D&D homebrew Rogue Table Top

DnD Dark: Brigand Rogue

I’m continuing with the series name, but really no flavor of rogue is any more dark than any other flavor of rogue. Assassin stands out due to the fact it’s murder-centric, but Thief is just as bad, as every other criminal type is rolled underneath that archetype. Thief is interesting because it talks about burglars going hand-in-hand with alley muggers. There is a cognitive dissonance when I try and consider some of those rogue-types under the same header. Thief is built all around being quick, nimble, and a master of stealth, which doesn’t really work well for things like bandits. Bandits use stealth to their advantage, and Use Magic Device is always cool, of course, but they don’t really fit in that well thematically to the Thief archetype as presented.

This got me thinking about the old Brutal Rogue from 4e. The Brutal Rogue was a rogue that utilized raw strength rather than dexterity in order to lay her opponents low. The way characters are constructed in 5e makes emulating that with a fighter a thing that can be done, but I think the design space is there to make an engaging rogue archetype that doesn’t tread too heavily on the already existing archetypes and background.

Brigand Rogue

While others might seek to cut dashing and mysterious figures as elegant thieves, roguish duelists, or daring cutpurses, you remained focused on the function, rather than the form. There is certainly something to be said for someone nimbly stealing the coin purse of an imperious noble as they disdainfully make their way through the common people, there is something of equal value to be said for knocking the noble about the head, taking the purse and then tying him up and leaving him with an insulting note pinned to his chest. The life of a brigand or highwayman is one of surprise, opportunity, and the use of force in a precise manner. You are not as dexterous as some other criminals, but you can muscle your way out of situations that your compatriots cannot.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you set off down the path of becoming a brigand at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor and martial weapons.

Precise Strength

Beginning at 3rd level, your Sneak Attack may be used with any simple or martial weapon.

Dirty Fighting

Upon reaching 3rd level, you learn dirty tricks to use while fighting. These tricks are powered by your sneak attack die.

Tricks.You learn three tricks of your choice, which are detailed under “Tricks” below. Many tricks enhance an attack in some way. Tricks may not be used in conjunction with a sneak attack, though a sneak attack can be used after using a trick that grants you an attack.  You can use only one trick per attack. You learn two additional tricks of your choice at 9th, 13th, and 17th level. Each time you learn a new trick, you can also replace one trick you know with a different one.

Sneak Attack Dice. Your sneak attack dice fuel these tricks. A sneak attack die is expended when you use it. You regain all expended sneak attack dice when you finish a short or long rest. When you expend a sneak attack die, it cannot be used when rolling sneak attack damage.

Saving Throws. Some of your tricks require your target to make a saving throw to resist the trick’s effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Trick save DC = 8 + proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice)

Partners in Crime

You are used to working with others in combat. After you reach 9th level, you gain Advantage on any skill check made cooperatively with someone else attempting the same skill. Additionally, any sneak attack or trick made while you have advantage increases your sneak attack die size from d6 to d8.

Gloat

At 13th level, you learn how to posture to the fullest possible extent, causing your opponents to lose their cool. After hitting a creature with an attack, you may use your bonus action to gloat via Bluff or Intimidate. If your Bluff or Intimidate check is successful, your opponent suffers Disadvantage on all Intelligence and Wisdom checks, saving throws, and attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

Ambusher

Starting at 17th level, whenever a creature is surprised you may choose to either double your sneak attack dice against that creature until it is no longer surprised, or have advantage on any attempt to incapacitate, poison, restrain, paralyze, stun, or petrify the creature.

Tricks

The tricks are presented in alphabetical order.

Backstab. You may expend a sneak attack die to use your reaction to make an attack against any creature moving past you. The sneak attack die is added to this attack’s damage.

Bleeding Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to bleed your target. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature suffers half the attack’s damage again at the beginning of its turn.

Boot Stomp. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to attempt to hinder your opponent’s ability to walk. You stomp on your opponent’s foot as hard as you can, following a successful strike. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target much make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature’s movement becomes 0 until the end of your next turn.

Cajole. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, and an ally is within 5 feet of you, you can expend one sneak attack die to encourage your ally to strike at the same foe more strongly than you. Your ally can make a melee attack as a reaction against that creature, and may add your sneak attack die’s roll to her attack roll against that creature on her attack against it. If your ally chooses to make an attack as a reaction, the sneak attack die roll may be added to her next attack roll against that creature that occurs before your next turn.

Combo. You may spend a sneak attack die to use your reaction to make an attack against any creature within five feet of you knocked prone by someone else. The sneak attack die is added to this attack’s damage.

Consistent Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to carry over your attack roll against a single creature to your next attack against this creature . This can only be done for non-critical hits. No additional modifiers may be granted to this attack roll. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll.

Eye Gouge. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to attempt to blind the target, imposing the Blinded condition until the end of your next turn. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it becomes Blinded.

Hurl. You may expend a sneak attack die an increase the range of a weapon you are throwing by an amount equal to five times the result of your sneak attack die result. The sneak attack die is added to the damage of this attack.

Improvisational Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to make a ranged attack with whatever is lying around against an additional creature with Advantage, as a bonus weapon. You add the sneak attack die to the ranged attack’s damage roll. You ignore all penalties for making ranged attacks while an opponent is adjacent when using this trick.

Larcenous Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to make a Sleight of Hand check to steal something from your target, adding the sneak attack die to the Sleight of Hand check.

Scarring Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you do so in a way seeking to scar your opponent. You can expend one sneak attack die to attempt to cause the creature to suffer Disadvantage on Charisma rolls until the end of your next turn. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Dexterity saving throw.

Sensitive Strike. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you do so in its most sensitive of areas. You can expend one sneak attack die to attempt to cause further indignities to the sensitive area, causing the creature to momentarily become Poisoned due to the pain. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it becomes Poisoned until the end of your next turn.

Spit. When you are the target of a melee attack, you may spend a sneak attack die and use your reaction to spit into the eyes of your attacker, causing the attack roll to be reduced by an amount equal to your roll with the sneak attack die.

Sucker Punch. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one sneak attack die to attempt to sucker punch the target, causing all Concentration checks made by the target to suffer Disadvantage. You add the sneak attack die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it suffers Disadvantage on Concentration checks until the end of your next turn.

Throw Dirt. As a bonus action, you may spend a sneak attack die and throw a handful of dust and debris into the air and may make Stealth check, adding the value of your sneak attack die to your Stealth check. You remain in Stealth until the end of your next turn if you do not enter cover. If you enter cover, you remain in Stealth.

Undermine. Your condescending remarks are enough to snap your comrades back to reality. Whenever an ally is Charmed or Frightened, you may spend a sneak attack die to allow your ally to re-roll a Saving Throw, with your sneak attack die added as a bonus.

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Okay, to make sure I give everything its due attention rather than starting to skim, I’ll go item-by-item. My only real concern about the subclass off the bat is that you’re kind of “stuck” with putting a good score in Strength, but not being able to use it properly until 3rd level. I’m a little bit laser-focused on 1st-3rd level, for reasons that I’m sure are obvious to you. It’s obviously survivable, but shifting from a Dex class to a Strength-with-middling-Dex class is no one’s idea of easy-mode.

    Bonus Proficiencies – these seem fine.
    Precise Strength – I would be a little concerned about Sneak Attack + Greatsword + bullshit Greatsword Feats, but the subclass is all about sacrificing long-term damage for immediate benefit, and doesn’t pick up extra attacks per round, so this is completely fine. It probably still favors two-weapon fighting, just so you can use more effects in a single round.
    Tricks/Sneak Attack Dice – This is definitely interesting. It’s a costlier trade-off than the Battle Master makes, which is fine in principle.
    Partners in Crime – solid, I like it. Going to d8s is a nice countervailing trend against the slow drain of Sneak Attack dice.
    Gloat – I never get tired of more options for how rogues spend their bonus actions. WotC’s rules language would usually specify “checks,” “checks and saves,” or “checks, saves, and spell attacks.” Which of these do you mean in this case?
    Ambusher – looks good; do you have rules definition for “attempt to incapacitate” other than “decide that damage was nonlethal as the character falls to 0 hp”?

    Backstab – “moves past” = grants an opportunity attack by not Disengaging? If so, cool. If something else, probably still cool.
    Bleeding Strike – solid, I like it
    Boot Stomp – seems fine to me
    Cajole – to make sure I understand this correctly: you attack, hit, and deal your SA damage (since ally is necessarily close enough to let you do so). You burn an SA die. Ally gets to attack target as a reaction, and adds your burned die to their roll. Is this about right? If so, interesting, and a worthwhile tradeoff in the right situation.
    Combo – since the target is prone and granting advantage, do you gain your full (current) SA dice as normal? If I have that right, then it sounds good to me.
    Consistent Strike – could you, in principle, roll a natural 19 and “keep the streak alive” by burning a die every round for the rest of the fight?
    Eye Gouge – looks good to me. Especially good for making an ally’s life easier.
    Hurl – I might let the die add to damage for this also. I dunno.
    Improvisational Strike – this is interesting, though you may need to add a note that you specifically get to ignore the disadvantage penalty for making ranged attacks while an opponent is adjacent, or however that rule works, unless that’s a point you took into account and decided to keep.
    Larcenous Strike – sure, works for me.
    Scarring Strike – interesting, seems fine. Same note on Charisma rolls as with Gloat, above.
    Sensitive Strike – sounds good. Poisoned condition in this case lasts until the end of your next turn?
    Spit – looks good
    Sucker Punch – I like it
    Throw Dirt – works for me
    Undermine – looks good

    1. That is a problem with backstab and proficiencies for rogue. Though you could wield longsword/dagger, go strength, hit still fairly often at that point and do ok. Your AC would suck, but you would still be kind of ok at that point. I’m not concerned with great weapon shenanigans simply for the reasons you point out. You only ever get one attack. I imagine most dual wield, simply for the option for more tricks. Either one is valid, here.

      Trading sneak attack die for tricks is costly, but you spend them fairly slowly, and you get more of them overall than a battlemaster would receive. This largely evens out between them, and takes some of the onus off of sneak attack as the only means that a rogue is effective. Giving a rogue more actual combat-oriented options isn’t a bad thing, as I feel none of their archetypes really does that all that well. I think this all fits the theme.

      When I state “rolls” I mean checks, saves, and applicable attacks. I just short-handed. When I stated incapacitate, I meant apply the condition “incapacitated”, though I left off the other conditions I meant to state there. Whoops.

      On to your specifics:
      Backstab – yep.

      Cajole – tricks can’t be used in conjunction with sneak attacks. For this one, you’d want to be dual-wielding or its usefullness is minimal. Really you’d swing with one weapon, sneak attack, swing with the other, use Cajole. Then they can either use a reaction, which this grants, or wait until their turn and use the die then.

      Combo – Yes. The difference here is that you are spending the sneak attack die to get the attack rather than with the attack. I should clarify in the text a little.

      Consistent Strike – Yes. That is what I imagined some people doing.

      Hurl – It should add. I will fix the text.

      Improvisational Strike – I will add that. Good catch.

      Sensitive Strike – Until the end of your next turn. I forgot to add it.

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