The Rogue Class, Part Five

In last week’s History of the Rogue, we saw the shift from fragile rogues who should stay clear of combat as much as possible to agile murder-machine rogues. This shift isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I think for most people it makes the rogue feel more like an action hero, on par with fighters, barbarians, and so on. It’s a good class choice for a swashbuckler – and 4e takes that idea and runs with it.

The Rogue Class, Part Four

At last we come to the watershed moment of the Thief’s Rogue’s development, and I don’t just mean the name change. Up to this point, thieves have a role in combat, but that role is “mostly try to stay away, you’re terrible at combat unless you’re backstabbing.” That approach didn’t fit the source fiction when it was first implemented (cf. Gray Mouser); I’d argue that the thieves who were terrible at combat in the source fiction were terrible for reasons other than being thieves, such as hobbits being too small to be effective fighters until and unless there’s some sort of Witch-King emergency. I can’t back this up with, you know, data, but I suspect that the 90s saw a lot of new finesse-based knaves who can hold up their end of a fight, and this inspired the 3.0 designers to make the Rogue into something much more potent and varied than its predecessor.

The Rogue Class, Part Three

Last week in the History of the Classes, the 1e Thief, Assassin, and Thief-Acrobat came under our all-seeing eyes. This week we turn to 2e, where the Assassin and the Acrobat are kits presented in the Complete Thief’s Handbook rather than classes unto themselves. There’s also a Ninja class, presented in the Complete Ninja’s Handbook; it was one of the stranger evils visited upon 2e’s rules. I’m aware that many of you sadists would just love to see me analyze the Ninja, and to you I say for the love of God, Montresor!

The Rogue Class, Part Two

Last time in History of the Classes, I talked about a few iterations of OD&D thieves. Now we’re on to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons thieves, as well as their close kin – assassins and thief-acrobats. The changes to the Thief itself are quite scant, but I will analyze these small changes like whoa. Let’s get to it.