Survival against the odds – the rogue bites back
The rogue has always been a bit of a fan favourite. With high speed and a scary damage output, it has often been the go-to choice for new players and those wanting to slash their way through the content at ridiculous levels of hyper speed. Despite having the lowest health of all the paths, the rogue has always shone through and, more often than not, has left its warrior and mage counterparts in the dust.
As mentioned in my previous Book Four insights, I wanted to strip down each of the paths to their basic fundamentals, and then build them up again – to make each unique and fun to play. The rogue has never had too much of a problem with either of those in past books, but I felt it was time to make them… well, even more rogue-like.
With that in mind, I have given them the piercing ability for free. Every path now gets their own ‘starting’ ability and for the rogue it made sense that they would have piercing – both from a thematic stand point and also because it plays into one of the core concepts of the path: single target damage. As deadly assassins and thieves, they should excel at taking down prime targets, using their guile and experience to pick off each opponent with maximum efficiency.
And efficiency is what they will need. Rogues are squishy – even more so in the new book. Their health hasn’t changed, although it remains the lowest of all the paths. However, with more linked encounters (where you can’t heal between combats) and dungeon delve challenges, managing your health pool is even more critical. For rogues it adds an extra layer of challenge, as they cannot afford to take too many hits – particularly if passive damage is eating away at their precious resource.
Thankfully, a rogue is not without their tricks – and they have many. Rogues will need to pay closer attention to the balance of their abilities, ensuring they have at least one or two evasive manoeuvres they can pull off should the dice go against them. Coupled with speed abilities, the rogue should be able to dominate the early stages of a combat – long enough to lay down the hurt and inflict their passives.
Passive abilities have not gone away and remain a staple of the rogue path. Any round that an opponent is not taking damage is a round wasted, so rogues want to get their passive damage ticking away as early as possible. Bleed and gouge, coupled with the tomb robber’s new toxic blades ability, means that a wily rogue can tear through their opponents’ health pools with deadly ease. There are even new abilities, such as virulence, that play off your passive abilities that are currently in play.
Against large hordes, mages and warriors can excel, employing a deadly range of area of effect abilities that can whittle down opponents. Rogues have less of these and so must be more methodical with their game plan, focusing on the most efficient use of their abilities and damage each round to end the combat as quickly as possible.
In Book Four, I wanted rogues to be the underdog (of sorts) – the one who must constantly stay on their toes, assessing the threats against them and then developing a game plan that will maximise their efficiency. Warriors and mages have a higher health pool and can afford the occasional bad roll or mistake, not to mention healing that can get them out of a pickle. The rogue has less of these options, so such mistakes can be punishing. Therefore the rogue is more about finesse and deadly precision – as they should be. That’s more rogue-like, right?