Class Description: Thieves are human characters who specialise in subterfuge and trickery. They come from all social classes, from bored nobles seeking excitement to well trained and subtle assassins to self-taught former street urchins.

Although the class is called “thief”, thief characters are not always dishonest and do not always steal. Many of them use their talents for good rather than for personal benefit, and work as scouts and adventurers. Even the most noble and honest adventuring parties often need to bypass traps and locks or to have someone who can scout ahead without being seen, and many so-called ‘thieves’ spend their adventuring careers in this type of activity and never steal a coin in their lives.

Adventuring parties find the talents of thieves extremely useful, although thieves do not make the greatest warriors so may need protecting in large fights.

Equipment Restrictions: Thieves may use any one-handed weapon, and may use leather armour. Since they must travel lightly in order to use their abilities they may not use two-handed weapons or shields. Thieves may use any missile weapon.

Thief Abilities (See Table 4-9)

Hit Points: Thieves gain 1d4 hit points per level of experience until 9th level. They add their Con bonus to each of these rolls. After 9th level, thieves gain 2 hit points per level and do not add additional Con bonuses (but do retain the bonuses to previous rolls).

Base Attack Bonus: A thief’s attack bonus is based on their level. See Chapter 10: Combat for details of how this translates into to-hit numbers for different armour classes.

Skills: A thief starts with 4 skill points plus extra points equal to their Int bonus. These points can be used on the same skill or different skills. Thieves gain more skill points as they rise in level. See Chapter 5: Skills for the list of available skills.

Weapon Feats: Thieves start with two weapon feats, which must be spent immediately on basic proficiency with two different weapons. See Chapter 6: Weapon Feats for a description of how weapon feats work. Thieves gain more weapon feats as they rise in level, but these weapon feats can not be spent immediately upon gaining the level. See Chapter 11: Gaining Experience for further details.

Sneak Attack: If a thief is able to strike an opponent who is not aware of the thief’s location, the thief can add +4 to their attack roll and if the attack hits it does twice the normal damage that the attack would normally do. Should a thief make two simultaneous attacks (because they are wielding two weapons) then both attacks get the +4 bonus and do double damage if they hit.

Simply being behind an enemy is not enough to get a sneak attack. The thief must actually be hidden, invisible, or otherwise concealed, and their location must not be known to their target.

The sneak attack may be made with a melee attack or with a missile, thrown or hurled weapon at short range.

Open Locks: If a thief is in possession of a set of lock picks, or tools that can make improvised lock picks, they can attempt to pick any lock with a percentage chance of success listed in table 4-9. Doing so will set off any trap that the lock is armed with unless the trap has been removed or otherwise disabled. In some cases a particularly complex (or simple) lock may cause there to be a modifier to the thief’s roll.

A thief is only allowed one attempt to pick each lock they encounter. Should they fail then they will not be able to try to open that lock again until they have increased in level.

Find Traps: A thief’s trained senses are able to detect the presence of traps on objects or in areas. Table 4-9 lists the percentage chance of finding each trap in an area. The thief does not automatically get to roll for this ability. Their player must state that the character is searching the area. The Game Master should roll the dice and inform the thief’s player whether any traps were found.

If no traps are found the thief will not know whether it is because there were no traps or whether they simply failed to notice them. In some cases a particularly well hidden (or badly hidden) trap may cause there to be a modifier to the thief’s roll.

Remove Traps: If a thief is aware of the existence of a trap, they may try to disarm it to prevent it from being triggered. The percentage chance of this ability working successfully is listed on table 4-9. Should this ability fail, the trap will be activated. In some cases a particularly complex (or simple) trap may cause there to be a modifier to the thief’s roll.

A thief may try multiple times to remove the same trap, although since the trap is activated each time the thief tries, doing so can be a dangerous activity.

Climb Walls: Thieves are able to climb walls and other sheer surfaces. The percentage chance of success is listed in table 4-9. The thief’s player must roll for each 100’ or part of 100’ climbed, with a failure indicating that the thief has fallen half way through the climb. See Chapter 9: Dungeon Delving for details about falling.

In some cases a slippery or smooth surface (or a particularly rough one) may cause there to be a modifier to the thief’s roll.

Move Silently: Thieves are able to move without being heard. The percentage chance of success is listed in table 4-9. The thief’s player must roll for each round of movement, with a failure indicating that the thief has made a sound that others might hear. The Game Master should roll the dice when the thief is sneaking, so that the thief’s player does not know whether or not their character has been heard.

Hide In Shadows: A thief is able to hide effectively providing there is cover or shadows to hide in. The percentage chance of success is listed in table 4-9. The thief’s player must roll for the initial hiding, and then for each round of movement, with a failure indicating that the thief has temporarily become visible.

Table 4-9: Thief abilities by level

Thief AbilitiesSaving Throws
LevelExperienceHit DiceBase Attack BonusSkillsWeapon FeatsOpen LocksFind TrapsRemove TrapsClimb WallsMove SilentlyHide In ShadowsPick PocketsHear NoiseRead LanguagesUse Magic-User ScrollDeath Ray / PoisonMagic WandsParalysis / PetrifyBreath WeaponRod / Staff / Spell

The Game Master should roll the dice when the thief is hiding, so that the thief’s player does not know whether or not their character has been spotted. If someone is watching the thief before they start to hide, they will still be able to see the thief regardless of the success or otherwise of this skill.

Pick Pockets: A thief is able to pick the pockets of others in order to steal small items from them, with a base percentage chance of success listed in table 4-9. This ability can be used to steal purses or belt pouches, or even steal a weapon from its scabbard, but cannot be used to steal anything that is being held by the target or is strapped onto the target such as a backpack or armour.

The base chance of success is reduced by 5% for each hit dice of the target.

The thief’s player must state the item that they wish to steal before rolling. If the thief rolls equal to or less than their modified chance of success then they successfully steal the item. If they roll more than their modified chance of success but less than or equal to twice that chance then they are unable to steal the item but their attempted theft goes unnoticed.

If they roll more than twice their modified chance of success, or roll a 00, then not only are they unable to steal the item but they are also noticed in the attempt by the target of the theft.

Hear Noise: If a thief listens quietly at a door, window, or thin wall then they have a percentage chance of hearing faint noises that other characters would miss as listed on table 4-9. The thief must be in quiet conditions to use this ability—noisy chatter of other characters or fighting swamps any noises that might be heard.

The Game Master should roll for the success of this ability so that if the result is negative the thief’s player does not know whether this was because the roll failed or because there was nothing to hear.

Read Languages: At 4th level or higher, a thief has an 80% chance to be able to decipher any non-magical written language or code.

This only works on written text and cannot be used to understand spoken languages.

Use Magic-User Scroll: Beginning at 10th level, a thief has a 90% chance of being able to decipher and use any scroll containing a magic-user spell.

Should this roll fail, the spell will still be used up from the scroll but will misfire.

An offensive spell will go off centred on the thief rather than their intended target, and a non-offensive spell will simply fizzle with no effect.

Saving Throws: Thieves make saving throws using the target difficulties listed on table 4-9.