Rogue: The Revived in D&D’s Unearthed Arcana
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Rogue: The Revived in D&D’s Unearthed Arcana

– [interviewer] You have a
couple of new sub-classes. One of them is for the Rogue. We’ve not seen a new
Unearthed Arcana for the Rogue for awhile now, can you tell
me a little bit about this? – This Rogue is a Rogue
who surprises themselves because one day, or perhaps one night, they have a sudden realization, and in game terms this
realization happens at the third level when
they take the sub-class. They realize, they’ve been dead before. And this Rogue is called The Revived, and they are a character who
has to grapple with the fact that they have lived at
least one life before, perhaps multiple lives, and
for some reason they are alive again and are imbued
with certain deathly powers. And so this is a very kind of spooky Rogue who gets to at certain
levels learn how to speak to the dead, at high level
they can leap through the ethereal plane. They also, very early on, gain
the ability whenever they use their cunning action class
feature to launch out bolts of the grave, an
aquatic energy that deals their sneak attack damage. So they actually a way
of dealing their sneak attack damage other than
the traditional ways of dealing sneak attack damage, although they of course
can still use those ways. So there are a number of neat, sort of spooky things going on here. This Rogue is also hard to kill, they have advantage on
their death saving throws, And if they do get close to death and
then are brought back. So if they have zero hit points
then they’re brought back to one or more hit points
so they’re stabilized. They also can actually change
their personality traits. So every character in the game has, you know their idea, their
bond, their flaw, et cetera. Well when this Rogue comes
to after being knocked down to zero, they might have
remembered one of their past lives and their personality can shift
slightly as they incorporate one of those past lives into themselves. They also can draw on proficiencies
from their past lives, and they can change
these actually over time. And also one of the neat
things is when they speak with the dead, they can also
draw capabilities from either that dead spirit or from
one of their own past lives. They’re not quite sure
where these capabilities are coming from. So it is a Rogue that not only has these neat deathly abilities, but also has this personal journey to try to figure out why
were they brought back. What is their mission? Are they going to come back
a number of other times? So there is this neat story
built in for the character inside this sub-class. It was a concept I had. I’d said I want us to explore this. Ben Pettrisor then took
the ball and ran with it, he brought back to me the
ideas he had for realizing the story concept. And it actually came together quite well. I mean as soon as we had that seed of you just realize one day you’ve been, you’ve died before and you’ve come back. And that those past lives
could ripple into the present in various ways. The sub-class actually came
together pretty quickly. Just because it’s such
a rich story concept and a fun one to explore in
the Rogue because Rogues, when you think of assassins and others, already have this relationship with death. But often it’s the Rogue
who’s dealing the death. So we thought it would be
fun to flip that around and it’d be well this Rogue
has had death dealt to them, and they’re back. But they’re not undead, i mean they have certain
qualities that are reminiscent of the undead. A person might think well are these Rogues actually revenants? Well, they’re not. Their story is similar
to a revenant in that they have come back. But they’ve come back alive. And so rather than being a servant of the powers of undeath, they instead are imbued with
the powers of death itself. So they’re actually
more of a natural force rather than the unnatural
force that is undeath. – [Interviewer] And this was your idea? – Yeah this was an idea I brought
cause often what happened, at least with this recent
group of Unearthed Arcana, different people on the
team will come with ideas. I then gather them up and say
all right here’s the basically the parade of sub-classes
I would like to see sprinkling in ones that I personally want and this was one of the ones
that I brought to the team and said all right I’d
like to see this revenant like Rogue added to the mix. We could also explore, and in
D&D have explored this concept before in other ways. For instance in fourth edition we had a playable race, the Deva which is sort
of related to the Aasimar in that they’re these celestial beings, but the Deva specifically
had access to past lives. The fun thing about exploring
this story in a class rather than in a race is
you can actually grow. Races tend to be you know, here’s what you get at the
beginning, and that’s it. We’ve introduced, like in
Xanathar’s Guide To Everything the racial feats they
give you a way to deepen your connection to your species. But for the most part, growth in D&D is expressed through class. And that was one of the reasons
why I wanted us to explore this concept in the Rogue
because then we could go deeper. Culminating again with the
ability to leap through the ethereal plane, and even leap to a place
that you can’t see. Normally with our short
range teleportation, as opposed to you’re
teleporting to the other side of a planet kind of teleportation, you’re usually required
to see where you’re going. But this Rogue can just leap
and see where they end up. There’s a risk, they might
take force damage if they manifest inside a wall or
in another creature’s space. But we wanted this because
this is a kind of ability that a number of ghostly characters, rather monsters have in the game. So we thought this is
appropriate for this Rogue and I think the Rogue
is going to be able to trigger all sorts of
trouble with this ability. But they’re gonna have
to be careful because the Rogue is going to be
tempted to just you know, oh I’m gonna leap through that wall, well the Rogue is then,
might leap into a room filled with foes who they have
to face all by themself. So it could be dangerous.

About Ralph Robinson

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100 thoughts on “Rogue: The Revived in D&D’s Unearthed Arcana

  1. These three subclasses all feel super specific to one kind of character. I suppose the rune knight would be the least so – you could reflavor the runes to be from other sources.

  2. not a fan of this one not just because its the edgiest edge that ever edged …… its also worded in such strange way. and its cap stone is rather lame.

  3. So from the fluff, this is not the same as getting hit by an reincarnate or revivify this is hindu style reincarnation

  4. The abilities of the subclass are good but this thematically speaking feels like it would better suit a Sorcerer than a Rogue.

  5. This would make a fun NPC. The player characters keep killing the rogue, but he/she always comes back…slightly changed.

  6. You know that meme where the paladin is about to die, but they just say:

    "I'm not done."

    …this subclass seems like a natural progression from that idea.

    The rogue has to grapple with the idea that they were previously this righteous hero, but they are now somewhat…well, rogue-ish. They may even be cowardly.

    The Bolts of the Grave seems like a necrotic smite, even.

    …in thought, this does seem like a nice paladin concept.

    "Oath of Undying" or "Oath of the Endless" or "Oath of the Arch-Lich".

    Optional necrotic smites…resistant to death saving throws…an almost lich-like resilience at high levels.

    …yeah, that's going to be a homebrew.

  7. This is such a cool story concept and I love that it's tied to the rogue instead of a more traditionally supernatural class

  8. This is probably my favorite of the recent unearthed arcana subclasses. The only problem is that the game I'm in right now is Tomb of Annihilation and I feel like this subclass doesn't play nice with the Death Curse and I already have one party mate that's been continuously losing max hp from it due to their backstory. ^^'

  9. This subclass concept can literally be applied to any other class is my only issue. It doesn’t make sense that this should be specific to rogue, probably better for a sorcerer tbh.

  10. This should be something every class can get. Like if a wizard dies and gets reincarnated they don't remember anything from their past lives but if a rogue dies and gets reincarnated they get magical powers from the fact that they've come from the dead. Why?

  11. It is hard to express how much I dislike this subclass. This doesn't feel like a Rogue thematically. This theme could apply to any class type and to make it exclusively the Rogue's doesn't make sense to me. If it was to be published it might discourage people from playing similar concepts through role playing alone.

    It feels like Wizards of the Coast just needed a subclass for Rogue because everything else is getting one. This feels like it would deserve its own class.

  12. High elf revived rouge is pretty good. Take true strike so every round after first your cunning action sneak attack has advantage

  13. I like the theme, but it seems more like a background than a subclass. And it seems weird that someone who had died before just happens to fit all the bills of a Rogue?
    And it can fire magical beams of necrotic energy somehow? Rogues being good at everything is one thing, but I think a ranged, non-piercing sneak attack is a bit much, especially since it's basically a free action.
    The rogue doesn't ever have to make the Attack action. It can use any other action in the game, then disengage, and get a ton of d6s in damage without being threatened by anyone in combat. Imo, too strong.

    And still should be a background, this makes it seem like the concept of the "many past lives I've experienced" character is Rogues only. If so, make it Elf exclusive because of their actual past lives.

  14. So, if we end up in a part with a Githzerai Eldritch Knight, A Tiefling Rogue and a floating skull, are we obliged to play this subclass?

  15. While I like the idea, I honest don't think this belongs as a Rogue Subclass, or really any subclass for that matter.

    If you really wanted it to be a subclass, I think the most thematic would be Druid, but even then that's a stretch.

  16. This blows my mind because 2 weeks ago I came up with a character who had been in his previous life, an assassin (rogue) for a demi-god, that had died later in his life, and was resurrected with no memory or indication of who or where he was and takes on being a ranger after discovering his proficiency with bows (as in a past life) only to discover in later levels who he was and reverts back to his old self with multiclassing into a rogue from a gloomstalker. So this basically does all that for me. Its perfect lol

  17. I like the idea and i see what they are trying to go for, connecting the idea of death with the rogue, but as it is now it just feels like the connection is flimsy, only two of the subclass abilities (Bolts from the Grave and Ethereal Jaunt) directly connect to the rogue and the rest can apply to anything. For most classes, the subclasses feel like extensions of the base class, this feels like they had the base class rogue and the idea of tradition reincarnation and past lives and just connected them with a piece of string and tape. If more of the class features were ingrained with the idea of a rogue who weirdly skirts the edge of life and death and awakens to new powers from it, i feel like this could work better.
    I think one major step is to make it so that rather than the rogue just realizing that they have past lives, they instead realize that everyone, including themselves, have past lives. Then make it so that some of the abilities allow them to alter themselves, like Revived Nature, but abilities allow then to tap into the past lives of others, like being able to instill fear into another person by tugging at their connection to their past lives, or gain a temporary buff from some who has recently died or you killed, or be able to gain information about a person by looking into their past lives.
    Overall I like the idea, but I think they need to reexamine this and ask how understanding rebirth can help a rogue and how they can apply this ability to others. The key idea being that this doesn't apply to only themselves, but can be used to hurt or maybe help others as well.

  18. John Constantine, The crow, Deadman, undertaker, John snow hell even Kenny from south park lol. If ur wondering why you came back from the dead and can only use rogue abilities then get creative. Maybe you were a mighty paladin but u fell in battle, now you've lost ur smite, ur lay on hands and other abilities. U arent as strong as u once were. The trauma having coming back from death has changed u physically being that this wasn't just a simple revivification.

  19. I feel like this could be applicable to any character, so what if it was a feat instead of a subclass. Like when you take it on, you realize you’ve died before, so the changing of personality/proficiencies happens, but only at the levels that one can take feats

  20. As he is explaining it, the host has my same facial expressions of… Wtf? Why is this a thing? This is so random? It makes no sense to have these abilities…

    To be honest, just make a race that is undead and has some of these features. This shouldn’t be a class.

  21. I don't feel it for the Rogue. I like the flavour, but it really doesn't fit the Rogue. For a Sorcerer or a Paladin it would work way better. I could see it work for Monk too.

  22. Firstly, Mollymauk would make an insane Revived Rogue
    Secondly, I made a character when I was younger who was forced to repeat life until she had a life in which she died of old age. This new rogue is perfect for it

  23. I have fun imagining the Rogues final teleport. Like their ghost leaps from their body to land somewhere else. Their body crumbles away before their partys eyes, returned to the earth while reforming around the soul wherever it manifests itself again. It has such a unique feeling to it. I wish they had access to it earlier in the class like others instead of right at the end. Itd be such a cool story point.

  24. Hmm changeling revived. Can only become forms from their past lives. Some ancient curse cursing them to die young maybe in front of their beloved.

  25. Such a wonky subclass for Rogue. Feels like it'd be a better Sorcerer or Warlock. Or maybe a potential background.

  26. Potential spoilers for Curse of Strahd-
    One of the PC's in my Curse of Strahd game just took this archetype, and has learned that they're the actual reincarnation of Tatyana.

  27. this subclass kinda sucks, it has nothing to do with rogues and there must have been better rogue subtypes suggested, the only thing it gets is a bonus action teleport and it gets it too late for anyone to ever get to use it

  28. This is the first rogue related thing in 5E I've really, really disliked. Nothing about this says rogue per se. I like maybe the idea of a rogue who uses shadow-y or ghost-like powers to be a rogue. Like the ability to become ethereal or teleport past obstacles seems good like the 17th level feature, but nothing else here works. It's the 4E revenant race slapped into a random class. Just make a revenant race.

  29. Why is this a subclass and not a background? This could be a cool thing to apply to a character of any class and you don't need a whole subclass of abilities to say "I've died and come back to life". A fighter who has never picked up a sword but suddenly realizes they're really good with one, a sorcerer who's magic keeps bringing them back to life, or a Cleric that's a champion of a god and the god keeps reincarnating them to continue working in their name all sound really cool. If you just want a rogue with these abilities, why not make it some sort of necromantic assassin that practices death magic instead?

  30. While I like the idea of a new Rogue subclass and different mechanic for applying sneak attack damage, I'm not a fan of wrapping it in a mandatory backstory. I feel that is what your character background is for.. I hope they consider releasing the 'Revived' as an accompanying background pick because it could be cool for any PC class to RP and rewriting the new Rogue class in a more standalone form rather than tying down your backstory should you want to play this subclass.

  31. I love this class and the way it works on a rogue, I just feel that thematically its super a sorcerer subclass (if only one class gets it) though I also feel like each class should get a revived subclass. its too cool to pass up and can easily be applied different ways

  32. Whatever book this is coming in, I'm willing to bet the Revenant as a race (or generic subrace for any race) is not far behind, if not in the same book as it is.

  33. The first idea that I have for this, is to use all of the characters that I have played of his race, to represent his "past lives", that he would pull his options of changes in personality traits or changed proficiencies from. This would give you a good established reference point and take some of the "meta-gaming" of the choices out of play.

  34. I'm still not 100% sold on why this needed to be a rogue subclass. Stuff like this makes me miss the 3.5e templates.

  35. Did no one catch he said sneak attack damage as a cunning action. I like the flavor but that simple mechanic is a second chance on sneak damage for the round.

  36. Really struggling with this option. Neither the flavour nor abilities scream Rogue, or complement their skillset especially. It would make much more sense as, say, a sorcerer or warlock subclass.

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