segunda-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2019

Set & Setting - VIII - The Thief Class

Part of an ongoing reinterpretation of the game’s character classes, complete list and accompanying design musings contained here.

Unnecessary Introduction to the Thief Class (design notes)

Thieves are urban specialists, the kind of class that requires a deft touch, subtlety being the watchword as thieves are less about toe to toe and rather more tick to toe to tack to a blade in the back.

This one required deeper oversight as 5th Edition made the thief way too forgiving and thuggish: d8 hit dice, a ridiculous and mindboggingly easy to trigger “sneak attack” that puts the class as near equal to the fighter in damage output, a crass example of a feature designed to hold the player’s hand rather than demanding even the tiniest whiff of skill. Despite being one of the core archetypes, I see the thief as an advanced class option, one whose path to greatness comes about by slowly unpacking a matryoshka of versatility rather than measure who’s got the bigger die size to fall back upon. As such, this meant plenty of padding at the different levels, as the class is intended to slowly but surely gain in power though always as a second dish to flavour.

Crossing the decision point that made me halt my progress with the fighter, the archetype subclasses went the way of the chopping block, as I feel their features ought to be either integrated into the main class structure and fill up the inane “ability score improvement” dead space or else split into a separate class entirely.

Another early drawn conclusion was that the Investigation skill simply had to cease existing. Like the “dungeoneering” forebear of 4th edition, its undefined nature and lack of a grounded practical use makes its existence difficult to justify. At face value, it is like having a skill called 'playing DnD' baked into the charsheet.

The Thief

Proficiency Bonus

Backstab, Thieves’ Cant, Thieving Expertise
Deep Pockets, Dirty Fighting
Cunning Action, Fast Hands
Second-Story Work, Uncanny Dodge

Class Features

Hit Dice: 1d6 per level

Proficiencies: Thieves tools, Light armour, Simple weapons, hand crowssbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords

Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence

Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation (Mechanisms), Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand and Stealth 

Level 1

If the thief attacks a humanoid target unaware of his presence (or otherwise caught completely off-guard) the attack will have its damage multiplied by the thief’s proficiency modifier.

Thieves’ Cant
Allows dissimulated verbal, nonverbal and symbolic communication of simple concepts, urban or thieving related, to a speaker of the same language that is also fluent in the cant. Use of the cant will mark the thief as ‘someone in the know’, modifying the reaction roll from other seedy elements by 1, if they are nonhostile.

Thieving Expertise
A thief always counts as trained in the relevant skill when attempting the classic thieving suite of lockpicking, pickpocketing, climbing, stealth, finding and removing traps. If already proficient, this feature doubles his proficiency modifier.

Level 2

Deep Pockets
Objects concealed on the thief’s person resist casual detection: small items numbering up to the character’s Intelligence modifier may be stashed (minimum of 1) in the inventory, their slot number determining the DC a visual inspection or casual patdown must beat to reveal them; concealed weapons deduct the weapon’s damage die from the searcher’s DC.

Dirty Fighting
An enbattled thief is constantly angling for whichever chinks, joints, soft spots and vital organs he can exploit. Whenever an attack made at Advantage hits with both rolls add the proficiency die to the damage inflicted.

Level 3

Cunning Action
The thief can Dash, Disengage or Hide as bonus actions in combat.

Fast Hands
Adroitness becomes the thief, who once per turn may draw a light weapon or another small item from his fast access slots as a free action. He algo gets Advantage on rolls to access the inventory.

Level 4

Second-Story Work
The thief becomes inured to heights, climbing faster than normal as he ignores extra movement costs on simple aided climbs and gains Advantage on climbing rolls. In addition, when making a running jump, the distance covered increases by a number of feet equal to the thief’s Dexterity modifier.

Uncanny Dodge
The thief may use his reaction to dodge an impending attack he can perceive, forcing it to be made at Disadvantage.

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