A beginner's guide to playing a rogue

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Rogues are one of the most versatile professions in Gemstone IV. The hallmark of the rogue is speed and precision, dealing physical damage while staying securely hidden in the shadows. Rogues are the main locksmiths in Elanthia and have access to the rogue guild.

Character Creation

Race

The races that work best with the rogue profession, in order, will be Elf, Halfling, Forest and Burghal Gnomes, Half-elf, Human, and Aelotoi. These races have bonuses in Dexterity, Agility, and Strength, key rogue statistics.

It may still be difficult to choose a race, and you may find yourself asking, "OK, but which one is best for me?" Try to imagine what you want your rogue to be able to do. If you want to focus more on:

Statistics

For beginning players, the following starting stats are suggested:

The first four stats focus on physical training points, the last four stats focus on mental training points, and the middle two stats contribute to both types. This setup will give you the highest amount of training points for your skills and give you the most power (AS and DS) to start your adventure strong.

As discussed in the New Players' Guide, your stats are fundamental to the game's mechanics and will grow with you throughout your career. Stats are capped at 100 so players must balance early power with potential power. In your first thirty days you have five free opportunities to change your stats, so experiment with relative strengths. If you do not know what to adjust, then remove 10 points from Strength, Agility, and Dexterity, and put them in one of the following stat sets:

  • Wisdom +30 for those who want add a little magic.
  • Influence +20 and Constitution +10 for those focusing on combat maneuvers or melee.
  • Constitution +10, Logic +10, Intuition +10 for those focusing on trading or ranged.

Skills

Different skills have different training priorities. Core skills should be trained in every level, either once (1x) or twice (2x). Threshold skills are those which provide bonuses at specific thresholds and can be strategically trained in. Secondary skills provide useful abilities that each player can prioritize as they see fit. As physical fighters rogues will also rely on combat maneuvers. The following training plan is the most vanilla version, as rogues are very versatile fighters with a wide range of weapons and tactics available to them.

Core

One Defensive Skill (2x):

One Offense Skill (2x):

General Skills:

Threshold

  • Armor Use - To wear heavier armor and help keep damage to a minimum. Eight and 30 ranks are key early thresholds for heavier armor, while 20 ranks provide access to Armor Specializations.
  • Climbing and Swimming - to navigate Elanthia. Some hunting grounds cannot be accessed without these skills, but these areas are generally not for the beginning adventurer.

Secondary

  • Arcane Symbols and Magic Item Use - access spells via scrolls or items.
  • First Aid - tend wounds and skin creatures.
  • Harness Power - provides mana (particularly useful for some society abilities).
  • Pickpocketing - steal from your fellow adventurers. Not recommended for the beginning player since they will not have enough skill to be successful against established adventurers.
  • Spell Research - although costly and thus unattainable early in your career, rogues do have access to two spell circles.
  • Survival - better fight nature's obstacles
  • Trading - earn more money selling your loot

Combat Maneuvers

As squares rogues have easy access to a variety of combat maneuvers (accessed via CMAN), which provide a variety of combat benefits that cost stamina. Combat maneuvers are a great way to customize your training to suit your character. For example, stealth-oriented rogues would train in skills like Dust Shroud, Shadow Mastery, Silent Strike, and Vanish. Each rank in the combat maneuvers skill provides one CMAN point, and each maneuver costs a certain amount of points per rank in the maneuver. The Dust Shroud maneuver, as an example, has five ranks with the first rank costing two CMAN points and the last rank costing six. Additional ranks improve proficiency in the maneuver and may unlock new benefits. Some maneuvers have prerequisites (e.g., Vanish requires four ranks in Shadow Mastery) and not all maneuvers are available to all professions. Rogues are one of two professions (the other being warriors) that have access to some maneuvers via the rogue guild, which rogues can join at level 15. Sweep for example is trainable in the guild, meaning rogues do not have to spend CMAN points to use this maneuver (but must spend time training in the guild instead).

Example Builds

Level 0-20 Ranged Elf Rogue + Picking Locks Overview

At Level 0

Base Stats

Skills

At Level 10

Base Stats

Skills

At Level 15

Skills

At Level 20

Base Stats

Level 0-20 Melee Human Rogue +Spell Defense, Elemental Overview

At Level 0

Base Stats:

Skills:

At Level 10

Base Stats:

Skills:

At Level 15

Skills:

At Level 20

Base Stats:

Tactics

Just as important as stats and training are a rogue's tactics. Having the best build ever won't get you very far if you just stand in the open whacking at critters in stance offensive. Starting out, simple stance dancing will be enough, but as you gain levels, you'll want to refine your tactics as you encounter new foes.

Whether you chose a melee or ranged build, it's important to remember that rogues are designed to kill quickly, taking advantage of the shadows to inflict critical wounds to vulnerable parts of an enemy that either disable or kill them outright. The shadows as well as good timing also serve to keep a rogue save from the attacks of their foes. Below are general tips to help develop your tactics as well as ones more specific to ranged and melee builds.

General

  • Timing is important. Try to always stay in stance defensive and/or in the shadows until a critter performs some sort of action, then immediately switch to offensive and attack. This will allow you to get back into a defensive stance or the shadows before the critter can attack.
  • Know when to retreat. If there are too many critters in the room to keep them all incapacitated and it becomes difficult to time your attacks to avoid theirs, there's no shame in stepping a room or two away and picking them off in more favorable circumstances.
  • Learn what body parts are most vulnerable to the weapon you're using and focus on them. For most critters this will be the eyes, head, and/or neck.

Melee

  • Some critters will be too tall to go straight for the eyes or head. Attacking their legs or using a maneuver such as Shield Bash or Hamstring can bring those body parts into range.
  • Don't automatically go for the weapon that hits the hardest. Once you have the skill to reliably aim for the eyes weapons such as daggers or rapiers are faster, easier to aim, and can easily crit kill, esp when used on lightly armored critters.
  • Ambush from hiding to push down the critter's stance and inflict bigger crits.

Ranged

  • Stick to the shadows as soon as you can reliably avoid detection or falling out of the shadows when firing (somewhere between levels 15-25, depending on your training and what you're hunting). Critters can't attack what they can't find and AIMing your shots from hiding will lower their DS via a stance pushdown.
  • Use the biggest bow that you can fire with an RT of 5 seconds or less so you can get back into the shadows when you fall out of hiding. Long bows are ideal, but if your STR isn't high enough to get your DS down to at least 5 seconds going with a short or composite bow will be a better choice.
  • CMAN VANISH is your friend. Getting stuck in the open in stance offensive while in RT is the surest way to die as a sniper, this skill will allow you to get back into the shadows while still in RT
  • Crowd control is key. Keep all your encounters one on one when possible and use skills such as DIVERT to get rid of whatever wanders in. Up to three critters can be manageable if you can keep at least two of them stunned, prone, or otherwise incapacitated. More then that and the best move is likely to step into another room.
  • Aim for the eyes. As soon as you can reliably hit the eyes with AIMed shots (around level 25ish), go for it. Puncture crits to the eyes are the most reliable way to ensure a one-shot kill and, with a high enough endroll, it's a guaranteed death crit.

See Also