Old School Thief: built from the best of the blogosphere
Okay, what's the best is purely my own opinion.
I have used three key sources
2. Dyson Lygos: 2d6 thief skills for that real old school feel, yes I know percentile dice were in OD&D. That was a mistake.
So here is the Jovial Priest, thief class. DOWNLOAD THE PDF
Thief SkillS (2d6)
Level Fav Skill Oth Skill Cl Walls Hr Noise
1 10+ 11+ 5+ 1-2
2 10+ 10+ 5+ 1-2
3 9+ 10+ 5+ 1-3
4 9+ 9+ 5+ 1-3
5 9+ 9+ 5+ 1-3
6 8+ 9+ 4+ 1-3
7 8+ 8+ 4+ 1-4
8 7+ 8+ 4+ 1-4
9 6+ 7+ 4+ 1-4
10 5+ 6+ 4+ 1-4
11 4+ 5+ 3+ 1-5
12 4+ 4+ 3+ 1-5
13 3+ 4+ 3+ 1-5
14 2+ 3+ 3+ 1-5
Favoured skill is one of Open Locks, Find Traps,
Remove Traps, Pick Pockets, Move Silently or Hide
in Shadows. Dex Bonus applies to Favoured skills,
Other skills and Climb Walls. Read Languages is
gained at Level 5 (5+ plus int bonus). Read Magic is
gained at Level 10 (3+ plus intelligence bonus). All
2d6 except Hear Noise 1d6.
Snake eyes ALWAYS fails regardless of any bonus
Thief skills are resolved on a 2d6 roll except hear noise 1d6. Dexterity bonus/penalty is applied to Open Locks, Remove Traps, Pick Pockets, Move Silently or Hide in Shadows and Backstab. Intelligence bonus/penalty is applied to Find Traps, Read Languages and Read Magic. Snake eyes (double 1 on 2d6) always fails, regardless of bonuses [The 2d6 roll with ability score bonus gives a greater probability for success then the percentile system and I prefer its granularity and old school feel]. One skill from Open Locks, Find Traps, Remove Traps, Pick Pockets, Move Silently or Hide in Shadows can be chosen as a Favored Skill by the thief character at character creation. No modifier is applied to Hear Noise and only 1d6 is rolled.
Open Locks (player rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
Open Locks takes 1 turn. If the 2d6 roll, modified by dexterity and quality of the thief's tools, is unsuccessful, a further attempt can be immediately made, taking another 1 turn. A double 1 roll, always fails and one of the thief's tools snaps. Usually a set of thief tools will only have two suitable implements for each size of lock.
Find Traps (DM rolls 2d6 modified by Intelligence bonus/penalty)
[Here I would like to suggest the reader glances at my rules retrospective and interpretation post on Find Traps]
Anyone can detect Large Traps with a 1 in 6 chance.
Dwarves can detect Large Traps when underground with a 2 in 6 chance.
Only thieves can detect Small Traps
Thieves use the better of 1 in 6 chance to detect/find Large Traps or their 2d6 thief skill [with dexterity, even at 1st level 2d6 is equal or better than 1 in 6 chance]; but must use the given thief skill 2d6 roll to remove the trap.
Small Traps always use the given thief skill 2d6 roll at all levels, to both find and remove traps.
Searching for traps takes 1 turn and can be repeated as often as required.
Additionally thieves detect secret doors using their Find Traps Skill. Searching for secret doors takes 1 turn and can be repeated as often as required. [This gives thieves an additional important role in dungeons]
Remove Traps (player rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
As above, thieves can remove small traps.
Removing traps takes 1 turn and can be repeated as often as required.
A double 1 roll, always fails and the trap is sprung!
Pick Pockets (player rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty, DM applies any hidden modifiers and gives outcome)
A pick pocket attempt only takes one round.
2d6 is rolled, modified by dexterity. For every level the thief is above the intended target add 1 to the roll. For every level the thief is below the intended target subtract 1 from the roll.
A modified roll of 2 or less always fails and the thief is detected.
If the roll is a fail but not 2 or less, the pick pocket attempt fails but the thief was not detected.
A double 1 roll, always fails and the thief is detected.
Pick pocketing a fellow thief, is a dangerous undertaking. If a thief is pick pocketed by another thief, the thief victim gets to roll their own pick pocket roll, and if this roll is successful (modified by the difference in levels between the thieves), the thief victim has detected the attempt!
Move Silently (DM rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
From Robert Fisher:
"Anybody can move quietly. I like to use a variation on the listening at doors mechanic (p.B21) to determine whether a character moving quietly is heard.
Demihumans have a base 2 in 6 chance of hearing noise. The chance for thieves depends upon their level. For everyone else it's 1 in 6. (The DM will choose a base chance for each monster.) If the sneaking character is wearing metal armor or walking on a particularly noisy surface, increase the chance of being heard by 1 in 6. (i.e. 1 in 6 becomes 2 in 6. 2 in 6 becomes 3 in 6.) If multiple or extreme factors are involved, the DM may increase the chance further.
Increases beyond 5 in 6 should go to 7 in 8, then 9 in 10, then 11 in 12.
Thieves, however, have a chance to move silently. If successful, there is no chance for the thief to be heard. If the thief fails to move silently, they should still be considered to be moving quietly.
Note that if he is moving silently, a thief is not hiding, in shadows or otherwise. Move silently & hide in shadows are mutually exclusive. There is no double jeopardy."
2d6 is rolled modified by dexterity for the thief. A double 1 roll, always fails and the thief is heard. If the roll is successful the thief can not be heard short of magical means. If failed, and not a double 1, the thief is moving quietly, roll for opponents hear noise.
Hide in Shadows (DM rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
From Robert Fisher again:
"Anybody can hide. Hiding is an all or nothing thing. Either you're hidden or you're in view.
Thieves, however, have a chance to hide in shadows. A thief generally prefers to hide rather than to hide in shadows. It's nice to have a chance to hide in shadows when you need it, though.
Halflings have a similar ability, having a 2 in 6 chance of hiding in shadows. They also have a 90% chance of hiding in woods or underbrush. (p.B10)
Note that to hide in shadows, the thief cannot be moving, silently or otherwise. Hide in shadows & move silently are mutually exclusive. There is no double jeopardy."
2d6 is rolled modified by dexterity for the thief. A double 1 roll, always fails and the thief is detected. If the roll is successful the thief cannot be seen short of magical means. If failed, and not a double 1, the thief may or not be seen. If the thief is in darkness (not shadows which are half lit rooms/areas) and wasn't seen moving into the shadows, he is still hidden. The DM may allow a perception roll (hear noise equivalent), if the thief is doing something to attract attention, but in normal circumstances the thief will not be seen. If the thief fails his roll and is attempting to hide in shadows (half lit rooms/areas), he is seen. Hiding in mere shadows is something a beginning thief should not attempt, hiding in darkness is almost always successful for a thief of even 1st level.
Climb Sheer Surfaces (player rolls 2d6 modified by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
"Anybody can climb. Generally, the DM can simply declare something climbable or inclimbable. In stressful or unusual situations, the DM may call for an appropriate ability check.
Thieves, however, have a chance to climb sheer surfaces."
Thieves climb normal obstacles with no chance of failure unless they are doing something particularly stupid, or trying to move rapidly (greater than their Encounter speed eg MV 120’/turn = 40’ / round), in which case they roll on their thief skill.
For sheer, almost impossible looking surfaces, 2d6 is rolled modified by dexterity for the thief. A fail or a double 1 roll, and the thief falls. Thieves climb sheer surfaces at ½ their Encounter Speed.
If a roll is required one roll is made every at the half waypoint, or every 50’ whichever is more frequent.
Hear Noise (DM rolls 1d6 with no ability score modifiers, other circumstances may modify the roll at DM discretion)
"Anybody can hear noise. Demihumans (dwarfs, elves, & halflings) have a 2 in 6 chance. Everyone else has a 1 in 6 chance. (p.B21)"
A great helm will reduce hear noise by 1 in 6 for all characters.
Hear Noise can be more than just an aural sense, and can double as a perception roll. 1d6 is rolled. A low roll is desired, compared to a high roll for all other skills. Success means the thief perceives a noise or 'something' from his senses, if it is there to be sensed. A fail means nothing is sensed.
Read Languages (player rolls 2d6 modified by Intelligence bonus/penalty)
Gained at Level 5 owing to the 'dead' level from Level 4 to 5.
2d6 is rolled modified by Intelligence for the thief. 5+ is required for success. A small parchment, message (approximately 20 words) will take 1 turn to decipher. Failure means nothing is deciphered that turn. A double 1 roll, always fails and the thief can not make any further attempts to decipher that message until gaining another level. He is stumped.
Read Magic (player rolls 2d6 modified by Intelligence bonus/penalty)
Gained at Level 10.
2d6 is rolled modified by Intelligence for the thief. 3+ is required for success. A magic-user scroll can be read in one round. Failure means the spell backfires!
Backstab (player rolls a d20 to hit, modified by +4 AND by Dexterity bonus/penalty)
If the thief attacks unseen or unheard, OR has surprised his/her opponent; the thief has backstabbed his opponent. The player rolls a d20 to hit, modified by +4 AND by Dexterity bonus/penalty. A successful roll does (damage roll + strength bonus/penalty + magic item bonus/penalty) times 2. ie the double damage is double once all modifiers have been used, not just double the damage die roll.
That's my thief. [Download PDF here]
I also plan on using 2d6 roll to advance a level. [Not included in my above description as I felt too radical] A thief advances in level on a 10+. With game play I have decided this is static and does not increase with levels.
Roll to Advance Class Threshold
Cleric and Thief 10+
Dwarf, Halfling, Magic User 12+
At the end of every session of game play (~ 3 hours) the DM awards each character 0, ¼, ½, ¾ or 1, XP point. Usually 1 XP point is awarded per game session. But this is at DM discretion.
The player notes this on their character sheet and XP points accumulate over time.
At the end of every game session, players roll 2d6 modified by Intelligence Bonus/Penalty to see if they advance a level.
If the roll to advance is successful for their class, they advance one level, if unsuccessful the player may spend any XP points they have accumulated, including from the just completed session, to modify the roll so it is successful. Any spent XP points are then lost. Any non-spent XP points can be held over to the next roll to advance at the end of a subsequent session.
I found this system, reduced traditional XP counting considerably, sped up level advancement, which is important when one can only play infrequently, and added tension and fun to the end of the night.