Baldur’s Gate 3 is based off of the skill system of 5E, so of course the Rogue would be one of the early access classes! Rogues are tricky sneakers, but are not necessarily bad guys. They simply prefer a subtle route of some sort. This could mean they distract enemies with dazzling smiles, or stick to the shadows to get an edge on an enemy. They are masters of deadly and precise weapons, preferring the ability to strike weak points rather than overwhelming enemies with force. If you’re looking for a class with an ability to solve problems without magic (or with magic), the Baldurs Gate 3 Rogue is the best possible option!
Baldurs Gate 3 Rogue
The role of the Rogue in a traditional party is twofold. In combat, Rogues are damage dealers, either melee or ranged. In order to maximize damage, it is recommended to have at least one other character be in the frontline. As a requirement for the Rogue to use their Sneak Attack ability, another ally must be adjacent to an enemy, or the Rogue must have some way to get Advantage. The ally being adjacent is just the easiest way to work with things, so try to have one melee character; that could be a Cleric, Fighter, Ranger… or even another rogue!
The Rogue gets precious few options that you actually get to choose from in Baldur’s Gate Early Access. The Expertise feature doesn’t seem to have been implemented (a crying shame), so all Rogues get are their race, subclass, and feat. Your race should be based on your subclass, so we’ll talk about it in order of priority!
Right now, we have access to three subclasses; the Arcane Trickster, the Assassin, and the Thief.
The Arcane Trickster is the utility master; pick this if you want to solve problems in the most complex and hilarious ways! As an Arcane Trickster, your Mage Hand can do more, such as attempt to disable traps, to turn you into a ranged utility mastermind. If that wasn’t enough, the Rogue becomes a 1/3rd Caster. That means they gain spells at about 1/3rd the rate of a Wizard, starting with 2 first-level spell slots. These spells start from the Enchantment/Illusion school, which you learn 2 of. Then, you gain one from a list of other Wizard spells.
For Cantrips, I’d suggest taking a damaging cantrip. Take one that solves a problem that your default weapons don’t. If you’re melee, consider a ranged cantrip like Fire Bolt for quick damage. If you’re a ranged Rogue, consider an area of effect option like Poison Spray, or a light option. True Strike isn’t a bad choice either, letting you get sneak attack without an ally, at the cost of an action.
For spells, the default Sleep and Colour Spray might be your best choices. But, Charm Person can be a fantastic problem solving tool if you’d prefer it! Afterwards, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Thunderwave, Fog Cloud, and Find Familiar are all fantastic choices! Consider what your party’s Cleric or Wizard can do with their spell slots and choose what they can’t do.
Assassin is focused on the first turn of combat. You have advantage on creatures that haven’t acted, and you automatically crit those creatures. So that’s automatic critical hits, with Sneak Attack, if a creature hasn’t acted in combat. Really awesome! Try to be a ranged character if you’re wanting to make the best possible use out of this, just to guarantee you hit something!
Thief is an incredibly basic subclass, which allows you to do a bunch of extra stuff as a Bonus action. It also lets you resist fall damage… Compared to the utility offered by Arcane Trickster, or the damage potential of assassin, thief falls a little flat. Don’t take this while we’re level locked to 4!
We don’t have many options for races, but we do have enough to make a ton of great rogues! Almost any of the classes can be a rogue… other than Dwarf, Githzerai, or Tiefling. Those guys can’t get Dexterity or helpful mental stats.
Dexterity is so important for Rogues that a +2 to Dexterity automatically makes you a better option. With that in mind, which race with +2 Dexterity works the best?
High Elf is the best Arcane Trickster. With +2 Dexterity, +1 Intelligence, and a free cantrip, the High Elf just has all of the tools needed to be the best at casting magic. They can be other rogues just fine, but they shine here.
Drow are fantastic melee or ranged rogues, specifically Assassins. Superior Darkvision lets them see a really far distance to scout encounters or creatures, Fey Ancestry lets them resist magic, and they can even get Dancing Lights. Not bad!
Then, do Halflings become the best thieves? Kinda. Their Lucky trait lets them reroll bad rolls, so if you’re not feeling confident… This is a legitimate option for any Rogue, not just theif! Lightfoot halflings are great for ranged builds; Naturally Stealthy makes any ally into a reasonable place to hide. Strongheart halflings are recommended for melee; Strongheart Resilience gives you resistance to a common enemy damage type. If you’re looking for the safe option, then Halflings are certainly your path!
Your feat is incredibly important to consider, and it should probably be Ability Score Improvement. Boosting Dexterity does so much for a Rogue. If you’re really desperate to use a more fun feat… Then you can consider things like Tough to increase durability, Dual Wielder to use heavier weapons, or Magic Initiate to try and use your mental stats. Not… great!
Martial Adept can let you do things like push or frighten enemies, but you won’t be horribly effective at it. We really recommend just boosting that Dexterity as high as you can!
See Also: Baldur’s Gate 3 Cleric Guide
Conclusions – Baldur’s Gate 3 Rogue
Rogues lose quite a bit from the absence of Expertise. They were the go-to option for skills, so hopefully they gain expertise in the future. Right now, as it is, rogues don’t do their job as scouts nearly as well as they did in 5E. This class still deals a ton of damage; consider it in every party that has a nice, beefy melee character.