The latest Unearthed Arcana article for Dungeons & Dragons 5E has introduced an updated version of the Rogue class ahead of its final admission into the upcoming 2024 Core Rulebooks. The Rogue class has received a major bump in power, thanks to the new ways it can utilize its Sneak Attack feature to incapacitate foes.
The Rogue is a popular class in D&D 5E, which is good, as almost every group needs one. Rogue’s possess the ideal mix of social skills, dungeon survival knowledge, and deadly combat moves, making them indispensable in many campaigns. The new version of the Rogue in the Playtest 6 Unearthed Arcana on D&D Beyond improves the class even further.
Rogues Have Received Changes To Powers & Proficiencies In D&D 5E
Rogues have received changes to their starting loadout. They no longer receive proficiency with the longsword but automatically have proficiency with Martial Weapons with the Finesse property. Also, they can no longer choose Performance as one of their starting skills. Some of the Rogue’s existing powers also got tweaked:
- Reliable Talent is now received at level 7 instead of level 11.
- Blindsense is gone and has been replaced with Devious Strikes.
- Slippery Mind now gives Advantage on Charisma and Wisdom saving throws.
Rogues Can Now Benefit From The New Weapon Mastery System
One of the biggest changes to the Rogue is that they can now use D&D’s Weapon Mastery system. This concept was introduced in an earlier Unearthed Arcana, which has been well-received by fans. Weapon Mastery allows characters to add additional properties to certain melee and ranged weapons they possess. In the case of the Rogue, they can unlock the Mastery property of two weapons they’re proficient with and change it on a long rest.
The D&D Rogue’s New Features & Powers
The Rogue has received several new powers that weren’t present in the 2014 Player’s Handbook. These new class features include:
- Steady Aim (Level 3): If the Rogue doesn’t move on their turn, they can gain Advantage on their attack, which will also give them a Sneak Attack.
- Cunning Strike (Level 5): The Rogue can inflict a status effect when performing a Sneak Attack by reducing the damage by 1d6. These include Disarm (Dexterity save or drop item), Poison (Constitution save or be Poisoned), Trip (Dexterity save or be knocked Prone), or Withdraw (after the attack, the Rogue can move half their speed without provoking Attacks of Opportunity.)
- Improved Cunning Strike (Level 11): You can add two status effects with Cunning Strike by removing 2d6 damage from the Sneak Attack.
- Devious Strikes (Level 14): These stronger Cunning Strike abilities cost more Sneak Attack dice each. They include Daze (costs 2d6 for a Constitution save or be Dazed), Knocked Out (costs 6d6 for a Constitution save or be knocked Unconscious), and Obscure (costs 3d6 for a Dexterity save or be Blinded.)
How D&D Changed The Rogue Subclasses
The new Unearthed Arcana for D&D 5E has introduced updated versions for four Rogue subclasses: Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Swashbuckler, and Thief. These changes include:
Arcane Trickster: They now select spells from the Arcane list, can use an Arcane Focus, and can change a Cantrip when they level up. Mage Hand Legerdemain now lets you levitate and control the hand with a regular Bonus Action. Versatile Trickster now works with Cunning Strike and lets you target additional foes using Mage Hand.
Assassin: The hired or pro bono killers of D&D have some new features. Assassinate grants Advantage on Initiative rolls and the extra damage is equal to the Rogue’s level rather than being a guaranteed crit. Infiltrating Expertise grants Advantage on Deception checks while using a Disguise Kit. Imposter has been replaced with Envenom Weapons, which lets you deal 2d6 additional Poison damage when using the Poison option of Cunning Strike.
Swashbuckler: The wannabe Errol Flynn’s of D&D have been changed. Panache is now broken into two Cunning Strikes abilities (Goad and Awe). Elegant Maneuver has been replaced with Dashing Strikes, which provide two new Cunning Strikes abilities (Parrying Strike costs 2d6 to add 1d6 to Armor Class and Invigorate costs 2d6 to give 1d6 to an ally’s next attack roll or saving throw.) Master Duelist now lets you make an additional attack to a target within 5ft, but only if you performed a Sneak Attack on your original target.
Thief: The burglars of D&D have some nice updates. Fast Hands can now be used to activate magic items. Second-Story Work gives you a climbing speed equal to walking speed. Supreme Sneak now grants the Stealth Attack Cunning Strike option, allowing you to avoid breaking Hide after an attack. Use Magic Device lets you attune to four items, gives a 1/6 chance of not expending charges, and use spell scrolls.
Related: Session Zero in D&D Explained
The fact that Rogue’s gain Weapon Mastery and some new tricks for their Sneak Attack means they will be much stronger in combat than they currently are. These changes will also make the prized Fighter/Rogue multiclass combo even stronger, thanks to the enhanced Weapon Mastery of the former and the new status effect attacks of the latter.