d8 - A thief should have the same HP as your typical person. (RAW says humans have d6 hp which is stupid. Goblins have d8-1, humans should have more hp than goblins.)
A thief gets a +2 to hit every 3 levels (like a cleric).
Start at 1,500 xp, and scale in the same way the default thief does.
|Level||XP needed||Level||XP needed|
Thieves start with 2 weapon and 4 non-weapon proficiencies. At every level divisible by 3, thieves gain 1 non-weapon proficiency. At every level divisible by 4, thieves gain 1 weapon proficiency.
Thieves prefer to kill their targets in secret rather than in open, and to do so have become adept at the art of assassinations. When undetected and attacking a target whose guard is down, a thief may add the maximum damage of their weapon to their damage roll for every odd level they have reached. That is to say, a level 5 thief assassinating a target with a dagger would roll d4+12.
To gain the damage bonuses, a thief must be undetected and unexpected. A lazy guard patrolling a quiet wall in the dead of night or a person walking through busy streets could be assassinated if the thief could sneak up on them from behind undetected. Somebody in the middle of a battle or even a tense altercation would have their guard up enough that a regular attack roll (perhaps with back attack or surprise) would be more appropriate.
Part of this skill involves the easy manipulation of a blade, so only very small weapons like daggers and knives can be used. It’s just too awkward to use a large weapon for such fine and stealthy work.
The attack must be made with a melee weapon, although it needn’t be from behind. Assuming the thief could somehow remain undetected, a person could be struck down from the front or flanks. Depending on the circumstances it might be reasonable for the DM to roll a surprise check for the mark to see if they can react in time. If they pass their surprise check, the attack resolves like a normal one. For example, a thief attempting to kill the guard in the above example might fail their move silently check when they dart out from behind a corner to sneak up on the guard - perhaps they kick an unseen rock - and a surprise roll would be used to see if the guard reacts to the noise before the thief can get their attack in.
In order to know where to strike, the thief must have a working knowledge of the weak points of the creature and have access to them. One could not assassinate a gelatinous cube no matter how undetected and unexpected they were, nor could one assassinate a giant spider or a rust monster. Similarly, to assassinate a giant, the thief would have to have access to some vital area on them (throat, inner thigh, armpit, etc.) and a blade long enough to cut through the thick hide (this is a rare example of a time where it would be more appropriate to use an arming sword than a dagger, and the damage would scale appropriately).
Critical hits resolve normally. Our 5th level thief on a critical hit deals 2d4+12 damage.
|Pick Locks||Dex||1/2||Set by lock type|
|Hide||Dex + Pcp||1/3||Pcp|
|Climb||Dex + Str||1/3||Not opposed|
At level 1, add up to 12 points, with no more than 6 to any one skill. On level up, the thief gets 100 points to add to their skills. Each skill takes a number of points equal to the next level of the skill. So a skill that is 10 needs 11 points to increase to 11. No more than 50 points may be spent on a skill per level. Unused points carry over to the next level.
Non-thieves may try their hand at any of the thief skills except for pick locks. If a non-thief wishes to improve one of these skills, and the DM permits it, they would gain 50 points to level up the skill per non-weapon proficiency allotted. Thieve who spend a non-weapon proficiency on thief skills gain 100 points, but must still observe the 50 point limit.
Make check opposed by the target’s perception, modified by the ease of the task and difference in level. Cutting open a bag attached to a belt is easier than opening and reaching inside a backpack. If both sides fail, nothing happens and nobody notices. If the target succeeds with a roll equal to or greater than the thief’s, the target notices the attempt. Success is a 21 or over.
|In a crowd||+2|
|In a dense crowd||+4|
|Target alert / On watch||-4|
|Very awkward access||-4|
- ¹ - A sleeping target makes their perception check at half strength. Someone with 9 perception would roll d20+4 for example.
Success is determined by comparing the thief’s skill to the lock’s skill. If the thief has an equal or greater skill, they can succeed as long as they have enough time. The GM should roll the amount of time needed to pick the lock and let the thief know when it is successful, so they don’t know if they can even pick the lock until they’ve done it. The thief’s score assumes the proper tools. Using improper, broken, or improvised tools can reduce their lockpicking score.
|Skill Difference||Time To Pick Lock||Average Time|
|8||Old / Damaged¹|
- ¹ - A poor lock is more difficult to pick than a common one because it is not functioning properly. A person with the key to that lock might struggle to open it too. Perhaps the tumblers are misaligned, or there is corrosion making it harder to turn. It’s good to remember that a common lock is designed to prevent someone from walking in, and is not designed to resist a trained thief.
- ² - A broken lock will not function. Even the right key could not open it.
Unless intentionally disguised, or unusual in make, a thief can tell the quality of the lock within the first few minutes of working on it, if not upon initial sight of it.
If the thief is under pressure or otherwise distracted, the DM may ask for a lock pick check. This is a d20 + the lockpicking score of the thief. 21 or higher is a success, and the lock is picked by normal rules. 20 or less is a failure, and the thief must restart the picking attempt. How far through the attempt is up to the DM.
An opposed roll vs all possible listeners is made. Anyone who succeeds with a roll equal to or greater than the thief’s notices something. Listeners make a normal perception check.
|Total silence||-4||Dirt ground||+0|
|Quiet||-2||Rocky / sandy / grassy ground||-1|
|Noisy||+4||Snow / forest floor||-3|
|Deafening||+8||Gravel / dry leaves||-5|
|Target distracted||½ score¹||Open terrain (no buildings, walls, cliffs, etc.)||+1|
|Target alert / On watch||-2||Inside||-1|
|Barefoot / Soft shoes||+2||Loose gear²||-1|
|Boots / Inflexible shoes||-2||Leather, metal armor||-1, -2|
|Heavy boots||-4||Thief encumbered||-1 per category|
- ¹The target rolls their perception check at half their score rounded down. A distracted person with 9 pcp would roll d20+4
- ²Wearing a backpack, sword, or other things that move and creak. A backpack and be strapped down or a sword/scabbard can be taken off the belt and held in hands to remove this penalty.
This skill is used when the thief wishes to not be seen. Anybody in the vicinity that might be able to spot them gets an opposed perception check. If the other people are not actively searching the area, they make their perception checks at half strength (a person with a perception of 9 would roll d20+4). Nobody can hide in plain sight (you can’t hide in an empty jail cell for example).
|Status||Hide Modifier||Status||Spot Modifier|
|Reactionary cover||-4||Soft light||-2|
|Prepared cover||+4||Dim light||-4|
|Limited cover||Up to -4||Moonlight||-6|
|Abundant cover||Up to +4||Starlight||-8|
|Poor cover||Up to -4||Distracted¹||½ score|
|Good cover||Up to +4||Passively searching²||½ score|
- ¹ - Someone searching an area in a hurry, in combat, or while having a conversation makes their roll at half strength.
- ² - Someone moving through an area without looking for anything in particular makes their roll at half strength. This does stack with being distracted, so a pair of people engaged in conversation moving through an area where someone is hiding without looking for them make their checks at ¼ strength (d20+pcp/4)
A thief who is pilfering the study of a noble and darts behind cover because they hear the door to the room opening might be making their check at -12 (-4 for reactionary, -4 for limited cover, -4 for poor cover) whereas a thief setting up an ambush in a forest along a road might be making their check at +12 (+4 for prepared, +4 for abundant cover, +4 for good cover). A thief who is interrupted while trying to steal a horse from a large stable might make their check at +4 (-4 for reactionary, +4 for abundant cover, and +4 for good cover).
To move unseen through an area under observation, a thief would make a single roll against the observers rolls. If the thief is moving quickly, use the reactionary cover penalty. If the thief is taking their time, use the prepared cover bonus. The amount and quality over cover modifiers used should be of the most difficult section. Thus a thief approaching a fort might have to make their way through the edge of the woods (+8, good and abundant cover), then through some 2’ grass between the woods and the wall (+0, poor and abundant cover), down and over a ditch (-8, poor and limited cover), and then up the wall (-4, limited and OK cover). This thief would use the cover adjustment of -8, as it is the most difficult section to cross.
The same thief might be taking their time (+4 for prepared cover) as they make their way to the wall, or perhaps there’s only one small window of opportunity that they have to take (-4 for reactionary cover). If during the sneaking the thief is disturbed, say patrol comes back from the woods and is going to be walking near enough that they might spot the thief, a second hide check may be in order. This hide check would involve not only the thief and the patrol, but also those on the wall the thief was originally hiding from.
A successful check (21 or higher) means the thief is able to focus on a particular sound / noise / conversation. This could be for listening to a conversation on the other side of a door, overhearing a conversation at a nearby table, counting footsteps coming down a hall, or other similar things.
|Other side of wooden door||-4|
|Other side of wooden wall||-8|
|Other side of stone/metal door||-6|
|Target lost in crowd¹||-2|
|Target speaking in a low voice||-4|
|Target speaking loudly||+4|
|Open terrain (no buildings, walls, cliffs, etc.)||-2|
|Read lips NWP and line of sight to lips||+5|
- ¹ - If the thief can hear the target but doesn't know where they are
The thief succeeds on a score of 21 or higher.
|Brick or stone (eroded)||+6||Inward slope||+2|
|Brick or stone (average)||0||Outward slope||-2|
|Brick or stone (maintained)||-6||Overhang||-6|
|Palisade wall (eroded)||+2||Slippery (wet or loose)||-4|
|Palisade wall (average)||-2||Very slippery (icy or slimy)||-8|
|Palisade wall (maintained)||-6||Wounded (½ hp)||-4|
|Natural rock, rough||+6||Encumbered||-1²|
|Natural rock, smooth||-4||Environment (poor)||-4|
|Rope and wall¹||+10||Environment (terrible)||-8|
- ¹ - Overgrown does not stack with Rope and wall
- ² - Cumulative for each level of encumbrance. -1 at light, -3 at medium, -6 at heavy, -10 at severe
Climbing speed is the height of the character multiplied by one quarter their climbing modifier. Example: Grunge the first level rogue is scaling an abandoned castle. Grunge has a 10 in climb and is scaling an overgrown eroded brick wall, so his modifier is +20. He is 5’6” tall, so he climbs at a rate of (5.5 x 20 / 4) 27.5 feet per round.
A character may slow their speed by 50% to gain a +5 bonus to their roll, or may increase their speed by 10% for every -2 they take to their roll. These adjustments to the roll are not considered for climbing speed.
Example: Knowing that the wall is 35 feet tall and that he needs to clear it in a single round, Grunge wishes to climb it more quickly. He does some quick math and decides he needs to move 30% faster if he’s going to make it, giving him a -6 to the overall check. Grunge will roll a d20+14. If he passes, he will just barely make it up the wall. (27.5 x 1.3 = 35.75).
A climber may climb for a number of rounds equal to ½ their constitution, after which they will need to make con checks every round to keep going.
This is the ability to, with the right equipment, disguise oneself as a different person of similar age, height, weight, sex, skin/hair color, and of the same race. A thief may not disguise another person with this check as part of the disguise is changing mannerisms such as voice, walk, posture, pathing, body language, and speech patterns.
Attempting to disguise oneself as a member of a different sex or race carries heavy penalties and may require special equipment - for example a short female thief trying to pass herself off as a tall male might need some stilts to complete the disguise, or human male trying to disguise himself as an elf might need some clay and makeup to fabricate pointed ears, as well as a close shave to hide his beard.
When we talk about disguising there are three terms we need to clarify.
- Thief: The person attempting the disguise.
- Subject: The person the thief is being disguised as.
- Target: Anybody who might be deceived by the thief. There are often many targets of a disguise.
Reasons to be disguised
- To be unrecognized
- To be recognized as something else
- Blend in as a servant, monk, party goer, etc.
- To be recognized as someone else
- Impersonate the high cleric, the tax collector, the local lord/lady, etc.
|Global Situational Modifiers||Thief Modifier|
|Different skin color (covered with makeup)¹||Up to -5|
|Different race²||-5 / -2|
|Different gender¹||Up to -5|
|Different build¹||Up to -10|
|Different age||Up to GM|
|Different social status||-1 / tier|
|Has acting non-weapon proficiency||+4|
|Has etiquette non-weapon proficiency||+2|
- ¹- These modifiers are scalable. A light skinned thief may only have a -1 penalty for impersonating a tanned person, or a -5 penalty for impersonating a dark skinned person. Similarly an effeminate male thief would have an easier time impersonating a female than would a very masculine male. The exact modifiers ought to be discussed before the disguise is made.'
- ² - A human disguised as an elf would roll at -5, but a human disguised as a half elf would roll at -2.'
- ³ - This penalty might be much higher if the target of the deception is familiar with the culture of the subject. That is to say, an Eridonian thief might have a -2 penalty to disguise themselves as someone from Akuba, but if they are trying to pull this off in front of another Akuban, the penalty might be as high as -5. If that same Eridonian thief had lived in Akuba for years, this penalty might be done away with altogether.
|Spellcasters / Merchants / Scholars / Skilled Laborers / Artists|
|Servants / Musicians / Actors / Messengers / Scribes|
|Hunters / Ranchers / Woodsmen / Peasants / Fisherman / Laborer|
|Low Life / Riff Raff / Street Urchin|
The difference in social status from a beggar (street urchin) to a scribe is 2, while a difference between a fisherman and the king is 4. The difference between a fisherman and a rancher is 0. Seeing as members of the clergy come from all social statuses a thief must take into consideration the social status of the clergy member they wish to be disguised as. A thief who comes from a family that operates a roadside inn (servant class) could disguise themselves as a humble traveling monk with a social class difference of 1, or as a noble priest with a social class difference of 4.
If a thief wishes to disguise themselves as a specific person, they incur modifiers based on how well they know the subject while people the thief is trying to fool get bonuses to their opposed check based on how well they know the subject.
|Subject Known||Thief Mod|
|Seen in person||-4|
|Close friend / family||+2|
|Target’s check: Modifiers and Check Frequency|
|Existing Familiarity With Subject||Sees Thief At Distance||Sees Thief Up Close||In Conversation With Thief|
|Described only|| Modifier: -18|
|Artistic rendition||Modifier: -12|
|Seen or heard||Modifier: -8|
|Seen and heard||Modifier: -4|
|Known slightly||Modifier: 0|
|Friend / Known well||Modifier: +5|
|Close friend / family||Modifier: +5|
- Reginald the dastardly rogue wishes to lace the queen’s wine with a love potion. The only problem is that the city watch is on to him and have posters up all over town with his face on them. First Reginald must gain access to the city. To do this, all he needs to do is to not be himself, so he puts on his disguise and makes for the city gates. Reginald doesn’t need to make a disguise check when he crosses paths with other people on the road because, while they might have noticed and recognized him without his disguise, none of them are looking for him and won’t give a second thought to just another stranger on the road. Coming to the city walls, Reginald sees six guardsmen on the gate. Two are conducting short interviews with people coming in, two are conducting short interviews with people going out, and the other two are keeping an eye on the lines that are forming. Reginald comes in front of the two suspicious guards and makes his disguise check (d20+18 for our roguish hero) which is a very average 10+18=28. Each of the two guards makes an opposed charisma check (d20+11) and end up with a 15 and a 26. Reginald is in!
- Now our intrepid adventurer needs to get within the castle walls. He hears there’s a grand ball being held in a week’s time so he prepare himself while he keeps a low profile in a friend’s house. Reginald’s plan is to drug a young nobleman who is similar to age and size as himself and take his place. Reginald scopes out the young nobleman’s manor only to find that they are renovating the west wing. After buying the appropriate (and worn) clothes to masquerade as laborer and stuffing his shirt a little to beef up, our hero makes his way to the manor gates to sneak on through. The footman on duty needs to be convinced that Reggie belongs here so they take a good look at him as he approaches. Our dear Reginald was born to a noble family and is not a particularly well built fellow (9 strength and 10 constitution) so trying to disguise himself as a strong common worker might be a bit of a challenge. Reginald makes his normal d20+18 check at -5 (3 for social status, 2 for build) rolling a 25 (12+18-5). The well trained footman make their check (d20+13), fumbles badly with a 6+13=19, and waves the faux-laborer in without a second thought. Once inside, Reginald sneaks upstairs where he hides out until evening when the nobleman is getting ready for the party. Reginald slips a strong sedative in the nobleman’s tea, waits for him to fall asleep, changes him into a spare set of his clothes (so as not to attract attention with a naked body), steals his invitation, and uses his room to apply the appropriate makeup and costume alterations.
- Finally Reginald gets to the castle gates where he must impersonate this young nobleman to the guards who are checking invitations. The guards have seen the young nobleman at court often but without heavily considering him. The DM decides this is equivalent to them having seen and heard him. Reginald presents his invitation to the guards and asks them how their evening is going. They give a short reply and make their opposed checks, Reginald at -2 (-4 for having only seen his subject and +2 for the dim light out when he arrived at the gates) and the guards at +2 (they’ve seen and heard the nobleman and are engaging Reginald in conversation). Reginald rolls a 3 for a low 19 and the guards roll a total of 14 and 20. Something’s off so one of the guards offers to walk him to the party, intentionally steering Reginald toward someone who might know him better. Had Reginald just handed over his invitation in silence, the guards would have rolled at +0 and failed. Or perhaps Reginald should have spent more time getting to know his subject, reducing or even eliminating his penalty for not knowing him well.
No forgery can be attempted if the handwriting of the subject is unknown. At the very least the thief must have closely seen the subject’s handwriting before, but preferably they have a sample to work off of. A forgery check should be made in secret by the DM. A thief never turns in work they think is bad.
|Script Known||Thief Mod||Target Mod|
|Writing style seen||-12||-10|
|Writing style is familiar||-8||-4|
|Writing style is well known||-4||0|
|Writing sample in hand||0||+6¹|
- ¹ - Only useful if the person being fooled is actively looking for a forgery / discrepancy. A bookie who sees an entry in their ledger that they don’t remember writing would get a +6 to notice the difference, but someone who steals the bookie’s ledger wouldn’t get a bonus to notice the added entry unless they were looking for alterations.
|Inappropriate paper quality||-1 - -4|
|More than just a signature||-4|
|Very rushed job||-8|
|Unlimited time to make||+4|
- ¹ - An illiterate person might be able to copy a letter in someone’s hand (with -6), but not create a letter with different text. A person literate in common, but not in elven, trying to copy an elven script would get a -6 to their forgery check. Even an illiterate thief can forge a signature, provided they’ve seen it before or have it in hand.
This skill allows a thief to closely estimate distances, sizes, weights, and other measures. This skill also permits a thief to estimate a target’s combat ability. In practice this means revealing a target’s bonus to hit, damage, AC, and how much HP they have left. When using this skill to gauge the combat abilities of a target, the thief must observe the target in combat or a display of skill. A thief may use make use of gauge checks in combat, but if it is against a target the thief has not been focusing on, they must take a -4 for being engaged in combat / distracted. Observing a person walking down the street will tell you nothing about their skills.
|Recalling from memory||-4|
|Engaged in combat / distracted||-4|
- ¹ = Guessing the weight of a painted cube of metal would impose a -8 penalty on the check if the item is not handled, since the paint covers up the type of metal. It could me mithril (very light) or lead (very dense). Similarly a mystical beast before might be light or heavy for its size.
|Roll||Hit Bonus||Damage Bonus (Str)||AC Bonus (Non-armor)¹||% HP Remaining|
|21||Up to +4||Up to +2||Up to +3||Closest 30%|
|26||Up to +8||Up to +4||Up to +6||Closest 20%|
|31||Up to +12||Up to +6||Up to +9||Closest 10%|
|36||Up to +16||Up to +8||Up to +12||Closest 5%|
- ¹ - This reveals a creatures bonus to AC for things like Dex, shield specialization, fighting styles that grant AC bonuses as well as magical bonuses like bracers of defense, rings/robes of protection, etc.
- Familiar: People, dogs, pits, books, etc.
- Unfamiliar: Lion, tall buildings,
- Strange: Dragon, displacer beast, giant spider
- Alien: Gelatinous cube, mimic
Note: To a person who is setting foot in a town for the very first time a tall building might be strange, but to a person who has lived in that town their whole life it would be familiar. Similarly someone who did not grow up around dogs might roll for their info as unfamiliar.
- General details of a person: Height ± 1 inch, weight ± 5%, age ± 2 years
- Specific details of a person: Height ± ½ inch, weight ± 2.5%, age to the year
- Exacting details of a person: Height ± ¼ inch, weight ± 1%, age to the season
If a thief wanted to determine if her friend’s fireball spell would fit in a room (else it might spill out into the hallway and burn them up as well) she would need to make a specific unfamiliar check (she’s seen her friend cast fireball a few times). When she boches the check and the fire comes screaming down the hallway at her, she might need to make a general familiar check to see if the pit they laid a ladder across is narrow enough that she can jump over it. Later the same thief is trying to tunnel under the alter of a temple from the tavern across the street. She would need to make an exacting unfamiliar check to make sure her tunnel comes up right under the alter (else the floor tiles might shift giving away her tunnel).
Things that can be determined: Distance, weight, volume, age (only familiar)
This is a combination of slang, innuendo, and colloquialisms used to discuss illicit activities and goods. It is learnable by anyone if they have a teacher, but finding such a person is a challenge. Undercommon has similar forms in other languages but the concepts are interchangeable so someone who speaks undercommon and later learns dwarven would be able to speak a rough form of underdwaven. Language is cultural so any character that speaks this language must have been heavily immersed in it. Only under exceptional circumstances should a non thief character be able to speak undercommon at character generation (perhaps if they were employed as a bodyguard or enforcer for someone in the underworld). Furthermore, undercommon is not limited to verbal forms of communication. Hobo signs, small markings that relate information about the owner of the marked territory, are a good example of written undercommon.
Should a thief wish to use undercommon to get the attention of another thief or to see if the person they’re talking to speaks undercommon, a charisma check may be made to do so surreptitiously. Failure indicates clumsy wording or and awkward social situation. Should the person they are speaking to be a regular person, it is possibly of little consequence other than a bad impression. Should the person be versed in undercommon, either as a thief or as a constable, the thief’s intent could be muddled or clear (up to the DM).