Rogue 5e D&D Guide

The Rogue character class is a classic in Dungeons and Dragons. In D&D 5e, you also have many subclass options. 

Look no further if you are interested in playing one of these savage miscreants in D&D. This Rogue 5e Guide will tell you everything about Rogues.

What are the Rogues of 5e?

The ‘Thief” class first appeared in the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

The third edition of D&D saw the Thief become the Rogue. This allowed any character who relies on stealth or sneaking to be included in the game. 

The fifth edition (5e) introduced several subclasses for the Rogue called “roguish archetypes” that allow players to become a specific type of Rogue with special abilities.

How to make a Rogue?

When creating a Rogue character, the first thing you should consider is your roguish archetype. 

It will not be of any benefit until you reach the third level, but it will allow you to decide your background and personality. 

We’ll be covering how to make a Rogue, what their abilities are, and the roguish archetypes.

Rogue statistics

Dexterity is the primary statistic of the Rogue, followed by Intelligence and Charisma.

Rogue 5e

Rogue characteristics

  • How many hitpoints do Rogues have? Rogues receive 8 hit points and their Constitution modifier. Rogues receive an additional 1d8 hit point per level after their 1st level.
  • What armor are Rogues allowed to wear?
    Light armor is the preferred choice for Rogues.
  • What weapons are available for Rogues?
    Rogues can use simple weapons and hand crossbows. They also have longswords and rapiers.
  • In which saving throws are Rogues proficient?
    Dexterity, Intelligence. If your DM asks for you to save a throw, your Dexterity and Intelligence modifiers are added to the result.
  • What skills does a Rogue have?
    You can choose from four skills when creating a Rogue character: Athletics, Acrobatics, and Deception. Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance. Persuasion and Stealth.
  • What equipment should Rogues use?
    Rogues begin with the following equipment, in addition to any equipment given by their backgrounds: a Rapier OR a Shortsword; a short bow and quiver 20 arrows OR A shortsword; burglar’s or dungeoneer pack OR an explorer’s pack; leather armor; two daggers; and thieves’ tools.

What are the special abilities of Rogues?

As they level up, all Rogues unlock the following special abilities:

Sneak Attack

If you have an advantage in your attack roll, you can deal 1d6 additional damage to one creature once per turn. 

You must use a finesse or a ranged weapon to attack the target. If another enemy is within 5ft of your target and isn’t incapacitated, you don’t need to have an advantage. 

The Sneak Attack column in The Player’s Handbook indicates that the damage you do to an enemy increases with each level.

Thieves Cant

The thieves’ cant, a combination of dialect, code, and jargon allows you to conceal messages with people who can understand thieves’ cant. 

You can also find hidden messages or signs left by thieves in certain areas. These can be left and understood by you.

They may inform you if you are in danger or if you have loot nearby.

Cunning Action

Rogues at the 2nd level can take a bonus action each turn during combat to hide, dash, or disengage (or use an ability that your roguish archetype has specified – see below).

Roguish Archetypes

At the 3rd Level, Rogues have the option to choose a roguish archetype, which is essentially a subclass. These are described in the next section.

Improve your ability

Rogues can increase their ability score by 1 or 2 at the 4th, 8th, and 12th levels.

Uncanny Dodge

You can see that you can react to an attacker hitting you at the 5th level.


Starting at the 7th level, if you have to make a Dexterity save throw, you will take half the damage for a failure and none for a success.

Reliable talent

A d20 roll of less than 9 is considered a 10.


You can hear and know the location of hidden or invisible creatures up to 10 feet away from you, starting at the 14th level.

Slippery Mind

At the 15th level, you are proficient in Wisdom saving throws.


You have an advantage from the 18th level onwards, as long as you’re not incapacitated.

Stroke of luck

You can use the following features once you are between long rests: If your attack misses a target, it becomes hit. If you fail an ability test, you can treat your D20 roll as a 20.

What are the Roguish Archetypes of 5e?

The Player’s Handbook offers three roguish archetypes to choose from for Rogues at 3rd-level: Thief, Assassin, or Arcane Trickster. This guide also includes Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGtE) and Tasha’s Cauldron to Everything (TCoE).

Arcane Trickster (PHB).

The Arcane Trickster subclass allows you to play Rogue and also use magic. Arcane Tricksters are thieves, pickpockets, and mischief-makers who use stealth and magic to their advantage.

  • Spellcasting
    Arcane Tricksters are able to cast cantripsWizard spells. The Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table details how many spells they can learn as well as how many spell slots they have. The Player’s Handbook. This is a brief overview of Arcane Trickster spellcasting.
    • Cantrips: At the 3rd Level, you will learn three cantrips – mage and two cantrips from Wizard’s list.
    • Spells: At the 3rd level, you have three 1st-level Wizard spells. Two of these must be enchantment or illusion spells. You can learn illusion or enchantment spells as you progress in your Wizard skills. This is except for levels 8-14 and 20, where you can choose from any magic school. You have the ability to replace any of your learned spells with another Wizard spell at each level. However, it must be the same level as your spell slots.
    • Spellcasting Capability: Intelligence refers to your ability to cast spells for Wizard spells. Your spell save DC is 8, plus your proficiency bonus, and your Intelligence modifiable. Your proficiency bonus and your Intelligence modifier are your spell attack modifiers.
  • Mage Hand Legerdemain
    Additional to the usual use of the Mage hand You can also spell the following:
    • You can make your mage hand invisible.
    • An object that was worn or carried by another person can be retrieved.
    • You can use mage hands and your thieves’ tools for picking locks and disarming traps from close range.
    • If you pass a Dexterity check (Sleight of Hand), the creature’s Wisdom check (Perception) will contest your ability to perform any of these tasks.
    • To control the mage’s hand, you can use the bonus action given by your Cunning Activity ability.
  • Magical Ambush
    Starting at the 9th level, any spell you cast on a creature you are not visible from will cause that creature to suffer a disadvantage on any saving throws it makes against that spell.
  • Multi-purpose Trickster
    You can use your mage hand to distract targets at the 13th level. You can choose any creature within 5ft to gain a bonus action and advantage on all attack rolls against it until the end.
  • Spell Thief
    If a creature targets or you are within the range of a spell, your reaction can be used to force that creature into making a saving throw using its spellcasting ability modifier. A failed to save negates the spell’s effect and, if the spell is at least 1st or of a level, you can cast it (it doesn’t have to be a magic spell). You also steal the knowledge of that spell. You will learn the spell within 8 hours and be able to cast it with your spell slots. After 8 hours, the creature cannot cast that spell. This cannot be done between long rests.
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Assassin (PHB)

Assassins are usually rogues who specialize in the “grim art of dying”. They can be hired killers, bounty hunters, spies, or anointed priests that use their talents for targeted killings.

  • Proficiency Bonus
    You will be able to use the poisoners and disguise kits with proficiency.
  • Assassination
    Your advantage on attack rolls is against any creature that hasn’t yet taken a combat turn. Any hit you score against a surprise creature is critical.
  • Expertise in Infiltration
    You can create a fake identity starting in 9th grade. To establish your history, profession, or affiliations, you will need to spend 7 days and 25gp. If you have no reason to, other creatures will believe that you are the same person.
  • Imposter
    You can imitate the speech, writing, and behavior of another person at the 13th level. To be able to imitate this person, you must spend three hours with them. You have an advantage over any Charisma (Deception Check) you do to avoid being detected if a creature suspects you.
  • Death Strike
    Starting at 17th level, any attack on a surprise creature must result in a Constitution saving throw (DC 8, plus your Dexterity modifier or your proficiency bonus). If you fail to save, your attack will be doubled.

Inquisitive (XGtE).

Inquisitive Rogues can use their ears and eyes to solve mysteries and outwit their enemies in combat. These Rogues can be either private detectives or vigilantes.

  • For Deceit, Use Your Ear
    If you are performing a Wisdom (Insight), check to see if someone is lying or not, treat any roll of 7 on a d20 with 8.
  • Eye for Detail
    A bonus action can be used to make a Wisdom or Perception check to find hidden objects or creatures, or an Intelligence or Investigation check to decipher clues.
  • Insightful Fighting
    You can use your Wisdom (Insight), bonus action, to make a Wisdom check against a creature if they are contested by their Charisma(Deception) check. If you succeed, your Sneak Attack can be used against the target even if your attack roll isn’t favorable (but not if your disadvantage is). This feature can be used against one target for up to 1 minute.
  • Steady eye
    You have an advantage starting at 9th level on any Wisdom (Perception), or Intelligence(Investigation), check if your turn speed is less than half of your maximum speed
  • Unerring Eye
    From the 13th level upwards, as an act, you feel the presence of illusions and shapechangers that are not in their original forms.
    Magic designed to fool the senses, within 30 feet of you. Although you can sense an effect trying to deceive you, you don’t get any insight into the hidden meaning or its true nature. This can be used multiple times, equal to your Wisdom modifier (min.). once) in between long rests.
  • Eye for Weakness
    Your Sneak Attack damage against a creature that is 17th-level or higher increases by 3d6 when your Insightful Fighting feature is active.

Mastermind (XGtE)

The mastermind archetype is often chosen by spies, courtiers, and schemers who are skilled in manipulating overs and uncovering their secrets. They use words, weapons, and manipulation to win their wars.

  • Master of Intrigue
    You will be able to use the disguise kit, forgery kits, and one of the gaming sets. You can also learn two languages. You can mimic the speech patterns and accents of animals that you hear speaking.
    For at least one minute, provided you understand the language.
  • Master of Tactics
    The Help action can be used as a bonus action. If you use the Help action in the aid of an ally to attack a creature, it can be within 30ft of you.
  • Manipulator with Insight
    If you spend at most 1 minute with another creature, outside of combat, from 9th level, you can learn some information about its capabilities relative to yours. You can ask the DM if any of these characteristics (your choice), are superior, inferior, or equal to yours. The DM can also give you information about the history and personality of the creature.
    • Intelligence score.
    • Wisdom score.
    • Score Charisma
    • If any, class level
  • Misdirection
    You can now use your reaction to make the attack on that creature target you instead of you when you reach the 13th-level.
  • Soul of Deceit
    Your thoughts cannot be read by telepathy or any other means after the 17th level. False thoughts can be presented by a Charisma or Deception check that is contested by the Mind reader’s Wisdom and Insight checks. Magic that determines if you are telling truthful thoughts is another indicator. You can choose to be truthful, but you cannot force yourself to.
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Phantom (TCoE).

The Phantom roguish archetype is for Rogues who have contacted the dead to learn their secrets and become ghost-like. 

The Phantom roguish archetype represents Rogues who can walk a fine line between death and life and can use macabre combat techniques.

  • Whispers of Death
    You can gain one skill or one tool proficiency after you have finished a long or short rest.
    It shares its knowledge with the user as a ghostly presence. This feature allows you to select a different proficiency. You lose your proficiency.
  • Wails from The Grave
    You can target another creature within 30ft of your first target when you have dealt your Sneak Attack damage. Roll half of the number of Sneak Attack dice and deal necrotic injury equal to the result. You can do this multiple times, equal to your proficiency bonus between long rests.
  • Tokens from the Departed
    You can now use your reaction to open your hand to receive a small trinket. This trinket is a soul trinket. Your proficiency modifier determines the maximum number of trinkets that you can possess. These are the possible uses of Trinkets:
    • You have an advantage over Constitution-saving throws and death-saving throws if you carry a soul-trinket.
    • Sneak Attack damage can be used to destroy a soul trinket that allows you to instantly use Wails from The Grave.
    • A soul trinket can be destroyed by you asking the spirit that is associated with one question. The spirit will answer in its own language and is not bound to tell the truth. It will respond as concisely and truthfully as possible, knowing only what it had in its life.
  • Ghost Walk
    Starting at the 13th level you can take a bonus action to assume a form of spectral for 10 minutes, or until it is ended as a bonus. You can fly at 10ft, and hover. Attack rolls against you while in the air have disadvantages. You can also traverse creatures and objects like they were difficult terrain, but you suffer 1d10 force injury if your turn ends inside a creature. This feature cannot be used between long rests, or if you destroy a soul trinket in your bonus action use this feature.
  • Death’s friend
    You can enjoy the following benefits at the 17th level:
    • Wails from The Grave deals the same necrotic damage on the second target that you did on the first.
    • If you don’t have any soul trinkets, a soul trinket will appear in your hand at the end of a long sleep.

Scout (XGtE)

Scouts are skilled in survival and stealth. They can be found in the wild and act as eyes and ears for traveling bands of bounty hunters.

  • Skirmisher
    As a response to an enemy’s turn ending within 5ft of your position, you can speed up to half your speed. This action doesn’t trigger opportunity attacks.
  • Survivalist
    If you do not have survival skills or nature proficiency, you can acquire them. For any ability you perform that makes use of either one of these proficiencies, your proficiency bonus is doubled.
  • Superior Mobility
    Your base walking speed increases 10ft when you reach 9th grade. Your climbing speed and swimming speed will also increase by 10ft.
  • Master of the Ambush
    Starting at the 13th level you have an advantage in initiative rolls. The first creature you kill during the first round becomes easier to strike. Attack rolls against this target are an advantage until your next turn.
  • Sudden Strike
    From the 17th level, if your turn ends with an Attack action, you can make one more attack as a bonus. Even if you’ve used your Sneak Attack this turn, you can still benefit from it. However, you can’t use your Sneak Attack on the same target more than once per turn.

Soulknife (TCoE)

The Soulknife uses their psionic abilities to injure their enemy’s minds and bodies. These Rogues are often used as spies but are not always trusted by others. However, their mind-control abilities are valuable.

  • Psionic Power
    Your proficiency bonus is equal to the number of psionic-energy dice you gain. These dice start at d6s at 3rd level and increase to d8s at 5th level. At 11th level, they go up to d10s and at 17th level, to d12s. These abilities often require that you expend them. You can also use a bonus action to recover one of your psionic energy dice while you are taking short or long breaks. After a long rest, all dice are redeemed. The psionic energy dice are available at 3rd and higher levels. They can be used to perform the following functions:
    • Psi Bolstered Knack If you fail an ability test using a skill or tool you are skilled in, you may roll one psionic Energy die and add it to the check. The psionic energy is now expended if you pass the check.
    • Psychic Whispers As an action, you can choose up to three creatures you can see (upto a number equaling your proficiency bonus) then roll one psionic energie die. You and the selected creatures can communicate telepathically for a time equal to the outcome of the death. Although you must live within 1 mile of one another, you don’t have to speak the same language. You do not expend this die the first time you use it, even if you take long rests between uses. However, it does expend every time you use it again after that first use.
  • Psychic Blades
    You can create a shimmering sword in your free hand whenever you take an attack move. This blade is a melee weapon that can be thrown and has finesse. The blade can be thrown up 60ft. It deals 1d6 psychic damage and the ability modifier that you used to attack roll. After hitting or missing a target, the blade disappears and you can attack with it meleely or with a ranged attack. If the other hand is not free, the bonus action with the second psychic blade is a melee or long-range attack. The damage for the second blade is 1d4 rather than 1d6.
  • Soul Blades
    These powers can be used to enhance your psychic abilities using your psionic energies dice at 9th level:
    • Homing strikes: If you hit a target with your psychic knives, you can roll one of your psionic energy dice to add it to your attack roll. This means that you have succeeded in hitting the target and your psionic energy dice has been expended.
    • Psychic teleportation: You can also manifest one of your psychic swords and expend one psionic energie die. Then, throw the blade at unoccupied space that you can see up to a distance of 10 feet. The blade disappears when you teleport to the space.
  • Psychic Veil
    As an action, from 13th level, you can magically disappear along with any items you are carrying for one hour. You can either end the effect by dealing damage to a creature or forcing a creature make a saving throw. You can either do this once or you can use the feature again by using psionic energy.
  • Rend mind
    Once you reach 17th level, when you use your psychic knives to deal Sneak Attack damage, the target can be forced to make a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal 8 plus your proficiency bonus, and your Dexterity modifier). The target will be stunned for one minute if the save fails. If the save fails, the stunned target can make another saving throw at each turn. This will end the effect. You can either repeat the saving throw once between long rests, or you can use the feature again by using psionic energy.
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Swashbuckler (XGtE)

The Swashbuckler, a Rogue skilled in the art of single-fighting and sword-fighting, is fast and elegant. Swashbucklers are agile and can move around with twice the armor as their opponents. They thrive when they have the opportunity to show off their talents and charms.

  • Fancy Footwork
    If you attempt to make an opportunity attack on a creature during your turn, it can’t be melee attacked.
    You will be held responsible for your actions during the remainder of your turn.
  • Rakish Audacity
    Your Charisma modifier can be used to give you an additional bonus on your initiative rolls. You don’t need to have an advantage on your attack roll in order to use Sneak Attack against creatures within 5 feet of yourself, provided that no other creatures are within 5ft of or you don’t have a disadvantage. The rules for Sneak Attack remain the same.
  • Panache
    You can make a Charisma or Persuasion check once you have reached 9th level. This check is contested by a creature to gain one of these effects: Wisdom (Insight). Both of these effects require that the creature be able hear you, and you both must speak the same language.
    • If the check succeeds and the creature is hostile, it will have a disadvantage in attack rolls against other targets than you. It can also not make opportunities attacks against other targets. This effect lasts 1 minute, until one of your companions attacks or effects the target with a spell or until you are more than 60 yards apart.
    • If the check passes and the creature isn’t hostile, the charm lasts for one minute. If you or your companions do any harm to the creature, this effect ends immediately.
  • Elegant Maneuver
    You can use a bonus act on your turn from the 13th level to gain an advantage on any Strength (Athletics or Dexterity) checks you make in the same turn.
  • Master Duellist
    Starting at 17th level, in between short or long rests, if an attack roll is missed, you can roll it again with an edge.

Thief (PHB)

The thief is a classic roguish archetype. They are skilled in stealth and inability. Although they could be a pickpocket or burglar, cutpurse thieves are more commonly known as treasure hunters or delvers.

  • Quick Hands
    To make a Dexterity check (Sleight of Hand), you can use the bonus action of your Cunning action ability to open locks or disarm traps using your thieves’ tools.
  • Second-Story Work
    You can climb without extra movement, and you can run jump to increase the distance you can cover by a number equal to your Dexterity modifier.
  • Supreme Sneak
    You have an advantage at the Dexterity (Stealth), 9th-level or higher, if your turn is no more than half of your normal speed.
  • Use Magic Device
    Starting at 13th level, magic items are available to all classes, races, and levels.
  • Reflexes
    You can take two turns at 17th level in combat. Your first turn is at normal initiative, and your second turn at your initiative minus 10 If you’re not expecting it, this cannot be done.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What race should I choose to be a Rogue?

Elves are the best race for Rogues because of their natural Dexterity. Elves, Halflings, Humans, and Goblins are also great Rogues.

What background should I choose to be a Rogue?

The background of your personality will depend on the roguish archetype. Arcane Tricksters, Thieves, and Soulknives might be Urchins. Swashbucklers, Masterminds, and Swashbucklers could be Noble, Sailors or Scouts could be Outlanders. The best thing about the Rogue archetypes is that they allow for lots and lots of roleplaying. So spend some time thinking about your history.

What is the best roguish archetype to choose?

Phantom, Thief, and Arcane Trickster are the most popular archetypes. Strong choices include Mastermind, Swashbuckler, and Soulknife.

Last Words

There are many subclasses available to Rogues, making them one of the most exciting and flexible classes. 

You can play a Rogue if you are committed to it, particularly if you wish to choose one of their roguish archetypes.

A copy of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and/or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything will give you more customization options and abilities.