I saw something about what it takes to be a Mage in this game, and I thought I would do a quick write-up regarding Rogues so that prospective players might not fumble so hard.
Whether you intend to be a freelancer and face the consequences, or you choose to be a guild thief, there are a lot of game mechanics and concepts that may not be intuitive.
1. Understanding Stealth
Working effectively in stealth requires high levels of the "hide" and "sneak" skill, and is affected by encumbrance and armour skills. Effective stealth is done in light armour with high "light armour" skill, or in armour so light that it does not encumber enough for a penalty. Deflect is a good measure of your encumbrance penalty on stealth - high deflect correlates to lesser penalties. Stealth is easier at night and harder during the day. When checking against other characters, the "awareness" skill and the mental stats (specifically INT) determine your ability to be noticed.
Many actions will break stealth - most of these are intuitive based on roleplay understanding. Speaking and emoting from stealth should be assumed to reveal yourself. Moving into another room or manipulating objects will also reveal you.
Some thief skills will not break stealth. Sneak, as the primary example, enables you to try to move rooms without breaking stealth (as a side note, sneak gets a bonus if you are already in stealth). Successfully stealing will also not reveal you, but a failure will cause you to be revealed.
2. Core stats and builds
A rogue's three main stats are AGI, DEX, and INT.
Agility assists with movement and stealth. It's the primary stat for any rogue who also wants to perform well in melee combat, because it translates well to fighter applications.
Dexterity is an essential stat for a rogue's object manipulation and hand skills. It's the primary stat for any rogue who wants to specialize in ranged combat or music, because it translates well to missile and instrument skills.
Intelligence is a secondary stat for rogues that boosts some theft skills while giving a reasonably deep mana pool, which is essential for a number of rogue skills. Intelligence assists appraisal and trading skills. "Open lock" and "Scout" are very mana intensive. Intelligence is also a very good choice to invest in if your rogue practices music, because the deep mana pool is invaluable.
Melee combat rogues will typically opt to focus in STR and/or CON instead of deeply into INT. In melee combat, rogues play with a hit and run style, trying to avoid getting hit. Rogues only excel in 1v1, ambush scenarios - they will not be successful in flanking scenarios or against enemies with big weapons. The "disarm" skill, with rapiers, is the solution to big weapon enemies.
3. Essential skills
Every rogue at any level of engagement will need to have high "hide", "sneak", and "scout" skills for effective stealth.
Any rogue intending to seriously make money via theft OR who is on the path to guild membership should invest in "open lock", "pick pocket", and "stealing" skills, which are all available from character creation. Experimenting with these and not being caught is a rite of passage for young rogue characters.
Trap skills are a non-essential option that will allow you to exercise DEX and broaden your ability to enter dungeons and open chests. They are not a priority for all rogues.
4. The Guild Path
Understand that the guild allows access to additional equipment, resources, and skills that widen the capabilities of rogues both in stealth and in combat. The guild supports leather armour, knives, rapiers, missile weapons, and cloaks for combat purposes.
There are significant roleplay requirements to be invited to the Guild. Your character does not need to have a blank slate, but they will need to prove some level of resourcefulness, cunning, and initiative.
Understand that it is expected for a prospective rogue to seek out the Guild, and that a response may be very delayed. There are in character channels to reach the Guild's attention without revealing your intention to the wider population. "Stay the course": chances are very good that your character's skills and your character's reputation are not good enough for an invite even on first contact. Losing patience and acting out can deny what would have been an eventual invite. In some ways it can be like the Mages - a long, guildless trek before finally becoming vested.
5. Player Relations
Last but by far not least, is the idea of player relations.
Because of past mistakes, the current Rogues Guild players place a very high priority on selecting candidates who understand the delicate balance that we must maintain with the other players who play, especially in low population times. Anyone invited to the guild will get a thorough run down of IC and OOC policy, but it is important that any freelancing outsiders understand the kind of behavior that will make them ineligible for an invite.
You will not be eligible for an invite if you:
A. Belong to another main guild.
Rogues have as many resources as any other main guild and have conflicts of interest with others. We do not invite Rangers, Monks, or Priests, so do not try this.
B. Steal from newbies
Not much to say here except to define a newbie. A newbie in our specific understanding involves any character who is either
a) Still getting significant money from quest income instead of a regular income source (usually applies to guildless)
b) On a set guild path but still obviously guildless
This does not apply for the long-term guildless. The idea is that these newbies haven't had a chance to have the full experience and they don't have any de facto allies to respond to our attacks.
C. Steal excessively from other players
Remember that on the other end of the screen is another player. If you are taking his resources, you have a responsibility to create a dynamic roleplay experience for him. Our goal is not to "win" the game or to harass other players.
Everything has a cost, and the cost to bullying players is bad blood OOCly. Avoid this within reason.
A rogue does not ever need to involve himself in PvP theft to make money or have an impact in the game, so it should only be done when it adds to the roleplay environment and enriches the experience in some way for the other characters involved.
If you are interested in playing a roguish character, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. You will be expected to be an instigator and content creator for plots both inside and outside of the guild. Play a rogue if you enjoy trying to persuade others and if you want to play a character who has "all the tools". As a mundane guild, rogues main strength is their diverse skill set and specialized tools.