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Mastering the Art of Gnome Rogues in D&D: A Beginner’s Guide

Welcome adventurers! If you’re looking to bring a dash of cunning and a sprinkle of charm to your next Dungeons & Dragons campaign, then building a gnome rogue might be the perfect choice for you. In this guide, we will delve into the unique traits and skills that make gnome rogues an exciting character option, along with some tips and tricks to get you started on your journey.

Why Choose a Gnome Rogue?

Gnome rogues are an exceptional choice for players who love a combination of stealth, agility, and intelligence. Gnomes bring a lot to the table with their natural abilities and whimsical nature. Here are some compelling reasons to choose a gnome rogue:

  • Size Advantage: Gnomes are small, making them excellent at sneaking around and fitting into tight spaces.
  • Darkvision: Gnomes can see in the dark up to 60 feet, which is invaluable for rogues who often find themselves in dimly lit environments.
  • Gnome Cunning: This trait gives gnomes an advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws, making them resilient against magical attacks.
  • Natural Stealth: The combination of a gnome’s small size and nimbleness makes them naturally stealthy, perfect for a rogue.

Building Your Gnome Rogue

Now that you know why gnome rogues are awesome, let’s dive into building one. Here are the steps to create a balanced and effective gnome rogue:

1. Choose Your Subrace

Gnomes come in different subraces, each with its unique traits. The two most common subraces for rogues are:

  • Forest Gnome: They have a natural knack for stealth and the ability to speak with small animals. They also gain the Minor Illusion cantrip.
  • Rock Gnome: They are more mechanically inclined, with a proficiency in tinkering and crafting small devices.

For a rogue, the forest gnome is often the better choice due to their inherent stealth abilities and useful cantrip.

2. Assign Ability Scores

As a rogue, your primary abilities should focus on Dexterity, followed by Intelligence or Charisma depending on your playstyle. Here’s a recommended ability score distribution:

  • Dexterity: Maximize this for better stealth, attack rolls, and AC (Armor Class).
  • Intelligence: Useful for investigation and arcane trickster rogues.
  • Charisma: Important for deceptive and persuasive rogues.

3. Choose a Roguish Archetype

At level 3, rogues choose an archetype that defines their skills and abilities. Here are a few to consider:

  • Arcane Trickster: Combines magic and stealth, allowing you to use spells to enhance your rogue abilities.
  • Assassin: Focuses on dealing massive damage through sneak attacks and surprise strikes.
  • Thief: Specializes in agility and quickness, perfect for stealing and using objects in combat.

4. Gear Up

Equip your gnome rogue with light armor like leather or studded leather for maximum stealth. Choose weapons that benefit from your high Dexterity, such as daggers, shortbows, and rapiers.

Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Starting out as a gnome rogue can be a bit overwhelming, but these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your character:

  • Utilize Your Cunning Action: Use your bonus action for Dash, Disengage, or Hide to stay out of harm’s way.
  • Stay Stealthy: Always look for opportunities to hide before attacking. Surprise attacks give you an edge.
  • Work with Your Team: Coordinate with your party members to set up sneak attacks and other tactical advantages.
  • Use Your Environment: Take advantage of your surroundings for cover and higher ground.
  • Experiment with Spells: If you choose the Arcane Trickster archetype, experiment with different spells to find what complements your playstyle.


Building a gnome rogue in Dungeons & Dragons offers a thrilling mix of stealth, agility, and cunning. Whether you’re sneaking past enemies or dealing devastating sneak attacks, gnome rogues are sure to bring excitement to your campaign. Happy adventuring!

Author: David Jones