Sure, much of this depends on the OSR rules of choice, and whether the adjustment spread is -1 to + 1, -3 to + 3, -4 to + 4 or some variation of the preceding. In truth though, what meaning do those adjustments have in the long run?
So long as your character survives, those bonus and penalties have much less meaning as one's character progresses through the levels.
When I was in High School, those numbers were the be all and know all - those old "goldenrods" had ability scores that seemed, in retrospect, to grow on their own. In reality, they were erased and replaced with frequency. I guess, in the long run, it's good that my focus was on DMing.
One of the things that the DCC RPG gets amazingly right, even though it goes against all of my gaming instincts, is the "character funnel". The characters that survive the funnel have special meaning, no matter their actual stats. It's an amazing thing. Yep, I'm a firm believer that the "character funnel" should be liberally borrowed into every other OSR ruleset.
I'm less concerned about ability scores these days. Failure often leads to more exciting stories than success, and no, I'm not talking about "storytelling games". I just think there is as much to be found in the average game session when success comes despite failure.
Still, i think thieving abilities are largely irrelevant at lower levels, but that's a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day.
Francesco Scaramuzza - Dante's Inferno, Canto XXXIV, 19th C - [image: Francesco Scaramuzza - Dante's Inferno, Canto XXXIV, 19th Century]
3 hours ago