2015-09-17 Thieves

Gavin Norman has been writing about rogues on his blog. In the comments, a commenter says: “It’s a great take on the class and it avoids those hard percentages people whine about.” I am one of those whiners!

Here’s the Skills chapter from my Halberds and Helmets house rules.


In most cases, no dice need to be rolled. If there is a secret lever behind the statue and the player said their character was looking behind the statue, then said lever will be found. We usuall roll dice when there’s some risk involved. When rolling to force doors, the referee will usually roll for a random encounter at the same time.

Thieves improve over time. They’ll be faster at opening locks, disarming traps, finding secret doors, moving silently, hiding, hearing, and so on.

The big table of d6:

Skill 1d6
Default 1
Kick in doors, add your strength bonus 1–2
Trigger, evade or disarm traps 1–2
Dwarfs are better at finding secret constructions 1–2
Dwarves are better at finding traps 1–2
Elves can hear better 1–2
Elves are better at finding secret and concealed doors 1–2
Halflings are better at hiding and sneaking 1–2
Halflings are even better at hiding and sneaking outdoors 1–5
Thieves are better at everything 1–2
Thieves from 3rd level onwards 1–3
Thieves from 6th level onwards 1–4
Thieves from 9th level onwards 1–5


A discussion in a similar vein by Ivan Vaghi on Google+.

I interpret my d6 table really broadly. Anything players claim to be thiefly is covered. Forging, lying, disguising, anything.

I don’t allow them to backstab once combat has started, though. Surprise your opponent and you can backstab, but you can’t “turn invisible” with the roll of a die. I’m fine with thieves not being a big part of combat.

An interesting ninja effect is that I have a house rule allowing people to hit anybody in reach with a two handed sword. And thieves can wield two handed swords. Usually, “in reach” means “anybody that just hit you in melee.” At the beginning of combat, or when you’re not engaged, we talk about it. But now, thieves can be ninjas – sneak up to a group of people and surprise them, move into their midst and hit all of them with a two handed sword for double damage.

Sadly, no thief has attempted to do this, until now.

– Alex Schroeder 2016-01-31 13:55 UTC

And a few days later, a very similar discussion by James Spahn in the same G+ community. I have nothing new to add. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2016-02-02 16:10 UTC

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