The Thief, A Guide

The Thief, A Guide

December 7, 2022
system, setting
D&D, Class, Thieves

Preface #

The words after aren’t mine. I am using this as a reference for my players, most new to this style of play, in our upcoming open table campaign Strike the Southern Sky!

I spoke to the original author and got his permission to post these writings for as long as I credit him with the following phrase: words based on Chasing a Blaze in the Northern Sky.

two brigands aiming at a guard in the dark

Thief #

The wealthy man has many allies, but each may be overcome by prepared ambition and the following:

First is the sun granting him sight, with it he is able to both notice a thief a identify him later. When the sun sets, this is no longer a concern. It requires 30 minutes for a man’s vision to adjust to the darkness of the night sky. However beneath the new moon or a cloudy or overcast sky, there isn’t enough light to see. In the underworld, one must instead rely on a torch, the light of which would foil most attempts at stealth.

Second are walls, with which his wealth is protected. Scaling walls or sheer surfaces allows one to gain a vantage point and overcome conventional barriers. A man can scale vertically upwards around 10’ per minute. Oh Rain and snow make this process difficult, as does armor, but those of great strength would find the process easier. Where silence or leaving evidence isn’t a concern, a climbing pick assists. Likewise climbing pitons allow one to hammer hand-holds into stone. Thieves are practiced in climbing and aren’t penalized for free climbing without handholds.

corrupt judge and his sycophants

Third are those loyal to him. There are countless ways to overcome men whether by intoxication or bribery. But those looking for a thief are of greater concern. It’s easy to hide away, clutch a dagger, and stab another in the back. Those who create opportunities for themselves to ambush another would easily reap their rewards. Likewise, they would need to be on their guard and aware of how to escape a place, avoiding situations where they would be cornered. Moving silently is a skilled art, but even amateurs may succeed if they’re aided by distractions. Not all loyal are men, but hounds are easily bribed by meat and are unable to keep a scent if it is washed off or obscured by a foul smell.

Fourth are the laws of the land, which conspire to punish those who commit crime. The most certain way to avoid suspicion for a crime, is to convince others another is to blame. By establishing how another had a motive to commit the crime, had means to perform it, and had opportunity commit it, the blame could be placed on another. Likewise one would need to obscure their own opportunity by presenting a believable alibi, dispose of any means which could tie them to the act, and explain away any motives they would have to commit the act themselves.

draft image of a dark crypt

Lastly even in death, a wealthy man has allies yet. Within tombs, passage ways are armed and obscured. Traps can generally be divided into two types: room and target. Room traps have a non-specific trigger, such as a pressure plate, which could be avoided by pure chance. Target traps have a specific trigger, such as opening a chest, which are only avoided by deliberate restraint. Similarly hidden doors have specific triggers that reveal or open them. Specific triggers include opening a door, pressing on a section of wall, manipulating a statue, or speaking a secret phrase.