D&D 5e: Warforged Rogue Guide

A male warforged rogue dressed in gold and black.

D&D 5e: Warforged Rogue Guide

Rogues come in all shapes and sizes. Why shouldn’t yours be a magical tree robot?

The Warforged are a strong, flexible racial lineage that offers a lot of generalist benefits, so why not pair that with the ultimate in adaptable classes? This short guide explains how to build and play a Warforged Rogue.

How to Make a Warforged Rogue

There is one hard and fast rule when building a Rogue. Max your Dex, as quickly as possible. 

Dexterity dictates almost everything the Rogue does as a class. Melee and ranged attack rolls and damage. Armor Class. An important save. All the subterfuge skills the class needs… It’s important, is what we’re saying. 

Secondary stats are much less important. Con increases HP and a good save, and any remaining points can be put into whatever stat you think is most useful, which is normally Charisma or Intelligence, for skills. 

Choosing gear is similarly simple. Pick a melee and ranged weapon from the Rogue list to benefit from the Sneak Attack rule. Strap on some light armor. Make sure you’re packing Thieves Tools. These are the absolute essentials. Any other gear is up to you. 

The Rogue is quite possibly the best class in the game in terms of skill use, with a wide range of options, and Expertise built in from level 1. The Warforged builds further on this, offering another skill proficiency, as well as a bonus tool proficiency. 

Being a magical robot also comes with a host of defensive benefits. A permanent +1 to AC, unremovable armor, as well as resistance to poison, immunity to disease, and never need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. While these might not come up in every campaign, they do make a Warforged Rogue a superlative scout, able to get into places that other races couldn’t even consider going, while remaining awake and on watch at all times: super handy for the career criminals, as well as adventurers. 

A warforged rogue covered from head to toe in dark clothing

How to Play a Warforged Rogue

Playing your Rogue will be divided into two starkly different experiences:

A Rogue in combat is very linear. Most Rogues pick one target available to Sneak Attack, make one attack roll, hopefully with advantage, and if they hit drop a pile of damage dice onto the table, then position to avoid being hit back. 

Simple, but incredibly effective. 

But Rogues out of combat are limited only by the ingenuity of the player and the permissiveness of their GM. 

Things that a Rogue might do could include: 

  • Rove ahead of the party to scout out the dungeon in near-permanent stealth, assassinating any enemy scouts they find and listening in to enemy chatter and plans.
  • Disguise themselves as someone else and sneak into a noble household to steal and copy a key, then leap out of the window and climb down a sheer 90ft drop to escape.
  • Know more about any chosen topic than the scribes who literally wrote the book on it. 
  • Blatantly lie to everyone and everything they meet, up to and including gods.

Despite the flexibility, what your party is probably going to want you to do is act as the scout, pick locks, and potentially act as party face, handling all of the social encounters. These give you easy targets for skill choices, and especially for your Expertise.    

Choosing your subclass might also completely shift the playing pattern of the Rogue, and many offer perfect synergy with the Warforged lineage. 

The SoulKnife creates weapons of psychic force, which is an easy reflavor into energy blades, which means you’re never unarmed and can comfortably fight at any range. It can also boost its skill rolls and gains a bunch of utility abilities, which makes this one of the best options for your class/race combo.

The Scout is an exceptional outdoorsman, with bonuses to move away from enemies that work well with ranged attacks as well as more expertise in all of the nature-themed skills, which would make sense for a skirmishing warrior. 

Finally, the Swashbuckler is far more melee oriented, always having its Sneak Attack available while it’s in stabbing range so want to stay close, which works nicely with the Warforged’s boost to AC. On top of this, Swashbucklers are as sharp with their tongues as they are with a knife, making them perfect for the more RP-oriented player.   

How to Roleplay as a Warforged Rogue

The Warforged offers little in the way of boundaries for roleplaying, and the Rogue is also one of the most flexible classes in terms of background. On the one hand, this is a good thing, as it means you’re unrestricted in how you choose to play your character in the way that, for example, a Druid might not be. 

On the other hand, this amount of freedom can be intimidating to someone new to the hobby, so finding some structure to build around is important. 

Here are a few helpful themes to build around:

  • Warforged were literally created to fight a war and were generally built to fulfill specific roles. What was your Warforged built for? (Your chosen skills and tools can reflect this.)
  • When the Last War ended, what did your character do after? How did they move from being a warrior to their chosen career?
  • What style of Rogue are they? A skirmishing scout who pushes out into wild and untamed lands? A building-scaling city dweller who deals in secrets and lies? A dashing Robin Hood-style figure who duels dastardly villains with feats of derring-do?
  • What do they want? Is there an endgame? Even if that’s “earn enough money to buy a mansion and never have to work again.”

Once you understand where your character came from, it’s much easier to work out where they’re heading, and why they’re going to play a part in your current campaign. 

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