#3143 Thief starting choices


Was going to comment on the recent slings/thieves FR (2928575), but it was already closed. I've always thought that the aptitudes are wrong, for one; thieves should start with higher stealth than assassins for logic reasons; also, avoiding combat until the temple is much more crucial for the thief than the assassin, due to lack of a blowgun. The thief god is a good idea, if monolithic: it might be interesting to have other options in chargen, as an either/or option (starting with a deity or with item choices). Anyway, here are some possible starting gear/aptitudes for the class:

lvl 1 evocations and a rod of discovery (makes sense from a flavour perspective, but might be overpowered)

Gold...also for flavour, and doesn't help on the first three levels at all. However, it would make the early weakness more compelling (shops/troves)

Blowgun with some of the new needles. Kind of makes the class too similar to assassin, but might make for interesting play, i.e., using needles of confusion to get away from Sigmund. Alternatively, starts with some of the new darts (reaping might be an interesting choice)

Starts out with some potions/scrolls pre-identified. Alternatively, starts with escape items: potions of invisibility, scrolls of fog, teleportation, fear, etc

Put the crossbows exp into stealth/dodging/etc. It doesn't make sense to have skill points invested in it now that hand crossbows are gone.

Starts with gauntlets of legerdemain, which grants a stealing effect when one is within one square of an enemy (this would be a non-god way of addressing theft in the game, incidentally). Could be ultra-rare in the main dungeon. In theory, it would have a small passive chance of theft when being attacked, a larger chance when attacking, and the largest chance when adjacent to unaware/distracted monsters. This could lead to interesting situations when Terence has a wand of draining, for instance. Could be hard to balance, but solves another (sort of) issue: there aren't any normal gloves which compete with artifacts.


  • I like the gloves, escape items and money.

    How about ability to create traps using weapons/wands (digging for shafts)? Probably needs a thief god to do this.

  • dpeg

    • priority: 5 --> 1
  • dpeg

    The Thief class is currently not working, it is that plain. Rod of discovery is out of the question; some additional gold would be possible; new needles make the Thief even more like an Assassin (as you note); pre-identified or additional items are good ideas, but don't help with the basic dilemma; the crossbow bit is a bug (already fixed, I think). The problem is that neither of these address the Thief's main difficulty: having a role without a style.

    The gauntlets of legerdemain try to address this (in an interesting way). But:
    * If the item is extremely rare, then Thief would now be a class that is different to all classes: they start with something unavailable to the ordinary character
    * Stealing from monsters is generally not interesting: who is interested in stealing from an orc you are about to kill anyway? When adjacent to an unaware monster, you'll stab for the kill, not waste a move stealing.

    The ultimate problem is (as I keep saying) that you need to kill as much as possible in order to improve your character. (The only exception to this are followers of Elyvilon, who can pacify monsters and get XP.) Therefore, it is my firm belief that the Thief class will be broken as long as there is no fitting way of gaining xp without killing. The Thief god will address this (and a god seems appropriate because that's the best way to modify rules internally and consistently). If I didn't have in some form of a Thief god, I'd propose to simply scrap Thieves.

  • There is always the Final Fantasy approach to stealing, which obtains items not appearing on the corpse. At high levels, you might steal wielded weapons and even armour - that would need divine help :)

  • And how about the thief god buying items - would need piety loss for balance, proportional to gold gained? That would annoy the merchants guild - shopkeepers would look at you suspiciously :)

  • timbermaw

    Hey, i love thieves in general, so i supose i could give a few ideas:

    First, just a minor comment - thieves are different from other characters. They don't rely on melee or spellcasting; they have their own set of skills (which, of course, can still be adapted to fit in crawl). Looking at it this way, i don't see a problem in giving them specific abilities. But that's not my goal here. So i'll give a few ideas that everyone should be able to use.

    * Have monsters become annoyed and even attack each other.
    - Back in Doom 2 or Heretic, i loved doing just that versus the big monsters: running like a madman in the middle of the 2 brutes, so as to make them hit each other. Once that happened, the doom logic made them "angry" at each other, and they would fight to death. Finally, i could simply finish off the weakened surviving monster.
    -In crawl, this could be added like if you hit a sleeping monster or a wandering one (with ways to conceal yourself right after, or during) using a silenced weapon, the monster would become annoyed with others nearby, and possibly attack them (depending on, maybe, a new MOOD monster modifier. Berserker-ish, angrier monsters would be more prone to attack, while social ones would not.)
    Killing something this way would give full or half the ammount of exp to the character.

    *To differentiate thieves and gods (uniqueness)
    -Make some gods (the WAR ones) require you to shout a Battlecry every once in a while when you spot an enemy. This battlecry would, obviously, wake the monsters in a certain range, maybe give you some bonus STR (and take INT, perhaps), and prevent you from gaining piety if you never use it. Something like "IN TROG'S NAME!" "ROAR!" "COME AT ME, WEAKLINGS!".
    - I always thought the gods needed some more creative drawbacks; ones that would actually make you think wheter you should enlist their help.
    - In conclusion, a thief is a lone character. He relies on his own skills - not on divine providence. Having gods have more impacting drawbacks would make choosing none a valid choice, and since a thief can be seen as a "jack-of-all-trades"(along with some other evasive skills) he would be the class most suited for not choosing any, boosting his uniqueness.

    I could probably think of more, and provide some more balance to what i said before. This is mainly a draft so we can have some thoughts on the thief.
    BTW i don't think a stealth god is a good idea -- But one thing that would provide interesting results is said god becoming angry if you take too much damage (a cumulative ammount of damage depending on XL), or if you get spotted too frequently.

    I hope that wasn't a long comment -- i'm new here xP

  • timbermaw

    Also, perhaps, thieves being opportunity seekers as they are, could receive less of a penalty when/if they switch gods. i know god switching is not a common practice, but again, a new idea that could work.
    My first character switched gods (right after choosing the first. i had no idea you couldn't do that.. i just thought they did some minor things, but he summoned a naga guardian on my poor centaur hunter)

    So... maybe some gods could provide 1 point of resistance to certain elements to their followers, or some skill points in a skill (too complex and a bad idea?) so thieves and other classes could make use of this "god switching" to go throught certain parts. Of course, penance would still happen but would be weakened in general (less to the thief, if you think he's lacking). How about if the god sometimes took items from your inventory (after penance is over, he could decide to give it back to you)? And maybe also you could visit his altar and bring him gifts to reduce the penance, without losing piety to your current god.

    As you can see, i'm not suggesting THIEF things, i maybe be suggesting an overhaul where the thief would have a role, and finally fit in the game. Thanks for reading!

  • dpeg

    Only a few comments:

    Classes/jobs/backgrounds (all the same thing) should *not* break rules! Species can. This rules out the ideas of the last comment.

    In general, stealthy characters are those without a good god choice. There used to be hunters as well, but they do have a choice by now. The "Thief god" is much rather meant to be a god that helps anyone using stealth by providing xp for not-killing (which is something stealthy characters are good at). Thieves will start with the god and there will be some more thief-related abilities (like stealing from shops).

    I like two ideas in your comments:
    (a) A blood gods who uses screaming.
    (b) The idea of sneaking attacks which makes monsters fight each other.

    Note that (b) would work just as well for Assassins or Stalkers, so is *not* something to save the Thief background.

  • timbermaw

    Alright then, just as a reply:

    Thieves could start with higher stealth, or another "skill that lets them evade chasing monsters". ie: could be the spell blink.
    I see thieves as actively avoiding "difficult" combat. and the new god would give them benefits for it. MHHM -- actually we should wait and see how the new god works; it looks pretty cool!

    Side note - good that you liked that idea. But i was thinking it would fit with Trog or the like. You know, for uniqueness.


  • Anonymous

    Idea for the gloves:
    Make them steal a random item the monster didn´t really have.
    If you succeed in stealing (insert random formula involving randomness and dexterity here) you get an item based on the enemy´s stats, your stats and luck.
    Stealing from higher level monsters could get you a scroll of identify or other simple stuff.
    Succeeding in the steal should be "rare" (as in "not all the time") and you can only steal/try to steal once per monster.

    Not the best idea, but I guess it would give the gloves a purpose.

  • TFoN

    Haven't much time to think about it thoroughly right now, but here's a quick thought (consider it a brainstorm):
    Instead of creating special gloves for it, make theft a skill.

    The mechanic can be almost entirely based on the unarmed combat skill - with few ranks, you have to train by actually fighting unarmed, but with more ranks it often happens automatically.
    Theft/legerdemain/pick-pocketing (or whatever it'll be called) will be made a passive toggled special ability, which has a percentile chance of triggering on every hit, and when moving stealthily past a monster (better chances in the latter case, to emphasize stealth.) Much as with the different attack types unarmed has, low-level theft will work only when at least one hand is free, and high level theft will work even with no hands free (think for yourself how that might happen... :) ), though having a hand free will make it trigger more often.
    The ability will be available to thieves and to any character who, say, succeeds at stealth a certain amount of times (mirroring Spellcasting only becoming available by training with scrolls.) This is because I don't think every character should have the option to turn the ability on - only characters who've made at least some effort to take the stealthy path will gain a rank, and see this ability on their list.

    As far as what will actually be stolen, that's actually something I'm not entirely certain about yet. Stealing gold that wouldn't otherwise be found (reflecting a thief's scavenging and resourceful nature) would be much more attractive if gold meant more than it does now. Stealing equipment from enemies would be useful too rarely, I suspect, and I predict UI problems - it could be bothersome either by cluttering inventory with useless items, or dialogue with requests to steal useless items. How about stealing potions, scrolls and wands that wouldn't otherwise be found? To avoid scumming, don't allow skill retries - a failed % roll would mean there's nothing to steal. Of course, chances would be small and items found wouldn't be the most useful, not without very high skill levels, anyway. What's for certain is that if you want a stealth-based character, much more so a resourceful one that doesn't hack and slash through everything, access to more equipment's going to counterbalance lost XP to some extent.

    Anyway, that's my thought right now.
    Might have refinements later :)