Design Diary 4/10/2017 – The Rogue in CLL

Rogues are fantasy staples.  The rogue archetype as we know it has drifted a long way from whatever factual basis they ever had initially.

In books, rogues were sneaky and often guileful, stereotyped as cowards and self-serving vagabonds.

In D&D and other games of it’s time, the Rogue was the one to disarm traps, and sneak ahead unseen, building off of their mythology of being cowardly and unwilling to participate in a fair fight — Gygax’s rogues were mechanically weakened by limiting the armor they can wear and the number of hitpoints they received.  The rogue’s kit rewarded players for having high dexterity stats, and building a character to avoid hits was a natural thing for players to do in order to survive.  In this manner, players could FEEL like rogues while playing the game.

In MMO games like world of warcraft, there is not much place for traditional rogue skills.  Dialogue with NPCs is fully scripted, Roguish savoir-faire has no bearing on a conversation.  Deadly traps disrupt the action oriented spirit of the game and could be considered unfair — the MMO rogue has been stripped of two of his key roles!

Through this adversity, the modern rogue was born. A class focused on dealing high amounts of damage through poisons and various anatomical stabbing mechanics.  The traditional rogue became an Assassin.  “Rogue gameplay” can be as much about dealing high amounts of damage and escaping dangerous situations with dodge, sneak and sprint moves as it can be about breaking into museums and stealing art from locked cases.

which brings us to…

The Rogue in CLL

Playing the rogue in CLL will immediately hearken to playing the rogue class in World of Warcraft, the core mechanic is drawing and playing cards to build combination attacks that have specific effects inspired by the warden class in lord of the rings online.

Each turn a rogue draws 3 cards from their deck, then chooses and plays up to 3 of them, discarding the rest.  For each card discarded this way, the rogue may move additional squares during their turn.

Each card played has a minor effect on it’s own, but becomes part of a combo, allowing a rogue player to opportunistically string together weak attacks that will eventually combo out into a special move.

The base rogue deck would be 3x Daggers, 3x Masks, and 3x Coinpurses, allowing for 39 different 1, 2 or 3 card combinations.

Locking a card in for a combo will remove it from your draw deck, making it less likely you will draw another card of the same type.

You can be patient and wait to draw the exact card you want for the exact move that you want, or you can take what you have and make the best of it, allowing for different styles of tactical gameplay with it’s own unique challenges.

Playing as a Rogue in CLL will require improvisation, a little bit of card counting and a touch of luck. The rogue is a flexible class that performs best when executing a fluid strategy, allowing the rogue more options to utilize their varied combination attacks as they become available rather than having to commit to trying to string together a specific one.