Low Thievery Skills

I absolutlely LOVE my new S&W game! My only complaint is over the low thievery skills available to thieves and assasins. Of course, I realize that this is a convention from the Original Game--an issue that wasn't really addressed until 2e--but I was thinking about how to remedy this. One option I am considering is adding a thief's/assasin's DEX score to the percentiles (but NOT to Climb Walls, which is already suffciently high). For example, a  1st level thief with a DEX of 15 would have a Delicate Tasks precentil of 30%, a Hide in Shadows of 25%, and a Move Silently of 35%. Any thoughts on this? Any other ideas...or should I just leave it alone?

Yes, this is a good idea. This is essentially the method used in 1e AD&D Player's Handbook (p.12). Hardly, any one plays S&W "by the book". S&W allows the creation of adventures that support the entire spectum of classic D&D (1974-2000).

michaelsandar's picture

An option I've considered for thief skills is a very simple idea of moving the percentiles around.  It lets you customize a little without changing the numbers.  Want a good hide in shadows at first level... swap the progression with your climb walls.

I sort of like michaelsandar's solution, but I also have a slightly different read on it after reading through Matt Finch's "Quick Primer for Old-School Gaming." Bearing in mind that there wasn't even such a thing as a "Thief" class in the original game until they were added with supplements, you start to ask yourself, "how did anybody ever get by without a thief in the party?" The answer I think lies within the idea that all characters were originally "thieves" - grave robbers that picked locks with a crowbar, disarmed (or avoided) traps with careful, descriptive actions, climbed walls with a rope and grapple, etc. For me then the thief skills in S&W for me mostly boil down to a Thief's automatic chance of success without roleplaying their actions.

In the game I've run, if players using a thief add superior roleplay when using their class skills, then I frequently add anywhere from 10-50% to their base chance for success for a given task. Maybe that's "wrong" and too generous, but it seems to work so far.

Odder's picture

I created a table to use with modifiers.

Extremly Easy +30

Very Easy +20

Easy +10

Difficult -10

Very Difficult -20

Extremly Difficult -30


I use these modifiers a lot. The Lock on this chest looks extremly easy, This wall seems extremly easy to scale. This lock was obviously made by a masterlocksmith and looks extremly difficult.

Low level thieves run across a lot of easier things to deal with .......