Rogues of Alliance, how to be effective in combat?


Hi there,

I recently tried out rogue as my first character and I had a lot of fun, but I became pretty frustrated in situations like line battles as I found I couldn't effectively contribute due to poor flanking conditions. I tried to supplement with some thrown weapons but still felt pretty ineffective.

Do you long time roguers have any advice or wisdom for fighting as a rogue in general? Tips and tricks you found? Cool combat stories? Please share.


Most fights, you don't have to engage to be effective. Looming around, waiting for that chance to murder the enemy caster/leader is often enough to have them dedicate 3-4 people to stop you, which takes them out of the fight faster than fighting them. Also, racing by and hitting for a little damage here and there is great for breaking up tight enemy groupings. Rogues are about strategy and tricks, not usually straight-up murderhoboing unless the moment is right.


Seattle Staff
The rogues I see successful in Seattle

1) Run. A. Lot.

2) Guerrilla-style a lot. Sneak around enemy group; quick steps behind target, strike/strike, runrunrunrunaway.

3) Wears all the dark clothing.

4) Uses concealment whenever possible.


Seattle Staff
I'm not going to lie; rogue combat can be really fun, but I also consider it to be the #1 Most Physically Demanding class period. If you aren't physically up to it (and I'm not saying you are one way or the other), I wouldn't generally recommend it unless you were heavily reliant on alchemy or ranged combat (and in the case of the latter, probably just being a fighter).


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San Francisco Staff
To address line battles specifically, I've found there's a fair bit of utility in just being a really poorly specced fighter. I can't really kill anything from the front, but I can plug a hole in the line. That allows the big damage folks to refit more freely, which saves resources. Also, there's s lot to be said for just hitting somebody. Even if you're doing a trivial amount of damage, most enemies will still pay at least some attention to your blows, and you can create openings for your fighter or caster buddies.

Line battle rogue is definitely a support class style of play, and definitely frustrating at times. But I've actually come to enjoy the challenge.


Production. Learn how to use it, what to use it on, when to use it, and, most importantly, learn to not be afraid to use it.

I don't have a rogue, per se... but I have and continue to find that knowing the ins and outs of using production items will leave you with a never ending bag of tricks to pull from.

Also, can't hurt to find the loud mouth guy who pisses off the monsters and becoming her friend. You'll find that sometimes they're so effective at what they do that they'll create glorious chasms of opportunity for you.


Get a bow, especially if you can afford to dip into alchemy and get a workshop to let you double-coat arrows with vorpals. Works as an excellent blocking weapon for dual wielding too, so if you see a chance to get a back you can pull a weapon in your throwing hand and go to town.

My 'ideal' rogue setup is a bow and shortsword, with the shortsword set up to be easily drawn and sheathed so you can go back and forth depending on range. Arrows with vorpal coatings can make you a bigger threat than you would otherwise seem at the cost of throwing gold at the problem, and alchemical takeout effects are good on some enemies.

Couple that with a buddy who can provide earth blades or elemental blades, and you're in good position to be an all-purpose damage provider.


Alliance Logistics
Find a couple of people to fight along side of.
Stick to the edges of the line in the line fight. Get your group to pull off an opponent. Then while you're fighting with your group casually make your way behind at opponent and unload. If they turn around fight defensive while the rest of the group poundson that person. When they turn back around (it's only natural that they do) you unload again.
Dave pretty much nailed it. One of the biggest advantages of a rogue is that they present a credible flanking threat at roughly half the level of a fighter. And since leveling slows down, that means that in a flanking situation, a 1 year old rogue character is roughly as dangerous as a 3+ year old fighter. Heck, it only takes about 5 years of play for a rogue to compare to a 20 year old fighter character, in a flanking situation.

For a variety of reasons, I think the fighter - rogue flank is better than either the fighter - fighter flank or the rogue - rogue flank, but the important point to take from this is that rogues offer a quick path to offensive power in a common tactical situation.


P.S. - Thrown weapons are a smart idea. Unless you are already wearing about a dozen at a time, I suggest getting more.


To be fair, the site that you played at for your first event (Camp Krem in SF Bay area) doesn't really lend itself to your typical 'rogue' fighting style. The common fighting areas have a maximum side by side room of roughly five abreast with the sides either "fenced in" by other buildings or actual fences. They were more 'corridor battles' than any sort of skirmish. That area is a bit of an 'advanced city rogue' style if you will. :) I was playing an NPC rogue type during the big elemental battle Saturday night and found having a partner to lure people into striking range from the shadows of the railed stairs worked well. However, as an NPC, I didn't have to worry about being trapped up in said stairwell as I could die and just respawn.

In such a setting, I'd suggest working in a team, preferably with someone who is more about healing than fighting. Work your way/set yourself up down an alleyway and when a target presents itself strike with your Terminate/Assassinate/Backstab with just a couple of hits than retreat back. Don't stay to fight. You've hit the enemy that will cause them to turn or at least distract them from another flank of attack, giving your fighters an advantage which will turn their attention back and yet they will still 'keep an eye' out for you in case you return, splitting their concentration for the fight. And that's one of the important jobs of rogues in battles; split the enemy's attention and allow the warriors have more opportunities to find holes in their defenses.

If you don't get back down the alleyway in a few seconds, your healing partner can come down and see about healing you. When you get a chance (and it may take a little while unless you find a rich or influential benefactor) is to get a 1/day activatable Life magic Item and let your healing partner know about it. They can run up to you, do a quick "Healing Arts are you Dead?" If you haven't been downed for over 60 seconds, you say "No" and they can hit you with a cure light wounds. If you respond with "Yes," they can activate your magic item (should make sure it it worn somewhere they can easily get to it to activate it although I'm not 100% certain of the rules these days if you have to actually touch a magic item to activate its power or just carry it/be aware of where it resides). Either way, you're up and out of the area in under 3 seconds. Meanwhile, do get more ranged weapons because as you advance more in level, the more damage you can do from range and even deliver Terminates from the front with them.

Once you get to fight in an area that has a wide open field, you'll learn all about the flanking harassing ability of the rogue.


Long time Rogue here. I need to second what @markusdark said - your first event site wasn't super conducive to being a rogue. Secondly, a key thing to remember is what level are you again? From the get go, only low level fighters really feel they are affecting a line battle. Heck, even as a rogue my top skills get saved for bosses who inevitably phase, dodge, or parry them. If you think you felt bad as a low level rogue, think about a low level scholar who has only like 3 spells a day feels.

Ultimately the way you get to be effective in battle is to first learn to swing stick. I'm fortunate enough to have some training in fencing as well as years of boffer style fighting to have helped me. Once you learn to do this, you'll find yourself able to hold a line and open your own opportunities.

Finding a good fighter or another rogue to team with is important too. We have this strategy called the washing machine where you trap an enemy between two rogues. One hits from the front for 2 or so while thenother hits hard from behind for massive backstab. The enemy turns around to face the bigger threat and suddenly their new resr attacker is just teasing through them and the front isn't, causing them to turn back - like the agitator in a washing machine.

To make a long story short - find people to practice boffers, go to events to gain experience and build, find people on the field who can help you use your skills effectively.


A lot of really good advice above.

Ever watch Zombieland? Rule #1 is Cardio! Wear good boots and be capable of sprinting flat out for as long as possible. If you are fit you can actually be quite impressive in combat, even if you might only rate yourself, say average in a straight up sparring match. Invest in arcane armor early on to lighten your load even further... As FPS Doug would say, "You can dance all day, you can dance all day!" Also physical armor is VERY noisy when you are trying to sneak. Metal jingles (and reflects light if not blackened or covered) and stiff leather creaks. I actually would recommend a thick quilted gambeson over anything else if you like to sneak a lot and insist on wearing physical armor... I used to wear fewer points of armor at night than during the day, when I'd toss on a noisy chain shirt to max out. Avoid long cloaks or capes... you trip on them when backpedaling in a fighting crouch, and they billow out behind you when running and become packet targets. If you want the protection of a hood, a short capelet around the shoulders is decent for keeping some light rain off without being overly cumbersome. I used to try to keep the accoutrements at a minimum... too many bags, pouches, quivers, scabbards, etc. start to add up on the weight/ noise factor. This can be hard as you start to acquire a lot of stuff, admittedly.

Bow/ sword is really solid if you play an elf, obviously. I'm currently going this route with an Adept. The bow gives you some nice options during the day when sneaking or flanking opportunities are limited. Longbow/ shortsword is what I'd recommend... slightly higher damage from the front with the bow, and the shortsword swings quite quickly when you're getting in close from a flanking position. If you're one of the daring sorts that likes to sprint around the flank and get literally behind the opponents to disrupt them, it also lets you engage at a bit of range so that they aren't right on top of you when they turn around to address you. And I second the vorpal and poison coated quiver tactic, or even gas globes in a pinch. Very useful, though it can get pricey fast.

When I used to play a hobling rogue, years ago, I went with spear/ shortsword. The spear is a better than average off-hand blocker, comparable to a longbow, and can even jab downwards at leading legs on occasion. And when you can't flank, you can use it in a standard grip to get exceptional reach on a line battle. If you don't care for the spear/ sword style, I actually recommend a highly mobile vertical grip small shield over the dual wield standard as a superior blocking implement that actually isn't a packet target, possibly with an ultralight longsword for some reach in a line battle. If you can't get a proper ultralight weapon, a CPVC shortsword is maybe the better choice for something that is responsive and quick. The dual-wield thing works well for an aggressive fighter that can stay in something's face and keep swinging, but a rogue is under-statted in a straight fight and needs to prioritize defense until they can turn to run and re-position somewhere else, so a small to medium shield can actually really shine in those moments.

The big thing to do if you play a line-anchor rogue is to not be a liability! Focus on your position in relation to the next guy on the front line, on not getting hit yourself, and on protecting the flank of your partner. Usually the NPCs are slightly outnumbered in most chapters, so you can either exploit gaps in their line, or flank around as their line shrinks compared to your own, and that's where you'll really shine. This is how I played through the majority of my daytime field battles.


At night... walk well separated from the noisy party. Stay along the edges of spaces as your party walks down the center. If your group has a second rogue, pick opposite sides of the party. Stay low and quiet and slightly ahead of them. If unseen, when the enemy engages the party you might already be slightly behind them. If seen, you become an early warning mechanism to give your friends time to prepare. This requires coordination with your party. The key is to allow your friends to advance rapidly through a bewildered or scattered enemy, so if your allies aren't aggressive when the time is right, your efforts can be wasted. Don't get mistaken for a bad guy if you approach your own group in the dark... announce yourself.

I put a higher value on defensive dodges or evades than on 1-shot kills, but only because I liked to run around separated from my group at night, so being self sufficient like that is a good way to stay alive. I think being able to operate longer behind enemy lines, disrupting them, is just as tactically sound as being able to drop things quickly. But there's a time and a place for a well timed assassinate or waylay, too.

The size of your party, relative to the enemy you might run into, might require you to change your tactics and how daring you decide to be with your risk taking. On the other hand, in an even matchup it just might be what decides the entire battle...

Gandian Ravenscroft

Chicago Staff
Interestingly, I play a rogue, and while everything folks have said thus far is good info, I actually do practically none of the things suggested above and turn out to be an incredibly effective rogue during most encounters! I use a single short mace, I wear bright, noticeable clothing, I don't coordinate with allies, I don't have/use alchemy, I don't have thrown weapons, I technically have archery but have never actually used it in a fight, I wear flowy clothing that catches packets more easily, and I do very little actual sneaking, choosing instead to just casually walk around and hope people don't notice me (which works a surprising amount of the time). I think my rogue is more of the exception than the standard, though. ;)

That said, I think the reason why my rogue has ended up being so effective is that I avoid making myself look like a threat, and I recommend finding a good personal way of pulling that off if you can. One of my favorite tactics is to NOT hold my weapon up and at the ready, since people don't pay as much attention to me if my weapon is held at my side rather than poised for attack. Find ways to make yourself look unobtrusive, and enemies will simply forget you are there until it's too late.


Another idea is to turn your Rogue to a Scout. A couple profs, buff up your ranged attack and face to face. It keeps NPCS a bit off their game. Everyone meta games a bit if we know it or not. If you have a bit of experience under your belt and are hitting for 2s then I would be less likely to allow you my back knowing you will more likely be hitting for 6s or 8s from behind. Where as if you are swinging 4s from the front, I would be less worried. It only makes your Back Stabs slightly more expensive and Weapon Profs way cheaper. It also opens you up for all the defensive and offensive skills of both classes. The huge cost on this is if you go alchemy, as the build cost per level is way closer to Fighter then it is to the Rogue.