Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Delving Deeper - Quick Comment on the Optional Thief Class

I'm not home at the moment, so I don't have my OCE D&D Boxed set to refer to.  Swords & Wizardry White Box doesn't have a thief class, but Swords & Wizardry Core does.

Here's my comment / observation:

S&W Core's Thief skills are percentile based (except for Hear Noise) and increase with level.

In Delving Deeper, all of the Thief Skills are D6 based: 3 or higher on a D6 indicates success. Level doesn't not increase this.

So, Delving Deeper has a bit of LotFP Weird Fantasy thief to it, but not quite.

I'm fairly sure S&W Core is closer to the original thief class.

I'm not sure if I like the DD version of the thief, but it does make him more relevant at lower levels.



  1. If percentage skills are in multiples of 5 then convert it use a d20. If you want to use a roll high. Make it a bonus and you have to roll a 20 or higher to succeed. For example If Hide in Shadows is 55% then it is a +11 bonus in a d20 roll high mechanic.

    I noticed this as well in second edition Runequest. Why on earth put everything in 5% increment if you are using percentiles.

  2. When I was running Labyrinth Lord, I had all thief skills d6 like Hear Noise, and all thief skills advanced like Hear Noise. I found it to be a rather elegant solution that worked just fine.

  3. Interesting take. I like that the skills don't suck at low levels, but not sure how I feel about the lack of advancement. Luckily the thief skill subsystem is one of the easiest things to house rule.

  4. Drance, I really dig that method. Great idea!

  5. @Aplus: thanks! It really did work well for my group. It was so simple I don't know why more people don't do it/talk about it on the blogosphere.

  6. I don't understand. What's the problem? You don't have percentile dice?

    If you don't think the Thief is relevant enough, or have issues with the whole "skills make the Thief self-justifying" or "They're ALL thieves!"- try this. Let every character have thief skills (except perhaps pick pockets) at level. Thieves get a reroll if they fail.

    It increases their chances nicely (a 30% skill improves to 51%). If the Thief needs the reroll there's a hitch in the result even if ultimately successful.. e.g. the victim notices you trying/succeeding at lifting his purse.

  7. You might be interested in this thread over on OD&D Discussion from April, where waysoftheearth (editor of DD) proposed a version of the thief similar to DD:

    Reconciling Thief Skills with the 3LBBs

    On the last page in that thread I posted some alternate tables I made where I converted the Greyhawk Thief Table % skills to a d6 (based on 1 in 6 being ~16%). There's an alternate version where the skills increase faster (basically d6 chance = level) - this might be a good middle ground between the static DD version and the GH version. There's also a third version with the GH %'s converted to a d20 roll where you roll under like a Saving Throw.

    Alternate Thief Tables

  8. I heard somewhere, that the DD Thief was closer to an "original," pre-Greyhawk version.

    Personally, I like it, but would probably give the class a bump at higher levels, to 2-6, then 2-8.

    Or, just go the description/negotiation route and give him a save if he misses something.

  9. I like the idea of non-advancing thief skills, but it seems like a strange choice for a game that (I thought) was based around the idea that Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox was not close enough to the 3 LBBs.

    I did a take on this recently too for my current non-Greyhawk OD&D game:


  10. ^ "where you roll under like a Saving Throw" should be "where you roll over"

  11. I'm leaning myself towards Crypts & Things method of skills resolution - roll you save with thieves getting a bonus to the roll with their thieve skills (but all can make the attempt)

  12. DD is a clone of the 3LBB alone, with none of the supplement stuff added in. And so, adding the Greyhawk thief would've been stepping off the path, so to speak. Floating around the Net is the pre-Greyhawk thief mentioned by James above. This was the original thief class that inspired the later Greyhawk version. It was, in a way, the thief class of the 3LBB and so makes perfect sense to use it as the model for DD's thief (remembering of course that it is there as an "optional" class).

  13. Dave, are you referring to the Spring 1974 "Thief Addition" by Gygax? Because it uses a level-based percentile system, much like the Greyhawk Thief. My impression is that the DD Thief is more what a LBB Thief could have looked like if it used a static skill system like the other "dungeoneering skills" that do not increase in level (hear noise, find secret doors, etc). This is how it attempts to stay truer to the LBB than the Greyhawk supplement.

  14. Whoops, you're right Z. Although it was the 1974 Gary Schweitzer thief that DD is based on, with co-author Simon Bull changing % dice for d6, if I recall correctly.

  15. Damn, I'm getting an education tonight!

    Good stuff :)


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