From Mike Mearls on the "Rogue":
- The rogue doesn't fight fair - OK, I can work with this. Apparently they are not stand-up melee fighters which does tie all the way back to the Thief of the early versions of the game.
- Rogues are skilled - Yes apparently they are back to being the skill-masters of 3E - In many ways, a thief is simply a rogue who specializes in handling traps, opening locks, and getting past the opposition to reach a goal, such as the loot at the end of the adventure. Just as fighters might distinguish themselves by their choice of weapons, armor, and tactics, rogues are separated by the tricks and skills they have developed. I think I may actually be OK with this because if we're going to have a skill system, there are going to be players who want to be the most skilled. This seems like the obvious choice for them and it does pull back from the Rogue as king-of-damage-output we've seen in 3rd and 4th editions. If someone wants to play Batman in D&D the Thief/Rogue has always been the most likely choice so why not embrace it again?
- The rogue exists in a world of myth, fantasy, and legend - he said this on the fighter too but I think it's important enough to mention. Although these abilities are not magical in nature, a high-level rogue can transcend the limits of a mundane skill to achieve legendary heights of myth and legend. That's it exactly - at higher levels a good Thief is mythic - again, Batman!
So far I like the way this sounds, better than the cleric talk anyway. I guess we can see in a few weeks how the details work out.
Rule of Three has a few interesting points this week:
- No Next in 2012 - I know I assumed this was true as there's not enough time to do an open beta , examine the results, and get books printed. He says as much here. I would guess that the target date is GenCon 2013 at this point.
- Laser Cleric in Next? - Class options, Spell choices, Domain choices - OK, sounds right to me, but the Laser Cleric is pretty much a 4E creature - how about the Bow Cleric of 3E or the Specialty Priests of 2E? I'm assuming there will be enough customization available to tune a cleric to make players happy. From the Specialty Pirests onward, it's been a pretty flexible class the last 2-3 editions.
- Finally there's a question about niche protection and I think it's a valid one - if every class is so amazingly flexible and customizable then doesn't weaken some of the classes, particularly non-spellcasters? It has in the past, but I'm assuming that the design team is hearing this complaint enough to keep it top of mind. They fixed this problem in 4th Edition - and a lot of people didn't like 4E. So now they get to try it again - how to keep the classes in parity without removing the flavor of each class. Good Luck with that and rest assured that no matter what you do, a vocal minority, at least, is going to hate the whole thing and spend the next five years trashing it on the internet.