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DnD 3.5 - The Rogue Handbook

Disclaimer

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which tend to be more consistent than 3.5 handbooks. Because so little of 3.5 is available on the SRD, I will attempt to tag items with a superscript indicating their book of origin. For help identifying sourcebook abbreviations, see my Sourcebook Abbreviations Guide.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

It's important to note that I generally omit campaign-setting specific content. I am of the opinion that those options are intended to be limited to campaigns run in those settings, and as such they don't really apply to a generic campaign. Those options also tend to be wildly unbalanced and rarely recieve errata. I also omit the use of "Flaws" since they allow a massive increase in power with essentially no cost to the character.

Introduction

The Rogue is an iconic and important class, and nearly any party is wise to include one. With the longest skill list and most skill points of any class but the Factotum, Rogues can fill the roles of Face, Scout, and Striker.

Rogue Class Features

Hit Points: d6 hit points is hard, especially because so many Rogues go for melee builds.

Base Attack Bonus: 2/3 BAB is hard for characters so dependent on weapon attacks for damage, especially for Two-Weapon Fighting builds, but with decent planning (and with Flanking) Rogues get by just fine.

Saves: The Rogue's only good save is Reflex, and with Evasion they're very good at Reflex saves. Unfortunately, the Rogue doesn't have any built-in means to overcome their poor Fortitude and Will saves.

Proficiencies: Simple weapons offer lots of options, but your go-to choices will be the Dagger, Short Sword, Rapier, and Shortbow for most builds.

Skills: Short of the Factotum, the Rogue has the best skills in the game. Unfortunately, 8+ skill ranks isn't enough to cover everything that a Rogue can do, even with substantial Intelligence.

Sneak Attack: The Rogue's primary source of damage output. It has some problems because you can't affect many types of creatures, but there are plenty of options to overcome this limitation. Sneak Attack can be further customized and improved with Ambush Feats

Trapfinding: Not useful in absolutely every campaign, but absolutely essential in campaigns with traps.

Evasion (Ex): Fantastic for surviving fireballs and other AOE effects which would normally run through your shallow pool of hit points with ease.

Trap Sense (Ex): Very situational.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Situational, but it allows you to do silly things like Fight Defensively every round while you're walking around for an easy AC boost.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Very situational.

Special Abilities: Special Abilities are interesting, but they're just not flashy and powerful enough to keep most people in single-class Rogue long enough to reach them.

  • Crippling Strike (Ex): Like an Ambush Feat, this adds a rider effect to your Sneak Attack. It doesn't cost Sneak Attack damage dice, so it's easy to combine with other rider effects. Strength Damage is a surprisingly good option. While it won't outright murder things, large enemies with lots of Strength will become pitifully ineffective, and weak enemies with very poor Strength will be quickly incapacitated.
  • Defensive Roll (Ex): You should very rarely need this, and those rare times that you do your Cleric should have Revivify by this level.
  • Frostfell Terrain MasteryFF (Ex): You could live in the Frostfell full time, and this would still be mediocre at best.
  • Improved Evasion (Ex): Tempting and flashy, but by this level your Dexterity should be so absurd that you hardly ever fail Reflex Saves. I would honestly rather take Lightning Reflexes to improve the reliability of Evasion and to protect against non-damaging Reflex save effects.
  • Opportunist (Ex): If you have a flanking partner (and you should if you're in melee), this is a fantastic option to boost your damage output.
  • Skill Mastery: There are very few skills where this is particularly useful. Tumble seems tempting, but at this level your Tumble bonus can easily outpace even the most difficult DC. UMD is probably your best bet, but by this level you should be very reliable with UMD if you plan to use it at all.
  • Slippery Mind (Ex): Only affects one school of magic. Enchantment is one of the scariest schools, but it's too situational to justify spending a Special Ability to deal with it.
  • Feat: Feats are always a good idea.

Alternate Class Features

  • AntiquarianCC: Appraise is garbage. Hire an NPC to appraise things, or cast Identify.
  • BreathstealerDM: Even in dragon-heavy campaigns this isn't particularly great.
  • Death’s RuinCC: Penetrating Strike is strictly better for melee Rogues, but Death's Ruin works with ranged attacks.
  • Disruptive AttackPHB2: A -5 to the targets AC is a heft penalty, especially if you have follow-up attacks or if you have allies who also make attack rolls. I have used this to great effect with a TWF Rogue.
  • Feign DeathEoE: Suddenly becoming useless as an immediate action takes you out of a fight at least temporarily, but you gain immunity to a substantial list of effects which can outright kill you. Given the choice between spending your next turn waking up and dying this turn, which sounds worse?
  • Poison UseDotU: Depending on your interpretation of the rules, the "Drow Rogue" alternate class feature is available to all Rogues. Poison can be a lot of run if you really emphasize it, but giving up Trapfinding hurts when you can take Poison Expert as a feat.
  • Friend’s EvasionCC: High level, costly, and it only applies when your allies are standing adjacent to you.
  • Holy StalkerCC: Only worthwhile in extremely undead-heavy campaigns.
  • MimicEoE: Buy a hat of Disguise.
  • Quick FingersDS: I have never seen a trap disabled in combat. If it happens, it doesn't happen enough to justify this.
  • Penetrating StrikeDS: Absolutely essential for TWF Rogues.
  • Spell ReflectionCM: Very few spells require attack rolls, which makes this much less useful than Evasion.
  • Spell SenseCM: Very few spells require attack rolls, and there are much better things which can replace Trap Sense.
  • Uncanny BraveryDM: Even in dragon-heavy campaigns this isn't particularly great.
  • Wilderness RogueUA: Potentially helpful depending on your campaign, and very thematic for Ranger/Rogue builds.

Substitution Levels

  • Planar RoguePH:
    • 6th level: Very situational, and spellcasters can cast Anticipate Teleportation for the same effect.
    • 10th level: One round once per day can't match the potential of a Rogue Special Ability.
    • 16th level: Buy a scroll of Blink, and use UMD.

Abilities

Rogues are conceptually SAD because they rely so heavily on Dexterity, but in reality they are about as MAD as a Fighter if they intend to do more than stab things.

Str: Even for melee builds, you can usually get away with dumping Strength. The Rogue's damage dervices mostly from Sneak Attack, so a -1 or -2 from Strength won't matter much.

Dex: Every Rogue's primary ability. It adds to almost everything the Rogue does.

Con: Essential for melee builds, but less so for ranged builds.

Int: Essential for filling out the Rogue's enormous skill list.

Wis: Take a bit to boost your poor Will saves.

Cha: Take a bit if you plan to be a Face, but if someone else can do the talking you can dump it.

Races

Dexterity is crucial. Darkvision is nice to have, but not essential. Medium size is nice if you plan to be Reduced, but hardly essential.

Dwarf: Darkvision is really the only thing which the Dwarf offers the Rogue. As nice as Darkvision can be, there are plenty of ways to get it on another race.

Elf: Decent, especially with the Dexterity bonus, but not as helpful as Halfling or Human.

Gnome: Can't compete with Halflings.

Half-Elf: Awful.

Half-Orc: Darkvision is really the only thing which the Dwarf offers the Rogue. As nice as Darkvision can be, there are plenty of ways to get it on another race.

Halfling: Small size grants a fantastic +4 to Hide, and the Halfling's other racial bonuses work very well for Rogues. The bonus to Dexterity and penalty to Strength also work very well for Rogues

Human: A bonus feat and bonus skill points are both great for Rogues. You can become permanently Reduced to get the Halfling's racial ability bonuses.

Skills

  • Appraise (Int): Too situational.
  • Balance (Dex): Too situational.
  • Bluff (Cha): Helpful for a Face.
  • Climb (Str): Too situational.
  • Decipher Script (Int):Too situational.
  • Diplomacy (Cha): Essential for a Face.
  • Disable Device (Int): Remove traps, sabotage siege engines, dismantle locks.
  • Disguise (Cha): Too situational. Buy a Hat of Disguise.
  • Escape Artist (Dex): Too situational.
  • Forgery (Int): Too situational.
  • Gather Information (Cha): Helpful for a Face.
  • Hide (Dex): Essential for Scouts.
  • Intimidate (Cha): Helpful for a Face.
  • Jump (Str): Too situational. Buy a potion of Jump for 50gp.
  • Knowledge (local) (Int): Nice for identifying Humanoids, and for many plot elements.
  • Listen (Wis): Not as important as Spot, but still very useful.
  • Move Silently (Dex): Essential for Scouts.
  • Open Lock (Dex): Open Lock makes sense, but you can use Disable Device to disassemble locks most of the time if your DM allows it, or you can UMD a scroll of Knock.
  • Perform (Cha): You are not a Bard.
  • Search (Int): Essential for Scouts.
  • Sense Motive (Wis): Helpful if you plan to play the Face.
  • Sleight of Hand (Dex): Too situational.
  • Spot (Wis): Essential for Scouts.
  • Swim (Str): Too situational.
  • Tumble (Dex): Situational. Useful if you like to rely on Fight Defensively, or if you like to move around a lot.
  • Use Magic Device (Cha): Arguably the most powerful skill in the game. With a bit of Charisma, this opens up a lot of very powerful magical options.
  • Use Rope (Dex): Too situational.

Feats

  • Ascetic RogueCAd: Worthless for Rogues, and barely worthwhile for Monks. Note that the short description of the feat is wildly inaccurate.
  • CravenCoR: Arguably the most powerful feat ever written for Rogues. It's a massive boost to your damage output, and because it keys off of your character level it continues to scale if you multiclass.
  • Combat ReflexesPHB: Area control isn't a thing that Rogus do, but Combat Reflexes opens up some other interesting feats. Combined with Savvy Rogue and the Opportunist Special Ability, this can get you a pile of extra attacks.
  • Vexing FlankerPHB2: For TWF rogues flanking is a foregone conclusion, so Vexing Flanker is a very frequent +2 to attacks.
    • Adaptable FlankerPHB2: Helpful if you're having trouble staying in position to flank, but hardly essential.
  • Crossbow SniperPHB2: This feat is the only way that crossbows are even slightly appealing.
  • Daring OutlawCS: Daring Outlaw is a cool option, but it's considerably better for the Swashbuckler than it is for the Rogue.
  • DarkstalkerLoM: Absolutely crucial if you want to be stealthy at high levels. As you advance in level, more and more creatures will have abilities like blindsight and tremorsense. This negates those abilities, at least to the point that you can still hide from them and invisibility will still get you Sneak Attack. It has no prerequisites, so pick it up as soon as you can spare the feat and special senses start to be a problem. It notably doesn't work on Lifesense and a couple of other obscure senses, but Lifesence can be negated by Hide From Undead.
  • Deadly PrecisionEPH: Rerolling 1's is tempting, especially if you have bad luck, but it only amounts to about half a point of damage per Sneak Attack die.
  • Deft StrikeCAd: If you want to ignore armor bonuses as a standard action, grab a wand of Acid Splash.
  • Devoted InquisitorCAd: Rogue/Paladins can be a fun build, but it's not particularly important to the Rogue.
  • Dragonfire StrikeCM: There are many more enemies with resistance to fire than enemies with enough DR to stop your Sneak Attack damage.
  • Improved CriticalPHB: Critical hits are worthless for Rogues.
    • Twist the KnifeEoE: Critical hits are garbage for Rogues, and this isn't good enough to justify two feats.
  • Improved InitiativePHB: Going first is very important for Rogues because acting while enemies are flat-footed allows you to Sneak Attack early and often.
  • Martial StudyToB: There aren't a ton of great maneuvers for the Rogue, but some of the Shadow Hand options are potentially useful.
    • Martial StanceToB: Assassin's Stance adds another 2d6 Sneak Attack, and opens up Shadow Blade.
      • Shadow BladeToB: Short Swords are a Shadow Blade weapon, and they're your go-to option for many TWF Rogues. Adding Dexterity to your damage is a huge pile of damage for nearly any Rogue. Note that this is in addition to Strength, so your dumped Strength score still cuts into your damage a little bit. The short description in the feats table is totally inaccurate, but was not been corrected by errata. The full description directly conflicts, so default to the full description.
  • Master of PoisonsDotU: Essential if you want to use poison more than once during combat.
  • Point-Blank ShotPHB: The basis for every archery build.
    • Far ShotPHB: Bows have plenty of range already.
    • Precise ShotPHB: Essential if you have other allies in melee.
      • Improved Precise ShotPHB: Even better than Precise Shot, and it lets you ignore pesky effects like Blur.
    • Rapid ShotPHB: A huge boost in damage output for archer builds, on par with Two-Weapon Fighting.
      • Improved Rapid ShotCW: Effectively a +2 to all of your ranged attacks. Twice as good as Weapon Focus.
      • ManyshotPHB: Worthless.
    • Shot on the RunPHB: Very situational. Standing and making a full attack is considerably more effective.
  • Poison ExpertCS: Poison is a great option for some characters, but unless you're really built for poison it's a very expensive hobby.
    • Poison MasterCS: Improving the damage of poison makes it much more appealing.
  • Sacred StrikeBoED: The difference between d6 and d8 damage is pitiful, and it only works against evil enemies.
  • Savvy RogueCS: Tempting, especially as you reach very high levels, but unless you have at least two Special Abilities, the benefits really aren't worth a feat.
  • Staggering StrikeCAd: Staggered isn't a completely debilitating condition, but its great for enemies who rely on making full attacks. The DC should be absurd because your Sneak Attack damage should be absurd, but this won't work well with Ambush Feats. If you take this and ambush feats, try to apply them on separate attacks.
  • Swift AmbusherCS: 4 levels of Scout is an awfully big class dip for Skirmish damage which generally falls far behind Sneak Attack damage. If you're going for Swift Ambusher, just play a straight Scout.
  • Two-Weapon FightingPHB: Two-Weapon Fighting is a great option for high-DPS melee and throwing builds, and it's probably the most common Rogue build. Sneak Attack is a great on-hit effect, so more attacks are always welcome.
    • Improved Two-Weapon FightingPHB: More attacks means more potential damage, but with 2/3 BAB you're going to have a lot of trouble hitting
      • Dual StrikeCAd: Situational, but nice in rounds where you need to move.
      • Greater Two-Weapon FightingPHB: With 2/3 BAB you will almost never hit with your third attack. Focus on making your existing attacks better
    • Two-Weapon DefensePHB: Improved Buckler Defense is miles better.
      • Improved Two-Weapon DefenseCW: Improved Buckler Defense is still better.
    • Two-Weapon PouncePHB2: Take a level of Barbarian for real Pounce if you really want it.
    • Two-Weapon RendPHB2: 1d6 damage plus 1.5 strength is pitiful compared to Sneak Attack.
  • Weapon FinessePHB: The obvious choice for melee builds, but Feycraft Weapons make it redundant if they are available.

Ambush Feats

Ambush feats works by replacing some of your Sneak Attack damage for one attack. You can combine as many Ambush Feats as you can afford with your current Sneak Attack dice, which can allow for some very potent combinations.

  • Arterial StrikeCW: Bleed effects aren't terribly effective, but for only 1d6 Sneak Attack damage it can prove very useful in long fights against enemies with lots of hit points.
  • Concussion AttackCS: How often do things make Intelligence and Wisdom checks in combat? Never.
  • Deafening StrikeCS: Only useful against spellcasters, and even then not very effective.
  • Disemboweling StrikeCS: This is very tempting, but you need to use a slashing weapon and rogues don't really have any good slashing options.
  • Eldritch ErosionCS: Really only interesting if you're a Rogue/Caster, but even then there are much better ways to handle Spell Resistance.
  • Gloom StrikeDotU: Only available to races with Darkness as a spell-like ability. If you can get it, 20% concealment for all of your allies is a nice defensive buff.
  • HamstringCW: Reducing your targets speed by half includes all of their movement types, which is pretty great when you're fighting highly mobile enemies and enemies which like to use annoying tactics like Fly-By Attack.
  • Head ShotCS: Confused is a very unreliable condition, and using a bludgeoning weapon severely limits your options.
  • Impeding AttackCS: This is only useful if you or someone in the party is using maneuvers like Trip and Disarm.
  • Maiming StrikeEoE: Charisma damage is tempting because so many enemies have awful Charisma, but 1 point of damage is going to take a very long time to disable your target.
  • Merciful StrikeCS: Get a sap.
  • Mind DrainCS: Only useful is psionics-heavy campaigns.
  • Persistent AttackerCS: Tempting, but you should really have a reliable way to Sneak Attack. The best use case I can think of is a Rogue/Caster who begins from Invisibility, then uses this to cast Sneak Attack spells every round without needing to hide or become invisible.
  • Sickening StrikeDotU: Sickened can be a really great debuff if you have someone else in the party to hit the target with a Save or Suck effect to take advantage of the target's weakened saves. The penalties stack with those from Shaken, so Terrifying Strike combines with Sickening Strike very easily.
  • Terrifying StrikeDotU: Shaken is a good debuff, even if you can't use this for fear stacking. Combines very well with Sickening Strike.
  • Throat PunchCS: Deafening Strike is better, which is pretty sad.
  • Venomous StrikeDotU: The biggest problem with poison is the poison's DC, so any boosts you can find are welcome. If you plan to use poison extensively, this is a great choice.

Weapons

  • Dagger: Versatile, portable, and always handy. Carry a few for utility purposes even if they're not your primary weapon. Because Rogues get their damage from Sneak Attack, daggers are frequently better than short swords because of the ability to throw them.
  • Crossbow, Hand: Crossbows are terrible, and making one smaller isn't any better.
  • Crossbow, Light: Crossbows are terrible.
  • Rapier: The "best" melee option for the Rogue based solely on its stats, but critical hits are worthless for Rogues, so it's basically a longer short sword.
  • Short Sword: Use a matching set for TWF. You can't throw them like daggers, but they have a slightly larger damage die. If you plan to pick up Shadow Hand maneuvers, the Short Sword is your best bet.
  • Shortbow: The Rogue's best ranged weapon.

Armor

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

  • Studded Leather: Starting gear
  • Mithral Shirt: Your armor solution until you can get a +10 or better dexterity bonus.
  • Buckler: Essential for ranged builds, and single-weapon melee builds.
  • Thistledown Padded: Once you hit +10 dex bonus thistledown padded offers a total +1 more AC than a mithral shirt. At that point enhancing it for AC becomes somewhat silly. If you have someone in the party who can cast Mage Armor, either call dibs on one of their 1st-level spell slots for a while, buy them a Pearl of Power 1, or buy a wand of Mage Armor and have them use it on you. Enhance your Thistledown for the magic effects, not for the AC bonus. If you want more than the +4 AC from Mage Armor, upgrade to an Eternal WandMIC of Greater Mage ArmorSpC, which is 10,900 GP and provides as much AC as 25,000 GP +4 padded armor for a total of 10 hours per day.

Magic Items

Weapons

  • Deadly PrecisionDMG2 (+1): +1d6 Sneak Attack damage. This seems like it should be a great idea, but compare it to 1d6 fire damage which always applies, or sneak attack damage which you need to work for.
  • Feycraft WeaponsDMG2 (material): A little-known material out of DMG2, Feycraft weapons allow you to use a weapon as though you had Weapon Finesse without spending a feat. For 1500gp, it can save you a feat. The loss of damage is laughably small. I would get this before I started buying magic items.
  • Sudden StunningDMG2 (2000gp): This ability really needs to be an enhancement bonus, because it's considerably too good to be a flat 2000gp. It depends on your Charisma for both DC and for uses/day, but if you have as much as +2 bonus this is worth of consideration. Stunning enemies robs them of their turn, and makes them exceptionally easy to hit, opening them up for a pile of sneak attacks.
  • Sword of SubtletyDMG (Unique): Very pricey, but a +4 to attacks and damage makes this effectively a +5 weapon for slightly more than the price of a +3. Certainly not a go-to option, but nice if you have someone in the party to craft one for you.

Weapon Crystals

  • Energy AssaultMIC: You'll already get a pile of d6's from Sneak Attack, but more never hurt.
  • Life LeachMIC: Not terribly exciting, but stealing health from enemies you hit in combat can get you the extra hit points you need to get through a fight.
  • ReturnMIC: The Least version removes the need for Quick Draw, which is helpful for throwing builds and for TWF builds if you get caught with your weapons sheathed.

Armor/Shields

  • AnimatedMIC (+2): Since you're not proficient with shields, the best you probably want to get is an animated darkwood shield (no ACP). A +1 animated darkwood shield costs 9257gp, and at a +3 AC bonus it's reasonably inexpensive at high levels.
  • NimblenessMIC (+1): You should never put this on anything that has an ACP after being masterwork, so this is functionally identical to a normal +1.
  • MobilityMIC (+1): Helpful for melee builds which don't want to go all the way to Spring Attack.
  • QuicknessMIC (+5000gp): A bit of extra speed helps get around in combat, and this triggers the improved effect on the Ring of Entropic Deflection.

Armor/Shield Crystals

  • Iron WardMIC: A splash of DR on your armor/shield. For 500 GP the lesser version is basically 10 hit points per day. Fantastic for melee builds, but skippable for ranged builds.

Rings

  • DarkhiddenMIC: For such a cheap price, Darkhidden is extremely abusable. If you have darkvision, this is basically permanent improved invisibility in the dark. It also prevents enemies from sneaking up on your while you're unable to see.
  • InvisibilityDMG: Improved Invisibility is better in combat, but a Ring of Invisibility is the gold standard of scouting, infiltration, and surprise. I'm tempted to suggested an Eternal Wand of Invisibility or two (you can afford 4 for less than the cost of a single ring), but 8 uses per day just can't compete with near-perpetual invisibility.
  • ProtectionDMG: A bit of extra AC is always welcome for melee Rogues.

Wands

  • DarkvisionPHB: Fantastic for scouting, and with hours/level duration an eternal wand will last all day.
  • Fog CloudPHB: Smokesticks are for suckers. Fog Cloud is a great escape mechanism.
  • Mage ArmorPHB: When your Dexterity exceeds a +6 bonus, Mage Armor becomes your most cost-effective armor solution. With a 1 hour duration, a wand of mage armor can get a ton of mileage. Of course, if you have a Wizard in the party who can spare a 1st-level spell for you, it will save you some gold. If your Wizard needs that slot for himself, buy him a pearl of power 1 for 1000gp.

Wondrous Items

  • Anklet of TranslocationMIC: Short-range teleport as a Swift Action afew times per day. It's a great way to get out of grapples, or to move into flanking position.
  • Blindfold of True DarknessMIC: Blindsight is the pinacle of senses. You are only aware out to 30 feet, but that's your Sneak Attack range, so in combat that's all you need. Blindsight also eliminates concealment, which is the easiest way for targets to become immune to Sneak Attack. You can also carry around something with Deeper Darkness cast on it (days/level duration), pull it out in combat, and you have a massive advantage over nearly everything but demons.
  • Boots of The Battle chargerDMG: Charge as a Standard Action and since you're wearing gloves of dexterity, you can charge through allies and difficult terrain. Unfortunately you can't use them during surprise rounds because you don't get a Swift action to activate them.
  • Boots of ElvenkindDMG: Tempting, and they make sense thematically, but your Move Silently bonus is likely already very high without wasting gold on this.
  • Bracers of MurderDotU: These are very good. Profane bonuses are exceptionally rare, so they'll stack with almost anything, and once you're high enough level to get access to Improved Invisibility they become very reliable. Rerolling 1's on Sneak Attack only nets an average of 1/2 a point of damage per die, so it's nothing special, but when you're throwing Sneak Attack 4+ times per round it feels pretty great. If you decide to prestige class into Assassin/Avenger the +2 bonus to your Death Attack DC is one of very few ways to boost the DC.
  • Cloak of ElvenkindDMG: Tempting, and they make sense thematically, but your Hide bonus is likely already very high without wasting gold this.
  • Collar of Umbral MetamorphosisToM: Provides some excellent bonuses for stealthy characters for 10 minutes per day. Especially useful for snipers who are having trouble finding cover.
  • Cloak of DisplacementDMG: A great defensive option, but remember that it can't be used to hide in plain sight.
  • Cloak of ResistanceDMG: Vest of Resistance is identical and takes up a much less useful slot, but since Rogue's Vest is so appealing, a cloak might be the way to go.
  • Circlet of PersuasionCMG: A +3 bonus to Charisma-based check across the board gives you all of the important functions of a +6 Cloak of Charisma at sligtly more than a price of a +2 cloak. This is an easy way to make up for low Charisma if you need to be a Face or if you plan to use Use Magic Device.
  • Gloves of DexterityDMG: Dexterity is the Rogue's bread and butter. Get these early, and enhance them often.
  • Gloves of The Balanced HandMIC: If your DM allows you to move your Dexterity-boosting item to another slot (MIC suggests arms or feet are acceptable slots), this is a great way to cut down on the feat tax of the TWF tree.
  • Horned HelmMIC: At only 4000 gp, the Horned Helm grants you a free natural weapon. Every extra attack means a potential pile of Sneak Attack damage.
  • Rogue's VestMIC: The big draw is the bonus Sneak Attack damage, but the skill bonuses are nice, too.
  • Vest of ResistanceMIC: Same cost as a cloak, and takes up the largely useless "torso" slot. Unfortunately for Rogues, it has to compete with the Rogue's Vest.

Permanent Spells

  • DarkvisionPHB: Darkvision is essential when so much of your skillset requires sneaking around in the dark. Of course, an Eternal Wand of Darkvision costs 4420gp (compare to 5000gp to pay an NPC to spend 1000 experience to cast Permanency and Darkvision), can't be permanently removed by Dispel Magic, lasts a total of 6 hours per day, and you can use it with a UMD check.
  • Reduce PersonPHB: If you're medium you can reduce yourself for an easy +2 to Dexterity.
  • See invisibilityPHB: With no built-in way to handle invisible creatures, the ability to always see them is a fantastic benefit. You can't Sneak Attack targets with concealment, so See Invisibility is a much better option than effects like Glitterdust which only allow you to locate invisible creatures, but don't remove their concealment.

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

  • AssassinDMG/AvengerWeb: Assassins are best known for their Death Attack ability, and while it's certainly a great ability, it's not nearly as interesting as the Assassin's spell list. Despite very few spell slots, the Assassin gets a lot of very unique and powerful spells which offer a lot to the Rogue. Unfortunately, they give up a lot of the Rogue's skills and skill points per level, but you can make up for the lost skills with some clever spell use.
  • FighterPHB: Fighter is a great option for getting weapon and armor proficiencies and some bonus feats. Many Fighter alternate class features work very well Rogues, and the Thug variant out of Unearthed Arcana makes it a bit easier to maintain your Rogue skills, especially if you're a Face.
  • RangerPHB: Ranger/Rogue builds are a lot of fun because you get tons of skills, and there's a lot of room for optimization.
  • SwashbucklerPHB: If you just want a free feat, a single level of Swashbuckler is better than a level of Fighter because you get 2 more skill points on a skill list which more closely resembles that of the Rogue. Daring Outlaw is a cool option, but it's considerably better for the Swashbuckler than it is for the Rogue.
  • SwordsageToB: One level gets you a few maneuvers and a stance. RAW you select maneuvers and stances based on your total initiator level (initiator class levels plus 1/2 non-initiator class levels), so delay this class dip until you have 8 other levels under your belt so that you qualify for Assassin's Stance. Island of Blades is another great stance option, and the Cloak of Deception maneuver is a fantastic way to get Sneak Attack, or to get into position unnoticed.