Phantom Rogue Handbook – DnD 5e

“What are you?” “Half-faded souls of the dead. Isn’t it painfully obvious?” -FFXIV: Endwalker
  • Introduction

The Phantom Rogue has a very distinct flavor of death and the reaping of souls. While you can play a character however you like, these undertones are built into the class mechanics, with a resource that refuels when anything around the Phantom dies. Managing this resource properly, the Phantom can do plenty of extra damage very consistently. The only unfortunate part of this is that Phantoms do not get this kill recharging ability until ninth level. Until then, we’re still a Rogue, trying to get our Sneak Attacks in when we can.

In terms of party roles, Phantom doesn’t alter the Rogue’s primary purpose. The features of Phantom instead amplify the damage output role of the Rogue as long as combats involve more than one foe. Out of combat, the Phantom is an interesting mirror to the Soulknife . Where the Soulknife is able to push the upper limits of the skills it knows, the Phantom instead can alter the skills it knows with a little preparation.

Because Rogues can feel a bit similar as far as builds, our example explores flavor and style without sacrificing our damage. The build is designed to be one who reaps souls in the name of the Raven Queen, enforcing mortality on those who would dare run from death. Yes it’s kinda super edgy and on the nose.

Table of Contents

Phantom features, phantom ability scores, phantom races, phantom feats, phantom weapons, phantom armor, skills and tools.

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green : Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.

Most of the time you can leave this on a low-importance skill proficiency, but most tools won’t come up unless you’ve got time for a short rest. No one is going to ambush you and ask you to break out the Brewer’s Tools and make them some beer (I’ve made beer. It takes a few hours, and spending one hour to take a nap first isn’t a big ask. I’ve done that, too.).

  • Wails from the Grave : Starts very slow (1d6 twice a day), but ramps up exponentially as your Sneak Attack damage and your Proficiency Bonus increase. The damage is necrotic, which is rarely resisted, and it’s automatic provided that you made a successful Sneak Attack so it’s great for enemies that may be difficult to hit. Even as it gains in power, you don’t want to throw this around needlessly. You’ll never get more than 6 uses (not counting Tokens of the Departed) and they’ll never deal more than 5d6 damage, so you need to be strategic.

The first benefit is without doubt the best of the three, and it’s good enough that you should nearly always keep a Soul Trinket handy. Advantage on Constitution saves isn’t quite as good as proficiency, but it’s close. Unfortunately, the Phantom doesn’t need to worry about Concentration unless you take Magic Initiate or Multiclass, so you don’t get to wave your token around every time you cast a Concentration spell.

The second benefit helps with Wails of the Grave, and it’s easily your most frequent way to spend trinkets. Wails from the Grave is a decent bit of damage by this level, matching what a spellcaster can do with many cantrips. However, the Proficiency Bonus usage limit won’t get you far, so you can destroy a trinket to get a free bit of damage. Every time you think “is a new trinket worth my Reaction right now?”, remember that it’s a small pile of easy necrotic damage when you need it later.

The third benefit is basically Speak with Dead, but you only get one question. Otherwise, it has all the same problems where the subject can be vague, misleading, or otherwise unhelpful. Very situational, but if you can somehow make it work it’s excellent. This also has a curious edge case where the creature which allowed you to produce the token might be alive again, especially in cases where your allies die and a raised from the dead. You might use this to ask a question of a creature who is currently alive, leading to hilarious situations where the ghostly apparition of a living creature appears in the same room as that creature only to say something totally unhelpful before disappearing.

The one flaw in the whole thing is that it falls prey to the classic “Bag of Rats” trick. You can kill any creature to generate a new Soul Trinket, so if you have a bag of rats or access to other easily-expendable creatures, you can kill them out of combat to recharge. Your DM might justifiably make some adjustments to disallow that (requiring a CR above 0 may be sufficient, especially at 9th level), so try not to lean on the abuse case too much. This generally won’t work with summoned creatures (they need to die, not just be reduced to 0 hit points), and since death and being reduced to 0 hp suddenly mean different things, I encourage DMs to start tracking death saves for enemies.

  • Ghost Walk : A 1-minute duration on this would be good. A 10-minute duration on this is fantastic. 10 minutes is obviously plenty if you’re using this in combat, but it’s more important outside of combat where you might need to move through walls, floors, or ceilings while scouting. The 10 ft. move speed is tiny, but remember that you have Cunning Action so you can Dash as a Bonus Action. If you can get buffs like Longstrider, they’ll do a lot to help both because any flat numeric increase is relatively large compared to 10 ft. and because you can essentially double the effect by dashing without spending your Action.

The second benefit of this feature ensures that you have at least one Soul Trinket at the end of a Long Rest. This is a crucial benefit so that you can benefit from Advantage on your Constitution saves, so try not to burn your trinket the first time you want to use Wail of Souls. But since you get the trinket for free, this also makes it easier to spend your last trinket right before you take a long rest. Of course, you could just use the bag of rats trick to get free Soul Trinkets, so this benefit isn’t as impactful as WotC wanted it to be when they wrote it.

The Phantom is a typical Rogue and wants typical Rogue stats.

Str : While there is technically a case for Athletics and possibly some tools, those are very niche options.

Dex : AC, Attack Rolls, Stealth, Other stuff.

Con : Don’t die please.

Int : For Scholarly skills.

Wis : For Explorer skills.

Cha : For Face skills.

Because Phantoms have a floating skill proficiency and we’re not in urgent need of any of the mental stats, when using point buy we can bump two to 10 and the third to 13 to remove any penalties and open up potential multiclassing minimums.

Consult the Rogue Race Breakdown , nothing changes in what we need.

  • Wood Elf PHB : The standard Elf traits and access to Elven Accuracy combine well with a set of weapon proficiencies that can be traded in to expand Rogue options and an extra 5 feet of walking speed.

The Phantom’s subclass features don’t change what we want from the Rogue Handbook Feats.

Use a Finesse weapon or a Ranged weapon to your preference , but remember that while Wails from the Grave only cares about the distance between your targets,Tokens of the Departed does care about you being within 30 feet.

If your race has weapon proficiencies that can be switched out, you might want to choose one of the following options.

  • Whip PHB : A one-handed finesse slashing weapon with reach. Sure it only does 1d4 damage, but that’s what Sneak Attack dice are for.
  • Scimitar PHB : The only other slashing damage finesse weapon, which might matter if you want to use Slasher so the targets can’t escape your Token range. More damage, 1d6, but no reach.

Like any other Rogue , it’s Leather and Studded leather unless you multiclass .

Example Phantom Build – Can’t defeat Her, so instead I’ll have to be Her

Staring at death, I take a breath, there’s nothing left Now close my eyes, for one last time, and say goodbye Lying naked while the snow falls all around me Drifting closer to the edge but She won’t have me – Oblivion (FFXIV: Heavensward)

Rogue builds are somewhat interesting. Most of the archetypes just give alternate conditions to apply Sneak Attack damage, and Phantom is no exception. Well, half-exception. Phantom doesn’t give a different way to make a target susceptible to Sneak Attack but instead allows the Rogue to apply some damage to a second target. That being said, beyond a few feats that are good to have, most of the Roguish Archetypes still build the same, so this build explores choices made to enhance the flavor of the character.

That flavor is one who harvests the souls of the living in service to some deity of death. We’ll choose the Raven Queen for the example, but any god or goddess of death works. Our primary weapon is mechanically a whip, and would serve fine as-is, but because flavor is free, and we’re going all-in on theme and flavor, we can just say it’s more of a kusarigama , which is sort of like a small scythe on a chain.

The great part of all this flavor and style is that we’re not sacrificing any core competency of being a Rogue to do it; we’re still a Sneak Attack dispenser with a bunch of skills.

We’re using Wood Elf as our race and the default stat spread works fine as-is: +2 Dexterity +1 Wisdom.

We spread out our mental stats like that to remove penalties to synergize more with Phantom’s floating skill proficiency from Whispers of the Dead.

We’re using Wood Elf for a couple of reasons. Primarily, we needed a race with at least one martial weapon proficiency that we can trade out for Whip proficiency using the custom origin rules. Wood Elves come with four proficiencies, so we can trade the other three out for useful tools: Brewer’s Supplies, Cartographer’s Tools, and Cook’s Utensils.

We’re also keeping the Perception proficiency because it’s useful to us. On top of all that, Fleet of Foot increases our Walking speed to 35 and Mask of the Wild allows hiding while only lightly obscured by natural phenomena.

We’re taking the Marine background which would grant us Athletics and Survival, except if we choose Athletics as one of our Rogue options, we can replace it with any skill. We’re choosing Religion to add a little flavor to the build in the form of Faith. Because that choice is entirely for flavor, anything else you prefer to be good at is an option. Marine also gives both Vehicle proficiencies, Land and Water.

From Wood Elf, we get Brewer’s Supplies, Cartographer’s Tools, Cook’s Utensils, and Perception. From Rogue, we get Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Stealth, and Thieves’ Tools. From the Marine background, we get Religion, Survival, and Vehicles (Land and Water).

This Phantom becomes extra useful to the party due to tool synergies. Brewer’s Supplies can turn any water into clean drinkable water. Cartographer’s Tools allow recording a proper map while on the move. Cook’s Utensils have two great benefits.

Combined with Survival, Utensils grant Advantage on checks to forage for food, and then if food is cooked and eaten during a short rest, everyone adds an extra +1 per hit die rolled for recovery.

For our first level Expertise, we’re choosing Athletics to compensate for our 8 Strength and Survival to double down on our tertiary investment in Wisdom. For our sixth level Expertise, we’re choosing Religion, to really bring out the flavor of being a reaper, and Stealth, which works well with our Mask of the Wild hiding.

At fourth level, we pick up Elven Accuracy, adding +1 to Dexterity. This is great for situations where we can get Advantage, such as if we have access to Steady Aim or if we successfully hide before attacking.

At eighth level, we take Slasher, adding another +1 to Dexterity. While this puts us a little behind the fundamental math , Rogues have an ASI at tenth level, which will allow us to catch up.

At tenth level, we take Athlete, adding the last +1 to Dexterity. This gives us a small boost to mobility while also being a hybrid feat. Alternatively, if you really want more Expertise, Skill Expert is never a poor choice.

At twelfth level, Resilient (Constitution) gives us +1 Constitution, rounding us up to 16 and making us proficient in Constitution saves. We already get Advantage on these saves from Tokens of the Departed, but now we’re just being rude to anything asking for a Con save.

At sixteenth level, we pick up Mobile. Increasing our move speed from 35 to 45 is great, but the synergy with Cunning Action means we can ignore difficult terrain as a bonus action.

At nineteenth level, we take an ASI for +2 Wisdom.

About The Author

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Rocco Giusto

Hailing from north of Boston, MA, Rocco has been playing TTRPGs since D&D 3.0 back in 2001. Since then he's been playing different systems on and off over the years. Eventually, he met Random, who then introduced Rocco to Tyler, and together they've been playing TTRPGs over the internet for almost a decade.

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phantom rogue 5e guide

Phantom Rogue 5e Guide: The Shadow of Death

The Rogue is an enjoyable striker class to play in D&D 5th Edition thanks to its extra damage dice, ability to sneak on and off the battlefield, and a slew of skill proficiencies that give them plenty of roleplaying opportunities well.

If you have played as a Rogue a few times or want to take on one of its more unique subclasses for your first time, the Phantom Rogue is an excellent Rogue subclass . Welcome to our Phantom Rogue 5e Guide.

Table of Contents

Key Info Up Front

Book:  Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

  • Feature Levels:  3rd, 9th, 13th, 17th
  • Role:  Striker, Face, Scout
  • Important Abilities:  Dexterity, Constitution
  • Hit Die:  D8

Phantom Rogue Overview

phantom rogues dnd

The Phantom Rogue takes the standard Rogue class and mixes in unique mechanics through the character’s interactions with the dead. This gives the class a unique flavor and some fun mechanics that transform the Rogue and push players to adapt their playstyle accordingly.

However, some players find the Phantom Rogue a bit of a slow-burn that doesn’t find its stride until its level 9 feature. So, if you want to play it, you should either expect that or talk to your Dungeon Master ahead to see if they would be comfortable reworking the subclass a bit to make it find its footing earlier in the campaign.

Ability Scores

Like most Rogue subclasses, your priority Ability should be Dexterity. Getting your Dexterity as high as possible is paramount because it will increase your damage, your ability to sneak, and your AC score.

After your Dexterity, I recommend focusing on Constitution next. This will help you save throws against poisons or disease and ensure you can take a few hits without dying since you will be in the melee range for most combat encounters.

What you focus on next largely depends on the needs of your party. Intelligence is a good option if you want to play the role of information gatherer in your party, which is easier to do thanks to your generous skill proficiencies.

Wisdom is also helpful to help you detect traps, avoid getting surprised by enemies, and tell if NPCs are lying to you. Charisma can also be helpful if your party needs some help with a Face, which Rogues can do admirably if they are built for it correctly.

Regardless of the above three, I recommend always having Strength be your dump stat. You should be using weapons with the finesse trait, meaning you won’t need them for damage, and you won’t get any other benefits from investing points in them.


charlatan rogue

When you pick a background for your Phantom Rogue, I recommend choosing one that makes the most sense with your character’s actual backstory.

This not only helps you flesh out your character’s story and personality more, but it can also help cut down on your many choices. If you want to ensure you don’t waste your background, some options work particularly well for Phantom Rogues.

Charlatan (Player’s Handbook)

The Charlatan is a solid option that gives you proficiency with two tool kits and two skills useful for Rogues.

I also like the Charlatan for the Phantom Rogue because it can naturally incorporate the subclass’ flavor, such as your character having mad money as a traveling psychic that helped people get closure after their loved ones passed. You can even obfuscate how much of what they did was real or fake.

Cloistered Scholar (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)

This background can be useful if you’re looking for knowledge skill proficiencies such as Religion or History. It also gives you two more languages, helping you cover even more possible leads for your party throughout your adventures.

Courtier (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)

This background can work very well with the Phantom Rogue, but only if you want to fill a Face role for your party. If you aren’t looking to handle the NPC interactions, you won’t get much from this background.

Criminal (Player’s Handbook)

This classic Rogue background comes with proficiency with two toolkits and two of the more critical Rogue skills, allowing you to focus on other options for your class skills. This background doesn’t fit as well with the flavor of the Phantom Rogue but still makes plenty of sense as all Rogues typically like stealing things.

Urchin (Player’s Handbook)

Another background gives you proficiency in two Rogue skills and a couple of tool kits. This background fits nearly every type of Rogue exceptionally well, but it does leave you figuring out how exactly your character started communing with the dead.

Phantom Rogue 5e

As a Rogue, you can pick a whopping four skill proficiencies out of a possible eleven. Which ones you pick will depend on your vision for your character and the background, but some options are more usable or better than their peers. Here are the skills available to the Rogue in the order that I think is the most useful.

  • Stealth:  Sneaking is a key part of playing any Rogue, and you’ll want proficiency to stay hidden.
  • Perception:  Perception is a huge plus for any character, but is especially so for a Rogue that may have to find traps, secret pathways or avoid being caught off guard at any given moment.
  • Acrobatics:  Acrobatics can be situational, but I find it very useful as a Rogue to help with climbing the environment and getting to hard-to-reach places both in and out of combat.
  • Persuasion:  Persuasion is only necessary if you plan on being your party’s Face, but if you do, it is an absolute must.
  • Investigation:  Investigation is a skill that is paramount for characters that will focus on gathering information, but it is helpful for all characters because it is used frequently.
  • Insight:  Insight is a valuable skill even if you aren’t the Face so that you can tell whether or not you are being lied to. It also feels particularly well-suited for the Charlatan, Urchin, and Criminal backgrounds.
  • Deception:  Deception is a Face skill you’re better off skipping if you don’t plan on doing much of the talking.
  • Intimidation:  Intimidation is similar to Deception.
  • Sleight of Hand:  Sleight of Hand being so low on this list probably feels weird for a Rogue. Being able to steal things sneakily makes sense for a Rogue, but it doesn’t come up very often unless your DM is running a campaign with a lot of stealing.
  • Athletics:  This is the worst skill to take as a Phantom Rogue since your Strength will likely be dumped anyway.

Phantom Rogue Features

rogueish archetypes

Subclasses are all about their features, and the Phantom Rogue has some great ones. However, it doesn’t hit its stride until its feature at level nine, Tokens of the Departed.

If you start playing the Phantom Rogue and find it too slow or underpowered at early levels, I recommend talking to your Dungeon master about maybe getting that feature a bit early on, just with some small tweaks.

The tweaks I’ve found to work are saving the advantages it gives you for later while also moving the level three feature Wails From The Grave to level nine so that you don’t get everything right away at level three.

Whispers of the Dead

  • Level : 3

This feature is a lot of fun and extremely useful. It allows you to take proficiency in a skill or tool with which you don’t already have proficiency at the end of any short or long rest by being taught by a spirit of the dead. The proficiency goes away when you use it to get proficiency in something else.

This feature is strong because it allows you to adjust your abilities for every situation, ensuring you’re never caught off guard and always have something to offer the rest of the party.

Wails from the Grave

dnd 5e phantom rogue

Wails From The Grave allows you to call upon the dead around you to harm someone after using your sneak attack dice to damage someone else with necrotic damage. You can do this several times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest, which can help you put up some serious damage numbers at higher levels.

To do so, when you hit a target with sneak attack damage, you can add half that number of dice onto another target within 30 feet of you. This feature does start slow but gets better once you start having more sneak attack dice.

Tokens of the Departed

  • Level : 9

This feature is the very core of the Phantom Rogue. It allows you to capture the spirits of creatures that die around you in small objects called Soul Trinkets.

You can carry several trinkets equal to your proficiency bonus at a time, and they come with various benefits, starting with giving you advantage on death saves. Constitution saving throws just for having a trinket on you.

You can also expend the power of those trinkets to perform the following actions. The first is that when you perform a Sneak Attack, you can use a trinket to use Wail From The Grave once immediately for free.

You can also use an action to destroy a trinket, speak to the spirit held within, and ask it a question. When you do this, the spirit will answer you, but it has no obligation to be truthful and only knows as much as it did in life.

Capturing the spirit tokens can also make things more annoying for your dungeon master, so you should talk to them when you play this subclass. This is because you gain the spirit tokens when a creature fully dies, not just when it reaches 0 hit points, meaning that your DM will have to track death saving throws for every enemy you fight.

I recommend instead giving you the spirit tokens when a creature reaches 0 hit points, but making it only work on enemies with a CR above 0 so that you can’t exploit the feature.

  • Level : 13

Ghost Walk allows you to partially pass into the spiritual realm to take a form similar to that of a ghost for ten minutes as a bonus action. While in this form, you move with a flight speed of 10 feet, you hover, and attacks have a disadvantage when made against you.

You can also pass through creatures and objects as if they are difficult terrain, but if you end your turn in one, you take 1d10 force damage. This feature can only be used once per long rest, or if you destroy a soul trinket, you can end it early with another bonus action.

Death’s Friend

  • Level : 17

This feature represents your strengthening tie to the dead and the spirits around you worldwide. This brings two benefits. The first is that when you use your Wails From The Grave feature, it damages both the first enemy you hit and the second enemy.

The second benefit is that when you complete a long rest without any Soul Trinkets, you wake up with one gifted to you by a nearby spirit.

Phantom Rogue Races

One significant part of 5e is that you can make any race work with any subclass. However, certain races have features and ability modifiers that fit particular classes and subclasses better than others. These are the very best options for the Phantom Rogue.

dnd bugbear

Book:  Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

This version of the Bugbear is one of the best races for the Rogue. This is because its Surprise Attack feature works very well with the Rogue’s Sneak Attack to start combat. Its two-weapon fighting is even better because it allows you to perform two sneak attacks in that first turn, allowing you to shell out a massive burst of damage.

Deep Gnome

Book: Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

This race has features that help buff your innate abilities as a Rogue. These include 120 feet of Darkvision, free uses of Disguise Self, hiding you from divination magic, and Svirfneblin Camouflage to improve your stealth. This is my favorite race for all Rogues because of just how much it makes the base of Rogues more consistently effective.

kenku 5e dd

This race works particularly well if you build your Phantom Rogue to cover as much skill utility as possible. It gives you two additional skills and grants you Kenku Recall, which is excellent for ensuring your most essential skill checks succeed.

kobold dnd beyond

This race helps you get even more Sneak Attacks in by using its Draconic Cry feature, while Kobold Legacy gives you access to Booming Blade, which is one of the most potent spells for any melee-based Rogue.


Book:  Mystic Odysseys of Theros

This race is a solid choice because it increases your Dexterity and Charisma alongside two free skills and resistance to magic. These are useful for the Phantom Rogue, especially if you want to boost your Charisma to help out as the party’s Face.

Phantom Rogue Feats

dnd Deep Gnome

Taking feats allows players to customize their character, helping them further specialize their abilities. Some feats increase your ability scores, give you access to magic, or introduce entirely new mechanics for you to use. The best accomplishments that I recommend for the Phantom Rogue are these.

Book:  Player’s Handbook

This feat helps buff your Initiative, helping you go first in battle, which is great for Rogues of all types, especially Phantom Rogues.

Dual Wielder

This feat is a bit tricky to use, as you shouldn’t use it for the extra damage or AC, but instead, use it to double the number of sneak attacks you can perform.

Dungeon Delver

If you are in a dungeon-heavy campaign, I cannot recommend this feat enough to help you navigate the dungeons and get the most out of your Rogue skills.

This feat is great for Rogues and allows you to hit and run during battles. With this feat, you can run in by an enemy, strike them, and then dash away to safety to help you avoid taking damage. This makes this one particularly strong if you have a lower Constitution or AC.

This feat will come up frequently as a rogue because you are much more likely to roll low numbers with your sneak attack damage, allowing you to maximize your damage frequently.

Phantom Rogue Equipment

For your Phantom Rogue, there are some staple pieces of equipment that you’ll want to get your hands on. For your weapon, you’ll want to get either Daggers or Shortswords for dual-wielding or a Rapier if you want the one weapon, which I recommend so that you have a free hand to use Soul Trinkets.

You’ll start with Leather for your armor, but you should get your hands on Studded Leather as early as possible. Once you get Studded Leather, you won’t need to look for armor anymore and should look instead for magic replacements.

Speaking of magic items, here are some of the very best magic items in 5e for the Phantom Rogue.

Common Magic Items

Horn of silent alarm.

Horn of Silent Alarm

Book:  Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

This is a great tool for scouts early in the game and allows them to send signals to their party in a simple but cheap method.

Masquerade Tattoo

This solid magic item acts as a cheaper Hat of Disguises. It gives you one free use of Disguise Self each day, allowing you to infiltrate areas without having to burn a spell slot from one of your party members.

Uncommon Magic Items

Cloak of elvenkind.

dnd Cloak of Elvenkind

Book:  Dungeon Master’s Guide

This is a must-have for stealth-based characters. It will give you advantage on Stealth checks against vision and gives enemy creatures disadvantage if they try to spot you.

Eyes of the Eagle

Eyes of the Eagle

If you are paranoid about enemies being able to sneak up on you, this is the magic item for you. If you pair this with proficiency and Expertise in Perception, you will never have to worry about not knowing when an enemy is nearby.

Slippers of Spider Climbing

Slippers of Spider Climbing

These slippers allow you to easily walk on any surface, preventing you from having to roll checks to climb up the wall. It also gives you plenty of new opportunities for stealth, such as being on the ceiling in the dark.

Rare Magic Items

Amulet of health.

Amulet of Health

This item sets your Constitution to 19, which may be more useful for another character in your party. However, suppose you can get it early in your campaign. In that case, it will save you from investing ability points into your Constitution, allowing you to get more of the above feats to improve your character in other ways.

Sword of Wounding

While the Sword of Wounding does not deal as much damage outright as a +2 weapon, it can be very useful for chipping away at the health of enemies that take a while to kill. This is because it deals an additional stacking 1d4 damage per turn, allowing you to stack up the damage over time.

Very Rare Magic Items

Manual of quickness of action.

Manual of Quickness of Action

This item is one of the most broadly impactful for any Rogue. It increases their Dexterity and even bumps up their maximum by two, allowing them to get a +6 Dexterity modifier.

Legendary Magic Items

Blood Fury Tattoo

This tattoo comes with various benefits for your Phantom Rogue. Not only does it give you bonus damage that also heals you, but its damage counts as bonus damage that is doubled by critical hits.

The tattoo also gives you a counterattack using your reaction that has advantage, which means you can add your sneak attack damage onto it for some serious off-turn damage.

Cloak of Invisibility

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

If you’re going to be sneaking a lot, being invisible is a huge help.

Ioun Stone (Mastery)

This stone gives you a +1 bonus to your proficiency bonus. This can be huge for Rogues because of their many skills and their Expertise, effectively doubling that +1 to +2 to the most important of their skills.

How to Play a Phantom Rogue

Phantom Rogue


When roleplaying a Phantom Rogue, you should make an effort to have your character have a unique view of the dead. I like to run it as them not seeing death as the end because they know that people become spirits afterward.

I think it also helps to establish how your character came to have such a connection with the dead because it is a very unusual ability to have in the Forgotten Realms. You can take numerous approaches for this, and I recommend incorporating your character’s backstory and selected background to make it fit as well into their character as possible.

For this, you should also talk to your Dungeon Master to find what works well within the setting and your character’s history. You can then use that to influence how your character views death and their connection to it, as well as their personality.

However, your character’s connection to death may make some other characters uncomfortable, which you should incorporate into your interactions and whether or not you’re willing to use some of your abilities in front of others.

Depending on your choices with your build, you should also focus on using your proficient skills to their utmost ability, whether acting as the party’s Face, scouting ahead, or gathering information.

This will help give your character ways to have interactions and usefulness outside of combat, which will help flesh them out and help your entire party. You should also try to capture the spirits of important characters since you’ll never know when being able to ask them a question will help you move the plot along.

The Phantom Rogue class shines when your character gets into combat. At the very start of combat, or if right before it, you should try to get a surprise attack to start things off and shell out as much damage in one burst as possible.

After doing that, you should try and get advantage on your attacks as frequently as possible to keep rolling extra damage dice.

To do this, you can use your Cunning Action to move around the battlefield without incurring extra damage from attacks of opportunity. You can also use it to cover great distances and take down the most vulnerable targets like casters and ranged attackers.

Since you can cover so much ground in a single turn, you can take out these high-value targets to remove them from encounter as quickly as possible and keep them from being as influential in the battle as possible.

Question: Is Phantom Rogue Good?

Answer: Phantom Rogue is a unique and solid class to play in 5e, but you may want to go with a different subclass if your game isn’t planning on reaching levels nine or higher.

Question: What is a Phantom Rogue in DnD?

Answer: The Phantom Rogue is a Rogue that has a connection with death to draw power from nearby spirits to augment their abilities and strengthen themselves.

Question: What 5e Book is the Phantom Rogue in?

Answer: The Phantom Rogue is part of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

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Dungeons & Dragons: How to Build the Perfect Phantom Rogue

D&D's Phantom subclass grant a spooky edge to the normally-drab Rogue, calling upon the souls of the dead to boost their offense and defense.

Most Rogue subclasses in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition are pretty ordinary. The Arcane Trickster gets Wizards spells and the Soulknife a few psionic abilities, but players looking to take supernatural weirdness to the next level as the Rogue should use the Phantom subclass. Introduced in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything , the grimly-flavored Phantom draws their power from souls that have already passed onto the other side.

This manifests in two primary subclass features. The first is Wails from the Grave, which lets them deal half their Sneak Attack damage to a secondary target a few times per day. The second are soul trinkets, small totems of the departed the Phantom can generate as a reaction whenever they see a creature die. Having these trinkets gives the Phantom advantage on Constitution and death saving throws, and they can be spent to gain access to a range of extra abilities, including a one-question version of Speak with Dead and additional uses of Wails from the Grave. Here's how to make the most of the Phantom.

Phantom Build Summary

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: How to Build a Melee Bard

Prioritize the Phantom Rogue's Dexterity and Constitution

One of the great parts about playing a Rogue is that they don't really need any ability scores besides Dexterity. Other classes have to worry about spellcasting stats and Unarmored Defense, but Rogues get the bulk of their defensive options from Evasion and Uncanny Dodge. The Phantom even gets a further boost to said defense through one of their later features, Ghost Walk. While in Ghost Walk's wraith-like altered state the Phantom can walk through walls, fly and impose disadvantage on attack rolls made against them.

If players happen to roll a second high ability score naturally, put it into Constitution to give the Phantom even more staying power. After that, assign ability scores in whatever order feels right for the character, though it's worth noting that Strength will probably never come into play, making it an ideal candidate for last place.

Why Changeling Is The Best Race For a Phantom Rogue

While the Reborn race from Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft seems well-suited to the moody tone of the Phantom, there's overlap between the Reborn's Deathless Nature feature and the Phantom's soul trinkets. Both grant advantage on death saving throws, a feature which doesn't meaningfully stack. Players who don't mind sacrificing a bit of effectiveness in favor of flavor can still take the Reborn, but the best choice is actually the Changeling . Changelings get two bonus skill proficiencies of their choice and can shapeshift to look like anyone, which combines well with their +2 Charisma if the Phantom wants to end up serving as the party's face for social encounters.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: How to Ensure Your Homebrew Class Is Balanced

The Best Feats for Phantom Rogues

Since the Phantom Rogue's only essential stat is Dexterity, this leaves quite a few opportunities to take feats instead of ability score improvements. Which ones players will want to pick up depends on their fighting style. Ranged Rogues will want to pick up Sharpshooter, while players fighting up close should duel-wield a rapier and an offhand dagger with the Defensive Duelist feat. Sharpshooter lets players take a -5 penalty to hit in exchange for a +10 bonus to damage, while Defensive Duelist lets players add their proficiency bonus to their Armor Class once a round.

Regardless of fighting style, Shadow Touched is a great pick. Its +1 to a mental stat can go to Charisma in this case, and use of the Invisibility spell once a day is an amazing boon to any Rogue. If those bonuses weren't enough, players also get to pick any first-level spell from the Illusion or Necromancy schools. Silent Image is a good choice, giving players another tool in their box of tricks for fooling enemies.

Lucky is a great feat for any character, letting players reroll any die three times a day. Finally, as choices specifically for Rogues, Mage Slayer and Sentinel each grant different ways to make a melee attack as a reaction . Sneak Attack only activates once per turn, but taking an attack as a reaction on a separate round gets around that restriction and can massively up a player's damage output.

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Phantom Rogue in D&D 5e | Full Subclass Guide (2023)

Posted by Joab | Sep 2, 2023 | Class Guides , For Players , Rogue Guides | 0

Phantom Rogue in D&D 5e | Full Subclass Guide (2023)

The Phantom Rogue is the most macabre of the Rogue subclasses in D&D 5e, but they wouldn’t have it any other way!

Calling on spirits of the deceased for aid, the Phantom Rogue has a unique bond with death. In time, they even become like ghosts themselves.

Whether gaining knowledge from the spirits around them or using trinkets containing those spirits’ life essence, the Phantom Rogue straddles the line between life and death to dangerous effect!

Sure, it’s grim. But you can’t say it’s not effective!

In this full subclass guide, we’re covering the Phantom Rogue in D&D 5e!

Table of Contents

What is the Phantom Rogue in D&D 5e?

The Phantom Rogue is a powerful subclass option for Rogues who want to really excel in mid-game levels.

These characters have a mystical connection with death that allows them to communicate with lingering spirits. This can be used to gain new skill proficiencies, gain knowledge, or enhance their own vitality.

However, it’s when the Phantom Rogue unleashes these spirits alongside their Sneak Attack that their foes get a whole new reason to be scared of ghosts!

The nature of this subclass’s features inclines towards a character who is evil or, at least, not necessarily good. With Phantom Rogues being more common as lieutenants for powerful necromancers and/or servants of the gods of death, it’s not surprising.

Furthermore, Phantom Rogues tend to be much more common in places like the Shadowfell and Thay which aren’t exactly known for their hospitality.

However, this doesn’t mean that a good-aligned character can’t take up the mantle of the Phantom Rogue!

Much of the flavor of this subclass comes from the spirits that your Rogue communes with, so you could easily have the spirits be more like helpful guardians than spectral prisoners.

Either way, to walk the path of a Phantom Rogue is to walk the razor-thin line between life and death.

The Phantom Rogue appears alongside the Soulknife Rogue in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Role in the Party

Choosing the Phantom Roguish Archetype at level 3 gives you a solid mix of buffs.

You gain extra skill proficiencies and increase your damage output. Additionally, you get extra utility abilities, particularly when it comes to those involving infiltration and gathering information.

Your level 9 ability, Tokens of the Departed, relies on enemies dying within 30 feet of you.

Because of this, the Phantom isn’t particularly suited to staying in the party’s backline. You’ll want to be up close and personal as much as possible or at least mid-range to get full use out of your features.

Functioning as a type of skirmisher with a ton of ghostly utility and tricks up their sleeves, Phantom Rogues are experts at taking advantage of the confusion in combat to hit their enemies where it hurts!

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Phantom Rogue Features 5e

So let’s get into the good stuff: the unique features that make the Phantom Rogue archetype what it is.

Sure, they’re definitely on the macabre side, but even the most righteous of party members might look the other way when they see how much value these bring your group!

Recommended: Sneak Attack in D&D 5e

Whispers of the Dead (Level 3)

Starting at level 3, the Phantom Rogue gets their Whispers of the Dead feature.

Whenever you finish a short or long rest, you can choose one skill or tool proficiency that you lack and gain it, as a ghostly presence shares its knowledge with you. You lose this proficiency when you use this feature to choose a different proficiency that you lack.

If your party finds itself with some gaps in their skill proficiencies, you’re able to fill that hole.

By spending a short rest to talk with your friends on the other side, this feature can potentially be a game-changer. While nobody in your party has proficiency in knowledge of Religion, you can have a quick chat with one of your ghost friends to gain it yourself.

Who knows? That last-minute proficiency might be enough to help you uncover the secret Elven ritual that leads to a hidden treasure cache!

Being able to gain new proficiencies with a short rest means that you will usually be able to have the right skill for the job when you need it most!

Wails from the Grave (Level 3)

Extra skill and tool proficiencies not enough?

No fear! Have a swanky upgrade to your Sneak Attack!

Immediately after you deal your Sneak Attack damage to a creature on your turn, you can target a second creature that you can see within 30 feet of the first creature. Roll half the number of Sneak Attack dice for your level (round up), and the second creature takes necrotic damage equal to the roll’s total, as wails of the dead sound around them for a moment. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Being able to throw some extra damage to other enemies is very handy. It’s particularly useful that the feature’s range is 30 feet from your target. This means that you can still use the ability if you’re attacking from a short distance with a crossbow, bow, or other such ranged weapon.

The best part of this feature, however, is how well it scales.

At level 3, your Sneak attack damage is an extra 2d6 on top of your weapon’s damage. That means that Wails From the Grave is adding an extra 1d6 damage to a secondary enemy.

At low levels, it’s a so-so ability. Every little bit helps, but you probably won’t be jumping for joy over the extra 4 damage. But the damage increases in a hurry as you level up and gain more dice for your Sneak Attack damage.

Considering the nature of action economy in D&D 5e , it’s pretty rare that you’ll be fighting just a single enemy, so you can expect to get a lot of use out of this feature!

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Tokens of the Departed (Level 9)

Level 9 is where the Phantom Rogue really hits their stride. Not only is your Sneak Attack dealing 5d6 damage (which means your Wails From the Grave is dealing a respectable 3d6), but you also gain the next key feature for the Phantom archetype.

With Tokens of the Departed, you use your reaction to steal a sliver of life essence from a creature that expires within 30 feet of you. This essence takes the form of a trinket (determined by the DM or rolled on the Trinkets table of the Player’s Handbook) and appears in your hand.

You can have a number of these trinkets in your possession equal to your proficiency bonus. So you can hold 4 trinkets at level 9, 5 at level 13, and 6 at level 17.

You shouldn’t have too much difficulty keeping stocked on these soul trinkets. Just make sure that you don’t get overexcited and use your reaction in a situation where you might have needed it for your Uncanny Dodge or an opportunity attack instead!

Soul Trinket Options

Soul Trinkets have three distinct uses:

  • While you have a soul trinket on your person, you have advantage on death saving throws and Constitution saving throws.
  • When you deal Sneak Attack damage on your turn, you can destroy one of the soul trinkets on your person to immediately use Wails from the Grave without expending a use of that ability.
  • As an action, you can destroy a soul trinket no matter where it’s located. When you do so, the spirit appears and will answer a single question that you have for it.

First things first, you will want to make sure that you always have at least one soul trinket on your person.

Effects that require Constitution saves are usually very nasty and death saving throws are always tense. Having advantage on both of these is an incredible bonus.

With the second option for soul trinkets, you can dish out more damage by using your Wails From the Grave ability more. If you’re diligent in recovering soul trinkets during combat, this means that you’ll always have Wails From the Grave handy.

Finally, we have the third soul trinket ability. Being able to ask questions of the spirits can be useful, but you have to be aware of the limitations of this ability.

The spirit only knows the languages that it knew in life and it is not obliged to answer your question truthfully. The spirit will answer quickly so that it can be freed.

This can be useful for gaining information about an enemy’s base, plans, or motivations. I mean, talking with the dead is pretty much the ultimate form of recon!

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Parleying with Spirits – A Suggestion

For Dungeon Masters, I would recommend allowing the Phantom to quickly parley with the spirit when using their third Soul Trinket ability option.

The spirits probably aren’t happy about being dead (especially if the Phantom was the one who did them in), but having every spirit be disagreeable or deceitful really ruins the appeal of this feature.

Some spirits may just want to be understood or might figure that a quick and truthful answer is the fastest way to finding their eternal rest. Others might have a chip on their shoulder, but that opens up roleplaying opportunities rather than just invalidating an entire ability.

Adding in a Persuasion and/or Insight check adds depth to this ability while also rewarding the Phantom who has also put some points in their Charisma skills.

The DC can vary depending on what spirit is being talked to. The spirit of the Boss might relish one last opportunity to mislead the party, but a regular mercenary might have no such motivations.

You might also consider how long the spirit has been stored in the token.

A few hours after their spirit is stored, the Boss creature is still fuming. It might take a DC 20 Persuasion check to get them to work with the party. If they’ve been trapped for months, they might be more desperate to be freed. It might only be a DC 10 in such a situation or possibly won’t even require a check!

If the spirit can be reasoned with, this becomes even more fun for the player. If the spirit remains disagreeable, at least the player had a reasonable chance of successfully conversing with it. Because of that, they are unlikely to write off the feature altogether.

Recommended: Complete Guide to the Rogue in D&D 5e

Ghost Walk (Level 13)

At level 13, the Phantom Rogue is better able to blur the line between the realms of the living and the dead.

As a bonus action, you assume a spectral form. While in this form, you have a flying speed of 10 feet, you can hover, and attack rolls have disadvantage against you. You can also move through creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain, but you take 1d10 force damage if you end your turn inside a creature or an object. You stay in this form for 10 minutes or until you end it as a bonus action. To use this feature again, you must finish a long rest or destroy one of your soul trinkets as part of the bonus action you use to activate Ghost Walk. With the Ghost Walk ability, the Phantom can use a bonus action to assume a spectral form. In this form, they have a flying speed of 10ft, can hover, and attack rolls against them are made at disadvantage.

Even beyond the obvious utility of being able to pass through walls, this is also a fantastic defensive feature.

For 10 whole minutes, all attacks against you are at disadvantage! While magical weapons are typically useful for overcoming ghosts’ resistances, that doesn’t matter to the Phantom! Magic weapon or not, the attack is at disadvantage!

The flying speed is a nice little cherry on top.

Typically, spells like Fly are useful for the mobility that they grant the targets. While 10 feet is a rather slow speed, it’s enough to get you through walls and/or out of trouble in a pinch.

Death’s Friend (Level 17)

The last of the Phantom Rogue’s abilities is gained at level 17.

As it just so happens, the benefits of becoming Death’s Friend are simple but very useful!

When you use your Wails From the Grave, you can deal the necrotic damage to both the first and the second creature. At the end of a long rest, a soul trinket appears in your hand if you don’t have any soul trinkets, as the spirits of the dead are drawn to you.

First, the necrotic damage from your Wails From the Grave feature now gets dealt to both of the creatures that you choose. Particularly for the one that you hit with the Sneak Attack to activate Wails From the Grave, this is going to hurt!

The second benefit of this feature is that the spirits of the dead are now drawn to you.

At the end of a long rest, you gain a soul trinket if you didn’t already have one on you. Unless you’ve burned through all of your soul trinkets, you’ll never make a death or Constitution saving throw without disadvantage again!

I can’t help but chuckle at the idea that this trinket is just some completely random person who happened to die while you were sleeping. Their spirit found you and is now going to hang out until you decide to use the trinket.

While Death’s Friend isn’t an earth-shattering ability, it’s a perfect capstone feature that does well in buffing the rest of the Phantom Rogue’s kit to this point.

phantom rogue 5e backstory


So we already touched on a couple of ways that a Phantom Rogue may be connected to your game’s world.

Such talents aren’t uncommon in societies where necromancy is studied or revered. Additionally, the Shadar-Kai of the Shadowfell are masters of these dark talents.

But these origins can be somewhat difficult to tie in with the party. Most parties are inclined towards “good” and the macabre machinations of the Phantom Rogue would certainly raise some eyebrows.

To distance the Phantom from the dark side, you’ll want to consider a few things.

How did they learn these techniques? Do they attempt to hide these abilities from their comrades?

It’s possible that they learned the techniques by rising in the ranks of a Thieves Guild.

Perhaps the guild leadership reveres a god of death? Maybe these techniques were taught to the guild’s founder long ago and have since been passed down through the generations? The character may not know (or care) about the darker origins of the techniques and views them as a means to an end.

As I mentioned in my Top 10 Subclasses in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything , this is the class that I was most excited to play when that book was released. And I had an absolute blast!

In that campaign, I found myself loosely basing my character’s Phantom abilities on Klaus from The Umbrella Academy . He doesn’t fully understand how they work and is trying to learn to live with them. Regardless, they are useful for getting him out of (and into…) trouble!

It added some very interesting elements to our game as the character was learning to use his “curse” for the benefit of himself and those he cares about.

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Of course, there’s also the major opportunity here for a near-death experience that left the Phantom Rogue changed. The brush was so close that they gained the attention of death itself.

The problem? Death still hasn’t looked away…

Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be discovered…

Is the Phantom Rogue Good in D&D 5e?

The Phantom Rogue is definitely a subclass worth playing if your game will be reaching the middle levels.

It takes a while for this subclass to build traction as its features all largely scaffold on top of each other. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it’s a bit of a grind for the first several levels.

Your first major leap forward comes at level 9 when you gain your Tokens of the Departed ability. After that, level 13 is your next big power leap with the Ghost Walk ability.

At lower levels, Whispers of the Dead gives you some general skill utility and Wails From the Grave throws out some extra damage. But there’s nothing particularly shiny or mind-blowing about this subclass in those lower levels. The hardest limitation at the early levels is that you can only use Wails From the Grave 2-3 times per long rest until you can start collecting your soul trinkets.

Once you hit level 9 though, all bets are off. The Phantom Rogue becomes an absolute beast that offers a ton of value to the party. More uses of (and more damage from) Wails From the Grave helps you pile on the hurt while also keeping utility options open.

If you don’t plan on your campaign spending a fair amount of time at level 9 or beyond, you might enjoy playing something else like an Arcane Trickster or a Swashbuckler instead. Those subclasses get defining features at earlier levels that would be more ideal for early-level campaigns that aren’t expected to get to the higher levels.

But if mid-level play is going to happen though, the Phantom Rogue is definitely worth playing!

Related: Ranking Every Rogue Subclass in D&D 5e

Conclusion – The Phantom Rogue in D&D 5e Guide

Whether you’re drawn to the macabre, enjoy finding creative solutions to problems, or both, the Phantom is a solid Rogue subclass worth considering.

While this subclass suffers a bit in the early game, it’s rarely an issue that the party can’t deal with. ( See: all early-level Wizards.) When the Phantom gets the ability to use their soul trinkets, the gloves come off!

I’m a sucker for class options that blend thematic flavor with unique mechanics that complement the base class’s features. In that regard, this subclass definitely stands out!

Do you have a character concept for a Phantom Rogue that you’d like to share? Got any questions I can help with? Let’s chat in the comments!

Also sign up for the Tabletop Joab newsletter to get updates on all of the happenings as we release more content!

Until next time, stay creepy you dastardly Phantoms you!

phantom rogue 5e backstory

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About the author.


Part-time Druid, Full-time Hobo. Obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons and a close personal friend of Pocket (an interdimensional teleporting ferret).

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LitRPG Reads

5 Interesting D&D Kobold Backstory Examples

DND Kobold Backstory Ideas

I’ve got some great D&D kobold backstory ideas for you on this page. I created them with LitRPG Adventures Workshop , an RPG content created I made that uses the GPT-3 API from OpenAI. Yes, I got access to one of the world’s most advanced AI language models, and I used it for Dungeons & Dragons backstories! (I’ve also been working on a D&D random encounter tables  collection that you might want to check out.) Browse the character backstories below then keep reading to learn more about how to create your own.

D&D Kobold Backstory Examples

Here’s just a few D&D kobold backstory examples for you to check out. I’ve got some male and some female in a variety of classes. The LitRPG Adventures Workshop will allow you to create backstories by combining dozens of character classes and races. Here’s some kobold backstories for you.

  • Male Kobold Cleric Backstory
  • Female Kobold Shadow Knight Backstory
  • Male Kobold Ranger Backstory
  • Female Kobold Bard Backstory
  • Male Kobold Warlock Backstory

Male Kobold Cleric

Born in Oeldar (Grabisco Kingdom)

Or check out my DND Backstory Generator

Kobold Backstory:

Born in the great city of Oeldar, Rumple’s family had lived in the city for generations. They were known as diplomats, traders and, of course, clerics. Rumple was always a precocious child, and he devoured all the stories of gods and monsters that he could find. He also found solace in prayer and offerings to the gods.

When he grew of age, Rumple and his parents moved to Zokol and he joined the priesthood. But it was a dark time for his family, for the clerics of Zan were growing in power, and it declared war on Zokol. Rumple and his family all fought valiantly against the acolytes of Zan, but when Rumple’s father died, Rumple took it hard and ran away from Zokol, vowing to never return until the acolytes of Zan were defeated.


Rumple is a devout cleric who truly believes in all of the gods. He is a friend to all people, and he is never hesitant to help others, even if he might be in danger. He is also quite curious, and he loves to learn more about the world and the gods.


Rumple is a kobold who has a great love for the color black. He is as black as the night when he wears his servant’s robes, and he is as red as blood when he wears battle robes. He has a large scar across his face, which he tells people is from a battle with an orc.

Start of Character:

He has decided to explore the Kingdom of Grabisco and fight against the dark power of Zan.

Female Kobold Shadow Knight

Born in Yalun (Grabisco Kingdom)

D&D Kobold Backstory

Growing up, Nrothklay was different. Her family was sure that she was a normal, healthy kobold. She went to bed hungry and learned how to scrounge for food. She trained with her tribe on the basics of combat and hunting, and she did her best in everything she did. She was a kobold who wanted to be the best. When she found out that her tribe was going to be brought in to the service of the High Priest of Zan, she didn’t hesitate to agree. The High Priest of Zan gave her a new life. She was given top-of-the-line training, and was able to eat and rest regularly. It didn’t take long for her to be a full-fledged priest. By the time she was 15, she had already been given a party of acolytes to lead into battle. She had the opportunity to serve the High Priest of Zan for years to come, defending the lands of Grabisco against paganism.

She’s proud and confident, but also a little overconfident. She can be rude to others but eventually finds her way out of her comfort zone to be a good friend.

Nrothklay is very tall and thin for a kobold, standing at 4’ 6”. She has purple eyes and the kobold scales typical of her kind. Her voice is soft and feminine. She has twin daggers at her waist and a shield at her back. Her hair is short and black.

She’s in the middle of a dangerous quest to defeat the High Priest of Zan, a quest that will result in the death of the people she’s ever known.

Male Kobold Ranger

Born in Aelondae (Grabisco Kingdom)

Kobold Backstory Idea:

Long ago, Aelondae was the northern half of the Kingdom of Atyree, now called Grabisco. The southern half, Fyrestone, had been established by the kobolds. When the two realms united under the name of Atyree, they were united under one monarch. Ibetheidel, a young kobold, was the first ruler of both halves of the kingdom.

When he married a human woman, the first human queen, the humans did not take kindly to the union. The queen was killed and the kobold king killed himself, leaving the humans to rule over the kobolds. Ibetheidel was a strong leader and very strong in magic. He had a sword that he called Azureflame.

It was an expertly crafted blade of blue steel, sword and sheath both made entirely of metal. Ibetheidel is said to be the only one who could wield it, due to the magic that ran through the blade. The loss of his wife and probable mistreatment by the humans caused Ibetheidel to begin the long road to revenge. He gathered his people and set out, returning to Aelondae and claiming it once again.

He founded the city of Aelondae and began to strengthen the city. He would strike against the humans every chance he got. Then, he made his greatest mistake. He raided the camp of his enemy and stole their treasure back. The leader of the humans, a powerful fighter, slain his wife and son. Ibetheidel was enraged in an almost mad rage. He was able to keep his cool long enough to defeat his opponent, but it was too late.

The bow that Ibetheidel used was stolen from the leader. The leader’s family then became the leaders of the humans in the north. Ibetheidel left Aelondae for the last time. He plans on returning, but it will take time. He needs to gather support and increase his power.

Although he is swift to anger, Ibetheidel is quick to calm himself as well. He is a brilliant strategist and usually thinks things through well. He does not easily give up on friends and will do anything he can for them. He loves being a ranger .

He has dark red hair and bright red eyes. He is rather slender. He has a short beard and long hair. He usually wears light leather armor and carries a short sword and a long bow.

Ibetheidel is currently working to regain Aelondae for the kobolds. He has a goal to accomplish and a long way to go. However, he is determined to finish what he started.

Qasha Raulin

Female Kobold Bard

Born in The Town of Fyrestone (Grabisco Kingdom)

D&D Kobold Backstory:

Qasha Raulin is a storyteller. She can perform any kind of music and any kind of story. Her skills have brought her a great deal of fame in the towns she has visited. Qasha is a half-kobold, half-human, so she looks more like a kobold than a human. Her hair is green and her skin is covered in scales.

Half of her face is covered in scars and burns from an accident with a potion a few years ago. Her love of stories led her to become a folk hero and then a bard . After realizing she was not as talented as the bard who trained her , she turned to the life of a rogue.

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Fantasy RPG Random Tables Books

Qasha is very talkative. She loves to talk about herself and her amazing exploits. She can’t stop herself from thinking she’s the best at everything she does. She’s tried to exploit her talent and be a storyteller, but she’s not quite as good. She hasn’t quite figured out that she would be better off as a rogue, but she’s working on it.

Qasha is a half-kobold, half-human, so she looks more like a kobold than a human. Her hair is green and her skin is covered in scales. Half of her face is covered in scars and burns from an accident with a potion a few years ago. She wears simple and comfortable clothing when she’s not performing.

She is currently traveling the Kingdoms of Grabisco, searching for a tavern that will allow her to perform and show off her amazing skills.

Male Kobold Warlock

Born in Istabela (Grabisco Kingdom)

Kobold Backstory Idea

Badell was born a slave to the Kobold’s royal family. He was treated nicely by his owners, but they never let him forget that he was still property. One day a human slave was brought into the kingdom. The Kobolds tortured this slave every day, but he never gave up information for his new captors.

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phantom rogue 5e backstory

One night Badell sneaked into the torture chamber and killed the human. He then baked the human’s body, ate the body, and fled the kingdom. Badell traveled far and wide and learned many secrets. He put on dark robes and started serving the forces of evil. He’s a deceitful little bugger, and he’ll tell you whatever you want if you’ll let him live a little longer.

Kobold Character Personality:

Mean, deceitful, and power hungry. Badell would say and do anything to get his way. He’d rather look like a total fool than let someone else look better than him. He enjoys a good meal, a warm bed, and a good fight. (Sound like your typical D&D kobold backstory idea?)

Kobold Character Appearance:

Badell has orange scales, long claws, and a curly tail. He’s a short and stocky little guy, and he can hold his own in a fight. He’s a little older than most, so he generally requires a little more sleep.

Badell is a wanted man in most kingdoms. Not only is he a warlock, but he also has a bounty on his head from the Kobolds. He’s found a new home in the Kingdom of Grabisco, and he’s hiding out there for now

D&D Kobold Backstory Ideas Generator

If you want to craft your own D&D kobold backstory, head over to LitRPG Adventures Workshop today. Once you’re a member, you can create your own RPG character backstories and browse our library of thousands of already generated characters, magic items , spells, monsters, and much more.

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Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Dungeons & Dragons: 10 Backstory Ideas For A Rogue

Give your Dungeons & Dragons campaign a Rogue they'll never forget with these backstory prompts.

Rogues are fun, aren't they? The sneaky ones of Dungeons & Dragons can function surprisingly well by themselves by being stealthy, but in an actual fight, they outstand themselves through teamwork, making them a unique choice among all classes. However, combat and sneaking around are only parts of the game; character creation is also about the roleplaying that will come from it, and that brings us to one of the most entertaining parts to create: the backstory.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Best Species For A Rogue Character

In case you're stuck with your backstory, here you have some concepts that you can use for your character. You can choose one or even multiple concepts and combine them, to make a more fleshed-out character.

10 The Robin Hood

It's common to see many people confused about how to pull off a class such as the Rogue as a hero. Their idea revolves around being criminals, after all. Still, you can be a Rogue without being a criminal. But more importantly, good and evil are very relative.

Nothing stops you from having a Robin Hood-like personality. Not necessarily stealing from the rich and giving it to the poor (though you could do that), but more so in how your character can do criminal activities because they firmly believe that whatever they're doing is for the greater good. Your character does the good thing on their own accord – perfect for a Chaotic or True Good character.

Considering Rogues have the ability to do enormous amount of damage in a single hit, especially if you are an Assassin, being an actual professional killer is a good concept to go with. You won't be very professional if you're a low-level character, but that will improve over time.

Being the perfect assassin, through stealth, disguises, deception, and then the assassination itself is highly doable here. The biggest issue with this concept is that would require you to act a bit on your own. The heavy plate Paladin will not help you on your stealth checks, after all. But your friends could distract people while you do something else; it's all about synergy.

This concept can be a bit similar to the previous one in execution - they even match well together - but instead of focusing on the kill, you just disguise yourself to get information, an item, or whatever you need at the moment.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Things You Should Never Do As A Rogue

This is also a fun concept for those who enjoy social interaction and high Charisma in their characters. You'll need to convince, intimidate or lie your way around your problems. That even leads up to interesting sessions in the game besides simply adding to your story, considering everyone at the table enjoys this type of roleplay.

7 The Lone Wolf

This is probably what most players already go for with their Rogues - or at least try to - but it needs to be addressed. They usually stay by themselves, don't interact much or do well with others, and speak through actions rather than words. The good old Lone Wolf . You can even easily mix this concept with all the others here.

Be mindful, however, that this can be a difficult concept to use in a group game. D&D revolves around teamwork, so a character that antagonizes working with others can be an issue. Still, you can start as a rough person who slowly gets attached to the rest of the characters and becomes a more likable guy. Joel Miller from The Last Of Us is a very good reference here, for example.

6 Obsession

A good concept to make a reckless hero - or even villain, if you want to do an evil player character . You have a goal that must be reached at all costs. It could be a desire for ultimate power or fame beyond measure. It could be someone you love is cursed, and you're searching for the only possible solution. It could be revenge. The choice is yours.

This can lead to a compelling character, one that will have to make complicated moral choices to decide how far they're willing to go to reach their goals. Just don't throw the party under the bus for your obsessions. They can actually be a good way for your character to let go of this complicated obsession they have. Friends can do wonders for a person, after all.

5 Artifact Hunter

Probably the easiest one to put in the life of an adventurer is a person who travels the world and enjoys going through dungeons with the simple mindset of finding things of value. They can either keep to themselves and become a collector, or sell to whoever is interested in it for a lot of money.

Alternatively, it can also be someone who enjoys stealing from rich people, much like Robin Hood, but this time to keep or sell for themselves in a Catwoman fashion. Regardless of if the artifact is in some tomb or someone's mansion, it is yours. The current owner just doesn't know that yet.

4 Wizard Drop-Out

A fun backstory to use if your character has access to magic too, like an Arcane Trickster , for example. The idea here is that you were studying to become a Wizard, either by yourself, with a mentor, or from a school (in case those exist in the world you're playing), but for whatever reason, you decided to quit. Either that or you were kicked out.

It can go from bad behavior to maybe studying forbidden knowledge. You now live life of your own accord, but you still have some magic to back you up from when you used to study, and that can be very helpful.

3 Fake Hero

This is a fun thing you can do with a character that has lots of Charisma. Though Rogues don't need that much Charisma to function, their features can mix well here, making roleplaying them fun, especially if your DM is on board with the idea.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Tips For Roleplaying The Party Face

Essentially, you already are a famous hero - people know you, and thank you for whatever good deed you've done. But the fun part here would be that you actually didn't do anything, and you're basically keeping the lie going so you don't lose status.

Perhaps you actually want to be a hero, and you're trying to make things right. Or you just want to enjoy the luxuries of being everyone's 'savior'. Regardless, it's a fun idea for deceptive characters.

There's beauty in contradiction. What's the point of a character who steals things if they can easily have whatever they want through status? Well, there are answers to that: they can do it for the thrill of the crime, or they can do it simply because they know they can get out of it. It's almost like crime is a game to them.

Or maybe crime is how your character's family became wealthy in the first place. Your criminal activities may be your way to preserve the status you have. Either way, a rich Rogue is a fun concept that can be done in multiple interesting ways. And you do have the noble background to attach here.

Well, you know this one was coming. We almost didn't add it for being too common, but it would feel incomplete if we didn't mention it. Rogues often come with the classic trope of being orphans, a backstory that is fitting for a gritty character and quite easy to make, since you don't need to create a lot of NPCs.

Alternatively, your character can be abandoned and finding their parents could be the journey. Or, if you're going for an actual orphan, finding out what happened to the parents is a good motivation. There are many options to go from here, actually.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: The Best Weapons For A Rogue, Ranked

Genre Bomb

Guide to Building and Playing a Rogue Phantom: DnD 5e

When building a rogue with the phantom archetype in DnD 5e, consider the following:

Choose a creepy race with Dexterity: kenku, feral tiefling.

Build classic rogue with thieves’ tools , finesse weapons and stealth., use phantom abilities: whispers of the dead, wails from the grave…, remember higher-level rogue abilities: uncanny dodge, evasion, reliant talent….

In Dungeons and Dragons 5e, the Phantom archetype is introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything , creating a rogue connected to death with ghostly abilities.  This supernatural theme can work for several rogues: thieves who pass through walls, agents who gather intel from spirits or assassins who master necrotic damage.  Naturally, I’ll want to focus on Dexterity as my strongest ability score.

Naturally, I want some flavor with this otherworldly rogue mixed with a decent Dexterity bonus.  Therefore, the raven-like kenku or demon-like feral teifling are my favorite choices.

Deadman's Tale an Island Pirate Adventure DnD 5e friendly 3rd party campaign

Kenku receive a +2 Dexterity/+1 Wisdom ability score bonus, along with several cunning racial abilities.  Mimicry gives me the ability to expertly impersonate a sound or person.  Plus, I can’t actually communicate with words, so this how I communicate in game.  However, this makes fun roleplaying opportunities and comes in handy.  I can also use Expert Forgery with anything I see, copying skill sets of other people.

Feral tieflings make for lethal assassins with a +2 Dexterity/+1 Intelligence bonus and innate magic.  Hellish rebuke dishes out 2d12 fire damage as a reaction against targets who land hits against me.  However, I also gain resistance against fire damage along with darkness and thaumaturgy spells.

Starting out, I want to build this rogue with classic abilities and weapons.  I’ll choose Stealth , Perception , Acrobatics , Insight and thieves’ tools .  Plus, I’ll arm my starting rogue with Dexterity-based weapons like a rapier, shortsword, daggers and a shortbow.

Also, I gain key rogue abilities Expertise, Sneak Attack and Thieves’ Cant at level 1.

Expertise doubles my proficiency in 2 skills and/or thieves’ tools .  I’m always keen on using this Expertise with Sneak and thieves’ tools because those are such crucial abilities for a rogue.  However, I wouldn’t blame someone for doubling their Acrobatics check.

Sneak Attack grants me additional 2d6 damage to targets I have advantage against , which grows quickly as I level.  I don’t even need advantage if an ally is within 5 feet of my target.

Thieves’ Cant is a secret language between rogues.  This language can be picked up through secret symbols and codewords.  Sometimes, an investigation takes the party to shady parts of the city.  Rogues can tap into the culture to get the dirt on the city.

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Cunning Action comes at level 2, giving me the ability to Dash , Disengage or Hide as a bonus action.  Naturally, this allows me to move through the battlefield without taking attacks of opportunity and set up Sneak Attack.

Level 3 grants me my Phantom Archetype along with an ability introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything: Steady Aim.

Steady Aim grants me advantage on my next attack as a bonus action.  However, I can only use this action if I haven’t already moved during the turn.  Plus, it makes my speed 0 until the beginning of my next turn.  Therefore, I’ll probably want to use this with ranged weapons or in dire circumstances.

Phantom Abilities

Level 3 also introduces me to my first spooky abilities: Whispers of the Dead and Wails from the Grave.

Whispers of the Dead gives me proficiency in any skill or tool after a short or long rest.  The idea is that a spirit guides me for the day, granting me its knowledge.  I can choose one skill or tool proficiency at a time, but this offers so much versatility to an already proficient character.

Wails from the Grave grants me additional damage to a nearby enemy after hitting a foe with Sneak Attack.  I can choose a foe within 5 feet of the target and deal half as much Sneak Attack damage in necrotic form to them.  I can use this an amount of times equal to my proficiency bonus, so I’ll want to save it to thin out groups of enemies.

My next ability learned (level 9) is Tokens of the Departed , granting me a small trinket whenever creatures die around me.  I can carry a maximum amount of trinkets equal to my proficiency bonus.  Then, I can use this trinket for several effects:

  • While a soul trinket is on my person, I have advantage on death saving throws and Constitution saving throws. Hopefully, I’ll use this ability for more Constitution throws than saving throws, avoiding magic effects.
  • When I use Sneak Attack, I can destroy one of the soul trinkets to immediately use Wails From the Grave. I’ll just replenish the trinkets as my foes drop.
  • I can destroy a soul trinket to summon the spirit attached to it. I can ask the spirit 1 question and free it.  However, it doesn’t have to give me an honest answer.

High-Level Phantom Abilities

Ghost Walk (level 13) gives me a translucent form as I partially phase into the realm of the dead.  I can move through objects and creatures as if they were difficult terrain.  However, if I end my turn inside such a space, I take 1d10 force damage.  I can cast this as a bonus action and stay in this form for 10 minutes.  I’ll need to finish a short or long rest to regain the feature.

Death’s Friend (level 17) is my final ability, enhancing my other abilities.  I can now deal the same necrotic damage to both the first and second target when I use Wails From the Grave.  Plus, I gain a soul trinket for free every day.

Adding to my ghostly character, I still gain cool rogue abilities from the basic class.

  • Uncanny Dodge allows me to use my reaction to half the damage I take from a melee attack. —Level 5.
  • Evasion grants me the ability to take 0 damage on successful Dexterity saving throws for magical area effects—Level 7.
  • Reliant Talent allows me to treat a d20 skill check of 9 or lower as a 10. Before adding my modifiers, I can’t roll anything less than a 10. This only works for proficient skills, including my thieves’ tools—Level 11.
  • Blindsense gives me the ability to sense creatures within 10 feet of me when in total darkness. This means total mastery of darkness, which suits this archetype well. Level 14
  • Slippery Mind gives me proficiency with Wisdom saving throws, allowing me to escape traps and spells—Level 15.
  • Elusive is the ultimate defensive tactic for the rogue class, negating any advantage on my enemies’ attack rolls against me.

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phantom rogue 5e backstory

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10 things to do at the legendary Soviet park VDNKh

phantom rogue 5e backstory

VDNKh, which stands for the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, opened in Moscow in the summer of 1939. It is an enormous territory with dozens of pavilions, fountains, ponds, recreation zones, cafés and restaurants. So it’s no surprise that VDNKh is one of the most popular public spaces among both Muscovites and tourists. It’s basically a gigantic Soviet theme park where you can easily spend the whole day. 

1. Admire gems of Soviet architecture

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Most of VDNKh’s pavilions were built in the 1950s, although some buildings go back to the late 1930s. As soon as you enter through the arch at the main entrance, you will see the enormous Central Pavilion, a Stalinist structure decorated with reliefs narrating the history of the Soviet Union. Right behind this is the famous Friendship of the Peoples Fountain, which features sculptures of 16 young women dressed in the national costumes of the different Soviet republics. This has become the main symbol of VDNKh. Two avenues lead from the fountain and walking along them you will see pavilions devoted to various sectors of the economy (metallurgy, transport, etc.), as well as pavilions devoted to the different republics (Kyrgyzstan, Armenia). These are all impressively eclectic and incorporate architectural styles from a wide array of time periods and nations. There are 50 of them in total.

2. Get active

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Do you want to see all of VDNKh in one day? Then you'd better hire a bicycle or a kick scooter—there are dozens of places to rent them around the park. Just remember that the park covers an area of two square kilometers, so it’s going to be a long visit. In the summer, you can do all sorts of other sports here: take a wakeboard lesson, navigate a rope park or, for fans of intellectual sports, play chess. In the winter, VDNKh also boasts the biggest ice-skating rink in the city, located right next to the Central Pavilion.

3. Learn the secrets of space

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Even if you are not interested in space exploration, you will definitely like the Cosmonautics Museum . Here you can find the personal belongings of cosmonauts, along with models of Mir and the International Space Station, the Luna-9 and Venera-1 automatic stations, space suits and artificial Earth satellites. The museum organizes lectures and scientific conferences, so you might even encounter people who work in the space industry. You can take a break from looking at the exhibits and go to the museum's canteen, which it is praised by many visitors. As a memento, you can buy space badges, cosmonauts' food and even meteorite fragments.

4. Eat in Soviet style

phantom rogue 5e backstory

If you like traditional Soviet and Russian cuisine, we have good news for you: There is an incredible choice of cafés and restaurants here serving Olivier salad, "herring under a fur coat" and pelmeni.

Ottepel (the Thaw) restaurant in pavilion 311 has recreated 1950s interiors while at the same time giving a modern touch to Soviet dishes. The menu includes bruschetta with sprats and forshmak, potatoes baked in embers (just like they ate in Young Pioneer camp) with julienne (a mushroom casserole) and hummus on a bagel. 

In the Moskovskoe Nebo (Moscow Sky) café in pavilion 422, the national dishes of the Soviet republics are brought together under one roof. Here you can find Chicken Kiev as well as Uzbek-style flatbread and Caucasian kebabs. The most delicious desserts await you in the Michurin restaurant (pavilion 131), named after a famous pioneer of agricultural crop selection.

In the Transport Pavilion, you can even taste real space food in tubes.

5. Go on all-Soviet shopping spree

phantom rogue 5e backstory

VDNKh is not just a park but also a huge shopping center where you can buy all sorts of incredible items manufactured in the post-Soviet republics. Want a set of towels with unusual folk-style embroidery? Then head to the Belarus Pavilion. Jalal-Abad mineral water can be found in the Kyrgyzstan Pavilion and, perhaps not surprisingly, brandy in the Armenia Pavilion.

6. Visit the studios of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Are you interested in contemporary art? Then pop into the young artists’ residence in pavilion 317. The building, which dates back to 1939 but was renovated this year, comprises 18 workspaces that include studios and paint-spraying rooms. Russian and international artists are invited to work here. Residents are selected by the curatorial group of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, and program participants receive grants and studios in the artists’ residence for a period of between three and six months. If you want to visit the art studios, you probably want to book in advance on the program's website . 

7. Immerse yourself in the world of cinema

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Those who love cinema should definitely visit the Film Museum (pavilion 36). Here you can see how famous Soviet films and cartoons were made, watch an interesting movie for 150 rubles ($2.50) or attend lectures by specialists. 

8. Communicate with robots

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Do you think robots will take over the world? Now you can ask them yourself at Robostation (pavilion 2). At the exhibition, robots can not just engage in meaningful conversation but can also tell jokes, paint your portrait and even forecast the future. And at Robostation teenagers can attend master classes led by engineers. 

9. Find your calling

phantom rogue 5e backstory

Would you like to learn how to prepare a coffee like a professional barista? Or how to do embroidery? At VDNKh, master classes and education courses are held all the time. At the Park of Crafts and Tekhnograd you can learn different skills, from being a barista to photographer. You can also take a job-match test and perhaps be offered a job.

10. See Russia's biggest aquarium

phantom rogue 5e backstory

VDNKh is home to Moskvarium , an enormous oceanography and marine biology center that houses over 12,000 marine animals, ranging from starfish to sharks. The Moskvarium even has pools where you can swim with a dolphin.

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