The rogue is not concerned with the "virtues" of knighthood, nobility, or morality. The rogue serves no one but themselves. Rogues are masters of deception, theft, and the effective but honorless ability to stab others in the back. These fellows are not disciplined like soldiers, but they tend to be very quick, often eluding more powerful foes and are quick to relieve the general populace of their heavy coins and possessions. These untrustworthy souls utilize their knowledge of the city to evaluate and steal items of great value, fence them at great profit, surprise their enemies or 'marks,' and evade their antagonists with great alacrity. The prime requisite of rogues is DEXterity which makes them very slippery opponents. Strength is desirable to make their primary attack, the backstab, more powerful and to allow them to carry more loot. Intelligence is a big plus, allowing them to learn their skills quickly and expertly as well as to assist their streetsmarts. And as with all classes, a hardy constitution will help them survive in the lethal dark alleyways and sidestreets of the big cities.
Rogues in General
Rogues are a versatile class that can both hit and tank well, have many interesting abilities, and can access powerful prestige classes.
At hero tier rogues learn to specialize in powerful backstabbing attacks, a practice that only increases in power at lord tier, and their inherent high dexterity makes them formidable tanks.
When choosing a race for a new rogue the following factors are important, but none of them are critical:
- Racial Damage Modifier - this is a racial ability to do significantly more damage both in melee and when using backstabbing attacks. It is important for rogues that focus on stabbing.
- Racial Stealth Modifier - frequent backstabbing requires good stealth, and some races are better at this than others.
- Dexterity - those rogues that would rather tank benefit from the AC boost provided by high dexterity. It also improves their dodge skill.
Kzinti, halflings, orcs (to name a few) have good dexterity, orcs and gargoyles have a damage modifier, and imps are also often considered due to their increasing damage modifier and dexterity that passes many races at lord tier.
Rogues at Lowmort Tier
At lowmort tier, rogues focus on learning how to sneak attack, perform vital shots, use picklocks, disarm traps and how to poison weapons.
Wisdom and constitution should be trained first, followed by intelligence. Strength is important for melee damage, and dexterity for an armor class boost.
Most of other available skills are relevant as well, so practice them all when you have available practice points.
Shizaga vs. Tor: Depending on race and gameplay style, most rogues worship one of these two gods, with Tor being more common due to more beneficial bonuses in terms of melee damage and devotion bonuses at hero. However, since Tor reduces practice point gains as well as effective intelligence when practicing - it is sometimes better to leave off worship until Hero 101 and remain atheist at lowmort.
|EFFECTS PER DEITY||Shz||Tor|
|Regeneration Rate||Hit Points||-10%||+05%|
|Physical Ability Lag||same||same|
|Combat Damage||Melee Weapon||worse||better|
|Combat Experience-Point Gains||+05%||0%|
|Death Experience-Point Losses||0%||-05%|
|Levelup Gains||Hit Points||same||same|
|Effective Int for Practicing||-0.5||-1.5|
Rogues are not spell casters and have little use of mana. Their mana gains are thus similar to warriors - and the extent of their spellcasting throughout the tiers is only to cast immediate combat buffs such as Sanctuary or Frenzy.
Shizaga reduces regular melee damage, but increases the success of Rogue skills like backstab. Also, remember that worship affects crafting skills such as poison weapon (shz is better than tor). Most people still say Tor is overall a better choice, unless one is in hurry to remort and goes for the XP bonus. Do keep in mind that Shizaga devotion later at hero tier also grants additional dexterity, so Shizaga may be a bit more useful to those wishing to tank their way through hero tier.
Soloing: When soloing through lowmort, a rogue should rely on his rogue-specific skills, and use DR gear. Sneak Attack and later Vital Shot are used to open combat, and then melee the mobs to death. As soon as Lethal Aim becomes available, it should be used to vital shot the enemy eyes - blinding them and making the subsequent fights much easier. Alternatively, use vs knee to cripple the wimpy mobs that flee too often.
Tanking: Rogues make very good tanks, due in part to their high dexterity, which makes them harder to hit, in addition to lethal aim and in-class dodge.
Hitting: Aside for the opening sneak attack, the regular melee output of a rogue is not that much different than of a mage or cleric. Thus, they are better suited to tanking roles.
Healing: Rogues at lowmort have nothing to be able to heal with.
Rogue Prestige Options
Some level-50 rogues may become either Black Circle Initiates or Bladedancers. Both of these prestige classes have much different gameplay than a vanilla rogue, with the BCI being closer to the general stabbing theme, and Bladedancers more attuned to tanking roles.
Rogues at Hero Tier
At hero tier rogues primarily tank or stab (or combine the two when leading groups).
Train the gain related stats first (wis, con, int) and then work on everything else. Strength and dexterity can be increased through spells, so they are not as important as some of the available spells at low hero might be.
To become self-sufficient, rogues only need to practice Sanctuary, Frenzy, Teleport and some of the Foci sub-spells. However many other spells are also useful, especially Cure Poison/Disease/Blindness spells.
Finally (but possibly most importantly), Backstab is the most crucial skill for stabbing. In order to stab effectively, one should have appropriate triggers so that stabs execute immediately when entering a new room.
Devoting Shizaga will help with armor class, and thus tanking, whereas devoting Tor will help with both regular and stab damage (higher strength -> higher DR), as well as more HP gains, but will further nerf mana gains (which are arguably irrelevant on a rogue).
Soloing: Rogues do well at soloing with the use of backstab and quickstrike, 101+. Before 101 they might not get hurt much, but they won't be doing much damage either.
Tanking: Before 101, a low hero's best bet is to try to blind the mob with a eye targeted Vital Shot. A successful eye vital shot is usually enough make the mobs unable to hurt the rogue. The damage done is not relevant - the goal is to blind the mob while the groupies do the actual damage to it. Thus, wear full tank gear.
After Hero 101, the rogue can open with a Backstab and thus deal considerable damage. With the increasing levels (and HP) one can shed tank gear and replace it for DR gear to do even more damage this way. See Tanking In Hit Gear for some gear replacement suggestions.
Hitting: Rogues do not hit well until they get third attack and enhanced damage. Afterwards they approach solid damage if not worshiping Shizaga. In large groups the rogues should be stabbing in full DR gear (and immediately rescued by the group's actual tanks).
Healing: Rogues can brandish healing staves and do have access to Heal spell in true emergencies. However, their strengths lie elsewhere.
Rogues at Lord Tier
Rogue Remort Options
Several remort races are suitable for rogues:
- Trolls - not as stealthy but stab hard and can be fantastic tanks due to racial revival,
- Griffons - good overall stats and high dexterity for tanking, also stab hard.
- Minotaurs - even less stealthy but stab even harder,
- Golems - no stealth whatsoever, but do incredible damage if the backstab connects,
- Demonseeds - good stealth and terrific dexterity, not as powerful stabs.