Do I need a thief at all?

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Dave
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Joined: 2013-03-17 15:23
Do I need a thief at all?

Heresy, I know.  But I was thinking about a class-limited game, and I came up with alternates to fighter, cleric and mage, but stalled on thief.  Nor is the stock thief exactly apropos.  Then I thought, "explorer? ... assassin?"  One or both of those fit better, and gives a stealth/scout option, possibly backstab, but no open locks, and even bigger, no find/remove traps.

I think I could run for this.  Easing up on traps and locked doors is a start.  Too, I already take the approach that any character can jam or bypass a described trap by describing how they do so; thieves get the bonus of being able to throw dice at it if they don't know what's up.  (Though I've noticed players mainly take me up on this for pit traps, so I probably need to improve my descriptions.)

Questions.  Is this flawed on its face?  Anything else I should take into account to implement it?  Would this turn you off as a player, or would you be okay with it?

Jard
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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

As I understand it (having not played during this period) the very early years had no thieves, just fighter/magic-user/cleric.  The understanding was that traps were to be detected and disarmed through clever play and describing what you do.

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

It is one of the factors that I see lacking for thieves (and why I think there has been a general trend for them to have moved to be single target damage dealers in later D&D editions), in that most of their special skills they can do can be bypassed by other means (typically clever game-play).  Especially when you consider that Dwarves and Elves (in ACKs) can do some of the things from the start far better than a moderate level thief.

I personally wouldn't ease up on traps and locked things though, presuming they make sence to be there and just end up enforcing the lack of a need for thieves.  Typically unless players really want to play one we have one as a Henchman or retainer (for those locked and traped chests we must get into).

bestial warlust
Joined: 2017-04-04 08:15

 

As I understand it (having not played during this period) the very early years had no thieves, just fighter/magic-user/cleric.  The understanding was that traps were to be detected and disarmed through clever play and describing what you do.


-Jard

This clever clues can be given so that anyone can avoid or disarm a trap. Not sure if the lock on the chest is trapped? Use a smalll vial of acid to disolve the lock or take the chest with you open it later by prying off the hinges,10' pole to tap floors walls and ceilings. Have the player tell you what he's searching and how. A careful search only eyeballing something or using a device to probe or more thorough they are getting up and feeling around. The biggest thing I find is pixel bitching don't try and "Ah ha! gotcha! you said you were searching the door but you didn't say the door jamb!" 

Reward them for being clever and not rolling dice.

chalicier
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-01-14 00:36

My current party have no thief. There's been a couple of places where it's caused them trouble - especially locked treasure containers with breakables inside and the occasional trap nobody spots - but overall they're doing pretty well indeed just with care (and the Explorer's extraordinary wilderness stealth).

BigFatStupidHead
Joined: 2017-07-30 22:31

Do you need a thief? No, not at all. Just like you don't need a fighter, or a cleric, or a wizard. Not having any one of these classes (or role-equivalents) will change how the party goes about an adventure, but should never be a dead-end for that adventure. Heck, the very first incarnations of DnD had only fighting men and one (not one type, but just one guy) wizard. Cleric was added later to combat the game-breaking vampire PC Lord Fang. Thief was added in the first supplement after Gygax was described the class over the phone.

 

I like to run thief skills as a 'save' - everyone is equally good at picking a lock, or finding a trap, or so on, but the thief gets a second roll after the fact Makes them just a little better at everything they should be better at.