Abolish the Thief Class

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Jesse
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Abolish the Thief Class

Post by Jesse » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:34 pm

I'm hip to the anti-Cleric argument, but what about getting rid of the Thief? Sheer surfaces can be climbed by the Wizard with Spider Climb and Levitation, while locks can be picked with Knock or Ward Portal cast in reverse. The Backstab has to be by surprise and almost never comes into play. A Thief is just a guy with bad HP and AC! Except for Luck, okay. A Thief can heal Luck--That's pretty cool. But so can a Hobbit (and all Pure Strain Humans). A Thief is the least useful member of any party. It's nice to have a character class designated to trigger all of the traps, but it's no requirement. Who needs a Thief?

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finarvyn
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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by finarvyn » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:02 am

It's an interesting thought, as OD&D (the original RPG) only had fighting man, cleric, and magic-user as its base three classes. The thief was added in months later in Supplement I Greyhawk. There are many old-time players who advocate that all classes should be able to do thief-stuff and that making a thief specific class takes that element from the others.
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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by Raven_Crowking » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:31 am

Jesse wrote:I'm hip to the anti-Cleric argument, but what about getting rid of the Thief? Sheer surfaces can be climbed by the Wizard with Spider Climb and Levitation, while locks can be picked with Knock or Ward Portal cast in reverse. The Backstab has to be by surprise and almost never comes into play. A Thief is just a guy with bad HP and AC! Except for Luck, okay. A Thief can heal Luck--That's pretty cool. But so can a Hobbit (and all Pure Strain Humans). A Thief is the least useful member of any party. It's nice to have a character class designated to trigger all of the traps, but it's no requirement. Who needs a Thief?
Raises Hand

I have certainly seen backstab come up in play.

I have certainly seen the thief hold their own with a party of PCs.

In fact, in the first playtest of an 8th level adventure I am working on, run at Gary Con last year, a thief took out a godlike dragon using a liberal amount of Luck, backstab, and a particularly poor die roll on my part.
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by clairelenore » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:47 am

i mean, like, isn’t it kinda your job as the player to explain how the thief can get his backstab in during combat? like how the warrior describes his mighty deed stuff? and then it’s the judge’s job to decide how likely it is you’ll succeed?

so if everybody’s doing their job, it shouldn’t be that hard to get in a couple backstabs a session, should it?

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:01 pm

Jesse wrote:I'm hip to the anti-Cleric argument, but what about getting rid of the Thief? Sheer surfaces can be climbed by the Wizard with Spider Climb and Levitation, while locks can be picked with Knock or Ward Portal cast in reverse. The Backstab has to be by surprise and almost never comes into play. A Thief is just a guy with bad HP and AC! Except for Luck, okay. A Thief can heal Luck--That's pretty cool. But so can a Hobbit (and all Pure Strain Humans). A Thief is the least useful member of any party. It's nice to have a character class designated to trigger all of the traps, but it's no requirement. Who needs a Thief?
I think a lot of what you're saying can be looked at in this way:

The player playing the Thief has to give some thought to what they are doing.

The Wizard can "just cast a spell"...! The Warrior can "just swing a sword"...!

In some adventures they just might be the least "useful". In others, they might be the most useful. In the rest, it's down to how they are played...
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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by herecomethejudge » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:29 am

My players love their thieves and use both backstabs and thief skills with their associated bonuses constantly.

Also, your wizards can cast Spider Climb and Levitate if they know them, and there are downsides (like not being able to hold objects during Spider Climb). Ditto on Ward Portal and Knock, though if you're casting a spell in reverse, it's at -1D.

And humans cannot heal luck. What do you mean by this?

All in all, I think the thief is an overwhelmingly useful and essential class.

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:34 pm

herecomethejudge wrote:And humans cannot heal luck. What do you mean by this?
Pure Strain Humans in MCC can heal Luck.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by Vanguard » Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:19 am

Something is amiss if your Thief is not getting to use Backstab regularly. My group of player's Thief is constantly Hiding in the Shadows so when combat begins, they pretty much always get to use it.
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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by Jim Skach » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:42 am

I doubled down...I ADDED things to the thieves in our group.

One, during play, decided to describe taking certain actions with an acrobatic flourish. By 4th Level the character was using Matrix-like moves to get in position to backstab (think Trinity in the opening sequence running around on walls to get behind the police). The other thief is starting to use juggling and a bag of daggers and a kind of hypnotizing attack.

I also took the skill advancement table - the one separated by alignment - and broke down the number of "points" added per level. Then I changed the rules so that each thief gets X number of points to add to their skills each level, as they see fit (with some upper limits). I then added the above "skills" - Acrobatics and Juggling - to the list of skills (per character - so each has an additional skill now). Having two Thieves it is interesting to see how they apportion the points, use the skills, and how that differentiates the characters.

These are things that came up solely through play and on which the players and I collaborate to flesh out the rules/mechanics to support the creativity. Could they also be used by other classes? Sure - but the other classes, as has been stated earlier in the thread, have a certain kind of default - cast spell, swing sword, etc. Thieves are soooo open to creativity....

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by BanjoJohn » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:32 am

Well, I would say some Judges are more harsh on allowing thiefs to do their thing with backstab than others, some players are less imaginative than others in using terrain or circumstances to their advantage, and some gaming tropes for dungeon design may be limiting player options for hiding in shadows and whatnot that might otherwise be possible.

I remember some discussion on a podcast about an image from D&D where a thief is hiding "over" a door in a dungeon or something because the ceiling would be much higher than the door. And of course, torchlight is much darker than we act like it is in game, so dungeons should be full of shadows unless they are very well lit, and if they are very well lit, then you can try to put some torches out to create more shadows.

So with that, what do you have? Climb sheer surfaces to cling to the wall over the door, hide in shadows to wait in ambush, "backstab" a juicy target that comes through the door.

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Re: Abolish the Thief Class

Post by pulsemeat » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:29 am

I've had the same thoughts but my instinct has always been to eliminate those spells that duplicate thief abilities. Wizards already have plenty of amazing powers, why should they be able to climb walls and open doors easily?

Of course, if you like super Wizards and don't like thieves, go crazy!

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