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Rogue 5e DnD Class Guide

Rogue 5e DnD Class Guide

When all else fails, it’s time to call in a professional. Rogues are incredibly skilled at a wide variety of tasks. Today, we’re going to see what makes them invaluable members of any party with our detailed guide to DnD Rogue 5e Class.

We caught a group from the thieves guild. Shifty-looking sort. They’re not as bad as some of the other crime organizations. They leave broken windows in their wake, not broken bodies. Much easier to clean up.  

I personally saw them locked up in our cells, with anti-magic runes on the floor. Not an hour later when I went to check up on them the cells were unlocked and they were gone. 

No hidden tunnels, no bribed guards, no magical gateways, just empty cells. 

I was furious. I sent out a patrol looking for them and decided to eat my lunch. All that was left was a note saying thanks for the hospitality. They even nicked my lunch. 

From today onward all guards on double shifts. I’m not resting until I get those Rogues. 

From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 23rd of Hammer, 1384

Read our detailed class guide to DnD Rogue 5e below.


Overview of 5e Rogue

Level Proficiency Bonus Sneak Attack Features
1st +2 1d6 Expertise, Sneak Attack, Thieves’ Cant
2nd +2 1d6 Cunning Action
3rd +2 2d6 Roguish Archetype
4th +2 2d6 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 3d6 Uncanny Dodge
6th +3 3d6 Expertise
7th +3 4d6 Evasion
8th +3 4d6 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 5d6 Roguish Archetype feature
10th +4 5d6 Ability Score Improvement
11th +4 6d6 Reliable Talent
12th +4 6d6 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 7d6 Roguish Archetype feature
14th +5 7d6 Blindsense
15th +5 8d6 Slippery Mind
16th +5 8d6 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 9d6 Roguish Archetype feature
18th +6 9d6 Elusive
19th +6 10d6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 10d6 Stroke of Luck
D&D 5e Rogue Class

The Rogue is the sneakiest and possibly deadliest of all the DnD classes. They move unseen and can get into any room regardless of how heavily guarded or locked it may seem. No door or prison can ever seem to hold these characters, and in combat, they’re excellent at dishing out critical damage with their backstab ability. 

Rogues are the type of character you call in when nobody else seems to get the job done. They are proficient in a wide variety of skills which lets them perform most tasks well, and their subclasses let them specialize in a variety of ways. 

They can’t take as many hits as the fighter or barbarian, but who needs longevity when you can do massive amounts of damage before the enemy even knows you’re there? 

Notable Rogues in DnD


Astarion is a High Elf Rogue from the upcoming (eventually) Baldur’s Gate 3 video game. He’s a vampire thrall that was infected with a Mindflayer tadpole. This gave Astarion altered abilities and allowed him to walk in direct sunlight without being harmed. 

Artemis Entreri

If you’re familiar with the character Drizzt, then you’ll immediately recognize Artemis one of Drizzt’s arch nemeses. If you looked up the definition of the word “assassin” in the dictionary, you wouldn’t necessarily see a picture of Artemis, but that’s because he would be standing behind you, ready to stab. 

Rogue 5e Class Features & Abilities

The Rogue’s main ability is their Sneak Attack, but they also have a ton of different proficiencies that help them to get in or out of any situation. 

Hit Dice: d8

GameCows Ranking System

There are a lot of abilities and class features, and it can get rather confusing. Here at GameCows, we’re going to use a simple ranking system. 

  • GameCows Ranking: 1  
    • This ability or feature is extremely useful and a must-have ability. 
  • GameCows Ranking: 2
    • This ability is ok and generally useful in most situations.
  • GameCows Ranking: 3
    • This ability is only going to be useful in certain situations. You’d only get it or use it if you personally think it’s cool. 


GameCows Ranking: 2

When all else fails, it’s time to call in the professional. The Rogue’s skillset lets them get out of a ton of different sticky situations. This is represented by doubling 2 of the Rogue’s skill proficiency bonuses or doubling 1 skill proficiency and as well as their skill proficiency with thieves’ tools.

At 6th level, they get to do this again by choosing 2 different skill proficiencies to double or doubling their thieves’ tool skill +1 skill proficiency. This just lets them perform more tasks well. 

Sneak Attack

GameCows Ranking: 1

This is the Rogue’s bread and butter, so to speak. Sneak Attack is the Rogue’s signature skill and they’ll want to exploit it as often as possible. 

Sneak Attack lets the Rogue deal an extra 1d6 if they have advantage on the attack roll or if the enemy has another target within 5 feet of it, regardless if it’s another player character or an allied NPC. 

They must be using a finesse or ranged weapon and they can’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.  As the Rogue gains levels, the extra damage that Sneak Attack causes go up. 

  • Levels 1-2: 1d6
  • Levels 3-4: 2d6
  • Levels 5-6: 3d6
  • Levels 7-8: 4d6
  • Levels 9-10: 5d6
  • Levels 11-12: 6d6
  • Levels 13-14: 7d6
  • Levels 15-16: 8d6
  • Levels 17-18: 9d6
  • Levels 19-20: 10d6

Thieves Cant

GameCows Ranking: 3

Or can they? The Thieves Cant is a secret language known only to people who know a guy who knows a guy. It’s a coded language that only the sketchiest of people know, so of course, the Rogue knows it. 

D&D 5e Rogue Class

Cunning Action

GameCows Ranking: 2

At level 2, Rogues get a lot more movement versatility on the battlefield. Once per turn, the Rogue can take a bonus action to Dash, Disengage, or Hide. That allows them to bounce around the battlefield much quicker than most of the other classes. 

Roguish Archetype

At level 3, the Rogue’s subclass kicks in. Their subclasses are called Archetypes and they determine what kind of Rogue skills the player learns. 

The Player’s Handbook offers 3 Archetypes to choose from:

Are you going to be an honorable thief, a heartless assassin, or something a little mystical? It’s entirely up to you. 

Ability Scores

Like most other classes, the Rogue gains 2 ability scores to distribute as they like at levels 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, and 19. They can increase an ability score past 20 using this feature. 

Uncanny Dodge

GameCows Ranking: 2

At 5th Level, the Rogue becomes increasingly good at avoiding attacks. If the Rogue sees an attack coming, they can use their reaction to halve the damage. That’s incredibly useful to simply cut the damage in half without needing to roll a save. 


GameCows Ranking: 2

What’s better than taking half damage?

Taking no damage!

At level 7, when the Rogue is forced to make a saving throw for half damage from an attack like a Dragon’s Breath attack, they instead automatically halve the damage, and if they succeed in the saving roll, they take no damage. 

Reliable Talent

GameCows Ranking: 2

This skill solidifies the Rogue as a fantastic jack of all trades. 

At level 11, they’re so good at doing just about everything that whenever they make an ability check they have proficiency in, they’ll never roll below a 10. It’s not a weighted die, they can simply ignore any roll of a 9 or below and replace it with a 10. That’s pretty neat. 


GameCows Ranking: 1

D&D 5e Rogue Class

By level 14, it’s impossible to sneak up on a Rogue. Even if their foes are invisible or hidden, the Rogue will know exactly where they are if the enemy is within 10ft of the Rogue. 

Slippery Mind

GameCows Ranking: 2

Slippery Mind gives the Rogue proficiency in Wisdom saves. It’s not the most exciting thing to get at level 15, but it’s never not useful. 


GameCows Ranking: 1

This is a really useful ability. At level 18 as long as the Rogue isn’t incapacitated, attacks against them will never have advantage. 

Stroke of Luck

GameCows Ranking: 1

If you have bad luck with the dice gods, it’s about to change at level 20. 

Roll a 1 on your attack roll? Nope. 
Fail your sleight of hand check? Nope.

Once per rest (long or short) the Rogue can just ignore the dice. If they missed an attack they can use this ability to say they did. If they failed an ability check they can ignore the roll and say they rolled a 20. Some players may do this anyway, but for the Rogue, it’s actually legal within the rules. 

Rogue 5e Subclasses

Rogues are able to specialize a lot in DnD and the options are really cool. Be sure to check out all of the Rogue 5e Subclasses.

Player’s Handbook

Arcane Trickster: These Rogues supplement their already impressive skill set with a little bit of magic. They’ve learned to use the cantrip Mage Hand especially well and can use it for distraction, combat, and even mischief. (See Arcane Trickster Spell List)

Assassin: These deadly Rogues can seemingly blend in anywhere. When they reappear, their Sneak Attacks do incredible damage before they melt back into the crowd. 

Thief: The thief Archetype is adept at pickpocketing, traps, and quickly getting in and out of places they have no business being… unless that business is thievery. 

D&D Player’s Handbook 5e
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Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Inquisitive: These Rogues have an eye for detail. They see everything and it’ll be impossible to pull a fast one over them. They have an uncanny ability to spot deceit and can detect an opponent’s strategy simply by looking at them. 

Mastermind: It’s not all about breaking into mansions or committing assassinations. Masterminds are highly intelligent and skilled at rooting out secrets. Whether it’s underneath a masquerade mask or as a spy, the Mastermind knows where all the bodies are buried. 

Scout: The Scout Archetype is a mixture of Rogue and Ranger. They’re perfectly suited to creating ambushes in the forest or a dark alleyway. 

Swashbuckler: Swashbucklers are exceptional duelists. They forgo heavy armor for speed and elegance with a bladed weapon. 

Xanathar's Guide to Everything (D&D 5e)
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Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Phantom: Skulking in the dark and dealing damage can leave a Rogue close to death. Phantoms are closer than most. Phantoms have their essence so intertwined with death that they can use their connection to deal out more damage and walk a fine line between life and death.

Soul Knife: The Rogue’s tools of the trade are typically knives and lockpicks. The Soul Knife’s power comes from their mind. No, not knowledge. They have powerful psionic abilities that they use to gain information and attack their enemies.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (D&D 5e)
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Best Rogue Races 5e

Dwarf: Dwarves get an increased Constitution bonus which translates into extra health, but other than that they don’t have a lot of synergies with the Rogue class.

Elf: Elves make particularly good Rogues. They have an initial dexterity increase and their racial abilities are pretty useful all around. The High Elves in Particular make excellent rogues. Not because of the +1 intelligence bonus, but their cantrip spell that they know at level 1. High Elves can choose the Booming Blade Cantrip to sneak attack other creatures and then deal additional lightning damage. It’s a particularly effective combo. 

Halfling: I really enjoy Halfling Rogues. They get a Dexterity bonus and they have their Lucky ability that lets them reroll skills. I think it’s one of the more fun races to RP a Rogue and they have some decent abilities that work well with backstab and stealth. 

Human: Humans are great at everything. They don’t have too many specialized abilities, but they can fill any role. 

Dragonborn: The Dragonborn’s breath attack may seem like it would pair well with the Rogue, but the sneak attack in most situations will be the better attack. This negates the Dragonborn’s main racial bonus. 

Gnome: Gnomes are one of the smaller races and I think they make fun characters to play and they have some good stat bonuses. They have a Dexterity & Intelligence bonus which makes them excellent Arcane Tricksters.

Half-Elf: Half-Elves are usually a pretty safe race to choose, but they are just middle of the road for Rogue. They can choose to increase their Dexterity with their free Ability Score increase, but the extra Charisma seems wasted. They do have Darkvision and two extra skill proficiencies which is a nice boost, but that’s about it. 

Half-Orc: The Half-Orc gets the relentless endurance ability, but that’s not particularly useful for the Rogue since the entire class is built to avoid attacks altogether. The combination isn’t the most efficient use of their abilities. 

Tiefling: Tiefling like the Half-Orc doesn’t have a lot of synergies with the Rogue. They have some magic that could be useful to a Rogue, but the Charisma bonuses and other abilities are only just OK. 

There are two other races found in other supplemental books that particularly pair well with the Rogue class. 

Fairy: Fairies by their nature are excellent stealthy characters and can easily pop in and out of view at will. They have natural spells that are always useful, they have a flying speed, and can enlarge or shrink themselves. They can also choose their ability score increases which means an additional +2 to Dexterity. 

Owlin: Owlin 5e are another great Rogue race if you’re looking outside the player’s handbook. They also can get a +2 to their dexterity, they have a decent flying speed, and they have Darkvision. They’re great for hit-and-run attacks and the Rogue’s ability to maneuver on the battlefield combined with their flight and stealth make them very appealing Rogues.

Playing as a Rogue in 5e

Rogues are a great beginner class for players new to DnD. Their abilities allow them to be both useful on and off the battlefield. As a player just make sure you don’t get bogged down trying to pickpocket everyone in sight. That usually just ends up slowing down the game. 

In combat, the Rogue should always attack in melee with another party member or allied NPC. They can use their sneak attack as long as they stick with another ally. 

For ranged, at level 2 they can hide as a bonus action so it’s all about getting to a nice vantage point. Sneak Attack, Hide, Sneak Attack, Hide, you get the picture.

This alone will make them super useful allies, but combine that with the Archetype, and the Rogue is going to be able to do some serious damage, lay traps, weave through enemies, and even do some nasty necrotic damage (if you choose Phantom). 

Their skill proficiency is probably the highest among the classes, so outside of combat, they’ll be able to perform tasks much more easily and become an even more valuable member of the party. 

We hope you enjoyed this Rogue 5e Class Guide, why not check out our Sorcerer 5e Guide or our full DnD Races List.

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