Role in the Party
The Soulknife Rogue is the only rogue with psionic powers built into the subclass. Originally, the Soul Knife was a subclass of the Unearthed Arcana playtest Mystic, but the Mystic has been more or less abandoned and some of its theming and mechanics were recycled for use in new subclasses.
The Soulknife focuses on stabbing people with magical psychic blades that damage the minds of their foes but otherwise tend to be ordinary rogues. You can expect to do normal rogue activities, but optimizing a Soulknife is a lot different than optimizing a standard rogue.
The Soulknife Rogue subclass is found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Click here to pick up your own copy of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything!
Soulknife Rogue Features
Starting at 3rd level, you harbor a wellspring of psionic energy within yourself. This energy is represented by your Psionic Energy dice, which are each a d6. You have a number of these dice equal to twice your proficiency bonus, and they fuel various psionic powers you have, which are detailed below.
Some of your powers expend the Psionic Energy die they use, as specified in a power’s description, and you can’t use a power if it requires you to use a die when your dice are all expended. You regain all your expended Psionic Energy dice when you finish a long rest. In addition, as a bonus action, you can regain one expended Psionic Energy die, but you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
When you reach certain levels in this class, the size of your Psionic Energy dice increases: at 5th level (d8), 11th level (d10), and 17th level (d12).
The powers below use your Psionic Energy dice.
Psi-Bolstered Knack. When your nonpsionic training fails you, your psionic power can help: if you fail an ability check using a skill or tool with which you have proficiency, you can roll one Psionic Energy die and add the number rolled to the check, potentially turning failure into success. You expend the die only if the roll succeeds.
Psychic Whispers. You can establish telepathic communication between yourself and others — perfect for quiet infiltration. As an action, choose one or more creatures you can see, up to a number of creatures equal to your proficiency bonus, and then roll one Psionic Energy die. For a number of hours equal to the number rolled, the chosen creatures can speak telepathically with you, and you can speak telepathically with them. To send or receive a message (no action required), you and the other creature must be within 1 mile of each other. A creature can’t use this telepathy if it can’t speak any languages, and a creature can end the telepathic connection at any time (no action required). You and the creature don’t need to speak a common language to understand each other.
The first time you use this power after each long rest, you don’t expend the Psionic Energy die. All other times you use the power, you expend the die.
This feature is quite the chonker, but basically, when you fail an ability check you’re proficient in, you can just add some extra dice to it, and you only lose dice if it turns failure into success. You have 4-12 dice a day. You can also use these dice to do telepathy, and you get a free use for that.
This makes sure that you will rarely fail an ability check you’re proficient in or have expertise in. Rolled a 2 on a DC 15 stealth check? Have +12 on your modifier? Add a psionic energy die and succeed. Even if success isn’t guaranteed, you should still roll a psionic energy die; worst case scenario, you still fail and don’t spend it. It’s difficult to burn through these dice if you’re trying, so just roll one of these whenever you fail an ability check.
This feature does have one problem; what about ability checks without defined success or failure? You can’t use this to try and get a higher degree of success on a check you succeeded, and it’s unclear how it’s intended to work if you don’t know if you succeeded or failed, since the results of ability checks aren’t always obvious.
Still, this is an amazing feature, and it’s even more amazing since it’s not your only feature at this level. Everyone picks this subclass for Psychic Blades, but you just get this for free in addition to that.
Also at 3rd level, you can manifest your psionic power as shimmering blades of psychic energy. Whenever you take the Attack action, you can manifest a psychic blade from your free hand and make the attack with that blade. This magic blade is a simple melee weapon with the finesse and thrown properties. It has a normal range of 60 feet and no long range, and on a hit, it deals psychic damage equal to 1d6 plus the ability modifier you used for the attack roll. The blade vanishes immediately after it hits or misses its target, and it leaves no mark on its target if it deals damage.
After you attack with the blade, you can make a melee or ranged weapon attack with a second psychic blade as a bonus action on the same turn, provided your other hand is free to create it. The damage die of this bonus attack is 1d4, instead of 1d6.
You can manifest magical shortswords with the thrown property that deal psychic damage. The biggest benefits are that you can do two-weapon fighting with them at range without dealing with object interactions, and also that this isn’t normal two-weapon fighting; you just get a bonus action attack and can add your ability score modifier. At low levels, this is a substantial boost to your damage.
The second benefit is both a blessing and a curse: you don’t need magic weapons because you already have one, but magic weapons might sometimes be better than this. Lastly, remember that because these deal psychic damage, you can’t usually damage creatures like constructs, so carry a backup +1 dagger.
Remember that you can’t use your Psychic Blades with the Booming Blade cantrip, because you must take the attack action to use these. Even if you took six levels of Bladesinger, it’s unclear if it would work since Booming Blade requires the weapon to have a cost, and it’s completely up to the dungeon master if Psychic Blades have value. Lastly, you can’t make opportunity attacks with these; opportunity attacks aren’t the attack action.
Overall, this is a lot like using a hand crossbow and having the Crossbow Expert feat for free. Being a ranged character also solves your defensive problems, and you always have the option to attack people in melee if you need to.
Starting at 9th level, your Psychic Blades are now an expression of your psi-suffused soul, giving you these powers that use your Psionic Energy dice:
Homing Strikes. If you make an attack roll with your Psychic Blades and miss the target, you can roll one Psionic Energy die and add the number rolled to the attack roll. If this causes the attack to hit, you expend the Psionic Energy die.
Psychic Teleportation. As a bonus action, you manifest one of your Psychic Blades, expend one Psionic Energy die and roll it, and throw the blade at an unoccupied space you can see, up to a number of feet away equal to 10 times the number rolled. You then teleport to that space, and the blade vanishes.
Rogues normally can’t teleport, and Psychic Teleportation lets you do it, albeit with a random maximum range. This is decent utility and mobility, but it’s unclear if you can throw the Psychic Blade through a barrier like a Wall of Force. I would personally rule “no”.
More importantly, you have Homing Strikes. It’s like your great Psi-Bolstered Knack, but for attack rolls instead of ability checks, and it even only consumes dice if it turns a failure into a success. Unless conserving resources isn’t important, I recommend using them only if you haven’t landed Sneak Attack yet this round, since turning a 6d6+5 damage attack into a hit is more important than turning a 1d6+5 damage attack into a hit. Remember that this also only works with Psychic Blades, so no using this with a +3 shortsword.
The ability to turn misses into hits is phenomenal when you have a powerful hit, and you have powerful hits. Great feature. Remember that your psychic energy dice have scaled up, so now they’re d8s and will soon become d10s.
At 13th level, you can weave a veil of psychic static to mask yourself. As an action, you can magically become invisible, along with anything you are wearing or carrying, for 1 hour or until you dismiss this effect (no action required). This invisibility ends early immediately after you deal damage to a creature, or you force a creature to make a saving throw.
Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest, unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to use this feature again.
This is the Invisibility spell without concentration. Casting spells doesn’t break this on its own; it only ends if you choose to end it early, deal damage, or force a saving throw. If you have a cantrip like Guidance or Minor Illusion or any other spellcasting, you can use it just fine. I wouldn’t count on a level 13+ Soulknife rogue having powerful spells to use with this, but the option is there. Invisibility is also just good in general.
When you reach 17th level, you can sweep your Psychic Blade directly through a creature’s mind. When you use your Psychic Blades to deal Sneak Attack damage to a creature, you can force that target to make a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity modifier). If the save fails, the target is stunned for 1 minute. The stunned target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest, unless you expend three Psionic Energy dice to use it again.
Stunning Strike is one of the best things a monk gets, and you have a bootleg version of it. However, I wouldn’t expect this to work on boss-type enemies you’re fighting at this level since they all have high wisdom save bonuses and legendary resistance. You might stun a particularly tough non-boss enemy once per day though, and that’s nice.
The free use is great, but the three-die cost to use this is pretty steep, even with twelve dice per day. I would only expect to use this once or twice on most adventuring days, and I wouldn’t count on it working that often.
Psi-Bolstered Knack turns you into the ultimate skills rogue, and you can deal consistent damage from up to 60 feet away; you’re a rogue with a free Crossbow Expert feat. You also have telepathy and can eventually teleport and can become invisible.
Magic weapons, constructs, and a handful of strange spooky monsters are problems for you. If you find a +8 Dagger of Tarrasque Deletion, you have to choose between it and your Psychic Blades. You can’t even attack with the dagger and then a bonus action psychic blade, or even the other way around, since the psychic blades don’t have the light property and the bonus action blade attack is dependent on you making an attack with the dagger.
Most constructs are immune to psychic damage, but not all of them; try and ask your DM if you can make a check to determine if this particular construct is immune or not, maybe Arcana or something. Some non-construct creatures, particularly aberrations, are sometimes immune or resistant to psychic damage.
Lastly, your damage isn’t as potent at high levels, since you’re likely not benefitting from things like Booming Blade unless you want to give up your Psychic Blades sometimes to use a rapier, and your dependence on Psychic Blades means you can’t make the most out of multiclassing to get Shield proficiency.
Best Race Options
Kenkuhave two skill proficiencies, letting you apply Psi-Bolstered Knack to more skills. Their ability to generate advantage on proficient skill checks whenever they want is probably overkill for you, but you might love it for use on those high DC skill checks.
If you suspect a floating skill proficiency would be useful,Astral Elf is another great choice; pick a skill at the end of a long rest, become proficient in it, and you can add a d6 to a d12 whenever you fail a check with it. Excellent. Don’t forget about the free Perception proficiency too.
Starlight Step is redundant with your teleportation ability, but that was more of a minor feature of yours anyway, and more teleports = more gooder, especially consistent ones.
Want to just have proficiency in all the skills?Custom LineageandVariant Humanhave options for that; you could possibly get four extra skill proficiencies with these races and the Skilled feat.
Choosing the Right Skills
Remember that you can add an extra die to most skills, so skill proficiencies are more valuable to you than anyone else. Even your worst, most niche skills are just aMeh; even the rarely usedAnimal Handlingwill benefit a lot from an extra d6 to d12. Every skill proficiency is on the table for you, and you want all of them.
Perceptionis your most important skill proficiency; get proficiency in it at a minimum, and strongly considerExpertisein it. Stealth is also an iconic rogue skill, but if someone in the party has Pass Without Trace, expertise in stealth may be overkill; proficiency will be enough.
Dexterity skills likeAcrobaticsandSleight of Handare also useful, and rogues tend to be slippery fellas, soPersuasionandDeceptionare also handy.
ConsiderAthleticsproficiency even if you already have Acrobatics: adding a die and proficiency makes you about as good at it as the fighter, and parties often don’t have strong people to make these checks.
Skill Expertis a half feat that can boost any ability score, give Expertise, and give proficiency in another skill. Excellent for Variant Human and Custom Lineage. You can boost both your damage, chance to hit, and utility by taking it.Skilledis a less good but still solid option since it gives three proficiencies and nothing else, but you might still consider it at high levels to suddenly add +5 and a d10 to those skills.
TheLuckyfeat will let you reroll anything; you’ll be built for success if you take it, especially for saving throws since none of your subclass features boost them.
The only psychic powers you can’t do are mind-reading and telekinesis: theTelepathicandTelekineticfeats will let you do both of these things, but Telekinetic is probably better since it doesn’t have redundant telepathy.
Wildspaceris a thematic and incredibly powerful choice, but not all tables use feat-granting backgrounds. Perhaps you got your psychic powers from Wildspace, or maybe you learned them from Astral Elves. Either way, you have the Tough feat for free.
Urchinis a classic rogue background; you grew up on the streets and learned a bunch of roguish skills, and then maybe you realized you had psychic powers and went adventuring to develop them.
Criminalis also a classic rogue background, and after you hit level 3 in the campaign, you can flex your incredible psychic power on your Criminal Contact and make them jealous.
One level ofFighteris a solid choice for armor proficiencies, a fighting style, and Second Wind. You might consider taking three levels for thePsi Warriorsubclass at high levels since it’s an easy way to get a completely separate pool of proficiency bonus-based psychic abilities. It’s an okay choice, butRune KnightandEcho Knightare probably stronger choices.
Three levels of Ranger forGloom Stalkerwill give you a pile of goodies and make you much more powerful in the first round of combat and whenever you’re in darkness.
Why not take 1-3 levels inWizardat high levels? You might consider using Booming Blade instead of your Psychic Blades at these levels, especially with a good magic weapon, and the Shield and Find Familiar spells are handy too.DivinationandBladesingercould also possibly be useful depending on your intelligence modifier: if it’s high, pick Bladesinger, and if it’s low, go Divination.
Would I recommend playing a Soulknife Rogue?
I would absolutely recommend it. Your damage is good, your skills are overwhelmingly stellar, and you have a few neat abilities in general. You can overcome the weaknesses of Psychic Blades by just pulling out a normal magic weapon when necessary, and you can be effective in melee and at a distance.
Feral Tieflings Make Outstanding Soulknives In D&D
While any race that offers a boost to DEX and/or INT will work well for the Soulknife Rogue, one of the best options for this sublass is the Feral Tiefling.
The Soulknife rogue in 5e is one of the best subclasses for the rogue. Soulknife rogues are incredibly powerful and have a lot of great abilities. Their Psychic Blades are some of the most useful weapons in the game and their ability to turn invisible and teleport make Soulknife rogues very hard to catch.Can Soulknife use booming blade? ›
Because of the limitations of Psychic Blades, dipping into a caster to gain a weapon cantrip like Booming Blade doesn't work.
They go 60ft without disadvantage so they are better than regular daggers or hand crossbows at midrange. The range is a little better on a shortbow or light crossbow but those are two-handed. You don't want everyone to know you are a soulknife, keep that need to know.What is the best sword rogue? ›
1 Luck Blade
Arguably the most fitting magic item of all for a well-roleplayed Rogue, the Luck Blade is a legendary sword with a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls that also provides its wielder with a +1 bonus to saving throws.
Elves are a particularly excellent choice of race if you intend to make a rogue, as they're naturally dexterous (ability score increase to dexterity), have Darkvision and proficiency in perception.What is the strongest rogue weapon? ›
The Scarlet Devil is by all measures the strongest Rogue weapon in the game, offering a ridiculous 10,000 damage with every throw. Beyond its damage, though, its stealth strike releases a star of projectiles and applies lifesteal to your next thrown spear.Does thrown weapon fighting work with Soulknife? ›
It allows you to draw a thrown weapon (such as a dagger) at the same time that you make an attack. While this doesn't allow the Soulknife to use Psychic Blades on their reaction attack (meaning you can't apply Homing Strikes), it does allow the Soulknife to make a reaction attack even if it has nothing in its hands.What is the most powerful rogue? ›
- 1 Soulknife. The Soulknife is the strongest Rogue subclass in the game.
- 2 Arcane Trickster. ...
- 3 Assassin. ...
- 4 Phantom. ...
- 5 Swashbuckler. ...
- 6 Thief. ...
- 7 Scout. ...
- 8 Inquisitive. ...
Booming Blade has a range of Self so it cannot be twinned any more than Shadow Blade can. Booming Blade requires a melee weapon worth at least 1sp but the Shadow Blade is a spell effect and has no inherent monetary value.
The formal position is that they are melee weapons with the thrown properly, and thus fail to meet the requirement of being a ranged weapon for Sharpshooter.Can Bladesingers use booming blade twice? ›
The question is - can I cast Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade twice with my attack action? No. You can replace one of your attacks from the Attack action with a cantrip. Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade usually require using the Cast a Spell action in order to use.What alignment is Soulknife rogue? ›
Race of the character is up in the air. Chaotic Good alignment, male, young man in his prime.How much damage does Soulknife do? ›
It has a normal range of 60 feet and no long range, and on a hit, it deals psychic damage equal to 1d6 plus the ability modifier you used for the attack roll. The blade vanishes immediately after it hits or misses its target, and it leaves no mark on its target if it deals damage.How many attacks can you get with psychic blades? ›
This means that each psychic blade you create is usable for exactly one attack. That, taken together with the fact that you can only manifest 1 blade per attack action, means you only get one psychic blade attack per action.Which is the strongest sword style? ›
The longsword can hold its own against spears, large two-handed weapons, enemies with shields, and armored opponents. It is extremely effective in attack and defensive movements with quick and powerful slashing and thrusting capabilities.What is the strongest sword blade? ›
While high-carbon steel is widely regarded as the best metal for a sword because of its strength and longevity, other metals, such as Damascus steel, can also be used to make distinctive and attractive blades.What is the most powerful sword in the game? ›
1 The Master Sword
It's usually wielded by Link, the games' protagonist, against Ganon(dorf), the games' antagonist. It's been known under a number of names: the Sacred Sword, the Sword that Seals the Darkness, the Legendary Sword, and more!
To further increase movement and attack speed, Agility is the Rogue's most important stat.What is the best stat order for rogue? ›
- Critical Strike;
Expertise Rating, Hit Rating, and Agility are your top three point-for-point most valuable stats for damage dealing on a Combat Rogue. Haste, Critical Strike, Strength, and Attack Power still increase your damage output but are generally less valuable per point.What weapon should my rogue use? ›
Crossbow, Light: The go-to ranged weapon. The same range as a short bow with a better damage die. The reload property doesn't matter since rogues don't get Extra Attack. Dagger: Great for Two-weapon fighting, and you can throw them if you need to, but the Short Sword has a slightly larger damage die.
From a mathematical perspective, the best weapon for the early game rogue is a double bladed scimitar assuming you take the revenant blade feat. Without taking feats, it's two short swords. The reason is that if you attack with two weapons, your damage potential increases by a lot. Think of it like this.Can you use two weapon fighting with flame blade? ›
You cannot use two-weapon fighting with green-flame blade at all, as the bonus action off-hand attack requires you to take the Attack action first, but like I say, casting the cantrip uses a different action.Can you use two weapon fighting with Shadow blade? ›
Can you use Shadow Blade with Two-Weapon Fighting? Shadow Blade can be used with two-weapon fighting because it has the light property. The caster can wield Shadow Blade in one hand and use another light weapon in the other, allowing them to make an additional attack with the off-hand weapon as a bonus action.Why is Rogue so strong? ›
In her comic book appearances, Rogue is depicted as a mutant, a fictional subspecies of humans born with an "X-gene" that grants superhuman abilities. She is capable of absorbing the life force, attributes, memories, and superpowers of anyone through physical touch.What is the weakness of Rogue? ›
Although fans continued to admire her for her great strength and fighting abilities, the truth of the fragility of her broken minds became a significant weakness for her. Also, her powers leave her without the ability to touch another living soul with skin-to-skin contact without hurting them.Does Rogue ever master her powers? ›
For most of her heroic career, Rogue was unable to control her power, and anyone she touched would almost immediately fall unconscious. However, Rogue's inability to regulate her power was largely psychological in nature, which she eventually overcame with the help of Charles Xavier.Who is weak to Shadow Blade? ›
The Shadow Blade is Spark Man's weakness. Punk and the Wily Machine are immune to it. Two Shadow Blades uses one weapon energy unit.Can you stack green-flame blade with Shadow Blade? ›
By RAW you cannot use Shadow Blade (SB) with the cantrips Green-Flame Blade (GFB) or Booming Blade (BB). These cantrips require that you use a melee weapon worth 1 silver piece and that you use that specific weapon for the attack.
They definitely know they are under some effect — the “booming energy” is perceptible. But they probably don't know what it will do, or when or why.Does Soulknife work with Monk? ›
And a Lv3 dip into Soulknife gets the Monk 4 skills plus the ability to add a d6 to a skill check several times per day, plus the ability to establish group telepathy for several hours, plus 2d6 sneak attack, plus Cunning Action, plus the psychic blades (which also give the Monk a decent ranged weapon).Is Soulknife two weapon fighting? ›
[...] Neither Martial Arts nor Soulknife are Two-Weapon Fighting because TWF is a completely separate feature/ability with its own rules. If something were to use Two-Weapon Fighting, or modify it in some way, this would be explicitly stated.Is Soulknife melee or ranged? ›
It is a conventional ranged attack that does psychic damage. The Soulknife rogue checks to see if a target is within 60 feet. If so, it may roll a d20 to attack. If the target is outside of 60 feet, no attack may be made.Does dual wielding end Bladesong? ›
That said, dual wielding isn't specifically disallowed by bladesong, so you can use that class feature while dual wielding as well, you will lose the offhand attack on the round you enter the bladesong (since they are both bonus actions).Can you cast 2 cantrips in one turn? ›
You cannot cast two cantrips during one action. That's why many cantrips scale as you level. To further explain what you read, if you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can only use your action to cast a cantrip. For example, there's a monster next to you.Can you smite off of booming blade? ›
If your sorcerer-paladin has Booming Blade (or Green-Flame Blade) you can smite with it, as a melee weapon attack is part of the spell.What races go best with rogue? ›
- 10 Halfling.
- 9 Half Elf.
- 8 Elf.
- 7 Bugbear.
- 6 Changeling.
- 5 Kenku.
- 4 Tabaxi.
- 3 Owlin.
Bugbear. UpdatedMMoM: The Bugbear is a natural fit for the Rogue. Surprise Attack works well alongside Sneak Attack, and triggering it requires the same tactics that the Assassin needs for Assassinate.What race is best for rogue wotr? ›
The Best Rogue Builds
Ideal Race: Dwarf or Dhampir, both for the Strength and Constitution bonuses. Important Ability Scores: Constitution is this Rogue's most important score after Dexterity.
There are a lot of good options for an Arcane Trickster's race, but Elves tend to be outstanding. Not only do they get a +2 to DEX, but they are also proficient in Perception, which makes it easier to check for traps. High and Wood Elves are both proficient with longbows, which is a great weapon for Rogues in general.What is the best rogue class alliance? ›
- Night Elf is the best race by far on Alliance. The active racial ability, Shadowmeld, has great synergy with the Rogue class. ...
- Human is the second best race on Alliance. ...
- Orc is the best race on Horde. ...
- Blood Elf is the second best race on Horde.
For a highly-skilled rogue, consider the Half-Elf or the Kenku. For a high-damage melee rogue, consider the High Elf. For a ranged rogue, consider the Fairy or the Owlin.Are Blood Elves good Rogues? ›
The natural agility of any elf, combined with a racial control over and thirst for magical energy, ensures that blood elf rogues are the most impeccable mage-slayers in all of Azeroth.What is the most powerful arcane trickster build? ›
The most optimal damage output for Arcane Tricksters is either a ranged build with Sharpshooter or a melee build that utilizes shadow blade. In an optimal situation, Sharpshooter with a shortbow can output 1d6 + 10 + Sneak Attack + DEX (13.5 avg before Sneak Attack and DEX).Does Arcane trickster need Charisma? ›
The Arcane Trickster's abilities depend heavily on your choice of base class, especially Intelligence and Charisma. Str: Dump to 7 on nearly any Arcane Trickster. Dex: Important for AC, saves, and attacks.Why is Arcane trickster good? ›
Arcane Tricksters gain the ability to cast Wizard spells to enhance their abilities, trick their foes, and defend themselves more effectively. Cantrips: You learn three cantrips: Mage Hand and two other cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list.