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Who are the greatest rogues in fantasy fiction?


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So, what characters from fantasy fiction (books, movies, tv, whatever) the best rogues ever.

I admit to being way old school, and so my top 3 are:

1. Cugel the Clever (The Eyes of the Overworld, etc. by Jack Vance)
2. The Gray Mouser (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber)
3. Fafrd

Also in the running were Bilbo Baggins (but he only really stole 1 cup from Smaug, unless you don't believe his story about the riddle contest. I mean, if he pick pocketed the one ring of power, *and* stole a cup from one of the last great flying dragons...)


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Han Solo.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My top three would be:

Conan
The Gray Mouser
Arya Stark


Malcolm Reynolds
Han Solo
Tony Stark
Spider Man
Gord
Any Character by Errol Flynn
"" by Danny Kaye
pretty much every pilot in the Rogue Squadron
Robin Hood

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sherlock Holmes


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Garrett.

Thief series of PC games. If you haven't played them, find a way.

You can forget Thief3, though; just get Thief: The Dark Project and Thief: The Metal Age. Full of fantasy/steampunky/thieving awesomeness.


You hear so much about Gygax and the various fiction that influenced d&d.

Cugel and the Grey Mouser have their fingerprints all over the thief class.

It never really played like they read in the books though. Fafhrd and Conan had a lot of thief in them, but they and the Mouser could really, really fight.

It's funny, I've read a lot of fantasy books, and a lot of them had thief types as characters or the main character. But the three you named are the ones that stick in my head.

It seems like now protagonists have to be omni-competent, all powerful beings or something, like Rand'al Thor.

Heck Conan wouldn't catch on if he came out today I think.

Not a lot of room for a mere thief in the modern headspace of fantasy readers. Living by your wits and great dialogue (Cugel) just doesn't move the books anymore.


Silk, prince kheldar ..... The belgariad.

Han solo and indy jones....who look suspiciously alike if you ask me. i suspect a theres a crime family involved there somewhere..


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Jimmy the hand.

Andoran

1. Tasslehoff Burrfoot
2. Eladar the Dark
3. Robin Hood


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not strictly fantasy but...

1. The Gray Mouser
2. James Bond
3. Han Solo


Man.... there is only one character in all of fiction that exemplifies all that is great and worthy about the rogue class. Nobody else comes close. All are pale shadows on the glory of the one true rogue in fiction.

this guy.

/closethread


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Bilbo
Cat Woman
Regis
Possibly Zorro


My wife, for stealing my heart. What? Fantasy fiction? Oh. Nevermind. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ooh... I should replace my nomination of Gord with Arya Stark. And so I did!


moon glum wrote:

So, what characters from fantasy fiction (books, movies, tv, whatever) the best rogues ever.

I admit to being way old school, and so my top 3 are:

1. Cugel the Clever (The Eyes of the Overworld, etc. by Jack Vance)
2. The Gray Mouser (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber)
3. Fafrd

Also in the running were Bilbo Baggins (but he only really stole 1 cup from Smaug, unless you don't believe his story about the riddle contest. I mean, if he pick pocketed the one ring of power, *and* stole a cup from one of the last great flying dragons...)

Your list is my list, though I would add Conan. (Being old school myself.)

As to Bilbo, heck yeah. He's one of the great natural rogues of fantasy. Not only did he steal the cup from Smaug, and totally play with the dragon's head, and not only was he a hell of a good riddler, he also was an expert lookout, good with a dagger (a sword to him), an excellent sneak (with a bit of help from the ring), a resourceful schemer (barrels full of dwarves, anybody?), a pretty good diplomat, and really good with maps and secret doors. Iconic.


1: Locke Lamora
2: Haern the Watcher
3: The Gray Mouser


James Jacobs wrote:
Ooh... I should replace my nomination of Gord with Arya Stark. And so I did!

Another big fan of Arya here. I just finally got the box set on blu ray and I'm glad to see the little girl they got to play her is as good as she is, Arya being one of my favorite characters in the books. (And Peter Dinklage is just freaking amazing!)


Shadowspawn from the Theive's World anthology was also a runner up for me.

Andoran

my top 5 are

1. Slippery Jim D'griz (Stainless Steel Rat- Science Fiction, but the character still works)
2. Silk aka Pince Khelder (The Belgariad)
3. Gray Mouser (Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser)
4. Paul Janus Finnegan (AKA Kikaha the Trickster) from The World of Tiers Books
5. Artemis Entreri the Assassin character from the Drizzt books

and an honorary mention to both Taliesin The Bard by Richard Brittons and
Fflewddur Fflam, of the Chronicles of Prydain as Bards of note.


Wow, forgot all about Kickaha. I haven't read that series in years.

Definitely a rogue though.

But all these "classical" rogues were excellent fighters. None of them wore full plate or anything, but they didn't exactly have a bab penalty the way d&d gaming systems represent them.

I've heard OD&D does old school gaming fiction better than later editions, and I believe that a lot more than I used to.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Macguyver and Batman are at the top of my list.
Balthier(Final Fantasy 12)
Vala Mal Doran(Stargate SG-1)
Durzo Blint(Night Angel series)
the list is long, so I'll stick with these for now.


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Locke Lamora, and his whole crew of conmen and enforcers.
Bilbo Baggins.
The Grey Mouser.
Conan.
Odysseus.
Eugenides, in Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series


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Garrett. Good call.


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My Top 10 Fiction (aka Books):

1. Lock Lamora (Lies of Locke Lamora)
2. Hanse Shadowspawn (Thieves' World series)
3. Reiner Hetzau (Blackhearts Omnibus)
4. Drothe (Among Thieves)
5. Malden (The Ancient Blades Trilogy)
6. Arya Stark (ASoI&F)
7. The Gray Mouser
8. Gord
9. Jimmy the Hand (Riftwar Saga)
10. Silk (Belgariad)

My all-time favorite rogue, however, is Garrett of the Thief video game series.


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Another one I just thought of is Jack Shaftoe, from the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. I loved that he was a 'professional' Vagabond.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1. Locke Lamora (Lies of Locke Lamora)
2. Kiera the Thief (Vlad Taltos series)
3. Phedre no Delaunay

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Stanless Steel Rat.

Harry Flashman.


CapeCodRPGer wrote:
Harry Flashman.

+1


Locke Lamorra (The Lies of Locke Lamorra)

Sorry (Gardens of the Moon)

Arthur Simon Simpson (The Light of Day)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Arya Stark

you win.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I forgot about Jenks!

Amanda from "Highlander: the series."

Nameless.

Olive Ruskettle.

Coyote.


Rogue! from the Xmen - sorry, couldnt resist!
Jimmy the Hand
Jarlaxle Baenre
Crokus Younghand


Great suggestions. I have one I didn't see -- Shadowspawn from the Sanctuary books.

And as a relatively modern day honorable mention, Jim Rockford.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
SmiloDan wrote:

I forgot about Jenks!

Amanda from "Highlander: the series."

Nameless.

Olive Ruskettle.

Coyote.

Coyote from the Iron Druid series? If so, I completely agree.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hari Michaelson, aka Caine Black-Knife, of Heroes Die, Blade of Tyshalle, and Caine Black-Knife fame.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Doggan wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

I forgot about Jenks!

Amanda from "Highlander: the series."

Nameless.

Olive Ruskettle.

Coyote.

Coyote from the Iron Druid series? If so, I completely agree.

I was thinking Coyote from Charles deLint's Newford series. I haven't read the Iron Druid series....yet.

Also, Xanatos from Gargoyles.


zorro

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IIRC he only appeared in one Dunsany short story, but Nuth.

And Michael Shea's Nifft the Lean.


Havelock Vetinari


Ciaphas Cain (from the WH40K CIAPHAS CAIN series)
Cugel the Clever (from THE DYING EARTH)
Conan (from CONAN THE BARBARIAN; he's as much a rogue as a warrior)
Locke Lamora (from Scott Lynch's novels)
Erevis Cale (from Paul Kemp's novels)
Mat Cauthon (from THE WHEEL OF TIME)
The crew of the Serenity (from FIREFLY) if we're doing SF as well
Jack Shaftoe (from THE BAROQUE CYCLE)
Bobby Shaftore (Jack's equally-barmy descendant, from CRYPTONOMICON)
Jean le Flambeaur (from THE QUANTUM THIEF and THE FRACTAL PRINCE)
Kalam Mekhar and Quick Ben (from THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN)
Crokus/Cutter and Apsalar (from THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN)
Kellanvad and Dancer (er, from THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN)

Probably about 20 other MALAZAN characters I'm forgetting. It's probably the best series to read if rogues are your thing.

Kvothe the Bloodless (from Pat Rothfuss's THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE) has potential but he's not quite there yet. Maybe in Book 3.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Mack the Knife

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"Oh, der Haifisch, er hat Zähne...."


Sinbad the Sailor
Al a'Din
Abu Hassan
Abu Jaffar

All classic Rogues from A Thousand Nights and a Night (Richard Burton translation)

Odysseus (Ulysses)

The true Classic among rogues.

Robin of Sherwood
Much the Miller's son
Will Scarlett
and Alan a'Dale (a bard to be sure, but a roguish one)

The rogues among the Merry Men.

And I haven't even hit any fiction from the modern era yet.


And Han Solo isn't a Rogue, he's a Scoundrel. :-)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Leo_Negri wrote:
And Han Solo isn't a Rogue, he's a Scoundrel. :-)

What about Rogue Squadron? ;)


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Sherlock Holmes

I see your Sherlock Holmes, and raise you A.J. Raffles.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Gray Mouser
Conan
Jimmy the Hand

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Locke Lamora (Seriously, read these, Locke and his buddies are audacious.)
Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds. Ok, not really fantasy or medieval but a great scoundrel character)
Jimmy the Hand

I really need to try the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books.


Huckleberry Finn
Iago
Loki

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