How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Open Discussion on all things C&C from new product to general questions to the rules, the laws, and the chaos.
Post Reply
Giant2005
Ungern
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:06 pm

How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Giant2005 »

Somehow I got roped into being my group's Rogue and I am really struggling to make it work.
My first concern is the MADness of the class. I need all of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Intelligence, which I believe is a whole lot more ability dependency than every other class.
With the low hit points, AC, and attributes spread a little too thin, I am just one failed trap disarm away from death.
With the low BtH, damage, and the above issues, I really can't do much of anything in combat but run and hope my allies make for enough of a distraction to stop me from being pursued.
As best I can tell, the only thing a Rogue is really good for is disabling traps, but they aren't even ideal for that because they are too squishy to endure failure.

Multiclassing seems like a solution, but I can't really find any ideal combinations for that either.
Rogues need Intelligence as a Primary Ability, and there are no Int or Dex based classes that have enough BtH to make the multiclass worth doing. That means the Rogue needs to be a human in order to meet all of their Primary ability requirements if they are multiclassing to fix their dismal BtH (that means no Dwarf to help survive trap failures, or Elf to help mitigate their terrible combat abilities).

Even if the Rogue did multiclass Fighter (or something) in order to fix the issues, the end result is just a Fighter that gets screwed on xp, hp, ac, MADness, and race selection; in return for getting one very important skill. The combination is more playable than a straight Rogue, but it is hardly ideal considering how much is sacrificed compared to a straight Fighter.

Do you more experienced players have any advice as to how to better build a Rogue to be functional, or is it just a lost cause?

User avatar
Go0gleplex
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 3723
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 7:00 am
Location: Keizer, OR

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Go0gleplex »

I've never had problems playing the Rogue. Though I also never try to play it as a front line type. The class is pure support and scout IMO. Combat is best carried out in tandem with other characters whom hold the foe's main attention while the rogue strikes from the flanks, rear, or sides. Never attack an enemy alone unless you have the drop on them and even then, fade away at first opportunity. Hit and run. No rogue is going to be good at everything without some good rolls. Jack of all trades, master of none would be a phrase that fits them very well.

It may be that the main issues are stemming from how you play or envision the expectations of the class and not necessarily the class itself. Approaching like you would 3.5 or something is going to lead to a lot of frustration and disappointment. Even if multi-classing, the rogue remains best combined with other support classes. (A rogue illusionist, especially a gnome is a thing to FEAR) Trying to mix it with a fighter and expecting a combat class is the madness IMO.
"Rolling dice and killing characters since September 1976."
"Author of Wardogs! and Contributor to Iron Stars and Starmada-Admiralty ed."
"Certified crazy since 2009."

Giant2005
Ungern
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:06 pm

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Giant2005 »

I didn't actually mean madness, MADness might not be lingo used around these parts - it means "to suffer from multiple ability dependency".
As for everything else, you are right in that my issue probably has more to do with my expectations. However, part of the issue is that the rest of the party are all spellcasters - there is no-one else to stand and take hits so I don't have to.
I'm thinking it might be best to simply ditch the Rogue thing and make something relatively tanky, so it can survive combat and maybe deal with traps by simply being hit with them and hoping for the best.

User avatar
Lurker
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4037
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:00 am
Location: Oklahoma

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Lurker »

To start out, you do have a good summary of the class, & I can't dispute the ideas behind what you say.

However, and 1st, on the primes, you added strength ... no reason for a rogue to be strength prime or have a high strength score. Leave all the heavy lifting to the heavy hitters. With that, no need to have all those as hig stat / prime

Also, I tend to disagree with RAW that a good rogue needs prime wisdom and intelligence - for listen and traps - with that, if I was running a game, I'd make traps a wisdom ability instead of int. Or, you can do like others have and said all class abilities are treated as prime - helping a elf rogue de effective at class abilities despite their only having 2 primes. I'm sure others around here have different solutions too. However, no matter which you chose, it helps on the attribute spread you mentioned.

Now combat .... you are correct. The rogue is WEAK in a stand up fight ... low AC (can be balanced by the bonus from high DEX, so it helps) low end hp, and low bth. With that they are not meant to be a front line fighter ! They should not be next to the party fighter/ranger/paladin swapping blows with the orc etc etc etc. What they should be doing is being behind them shooting arrows over the heads of the tanks and meat shields into the bad guys they are fighting, or shooting arrows at the bad guys evil cleric/witch doctor/magic user. That or looking for ways to get around the bad guys and put their sneak attack / back stab to good use.

This comes down to good party tactics ... Just like real life, a good plan based on tactics, and a bit of luck, can get you through over whelming odds; but, a bad plan based on 'everyone charge, hidi ho, up the middle we go' tactics , even with luck, gets you killed.

For traps, any 'I'm just one failed trap roll away form death' .... rgr that. & the party's fighter is one critical miss in a battle, or a failed dex check to avoid full damage from a fire ball, away from death. The party's cleric is one failed undead turn away from death going up against a ghost/vamp/ or the like, etc etc etc.

In the Monday night's game, the party was taking time to talk to 'a beautiful lady' in the middle of a ruined castle that was to that point full of bad monsters - bad tactics ! - Then the invisible mage behind her fire balled us in the room right next to them. The party's cleric, elf archer, and my swashbuckler got hit hard, and the ranger went to -8hp (something like that, the number may be off, but he was hard down and on death's door). 1 roll and he was down (he had been hit in the fight before, but it was nickel and dime stuff). But, that is the fun of the game. The risk the chance that your character/hero may get hurt or killed.

With all of that. before you play the rogue, make sure you want to play a rogue. There is no law that says a party MUST have one. If no one will have fun playing one, as a group talk to the DM, see if he will make allowances (removing most of the save or die traps from the module) or provide a rogue NPC for the party (and you as a party rum it to save the DM from having to do so).

However, if you even think there is a chance you may have fun running the rogue, I'd say go for it. Stretch yourself and play something outside the norm of your comfort zone. I ALWAYS play knight/paladin/ranger characters or Halfling rogues ... In the game I mentioned before, we lost our clerics due to players getting their work schedule changed. I rolled up a cleric to play along side my swashbuckler. I've loved it (though at time in the heat of combat I forget I have both characters, so the cleric may stand flat footed every once in a while). I'm not in the from row bashing heads, but my ac makes me survivable in a fight, but I'm behind the fighters. casting a holly flame on their weapons to help fight trolls, giving them a cure spell in the middle of the fight so the nickel and dimes don't add up. casting sound burst in the middle of the bad guys to stun them and make sure the party's fighters get first hit, or disrupt the bad guys spell casters. and healing the ranger, after he gets hammered by the bad guy's fire ball that got cast because the party was flirting with a cuttie in a evil castle ... I'm sure everyone in the party would say similar things about how their character does great things when they fill their nitch in the party and play to their strengths.
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

Knight Errant & Humble C&C Society Contributor
C&C Society

User avatar
Lurker
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4037
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:00 am
Location: Oklahoma

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Lurker »

Giant2005 wrote:I didn't actually mean madness, MADness might not be lingo used around these parts - it means "to suffer from multiple ability dependency".
As for everything else, you are right in that my issue probably has more to do with my expectations. However, part of the issue is that the rest of the party are all spellcasters - there is no-one else to stand and take hits so I don't have to.
I'm thinking it might be best to simply ditch the Rogue thing and make something relatively tanky, so it can survive combat and maybe deal with traps by simply being hit with them and hoping for the best.

That brings new light on it ... see if anyone else will back off on being a spell slinger. or multi class, or if the dm will modify it a bit for a MU leaning party.

Or, go with what you have, and just see how good you are as a group of spell slingers ... who knows you may all be clever enough to pull it off, or just have fun for a bit flinging spells until finally you are over run by 30 kobalds
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

Knight Errant & Humble C&C Society Contributor
C&C Society

User avatar
Go0gleplex
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 3723
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 7:00 am
Location: Keizer, OR

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Go0gleplex »

Like Lurker said, being the only blade slinger among a gaggle of spell slingers does sort of screw with things. Definitely need to adjust party line up. No way a Rogue is going to survive if the glass cannons are trying to depend on them as the front wall. If they all want to be spell casters, there should be at least one cleric and clerics can be a pretty decent front liner in a pinch. ;)
"Rolling dice and killing characters since September 1976."
"Author of Wardogs! and Contributor to Iron Stars and Starmada-Admiralty ed."
"Certified crazy since 2009."

Giant2005
Ungern
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:06 pm

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Giant2005 »

My problem is sorted!
I took some of the exceptional advice above and convinced one of the spellslingers to be a Rogue/Illusionist.
With them taking care of the Rogue-ing, I can try to take care of the front lines. I'm going with Paladin as that seems to be the tankiest option.

Edit: I just thought I'd add that the Rogue/Illusionist really does seem a lot more beneficial than me trying to make a Fighter out of a Rogue.
Rogue/Fighters are Fighters that get screwed on xp, hp, ac, MADness, and race selection, but Rogue/Illusionists are Illusionists with better hp, ac, and BtH; at the expense of xp alone. One side is virtually nothing but negatives, while the other is virtually nothing but positives.

User avatar
Buttmonkey
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2031
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Buttmonkey »

I'll go further (or is it farther? I can never remember the distinction, but I digress...) than Google. Clerics make excellent front line fighters. If you've got clerics in your party hiding behind the thief, well, shame on them.

Next time around you may also want to consider playing an assassin instead of a thief.
tylermo wrote:Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.

bestialwarlust
Mist Elf
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by bestialwarlust »

Less combat more exploration. Fighting is a waste of resources the best thing is only fight if you have to. Use the Rogue thief to trick the creature away from the treasure and hide. While the monster is away the rest of the group can steal the treasure. The Rogue thief can hide as a scout and warn the party when it's coming back.

I think a lot of that has been lost since the iteration of 1st AD&D ( this is coming from someone who started with Moldvay and moved on to 1st ed.) and was guilty of the same type of behavior. Fighting everything running out of spells/hp, etc.. too soon. It wasn't until I went to running OD&D that I realized I needed to adjust my DM/playstyle a bit more. Currently I'm running a C&C game but the same principles apply. Now I'm trying to help retrain my players a bit more.
:D

alcyone
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2727
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:00 am
Location: The Court of the Crimson King

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by alcyone »

We discussed this not too long ago: http://www.trolllord.com/forums/viewtop ... 0&p=243025
My C&C stuff: www.rpggrognard.com

Fizz
Lore Drake
Posts: 1081
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Fizz »

Heh- that's funny. When i saw this thread i thought, "how do you make it NOT playable"?

I have played a lot of rogues, or thieves. They are one of my favorite classes (only ranger i like more i think). I have played the sneaky cat burgler type, the smart safecracker type, and smooth-talker con-man types. I guess i've never thought that all attributes were required. Sure all rogues may have a common set of skills, but that doesn't mean they all have to be equally good at them.

The beauty of the Prime system to me is that you can get very different character types just by changing the prime. So i usually go for concept and only worry about those sets of skills. The rest are character details.

Also, any character's usefulness is dependent on the type of game run by the game master. I once ran a game that had 3 players, and of those 2 were rogues and the other a bard. This is clearly not a type of game that should be combat centric. Instead, it was a game of skuldugery and deception, and dungeon-raiding, with just a few light fights thrown (in which they did quite well when they set ambushes and double-backstabs).


-Fizz

User avatar
Captain_K
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2278
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
Location: North Coast

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Captain_K »

You have spell casters, make them take detect magic and other spells that can safeguard you from detecting and listening.. clairvoyance and clairaudience.. if those spells still exist are nice for your casters to have.. also bring along the druid or ranger or even the cleric right up to the item in question (even if they are just carrying a cure potion to dump down your throat so if you get wacked you can be instantly healed.. same for poison.. make sure you buy a neutralize poison potion or have the spell, I missed the level you're at..

Be the THIEF, ASSASSIN, Pick Pocket, cat burglar, etc. YOU want to be.. make the others take up the slack you are NOT every class they are not...

Make the CK fill the holes with an NPC. Make one of the spell caster multi-class or change... Cleric should be able to act as a pretty good second class fighter.

OR play two PCs a straight fighter, big, dumb, strong everything you are not.. play them as an inseparable team "Bash and Stash" was a great combo of the big really dumb strong guy that was basically a "familiar" to the thief.. keeping the fighter so "I do what he says.." it cuts down on your thoughts.. everything is what would the thief want this guy to do as his PERSONAL body guard...

Those are some suggestions, but if you want madness.. play a PC with multiple personality disorder.. then you can be multiple PCs... but the switching the CK will through on you could be no fun at times... but what do you car, your PC is officially off his rocker!

Let us know how it works out... we all like to hear how it "got fixed".. what went well and what did not...

Happy Backstabbing, Captain_K
Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.

User avatar
trechriron
Mist Elf
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:44 pm
Location: Renton, WA
Contact:

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by trechriron »

I use the option "all class abilities are Prime" and it works great. Especially where "classic" Prime choices don't cover all the class abilities.
Trentin C Bergeron
Bard, Dreamer, RPG Enthusiast
My Blog

Lord Dynel
Maukling
Posts: 5843
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Lord Dynel »

I feel your pain, Giant, having played a rogue before. Everyone's had really good input in the topic.

Playing a human helps, with the extra prime. Rogues are one of those classes that, unfortunately(?), tie up all your prime selections...assuming you want to be good at all your class abilities. trechriron's suggestion (a good one, I might add) about having all class abilities prime is not a new one, and one I supported for a while but I began questioning the "fairness" of that option. Fighter and barbarian PCs, for example, still wanted strength and constitution primes and wizards still wanted intelligence prime, so this house rule only benefited those who had class a multitude of class abilities with a varied attribute reliance (such as ranger, rogue, and assassin). I find myself going back to RAW as often as I can these days.

I played a half-elf rogue, and had Dexterity and Wisdom as my primes. I chose Intelligence for my attribute check modification (my racial ability) so it helped offset things a little for traps and deciphering script. I had a lot of fun playing him, though I did experience a little of what you describe, Giant. I just played through it and didn't worry about the lack of Intelligence prime...my half-elf wasn't terribly smart and wasn't a technical, "trap finder" guy. He tried, though. The rest of the group couldn't always take my answer of "nope, there's no trap here!" and it made for a fun, memorable experience.

As to multiclassing, were I doing it I'd try to pick a class that shares an attribute reliance. Fighter, for example, is not a good choice - strength becomes a fourth attribute to need. In my opinion, wizard is probably one of the best choices. The rogue "needs" Intelligence for a few class abilities, so that dovetails nicely. Factor in the magic of the wizard can supplement your rouge abilities - not a rogue/"blasty" mage - and you might have something!

Consider a gnome or elf rogue/wizard, with Dexterity and Intelligence primes. They lose out on Wisdom, but it's compensated a little withe their racial ability of enhanced senses (or even a half-elf's secondary attribute modification). Spell selection to supplement your rogue class just in the first few levels alone is fantastic (in my opinion): detect poison, mage hand, open/close, charm person, comprehend languages, spider climb, summon familiar (a cat can further assist you in listening!), detect thoughts, invisibility, locate object, see invisibility...the list is fairly extensive!

Ultimately, it's about having fun. I think rogues are tremendously fun classes to play. You might think so, though. In the end, have fun...no matter what class you settle on.
LD's C&C creations - CL Checker, a witch class, the half-ogre, skills, and 0-level rules
Troll Lord wrote:Lord D: you understand where I"m coming from.

lobocastle
Red Cap
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by lobocastle »

I do not like how C&C represents the Rogue character class. I increase the BtH to 1/2 and the HD to 1d8. I find that these changes do not adversely effect the other classes but make the Rogue a better contributor to the party. I do favor heavy combat games although I place emphasis on skill use also. In a solely urban campaign the Rogue as written would play well as the chance to use skill over combat abilities would be much greater.

Fizz
Lore Drake
Posts: 1081
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Fizz »

lobocastle wrote:I do not like how C&C represents the Rogue character class. I increase the BtH to 1/2 and the HD to 1d8. I find that these changes do not adversely effect the other classes but make the Rogue a better contributor to the party. I do favor heavy combat games although I place emphasis on skill use also. In a solely urban campaign the Rogue as written would play well as the chance to use skill over combat abilities would be much greater.
I like the idea of making the BtH to 1/2. It then matches the thief from 2nd AD&D. They ought to be superior than a wizard in a slugfest after all. Not sure if i'd go to d8 hit die, but i agree with you that it wouldn't break the game by any means. :)

-Fizz

User avatar
Captain_K
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2278
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
Location: North Coast

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Captain_K »

The one "bad score" you take, have that be "not your thing" and make sure the other classes cover for you there. Again magic can do much of that and its not always needed. another trick is to put a lower score in a prime.. The +6 is more than the higher score bonus in the non-prime. A 12 dex prime thief is well trained, just not amazing. The difference is really only about 10%.. AKA two levels.
Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.

lobocastle
Red Cap
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by lobocastle »

[I like the idea of making the BtH to 1/2. It then matches the thief from 2nd AD&D. They ought to be superior than a wizard in a slugfest after all. Not sure if i'd go to d8 hit die, but i agree with you that it wouldn't break the game by any means. :)]

I understand and I would agree that the one change would make the Rogue playable from my perspective. But, I model Rogue characters based off of the Gray Mouser written by American author Fritz Leiber and Waylander British fantasy writer David Gemmell.

Fizz
Lore Drake
Posts: 1081
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:00 am

Re: How do you make a Playable Rogue?

Post by Fizz »

lobocastle wrote:I understand and I would agree that the one change would make the Rogue playable from my perspective. But, I model Rogue characters based off of the Gray Mouser written by American author Fritz Leiber and Waylander British fantasy writer David Gemmell.
Ah, Lankhmar and Nehwon... I've not read any of the novels, but always liked the setting. Grim and gritty and low magic. Fun fun. Heh.

-Fizz

Post Reply