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Wond’ring aloud: Thieves’ skills again

May 31, 2013

Just thinking, as is my wont, about alternative game mechanics for thieves’ abilities. “Application” descriptions are from page 4 of Supplement I: Greyhawk.

ClimbingPickpocket1
Application:
— climb nearly sheer surfaces, upwards or downwards
Clarification:  Applies only when climbing such surfaces without the aid of a rope or proper climbing gear.
Accomplished by: Making a saving throw using percentile dice. (Non-thieves use a d20.)

Perception and Stealth
Applications:
— listen for noise behind closed doors
— move with great stealth
— hide in shadows
Accomplished by: Making a d6 roll, as per the Hear Noise column on page 11 of Supplement I (Level 1-2: 2 in 6; Lvl 3-6: 3 in 6; Lvl 7-10: 4 in 6; Lvl 11-12: 5 in 6; Lvl 13+: 6 in 6].

Pickpocket2Mechanical Aptitude and Manual Dexterity
Applications:
— open locks by picking or foiling magical closures
— remove small trap devices (such as poisoned needles)
— filtch items and pick pockets
Accomplished by: Rolling 2d6 (or whatever, depending on the rule set being used) and consulting the Clerics Turning Undead table. Each task is given a “challenge level” by the Referee. In the case of locks and traps, this will usually be equivalent to the the dungeon level, though the Referee may include easier (lower level) or more fiendish (higher level) mechanisms. In the case of picking pockets, the “challenge level” is equal to the level or hit dice of the target. A roll that misses the target by 1 or 2 points is a simple failure. A miss by 3 or more points is a fumble, which jams the lock, sets off the trap, alerts the victim, etc.

EXAMPLE: Rudi the 3rd-level thief searches a padlocked chest for traps. The Referee secretly rolls a d6, gets a 3, and informs the player that there’s a sharp little needle glinting inside the lock mechanism. The Ref decides that, since Rudi is on the 4th level of the dungeon, the needle trap represents a 4th-level challenge. The rules in play are a mashup of B/X and LotFP so 2d6 are used and Rudi’s player needs to roll 9 or higher if he wants to disarm the trap. Holding his breath, Rudi has a go. The player rolls the dice and gets a 4. A fumble! Rudi’s player reaches for a d20 to save versus poison…

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