Monday, September 29, 2008

Thieves, How Should They Work?

The thief, as we have stated before, is a bit of a tricky one. I honestly like the class, but can well understand why many in the 'old school renaissance' no longer allow the class in their games. I, however, really want to try and make it a viable choice (I'd also like to do that for the fighter as well, but one thing at a time...) and so I'm going to throw out a couple of ideas.

1) Point buy percentages. This sort of thing, presented in 2nd Ed. AD&D, has the advantage of allowing the player to be really good at, at the least, one thief ability. The downside: Over-specialization and I don't really care for it.

2) Ditching the normal (to AD&D) bonuses due to a high dexterity and replacing that with a flat bonus to all thief abilities equal to the thief's dexterity score.

This doesn't address the issue that some have brought, i.e.: the thief is an unneeded class as the player should be challenged, not the character, but, though I find the idea attractive, I do think the character's abilities should be taken into account...

Until later.


The Jade Mask said...

Just a random comment here...I find the idea of the player being challenged instead of the an opposition to the thief be a weak argument.
No one's asking the fighter's player to beat the DM in a fight (unless the DM's a jerk), no one at the table is throwing actual spells (presumably), and no one needs the cleric's player to have EMT training (unless the fighter player gets carried away). The idea IS that the characters are being challenged in the game, that's much of the point and purpose of play as someone else and do the things that one can not normally do and watch them respond to the challenges in the game.
Lest someone take my point to the extreme, I would like to point out that the players are (and should be) challenged throughout the game. They have to make the decisions for their characters at all times, and often they'll encounter something which they can't get out of with a fireball or a lockpicking roll, such as a riddle or even the simple question, "Should we drink from the magical fountain?" All of their choices and decisions have consequences for their character.
But when confronted with something as simple as a locked door or as complicated as a dungeon built by Tremblar the Trapper, Mad Half-Gnome Half-Penguin Engineer apprenticed to Lum the Mad...player decision making can only carry so far and at that point, it's good to have a character with some expertise in the field...just as the fighter's expertise is in fighting.
Ultimate this argument against the thief sounds a lot like the argument against the assassin; anybody can be a murderer, you don't need a class for it. But the honorable gentleman in charge of this blog has addressed that to good effect elsewhere.

Doctor Apocalypse said...

A solid point, and I think it articulates why I am averse to the elimination of the thief class.

I believe the reasoning is that everyone should be able to search for and disarm traps, sneak, and so forth and these things should either be role-played ("I search the base of the statuette, looking for any protrusions or oddities...") or given an ad hoc chance for success ("OK, you're moving quietly, so your chance for surprise is 4 in 6, rather than 2 in 6...").

Whilst this sort of thing can be fun, it can also lead to a certain level of frustration...