Rogue-in' it Up

by Orogurath

So you want to be a rogue? 
If you want to make it to the later levels, the good gear, and the fame
that comes with it, you're going to need some fancy moves and lightning
reflexes. This guide is designed to help you find those opportunities
for effectiveness that will keep groups seeking your services.

A dead rogue is no good to
anyone, so your primary focus is on stayin' alive. Who is going to
sneak in and recover soul stones in hostile territory if you're already
dead?  So your first task in any endeavor is to stay alive and
healthy enough to A) not draw the cleric's healing away from the tanks,
and B) not cause the group to do more work just to suit you.  Like
it or not, your role should be unnoticed.  If your group is paying
attention to you (except when waiting for you to disarm a trap) then
you have done something wrong and are a drain on valuable resources.

Staying alive and healthy is best done by liberal use of your
hide/sneak skill.  Even in the thick of combat, you can hide and
reduce the likelihood that certain mobs will target you. This will
reduce the aggro you generate and allow you to escape more easily from
danger. You should rarely attack first.  Sometimes your group will
ask you to Sap a mob or try for a critical against a sleeping monster,
but most of the time, you should be finishing fights, not starting

Use Bluff early, and use it
often. When you successfully Bluff an opponent, it is denied its dex
bonus for a certain amount of time and you get sneak attacks even when
facing him/her. This will save your life, so if you get a half-beaten,
angry hobgoblin turning to face you, Bluff him, stab him, and kill him.
Don't forget to wipe your blade.

Last, but not least of the Stayin' Alive skills is Tumble.  When
you sneak attack, and relocate, don't just run, tumble.  You'll
get better defense and this will help you avoid drawing healing away
from the tank.  Time is precious in battle, and your healer should
never have to decide between healing you or the tank. They should
always choose the tank; that option will keep everyone else alive

Don't focus on single targets.
I know everyone watches the kill number and tries to outdo their
teammates, but it really isn't necessary. If you can get past the ego
part, you can do more damage and receive less aggro if you sneak
attack, and then move on systematically around the perimeter of the
fight. You will maximize your usefulness and probably finish off a fair
number of combatants on your own.  

Another aspect that should never be overlooked is to carry
potions--tons of them.  You should always have 2 resists of each
type, Remove Poison, Remove Disease (or Feverblanch Salve); Lesser
Restoration, Protection from Evil, Invisibility, and a stack of cure
potions. Sounds expensive, doesn't it? Rogues get Haggle as a class
skill, so these will cost you less. You'll also sell your loot for more
than your teammates, so make use of the Haggle skill to earn your extra
cash to stay stocked up with necessary potions. Not only will you feel
good when you cheat death, but your group will appreciative your skill
and foresight. 

To reiterate:

1.    Hide/Sneak as much as possible.

2.    Learn to use Bluff and live by it.

3.    Tumble, don't run, in combat.

4.    Hit and relocate. Do not focus on single targets

5.    Carry potions, lots of potions.

If you follow these rules, regardless of your stats, build,
preferences, or race, you will be a tough nut to crack and a wily
adventurer worthy of the best groups. These tactics will serve combat
rogues, generalists, and trap monkeys. These are smart tactics that
will save your life and probably your groups', so take the time to
learn these skills and practice them.  One of the best ways to
practice your roguely gifts is by soloing the Stealthy Reposession
quest when you are level 2 and 3 until you can do it without waking the
kobolds. If you can do that, your skills will be superb enough to face
any of the other instances out there, and I'm sure you will develop
your own sense of style along the way.

If you follow the guide to survival, you're halfway to mastering the
things a rogue does really well. Survival and opportunism are the
calling cards of fantasy rogues, and as such I hope that you find
playing the class to be as enjoyable as I do.

Good luck and good hunting!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.