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5E The Thug, A Subclass for Strength Rogues

ClaytonCross

Explorer
There is nothing at all that says Feature Group #1 typically can't read. Not in any 5e book. They can speak, read, and write in any languages they have proficiency in just like any other Feature group.

You weaken your argument with falsehoods.
Sure I forgot that languages come from race and background (meaning it has nothing to do with any feature group). Its not uncommon for me to use a flawed example. I don't agree that the overall point is diminished, concept of classes being feature groups and that building off a feature group that is counter to the stated goal is not a good place to start. Their are multiple other feature groups that are strength based and far better starting points for achieving the stated goals.

If its your intent to target my creditability over a minor inaccuracy while ignoring the strength of the stated point, then the ability to be heard and make a point is by far more diminished by the listeners desire for "me to be wrong" rather than have a discussion and consider that points being made own their own merit. I get what your saying and I get for some readers they will write me off for one mistake. I highlighted you doing the same thing, however, your point that people will ignore me for being inaccurate is true only for those who are primarily looking for any reason other than my argument to invalidate the point. So your not wrong in regard to people who are hear to argue but its my hope that the OP who came here to ask opinions, was asking for actual constructive input instead of placating moral support in affirmation that they had done a great job. That in mind I don't necessarily expect the OP to read and agree but I would expect the OP to focus in on the point and consider its merit.

In this case I really like the idea of the subclass and the majority of the features but I think the goals of the stated end result, is greatly hindered by the choice of starting point being apparently picked not by its mechanical design but the name and implied role it provokes. If I was going to make a thug, I might have originally looked at the class features of a class call "rogue" as well. Having looked at those features and read the posts by the OP, I feel like his (and my) original instinct leads to a contradiction through meta names that don't really matter in play. If the OP sees that and understands, then decides to do it anyway... the appears what they said the goal was is either not true or has evolved as a mater of input. For example, they may want to make a subclass using the feature set of the rogue specifically but what to use strength because their GM uses variant encumbrance and having strength for attack, armor, encumbrance, and grapple mechanics makes it the god stat... the alternate solution then is to give the Dex rogue a bonus to encumbrance and grappling which then allows it to be a rogue play as a rogue but fill the new goals that were not previously stated. But I don't know that without being sure the OP understands my point and the OP being striate with if this reveals a they had goals they didn't realize and had not previously stated. Maybe we will see. I hope so.
 
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clutchbone

Villager
In this case I really like the idea of the subclass and the majority of the features but I think the goals of the stated end result, is greatly hindered by the choice of starting point being apparently picked not by its mechanical design but the name and implied role it provokes. If I was going to make a thug, I might have originally looked at the class features of a class call "rogue" as well. Having looked at those features and read the posts by the OP, I feel like his (and my) original instinct leads to a contradiction through meta names that don't really matter in play. If the OP sees that and understands, then decides to do it anyway... the appears what they said the goal was is either not true or has evolved as a mater of input. For example, they may want to make a subclass using the feature set of the rogue specifically but what to use strength because their GM uses variant encumbrance and having strength for attack, armor, encumbrance, and grapple mechanics makes it the god stat... the alternate solution then is to give the Dex rogue a bonus to encumbrance and grappling which then allows it to be a rogue play as a rogue but fill the new goals that were not previously stated. But I don't know that without being sure the OP understands my point and the OP being striate with if this reveals a they had goals they didn't realize and had not previously stated. Maybe we will see. I hope so.
I don't care about the name "thug". Call it whatever you want. "Goon", "ruffian", whatever, I don't care. What I care about is how it plays.

No, you're right I don't really understand your point, and I also don't know what it means to "be striate" (do i have ridges?). I never mentioned encumbrance or variant encumbrance. Strength doesn't affect this subclass' AC. No one would ever call strength a god-stat over dex. Giving a dex rogue extra bonuses to grappling is OP.

My goals were very clear and defined. I want a strength-based rogue that can sneak attack with blunt weapons, I want it to be fun and balanced (aiming for average effectiveness), and I don't want it to conflict with existing features.

I do thank you for your earlier comments regarding balance and features, that was what I was asking for. I'm not really interested in further discussion regarding "meta" or whether or not I'm being truthful about my own design goals.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
I don't care about the name "thug". Call it whatever you want. "Goon", "ruffian", whatever, I don't care. What I care about is how it plays.
"It" being rogue features? How do you see it playing? In pretty much every game I have ever seen the rogue features results in ranged combat using dex or stealthy melee fighter using dex. Using strength is inherently abstract to that... so what is it your keeping about how the rogue plays? The only think I see is backstab which is one hit mighty melee damage based on taking advantage of openings. That also aligns more with dex and your goal as I understand it is to use strength. If you just want strength one shot more damage like backstab then I addressed a better way to do that with a fighter. If their is something else with the rogue you want that does not use dex its not clear in your posts since the majority of the class is build around dex.

No, you're right I don't really understand your point, and I also don't know what it means to "be striate" (do i have ridges?). I never mentioned encumbrance or variant encumbrance. Strength doesn't affect this subclass' AC. No one would ever call strength a god-stat over dex. Giving a dex rogue extra bonuses to grappling is OP.
Encumbrance was an example of a reason why you might want strength not. I am looking for an actual reason you want strength and dex is not working for you. That you have not said. Strength effects armor, armor effects AC, their are about as many strength saves and grappling as their are dex, only wisdom has more. With the right build Strength can be just as much a god state as dex, actually more because it effects encumbrance if you use it. I am not saying you do, but it will make strength better than dex at some tables. "Giving a dex rogue extra bonuses to grappling is OP"... you mean like expertise in athletics? lol.

My goals were very clear and defined. I want a strength-based rogue that can sneak attack with blunt weapons, I want it to be fun and balanced (aiming for average effectiveness), and I don't want it to conflict with existing features.
So when I said striate before, I meant as in "strait to the point" you say you want a strength rogue but the only feature have called out is sneak attack with blunt weapons. The reason this is odd is because rogues and sneak attacks are based on stealth and quickly and dexterously taking advantage of opportunities in combat. Your strength design is a striate forward overpowering damage. Its making a barbarian and calling it a rogue and you don't mention any other reason for this. So it seems like your saying "fun and balanced (aiming for average effectiveness)" as a sideways cover for wanting to munchkin steel backstab for power creep. Since your saying your not, I am asking for clarification of why because trying to apply strength as a primary stat to a class whose features were designed around dexterity, from the saves, to skills proficiencies like stealth, acrobatics, slight of hand, and features like evasion, uncanny dodge and backstab (finesse). Its all deliberate design your build is in direct opposition to the intent of the class and its features. It doesn't make since.

I do thank you for your earlier comments regarding balance and features, that was what I was asking for. I'm not really interested in further discussion regarding "meta" or whether or not I'm being truthful about my own design goals.
The meta discussion it to understand the "why" of the design. The is 100% a reason why you want a strength rogue but while you have said you want it, you have not clearly said what about it you want or why. I am not trying to say your not being truthful, I am saying your being indirect in stating your final goal but not your reason for it. It maybe you don't even realize what the reason is you want this build. That's not being dishonest. I am asking you to consider that question of "why" beyond "because I want it" as knowing that would be invaluable. Right now it looks like your primary goal it to give back stab to a character that can grapple well. However, you could take expertise in athletics and achieve that without your feature changes. Your adding clubs for backstab, which is fine but the whole concept of beating a guy with brute force with bat (club) is very thuggish but not at all roguish. So the whole "strength rogue" your face "thug" comes off as stealing backstab and expertise for min/maxing athletics and damage in strength... but said, "I want it to be fun and balanced (aiming for average effectiveness)" which is not what happens when you add Dirty work advantage (athletics grapple or shove), with expertise (athletics which also effects grapple or shove) from rogue, with backstab which you can use on a grapple or shove(prone) target, and to really break this all you have to do is take the tavern brawler feat at level 4, or level 1 as human variant. … That's what it looks like your doing. So I am asking for clarification, because if that is your goal their is no point in saying that's not a good feature. However, if you doing something else, then really the grappling part should be removed since its easily broken with that one feat. More if you take grappler too because you could really lock down anyone and backstab the crap out of them by yourself.
 

bedir than

Registered User
Saps and batons are inherently roguish. They exist with rogues in the literature and the game should support them.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
"It" being rogue features? How do you see it playing? In pretty much every game I have ever seen the rogue features results in ranged combat using dex or stealthy melee fighter using dex. Using strength is inherently abstract to that... so what is it your keeping about how the rogue plays? The only think I see is backstab which is one hit mighty melee damage based on taking advantage of openings. That also aligns more with dex and your goal as I understand it is to use strength. If you just want strength one shot more damage like backstab then I addressed a better way to do that with a fighter. If their is something else with the rogue you want that does not use dex its not clear in your posts since the majority of the class is build around dex.
As has been pointed out a couple of times, there is only one Rogue class feature that actually uses Dex specifically. The Sneak Attacks from a melee rogue do not require Dex, just specific weapons that can use Str just as well.
In combat, I can see this class behaving very much like any other melee-oriented rogue, pulling off Sneak Attacks as the meat of their contribution but with more tactical maneuvering of opponents vie shoving and grappling.

Encumbrance was an example of a reason why you might want strength not. I am looking for an actual reason you want strength and dex is not working for you. That you have not said. Strength effects armor, armor effects AC, their are about as many strength saves and grappling as their are dex, only wisdom has more. With the right build Strength can be just as much a god state as dex, actually more because it effects encumbrance if you use it. I am not saying you do, but it will make strength better than dex at some tables. "Giving a dex rogue extra bonuses to grappling is OP"... you mean like expertise in athletics? lol.
Character fantasy and concept is probably the main impetus for this subclass. The image of the more athletic criminal, still relying on dirty fighting, but viciously clubbing foes down with a sap or chair leg, rather than the more graceful but less physically capable sneak poking with a rapier.

So when I said striate before, I meant as in "strait to the point" you say you want a strength rogue but the only feature have called out is sneak attack with blunt weapons. The reason this is odd is because rogues and sneak attacks are based on stealth and quickly and dexterously taking advantage of opportunities in combat. Your strength design is a striate forward overpowering damage. Its making a barbarian and calling it a rogue and you don't mention any other reason for this. So it seems like your saying "fun and balanced (aiming for average effectiveness)" as a sideways cover for wanting to munchkin steel backstab for power creep. Since your saying your not, I am asking for clarification of why because trying to apply strength as a primary stat to a class whose features were designed around dexterity, from the saves, to skills proficiencies like stealth, acrobatics, slight of hand, and features like evasion, uncanny dodge and backstab (finesse). Its all deliberate design your build is in direct opposition to the intent of the class and its features. It doesn't make since.
It sounds like you are not only assigning less pleasant motives to someone who has already told you that they are not the case, you are basing these accusations upon your personal opinions about some of the class features.
You seem to have a very . . . specific image in your mind about Sneak Attack for example, that is supported by neither some other people's opinions, nor the rules themselves.
You claimed that the motives for designing the class were an underhanded attempt at maximising damage despite it probably not dealing any more damage than a Dex-based rogue.

Now me? I wouldn't need this subclass because I just flat-out removed the finesse requirement for Sneak Attack anyway. In my game a Str-based rogue can fight dirty with a club or a longsword anyway. I don't generally allow Intimidation to work with Str anyway, although I'm pretty flexible with swapping abilities and proficiencies around in general.
And as written, with the exception of some of their potential available proficiencies, the Rogue only has one class ability that actually keys off Dex, and even a Rogue with an emphasis on Str is unlikely to dump Dex completely given how powerful Dex is in combat.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
You've made these points several times now, and so I suspect you think you're not being understood. You are: your points are clear, and we get that your understanding of the rogue requires the use of Dexterity as the main stat. Fortunately, the game supports this view of yours:
In pretty much every game I have ever seen the rogue features results in ranged combat using dex or stealthy melee fighter using dex.
Some of us, including the OP who has I think been too patient, are interested in the option of a more diverse build. As a class, a rouge could have been many things; instead, it tends to favour Dexterity. The place to break free of that is in the subclass (as can happen with Arcane Trickster). If you're not onboard with the premise, then you obviously aren't going to like the results. But let's try to be constructive.

There's no need to imply that there are scurrilous motives in the design. There's no need to talk about "god stats", or "munchkin" or "power creep". Those words are completely inappropriate to the conversation, and are being used as clubs (heh) in order to score your points. If you feel this is being suggested, rather than apply labels, why don't you make constructive comments that accept the premise of the discussion? How would you make a strength-based rogue? If the answer is you wouldn't, and you can't imagine how it could be done, then this thread is not for you.

You claim to want to know the "why" of the design, and in doing so you insist you are not calling the OP untruthful and dishonest (which is of course an easy way to plant that you think he is being untruthful and dishonest). The why of the design is straightforward, and has been stated: diversity of class builds.

I get for you this is not a problem; for others, who want to see a wider range of non-magical character classes, it is important. It's the fun we want, that the game does not provide; your mileage may vary, etc. And in a game we like, it's the fun that hasn't been given to us. And so a design like this.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Hey everybody. I wanted to play a fun and balanced rogue subclass that embodied the archetype of the burly goon rather than the agile thief... so I made one!

What do you think, does it work?

[sblock=Design Goals]Do:

  • Invoke an alternative roguish flavour to what is already offered.
  • Encourage strength over dexterity.
  • Make it fun to play.
  • Make it balanced. Err towards average effectiveness, rather than Mary Sue homebrew OP domination.
  • Make a rogue that can Sneak Attack with a blunt object. I miss my blackjack! This idea is actually what starting the whole thing.

Don't:

  • Overshadow or conflict with existing features from feats, subclasses, etc.
  • Make it feel like you're playing a fighter/swashbuckler/etc.
  • Make it broken.
[/sblock]View attachment 87046
Thug
Bandits, gangsters, enforcers, and other criminals typically follow this archetype, but so do bodyguards, bounty hunters, secret police, and spies.

Bonus Proficiency
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor.

Dirty Work
Starting at 3rd level, you have advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to grapple or shove creatures that are surprised.
In addition, you can use any weapon that doesn't have the two-handed or heavy property with your attack roll to use your Sneak Attack. All the other rules for the Sneak Attack class feature still apply to you.

Coercive Presence
At 9th level, you can use your menacing demeanor to browbeat others into submission. As an action, you can make a Charisma (Intimidation) check contested by an adjacent creature's Wisdom (Insight) check. The creature must be able to hear you, and the two of you must share a language. If you succeed on the check, the creature becomes frightened for 1 minute. This effect ends if you take damage, if you become incapacitated, frightened, or restrained, or if you and the target are more than 30 feet apart. While frightened, your allies have advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature. If the creature's Wisdom (Insight) check is successful or if the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to this feature for the next 24 hours.

Manhandler
By 13th level, you have become adept at leveraging your strength against your enemies. When you successfully grapple a creature using two free hands, you can drag or carry the grappled creature at full speed rather than half, and the grappled creature can’t speak and can’t cast spells that include a verbal component.
In addition, when you successfully shove a creature, you can knock the target prone and push it up to 10 feet away from you.

Cheap Shot
When you reach 17th level, you've honed your ability to strike when the opportunity presents itself. When you use your action to grapple or shove a creature, you can use your bonus action to make a weapon attack against that creature.

[sblock=3rd lvl Feature Notes] The medium armor is to make up for the lower AC that comes from a Strength build. I almost made it shields (thought they'd be easier to "learn", but thought better of it. Chain shirt fits the concept.)

With Dirty Work, I tried to set the Thug's theme, akin to how Assassinate, Master of Tactics, and Fancy Footwork/Rakish Audacity really dictate the playstyle and flavour of their respective subclasses. Thugs can manhandle you and club you upside the head. Pretty simple.
I started with "Bonus Action to shove/grapple" (comparable to Master of Tactics and the help action), but didn’t want to overshadow Shield Master/Grappler/Tavern Brawler, and worried that might be too powerful. Then I went with "When you have adv. on your melee attack roll, you can choose to make a shove/grapple check with adv. instead", which I still kinda like. You can't normally get adv. on grapples or shoves, and I thought the option to trade Sneak Attack for control would be an interesting tactical choice, but I went with the simpler surprise round limitation. I wasn't sure how to word it properly or balance it with 2-weapon fighting or extra attack from multiclassing.

For the weapons, at most it gives you +1 to your average damage over a rapier, if you versatile a longsword, so I think it's fine. FYI, versatile quarterstaff = baseball bat.[/sblock]
[sblock=9th lvl Feature Notes] This is a obviously a shameless bizarro version of the Swashbuckler's Panache, but it seemed like the best way to work in a buff to Intimidate for a party friendly racketeering feel. The effect might be a bit better than Panache, but it breaks more easily.[/sblock]
[sblock=13th lvl Feature Notes] Regular grapple requires one free hand. Makes sense that a super grapple would need two hands. [/sblock]
[sblock=17th lvl Feature Notes] Simple, easy to use improvement on action economy, and reinforces Dirty Work and Manhandler. Competes with Cunning Action, so choice between grapple+damage and grapple+battlefield control (grapple, then dash or disengage to move the enemy). [/sblock]
[sblock=Trash Bin] Exfiltration Expert
By 13th level, you have become adept in the art of abduction at leveraging your strength against your enemies. When you successfully grapple a creature, you can impose one of the following effects on that creature. The effect lasts until the grapple ends or until you impose a different effect, using your action to do so.
  • Snatch & Grab: When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature at full speed rather than half.
  • Gag:The grappled creature can’t speak and can’t cast spells that include a verbal component.
  • Blindfold: The grappled creature is blinded.

Fighting Style

When you reach 17th level, your unorthodox fighting skills rival those with more formal training. Choose a fighting style from the list of optional features. You can't take the same Fighting Style option more than once, even if you get to choose again.

  • Close Quarters Shooter: You are trained in making ranged attacks at close quarters. When making a ranged attack while you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature, you do not have disadvantage on the attack roll. Your ranged attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover against targets within 30 feet of you. Finally, you have a +1 bonus to attack rolls on ranged attacks.
  • Defense: While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
  • Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other Weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to Damage Rolls with that weapon.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second Attack.
[/sblock]


So, any thoughts? Does it look good, dumb, redundant, boring? Is there a better way of wording anything? Would you ever play as a Thug?

Any and all feedback would be much appreciated.
I really like this. I’d consider adding a clause at level 3 that you can use Sneak Attack if the target is Frightened.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
You've made these points several times now, and so I suspect you think you're not being understood. You are: your points are clear, and we get that your understanding of the rogue requires the use of Dexterity as the main stat. Fortunately, the game supports this view of yours:
You are correct sir. But I am also trying to ask for clarification incase I am the one that is confused. (It happens). So I am offering my perspective of what I see and asking for correction in hopes to gain a clearer picture.


Some of us, including the OP who has I think been too patient, are interested in the option of a more diverse build. As a class, a rouge could have been many things; instead, it tends to favour Dexterity. The place to break free of that is in the subclass (as can happen with Arcane Trickster). If you're not onboard with the premise, then you obviously aren't going to like the results. But let's try to be constructive.
Sure, but understanding the full intent is important to constructive input. I am not against diverse builds and breaking free. If fact, I am suggesting it in a way. The idea of holding thug to the rogue sub-class is also a restraint, so I am trying to find why its imperative to the design to be locked to that. Keeping the OPs features and moving to a different class, or keeping the rogue class but achieving the goals with use of dex are attempts at constructive conversation. I offered them not as absolutes but as questions. I am trying to understand the importance of the rogue class features to the build. Your saying that the rogue does not require dex, but it also does not support strength well without heavy armor proficiency, strength saves, etc. As you already said, it tends to favor dexterity, so what about the play style creates the desire for a strength build? Its it simply a need to defy expectation, is it a rogue feature the OP is keying on, or is it the name of the class an the thoughts it provokes. I don't feel like I have received a direct answer from the OP so I am left confused and have attempted to reframe and restate because as you said I feel like the reply of "because strength rogue thugs" is due to me not asking the question clearly enough.

There's no need to imply that there are scurrilous motives in the design. There's no need to talk about "god stats", or "munchkin" or "power creep". Those words are completely inappropriate to the conversation, and are being used as clubs (heh) in order to score your points. If you feel this is being suggested, rather than apply labels, why don't you make constructive comments that accept the premise of the discussion? How would you make a strength-based rogue? If the answer is you wouldn't, and you can't imagine how it could be done, then this thread is not for you.
I am looking for clarity, I used those terms because they are understood but I was to the best of my ability clear that the OP was directly making statements to claim against those while reflecting aspects of those in the build. So I believe the OP, but express that the statements to deflect from that and build that supports that muddies the water. So I asked for elaboration in that regard. The words are not intended to be malicious but are well known terms and I quote statements where the OP was dancing around the terms but reflecting on the point. Instead of being vague, I was striate because the dancing around the words makes statements in concise and the meaning muddy. In that regard they are the most appropriate words to clarify a point. I do understand they are loaded so people see their use a cheep shots, but I am asking for clarification of what the OP means as its been state that is not the OPs goal, example, "… That's what it looks like your doing. So I am asking for clarification, because if that is your goal their is no point in saying that's not a good feature. However, if you doing something else, then really the grappling part should be removed since its easily broken with that one feat." Is a constructive request of understanding, as to if this class is intended to be a "power grappler" as the function giving a diverse build something unique or is the interaction with Tavern Brawler and Grappler something they OP had not considered.

You claim to want to know the "why" of the design, and in doing so you insist you are not calling the OP untruthful and dishonest (which is of course an easy way to plant that you think he is being untruthful and dishonest). The why of the design is straightforward, and has been stated: diversity of class builds.
You said earlier, you can build a strength rogue already. The OP said they are building an in your face strength based Thug design. The question of "why" is still what I want. I REALLY mean I don't think the OP is being dishonest. I don't know how to type it to be more clear. I really wrote that to say "please don't miss understand this as a personal attack, but a request for clarity". To me diversity of class design has a point. Am I wrong? You said your play a strength based rogue already. So what then is the purpose of the design if it does something you can already do? It adds a few weapon options and it adds a role play premise... both of which are commonly done... so what's is new? Grappling, fear, more grappling, silence casters verbal component, attacking after you grapple... the stated goal is a straight based rogue but features appear to be about superior use of grapple more than anything. Is it so strange for someone to question the grappling with Advantage + expertise + silencing casters + attacking with bonus action after grapple and ask, "are you sure this is about a strength rogue and not about making a supper grappler? If its not, as a constructive suggestion, you might want to step back from all the grappling because there is potential for abuse." If the intent is to be grapple master not strength rogue then changing the class makes since, because being a grapple master with a class that does all its damage in a single attack then allowing it to gain advantage to get that ability, do massive damage, then take the grappler feat and even further lock down a target is pretty powerful. There are two very different possible options here and to completely different approaches to dealing with them based on what is really important to the OP. It's also possible their is a third option I am not seeing... So yes I do want to know why and I am asking for the OP to re-assess an clarify their goal. Because I do believe this the OP started with the intent of a strength rogue aka Thug and grappling may very well be a by product of grapping being the only thuggish thing the OP could think of but did the build take a life of its own and lean more to something else. Does the Op realize the implications of what this would do if a rogue caught an enemy caster with this design? I don't know. I am not assuming one way or another. I am asking for clarification.

I get for you this is not a problem; for others, who want to see a wider range of non-magical character classes, it is important. It's the fun we want, that the game does not provide; your mileage may vary, etc. And in a game we like, it's the fun that hasn't been given to us. And so a design like this.
I made a grappling barbarian human variant with tavern brawler at 1 and grappler at 4. Their are options, but I am not against more options. I am confused though by the statement of "strength rogue is already possible", "lets make a strength rogue work", giving it a ton of grapple, and nothing being based around any other rogue features or design. ….I am surely missing something... I don't understand what about these features doesn't work with this as barbarian subclass except for backstab... if the other features don't matter then would it be equally as good if you gave a special opportunity attack to barbarian instead of advantage they already get from rage? I am not saying this should not exist. I am asking what makes rogue important to the build. Can it be done? Sure. But what does it really provide the subclass as rogue instead of barbarian. If the intent as stated is to be a strength rogue, why is it so grapple heavy when that's something you can upgrade with 2 feats already? Could the be strength rogues and not be grapplers at all?
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
As has been pointed out a couple of times, there is only one Rogue class feature that actually uses Dex specifically. The Sneak Attacks from a melee rogue do not require Dex, just specific weapons that can use Str just as well.
In combat, I can see this class behaving very much like any other melee-oriented rogue, pulling off Sneak Attacks as the meat of their contribution but with more tactical maneuvering of opponents vie shoving and grappling.
So what of that can't be achieve by role playing fighter or barbarian as thug? What does the Rogue class offer as Strength based design like this that makes it the choice for this subclass?

Character fantasy and concept is probably the main impetus for this subclass. The image of the more athletic criminal, still relying on dirty fighting, but viciously clubbing foes down with a sap or chair leg, rather than the more graceful but less physically capable sneak poking with a rapier.
Again, that's why I keep referring to the rogue class as a group of features. What detracts from this if the athletic criminal is based on the barbarian or fighter features? Why rogue? Does this not also step on the toes of those classes since they exist to fill that void? Being a criminal is not class specific and could be applied to any class.

It sounds like you are not only assigning less pleasant motives to someone who has already told you that they are not the case, you are basing these accusations upon your personal opinions about some of the class features.
You seem to have a very . . . specific image in your mind about Sneak Attack for example, that is supported by neither some other people's opinions, nor the rules themselves.
You claimed that the motives for designing the class were an underhanded attempt at maximising damage despite it probably not dealing any more damage than a Dex-based rogue.
I did not claim that or assign those motives. The OP said his goals were to avoid those and there are design aspects that could be used that way. So I wanted to point those out and that they are perhaps in contradiction to the OPs statements. That does not make it an OP motivation. The post is here for discussion, so if the OP over looked a potential for abuse it would be expected that the exploit be pointed out in response. They said they are not maximizing and I have no reason to believe other wise but that doesn't mean such flaws can't happen by accident? Isn't that why we play test? Isn't that why additional point of view are useful to design development?

Now me? I wouldn't need this subclass because I just flat-out removed the finesse requirement for Sneak Attack anyway. In my game a Str-based rogue can fight dirty with a club or a longsword anyway. I don't generally allow Intimidation to work with Str anyway, although I'm pretty flexible with swapping abilities and proficiencies around in general.
And as written, with the exception of some of their potential available proficiencies, the Rogue only has one class ability that actually keys off Dex, and even a Rogue with an emphasis on Str is unlikely to dump Dex completely given how powerful Dex is in combat.
So they are taking a dex tax due to insufficient armor? I mean I don't generally see strength Barbarians or Fighters with high dex too. What is it that provokes this design as a Rogue with a dex tax instead of Fighter or Barbarian without one? Even if we disregard the skills not needing dex, is their anything that supports strength like Barbarians rage? What makes this good as a rogue build. Is it just "because" and if so does that mean its stuck on this idea of the rogue feature package name?

1. There is nothing in rules that prevents a fighter or Barbarian from being a strength based criminal thug with these features.What makes them better on even as good as a rogue?

2. If they are not as better on a rogue why is it important mechanically or in role play to tie this subclass to rogue features?

To me if you can't answer those two questions your subclass doesn't have enough of an identity to be a rogue sub-class because you can do it already. If your giving identity and making it unique and special to the rogue class then it needs to know it an own it but be careful not to abuse it. What I see is this looks like a grapple master class but doesn't account for there being 2 feets for grappling any class including rogues, fighters, and barbarians could take. If you apply those feats to this subclass as rogue with one hit damage (backstab) and expertise... it takes something any class can do then breaks it instead of becoming special. A little clarity on the intent could temper the design into something more unique and less broken. The fear ability for example, is whole unique and suites a thug. It's not a rogue specific ability but it seems like a thought in the right direction. It seems like the OP has a good intent but feel like "strength rogue thug" has left it too generic to make unique so its relying heavily on a mechanic that anyone can use and that a barbarian already does very well. So what makes a strength rogue thug different and uniquge from a strength barbarian thug?
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
as a constructive suggestion, you might want to step back from all the grappling because there is potential for abuse.
As it turns out, I agree with you -- there's more grappling in this build than would suit my taste. I do not think it is overpowered, however.
In fact, I think the OP has heard criticisms, and been careful to limit the power:
Dirty hands (level 3) - only works in a surprise round. So that's, what, once every four or five combats?
Manhandler (level 13, so well beyond what most games get to in any case) - requires two free hands, but allows you to move +15' and cover someone's mouth.
Cheap Shot (level 17) - allows a grapple+weapon attack (and so excludes the use of manhandler at the same time). This is at the level that Wizards get the Wish spell, Time Stop, and Power Word Kill.

Does the Op realize the implications of what this would do if a rogue caught an enemy caster with this design? I don't know.
Given the depth of response you have received, I am confident they do understand.
I am asking what makes rogue important to the build
I will answer for myself; others may feel differently.

Non-magical classes are thin on the ground. There's fighter and rogue and (depending on one's view), barbarian. The fighter is the pre-eminent nonmagical warrior. Knows weapons and armour The barbarian is fuelled by the rage mechanism. The rouge is defined by skills -- not by combat.

If I don't want to play a professional warrior, then rogue is my only option.

As it turns out, when 5e was being developed, there were two subclasses for Rogue, one a Thief and one a Thug. It is a straightforward, natural association that they chose not to pursue. There is nothing mysterious about it.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
So what of that can't be achieve by role playing fighter or barbarian as thug? What does the Rogue class offer as Strength based design like this that makes it the choice for this subclass?
Off the top of my head: the focus on skills rather than combat training or intense bursts of power. Whether Social climbing, sneaking, actual climbing, knowing stuff, the Rogue has not only a broader skill base, but a much more capable one.
Again, that's why I keep referring to the rogue class as a group of features. What detracts from this if the athletic criminal is based on the barbarian or fighter features? Why rogue? Does this not also step on the toes of those classes since they exist to fill that void? Being a criminal is not class specific and could be applied to any class.
Why play a dex-based fighter? Does that not step on toes? :)
- Presumably you pick Fighter rather than Rogue for the combat prowess of the base class, in the same way a strength-based rogue picked rogue due to the skill capabilities of the base rogue chassis.

So they are taking a dex tax due to insufficient armor? I mean I don't generally see strength Barbarians or Fighters with high dex too. What is it that provokes this design as a Rogue with a dex tax instead of Fighter or Barbarian without one? Even if we disregard the skills not needing dex, is their anything that supports strength like Barbarians rage?
There is a distinction between not having a high stat, and dumping a stat. A lot of barbarians, and a few fighters I've seen have 12-14 Dex. Even for fighters in heavy armour, Dex is good for a lot of reasons other than AC.
There is no "even" about disregarding skills not needing Dex. Skills commonly paired with Dex are in the minority in the rogue's list. In terms of directly boosting Strength-based ability, a rogue's use of Athletics, whether for climbing, running, and other typical rogue uses, or for shoving people around in combat are directly supported by several features of the Rogue class.

What makes this good as a rogue build. Is it just "because" and if so does that mean its stuck on this idea of the rogue feature package name?

1. There is nothing in rules that prevents a fighter or Barbarian from being a strength based criminal thug with these features.What makes them better on even as good as a rogue?
They're much better in combat, being tougher, less restricted, and having greater capabilities.
But they're nowhere near as good when it comes to versatility out of combat and skill use. - I'm guessing it depends on what you mean by "better".

2. If they are not as better on a rogue why is it important mechanically or in role play to tie this subclass to rogue features?
Because you want to play a tricky, skillful character who gets by in combat through dirty fighting rather than being an outright combat monster.
 

aco175

Explorer
I have been following this thread, but not posted since I keep coming back to just have a fighter with criminal background or such. I'll try to offer some constructive feedback though. I'm trying to figure out the flavor of the class to see what you are after. Is it a rogue that fights? A fighter with thief abilities? Maybe a bouncer-type in a tavern or some muscle in a guild. Which may be why I keep coming back to just having a fighter.

I like some of the ideas about having a bonus action to make a 2nd attack. I would not want to see it 5th level though and also not at 17th since many games do not reach that high. I would make it at 9th level or give some sort of 1/rest ability to do that. I would also like to keep skills like rogues have so something where they can gain advantage may help or having something where they can distract or block terrain in the movies where people being chased knock over carts or baskets. An ability where they move their opponent, maybe through a opposing check. There could also be the basic expertise at 6th level like normal rogues get and most may apply it other skills like Athletics or such.

I always liked classes that were half one class and half another, but most of the time it had the best parts of both classes. A fighter-thief type with 2 attacks at 5th level and full backstab dice may be one I have seen, or full spells and full backstab. It is hard to not take away from the original classes while making a class be good in their own way.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
..snip.. The fighter is the pre-eminent nonmagical warrior. Knows weapons and armour The barbarian is fuelled by the rage mechanism. The rouge is defined by skills -- not by combat.

If I don't want to play a professional warrior, then rogue is my only option.
..snip..
- Presumably you pick Fighter rather than Rogue for the combat prowess of the base class, in the same way a strength-based rogue picked rogue due to the skill capabilities of the base rogue chassis.

..snip..
<in regards to fighters/barbarians over rogues>
They're much better in combat, being tougher, less restricted, and having greater capabilities.
But they're nowhere near as good when it comes to versatility out of combat and skill use. - I'm guessing it depends on what you mean by "better".

Because you want to play a tricky, skillful character who gets by in combat through dirty fighting rather than being an outright combat monster.
I think this is were it strikes me most. To me, a Thug is more a professional fighter (aka warrior) than defined by skills. That said backstab is more of skilled assassin shot than a fighter. So I actually played a rogue archer as a sniper which is a skilled warrior and mechanically very much suites the rogue feature set. Fighters are less "skilled" doing less damage per hit but overwhelming with multiple attacks. Barbarians raging is also a path of over whelming an opponent with brute force. The grappler design, of this subclass seems like an overwhelming force which fits the fighter or barbarian better... In my opinion, based on the fighter being able to use shove on the first attack and then attack the knocked down opponent multiple times and Barbarian being able to do the same thing with advantage on the shove from rage and only one additional attack. However, I am not against the strength rogue. I just feel like the design went the wrong way by choosing to follow grapple because its a base mechanic which these other two already make good use off. It would even make more since to make a grappler monk as they are a hand to hand martial class.


I don't have a problem "Dirty work" by its self its a strong but not broken ability the with the melee weapons add to backstab. It just makes since for the design as does the medium armor proficiency.

I think the "Coercive Presence" fear ability is a step in the right direction, because it effects the group in a very gang mentality thuggish ability that plays to a skill and intimidation + expertise + reliable talent granting fear suites the rogue class features. The "This effect ends if you take damage, if you become incapacitated, frightened, or restrained, or if you and the target are more than 30 feet apart" restraint means its not at all to powerful. Its a good way to coarse and be a thug before or out of combat in the vein of what both of you said was key to a rogue.

Manhandle and Cheap shot are where the class does too far to being a grappling fighter/barbarian and lose its attachment to rogue as skill based class or one hit assassin, instead leaning into skill less strength brutes. I would like the class to lean into other skill abilities if its going to be rogue. Like "Coercive Presence" fear, perhaps a skill based on deception "there is no where you can hide that I can't find you" or "I know your holding out on me, your shorting me and your going to regret it." When you really don't know. Its also good for dealing with guards, "What do you mean I'm steeling his money!?!? I gave him a loan I am just here to collect". You can do that with deception already. But my point is having intimidation (charisma) has already made it a good idea to pump strength and charisma so it let the strength be your combat stat, medium armor, encumbrance, and grapple which you can already pump with feats and expertise if you want to go that route. Then do another charisma skill bases ability and add a combat twist to it.

Example (it's going to be bad I am winging it, just for example) Double agent, you gain advantage on deception (charisma) attempts to convince enemies your own their side of a conflict if they haven't previously meet you and your not standing with your party. Additionally, If you enter combat separate from your party, an enemy has to make an insight (wisdom) test versus your deception (charisma) to realize you are with your part of the group they are fighting. On failure, you are not considered hostile to them. When you attack a target to which you are considered hostile it is treated as surprised and you make the attack with advantage. Once, you have attacked an enemy or been seen attacking the ally of an enemy they become hostile and are immune to this effect.

Not a great example, but its kind of the "it wasn't me, I am not with them denial" so a stronger opponent as opposed to the Coercive Presence intimidation, which lets the same character adapt to different situations. I also feel like pretending your on the other side of a fight blackjacking the back of someones head who thinks your on their side is pretty thuggish.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
I think this is were it strikes me most. To me, a Thug is more a professional fighter (aka warrior) than defined by skills.
Is it the name causing that conceptual dissonance? Would calling the subclass the Bully or something similar that implies dirty fighting after using skills to be in an advantageous position.

That said backstab is more of skilled assassin shot than a fighter. So I actually played a rogue archer as a sniper which is a skilled warrior and mechanically very much suites the rogue feature set. Fighters are less "skilled" doing less damage per hit but overwhelming with multiple attacks. Barbarians raging is also a path of over whelming an opponent with brute force.
That would be a valid interpretation of sneak attack, and one that fits quite well with the Thug subclass.

The grappler design, of this subclass seems like an overwhelming force which fits the fighter or barbarian better...
Fighters are not the only class that might practice nonmagical martial arts. The shove + attack routine could be anything from sweeping the leg then following up with a whack while they're down as part of a single technique to simply flipping someone into the ground head-first.

Manhandle and Cheap shot are where the class does too far to being a grappling fighter/barbarian and lose its attachment to rogue as skill based class or one hit assassin, instead leaning into skill less strength brutes.
That "skill-less" part of your comment is interesting seeing as both of those abilities directly key off use of a skill.

Out of interest, how do you feel about Swashbucklers? They would seem to have much more in common to fighters in terms of attitude and concept than this Brute subclass does.
 

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