Neverwinter Nights: Character Generation In Neverwinter Nights - How To Build A Balanced Rogue Character

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If loot, treasures and get-rich-quick schemes whet your appetite, then the Rogue character class is definitely for you. This class doesn’t only offer advantages when looting or buying/selling goods, but is in truth a complex and highly skilled character to build, since you have so many possibilities. A spy or assassin is a Rogue, as a thief, an avid merchant or enterprising character could be (there isn’t strictly a merchant class in NWN). Rogues are not just evil characters, but when they choose to be they can be bandits, cut-throats or swindlers. In short, this class must always be able to obtain what they want, be it goods or information.

  • Dexterity is the most important ability for any Rogue, regardless of who you decide to play. This affects pick pocketing, setting traps, tumble and a myriad of other useful stuff
  • For the bandit or thuggish Rogue, a good measure of Strength and Constitution becomes important
  • For the Merchant or Enterprising Rogue, Intelligence is useful when using ‘merchant appraise’ to lower the price of bought goods. Charisma becomes similarly important for persuasion or manipulating people

That somewhat explains why this character is so complex, and must be planned more than other character classes. You have the opportunity to distribute points to four separate abilities: Strength, Constitution, Intelligence or Charisma. So you must choose what your Rogue will concentrate on and give ability points based on those choices.


There are two races that are suited to playing a Rogue, the Elves or the Halflings.

Elves probably make the best Rogues since they have a bonus to Dexterity and get a +2 bonus on both Search, Spot and Listen skills, which is useful for this type of class. The Elf is also of course a natural archer and as a Rogue archery is important since most prefer not to enter close combat and side with a fighter or a sturdy character. Natural race abilities, such as Immunity to mind-affecting spells, also come in useful: you don’t have to worry when you wrongly pick-pocketed the fairy-fluff from a powerful clerics pocket.

A Halfling is probably the smallest race present in NWN, although there are kenders (not available in NWN original campaign) and gnomes who are similar. The Halfling is a good choice also because of similar bonuses to the Elves and a bonus to Move Silently and Hide skills, because of their stature. They get a +1 modifier to land a Hit with missile weapons such as a bullet or a dart, and get +1 to saving throws.

We’ll be looking at creating a character playing an Elf, since it makes it easier. As a side-note, Elves are not naturally deceitful in character, unless it’s a dark elf or a decidedly evil Drow (that’s a lot of D’s in your D&D), but as things stand they make most powerful Rogue character.

Some playable characters

Here is how you could distribute points for your Rogue, depending on how you play. I have added a list of famous characters in the Forgotten Realms and adjusted their ability scores with regards to NWN abilities scores, distribution points and modifiers. There is also some explanation of what kind of character you are looking at.

The Rogue of the Dales

This type of Rogue is quite the adventurer and as typical of the class prefers light to medium armour. Proficiencies with the short-sword or other close-combat weapons make his constitution healthy, and emphasis on stealth is important. Being of an adventurous spirit he can be quite the swashbuckler.

  • Strength 11 (none)
  • Dexterity 18 (+4)
  • Constitution 14 (+2)
  • Wisdom 8 (-1)
  • Intelligence 12 (+1)
  • Charisma 11 (none)

Rogues of the Dales are normally Human or Half-elven, but nobody is looking so you can play as an Elf.

The Sembian Rogue

Since Sembia is a civilized place and home to famous merchants or business men, this type of Rogue is mainly focussed on buying and selling goods or trading gems and valuables. They keep count of what they own, the price of their valuables and loot. As for garments, they prefer to wear expensive or moderately expensive clothing since this would imply their adeptness at trading. They are not particularly good fighters and favour long-range weapons.

  • Strength 11(none)
  • Dexterity 16 (+3)
  • Constitution 11 (none)
  • Wisdom 8 (-1)
  • Intelligence 15 (+2)
  • Charisma 15 (+2)

Looks somewhat of a ‘Shylock the avid’ to me, but a good merchant character to play nonetheless. You can even build him into a merchant prince should you wish to do so, with such high-charisma scores people will believe anything.

The Dragon Coast Rogue

As you can probably guess by its name, the shores of the Dragon Coast are not ruled by anyone in particular. The citizens of the various states like freedom, and the Rogues in this states are generally pirates or bandits who will not be easily stopped in their pursuing of riches. The Dragon Coast Rogue is therefore quite strong, favouring sword-like weapons, or exotic weapons such as the kukri. That being said, he has the usual ability to set traps and picking locks, although he prefers to bash a chest rather than lock-pick it.

  • Strength 15 (+2)
  • Dexterity 16 (+3)
  • Constitution 14 (+2)
  • Wisdom 8 (-1)
  • Intelligence 10 (none)
  • Charisma 12 (+1)

Some skills to choose

Open Locks – If you are playing a thief than this skill is obviously crucial. The lock has a difficulty class which rolls against your Dexterity. On succesfull throws you are able to open a lock. You can build this skill all the way to the next Arsene Lupin! (+10 bonus)

Persuade – You can find out vital information which would not otherwise be available, assuming this skill is high. If your Rogue is a bit of a thug or a spy, and hence has high Charisma scores, this is for you.

Disable Trap – Similar to lock picking, you make a roll against the traps Difficulty class (which is preset, not random) and if successful you disarm the trap. You can also collect traps or just flag them. Be careful where you step though…

Lore – Good for the merchant, or generally if you are seeking valuable items/loot. I think only Bards have legendary lore levels available, but you can build this skill to successful levels for most items.

Har! Off ye are to explore a world full of treasure then. There are many more options to playing the Rogue as it is probably the most varied class in D&D. Have fun!