Monday, December 6, 2021

d100 Unusual Thief Ablities

This post from the Doomslakers blog inspired me to finally put the finishing touches on one of the d100 Tables I’ve been adding entries to on-and-off for a while now. I previously touched a bit on the suggested boost via DEX Score in this ancient post (even suggesting some optional Scores to prevent DEX from getting more “top heavy”), but the primary portion of the post that this pertains here are those delicious “Additional Skills.” I too have noticed that the standard collection of Thief Special Abilities seems almost little too “Dungeon-centric” and by the time the game begins to transition into the later Tiers of Play (Wilderness Exploration, Domain Management), the role of the Thief Class can gradually begin to metamorphose somewhat. Sometimes, they seem to fulfill a more “Ranger” or “Scout” role in the Wilderness, and of course, Domain play is greatly improved by factional intrigues, spying, and sabotage.

So, here’s a d100 Table of Unusual Thief Abilities that might appeal to some Players and Referees. There’s a lot of different ways to handle acquisition of these. Random rolls (or choices) on level advancement could be interesting, as could making these “unlockable” through admission to Guilds or by acquiring specialized Contacts/Mentors for Training. Allowing a Thief to “substitute” one or more of their Standard Special Abilities for a table entry below might also allow for some intriguing Class Customization options (useful for differentiation within parties that feature multiple Thieves, a bit like my First Level Spell Features for Magic Users). One could even simply peruse the List for inspiration for fun new tactics and hijinks to attempt.

As with all Thief Abilities, my primary method of adjudicating these remains largely unchanged: I tend to assume Competency and only require a roll if there are stakes involved or if failure is interesting. My usual “mental checklist” for Open Locks still applies: Given enough time, adequate environmental factors (good lighting), and the proper tools, a Thief can Pick just about any Non-Magical Lock. It’s only when one of those factors isn’t present (as is usually the case in a Dungeon: Picking a Lock whilst Bugbears break down a barricaded Door, in flickering Torch Light, using a fish bone, etc.) that rolling to determine success really comes up in my games.

It's also vital to remember that many of these could also represent tasks and activities that can be performed by any Adventurer or Class (which would probably be handled through a more standardized, less level-based resolution mechanic), Thieves that have the Special Ability or Skill just have better chances of succeeding or mitigate their consequences for failure a bit more than someone who doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, knack, training, or luck 😊.

I’ve provided some loose suggestions for which Ability Progression one might utilize to track advancement with these more unconventional approaches, but I’d be just as likely to leverage that lovely Turn Undead Table (a method of resolution which “solves” some of my issues with the d100 rolls).

1 comment:

  1. I think a cool table similar to this would be 100 random boons to start with at level 1. Some could be skills like this

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