So we have some players in our group who play 4e for the "Role" play aspect, not the "Roll" play aspect. They have a firm grasp on the "general" flow/rules and whatnot, but generally don't spend much time on learning their character's "crunch" powers and/or figuring out useful powers/itemization/etc. Are there any Striker builds for Roguelike classes that are very "fire and forget"/"pick up and play" friendly? That is to say, that they perform well enough, but do not require setting up intricate combos or remembering specific geographic setups to do so?
The essentials thief is quite simple to play as long as you remember to get Combat Advantage. I think it's one of the most powerful strikers (damage per hit) in the game--but a no-brainer to play.
There is a feat available that give the thief combat advantage whenever the thief has partial concealment (amazingly easy to get). Another gives the thief cover whenever he is in difficult terrain.
At that point the thief just becomes a point and shoot doll that generally only misses on a 1-3 or so--often just 1--and does about 20-30 pts of damage per hit. (The high hit rate assumes a 20 dex and is due to that, a couple class features, one free reroll and the constant CA)
If that's too complicated for your players, have them take the feats and at-wills that make it easiest to get CA and then don't make them apply them--just always assume the thief has CA and gets the extra 2d6 (I run a thief in a weekly game and in the past few months I don't think I've had to make a single attack without CA).
Then all they have to think about is that once per combat they get a free reroll when they miss and if it hits they get another 2d6 damage (Backstab).
As far as damage per combat I've never seen anything like it. No conditions, no thought, just damage.
As time goes on they can learn the at-will tricks one at a time--they aren't necessary but make the character at least slightly interesting to play. You could even add a little "twist" in one of your combat that causes a thief to repeatedly use one of the tricks like the one that lets you climb walls...
I actually don't like the character--I'm a controller guy--but our game is often just 3 people and the thief can be played without requiring any time or attention at all.
I found an archer ranger can be rather "rogue-like" and be fairly easy to play. You could role play hunter's quarry to be more of an "aimed shot", making it "sneak attack-ish", in nature. Being a martial character as well helps to cement in that it's not the ranger of old editions that was more nature oriented but more suited to just ranged combat. I had a few friends play ranged rogue's in 3e and the ranger seems fairly easy to translate over as a ranged rogue.
As for fire and forget, you pretty much need to throw out hunter's quarry on a target and start firing! You can pump up damage with different feats without much trouble and there isn't really anything tricky to getting lots of damage output out of a ranger, even with at-wills with the help of Twin Strike.
The only thing that wouldn't be "rogue like" is that the ranger doesn't have thievery as a class skill so it's a bit harder to disarm traps. However, unlike some people, I don't view the rogue as merely the "trap protection/disarmer" member of the party.
I personally had fun roleplaying a rather roguelike ranger in a campaign not too long ago and had a blast. We had too many melee already so I went with the ranger and didn't have any trouble still acting like the rogue of the party.
As a side note, you probably could do it with a two-blade ranger as well but I've only personally tried it as an archer ranger.
The best "fire and forget" class is the Essentials Slayer: all they have to do is Melee Basic Attack. While there are optional extras there, the core of the class is in the MBA. Unfortunately, their use of huge weapons makes for a poor "rogue" build.
The closest "fire and forget" class that has a thiefy feel is the Executioner Assassin. They sneak, their striker-damage always applies, and they have exactly one encounter power. The poisons can be a little tricky, but they're quite ignorable if necessary. Beyond that, there are some "lazy" poisons that simply provide bonus damage on every hit. This is my recommendation for pure fire-and-forget thief.
The Thief has elements of "fire and forget" if designed correctly.
1) Combat advantage can be a little tricky. However, if you describe it as stabbing them while their back is turned, the idea of flanking doesn't take too much effort to master. (And, if they're unwilling to master it, this may not be the game for them. This isn't a snarky aside, D&D doesn't suit everyone.)
2) The thief is quite a lot more "jump in and play" than the Rogue. Give him "Tumbling Trick" and "Sneak's Trick" Tumbling trick should be used to get around battles. Ignore the strength bonus extra damage. Sneak's Trick has many excellent RP applications.
3) All the feats should be (as Schwab characterizes them) Lazy Feats. They should perform a 1-off modification of the character's numbers and then get out of the way. That way, the only conditional the player needs to worry about is combat advantage, and the only way they need to worry about getting it is through flanking.
While the thief is more complex than the Executioner, a properly built thief can be remarkably simple and rewarding to play.
If they want to play a ranged thief, Give them Ambush trick and make sure they use it every turn. While gaining combat advantage against people inside the "melee furball" is rather more difficult, the "go pick off isolated targets" is an effective combat strategy that the ranged thief can perform par excellance