Last Updated on January 22, 2023
With their thieves’ tools, broad range of skill proficiencies, and expertise, rogues can often feel like the Swiss Army Knife of character classes, capable of meeting any challenge the adventure throws at them, no matter how niche or fiddly.
But what if you want to take your roguish activities to the next level?
What if you want to scale sheer walls like they’re flat ground, or move completely silently, or add even more insult to your Sneak Attack damage’s injury? What if you’ve found a blind spot in the rogue’s multifaceted skill set?
Sure, you could play around with multiclassing, but a less-drastic step is probably to outfit your rogue with some cool new magic items that either enhance their roguish abilities, help compensate for something the class lacks, or give them something new to do altogether.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what makes a magic item ideally suited for use by rogues as well as break down some of the best magic items for this class and what they do.
What Makes a Good Rogue Magic Item?
There are plenty of magic items out there that will fit with most classes; +1 magic weapons, while dull as ditchwater, are a pretty universally useful item — as are things like the Ring of Protection.
These items give pretty standard benefits to things like weapon damage, hit points, and AC, and therefore they can be plugged into just about any character.
While these are fine, if we’re going to find the best items for rogues, we’re going to need to look at what this class does well (so we can find items that help do it better) and the areas where it’s lacking (so we can find items that help compensate for those shortcomings).
First, however, we need to check some basics.
In D&D 5e, each class is proficient in certain types of weapons and armor.
Being proficient in a weapon allows you to add your ability-score modifier to its damage bonus (vital if you’re reliant on weapons as your main source of damage).
Being proficient in a type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) means you can cast spells while wearing it and don’t suffer from disadvantage when trying to move quickly (proficiency with shields confers a similar benefit).
Likewise, some magic items (usually ones that let you cast spells) can only be attuned to by a character of a particular class, race, level, or alignment.
A Holy Avenger, for example, is an ultra-powerful sacred weapon and can only be wielded by a cleric or paladin. Likewise, the legendary sword Blackrazor can only be attuned to by a creature of non-lawful alignment.
Rogues have proficiency with light armor, simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, and shortswords.
When you’re looking to pick up a new magic weapon or put on a new suit of armor, make sure it falls into one of the above categories.
(Your character’s race — if you’re an elf, for example — or feat could also give you the proficiencies you need to wield a certain magic item).
The Thief roguish archetype draws its inspiration from the class’ origins back in the first edition of D&D in 1975.
Among stealth and mobility-based subclass features, at 13th level, the Thief gets a real throwback ability: they can use any and all magic items they find, regardless of the restrictions.
Note that this doesn’t make a Thief proficient with weapons and armor from outside their class, but it does allow them to pick up and use items intended solely for use by clerics, druids, or any other class, alignment, or race.
What Are Rogues Good At?
First of all, the rogue class is one of the most versatile and specialized classes in D&D 5e.
When you play a rogue, you get to excel at exploration (climbing, spotting and neutralizing traps, and sneaking past watchful enemies), social encounters (where the class’s proficiency with deception and disguise comes into play) and combat (sneak-attack damage is truly disgusting at high levels) all in one package.
Rogues, in general, want to come and go unseen, get the drop on their enemies, and leverage their skills to tackle any puzzle, problem, or environmental hazard they come across — whether that means a 50-foot-high wall, a locked door, or a pit of snakes.
Therefore, any magic items that help rogues do one of these three things is going to be a great fit for the rogue.
What Are Rogues Bad At?
There are probably two main areas where rogues’ impressive toolkits fall short.
First, as a martial class that never gains access to extra attacks (not to mention can only apply Sneak Attack damage once per round even when using two-weapon fighting, multiclassing, affected by the Haste spell, etc.) or any meaningful way to cast big AoE spells (even the Arcane Trickster is largely limited to enchantment and illusion magic), the rogue lacks ways to deal damage to large groups of enemies.
Secondly, although skills like Evasion and Uncanny Dodge allow the rogue to be much more survivable than any character wearing light armor with a d8 Hit Die has any right to be, rogues are still remarkably squishy if a powerful enemy manages to land a blow.
Any items that help us spread some damage around or stay alive a bit longer are going to be a great fit for a rogue.
What Are the Best Magic Items for Rogues?
There are plenty of great magic items that rogues can put to good use, but a few feel like they were made with sneaky, stabby, tricksy thieves in mind.
D&D isn’t a game where you can guarantee you’ll pick up one particular item or another, but if you ever get the chance to come across one of these items, make sure you hand it to your party’s rogue right away (they’re probably just going to steal it from you later anyway).
Boots of Elvenkind
One of D&D 5e’s most iconic magic items and more or less a must-have for any rogue looking to improve their skullduggery skills.
These are more or less the perfect rogue item, allowing you to sneak through the shadows like a cat. It’s worth noting, however, that just because you’re silent, doesn’t mean you’re invisible.
Boots of Elvenkind might be amazing at moving over creaky floorboards in a darkened room, but in a well-lit area where your enemies can rely on sight, you might also need a…
Cloak of Elvenkind
The perfect accompaniment to a pair of elven boots, this cloak makes it easier for you to hide and harder for enemies to spot you once you’ve hidden.
Boots of Elvenkind
Wondrous Item, uncommon
While you wear this cloak with its hood up, Wisdom (Perception) checks made to see you have disadvantage and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide as the cloak’s color shifts to camouflage you.
Pulling the hood up or down requires an action.
Cost: 2,000 gp
Requires Attunement: Yes
With Boots of Elvenkind cloaking your footsteps and the Cloak of Elvenkind making you nigh impossible to see, your already very stealthy rogue is going to start feeling like they’re actually invisible.
Gloves of Thievery
Completing the trifecta of essential roguish gear, gloves of thievery were very clearly designed for this class, making it child’s play to extract valuable loot from the pockets of unsuspecting marks.
Gloves of Thievery
Wondrous Item, uncommon
These gloves are invisible while worn. While wearing them, you gain a +5 bonus to Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks and Dexterity checks made to pick locks.
Cost: 2,000 gp
Requires Attunement: No
Not only is a +5 bonus to checks when picking pockets and locks (as well as any other checks to do fun, coordinated stuff) super powerful, but the fact these gloves become invisible when worn means it’s very unlikely that they’re going to be taken away from you.
Other Rogue Magic Items (for Every Situation)
While some magic items are more perfectly suited for the rogue class than others, there’s a broad range of options that this versatile class can make use of.
To break them down for you, we’ve divided them up by broad usage categories.
Offensive magic items help rogues deal more damage, defensive magic items help them avoid it, and utility items are all about broadening your rogue’s skill set.
+1 Magic Weapon
Now, while I might not be the world’s biggest fan of a +1 magic weapon from a thematic or narrative perspective, there’s no arguing with the fact that you’re increasing your chances of landing a hit with a weapon attack.
For a class that only gets to attack once per round, anything that increases the chances of that attack hitting is a good addition — even if the extra damage is kind of inconsequential on a rogue as opposed to a class with extra attacks.
Any Magical Dagger
Rogues and knives go together like dwarves and songs about different types of rock.
You can read our full guide to magical daggers in D&D 5e here; there are very few bad options for the rogue class from this selection. Just grab something sharp, and have fun.
Scimitar of Speed
A great way to maximize your chances of landing some sneak-attack damage without resorting to two-weapon fighting is the Scimitar of Speed.
This very rare magic item requires attunement and functions as a +2 magic finesse weapon that lets you make an extra attack with it each turn as a bonus action.
This is quite a high-level magic item for a rogue and is probably best suited to a subclass that likes to get up close and personal, like the Swashbuckler — as sneakier, squishier subclasses are probably going to want to put their bonus actions to better use hiding, dodging, or disengaging.
Bracer of Flying Daggers
This rare wondrous item is an armband that appears to have several thin daggers strapped to it.
Once attuned to it, as an action, you may draw two magical daggers from the band and immediately hurl them, making a ranged attack with each dagger.
Any dagger not thrown right away disappears, and any dagger thrown disappears on a hit or miss. The bracer contains a never-ending supply of magical daggers. This is a super-evocative and fun low-level rogue item.
Amulet of Health
A rare wondrous item that increases the wearer’s Constitution to 19. For rogues looking for some extra raw hit points, this can be a literal lifesaver.
Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location
Once attuned, this uncommon wondrous item hides the wearer from all divination magic. Perfect for the rogue on the run from a powerful spellcaster.
Weapon of Warning
A magical weapon (it can be anything — a sword, a dagger, etc.) that grants its wielder advantage on initiative rolls and ensures that they (and their allies within 30 feet) can’t be surprised at the start of combat.
A Weapon of Warning is a really powerful magical item for rogues who always like to approach combat on their terms, and it is more or less essential for a subclass like the Assassin, which relies on being ahead of its opponents in the initiative order.
Stone of Luck
One of the most universally useful magic items in the game, a stone of luck or luckstone is an uncommon wondrous item that grants its bearer (once they’ve attuned to it) a +1 bonus on all ability checks and saving throws.
It’s simple, it’s effective, it’s kind of boring, and it doesn’t really matter which class you give this item to, but, hot damn, is it a great way to feel a little bit better at everything.
Slippers of Spider Climbing
One of my favorite roguish items for how mechanically useful and thematically on point it feels, a pair of Slippers of Spider Climbing allows an attuned wearer to move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down along ceilings without using their hands.
There’s no limit to how often you can use them, and the only thing that stops them are slippery surfaces like ice or patches of oil.
Goggles of Night
Rogues do their best work in the dark. If you’re playing a human, a halfling, or one of the few other races in the game that don’t have darkvision, then picking up a pair of goggles of night is practically essential if you want to be your best, sneakiest self.
No one was ever surprised by a rogue walking around holding a torch.
Also, if your character already has darkvision, the goggles increase its range by 60 feet, which can easily make the difference between getting the jump on a monster and being its dinner.
Lastly, maybe the best utility item in the whole of D&D, the Immovable Rod.
This uncommon wondrous item is a straight metal bar with a button at one end. Press the button, and the rod becomes fixed in space, defying all laws of physics.
It can hold up to 8,000 pounds of weight and won’t move again until the button is pressed, turning it back into a normal metal bar.
This is one of my favorite magic items in D&D hands down because (unlike the absolute snooze fest that is the luck stone) the Inanimate rod interacts with the game world rather than the game mechanics.
If you want to do cool stuff with it, you’ve got to use your head. How about using it to functionally bar any door? Or using two as an instant midair ladder? Or just stop something big and heavy that’s about to drop on you.
There are as many cool uses for the Immovable Rod as you can come up with (especially if you have access to several of them), and having one or more to hand can dramatically expand your rogue’s options when adventuring.
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I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.