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Quiet's Rogue Guide

Rogues - By Lord Quiet, 40+ hobbit rogue

So, you think you want to be a rogue, do you? Or perhaps you are already a
rogue, and want to learn more about the craft. Sit down by the fireplace,
let me fill my candy bowl, and let me tell you what I know about rogues.
No, don't sit on the table, sit on that nice soft cushion. There, isnÕt that
nice? That cushion? Oh - I pick things up here and there.... Where was I?

First, we should begin with what kind of person makes a good rogue. If we
look at the statistics that make a person who they are when they are born,
we find certain things in common with all the better rogues. For example,
rogues will do a lot of sword swinging. So, strength is a requirement of
rogues that want to do well. Of course, discipline and aura, being useful
for mind and body should also be high. The other statistics depend on your
race and your chosen path. However, charisma should be your lowest.
Rumor has it that low charisma makes it easier to hide.

I didn't tell you about paths? Hmm, must be getting forgetful in my old
age. Quiet whispers to you, I just turned 86 last night. [EditorÕs note, this
is true hobbit age, he has only trained 52 times as of the time of this
writing.]

Ok, I have seen three paths for rogues. Being a rogue is easy the first 20
years or so, just like it is for them sword swinging fighter types. But then
it gets harder, so the good rogue has planned out where he wants to be
when he, cough or she, is 30 or 40, or even 50 trainings old. The paths I
have seen fall into three categories:

Ambushing Fighter, The Locksmith, and The Magical Ambusher

There are features in common to all rogues:

Only single in body development. Those hit points will max out soon
enough, and those extra development points will be more useful elsewhere.

At least single in perception and pickpocket. They are both so inexpensive
and useful, find room for singling.

The two weapon skill is very costly, considering you are giving up a large
amount of defense for that second attack. As you get older, nothing can be
killed with two attacks, so spend the points somewhere where it will be
useful.

When you have left over points, train in climbing (you will be amazed how
often this will come up as you get older), a little swimming, mana share,
trading, and first aid. Don't bother double training in any of them.

All rogues should double in ambush (the skill that distinguishes a rogue
from other professions), and at least single in hide.

Always give full training (double) to your primary weapon form. One
handed edged is he cheapest, but is by no means the only choice.

The Ambushing Fighter

This rogue doubles in Combat Maneuvers.
Some advocate doubling in armor and shield also. I don't personally think
the shield skill is worth doubling in, but other swear by it.

Remaining points to be distributed to lockpick, disarm, pickpocket, a
second weapon form (like two handers) as suits your personality.

Lady Nyte is an example of the Ambushing Fighter.

The Locksmith

This is a rogue that specializes in opening chests. Lock Picking and
Disarming get double or triple training, perception gets double, armor and
shield get single trained. CM is either single or double trained as points
permit.

Remaining points to be saved up for magic. Why? the lesser elemental list
has some spells that aid the lockpicker, and you get some nice defensive
spells thrown in. The spells are expensive, but will pay off all the way
down the line.

This path has difficulties, but I suspect Lord Auterio follows this path.

The Magical Ambusher

The magical ambusher is a rogue that is somewhat confused if he should
be a ranger, bard, or thief. He specializes in magic as an aid to his
ambushing. The lesser elemental list has various defensive magic
available in addition to various other useful spells. This rogue wants to
have spell 425 (True Strike) by 50th level. Note that this is a spell every
other level! So this requires allocating 40 mental points per level to
magic. You will typically only have 40 mental points, so you will be
converting physical points to mental at a two to one cost. This rogue
should put high numbers into the mental stats like intelligence etc.

This rogue will at most single in armor, no shield, very little lock and trap
(if any). Legend Jesh suggests that trap and lock skills are not really
necessary, and cost you spells. He recommends training in shields,
however, since it is easy enough to train in. You might not even have
points left over for combat maneuvers, but this should be given priority to
have at least some CM. Strangely enough, this may be the most powerful
rogue of all, under the current environment. Not only true strike is
available to the legend rogue, but all 24 of the earlier spells. This gives
the rogue more flexibility, and the ability to self cast all three guards is
hard to ignore.

Legend Jesh is an example of the Magical Ambusher


There is a compromise to the Magical Ambusher...

This rogue stops at 410 (e-wave) and only tries to get a spell every 3
levels. He gets e-wave at 30th level this way, about the time where the
non-magical thief is having problems hunting. E-wave is a great equalizer
spell in a large number of situations. The numbers and training path is
very much like the Magical Ambusher presented above, but you will have a
few spare points to use for locks and CM.

After E-Wave has been learned, those points can be applied to picking,
disarming, mana sharing etc as fits the personality of the rogue.

Legend Aurien and Lord Quiet are examples of the compromised Magical
Ambusher

Quiet, stops, drinks from a large mug of steaming chocolate milk, and
looks off into the fire.

Ambushing. There is a skill for you. I remember the days when... well,
Quiet smiles, you donÕt want to hear my old stories. Let me tell you about
ambushing.

Fighters have their method of ambushing. We have ours. They may seem the
same to the outside observer, but they are as different as night and day.
The fighters gets all stoked up, steam pouring from his nostrils, and aims
his sword, or whatever is in his hand, and the head of the poor creature.
Poof - no head. Neat trick that, Quiet mumbles.

Rogues donÕt do it that way. Nope. You got to hit pretty hard to smash a
head. Rogues do it with skill, not brute force. Finesse! Have you ever seen a
rogue ambush? He hides. This takes a while looking for just the right spot
where you can do the most good. I have trained a fair touch so I rarely fail
in my hiding, but it still takes me at least 3 seconds to hide. Then I
carefully pick my target and swing, just after the creature has done
something. This is kindof like stance-tagging, but better! You see, after I
attack I am really really open to a counter attack for at least 5 seconds. I
am hoping the monster will be vulnerable to attack for the same time, or
longer so he don't swing at me. This don't work so well when there are a
group of monsters against you, so be careful.

Oh, I almost forgot, where to aim. I have watched tall rogues, you know,
humans and other vertically challenged races, swing directly at the head
or neck. Both are good targets for the instant kill. I can rarely reach that
high. So I aims for their legs. Funny thing, but when a creature loses their
leg, they usually fall down, stunned for a short while, making my next
attack even easier. And that attack, I can reach their head.

Some creatures don't lose their leg. For example, some undead don't have
no legs. Seems I am always running into these. Well, many don't know it,
but you can do some extra damage if you aim at some sensitive spots, like
the back. The back is nice too, they often fall down.

You want to know details of how this works? Ok. Half your skill in ambush
goes towards your targeting. So if you have a 100 skill (say you are 10th
level) you would have a 50% chance of hitting where you aim. If you miss,
it might hit somewhere else, or it might leave you looking at a creature
you have just made angry. The other 50% of the skill is the special part
that only works when you hide and ambush. It increases the critical
damage of the attack. First, you have to hit hard enough to critical at all.
This means you have to do at least 6 points of damage. Then the half of
your ambush skill gets added to the combat roll for the determination of
the severity of the crit. So you might do 6 damage points with your
weapon, but slice off the hand, causing an additional 30, and he drops his
weapon! Them smelly fighters can't do that!

You want to know about lockpicking? Hmm - I have picked a fair pocket,
cough, cough, I mean chest in my time... There are two steps to picking a
chest: traps (disarming), and locks (picking).

You don't want to be opening no chest that you havnÕt disarmed the traps.
Even if your best friend assures you there is no trap on it, it is your face
and hands that will get melted off, not his. It is really simple to find
traps, too. Not so simple to remove them though, or I wouldnÕt have made
as much money as I did.

The first thing you do is disarm the chest. "Disarm my chest", assuming
you are holding the chest in your hand. You need good perception and
disarm skill to find the trap. When you are young, you don't have the skill.
Trust me. You will find some. You will miss some. Worse yet, you will fire
off some traps right in your face. I suggest waiting till you are at least 5,
and perhaps 8. (Assuming you are double training. If you single train, be
older. If you triple train, be younger) Then, try to find traps multiple
times if you donÕt see them the first time. Not all chests have traps. But if
you have tried 3 to 5 times and don't see one, then you have a good chance
of living through it.

This brings up another point. Try to find a place to open chests away from
a lot of people. You will occasionally activate a trap. Some of the traps
affect everyone in the room. Lots of people in the room, mean lots of
people dead or hurt. These people will all know you did it, and will not be
happy. Some traps will release a cloud. So, you might even want to be a
few rooms away from people until you are very sure of yourself.

Ok, you have found a trap, and want to disarm it. Well, you do the same
darn thing again. "Disarm my chest" Sometimes you won't do it. You can
keep trying. For those that like numbers:

Disarm_Skill + Wisdom_Bonus + Lore (if any) + Trap + d100 > 100

The Disarm_Skill is your skill in disarm that you have trained in.
Wisdom_Bonus is the number you see with a + or - when you get "info" on
your character after the wisdom stat. Lore is from the dsenhance on the
lesser elemental spell list. You get 5+ half your level if someone throws it
on you. You get 10+your level if you throw it on yourself. You get 0 if you
don't have this spell active. Now, they been talking of changing this, but it
hasn't changed yet.

You have either removed the trap, or there was no trap to begin with. You
are ready to pick the lock. Let me tell you now, you are going to break a lot
of lockpicks. Expect it. Don't invest so much money into lockpicks you
can't afford to replace them. Them things are worth more than gold. Well,
you'll see. Get that lockpick in your hand, and 'pick my chest with my
lockpick'. Again for those who like numbers:

(Lockpick_Skill + Wisdom_Bonus + Lore (if any)) * Pick_Multiplier + Lock +
d100 > 100

Lockpick_Skill is your trained skill in picking locks.
Wisdom_Bonus is the number you see with a + or - when you get ÒinfoÓ on
your character after the wisdom stat.
Lore is just like disarm, but the spell is pkenhance. Same numbers

Lets talk about lockpicks. Lockpicks have two attributes: strength and the
multiplier. Notice the multiplier magnifies even the smallest of skills.
The common lockpick has a multiplier of 1.0. The alum lockpicks available
from the locksmith in the back room, have a multiplier of 2.4. These are
the best you can buy over the counter. Sometimes special lockpicks can be
found on monsters, or special merchant. I have never seen one better than
2.5, but have hear of one or two in the 2.6 range.

The problem is, lockpicks are fragile. And any time you don't open a chest,
it checks to see if the lockpick breaks. If there is no hope of you opening
the box, because the lock is way above your skill, the lockpick has an even
greater chance of breaking. Worse yet, 1% of the time, you will fail, even
if the chest is a trivial chest to your skill.

So what can you do to avoid those chests that are above your skill? As it
turns out, this is not that hard. If you know the age (level) of the creature
that dropped the chest, you have a fair idea of the hardness of the chest.
The hardness goes up every time the creature's age goes up by 10. So all
creatures age 0-9 have the same GENERAL hardness. When you are 8, and
have double trained, stick to these chests. Creatures 10-19 have the same
general hardness. Again, you should be around 12 to 15 before dealing with
these chests. It seems that if you are good, you can pick chests from
creatures slightly above your age. (And I suppose if you triple trained, you
could do this much faster.)

Funny thing about picking, you can learn from it, but only if you have a
chance of failing. So those easy chests you open in no time? They give you
no experience. So the better your skill, the less you can learn.

I have heard that kneeling improves your disarm and lockpicking skill.
Well, it may be because I am so short, so donÕt need to kneel to get closer
to the chest, but I have never seen any advantage to picking with my knees
in the cold dirt.

Chuckle, you seem to have dropped your coin purse into my seat. Here, have
it back. No, count those coins. I donÕt want anyone thinking I take coins
from a guest. No sir!

You want to know how I COULD pick your pocket? Hmmm. Tis really easy. I
just "steal <person>". I have to be in the same room as you. And I think
there is some minor advantage if I am hidden or invisible, but not certain.
Of course you only get around 120 or so coins. Not much. I know some
thieves (and I mean thieves, not rogues) that can clean a pocket in a few
seconds by repeatedly taking coins. I don't like them people. They give
rogues a bad name. Better take a little from many, than a lot from a few.
Besides, even if you were as good as me, oh I mean, even if you were very
very good, you will get caught 1% of the time with your hand in their
pocket. Many people like to kill you over this, especially if you have
lightened their pocket by 2000 coins or so. Their perception and
pickpocketing skill will prevent you from picking their pocket if they are
high enough. I suppose dexterity bonus plays a part too, but I am not really
certain, Quiet says rolling a small coin between his fingers.

I should add that I never steal from empaths. They heal me so often, and
are so poor, I would rather they be happy to see me, than avoid me. Same
goes with clerics. It is amazing how many times those that come from the
gods have brought me back from that place that dead hobbits dwell.
Speaking of dead people; it is really bad form to pick from the dead. It is
not like they can do anything about it. Sortof like kicking a man while he
is down.

I should mention that I have seen professional thieves and amateur
thieves. I think what distinguishes them is, Style. The professionals will
do it with flair. They will deal with failure with grace, and according to
their personality. Sometimes this can be the only barrier between a quick
death of a caught pickpocket, and a future friend.

Thieves guild? Yep - there is a thieves guild. I am a member! What is it?
Hmm. Well, we have some informal rules, you know. We want thieves that
have honor. So none of those thieves that steal items. None of those
thieves that steal chests. Thieves that steal coins are ok, of course. Oh, I
have known of some that will steal coins and leave the lands to avoid
dealing with the consequences. This is wrong. Period. Take the risk, pay
the consequences. If you don't like the consequences, don't take the risk.
We are not an assassins guild, but there are assassins in our guild. No, we
don't do vendettas for guild members, but we have been known, in the past,
to band together to stop an invasion of people that demanded we not pick
inside the town limits. Yep, *blush*, well that was actually before my
time, you know.

You want to know how to join? Oh, well, hmmm. You should make sure you
are an honorable thief (not just following those rules I said, but in all
ways) and make yourself known by guild members. You donÕt know any
guild members? Sure you do... You know me. You want to know others? I
seem to have forgotten their names, sorry. Quiet smiles a sheepish smile.

Quiet looks down at his empty mug of chocolate milk, his empty bowl of
candy, and the fire starting to go out. I think it is time for this hobbit to
sleep. I should mention that I am the oldest hobbit rogue I know of. [Oldest
player hobbit rogue - Editor] Being a hobbit and a rogue is not very easy.
Hobbits are not so strong. We are agile and dexterous, but it is easier to be
one of the elves or even a human rogue. I read a story once about a Bilbo
Baggins hobbit. Well let me tell you, he never existed in this world. Nor did
Frodo or any of the others. I have heard being a dwarf rogue is almost as
hard. Of course all dwarves are thieves. Have you seen the prices they been
charging...

That's right. Sorry to have kept you. I know you have to get home. Good
Night.

Lord Quiet, Rogue, Vuln Master

aka
Steven Colborne
colborne@deltanet.com
S.Colborne@genie.com