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What you are describing is a function of the evolution of D&D over the years. In old editions, the Thief class (later Rogue) was pretty much a necessity as the only person who had the special power to deal with traps. As D&D has drifted further and further away from its dungeon delving roots and more into player freedom, it eventually allowed for cross-classing skills (picking a skill your class can't handle, but requiring double investment), and later making many skills class agnostic.

This affected the Thief class (Rogue) more than any other, but it isn't a bad thing.

A common theme of modern pen and paper games like 5th edition is to say "No class is required. You could make a party with no rogues, or no clerics, or no fighters, and still manage just fine." This is kind of true. Individual classes are less and less necessary, but character roles remain very important. You need party members that can inflict damage reliably, heal wounded characters, talk your way out of trouble, take the lead in exploring dangerous places, and so on. All characters have the potential to take traditional Thief skills, but keep in mind that they're trading off other skills that may be typical for their archetype.

Also worth noting is that 5th edition handles the hard identifier of "traps" more differently, and frankly, better, than any other previous edition. There is no catch-all trap handling skill, not even a catch-all trap spotting skill. Traps can be identified and disarmed with pretty much every skill in the game, depending on the trap. This goes around to defining trap as an obstacle that is dangerous to the players if stumbled into. A loose log on a hill above you may require a nature check to spot, and it may require a survival check to bypass safely. A series of indecipherable arcane runes may require an arcane check to decipher as exploding if crossed, and disarming it may be impossible, just a matter of not crossing them. And of course, locating a pit trap may require a Perception check to identify, and may require a Thieves Tool check to jam the trap door shut. In pen and paper at least, the way to disarm some traps tends to be less straight forward the more simplistic they are, allowing for more improv, while the complex traps are usually tied to a particular trapping.

All that being said and getting to the point about rogues... Do you need one to deal with traps? No. Are they still the best ones at it? Generally, yes, but not exclusively. This is exactly the same for all other classes and their traditional roles. Wizards remain the best at blasting and controlling enemies, but hold no exclusive dominion here. The cleric is still best at healing characters and curing debilitating debuffs, but so too can other classes do this, just not quite as efficiently, and a simple look at their spell list reinforces this fact.

So what are rogues good at? They're valuable in whatever you design them to do. You can focus them as troubleshooting dungeon delvers by taking skills that lend toward locating and disabling as many kinds of traps as you can come up with, but this is player decision. In the defined character class abilities, rogues are great as tanks in MMO terms. Sound weird? It is. Rogues wouldn't fight the way a traditional tank fights. They're skirmishers. They dart in and out of melee by disengaging and making it difficult for enemies to pin down vulnerable party members. More directly, rogues have abilities that literally soak damage. They aren't the same caliber of tank as a barbarian in 5th edition, but they fill the gap somewhere between barbarian and paladin, being a mix of durable and having pretty large damage output potential.

TL;DR? Rogues are able to mitigate a lot of damage through a mix of skirmishing tactics and special abilities that soak damage. Rogues are also in the middle ranks of the consistent high tier damage dealers. They shouldn't be viewed as a character class necessary for exploration anymore, but instead as a fighter-type class who specializes in indirect fighting. They retain some advantages for exploration over other classes, but are not longer the only class able to do so.

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The easiest solution is to just have a rogue, or be the rogue, in the party, and ignore the rules. It's great, however, if you're not going to have one at all. It's easy to see how that could happen, all things considered.

Regarding the "recent" turn to DDs for rogues, if by recent they meant like since rogues were added to D&D, sure? They've always had Sneak Attack, I'm a little hazy on flanking attacks, however. It's always been one of my favorite classes to play. They were a little rough just starting out in BG, but got better, and the party size gave you the flexibility to have two, since you could just leave Imoen as ranged, and move her around a bit.

golw #696777 14/10/20 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by golw
What you are describing is a function of the evolution of D&D over the years. In old editions, the Thief class (later Rogue) was pretty much a necessity as the only person who had the special power to deal with traps. As D&D has drifted further and further away from its dungeon delving roots and more into player freedom, it eventually allowed for cross-classing skills (picking a skill your class can't handle, but requiring double investment), and later making many skills class agnostic.

This affected the Thief class (Rogue) more than any other, but it isn't a bad thing.

A common theme of modern pen and paper games like 5th edition is to say "No class is required. You could make a party with no rogues, or no clerics, or no fighters, and still manage just fine." This is kind of true. Individual classes are less and less necessary, but character roles remain very important. You need party members that can inflict damage reliably, heal wounded characters, talk your way out of trouble, take the lead in exploring dangerous places, and so on. All characters have the potential to take traditional Thief skills, but keep in mind that they're trading off other skills that may be typical for their archetype.

Also worth noting is that 5th edition handles the hard identifier of "traps" more differently, and frankly, better, than any other previous edition. There is no catch-all trap handling skill, not even a catch-all trap spotting skill. Traps can be identified and disarmed with pretty much every skill in the game, depending on the trap. This goes around to defining trap as an obstacle that is dangerous to the players if stumbled into. A loose log on a hill above you may require a nature check to spot, and it may require a survival check to bypass safely. A series of indecipherable arcane runes may require an arcane check to decipher as exploding if crossed, and disarming it may be impossible, just a matter of not crossing them. And of course, locating a pit trap may require a Perception check to identify, and may require a Thieves Tool check to jam the trap door shut. In pen and paper at least, the way to disarm some traps tends to be less straight forward the more simplistic they are, allowing for more improv, while the complex traps are usually tied to a particular trapping.

All that being said and getting to the point about rogues... Do you need one to deal with traps? No. Are they still the best ones at it? Generally, yes, but not exclusively. This is exactly the same for all other classes and their traditional roles. Wizards remain the best at blasting and controlling enemies, but hold no exclusive dominion here. The cleric is still best at healing characters and curing debilitating debuffs, but so too can other classes do this, just not quite as efficiently, and a simple look at their spell list reinforces this fact.

So what are rogues good at? They're valuable in whatever you design them to do. You can focus them as troubleshooting dungeon delvers by taking skills that lend toward locating and disabling as many kinds of traps as you can come up with, but this is player decision. In the defined character class abilities, rogues are great as tanks in MMO terms. Sound weird? It is. Rogues wouldn't fight the way a traditional tank fights. They're skirmishers. They dart in and out of melee by disengaging and making it difficult for enemies to pin down vulnerable party members. More directly, rogues have abilities that literally soak damage. They aren't the same caliber of tank as a barbarian in 5th edition, but they fill the gap somewhere between barbarian and paladin, being a mix of durable and having pretty large damage output potential.

TL;DR? Rogues are able to mitigate a lot of damage through a mix of skirmishing tactics and special abilities that soak damage. Rogues are also in the middle ranks of the consistent high tier damage dealers. They shouldn't be viewed as a character class necessary for exploration anymore, but instead as a fighter-type class who specializes in indirect fighting. They retain some advantages for exploration over other classes, but are not longer the only class able to do so.



Good write-up, very well thought out and well said. I guess I just prefer that older role for rogues. I like the idea of opening locks, disarming traps, and successfully stealthily scouting in dangerous territory being Very Difficult Things to do. Difficult enough that you need an EXPERT to pull them off. And the rogue isn't big and tough like the the fighter, not gifted with magic like the caster classes. But what the rogue is, is that EXPERT. Over time, that idea has eroded considerably, and the rogue is, as you say, now more of just "another type of fighter". Is it better overall game design? Yes, it's better to not require one specific class for anything. But it makes the THEME of the rogue less interesting, to me.

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With a party size of just 4, you need to have those traditional Rogue utility skills more available to the rest of the group. As someone who almost always plays a Rogue, I don't mind that. There is still plenty of fun to be had in the Scout and Sneak Assassin role. It's like healing, a point made previously. With just 4 in the party, you don't want to be forced to take a dedicated healer.

Once a fight begins, I'm the one moving around the most, looking for opportunities to sneak attack with bow or blades while the rest of the party is engaged in direct combat. I don't feel that any other class is really set up optimally for that, so playing a Rogue still feels like a unique class to me.

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The trick to playing a rogue in small parties is to maximise the AC (high DEX, Feats/class features, magic) and take the Arcane Trickster as a specialisation. That way you can be a second-rate fighter or mage when required.

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Well to be honest everyone can "rogue" since older editions, just invest skill points in Perception,stealth,pickpocketing and mechanism, you are set.
Rogues have advantage of having several Skill Points in their progression summed that usually they have good Dex Score for most of those skills. But nothing prevents other classes to do so.

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
The trick to playing a rogue in small parties is to maximise the AC (high DEX, Feats/class features, magic) and take the Arcane Trickster as a specialisation. That way you can be a second-rate fighter or mage when required.


I think it depends on the party composition. If my MC is a Rogue and my other party members are Fighter, Wizard, and a Cleric spec'd as more of a healer/caster than an off-tank, then I don't need a second-rate mage. I need another good melee fighter.

An Arcane Trickster Rogue could be better if you've got a mage and two fighters to deal out the melee whoop-ass. I just don't find that as appealing, even if it's effective.

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Originally Posted by Takamori
Well to be honest everyone can "rogue" since older editions, just invest skill points in Perception,stealth,pickpocketing and mechanism, you are set.
Rogues have advantage of having several Skill Points in their progression summed that usually they have good Dex Score for most of those skills. But nothing prevents other classes to do so.


I think there are a lot of people who never played table top or any games based on 3rd edition, so the transition from 2nd edition BG 1/2 to 5th edition BG3 must seem quite dramatic.

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and every mage can heal. Should make think in the first place where this is heading.

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Originally Posted by xMardeRx
and every mage can heal. Should make think in the first place where this is heading.


Thats actually a bug and will be removed at a later point.

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Originally Posted by Warlocke
Originally Posted by Takamori
Well to be honest everyone can "rogue" since older editions, just invest skill points in Perception,stealth,pickpocketing and mechanism, you are set.
Rogues have advantage of having several Skill Points in their progression summed that usually they have good Dex Score for most of those skills. But nothing prevents other classes to do so.


I think there are a lot of people who never played table top or any games based on 3rd edition, so the transition from 2nd edition BG 1/2 to 5th edition BG3 must seem quite dramatic.


Everyone could rogue in BG1/2 with dual or multiclass.

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Originally Posted by DumbleDorf
with dual or multiclass.




So in other words . . . everyone who WAS A ROGUE, could rogue. Can't argue with that.

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Originally Posted by DumbleDorf
Originally Posted by Warlocke
Originally Posted by Takamori
Well to be honest everyone can "rogue" since older editions, just invest skill points in Perception,stealth,pickpocketing and mechanism, you are set.
Rogues have advantage of having several Skill Points in their progression summed that usually they have good Dex Score for most of those skills. But nothing prevents other classes to do so.


I think there are a lot of people who never played table top or any games based on 3rd edition, so the transition from 2nd edition BG 1/2 to 5th edition BG3 must seem quite dramatic.


Everyone could rogue in BG1/2 with dual or multiclass.


... yeah, everyone who takes the rogue class can be a rogue in every edition. Thanks for pointing that out that stunning revelation. 😂

This topic is about characters who don’t take the rogue class also being “rogues.”

Last edited by Warlocke; 14/10/20 06:21 PM.
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Originally Posted by Warlocke
Originally Posted by DumbleDorf
Originally Posted by Warlocke
Originally Posted by Takamori
Well to be honest everyone can "rogue" since older editions, just invest skill points in Perception,stealth,pickpocketing and mechanism, you are set.
Rogues have advantage of having several Skill Points in their progression summed that usually they have good Dex Score for most of those skills. But nothing prevents other classes to do so.


I think there are a lot of people who never played table top or any games based on 3rd edition, so the transition from 2nd edition BG 1/2 to 5th edition BG3 must seem quite dramatic.


Everyone could rogue in BG1/2 with dual or multiclass.


... yeah, everyone who takes the rogue class can be a rogue in every edition. Thanks for pointing that out that stunning revelation. 😂

This topic is about characters who don’t take the rogue class also being “rogues.”


The comment I replied to was about 3rd edition. You also couldnt rogue on non rogue classes then as well.

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How does saying that everyone could dual or multiclass into rogue (which isn’t true but whatever) in BG 1/2 have anything to do with 3rd edition? You lost me.

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Originally Posted by DumbleDorf
The comment I replied to was about 3rd edition. You also couldnt rogue on non rogue classes then as well.

You could take rogue skills such as Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock and Pickpocket in 3e. They might have been cross-class, but any class could take them.

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by DumbleDorf
The comment I replied to was about 3rd edition. You also couldnt rogue on non rogue classes then as well.

You could take rogue skills such as Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock and Pickpocket in 3e. They might have been cross-class, but any class could take them.



Oh right, but they were limited to half without rogue levels and thus were not strong enough to be viable.

Originally Posted by Warlocke

How does saying that everyone could dual or multiclass into rogue (which isn’t true but whatever) in BG 1/2 have anything to do with 3rd edition? You lost me.


You needed to take rogue levels in both to be a valid trapper with high enough DC.

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Look up the actual class abilities of a Rogue in 5e, they are highly mobile, and sneak attack provides high end damage.

Picking locks is not a "Class" ability, it is just a skill.
Admittedly a dedicated Rogue is hands down the best at it, they have higher level abilities which reinforce the skill.

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Non-rogues could sneak and deal with traps/locks in 3rd edition. They couldn’t do it as well as rogues, but they could do it. I played a barbarian who functioned as our party’s budget thief in terms of being a scout.

That is an example of a non-rogue class taking on some functionality of a rogue.

A character in 2nd edition dual or multiclassing as a rogue in not an example of a non-rogue class taking on the functionality of a rogue, as they are a rogue.

Also, everyone couldn’t dual or multiclass into rogue. Only certain classes could. You couldn’t be a rogue / paladin or a rogue / Druid, for example.

Also:

“Everyone could rogue in BG1/2 with dual or multiclass.”

I’d a really indirect way of saying “characters couldn’t “rogue” in third edition without taking levels in rogue,” if that is the point you were trying to make. 😂

Last edited by Warlocke; 14/10/20 06:57 PM.
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Originally Posted by Warlocke
Non-rogues could sneak and deal with traps/locks in 3rd edition. They couldn’t do it was well as rogues, but they could do it. I played a barbarian who functioned as our party’s budget thief in terms of being a scout.

That is an example of a non-rogue class taking on some functionality of a rogue.

A character in 2nd edition dual or multiclassing as a rogue in not an example of a non-rogue class taking on the functionality of a rogue, as they are a rogue.

Also, everyone couldn’t dual or multiclass into rogue. Only certain classes could. You couldn’t be a rogue / paladin or a rogue / Druid, for example.

Also:

“Everyone could rogue in BG1/2 with dual or multiclass.”

I’d a really indirect way of saying “characters couldn’t “rogue” in third edition without taking levels in rogue,” if that is the point you were trying to make. 😂


Please stop using PnP and cRPGs interchangeably.

You couldn't do that in any of the video games made using 3rd edition rulesets.

And even in PnP, you only could if you had a generous DM.

This is a forum predominantly for a video game based on D&D, it is not for PnP D&D.

And actually in DDO which is mainly what I was referring to, Disable Device was a class skill only available to Rogue and Artificer:

https://ddowiki.com/page/Disable_Device

I just haven't played it in a very long time.

If comparing to BG1/2, you are also comparing to video games like NWN1/2 and DDO, not to PnP.

And then in NWN 1/2, Rogues were the only class that could disable a trap with a DC of 35 or higher https://nwn.fandom.com/wiki/Disable_trap

So in previous D&D video games, you couldn't disable (most) traps without rogue or artificer levels.

Last edited by DumbleDorf; 14/10/20 07:06 PM.
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