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The Darker Side of Rogues

THE DARKER SIDE OF ROGUES

I have considered writing this article for the last couple of levels(years). It seems that much, if not all, of the advice on Rogues is concerning the picking of boxes. While this is a good way to earn both cash and experience, it seemed extremely boring to me and not nearly as much fun as role playing a rogue of the thief variety. This article is designed primarily for those young rogues who would rather go out into the wilds and earn their living in a more adventurous fashion than sitting in a room slaving away for tips. While I consider myself a young rogue, 10th, I have had a high degree of success in the wilds of Elanith. I have found that I can take on much higher level monsters than myself by using what I call the hide, ambush, and stun tactic. My tactics are no secret, and I will tell you about them here.
First off, how you choose your training skills each time you advance is extremely important. To maximize your chances of success in the wild, you should train as much as you can each time for the first several levels(years) in the following skills: Armor use, Shield use, Bladed combat, Physical training, Perception, Hide/Stalk, Ambush and Pickpocketing. You should also train at least once, if not twice, in combat maneuvers. Use the rest of your skill points in disarming traps and opening locks skills. You may able to train only once or twice in these last two but as long as you nurse them along you will be OK. Why train in the skills I have listed? Allow me to explain for you.

Armor use: This may seem self explanatory but the most important reason to train in this skill is to keep your RT(round time) to a minimum. To survive, you need to hack away as much as possible. Keep you RT at 5. If your armor is slowing you down, I promise you it does more harm than good.

Shield use: This is self explanatory, the more you train here, the more advantage you will be able to take of magical shields as you progress.

Bladed combat: This stat has the most direct affect on your AS(attack strength). I suggest you always max out in this skill.

Physical Training: This skill gives you hit points. It is at least as important as any other skill so train as much as possible here.

Perception: Perhaps the most underrated of all skills, perception comes into play in many circumstances. Most importantly for the rogue, searching kills, and finding traps.

Hide/Stalk: This skill will allow you to get in position to take on those stronger creatures, without it, you will have to go toe-to-toe. If you want to do that every time, re-roll a warrior.

Ambush: This skill is my favorite of all. When you ambush a creature from hiding, this skill increases your chance for a stun, crit, or even immediate kill proportionately. I was taking on Hill giants and ogres at 6th level because I always maxxed my training in this skill along with Hide/Stalk. A note on tactics later.

Combat maneuvers: This is a great skill as it increases both you AS and DS(defense strength) a little each time you train. It costs a lot of points to train but I feel it is well worth it for the adventurer type rogue.

Pickpocketing: I have maxxed in this skill with each level for a couple of reasons. First it gives you quick cash when you need it. Second, for me anyway, it's a heck of a lot of fun to clean somebody's pockets and it gives you something to do when you are waiting for your head to clear. Important advice/tactics to follow.

Opening locks and Disarming traps: These skills are valuable but of little use before 5th level anyway. Use your remaining skill points to train in these skills. They will come in handy as you reach mid levels and start getting boxes on your kills more regularly. It will be nice to pick your own boxes.

Another good skill is First Aid: This has a double value. It will allow you to tend bleeding wounds and to skin your kills.

I'm certain there are those who may place more importance on opening locks and disarming traps. But remember, this is a good profile for the adventurer type, not the lock pickers you'll find in the East Tower.

A NOTE ON AMBUSHING TACTICS.

Ambushing is exciting, and a good way to advance in levels(again, years) quickly. The tactics are rather straight forward. Decide on what creatures you are going to hunt, and head to the area where the populate. Usually areas like Hobgoblin land are going to be very crowded, don't get discouraged. When you are 3rd or so, you can start ambushing lessor/greater Orcs, cockatrices and forest trolls. Their areas are lesser crowded. Also, I always found it rather boring to sit around in Hob land with 8 other people hacking away at the poor unfortunate Hobgoblin who wanders in. Sneaking into a room and ambushing a troll, one on one, gets you more experience, treasure, and is much more fun. Simply head into the area in a defensive stance, when you come upon a creature, if you are not already hidden, hide. Stay in defensive until the creature "sniffs" for you. If it finds you, you are defensive so no harm done. If it doesn't, go offensive and ambush for a leg. If you get a stun,(you may even knock it off
it's feet) finish it off. You will probably never get swung at. if you miss or don't get the stun, make up your mind to go defensive or slug it out. Very often, if I missed, I would go defensive and hide again...starting the process all over. I am only 10th level, and I can take on Titans and Frosties, with care. I have often received friendly advice from adventurers in my area suggesting that I am a bit young to be there. These same adventurers quickly changed their minds, when I leapt from ambush and hamstrung or killed my foes. When you first start adventuring into tough areas, join up with a group of adventurers that are higher in years than you. When you come across a monster in a group, hide, wait for another party member to get a stun, then ambush the monster. A stunned monster is much easier to nail with a critical hit. If you want the kill to yourself try for a neck shot, but it is more often productive to go for a leg and knock the critter off it's feet. After you take it down, you and your
party can finish it off with little risk to yourselves. If you do get the kill share the booty generously, you want to have as many friends as possible. If you get a box on your kill, take it but tell your party members you will gladly share when you get to a safe spot. This will ingratiate your party to you and your ambushing will take on a more teamwork like appeal. When you get past your 6th year or so, you can begin ambushing on your own, no-one to share experience or treasure with. Remember to pay attention to the combat, if you fail to get a stun and slug it out, you may be one swing away from becoming troll food.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON PICKPOCKETING

Pickpocketing is an extremely worthwhile but controversial skill. It is very useful when short on cash or when you need something to do while your head clears. There is some excellent advise I can give you as I have made a living out of the pockets of others. First off, if you are going to pick pockets, don't train half way in this skill. That will just killed you killed. Train full bore and optimize your chances of profit and survival. Always pick a mark(victim) that is lower level to you....equal at best. Just match up your weapon capability with yours. If you can carry imflass, stick with Ora and Mithril. This way if you get caught(more on that in a bit) you run little risk of bodily harm. Remember to be patient, if you lose patience and become less selective you will find your head on a pike. I make it a personal rule to NEVER steal from empaths or clerics. They will remember you stole from them the next time you need your arm put back on or a rez. They will also spread the word about you amo
ng their own kind. Another good class to stay away from is rogues. They tend to have high perception and therefore notice theft attempts easily. Warriors and spell flingers are your best bet. Relax though, there are plenty of each. Obviously, have both your hands free and be in defensive stance while you steal. If you do get caught, take your weapon out immediately. This will do two things: First it will keep you from being an easy target for that decapitating swing that is probably coming. Second, if you have followed my advise, your weapon will tell your mark that he/she is up against a person who is as tough or tougher than they are. That may make them think twice about taking that first swing. Then get your shield out. You then have a choice to make: run, fight or try to talk your way out of it. Believe it or not, I prefer the last of the three for several good reasons. If you get caught in a crowd and your mark cries "thief!", play the confused, innocent person. It is crucial to maintain good
etiquette here as people are watching. Your manners and politeness may well swing them to your side....it has worked for me on several occasions. In fact my tongue is my best weapon in the city. Simply, politely, declare your innocence to the crowd. i.e.
"What do you mean Johnny? I'd get caught stealing from a statue. I haven't even trained in pickpocketing."
Remember this is more for the potential lynch mob than anyone else. Of course "Johnny" is going to persist. Maintain your poise and stay polite. Do not accuse of lying, just that Johhny must be mistaken. Ask him to scroll back and re read his screen. The worst that can happen is that you'll end up one on one with Johnny instead of getting swarmed on by a bunch of bloodthirsty vigilantes. If you are a skilled debater, Johnny will get more and more upset and may eventually do things to alienate the crowd.. .i.e. yelling or using vulgarity. So much the better for you. If your mark attacks you outright, no biggie... just ask him/her what the heck he/she is doing? When they call you thief, revert to the tactics I have already mentioned. Never lose your cool. Crowds get more upset at rude players then they do at thieves. In fact if you play your cards right, your adventuring will make you many higher level friends who will vouch for you(if they happen to be around) or even protect you. Never admit you
r guilt to anyone. Not your closest friend. Word will travel no matter what. I adventure with many people in Danjirland and titan country who have no idea I am a blatant thief. But since they are my friends, I never steal from them. I can tell you, they would come to my aid if I was accused. Nice insurance policy 'eh? You can do the same. Remember with witnesses, always maintain a sense of bewilderment and innocence. Another tactic I use is to say something like,
" Johnny I remember you! You're the guy who thought I picked up a box of yours yesterday." You attacked me then too. Even though I was just taking my own box with me. Is that what this is all about? Why won't you just leave me alone?"
Again, this makes your mark look like the bad guy.
If you are alone with the mark, you can just say, "Oops, sorry. Just practicing." Pay back what you have stolen if anything.. and more.
Avoid Player versus Player combat if at all possible. Be a thief, not a killer. In all my playing time I have been forced to kill a person once, and only because he persisted to attack me on several occasions. I warned him several times. He finally caught me outside the city and attacked again. Since I had been always extremely polite and non confrontational, he made the fatal mistake of underestimating me. I killed him in two rounds. But I also dragged him and his belongings to the Rez boys, and insured he got resurrected. He left me alone from then on. As a pick pocket you can make many enemies. It has worked for me to stay polite no matter what. I also stay very humble and dye my weapons at the merchant. You would think I am in my second or third year by looking at my equipment. This means I can coast through Hob and Gnoll land and clean the pockets of everyone there in a short time. Quite fun actually. I can make 3 or 4 thousand silvers in less than 10 minutes......easily.

A NOTE ON TIPPING PICKERS, EMPATHS, AND CLERICS

For a rogue of the thief variety, cash is relatively easy to come by so tip these types generously. In fact I over tip every time. This means that my name is known among the empaths and they always give me quick service.....a huge plus.
Again, I also never steal from these classes.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON DEEDS

Get them early and often......'nuff said.

One final note: I also believe that the best thief is the one that goes unnoticed so I will not give you my character name here. However, if you have any questions or comments you can reach me at: ICEPHX@AOL.COM

Good hunting,Steven Bailey