New to 5e? And new to Rogues? Have no fear!
1. Learn how sneak attack works.
This diagram is very nice. Remember you can do it once per turn (not round!):
2. Learn how action economy works.
1. Your MOVE will get you where you need to be (before, after, or in between the rest of your actions).
2. Your ACTION will typically be for attack.
3. Your BONUS ACTION can be used defensively or offensively.
- Defence: you can attack first and then safely disengage with Cunning Action (no Attacks of Opportunity against you). This is fantastic, it’s how rogues hit and run in 5e.
- Offence: either apply sneak attack damage, or get more attacks:
- apply sneak attack damage: if other conditions aren’t met, you can use Cunning Action to hide first, and then (sneak) attack with advantage. This works best (and safer) with ranged attacks.
- get more attacks: If you CAN apply sneak attack, you can instead go for two-weapon fighting (you get a second attack if you go melee and wield a light weapon in your off-hand). Now, if your first attack already hit and you’ve successfully sneak attacked, the second usually will do very little damage, and it’s not worth it. BUT, it gives you a second chance to hit (and sneak attack) if your first attack missed. Which happens.
4. Your REACTION can also be used defensively or offensively.
- Defence: Uncanny Dodge halves the damage of one attack. This is SUPER GREAT, it will keep you alive, you’re a glass cannon!
- Offence: You take an attack of opportunity. If you pull that off, you have a chance to apply sneak attack damage twice in the same round (assuming conditions apply), which is GREAT.
3. Learn how to get advantage.
The standard proactive method is to attack while hidden, but there’s more. There’s a list here, and another one here, including useful Rogue tips. But, even one source of disadvantage cancels advantage, and 5e is a bit… loose. Your DM may be more or less liberal with applying ad hoc disadvantage on rolls. So if that happens a lot in your game, the only reliable way to get sneak attack is to coordinate with your allies, and attack foes who are already engaged in melee combat with one of your buddies. (It’s a still a lot better than the 3.5/Pathfinder flanking requirement.)
4. Lean how to skill.
Skills are awesome, embrace them. :p