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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thief Skills (Pick Pocket in particular)

Looking over the starting percentages for thief skills, I always think Pick Pocket is way too low. It was often the first skill young thieves would learn. I think it should start around 50%, especially when you take in the percentage loss caused by higher level targets. Having it start around 30% means that the majority of cutpurses would be caught on their first day, which is just silly. Unless you like a city with a bunch of missing their right hand.

I also think some of the other skills start too high, especially climb walls. Most thieves weren't second story men. Open Locks, Climb Walls, and Find Traps should all start low and only really start increasing once the Thief gets to mid level. Not sure how I'd address this in game, unless I port in a version of the 2e thief skills table (which I love, and I'm glad it's in the BFRPG Appendix).

3 comments:

zornhau said...

Perhaps the % ought to represent the chance of success, not the chance of not getting caught. Presumably real cutpurses would drift around a crowd trying to get into position, nearly managing to get the purse, the sidling off.

drnuncheon said...

@zornhau: in BECMI the % given was the chance of success - you were only noticed if you more than double your chance.

In AD&D 1e, the thief had to fail by 21 or more before he would be noticed.

In the Greyhawk supplement, only characters above 5th level even had a chance to detect being pickpocketed(!)

In all cases, higher level victims gave penalties.

ze bulette said...

Climbing and pick pocketing %'s may have more to do with game play than any kind of verisimilitude at first level. The high climbing ability makes the thief a much more valuable character in a dungeon setting, and having pick pockets so low is another way to goad the player into a dungeon to get some decent coin in the first place.