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Classes in Dungeons & Dragons are there to define a large part of the character. Primarily, they define what resources a character has in combat and suggests the best style to use them efficiently. There’s still a lot to put together, like race, background, and subclass. It can all be a little overwhelming for new players. So, we’re here to help in one of the grandest Dungeons & Dragons traditions of them all—taking inspiration from other media and bringing those characters to your table!
Whether you’re a player looking for inspiration or a Dungeon Master looking for a quick NPC, the characters we discuss here (and the ones suggested in the comments) will offer a variety of sources for your next great character. Our only rule is that we won’t be using any obvious fantasy inspirations since those are usually covered in the D&D books already. This week, we’re taking a look at everyone’s favorite sneak attackers: the rogues!
Loki loves to bend the rules (or, perhaps, break them while he only looks like he’s bending them). This article is a perfect example; he’s a pretty obvious choice for a rogue type character, right down to his love of daggers and his hate for inter-party loyalty. But he’s at the top of this list for a few reasons; the conflict between the love of his family and his love of himself gives him some meaty roleplaying opportunities, he’s a great example of the Arcane Trickster subclass, and if there is one god that D&D adventurers love, it’s a God of Mischief.
A Loki character featuring a High Elf build and a Hermit background could even mean that the character knows he is a god but is currently spending time as a mortal because he chooses to…or because he was kicked out of the heavens and needs to make some amends.
The Inquisitive from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is clearly modeled on the Robert Downey Jr. interpretation of this classic character. But there’s a lot here for rogues of any stripe to use. Holmes’ prickly relationship with Inspector Lestrade would work well in an urban setting.
The other adventures could be the fantasy equivalent of the Baker Street Irregulars, called in to solve problems outside of the realms of normal law enforcement. And, as a flip on the usual “you all meet in a tavern” opening for an adventure, the Holmes character could host potential clients in his or her study full of relics from previous adventures, hoping such a prestigious figure might take up their case!
It was a hard decision between Westley and Inigo for this final slot to represent the Swashbuckler archetype. They both get to deal sweet, sweet sneak attack damage with their rapiers to simulate their mastery of the light blade. But we can’t blave (which we all know means to bluff); Inigo’s search for the Six-Fingered Man who killed his father is the story that made us love this movie.
Change a few details and it becomes a great hook for a character. What if it’s a Two-Headed Dragon instead of Six-Fingereded Man? Setting up the Big Bad early in a campaign (or perhaps, one of the Big Bad’s high-level Lieutenants) with such a personal stake makes to easy to motivate characters beyond treasure. Tell this player there’s some information about their father’s killer at the end of the dungeon and they’ll be first down the hole.
Tell us in the comments: who would you choose to model a rogue after? And if you’re looking for roleplaying tips, do check out Starter Kit on Alpha – you can get a free trial for 60 days at projectalpha.com for the newest season with code “Numenera”!
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Images Credits: Marvel, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. He can be hired as a professional Dungeon Master for in-person or remote games. His Twitter is here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.