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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>Class Conversions>Rogues
FROM: D&D 3rd Edition
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
Sample Rogue: Kaira Swanwing (Wizard / Rogue) from Ptolus, City by the Spire
Rogues are those who stray outside the straight and narrows. They are ultimately the most skilled of all classes, surpassing all others in sheer variety of abilities. Examples of Rogues in fiction range from Walter Slovotsky to Jimmy the Hand, from Matrim Cauthon to Regis, from Roo Avery to Kami D'Shai, from Master Thinal to Pel, to perhaps the most well known rogues of them all, Gord of Greyhawk and the Grey Mouser.
While other classes develop martial abilities and practice arcane arts, Rogues tend to concentrate on skills that allow them to operate outside "the System". They hone their personal skills and develop their dexterity. Most Rogues put almost all of their points into increasing old and learning new skills and abilities. Speed and agility tend to be a Rogue's trademark, for a slow Rogue is often a dead one. Rogues also often have preternaturally sharp senses and an innate sense for danger which saves their neck where a less attuned adventurer would surely die. Also many Rogues seems possessed of absurd good fortune and luck in dire straits.
The following guidelines provide advice on how to take a D&D 3e Rogue and convert them into the HERO System.
Rogue Class Ability Considerations
Some D&D 3e Classes gain the ability to be very dodgy and difficult to flank. Since Uncanny Dodge is rooted in system-specific mechanics, it loses a lot of its relevance in the HERO System. However, the following examples translate the concept into abilities that are useful from a HERO System perspective.
In the HERO System there is an ability called Defense Maneuver that is somewhat analogous to Uncanny Dodge, and is a very useful ability to have for any Character that expects to be involved in swirling melees.
Uncanny Dodge (DEX Bonus to AC): Defense Maneuver IV
Real Cost: 10 Points
Defense Maneuver IV already prevents Flanking in as far as the concept exists in the HERO System. However, a Character could take this even further and make themselves adept at using multiple attackers against themselves to avoid getting hit.
Uncanny Dodge (Cant be Flanked): +4 DCV; Only vs Multiple Attackers (-1)
Real Cost: 10 Points
This is a concept that has no real parallel in the HERO System as a separate mechanic. However, a Character could make themselves particularly good at avoiding Traps if they like.
Uncanny Dodge (+X vs Traps): +X DCV; Only vs Traps (-2)
Real Cost: 1.6 Points per +1 DCV


The Great Equalizer. This is the Class Feature that ensures that no one can completely discount a Rogue. If you can't see a Rogue, you had better assume they are lining up to take a choice piece of meat from your back. Untold encounters have been abruptly ended or swung when a Rogue finally managed to work into position and plant a short sword between the bad guy's shoulder blades.
Deadly Blow Based
In the HERO System probably the most efficient way of modeling this ability is via a Talent new to Fantasy HERO for HERO System 5th Edition called Deadly Blow (the Sneak Attack variant). However, not all GM's allow Deadly Blow, so check with yours first.
Deadly Blow (Sneak Attack): 1d6 KA Only With Blows Struck From Behind or Against Surprised Targets
Real Cost: 7.5 Points per d6

Skill Level Based

You can also do Sneak Attack using Skill Levels. If your campaign is using Heroic damage, every two CSL's converted to damage raises the attack by +1 DC; if using Superheroic damage every two CSL's converted to damage raises the attack by +1 BODY.
In both cases you can no more than double the base damage of the weapon via all modifiers, so very strong characters may not derive any benefit from this.
NOTE: The Deadly Blow variant is much more efficient than using Limited CSL's. However, if your GM's allows Deadly Blow don't even consider this method.
Sneak Attack Skillz: +2 with HTH Combat (10 Active Points); Only With Blows Struck From Behind or Against Surprised Targets (-1/2), Only To Convert To Damage (-1)
Real Cost: 4 Points per 2 CSL's

Find Weakness Based

You could also do Sneak Attack as a Limited Find Weakness. This has the downside of taking extra time to execute, being prone to total failure, and is of diminishing returns vs. opponents with little or no armor, but has the plus side of circumventing the defenses of extremely well protected opponents if the roll is made.
NOTE: This ability would be useful in higher point campaigns (300 points and up), but not very useful at all in lower point campaigns.
Don't Turn Your Back On Me: Find Weakness 11- (Related Group of Attacks) (20 Active Points); Only With Blows Struck From Behind or Against Surprised Targets (-1/2)
Real Cost: 13.3 Points, +3.3 Points per +1 to Roll


Possibly the most abusive Class Feature in D&D 3e and one of the abilities that make Rogues so over-the-top capable. Though not quite as absolute and effortless, the ability to escape harm if you are lucky exists for all characters in the HERO System under the guise of the Dive For Cover optional rule.
Flying Dodge Maneuver
If a character wanted to be particularly good at "Diving for Cover" the most direct and efficient way to do so is to take a Martial Maneuver listed in the Ultimate Martial Artist called Flying Dodge. For five Character Points your character can be an expert at getting out of the way of things.
However, under HERO System 5th Edition rules, a character must spend at least ten Character Points on Martial Arts to have any at all; to comply with this restriction the Flying Grab maneuver is recommended as well.
Evasion: (Flying Dodge: 1/2 Phase, -- OCV, +4 DCV, Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove); Real Cost: 5 Points
Snatch 'n Run: (Flying Grab: 1/2 Phase, -2 OCV, -1 DCV, Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on; FMove); Real Cost: 5 Points
Total Real Cost: 10 Points
Improved Evasion
There is no direct corollary of Improved Evasion into the HERO System per se. However, you might consider taking a limited Damage Reduction, only usable when Diving for Cover, Dodging, or Flying Dodging to simulate taking half damage only, even if hit.
Improved Evasion:
Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points); Only when Diving For Cover, Dodging, or Flying Dodging (-2) (Real Cost: 10)
Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points); Only when Diving For Cover, Dodging, or Flying Dodging (-2) (Real Cost: 10)
Real Cost: 20 Points


Related to Sneak Attack, this is one of the advanced abilities a Rouge may choose from as they advance in D&D 3e, this is easily handled using he Crippling Blow Talent listed on page 104 of the Fantasy HERO for HERO System 5th Edition document.
Seeping Wound
Rather than disabling an opponent, an interesting variant might be to inflict a wound that keeps bleeding out, weakening an opponent as a fight wears on.
Seeping Wound: Killing Attack - Hand-To-Hand +1 pip (plus STR) (vs. PD), Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2), Uncontrolled (Ended by a Paramedic Check or Healing) (+1/2), Continuous (+1), Penetrating (x2; +1) (20 Active Points); OIF (Weapon of Opportunity; -1/2)
Real Cost: 13 Points


Another optional high-level Rogue ability, this allows a Rogue to make an attack of opportunity against an opponent that has been hit for damage by some other character. This is easily handled by use of a variant of the Follow Through Attack Talent on page 106 of the Fantasy HERO for HERO System 5th Edition supplement.
Opportunist Talent
Alternately, you could with GM's permission use this Talent to model being an Opportunist.
Opportunist: You may strike a melee opponent that has been hit and taken damage by any other character with any HKA based weapon; this attack must be prepared in advance as a Half-Phase Action, but stays readied until used or your character looses consciousness. If the situation presents itself and you are capable of doing so you must make the attack.
[Bought as Naked Modifier on up to 4d6 HKA, Trigger: When A Melee Opponent Is Damaged By Another Character (+1/4) (15 Active Points); OIF (Melee Weapon of Opportunity; -1/2)] Costs 1 END Per use
Real Cost: 10 Points


Another optional high-level Rogue ability, this allows a Rogue to roll with a hit and therefore take less damage from it. In the HERO System all characters can do this vs. melee attacks if the Optional Roll With A Punch maneuver is allowed. If it isn't, your GM might consider allowing your character to buy access to it like a Martial Arts Maneuver for 5 Points.
Either way, the D&D 3e version is limited sufficiently to make it fairly useless, but in the HERO System you can Roll With A Punch with each of your Phases if you really wanted to. In the HERO System, Roll With A Punch is unique in that it is the only Abort action you can take after you've been hit, giving you a last ditch chance at survival if all else fails.
Roll With A Punch is an opposed OCV roll just like Block, except that it suffers a -2 OCV penalty. To be able to reliably Roll With A Punch consider buying the following ability.
Defensive Roll: +5 OCV Roll With A Punch
Real Cost: 10 Points
Improved Defensive Roll
For a character that somehow manages to skate out of real damage when using Roll With A Punch, consider also taking the below ability.
Improved Defensive Roll:
Just Grazed Me: Armor (12 PD/0 ED) (18 Active Points); Only When Using Roll With A Punch (-2) (Real Cost: 6)
Knockback Avoidance: Knockback Resistance -6" (12 Active Points); Only When Using Roll With A Punch (-2) (Real Cost: 4)
Real Cost: 10 Points


Another optional high-level Rogue ability, this allows a character to "take 10" even in stressful situations, which basically ensures success at routine taskes. This is rooted in D&D 3e game mechanics, but translates nicely into skill bonuses in the HERO System.
Skill Mastery: +5 with any one Skill
Real Cost: 10 Points


Another optional high-level Rogue ability, this allows a Rogue to resist long term mind affecting Spells and abilities. In the HERO System all characters can do this via a Breakout Roll. To make a character particularly good at it consider the following ability.
Slippery Mind: +5 with Breakout Rolls
Real Cost: 10 Points
An Ounce Of Prevention
Alternately or in addition you might consider just heading Mental Powers off at the pass, diminishing the need to make Breakout rolls at all, by simply buying some Mental Defense.
Mental Dissembling: +10 Mental Defense
Real Cost: 10 Points
You might also consider just raising your EGO, making yourself harder to affect with Mental Powers overall, and also protecting yourself against Presence Attacks.
Strong Mind: +5 EGO
Real Cost: 10 Points
Fight the Power
Alternately or in addition, you might decide that the best defense is a good offense, and stop Mentalists from getting in at all.
Aggressive Mind: +2 ECV
Real Cost: 10 Points
Rogues are generally dexterous, nimble individuals. However, in D&D 3e aside from improving ranged combat capacity the Dexterity statistic was primarily defensive, while in the HERO System DEX determines a Character's base chance to not get hit but also the chance to hit. Due to this DEX is also priced at a steeper rate than all other Primary Characteristics; each point of DEX costs three Character Points.
This can have some odd effects when you convert characters from D&D 3e into the HERO System, resulting in Rogues that are much better at hitting by default than highly skilled Warriors.
There is nothing wrong with this by default, as more martial types are sure to invest in Combat Skill Levels which will eventually offset the difference, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. The biggest downside from the perspective of a Rogue player is that when they convert their Character their DEX Characteristic in the HERO System is likely going to cost them a lot of points. Further many Skills typically used by Rogues are DEX based, but due to the high cost of DEX it is expensive to raise a Character's DEX to the levels many players consider adequate.
Fortunately there are some alternatives to this conundrum.
Skill Levels with DEX Based Skills
The HERO System has a concept known as Skill Levels, which are bonuses that can be bought with groups of Skills and / or abilities that require resolution rolls...and there is even a version available that is usable with all such abilities. This is a powerful enabler of synergy for Characters that are not mono-dimensional and have a broad range of Skills and abilities.
There are many variations of Skill Levels, but Rogues in particular should consider 10 point Overall Levels (which are usable for combat, Perception Checks, and Find Weakness rolls, among other things), 8 point Skill Levels with All Non-Combat Skills and 5 point Skill Levels with DEX based Skills.
A character can start off with DEX Based Skill Levels and then upgrade them to All Non-Combat and/or Overall Levels (or start with All Non-Combat and upgrade them to Overall Levels) with Experience.
Adept: +3 with DEX Based Skills; Real Cost: 15 Points
Well Rounded: +2 with All Non-Combat Skills; Real Cost: 16 Points
Puissant: +2 with Overall; Real Cost: 20 Points
Lightning Reflexes
There is a Talent called Lightning Reflexes, which is effectively DEX bought with the Limitation Only To Go First In A Phase (-1) and you can buy it with one attack or with all  attacks.
The downside to Lightning Reflexes with only One Action is that you can't move or reposition when you use it (unless that is part of the attack), so it effectively costs a Half Phase Action to use. The upside is that you can get the drop on an opponent that is otherwise quicker than you.
Lightning Reflexes with All Actions on the other hand has no real downside and effectively gives you a permanent Initiative boost.
Lightning Reflexes: +10 with One Action; Real Cost: 10 Points
Improved Lightning Reflexes: +10 with All Actions; Real Cost: 15 Points
A Rogues ability to pilfer and steal is an important one for many Characters. As it happens, in the HERO System this ability is handled by a Skill with the exact same name as in D&D 3e. Sleight of Hand serves as an all purpose Skill for Rogues in fact, allowing all sorts of applications where a fast and/or unseen hand can be made handy.
Pick Pockets: Sleight of Hand Skill (DEX based); Real Cost: 3 Points. To raise the percentile, buy levels with Sleight of Hand (2 Points for +1), or with all DEX based skills as a group (5 pts for +1)
Skilled Pickpocket: Sleight of Hand Skill (DEX based) +3; Real Cost: 9 Points.
Expert Pickpocket: Sleight of Hand Skill (DEX based) +6; Real Cost: 15 Points.
Master Pickpocket: Sleight of Hand Skill (DEX based) +9; Real Cost: 21 Points.
In the HERO System this useful Rogue ability is handled quite simply as a skill purchase as well; Lockpicking. To be able to regularly pick through Very High Quality locks, a Rogue should be able to casually take a -9 penalty in stride.
Open Lock: Lockpicking (DEX based); Real Cost: 3Points. To raise the percentile equivalency, buy levels with Open Lock (2 Points for +1), or with all DEX based skills as a group (5 pts for +1)
Skilled Lockpicker: Lockpicking (DEX based) +3; Real Cost: 9 Points.
Expert Lockpicker: Lockpicking (DEX based) +6; Real Cost: 15 Points.
Master Lockpicker: Lockpicking (DEX based) +9; Real Cost: 21 Points.

Magic Locks

Some locks are mystical rather than physical and require magic to get through; others are strangely designed compared to conventional locks. However, in some games it may be appropriate for a particularly adept Rogue to be able to circumvent even this kind of "lock"; seek GM's permission before purchasing this sort of ability however.
Sublime Lockpicker: Suppress vs Unusual Locks: 16d6, Variable Effect One Power At A Time (Any 1 Power construct "Lock"; +1/4), Delayed Return Rate (Points return at the rate of 5 per 5 Minutes) (+1/2), Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (180 Active Points);
Extra Time 1 Turn (Post-Segment 12) (-1 1/4), Character May Take No Other Actions (-1/4), Limited Special Effect Uncommon SFX (-1), Lock Completely reset after 5 Minutes (-1), Required Hands Two-Handed (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Requires A Lockpicking Skill Roll (No Active Point penalty to Skill Roll, RSR Skill is subject to Lockpicking Skill vs. Magic Skill of Locking Caster -1/4);
Real Cost: 30 Points


The ability to Disable Traps and whatnot was not only good in the pursuit of lining a Rogue's own pockets, but it also gave a significant advantage in terms of usefulness-to-the-party. The ability to Find and Remove Traps made a good Rogue a necessity for most dungeon crawls.

Remove Traps

The Security System skill is used to both remove and to install traps in the HERO System. Similar to Lockpicking, there are heavy penalties involved depending on the quality of a particular trap; thus it behooves a Rogue to have a very high skill roll, capable of absorbing a -10 penalty or more in extreme cases.

Trap Mastery: Security Systems +5; Real Cost: 13 Points
Master Trap-springer: Security Systems +10; Real Cost: 23 Points
Magic Traps
In a genre with magic available, invariably some traps will be Magical in nature. In some High Fantasy games it might be appropriate for an experienced Rogue to be able to disarm Magical traps as well. This can be managed with a Dispel vs. SFX: "Magic Traps".
The SFX is that the Rogue figures out some way to circumvent the magic, trigger the trap harmlessly, or otherwise disarm it. The GM determines the method for disarming any particular trap, but the Power construct presented below requires the Rogue to either manipulate the trap directly or to set it off from an adjoining hex or similar.
A failed roll may or may not set off the trap as determined by the GM, but a roll missed by three or more should certainly trigger the trap. Due to the variation in the RSR: DEX roll Limitation depending on how good the character's DEX roll is, this ability will cost  more for more dexterous Rogues.
Sublime Remove Traps: Dispel Traps 20d6, Expanded Effect One At A Time (+1/4), Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (105 Active Points)
Extra Time 1 Turn (Post-Segment 12) (-1 1/4), Character May Take No Other Actions (-1/4), Required Hands Two-Handed (-1/2), Concentration 1/2 DCV, Must Concentrate throughout use of Constant Power (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), Requires A DEX Roll (No Active Point penalty to Skill Roll -1/2)
Real Cost: 23 Points


One of several outlets for the concept of a "Perception Check" in D&D 3e, the Rouge ability to use Search to detect particularly well hidden secret doors and particularly well devised traps was a critical tool in a crafty Rogue's repertoire.
PER Checks
The HERO System already has a mechanic for Characters to notice things, called a Perception check. All Characters can do it, but a Rogue can take PER bonuses to be particularly good at it.
Search: +3 PER
Real Cost: 9 Points
Concealment Skill
The Concealment Skill is used both for hiding things, and finding things that others have hidden and thus can serve very handily as a Search equivalent, particularly since Concealment is a Skill that is generally useful for Rogues anyway.
Hiding Things: Concealment (Real Cost: 3)
Finding Things: +5 w/ Concealment (Only To Find Things; -1) (Real Cost: 5)
Real Cost: 8 Points
Heightened Awareness
In a higher powered game it might be acceptable for Rogues to have unusual Detects bought as "Super Skill" type Powers, or even outright Spatial Awareness to represent their uncanny alertness and attention to detail. This requires GM's permission.
Advanced Search: Spatial Awareness (Analyze, Discriminatory, Increased Arc of Perception: 360-Degree) (37 Active Points); Sense Affected As More Than One Sense (Sight Group, Unusual) (-1/4);
Real Cost: 30 Points

Find Traps

The most direct way to "find" anything in the HERO System is to define a custom Detect for the thing you wish to locate or notice. This requires GM's permission.

Detect Traps: Detect A Class Of Things 14- [Separate Sense], Analyze, Discriminatory, Increased Arc of Perception: 240-Degree, Range, Sense
Real Cost: 25 Points


The trademark Rogue abilities, the ability to be sneaky is a crucial one for most Rogues.
Concealment & Stealth
Hide and Move Silently map directly to Concealment and Stealth in the HERO System; there is practically no difference between them.
Move Silently: Stealth +1
Hide: Concealment +1
Real Cost: 10 Points
In a higher powered campaign it might be acceptable for a Rogue to be so good at hiding and moving silently that they are effective invisible. This requires GM's permission.
Advanced Move Silently & Hide:
Move Silently: Stealth +1
Hide: Concealment +1
Can't See Me: Invisibility to Sight Group, Normal Hearing, Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (34 Active Points); Only When Not Attacking (-1/2), Only in Shadows or Darkness (-1/2), Requires A Stealth or Concealment Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4) (Real Cost: 15)
Total Real Cost: 25 Points
Rogue Package Deals
A staple of many Fantasy settings, Rogues are skilled complements to any group of player characters. Perhaps the most versatile of all professions, no two Rogues need be the same, as there is a tremendous amount of room for customization. Each Rogue's personal ability set is a story just waiting to be told; the best Rogue characters have abilities backed up by a detailed background establishing of how they have acquired such experience.
Compared to other Professions they emphasize personal talent and learned techniques backed up by quick wits and quicker feet. Rogues often rely on equipment, such as lock picks, house breaker harnesses, Thief's Tools, and most also know their way around a dagger or other sharp implement, but a Rogue's most powerful asset is their own self.
Presented below are an assortment of Basic Packages, Extension Packages, and Composite Packages for your use.
Rapscallion Larcenist Savant Traptinker Backbiter
Acrobatics Begging House Breaking Gambling High Sea Survival
Blather Street Finances Urban Survival Self Defense Guildmember
Balatro Swindler Well Connected    
Thief (2e) Rogue (3e) Bard (2e) Thief Acrobat Skalding
Tumbler Roof Runner Entrapper Gambler Bandit
Pirate Merchant Adventurer Swashbuckler Bon Vivant Agent Provocateur Con Artist