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Half-Elf Rogue 5e D&D Guide

Half-Elf Rogue 5e D&D Guide

Beneath a cloak of nightfall hues, Half-Elf Rogues move with a feline elegance, leaving nary a trace of their presence.

With a mischievous grin that hints at a thousand secrets, they can vanish into thin air like a wisp of smoke or assume any guise, slipping past the most vigilant guards and beguiling even the sharpest minds.

In battle, the Half-Elf Rogue is a force to be reckoned with. Like an elusive phantom, they dart across the battlefield, exploiting weaknesses with their dual-wielded daggers.

Beneath the surface of their mysterious persona lies a complex soul. Caught between two worlds, the Half-Elf Rogue often straddles the fine line between light and darkness, constantly questioning their place in the grand tapestry of existence. 

Creating a Half-Elf Rogue


Half-Elves walk in two worlds, but ultimately they belong to neither. Blessed with the best qualities of both races, Half-Elves can specialize in merely anything.

Their Human curiosity and inventiveness, coupled with their Elvish ambitioned tempered by a love of nature, artistic tastes, and refined senses, give them potential far beyond most other races.

SkinFair smooth skin, usually pale but varying similar to the skin tones of humans
HairOften long, full heads of hair in colors of pale yellow, gray, white, brown, or black, although there are exceptions (similar to humans)

(Most Half-Elves don’t have facial hair due to their Elvish heritage)

EyesMostly emerald green, hazel, or brown
NosePetite and elegant noses, similar to those of their Elvish heritage
MouthSoft and light rose-colored lips

Note: These features can be slightly changed or modified if some variations don’t fit your character.

Half-Elf Subraces

Half-Elves have two variant subraces which are split up into a Mark category and a Heritage category.

Half-Elf Variants – There are many different variant Half-Elf subraces, have boasting experience in different fields and relate it to their respective Elven heritage.

  • Elf Weapon Training (High or Wood Elf Heritage) – Your heritage gives you proficiency in Longbows, Shortbows, Longswords, and Shortswords.
  • Cantrip (High Elf Heritage) – Your heritage gives you access to one Cantrip from the Wizard spell list (use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability).
  • Fleet of Foot (Wood Elf Heritage) – Your heritage increases your base walking speed to 35 feet.
  • Mask of the Wild (Wood Elf Heritage) – Your heritage allows you to attempt to hide whenever obscured by foliage, mist, falling snow, heavy rain, or other natural phenomena.
  • Drow Magic (Dark Elf Heritage) – Your heritage grants you the Dancing Lights Cantrip, and upon reaching level 3, you can use Faerie Fire, which recharges after your long rest.

Reaching level 5 lets you cast Darkness once, which recharges after a long rest (Charisma is your spellcasting ability for all these spells).

  • Swim Speed (Sea Elf Heritage) – Your heritage gives you a swimming speed of 30 feet.

Variant Half-Elf: Mark of Detection – Half-Elves bestowed with the Mark of Detection are masters of Divination magic. They detect unseen traps, read thoughts, and sense even the slightest poisons in the air.

Variant Half-Elf: Mark of Storm – Half-Elves blessed with the Mark of Storm wield innate magic powers linking them to storms. As they grow stronger, they gain access to more powerful incantations and become a living storm.

Rogue Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice1d8 per Rogue level
HP at level 18 + Constitution modifier
HP at Higher levels1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Rogue level after level 1


ArmorLight armor
WeaponsHand crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords, Simple weapons
ToolsThieves’ tools
Saving ThrowsDexterity, Intelligence
SkillsChoose four – Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth

Rogue Archetypes

Upon reaching level 3, you’ll be able to choose from 9 Rogue archetypes, all with different pros and cons – but you’ll have to find one that fits best with your character.

Arcane Trickster – Combine your skillful agility and stealth with magic, granting you enchantment and illusion spells.

Assassin – Your art is death, using disguises to fool your enemies, poisons to make their death accidental, and stealth to remain unseen whenever necessary.

Inquisitive – Rooting out secrets and solving mysteries is what you live for. Your eyes see intricate details everywhere, and through training, you’ve come to read and write more languages than most.

You effortlessly exterminate creatures hiding amongst their prey by using your mastery of legends and powerful equipment.

Mastermind – The Mastermind focuses on people, particularly their influence and secrets. They make unmatched spies, using their words to escape even some of the most threatening situations.

Phantom – As a Phantom, you walk the line between life and death, always eager to take lives and risk your own in the process. 

While on this path, you may discover magical connections to death itself or even take knowledge from the dead and immerse yourself in their energy – becoming like a ghost.

Scout – Scouts are masters of survival and stealth, always eager to scout ahead during expeditions and clear the road if necessary.

Scouts find solace in the wilderness, among rangers and barbarians, often joining war bands and becoming their ambushers or bounty hunters.

Soulknife – You strike not with a blade but infiltrate the minds of your enemies, cutting through physical and psychic barriers. As a Soulknife, you discover vast psionic powers within you, channeling them in combination with your skills as a rogue.

Though useful, many other rogues and organizations mistrust them, as they are wary of their powerful mind-altering abilities. Many governments do, however, employ Soulknives as spies or masters of ‘persuasion.’

Swashbuckler – Swashbucklers know only the way of the sword, incorporating their charm, elegance, and speed. 

You aren’t adorned in heavy armor and fight as if performing a dance. Swashbucklers are unrivaled duelists, excelling with two weapons and one-on-one combat.

Thief – Thieves are seen as common hooligans, seeking nothing more than ‘treasure’ as they like to put it. 

They have exceptional agility and stealth, often using these skills to delve into ancient ruins or learn about unfamiliar languages in their search for wealth. They even use magical objects many others can’t.

Combining Rogue With Half-Elf

Determining Your Rogue Subclass

Choosing your ideal subclass is subjective, but if your objective is optimization, try understanding what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass.

Arcane TricksterFace/Support/Utility Caster

Optimal Half-Elf Subrace

Half-Elves have 2 full subrace variants and 6 heritage variants that give special features or bonuses.

Rogues are tricky, focusing primarily on Dexterity for normal Rogues and Intelligence only when becoming an Arcane Trickster. Rogues should also focus on Wisdom or Charisma, depending on which skills they took and what their role is in their party.

You essentially have two choices, if you’re going to become a normal Rogue, pick the Standard Half-Elf, but if you want to be an Arcane Trickster, choose either the Mark of Detection or the Mark of Storm Half-Elf variant.

Picking the Standard Half-Elf as a normal Rogue gives you more customization and better ability score bonuses, while the variant subraces give you more spells and higher Charisma or Wisdom.

Note: Standard Half-Elves should look at the Elf Weapon Training, Fleet of Foot, Mask of the Wild, and Swim Speed heritage variants, as they can all be extremely good in the right scenario, especially Mask of the Wild.

Your Half-Elf Rogue Background

Your Half-Elf Rogue needs a unique background that will affect its choices, as well as the way it sees the world and what it wants to achieve.

Start by asking yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?

Place of Birth

Think of the environment a Half-Elf Rogue grew up in and how it affected them physically and emotionally and eventually shaped their view of the world.

Try to make their place of birth and upbringing correspond with their personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring their character alive.

Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.

Characteristics and Personality Traits

Half-Elf Rogues use their Elvish agility coupled with their Human ruthlessness to become master assassins, manipulators, or duelists.

Half-Elf Rogue Examples:

  • I make sure always to have a plan prepared for when things go wrong.
  • When arriving at a new place, the first thing I do is note the locations of everything that’s valuable – or where such things could be hidden.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Half-Elf Rogue’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing (probably something about nature).

All people, rich or poor, deserve respect.

Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Half-Elf Rogue has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.

Everything I have I owe to my mentor – who is a horrible person who’s probably rotting in jail somewhere.

Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Half-Elf Rogue – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.

I can’t resist swindling people who are more powerful than me.


Inspiration is used by the DM to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.

I can’t say no to a gamble after someone has insulted me, especially if it entails a lot of money or violence. If I don’t accept, I’ll have a massive dip in my pride.

Note: If you’re struggling to create your background or just don’t want to think, the Player’s Handbook has well-thought-through backgrounds that you can use for your character or use as a mold.

Supplies and Gear For Half-Elf Rogue

Rogues start with the following equipment, together with the equipment from their background. Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.

  • (a) A rapier or (b) A shortsword
  • (a) A shortbow and quiver containing 20 arrows or (b) A shortsword
  • (a) Burglar’s pack, (b) Dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) Explorer’s pack
  • Leather armor, two daggers, and thieves’ tools

You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole, inherited, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.

Note: By using your starting wealth, you can buy your own equipment (4d4 x 10 GP for Rogues).

Final Thoughts

Half-Elf Rogues aren’t as commonly found as their Rangers, but because of their stealthy nature, many Half-Elves opt to become Rogues.

If your party needs a reliable Face, they should look no further than a Half-Elf Rogue, as their skills go beyond many other mortals!

You might also be interested in the following:

The 5 Best Classes for Half-Elves in D&D 5e

Thursday 18th of January 2024

[…] If you want your character to have not just a few skills but ALL of them, you should play as a Half-Elf Rogue. […]