Famous rogues: Bleys, Capet, Stretch, Mordren
(Table drafted from Rhynst's newbie guide)
Rogue is a fun, somewhat complex class with lots to learn, lots of special abilities, and plenty of associated play styles. The rogue develops into a powerful combat class that can be played effectively either solo or as a party member. It’s also a terrific class for exploring the world of Anguish – rogues can go places that are more or less impossible for anyone else, can wander the world without worrying (much) about roaming beasties, and can get through most doors without having to engage in the pesky business of finding and obtaining keys.
Rogues are incredibly quick to learn marksmanship and knife skills. Marksmanship is perennially useful, knife less so. There is, however, nothing wrong with using knife early on. You’re unlikely to use it a lot later on in your career, but it’s easy to learn and there will always be a decent knife that you can find and use as a weapon if nothing else is available.
You will, nevertheless, soon want to move onto something that does more substantial damage. Rogues gain skills fairly steadily in rapier, shortsword, and curved blade, and advance somewhat more slowly in club, longsword and staff. They are pretty slow in progressing polearm, spear and flail, crawl along with two-handed sword, and have a shocking lack of affinity with axes of either handedness. Bearing in mind that rogues tend to want weapons that are good for parrying, let’s look at the three basic options first.
There was a time when rapier was the rogue weapon, and for good reason. Rapiers are excellent parrying weapons, and rogues benefit from parry like no other class. They tend to be light, their piercing damage is pretty good, and, at the highest skill levels, there are two very attractive uniques and one common non-unique to use. The downsides? Rapiers are somewhat rare – finding an appropriate rapier for your skill can be challenging – and they are always going to feel a bit short on damage. In particular, a warning for elven rogues - the strength requirements of the top tier rapiers are beyond their reach without expending trait points.
Shortsword is rather the opposite of rapier in that there are lots of them around, but there’s nothing at high levels. Their damage is unremarkable and only slightly better than that of rapiers, but they slash and pierce well and so are good against a wider range of opponents. Many shortswords are pretty good parrying weapons, and there are a couple of fun mid-level uniques to be had. The real significant downside of shortswords in the long term is the lack of high-level ones, so shortswords shouldn’t be part of the long-term plan for any rogue.
Curved blades have become more and more popular with rogues over the evolution of Ancient Anguish. There was a time when the choice was rapiers for parry, curved blades for damage. No longer. One of the best defensive rogue weapons – the steel backsword – is in the curved blade class, and, while the class generally has variable and largely unremarkable parry, there are now some extremely good parriers at various skill levels scattered around. There are also two high-level uniques. Curved blades are now probably the best all-round weapon for rogues – (relatively) easy to obtain, good damage, good parry, fast skilling – there’s not much not to like.
So, what about the other weapon skills? Longsword is a very attractive weapon for (particularly solo) rogues – plenty of longswords are excellent parrying weapons, and the damage output is enviably high compared to those weapons with which rogues have a greater natural affinity. The downside is, of course, that longsword is a comparably tough skill to progress and is a long-term commitment in terms of weapon choice.(NB Mordren, the highest-level rogue on AA, recommends against longsword). Club is a destructive weapon class, but clubs are, as a class, not made for parrying. Staves are not natural rogue weapons; despite the fact that their parry can be good, their damage is (with exceptions) not particularly high. The reason for spending a little time raising staff skill is to be more effective with bows, but otherwise there is almost always a better weapon choice available.
Rogues earn training hours along with experience, and those hours can be expended in the class hall on any of a rogue’s class abilities, which are all scored from 0 to 100 and appear in the abilities list. These class abilities are as follows:
Alert combat provides a significant enhancement to a rogue’s parrying ability and thus their ability to avoid damage in combat. Moreover, it allows you to use a small weapon (any knife-class weapon, and a couple of small rapiers and curved blades are usable as well) as a secondary weapon (note: not the same as two weapon combat), further increasing the alert combat parry bonus and causing additional damage to your opponent during combat. The ability costs 2SP/combat round to use and is one of the key abilities at higher levels. It does not work very well at low levels due to extended combat times, small SP pools and limited ability to regenerate SPs on the hoof, but by around level 10, it’s worth experimenting with.
Alert on to start using the ability, secondary <weapon> to identify the secondary weapon to use.
The ability to attack from hiding – the higher the ability, the greater the damage. This will knock a significant chunk off the target’s health, so it’s always worth trying to get an ambush in.
You can only ambush an opponent once – after that, they are ready for you.
There is no special command from this. Attacking from hiding counts as an ambush.
The language of rogues.
The ability to move items between your inventory and someone else’s. The higher the score, the better you are at it. This also very much depends on your stealth. Note that being caught stealing from, or planting an item on, another player can result in your being attacked or bountied, both of which can easily result in your untimely death, so be careful.
Steal <item> from <target>, plant <item> on <target>. You can also palm <item> to try to pick up an object without anyone seeing.
A handy ability which allows you to use lockpicks (which can be purchased from the rogue hall) to pick locks. This is useful for getting around and can often enable you to avoid tricky detours. Not all locks can be picked, however.
Lockpick <target> or lockpick lock on <target>
If you can find a nightshade from somewhere, you can use it to poison your blade for extra damage with an ambush. With NPCs, this unfortunately doesn’t poison them in the same way that players can become poisoned – it simply does a chunk of extra damage. Given the relative rarity of nightshades and the fact that there are better things that you can do with them, it’s not a frequently-used ability. Note that you can purchase poisoned throwing knives from the weapon shop in Dalair (once you have demonstrated that you are a rogue) and simply use those for your backstab if you want to experiment with the effects of poison.
Belladonna (an artificer-sourced component) can also be used as poison. It will apparently use up the entire clump at once, so if you manage to get your hands on a bunch of this you'll want to stash it in a container and take out just one bit at a time.
Hiding. This is key stuff for the rogue. The greater your seclusion, the greater your ability to hide successfully. It’s incredibly useful to be able to sneak past things and it’s somewhat gratifying to be able to wander around without being seen. Rogues are limited in what they can do while hidden – picking up or dropping objects, opening doors etc. can’t be done in stealth mode.
Hide to hide, emerge to stop hiding.
This also grants the ability to hide small objects about your person. This isn’t a hugely useful ability since the rules for theft operate entirely on whether you’re caught in the act, but it can be useful for keeping your inventory clear (you can conceal all the zero weight items in your inventory – cigars, gum and keys, for example – and produce them when needed).
Conceal to hide something, produce to bring it out again.
This is the catch-all sneaking ability that affects all of your stealth-based abilities.
- Rogues can trip opponents at the cost of 25sps, with success being dependent on you and your target’s relative strength and dexterity scores. Tripped opponents are easier to hit and can’t run away.
- Rogues are also trained to see in the dark and have a vision ability that they can turn on (vision on) to adjust their eyesight to the darkness (which can take a little time). Once your eyesight has adjusted to the darkness, you can prefix your commands with ‘vision’ at a small SP cost and act as if you’re in a lit room.
- Rogues can judge people and objects. Judging people gives you information about their level, how much money they have, and how well-equipped they are. Judging objects gives information about their weight and value.
- Rogues can use the defences parry and riposte in addition to none and dodge.
- Always max Dex and then Str each level. Next, raise Con then Int. Only raise Wis if no other stats can be raised. Only level up when you can't raise any stats.
- Soloing: generally, after about level 10 it is best to always have alert combat active, defend parry and use trips when there are spell points to burn. Bandages and pipe help.
- Orcs are widely considered to be the best race for combat-oriented rogues, while elves tend to make the best thieves.
- If you want to engage in a larcenous career, make sure that you understand the rules around theft first (help law).
- Marksmanship in particular will be useful throughout a rogue’s career, so it is highly recommended that low-level rogues get the catty from Willim, take it to Zhou, and train the skill up as far as it will go (make sure that you have stones in the catty’s pouch before you train – otherwise, you’ll end up raising flail as a skill).
- There are NPCs around Anguish who have useful reactions to rogues who properly identify themselves.
- There’s more to buy than is on the list in the equipment shop in the rogue class hall.
- An emerge will not necessarily be noticed, while any other action that forces you out of shadows will. This is important if you leave combat and re-enter while hidden. Simply attacking the enemy will cause the game to react as if you’d just walked into the area (i.e. your opponent gets a free hit). A successful emerge will mean that the NPC will not notice you immediately, and that combat will then resume as normal.
- In party situations, it’s often better to trip opponents from hiding rather than ambushing them. Three bashers can typically do more extra damage on a prone target than you can do with a backstab.
- Be careful of typos when hidden. Any command that isn't recognised as one that doesn't force you out of hiding, including completely unrecognised commands, will pop you out of the shadows like a cork.
This is an incomplete list of the better secondary weapons (it should be noted that any secondary weapon will give some bonus to parry and riposte), in order of bonus to parry from highest to lowest. Since the secondary parry bonus will change based on level, the bonuses given are in the form of difference from Hunga Munga.
- Sharp Butcher's knife, Gemmed Rondel Dagger (+19)
- Stone Dagger (+11)
- Main Gauche, Mirrored Knife, Draqisfang (in knife form) (+8)
- Shadowspawn, Sai (+6)
- Rondel Dagger, Hunga Munga, Vicious Knife (+0)
Note that the combination of Gemmed Rondel Dagger and the Steel Backsword (which gives a level-based bonus to parry and riposte) appears to give an additional small bonus (presumably by multiplying the bonus from the backsword).
Hiding has some curious effects due to its mechanics within the game.
- You can’t look at the sky while hiding, because it’s not there. You will also not get wet in the rain unless you emerge.
- If you search while hiding, you’ll often find yourself.
- Internally, you are referred to as “hider” while hiding. Some NPCs will still react to you when you enter their location hidden, but will call you hider. Similarly, the traps in the slaver camp will trap “hider” rather than you if you’re sneaking around.
- In at least one area, hiding allows you to breathe underwater.
- Your ability to hide is dependent on your ability to see. If you’re in a dark area, you can use your vision ability to hide (command ‘vision hide’).
- The game is coded slightly unevenly when it comes to hiding. Some NPC guards can easily be passed with any amount of hiding ability. Others will never be passable, no matter how well-hidden you are (see Orc Mountain). And others are passable based on your actual abilities (see Drakhiya).
Post 19 Bonus
The only Class-specific bonus Rogues appear to get post 19 is an increase to their Alert Combat bonus.
At level 19 the alert combat bonus with Steel Backsword (which itself gave +19 parry/riposte) and secondary a Sharp Butcher's Knife was +122 Parry, +47 Riposte. At level 20 the alert combat bonus was +134 Parry, +50 Riposte. Note that the base parry and riposte both went up by 20 due to character level (any class with Parry/Riposte experiences this) and the bonus from Steel Backsword went up by 1 to +20/+20. So the increase from 19 to 20 was +12 parry and +3 riposte. It is unknown if part of that increase is simply due to the base parry/riposte increasing; mid 30 level up should prove that.
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