Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crime doesn't pay (at least at low level)...

so, the thief.  in B/X and in LL...he's a little lacking.  granted, he can use any weapon - but as written, the backstab rules are kind of murky and his chances of sneaking up on someone (or, y'know...doing ANY type of thief stuff) are basically next to nil.  so how do we improve this class?

in our group we've switched over the 2d6 Thievery chart suggested here and it's been working for us.  but...still...ugh. i don't know.  chris had said that he liked 2E's idea of giving thieves points to spend on their skill percentages...but for LL/BX that seems like too much book-keeping. 

over the weekend i downloaded the free rules for LAMENTATIONS OF THE FLAME PRINCESS and i really like the way that handles thieves (or specialists, as they're known in that game).  it's kind of a combination of the 2E way but based on d6's instead of percentile dice.

so i started thinking...what if i combined the 2 ideas?

how about this:  in LL/BX, a thief starts with the following skills set at a difficulty of 11:

open locks
find/remove traps
pick pockets
move silently
hide in shadows
climb walls

in order to succeed, he needs to roll 2d6 and beat his difficulty.  now, at 1st level the thief gets 3 or 4 points that he can spend to lower the difficulty level of whichever skills he'd like.  then every level after he would get 2 more.  with a 2d6 check you can still add in DEX mods and racial mods (for those people using the AEC)...i figure that a 10% bonus would be equal to +1...5% bonuses would get lost (oh well).

i wonder if hide in shadows/move silently should be combined into a STEALTH check...?  or would that make it too easy for thieves to become stealth machines?  maybe the climb walls skill should start off lower than 11 since it's traditionally been the ONE thing that low level thieves were good at...?   hear noise i would leave as written in the books...

i don't know...we're going to play around with this idea over our next few sessions and see what happens.


Draxthis said...

Mike, I like the idea of the d6 system for thieving but, and I hesitate because it just may be too much book keeping, I do not believe the "target number" should be listed for the thief. Let me explain:

We all understand and agree, to some extent, that thieves should not know if they have succeeded at hiding, finding traps, or even opening locks. However, this relies too much on the DM to make rolls for that character and takes away some of the fun of playing a thief.

What if the "target number" is set by the DM based on the situation, instead of just saying you have a bonus to this roll or that roll. The "target number" on the thief character sheet should be that of moderate difficulty.

Yes yes, I understand this adds weight to the game and the class but having GM'd Shadowrun a lot in the past, setting difficulty ratings is pretty routine.

Let me give you an example of how this would work. At first level the thief would have a pick pockets chance of about 11 (I didn't see it on your list but I am presuming it is there). That 11 is of moderate difficulty for stealing from a merchant or passerby on the streets of a town. However, in a bar, with drunk patrons and coins all over the place (including the floor), siphoning off a few here and there may only be a 6 or 7. Even the most hawk-eyed inn keeper can only look in two directions at once :-)

Anyway, those are just some thoughts, it may not work but it is another option.

xwardukex said...

i feel like the DM setting difficulty numbers does add too much weight to the game - but this could be fixed by the DM just adding situational modifiers. for example: the thief in the bar trying to rob a drunk person could receive a +2 to his chance ON TOP of dex/racial mods. so, a 1st level thief with a 14 dex (let's say he spent 2 points to drop his PP to 9) now has a +3 to the on 2d6 he just needs to beat a 6. not bad for first level. under the old system he would have a flat 20% chance.

oh, and i did forget to add PICK POCKETS to the list - fixed.

Draxthis said...

I agree with the new system over the old system, although is there room for improvement or are thieves maxed at first level, so to speak (I may have missed that in the first post as I cannot read that while I am writing comments).

My only argument with giving the player the bonus is they then know what they need to roll.

Rauthik said...

My concern is that they will too quickly become unstoppable in their skills (hence why I said that we should play with it a bit to see how it works, but since we haven't implemented it yet I'll ramble here for bit).
An example would be say Pick Pockets. At first level it's 11, but say I want to dump all my points in to it, now it's 7. Add my dex modifier (let's say my guy has a +1. Nice and modest). Now I just need to get a 6 or better on 2d6. 2nd level, I put both my points in again and I'm at 4+ to pick pocket. Now, I know this would make my other skills really crappy, but the potential is there for some crazy abuse.
But, let's be fair, and look at an even spread (I'm only just really crunching number now and have not thought this out so bear with me..). There are six skills if we keep Hide and Silent separate. First level, with a +1 from Dex, all skills are a 10+, but then we have 4 points too. So, 4 at 9+ and 2 at 10+. Not overpowered in the least. 2nd level, even out those other two and all are at 9+. By making them all even, it would all at 8+ at 5th level, 7+ at 8th, 6+ at 11th, etc. Okay, that looks good actually. I think that combining the two sneaky skills into one Stealth makes sense but would unbalance things a bit (all at 6+ by 9th level - IF the player kept everything as even as possible and did not favor any one skill).
So, in my round about conclusion, I say we go for it. Oh, and of course situation modifiers should apply and be determined by the DM.