Our Favorite Rogue Archetypes in D&D and Pathfinder

If you’ve played a rogue in any party, you’ve likely been a thief of some kind.


The thief’s ability to snatch items from unsuspecting folk - say, a powerful magic item from under the nose of a dastardly bad guy - as well as their penchant for disabling traps, picking locks and having a nose for gold make the thief a pretty likely choice when building a character.

Who doesn’t like being the Han Solo type as they steal, smuggle and smarm their way across a campaign?

But as much as we love thieves, we dig the other wild abilities rogues can get into. We dug through the annals of Dungeons & Dragons to find our favorite rogue archetypes, subclasses and variants.

Spellthief - This 3.5 class functioned like the rogue, except it substituted the ability to steal magical abilities and even spells in place of the sneak attack. As described in the book Complete Adventurer, the spellthief can roll up to a powerful sorcerer, attack and (instead of dealing sneak attack damage) steal one of the sorcerer’s spells and cast it himself. Pretty badass, huh?

Relic Raider - Do you want to play Indiana Jones? This Pathfinder rogue archetype from the Black Markets sourcebook is what you want. The Eric raider specializes in stealing artifacts and items from dungeons and castles. We like the disable curse power (disable curses like you would a trap), which comes in handy when you're raiding a cursed tomb looking for gold and glory.

Lurk - Rogues use cunning and guile to pick pockets, hide in plain sight and deal backstabbing damage, but the lurk uses psionic powers to find weaknesses in enemies and exploit them. They operate like rogues and deal sneak attack damage but use special psionic abilities to augment their attacks. Lurks were published in the 3.5 edition book Complete Psionics.


Shadow Walker - From 2nd edition’s Wizards and Rogues of the Realms comes this take on a rogue, which uses limited magic ability to keep yourself hidden and use various shadowy powers. It’s a creepy one, but very effective.

Assassin - Better than having a few skills and lockpicks is the ability to shift through shadows, use poisons and quite literally stab people in the back. If you dig the rogue’s ability to move about unseen or take down big bad guys, this is that in steroids.

Swashbuckler - Another 3.5 class, this one from the Complete Warrior sourcebook, it's a combo between rogue and fighter classes. They deal damage like fighters but move with finesse like rogues. Tasty.


Mastermind - Want to work the king’s court and use your words as much as your weapons? This 5th edition archetype will let you master misdirection, tactics and manipulation in addition to straight attacks.

Arcane Trickster - One of the least used rogue options, the arcane trickster is awesome for one reason: Mage Hand. Want to pick a lock you suspect of being trapped? Do it from 30 feet away using Mage Hand. Want to take the wand from the evil wizard and render him useless? Mage Hand. There are lots of other ways to employ this rogue archetype’s little bag of magical wonders.

Heister - Looking to steal? This Pathfinder rogue archetype is a stealthy, unseen thief that's good at picking locks and taking what isn't his. He's your man if you're planning any kind of heist.