View Full Version : [4e] Fixing Rogues (at least at low levels)

2008-06-06, 11:00 AM
Rogues have a problem. They seem to suck at one of the roles that Strikers, in general, seem to be good at -- dealing with enemy Artillery.

In essence, Rogues (especially melee rogues) are highly tied to Flanking, or other actions of their allies, to gain Combat Advantage. At higher levels, they can start using Invisibility, but at lower levels -- first strike, flanking, and if they are lucky some other party member will daze/trip enemies for them.

On top of that, Rogues are the only dex-based melee character in the game. That exposes a number of issues -- first, multiclassing and grabbing any other melee-based attack means that the Rogue needs to pump strength, and second Rogue basic attacks suck unless they invest heavily in Strength.

This Dex problem is reflected in some other classes to a lesser extent. The Fighter Light Blade states that "sometimes, Dex is enough" -- but when all of your at-wills require Str to connect, that really makes it questionable that Dex could ever be close to enough!

Somewhat similarly, Archer Rangers (barring planned Paragon subclass choices) end up being very smart by being "officially" a Melee Ranger (getting 1 feat that isn't bad, and a unique class feature that lets them double-wield 1d8 weapons when they do melee), instead of being "officially" an Archer Ranger (getting 1 feat ... that is only really useful when they are in melee range anyhow).

If Dex with Light Weapons was more viable, then they could use Dex for both ranged and melee combat, which removes a lot of the enticement to be a melee ranger "officially". We still probably want to give them a better toy than the feat they got, but ...

So, first, a mechanical modification to all Light Blades:
Weapon Finess
When using a Light Blade and making an attack where Str modifies the attack roll more than Dex, you may swap the role of Str and Dex in the attack roll only. This has no effect on the damage delt, and it works on basic attacks, powers, or any other attack roll.


Str remains superior to Dex when using a light blade for the most part, as it adds to both to-hit and damage. But if you have higher Dex than Str, you are better off using a Light Blade than a Heavy Blade, all things being equal.


The next problem is the "solo" issue of the Rogue. As it stands, the Rogue is highly tied to having someone else around to use their Sneak Attack damage, barring invisibility (high level) or stealth-based attacks (which only really work for a ranged-rogue build).

Rogue Tactics:
When a Rogue hits a target and causes damage, the Rogue may forgo the damage and instead claim Combat Advantage over the target until the end of the Rogues next turn.

Rogue Shadowing:
As an Immediate Reaction to an adjacent enemy shifting or moving away from a square, a Rogue may shift 2 squares.


Simplified. Note that Immediate actions are one/round actions -- so the Rogue doesn't have infinite movement.

Rogue Tactics isn't as good as it looks, as you have to waste a hit to get just a possible extra damage on a later hit.

This also allow lets the Rogue fullfill the "go kill the Artillery" role that other Strikers are half-decent at. As it stands, Rogues suck at it, barring using Stealth Range cheese.

Shadowing was inspired by the Dragonshield Kobold, may that reptile die a horrible death. :) It is upgraded to reflect the fact that it is a PC ability, and it lets the Rogue stay Flanking on someone who merely attempts to shift-rotate around a character to avoid being Flanked.


Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Rogue, even at low levels, is fine. But I found it far to easy (as a DM) to make monsters shift out of sneak attack line, forcing the Rogue to undergo a pile of OAs to get lined up again each and every round.