Any ideas on how to run a rogue minus the murder? Specifically in 5e but ideas from other editions might be useful to homebrew. (Love the blog, btw)
Thanks, and yes! I’ve had a similar ask before, and once again, I LOVE these Rogues. :)
5e is probably the best system for you. You can incapacitate a foe with a melee attack simply by declaring that you want to do it, and this applies to sneak attacks, too. So (unlike 3rd Edition) non-murdery rogues are not only viable, but a piece of cake. Just pick a finesse melee weapon, and choose to render people unconscious instead of killing them. All of the fun, none of the blood on your hands.
Avoiding combat is also feasible - perhaps not as easy as it would be for a wizard, but you can make do, because you’re a skillmonkey! With stealth and perception (and maybe investigation), you can scout ahead, find alternate routes, and bypass combat encounters entirely. With persuasion and deception (and maybe intimidation and/or a disguise kit), you can turn combat encounters to social encounters, and convince people to let you go where you want and do what you like.
You can make it work with any archetype. Arcane Trickster is fantastic, pick spells that will help with avoiding combat (charm person, alter self etc). Assassin, surprisingly, is very much viable: you can deal a ton of damage and render people unconscious quickly, and this quickness can save lives. Swashbuckler and Thief, while not tailored to your concept, don’t hinder it either.
Charlatan’s a nice background (and the only way to get access to a forgery kit AFAIK, which is also useful for avoiding combat), as is Criminal and Entertainer. If your DM allows it, you can always work on a custom background.
As for other systems, some things apply universally (mainly using skills to evade combat), but rendering people unconscious instead of killing them is a terrible hassle for Rogues in 3.5. See the Rogue’s Guide to Incapacitation for more info.
Hope that helped, good luck with your non-murdery Rogue!