Rogue: Propagandist – a literary revolutionary

This archetype has been banging around my head for some time. The ability of words to inspire rebellion, to move nations, and to inspire people to be better is quite clear. Dungeons & Dragons kind of wraps this into the College of Whispers Bard, but that’s quite supernatural. The Rogue: Propagandist is mundane, based in historic examples such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, as well as in certain versions of Assassin’s Creed.

The design intent is to empower more play in urban and/or political campaigns. This attempt, which is essentially version 1.5, uses new mechanic for the rogue, one that demonstrates that people who publicly advocate for rebellion are often known, but still effective. The Propagandist most powerful abilities are powered by their Sneak Attack dice. This seemed to fit better than making them weak Bards in an Arcane Trickster variant like the Society of Veil and Shadows.

Most of the lore description is removed from this pre-publication draft in order to focus on the mechanics, which are complex and new. The Swarm of Commoners and the Printing Press tool are just shells of what they will be in the future as well.

Rogue: Propagandist

Rebel and Pamphleteer

You rose from the underbelly of empire to demand a better life for all. Your pamphlets and speeches can inspire hope, or fear. Whether from the soapbox or via playbill your proclamations turn the tides of rebellion or keep a government in power.

Propagandist Features

3rdWordsmith, Rabble Rousing
13thGrand Voice
17thMaster Essayist


When you choose this archetype at 3rd level you gain proficiency with the Printing Press and a skill from the following list — History, Investigation, Insight, Deception, Persuasion, and/or Performance.

In addition you learn one language of your choice.

At 6th level you may choose the Printing Press for your expertise option.

Rabble Rousing

Your words inspire rebellion. You are able to summon a Swarm of Commoners. These commoners are allied with your cause, but are not willing to die for it. You spend an active Sneak Attack die for each use of this ability per short rest. The number of dice used determine how many Swarms you summon. Rabble Rousing takes a minimum 10 minutes to activate via speech, pamphlet, or other communication. The Swarm is summoned at a time and location where some commoners could be expected. The Swarm of Commoners has advantage on saves versus fear and are considered under the effects of the Charmed condition.


To issue a Proclamation you spend at least ten minutes creating a pamphlet, playbill, speech, cartoon, etc. These Proclamations grant bonuses to those who experience their call. Those bonuses are equal to the number of Sneak Attack dice spent at the time of proclamation (Proclamation Bonus). The Proclamations’ influence extends to a number of subjects determined by the proficiency bonus + ability score modifier in the skill or tool used to deliver the proclamation. The proclamation can be delivered via speech (Persuasion, Deception, Performance), pamphlet (Printing Press), or cartoon (Calligrapher’s Tools, Painter’s Tools). A tool would use Intelligence (i.e. a 9th level Propagandist with an INT of 14 issuing a Proclamation of Safe Haven via a pamphlet would grant 6 readers the benefits of Safe Haven).

Proclamations that require a save do so against a DC determined by 8 + Proficiency and Intelligence Bonus.

List of Proclamations

  • Unrest – A number of Swarm of Commoners determined by the spent Sneak Attack dice gain a Proclamation Bonus of temporary HPs and gain the same bonus to damage rolls. These Swarms will attack on the Propagandist’s initiative roll minus 10. The Proclamation inspires a rebellion.
  • Rally – Subjects regain hit points in the number of the spent Sneak Attack dice plus a Proclamation Bonus (ie. 2d6+6) as these Proclamations rebuild the morale of wounded forces.
  • Urgency – Subjects gain a Proclamation Bonus to their next initiative roll. Subjects are eager to join the fight.
  • Power – Subjects gain a Proclamation Bonus to their damage rolls during their next combat. Those attentive to the Proclamation recognize that they are powerful.
  • Warning – Subjects fall under the Frightened condition if they fail a Wisdom Save versus your Proclamation DC. They are wary of the forces working against them, afraid of any Swarm of Commoners and/or the Propagandist. They are overcome with this fear for one hour.
  • Safe Haven – Subjects are able to gain the benefits of a short rest via the calming words of the Proclamation.

Grand Voice

Beginning at 13th level your words can invigorate your allies. You can use a Reaction to have an ally reroll a failed Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw. You have a proficiency bonus number of uses of this ability per long rest.

At 17th level you may also remove one level of Exhaustion via your Grand Voice, as long as the level of Exhaustion is not level 5 or 6. You may only remove one level of Exhaustion per ally in this manner.

Master Essayist

The strength of your words lasts. At 17th level any of your Proclamations (except Safe Haven) issued using a Printing Press grant their benefits/disadvantages until the target takes a short rest.

Swarm of Commoners

Huge, Neutral

  • Armor Class 10
  • Hit Points 48 (12d8)
  • Speed 20
10 (0)10 (0)10 (0)10 (0)10 (0)10 (0)
  • Saving Throws
  • Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing
  • Condition Immunities 
  • Senses Passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common (or 1 language of a peoples)
  • Challenge Rating

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa. The swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Medium commoner. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points except via Proclamations.


Club. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, Reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (3d4) bludgeoning damage. This attack assumes multiple commoners are attacking as one.

The Swarm of Commoners can be adjusted if made up of a single humanoid race. Usually their weapons are clubs, but in some cases they may all use a specific simple weapon.

Any ally of the Propagandist, or the Propagandist themselves, that attacks from within the Swarm of Commoners has advantage on their attacks. They may also use the Swarm for half-cover, attempt a Stealth/Deception check as a bonus action. Upon a success the individual within the Swarm of Commoners is considered invisible.

Printing Press (tool)

These are the necessary tools to create pamphlets, books, and playbills. The press itself is too large for adventuring, but you would still have ink, a sheaf of paper, scissors, a few letter blocks and one or two signet blocks.


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