Sunday, May 1, 2011

Objections to Thieves

So, I've been pondering Thieves lately, and it seems like others have been too. It's been a while since there was a lot of talk about thieves in the OSR blogosphere, so I'm glad that it's coming up again. I like revisiting some of the same conversations over again because I think we get a chance to learn something new and develop existing ideas when we do.

I was just starting to lurk when they was a lot of discussion about them in the OSR, but discussion seemed to peter out when James released LotFP:WFRP and it included the Specialist class. Other bloggers that created "Old School" thief classes were James Maliszewski, Dyson and Telecanter.

I've been using a mash-up of Telecanter's Rogue and James' Specialist in my game, since Telecanter's Rogue doesn't include a system for adjudicating most of his skills, but it hasn't worked out as well as I would have liked. In retrospect, it was a good start, but it was pretty crudely hacked together, and it's time to try again.

So I've got a question for everyone. I've identified four Old School objections to thieves so far. They are:
  1. Thieves don't have an established archetype like the other classes do. All the characters, whatever their class, are thieves, or at least "rogues."
  2. Thieves make it so that other classes can't do what they do. Before Thieves came along, all the characters had to pull their weight doing thiefly things like disarming traps and picking locks and pockets.
  3. Thieves encourage skill systems and skill systems are (or at least can easily be) bad.
  4. Thieves are more likely to fail at their special skills than other character classes.
I'd like to be sure that my Thief class answers all, or at least most, of the OSR's objections so that it can be useful to others as well. Are there any other objections that I'm missing?

[And, yeah, go figure that I post something like this right after I announce a hiatus. I really will have limited time this next week or two, so I'll just be reading any conversation you all decide to contribute in the comments, and probably asking a few questions. I won't have any more posts about this until after the semester's coming to a close, most likely.]