Rogues are nimble and stealthy characters known for their skills in subterfuge, evasion, and dealing massive amounts of damage when their enemies least expect it. As a level 1 rogue, your choices regarding race, point buy, background, weapons, and armor can greatly impact your effectiveness both in and out of combat. This article will guide you through optimizing your level 1 rogue to make the most out of your character’s abilities.

Optimal Race: Wood Elf: Wood elves make excellent rogues due to their racial traits. They receive a +2 bonus to Dexterity and a +1 bonus to Wisdom, which are both important stats for rogues. Additionally, wood elves have darkvision, proficiency in the Perception skill, and an increased base walking speed, making them adept at sneaking and evading danger.

Optimal Point Buy: With a standard point buy system, distribute your points as follows:

  • Strength: 8
  • Dexterity: 15 (17 with Wood Elf bonus)
  • Constitution: 14
  • Intelligence: 10
  • Wisdom: 12 (13 with Wood Elf bonus)
  • Charisma: 10

This distribution maximizes your rogue’s Dexterity, which is vital for attack rolls, damage, and defense, while providing decent Constitution for hit points and Wisdom for perception-related skills.

Optimal Background: Criminal: The criminal background is a natural fit for rogues, as it grants proficiency in Stealth and Deception, both of which are useful for subterfuge and infiltration. The “Criminal Contact” background feature provides your rogue with a reliable network of informants and allies in the criminal underworld.

Optimal Weapons: Shortsword: Rogues are proficient with simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, and shortswords. The shortsword is an ideal weapon for rogues due to its finesse property, which allows you to use your Dexterity modifier for attack and damage rolls. Dual-wielding shortswords can maximize your damage potential.

Optimal Armor: Studded Leather Armor: Rogues have proficiency with light armor, and studded leather armor provides the best base AC (12) without imposing disadvantage on Stealth checks. With a Dexterity of 17, your AC will be 15 when wearing studded leather armor.

Optimal Level 1 Rogue Abilities:

  1. Sneak Attack: Your level 1 rogue gains the Sneak Attack ability, which allows you to deal an extra 1d6 damage when you have advantage on an attack roll or when an ally is within 5 feet of your target. Maximize your use of Sneak Attack by positioning yourself strategically and working with your party members.
  2. Expertise: At level 1, rogues choose two skills or tools to gain expertise in, doubling their proficiency bonus for those skills. For an optimized rogue, choose skills that you’ll use frequently, such as Stealth and Thieves’ Tools, or skills that complement your character’s background and role in the party.

Conclusion: By following this guide, your level 1 rogue will be optimized for both combat and roleplaying situations, providing a strong foundation for your character as you progress through your Dungeons & Dragons adventures. Remember, while optimization is helpful, the most important aspect of the game is to have fun and immerse yourself in the story you create with your fellow players!