Luke and I have been considering the Thief playtest class we put up years ago now. We’ve made some modifications to the level benefits based on our own playtests. Take a look and let us know what you think!
Born on the streets, thieves were brought into a tough life. Their cradle was the gutter, their bread was the cruelty of strangers and their guardians were brutal guildmasters. Forced to survive amidst the uncaring in the cities and towns, some urchins deem the adventurer’s life to have better odds and at least a small hope of escape from destitution and a life ended on the gallows. They bring cunning, bravado and hard-won skills valuable in any group of scoundrels.
|Abilities||Distribute 8 points between Will and Health; neither may be lower than 2 or higher than 6.|
|Skills||Criminal 3, Manipulator 3, Scout 3, Sapper 2, Fighter 2; Plus choice of Criminal +1, Haggler 3, Pathfinder 3, Peasant 3 or Survivalist 3.|
|Trait||Devil May Care|
|Weapons||Bow, crossbow, dagger, hand axe, sword|
Devil May Care
Thieves are rakes and libertines. Their swagger and ability to spit in the eye of danger helps them win admirers and keep a steady hand when others would shake in their boots. It can also lead them to take foolish risks to protect their reputations.
Thief Level Benefits
Thief: You may wear leather armor and cannot use a helmet or shield. You can wield bows, crossbows, daggers, hand axes and swords.
Concealed Pocket: The thief has an additional torso inventory slot that can only be used to conceal a small Pack 1 item or small weapon (like a dagger or sling). If someone tries to search the thief, the thief may roll Criminal vs. the attempt to keep the item hidden.
Improvisational: A bit of wire, a sliver of metal, a shard of bone — a thief always has tools available for tests regarding traps, escaping, picking locks and the like. If you already have tools, you may spend a check to improvise supplies (+1D) for the test.
Surprise Attack: Add +1s to any Feint action (in addition to any weapon or Might bonuses) when leading or helping with a Feint action in tight, dimly lit or claustrophobic fighting conditions.
Pickpocket: A thief always has a ready source of cash in town — from certain involuntary donations to the purse. Resources is minimum 1 rather than 0. If Resources is 0 in town, advance it to 1 immediately. If Resources is 1 or higher, the thief may make a free Criminal test in town to alleviate one of the residents of some of their extra cash. Success generates 1D of cash. The cost of failure is up to the GM.
Good Ear: By listening at a portal, entryway, door or gate, a thief can gain useful information. Make a Scout test with +1D vs. those on the other side to listen. This test does not cost a turn. Success indicates number and type of opponents or odd and distinctive sounds ahead. May be used once per adventure phase.
Fence: When selling loot in the market or stolen goods to the Thieves Guild, test Haggler versus your vendor. This test does not increase your lifestyle. If successful, increase the sale value by +1D of cash. You can conduct these transactions even if the market in town is closed (but not if there’s no market in town at all).
Steady Hands: +1D to tests when setting or disarming traps. Once per adventure phase you may check for traps without taking a turn. You may only be helped by other thieves or characters with appropriate Nature descriptors.
Friends in Low Places: +1D to Circles for finding thieves, beggars, criminals and adventurers. In addition, if ever accosted in town by a thief or legbreaker, you may make a Circles test at +1 Ob to determine if you know them and are on good terms. This test does not increase lifestyle.
Thief’s Apprentice: You gain an apprentice. The apprentice helps you with your default class skills (Criminal, Manipulator, Scout, Sapper, Fighter). Add +1D to your roll when your apprentice is helping. To help in a conflict, you must assign the apprentice a point of disposition. The apprentice has three available inventory slots and requires a portion of food and water in camp.
Symbological Dilettante: You’ve seen all manner of weird inscriptions. +2D to the Scholar skill to decipher runes, symbols and strange languages. A thief who has learned the Arcanist skill may use it to case from spell scrolls. Increase the obstacle to cast by 1.
Leverage: You have dirt on a lot of people. Increase Precedence by one. [Consider this a teaser for something else we’re working on!]
Expert: Increase your rank cap for Criminal, Sapper or Health (choose one) from 6 to 7. You may advance from rank 6 to rank 7 with seven successful and six failed tests.
A Life in the Shadows: Suffer no penalty for dim light and only -1s in darkness. You can act in darkness normally (without conflict restrictions) provided you can smell and touch. You still can’t read or use a map in darkness.
Protection: Make a Manipulator test to put a town institution under your “protection.” If successful, the institution will make regular payments (+1D cash when you enter town) or provide services (free of lifestyle cost).
Protection Racket Factors
|Size of Town||+Institution|
|Busy Crossroads (1)||Popular Establishment like a tavern|
or accommodation (1)
|Bustling Metropolis (2)||Weak Guild (1)|
|Religious Bastion (3)||Propitiate Temple (2)|
|Remote Village (3)||Strong Guild (2)|
|Steading (4)||Patron Temple (3)|
|Wizard’s Tower (4)||Ruling House (3)|
Heroic Ability: Choose Criminal, Manipulator or Sapper. The chosen skill becomes “heroic.” When rolling this skill 3-6 indicates a success (rather than the standard 4-6).
Transformed: Change one Nature descriptor to climbing, hiding or stealing. You may use the level benefit to replace a lost Nature descriptor.
Luck of the Devil: When acting alone or at the forefront of the test for a thief class skill (i.e. you’re the one rolling the dice), you may choose a twist or condition for a failed test. In a group test, you choose which character is hit with the worst condition. Make the choice for twist or condition before the GM describes what the twist would be.
Spider: Once per town phase, you may do one of the following:
- Assign an institution you control or that is under your protection to the town watch for the duration of your stay.
- Appoint a friend or enemy to an office in a town institution.
- Modify a town law with a new restriction (must/must not) or penalty that remains on the town’s ledgers going forward.
The Level 2 changes are especially great. Concealed pocket makes for a good choice against Improvisational.
I really like moving up Fence to Level 4 and giving it that added Haggler bit.
Overall, super cool.
For what it’s worth, if you are looking for feedback on the dwarf, my players don’t like either of the 7th Level abilities at all. Troll Slayer sounds cool, but the party composition requirements are a bummer. War Captain also sounds cool, but it has not made sense in the fiction of our games because battles are so rare.
Interesting. What’s the thinking behind giving the companion inventory slots and requiring them te given FOOD and water in camp? Are you thinking all companions will be amended to include the slots and food and drink requirements?
Koch, I would certainly amend the Troll Slayer ability to read ‘all allies in the combat’ rather than all party members. With regard to War Captain yeah if you have no battles no one will pick it. That’s really not a problem. Our current group is level 2-4 and they have had two battles. I can see campaigns where there would be none at all.
Yeah, I think so. They need a little boost, but you need to take care of them.
Are these official changes? My thief is L7 now. This changes her a lot. Not all bad, but a lot of changes. Plus, her concept was built around Cloak and Dagger. And now that feature is gone completely.
It’s playtest material. You are absolutely not obligated to use it, but let us know how it turns out if you do.
Continue the discussion at forums.burningwheel.com
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