[RPG] How to give a Rogue ways to shine


I'm DMing a pathfinder campaign and it's been going pretty well. The Barbarian is having a grand time cleaving hordes of weak enemies, the Cleric is doing fantastic in the undead segments, and the Sorcerer is a great source of overall damage potential against bigger enemies.

However, one of my players is playing as a Rogue and can't seem to find his niche in the party. He is always leading the way in dungeons, so he can check for traps, listen for enemies, or scout ahead in stealth.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time this means he gets too far away from his party, and more often than not is the first person the enemies see. He has the lowest AC and health out of any other party members, yet he is always the first to enter a room full of bad guys with weapons pointed toward the door.

As a result, he has come within an inch of death multiple times, and spends large portions of many encounters unconscious and not getting to do much. Worse yet, he has gotten so frustrated with his character he barely even seems to be trying anymore, so it happens more and more frequently.

I'm now conflicted between letting him die, which I am certain will only alienate him further, or finding some other way to accommodate his play style. Would it be best to just have him re-roll as a fighter?

Best Answer

From your clarification it sounds like he wants to be playing a front-line fighter, so perhaps it's best (and safest for his long term prospects) if he starts gaining levels as one.

That said, some options to give him more front-and-center time in the game:

  • Give him an opportunity to end the battle before it starts. For example, a group of enemy are crossing a rope bridge, and if he's thinking fast enough, he can cut the ends of the rope bridge, sending all the opponents to their watery demise. This allows him to be able to claim (or brag) about the time he took out a whole group of X by himself. You don't want to do this all the time, but every once in a while it's a nice morale booster for the rogue.

  • Something other than a combat-centered adventure. Make an adventure not about killing a bunch of whatevers that are threatening a town, but retrieving an object thats very well protected. Or breaking someone out of prison. Something where his rogue skills will be the difference between success and failure.

  • Role-playing, role-playing, role-playing. A rogue isn't just a guy who backstabs and disarms traps. He's a guy (or gal) who knows how to operate in the seedy underworld in a way other characters can't. Players have an item they want to sell? The rogue is the guy who can ask around and use his contacts to find someone willing to make the best offer (and not just the low-ball offer received from an established vendor). Looking to buy something? The rogue 'knows a guy'. Need to keep watch on someone in the city? The rogue can blend in as he follows the target around. And he's the one who can recruit an army of street urchins to help him out.

The key here, though, is that the player has to be willing to do the above, and not only be interested in disarming the traps so that he can get into combat. Most of the responsibility is on them to make the best of the role they've taken on.