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Best Rogue Equipment 5e

author
David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 12 min read

One of the awesome (and yet also headache-inducing) things about D&D are the sheer amount of magical items that exist for the party to find and use. However, even DMs using a D&D sourcebook for their campaign may want to take their own initiative when distributing those magic items, because it's really no fun when the party can't use anything they find.

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Contents

In a rogue's world, where dexterity is often the main focus, this amulet is a great supplement to their hit point score and their ability to make a successful Constitution saving throw. As one can imagine, grace and agility are two things a rogue should have in plenty, since stealth is really their purview in the party.

Not to mention the dagger gives the rogue advantage on initiative rolls, which is a valuable thing for them to have. One of the advantages of being an Arcane Trickster is being able to cast Invisibility when needed; other roguish archetypes don't have that going for them, but this dust can certainly help.

Anyone playing a rogue probably has some kind of leather armor equipped; anything heavier pretty much makes that high Stealth skill redundant! So, if the rogue already has a roguishly high Sleight of Hand modifier, then nobody's pocket money will ever be safe so long as these gloves are worn.

Since carrying a torch kind of invalidates sneaking around in the first place, a rogue who needs some visual supplements will want these at hand. If it's not, the rogue should work on getting there over the course of the D&D campaign, either by a feat or ability score improvement when leveling up...or by magical item.

And the best part of the Manual of Quickness of Action is: even if the rogue who reads it does have a 20 Dexterity, they'll still increase their Ex score by 2 upon completion of the book. Rogues can spend one of the ring's charges to succeed a Dexterity saving throw that they had previously failed, further enhancing their already possessed Evasion ability.

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Don't except to loot (or distribute, as a DM) these boots anywhere near the beginning of a campaign; they're “very rare,” which means they're not on the average store shelf either. The rogue is a classic trope that has carried through years of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

The rogue has some strong utility options despite its lack of magic, and it can deal incredible damage with the right build. While other classes manage out of combat challenges with brute strength or magic, the rogue uses their array of skills and expertise.

When it is time for combat, the rogue can slip in and out of the shadows to dish out incredible damage with little more than a dagger. It is vital to focus on these aspects of your build, as the rogue is one of only a handful of classes that has no access to spell casting (other than the Arcane Trickster archetype, discussed below).

Despite the lack of magical ability, the rogue can accomplish a great deal in most campaigns. 1D8 hit dice isn’t the worst, but it is not the greatest for characters that are often in the thick of melee combat.

Proficiencies Armor: Light armor Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, long swords, rapiers, short swords Tools: Thieves’ tools Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence Skills: Choose four from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth. The highlight here outside the Thieves’ tools is the incredible four skills to choose from.

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Expertise allows you to choose two options from your four skills or your use of thieves’ tools. You then get to double your proficiency bonus when making an ability check with either of the skills you hold expertise in.

Sneak Attack (Level 1) Sneak attack is one of the highlights of the Rogue class, and it often makes up the bulk of the damage a rogue can deal. Sneak attack works without having advantage if another enemy of your target is within 5 feet of it.

Most importantly, the additional damage increases with each rogue level you gain. See the Rogue Table above for an idea of how the damage scales as you level.

It is worth noting that the language says this is only available once per turn, meaning you can use Sneak Attack with a reaction! You can hide messages in a mix of coded wording that only a fellow rogue can understand.

This includes written symbols and signs that can left as messages. This is largely for flavor, but the right DM could make it an important part of your campaign.

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This is a crucial option for rogues that can allow you to dish out damage in combat but escape melee range unharmed. Roguish Archetype (Level 3) Like with all classes, the Rogue also breaks down into specific subclasses.

This is on the lower end of the scale compared to the offerings of the wizard or cleric, but the available options are mostly strong. While this provides a serious damage sink in some cases, remember that you can only use your reaction once per round.

Evasion (Level 7) Some AOE effects deal half damage even when you succeed your saving throw. This feature allows you to turn a roll of 9 or lower into a 10 any time you make an ability check that lets you add your proficiency bonus.

Blind sense (Level 14) Thanks to your sharp senses, as long as you can hear you can detect any hidden or invisible creature within 10 feet of you. This is useful as your proficiency bonus will help you power through so saving throws your likely-low Wisdom might otherwise fail.

This combines well with Uncanny Dodge and Evasion to make you incredibly hardy. Stroke of Luck lets you turn a missed attack within your range to hit.

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Alternatively, if you fail an ability check you can treat the roll as a 20. The choice of your roguish archetype is important, given many of them dish out subclass-defining features at level three.

Arcane Tricksters can learn two first level spells and three can trips, one of which must include Mage Hand. Like wizards, Arcane Tricksters use Intelligence as their spell casting ability.

It can also perform additional tasks like pick pocketing another creature or disarming traps with thieves’ tools. This is a nice boost since your DC is lower than a wizard of the same level.

As a bonus action, you can distract a creature within 5 feet of your Mage Hand. This gives you advantage on attack rolls until the end of your turn.

One Gama approach to this is to attempt to steal spells from your own party before a big fight. While you excel at these tasks, you lack much of the utility options available to other rogue archetypes.

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You immediately gain proficiencies with Disguise and Poisoner’s kits. This gives you advantage on attack rolls against any creature that has not yet taken a turn in combat.

Infiltration Expertise allows you to create a perfect fake identity, complete with a backstory and documentation. After studying a person for three hours, you can mimic their speech, writing and behavior.

You can fool casual observers with ease, and have advantage on any deception checks against those that might detect you. Every time you attack and hit a surprised creature, it has to make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8 plus your dexterity modifier plus your proficiency bonus.

This stacks with sneak attack and Assassinate, leading to the potential for huge damage. When it comes to picking up on lies or finding traps, this subclass excels.

When making an Insight check to determine if a creature is lying, treat any roll of 7 or less than an 8. This gives you a bonus action to make a perception check and spot hidden creatures or objects.

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It also lets you make an investigation check to find clues. You gain advantage on perception and investigation checks if you move no more than half your speed that turn.

As an action, you can detect illusions, shape changers, and other deceptive magic within 30 feet as long as you aren’t blinded of deafened. The capstone of the subclass gives you 3d6 additional damage with Sneak Attack when using Insightful Fighting.

Finally, you can mimic the speech and accent of a creature you have heard speak for at least a minute. This is a strong option for wilderness campaigns and rogue builds based around ranged combat.

Much of this archetype is about using additional movement to stay out of close combat. As a reaction, you can move up to half your speed any time an enemy ends their turn within 5 feet of you.

You also double your proficiency bonus using either skill in ability checks. Ambush Master gives you advantage on initiative rolls.

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What’s more, all attack rolls against the first creature you hit during the first round of combat get advantage until the following turn. You can apply damage reliably, avoid combat when you choose, and even serve as your party’s defender.

You gain a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your charisma modifier. The thief archetype might not be revolutionary, but it is an excellent option for most rogue builds.

You now climb at your walking speed, and you get a distance bonus to your jumping in feet equal to your dexterity modifier. Supreme Sneak gives you advantage on stealth checks if you move no faster than half speed.

Getting a second turn in the first round is incredibly powerful, and is easily the highlight of the subclass. There are pluses and minuses to every build, and optimizing those benefits is half of the fun for some of us.

While every rogue needs dexterity, the rest of your ability points can vary dramatically depending on your specific build. Dexterity controls your combat with finesse weapons, your tools, your AC, and your saving throws.

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Like with all of our handbooks, I can’t help but stress that your racial choices should not prevent you from playing the character that you want. That said, these small optimization bonuses do not mean much at higher levels.

A boost to dexterity is nice, but the ability to fly is an incredible use if your rogue fights at range. The classic rogue race, most variants of Elf have good ability bonuses and other traits that are perfect for this class.

Great at everything, so why not put those ability points to good use and grab a nice feat while you’re at it? +2 to dexterity is fantastic, as is free proficiency in perception and stealth.

Two free skills are nice, and your ability bonuses also work here. Surprisingly good given the potential use of Pack Tactics and Sneak Attack.

Background selection is fairly important for the rogue, as you will likely need every skill you can get your hands on. With that in mind, these rankings are weighted more toward the strength of the available skills as opposed to additional languages or equipment.

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Another great option that gives you proficiency in two rogue skills and two tool kits. Not a bad option for a party face, and History can be useful if you are putting points into Intelligence.

However, Rogue also suffers from ability spread worse than other classes. It can be a tough decision to take a feat when you are trying to balance intelligence, constitution, and wisdom behind your dexterity attribute.

With a +5 bonuses to initiative, the inability to be surprised, and the lack of advantage for creatures hiding from you, Alert is a great fit for any rogue. Lucky is good for any character, but especially so for a rogue that often deals the majority of its damage with its first successful strike.

While only worthwhile if you intend to have an archer build, Sharpshooter greatly extends your range and lets you ignore most cover. Giving up Stroke of Luck at level 20 is a shame, but the vast majority of campaigns will never reach that point anyway.

Fighter Fighting Types and Action Surge can have a profound impact on your Rogue. This is a great option for Swashbucklers, where medium armor and a shield could come in handy.

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Taking 3 levels gets you Riposte, which can get you an extra sneak attack each round. While very specific, level three lets you choose the Giant Slayer archetype, which can lead to using sneak attack as a reaction every round.

Two levels of wizard gives you access to the Blade song subclass, which is a great fit for melee rogues. While this could work, adding levels of Monk likely only makes your stat spread issues worse.

Not a terrible choice if you are hoarding charisma for a party face build. Despite the lack of magic for most of these characters, the Rogue is a great class that can accomplish a lot.

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