Slinking through the crowds of people, dipping their hands into pockets, and keeping a blade at the ready, the rogue is not often thought of as the spell caster. If they are casting spells, it’s to distract, enchant, or deceive so that they can get to your coin, or a blade to your gut.
Tomes of spells lays before you. Countless choices and variations are possible, and it’s daunting to figure out which are the best choices. What do some of these spells even do?
We’re here to give you some quick insight to what we think are the ideal spells to choose. These are based on our experiences and will definitely vary from game to game, so we’re going to assume that you’re playing in the traditional D&D high fantasy setting with a mix of role play and combat.
Aside from magical items, feats, and racial bonuses, the rogue does not typically get spells. The one subclass that does is the arcane trickster, which gets spells with these limitations:
- 3 Spells from the 1st level wizard list; 2 must be enchantment or illusion
- Additional spells learned must be enchantment or illusion
Since the arcane trickster comes with a Legerdemain – a superior mage hand – we won’t consider the mage hand spell.
- Minor Illusion – Create an illusory image or sound. There are so many possibilities that we wrote an article about it here – Clever Cantrip Uses: Minor Illusion
- Booming Blade: Make a melee attack and inflict the enemy with lightning. If the enemy moves, they immediately take 1d8 thunder damage, which increases as you level.
- Green Flame Blade: Make a melee attack that creates a flame, leaping to any other opposing enemies within 5ft and inflicting damage equal to your spellcasting mod. This increases as you level to doing additional d8 damage to your initial and additional targets.
- Fire Bolt – Hurl a magical mote of fire dealing 1d10 fire damage, increasing as you level. This works well as a ranged attack if you mostly depend on melee.
Spells – Exceptions
Feats and magical items are always exceptions for a character to gain access to spells. Character sub classes also often have an exception to their spell choices, allowing you to broaden your choices. This class has the exception:
At 3rd level, choose 3 Spells from the 1st level wizard list; 2 must be enchantment or illusion.
This means that you can choose 1 spell from any school. We recommend one of these:
- Find Familiar: Summon a small animal to be your new pet, like an owl, snake, rat, etc. With an action, you can see through the eyes of your familiar, cast a touch spell through them, or have them use the “Help” action, giving advantage on an attack – giving you the sneak attack!
- Burning Hands: Let loose a blast of fire in a 15ft cone. Targets make a dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage. A definite choice if you’re looking to burst as much damage as you can in one action
- Identify: A utility spell with the potential for a lot of uses in your campaign. If you have obtained a mysterious item or are unsure what something is laying before you, you can use this spell to have all the magical details revealed to you.
Spells – Mym’s Picks
In our opinion, these are the must-haves for each level:
- Disguise Self (1st level)
- Mirror Image (2nd level)
- Major Image (3rd level)
- Greater Invisibility (4th level)
- Disguise Self: Without a disguise kit, you can use the spell to make yourself appear as any other creature similar to your shape.
- Charm Person: Gain advantage for any persuasion checks and ensure the target cannot attack you anymore. This is a great way to dodge a lot of combat.
- Sleep: Drop a magical sleep bomb on a 20ft radius and roll 5d8. You then use the total to make anyone in the area to fall asleep. eg. A rolled total of 20 can put 4 creatures with 5 hit points asleep.
- Tasha’s Hideous Laughter: Send one creature into a laughing fit, rolling on the ground and unable to do anything else.
- Mirror Image: Create three copies of yourself which kind of act like armor. Enemies trying to hit you will likely hit these copies first before hitting you. This spell is not concentration, which makes it great to combine with others.
- Shadow Blade: Summon a dark blade from the shadow weave, which can deal 2d8 psychic damage and gets advantage when attacking in dim light or darkness.
- Invisibility: The quintessential thief spell – no one can see you while you steal their things or prepare to stab them! Only good for 1 attack as your invisibility drops upon attacking or spell casting.
- Suggestion: Give a simple objective or course of action for the person to follow, which they will try to do for 8 hours unless they save against the wisdom saving throw. “Run along home now!”
- Fear: Make anyone in a 30ft cone roll a wisdom saving throw or be afraid of you.
- Hypnotic Pattern: Make anyone in a 30ft cube make a wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you. This charm renders them incapacitated
- Major Image: The ideal illusory spell, as you are able to create a visible phenomenon in a 20ft cube which can move, make sounds, and carry a conversation.
- Greater Invisibility: You can now attack without losing your invisibility, unlike the lesser version. This means you will always get sneak attack.
- Phantasmal Killer: Create a nightmarish illusion for one creature of your choice. Targets must make wisdom saving throws or take 4d10 psychic damage. This is the only 4th level spell that can deal direct damage.