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Dragon Age Origins: Playing the Rogue

by: theinkandpen (Robert Mullon) ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/2/2012 • Leave a comment

Though largely story-driven, Dragonage Origins still abides to the medieval-fantasy canons set by its predecessors; the usual serving of three character classes and three races. This Brighthub article focuses towards the Rogue, more complex and versatile than the mage or warrior.

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    Mummy Says I’m Special: Rogues

    A Ginger Rogue   The very definition of the word “rogue" already goes some measure toward understanding what the character encompasses; for instance a rogue animal is one set apart from its pack or, similarly, a rogue state is one that does not adhere to conventions. Miraculously, an adjective becomes a noun and the rogue character-class is born, one that is canonical to any medieval fantasy CRPG.

    Whilst not always a pariah most rogue characters live by the day, accumulate riches, tend to avoid fighting and look after themselves first and foremost. Playing the rogue usually offers more choice than playing a warrior or a mage; though Dragon Age origins dilutes the complexity of character-builds – focusing on the premise of the characters’ origins – it still allows for some flexibility when building Rogue characters.

    Here we focus on some of the paths for this type of character, including dual-wielding and ranged options. Read on for more.

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    The Artful Dodger: Useful Rogue Skills

    Before we cover these, let me point out that there is no point including a section which suggests a particular race for a Rogue. You can choose any of the three given races as there is little advantage or disadvantage.

    Skills are of course available to any character regardless of class. A mage can choose stealing, or coercion if so wished. However, success is also dependent on attribute points and subsequent talents. For instance cunning and stealth are important if you plan on successful pick-pocketing. Some skills are useful whilst others simply add flavour to the game, like coercion which could result in interesting conversations.

    First, the Combat Training skill-tree is essential for archers or dual wielders. Other suggestions include the stealing-tree of skills, good for extra coin. Trap-making is also quite useful since you can set traps, then essentially disappear from sight, attack from range and watch that hostile-horde take damage.

    As for the rest of the skills, I don’t think there is much point; things like herbalism and poison making largely add flavour to the game whilst not doing much else. There isn’t enough unique scope when creating potions or poisons, like for instance creating a poison which is applied to your weapon and watching your enemy wither from a distance. Moreover, some poisons are hurled like grenades and do AOE damage (Area of effect); this type of damage is the single most annoying thing particularly in something like Dragon Age origins which is heavily party-based.

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    Picking Attributes

    Rogue Attributes   Traditionally this build is Dexterity based and here it is no different. Almost all rogue talents are DEX based and equipping some of the best rogue gear, i.e. the bow “Far Song", requires a DEX score of 36. Archery and dual-weapon talents are also DEX based, of course.

    The second important attribute is Cunning, which allows you to pick locks, effectively use stealth and the all-important “Lethality" talent. Lastly, in order to equip the “Felon’s Coat," consider raising your strength up to 20.

    Regarding rogue’s talents and specializations, consider choosing them based on the kind of rogue you want to play. Do you want to play a cut-throat dirty fighter? An assassin? Or just stay out of trouble as much as possible?

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    Builds: The Melee Rogue

    The Dual-Weapon Tree   For Melee rogue-builds look to the “Dirty Fighting + Below the Belt" trees. This build will also favour dual-wielding with a possibility of the Assassin specialization. This culminates into talents like Cripple + Punisher in the Dual-Striking tree, and Lacerate + Feast of the Fallen in the Assassin’s tree. This type of build is quite powerful and can solo the game comfortably.

    For melee you can also consider the ranger specialization,; although more inclined towards archery, it’s still powerful when coupled with dual-wield and you’ll have pets to support you. (i.e. Summon Wolf/Bear etc...)

    If you plan on wielding large weapons in both hands, and increasing damage based on Strength rather than Cunning, consider the “Dual-Wield Training" tree and ultimately taking “Dual Weapon Mastery." Lastly in the “Dual Striking" tree, something like “Riposte" is a great way of killing those annoying Genlock Emissaries.

    I would not bother with the other two specialization, being Bard and Duelist, since they are definitely not as powerful as the ones above. Bards are mostly used to “buff" allies or cripple enemies, i.e. dirge and similar, but the abilities they have aren’t worth it. The duelist is quite weak for a melee class even if the last talent has you dishing out crits for a bit.

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    Builds: The Stealth Rogue

    The Stealth Tree   This is quite a simple build if you want to avoid the melee option and don’t want a specialist archer. The attributes in Dragon Age to consider are still Dexterity and Cunning but this time your character will work on those general Rogue talents, and gain some archery prowess to snipe from a distance.

    “Master stealth" and trap making will be very useful, as enemies will not be able to spot you. Also, contrary to my previous view of poisons in the game, this is one build where you can use poison-grenades effectively as long as you find a line for your party and hold them outside of the area of explosion. Also consider talents like “Pinning," “Crippling Shot," and “Aim" though you do not need to be a master archer.

    Lastly the Ranger/Bard specializations aren’t too bad here as you will rely on your party/summoned creatures.

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    Builds: The Ranged Fighter

    The Archery Tree  

    Here you don’t need strength at all just dexterity, since even good armor will just greatly affect fatigue. Also you can forget most of the standard Rogue abilities such as "Deadly Strike," "Lethality" or “Coup de Grace" since they are all close-quarter talents. You can still take the stealth based talents, though they aren’t important since the point here is to kill anything from a distance.

    Being a ranged rogue all archery talents are important, hence take the combat training as skills and improve your archery with talents like “Shattering Shot" “Critical Shot" “Crippling Strike" and more. Take “Master Archer" in the “Melee Archer" tree, if you can.

    Specialize as a Ranger since, with the ability to summon and fling deadly arrows, you’ll make a devastating archer. You might also consider specializing as a duelist; “Dueling" increases your attack rating, while something like “Pinpoint Strike" is quite powerful in dealing damage even to larger creatures.

    Try out these builds for Dragon Age Origins and enjoy the Rogue!

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