in the UA there are a lot more familiars available, and familiars are generally better scouts than rogues.

I would definitely give the rogues extra attack at level 5. I mean, they should have that now. And I would increase the number of sneak attack dice by starting rogues with two dice at level 1. I would also allow rogues to have advantage on perception, investigation, acrobatics, and sleight of hand/thieves tools checks while they are stealthed. And I might let them add half their proficiency bonus to their AC, starting at level 1.

Well... I'm not sure about this. Because there is a lot more going on than we have seen in direct play yet.

For example, everyone is saying that the monk is blowing the rogue out of the water in combat... but everyone seems to be thinking that the rogue isn't using their new abilities.

At level 11 a Thief rogue can: Bonus action Hide with a potential +13 stealth. Current rules in UA 6 state it is a DC 15 to achieve the invisible condition. Then they can attack with advantage and use two of their cunning strikes. They can use Withdraw and Supreme Sneak which means that they can move half their speed without provoking opportunity attacks and if they end in cover they do not lose the invisible condition.

It does cost them 7 damage, but with reliable talent they are sitting at a minimum of 23 stealth, which cannot be broken, perma-invisibility and after the first turn they don't need to bonus action hide, and they can dual-wield this entire time with a hand crossbow, because those are light and the nick property will allow them to make a free attack.

Now sure, this requires a terrain suitable to constant stealth, but in that terrain... what exactly can an enemy do except attempt to flee? Supreme Sneak's wording might not even allow an enemy to ready an action to hit the rogue as they hit the enemy.

And this is one build of one subclass. The Swashbuckler can potentially hold off a crowd of enemies by themselves with Awe. And we haven't seen what the Soul Knife can do at all. So I am not convinced that the rogue is as outclassed as people keep assuming, because they seem to not be accounting for the new tactics that weapon masteries and cunning strikes open up.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
1) The UA 6 rogue received a ~90% approval rating. It did exceptionally, incredibly well. And we have not seen the full impact in play yet of their abilities.
Which I think supports the idea that niche protection isn't all that important.

People don't seem to care that other classes can also not suck at skills under the onus of Bounded Accuracy and are just happy to have cool stuff to do.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
All dangerous places and/or places with obstacles that block optional content. (Mandatory content should not be locked behind a skill check)

Right, but there is the problem.

IF you are only blocking optional content, and making getting to that optional content a pain in the butt and annoying to drag through... who is going to do it?

I'm reminded of the video PointyHat did on the problem with Mimics. The problem, in part, is the promise of a reward being a lie, followed by a punishment for seeking the reward. Think about mimics in Dark Souls. What is the #1 rule of treasure chests in Dark Souls? Attack it first because it might be a mimic. Even if that destroys the chest and the potential loot, it being a mimic means there is no reward anyways, and you lose resources, so it is best to minimize risk.

So if you design exploration to punish people for exploring... well, they will actively seek to avoid the punishment by exploring less. And when you want to encourage exploration, that is a bad thing.
 

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