Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tell Me Why You Want a Thief Class in Swords & Wizardry: Light

There's been one oft requested addition to the Swords & Wizardry: Light Rules (which are themselves a distillation of the Swords & Wizardry: White Box Rules - folks simply want a thief class, and not the one presented in Swords & Wizardry: Core.

Now, as I've mentioned before, in an effort to keep things simple and to make the natural progression of the experience to be going from the Light rules to the White Box rules and due to the constraints of only having 4 pages to work with, a thief class will not be in the 4 page S&W: Light rules. However, I plan on releasing a 4 page Deadly Machinations (GM's options and advice) to go right along with it and a thief class could certainly appear there. Obviously, it would only cover the first three levels, but I could expand the class fully here at The Tavern.

All that being said - tell me why you'd like a thief class for Swords & Wizardry: Light. I've got some ideas on how to make it different then the Core version but I'm open to other ideas.


  1. I don't. I think just the name itself is problematic enough.

    On the other hand I do like the Adventures in the Eastmarch approach which created an Explorer class, and I like the Tomb Robber class I use - something purposefully designed as a treasure recovery expert - doesn't have abilities like pickpocket for example, but has "bardic lore" [a knowledge of archaeology], contacts with fences for those illegally recovered treasures, a knowledge of building techniques and architecture that allows them to recognise "dangerous" areas [that may be trapped] and even excavate through walls. [Note that this is just detection - removal of most traps can be done by anyone once they have been detected. Also includes knowledge of magical traps and wards.]

  2. The original thief for me was not Bilbo, but Grey Mouser, who was not really much of a thief, but more of a roguish fighter. I'd be fine with just having options for the base three classes to make them different. Say, a paladin option for cleric, an illusionist or elementalist option for magic user, and a rogue or scout/ranger option for fighters. I think back to the splat books that came out for AD&D2e "The complete **** Handbook" where they offered what were called "Kits" that added flavor and only a little mechanics to the base classes of 2e.

  3. I do think a rogue-ish class is pretty key to the classic fantasy RPG experience. A character who can sneak around and strike from the shadows is absolutely one of those things that just feels endemic to the game despite the fact that the class didn't come along until a supplement was released. (In fact, if there are only three classes available in an RPG, they tend to be the fighter, the magic-user, and the rogue. Just look at Dragon Age or the aptly named Warrior, Rogue & Mage.)

  4. I prefer not allowing the thief class. All classes perform thief duties, IMO. Like Conan or the Grey Mouser.

  5. Seems like a great tradition to follow, for the thief to be introduced in the first supplement! It's certainly one of the "Big 4," although I think a warrior and a spellcaster are the only two essentials to getting that D&D feel.

    Also, introducing the thief early would give you a chance to establish a single, unified skill system to use throughout S&W:L...

  6. I'd like the Thief, especially for urban campaigns. Especially as outlined in James M. Spahn's S&W Companion he distilled all the skills down to a Thievery skill, based off a d6 roll. I liked that a lot.

  7. If you put one in, I'll run one. If you don't, if I play the game, I'll make up my own and then one. So it's win-win if you put one in. :)

  8. I like the symmetry of 2 casters x 2 fighters. I'd order them like (Fighter, Thief) x (Cleric, Mage), where the first of each pair uses might&will, and the second uses smarts&guile.

    Thieves and Mages are squishy, Fighters and Clerics are tough.
    Fighters & Clerics use force, Thieves & Mages use fineness.

  9. I think spomething roguelike is essential; when I think of movies with a Swords and Sorcery feel, the Thief of Bagdad comes immediately to mind.

  10. I'm young enough that, for better or worse, the movies Conan the Destroyer and Krull really influence my idea of what an adventuring party looks like ... incredibly skilled warrior(s) backed by a hodge-podge of thieves, sorcerers, and riff-raff.

  11. If the main point of this is to lure lapsed gamers back into the fold, most (virtually all?) of those are going to expect a Thief (like) class. So don't give them another "excuse?" to not give it a shot.

    1. Best response. If SW Light is designed to appeal to lapsed players to get into Whitebox or SW Core/Complete, I say the Thief needs to be included.

  12. The first time I DM'd was when my parents gave my brother & I the Moldvay Basic D&D box set. He chose a thief because "I can be sneaky all alone," was my brother's rationale at the time. It was the only PC who lived all the way from our start in 1981 through my going away to college in 1990.

    Because reasons: Fafhrd, Grey Mouser, Conan, Gord, and Erkio (my brother's thief).

    The thief stays.

  13. It's not even out yet and you're already planning a supplement that doubles the total page count? Maybe you should be called Tenkar of the Coast :p

  14. Back then there never ever was a cleric hero in the movies and books we drew our inspiration from, and we never played one, but there were plenty of thieves. I suspect many relapsed gamers are like me. "That's the thief's job!" comes so naturally to the grogniard's lips that I have have a hard time picturing a dungeon crawl without it.

  15. Two more cents : what makes many old-timers consider going down the dragon-rabbit hole again is having their kids or nephews getting to 6 or 8 y.o. I was one of them and S&W : Light would have been exactly what I was looking for ; what would make it even better would be short non-lethal modules for one player, maybe something like Tim Shorts's "Starter Adventures". You could illustrate regular classes and introduce new ones that way. Then once every player is reasonably confident with the mechanics, give them a first adventure as a group (with other PC played by Mom or another adult if necessary).



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