Of Thieves and Rogues, part 2

Alright, now that I’ve finally got a full night’s sleep, back let’s see take a look at the Rogue.

Rise of the Rogue

The Rogue started as a 3rd edition adaption of the earlier thief class.  It departed from it’s predecessor in a few key ways.

  • Class abilities such as stealth and countering traps become skills.
  • Extra abilities like uncanny dodge and optional special features are added.
  • Sneak attack replaces the more restricted back stab ability.

Of these, the most significant change probably lies in sneak attacks. While earlier thieves would rarely get more than one back stab per battle, a rogue can potentially get a sneak attack in every round. This would become even more prominent in 4th Edition, where the requirements drop to merely gaining combat advantage.

In fact, by 4E the thief had finished it’s transformation for someone who avoids fights to full combatant on par with the fighter.

Rogue Issues

The Conflict Dependency Issue

By 4E, this issue was largely subdued. Combat has become the most prominent challenge PCs face and the Rogue is set to perform on par with any other class in combat.

The “Decker” Issue

This issue is fairly subdued by this point. A rogue is still the best bet for stealth, traps, and locks, but those efforts tend not to cut into other player’s participation.

The Skill Balance Issue

4th Edition however, does bring a new issue into play. Consider the rogue vs the fighter. Both are good combatants, but the rogue gets 6 trained skills as opposed to the 2 fighter gets, as well as an overall better selection of class skills. This means if the class are balanced in combat then they’re unbalanced in the rogues favor overall. If they’re balanced overall, then they must be unbalanced in the fighter’s favor in combat. Personally, I’d say the later is more the case right now, but this does bring up an interesting design point.

Rogue vs Thief

As we’ve seem the older thief classes and the newer rogue classes lend themselves to different playstyles. The traditional thief was usually best off avoiding combat and excelled at other challenges like getting into difficult areas. In contrast, the rogue has some of the same skills but tends to focus more on combat with their skills playing a secondary role.

I’ve got some ideas on how you could fit both play styles into same class. I’ll go into that in the next Delver Evolution post.

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Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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