Seven of Swords.
Not recognizing anyone’s right to judge me, I don’t ask for either pardon or indulgence. I don’t go begging to those I hate and hold in contempt. You are the stronger. Dispose of me as you wish; send me to a penal colony or the scaffold. I don’t care! But before going our separate ways, let me tell you one last thing:
The right to live isn’t begged for, it’s taken.
― Marius Jacob, Why I Was a Burglar, 1905
Class: Ultimate Thief
Every template of Thief you have gives you +1 to sneaking, stealing, and saves. Your second and fourth templates also each give you +1 to-hit. If you're playing in a system with proficiency, you have it in light armor and any type of weapon that can be both wielded in one hand and concealed under a light jacket.
Skills: Stealth and see template A.
Starting Equipment: A knife, a light weapon of your choice and ammunition for it if applicable, a thieves tool, dark clothing, a bullseye lantern and oil, soft boots, and a cloak.
A Scraps, Skilled, Stolen Fortunes
B Connected, Hidden Pockets, +1 Skill, +1 FD
C Opportunist, +1 Skill, +1 FD
D Shadow, +1 Skill, +1 FD
A life spent eating scraps and fleeing from the cops has left you frail and sickly, giving you -1 HP per HD.
A thief lives or dies by their skills, and by surviving this long you've already picked up a much broader repertoire than most adventurers—as well as some special tricks. Twice upon gaining this template as well as once for each thief template thereafter, gain a skill from the list downbelow. In addition, you gain the special ability from the list for each skill on it that you have.
A: Stolen Fortunes
You have a pool of Fortune Dice, or FD, which are d4s equal to the number of thief templates you have. You can roll any number of these when you roll a d20, and add them to the result. FD that come up a result less than or equal to the number of FD you rolled are expended until you get a good long rest, otherwise they return to your pool.
Whatever organization, underworld, community, or creed you belong to is connected to people and places everywhere, and there are signs by which you may recognize and be recognized as a part of the same. When you roll a natural 7 on a reaction roll, reroll it and the encounter is in some way connected to your background.
B: Hidden Pockets
You have [templates] extra inventory slots. Items you store in them can't be found by anyone unless you want them to.
When fighting an opponent who can't pay full attention to you—because they've got sand or sun in their eyes, they're being flanked, you yelled "hey what's that over there" and they're an idiot, &c—your attacks deal double damage.
You can vanish in shadows, do loud things (running, fighting, breaking stuff) very quietly, and do quiet things (walking, climbing, pulling a knife, rummaging around in a backpack) in absolute silence.
image stolen (ha, aha) from artstation
1d20 Thief Skills
When you successfully pick a lock, it's instantaneous. When you fail, it only takes a round.
Improvised or makeshift tools and devices function as well as professionally made ones, in your hands.
You can climb sheer surfaces as if they were merely difficult, even without gear.
You can dodge over, around, and effectively through people and person-scale obstacles as if they weren't even there, as long as there's room to do so.
Given ten minutes per hundred square feet, you can pile everything vaguely saleable - including hidden objects, parts of other objects, et cetera - in the middle of a room.
You can determine the value of objects to within one order of magnitude at a glance, and identify them precisely with between one minute and one hour of study depending on scale.
You can forge believable documents, signatures, et cetera without an original to examine, provided you've seen one before or have a halfway decent description to work from.
When disguised as someone, you count as them for any magical or metaphysical purposes. If it matters, you can also mimic their iris patterns, fingerprints, blood type, &c.
When examining the scene of an event, you can physically see and hear an approximation of how the event played out. This won't necessarily give you any new information, but it will certainly make clues obvious that might otherwise have been missed.
When presented with an unaware subject that possesses a comprehensible anatomy, you can place them in whatever state you desire with a nerve pinch/karate chop/stiff-knuckled jab to the pressure points.
Potential interlocutors must check morale to interrupt or disbelieve you as long as you keep talking. You can speak for a full thirty seconds without running out of breath.
You can alter or repair devices effectively even without appropriate tools. When you sabotage a device, you can choose exactly what time or condition under which it will fail and the manner in which it will do so.
You can determine the nature of a poisoning from symptoms without risk of error, and can formulate a reasonably effective poison or antidote from any well-stocked pantry or acre of wilderness.
Through roguish instinct, you know how to say all of the following in any language that you've heard spoken even once:
- "I don't want any trouble"
- "How can I get fucked up around here?"
- "I have the money, if you have the stuff"
- "This is [a] robbery!"
- "That's my wife!"
Once per locale, you can have had a connection smuggle something helpful in for you. The DM gets to decide what exactly it is (which you do not know) and where exactly it's placed (which you do).
Your threats are always treated as credible and requiring morale checks by anything that can understand them. You could bop a dragon on the shin and say "eeeeeehhh nice pile of treasure you got here, be a shame if something happened to it" and they would have to make a morale check. Dragons have very, very high morale scores, but they still have to make the check.
You have a 2-in-6 chance of finding a buyer for stolen goods in any settlement, a 2-in-6 chance of knowing if any given buyer is going to rat you out, and a 2-in-6 chance of disarming your opponent in a flashy prise de fer with the first attack you make in each combat.
When someone tries to wield an item you have a 2-in-6 chance of having already stolen it, if you've been within arm's reach of them within the last hour and should so desire.
You can identify special properties of beverages accurately by taste. When blackout drunk, you only do cool shit, no embarrassing shit, unless it's also super cool.
When you listen in on a conversation, the participants are guaranteed to speak about something of interest to you.
But Vayra, You Hate Generic Classes
Starting Equipment: A cutlass, a pistol and powder and 10 balls, a jug of rum, a leather greatcoat, and all the rest but no dark clothing.
Benefit: You can climb and swing on rigging, ropes, and chandeliers like a monkey, and foes in battle must check morale when you swash your buckle.
Drawback: Wanted by all courts of the sea and a few of the land. If caught, you will be hung.
Starting Equipment: Three sets of fine clothing (+1 reaction, not armor), three fine stilettos, three grams of fine cocaine, three palettes of fine makeup, three pieces of fine jewelry (worth 100sp each), none of the rest of that nonsense.
Benefit: When you speak to someone who isn't hostile to you and could conceivably be romantically interested, you can keep them engaged for 1d6 hours to the exclusion of all else.
Drawback: You have the romantic interest of 1d3 powerful, distasteful, and inconvenient suitors.
- Gunshow Detective
Starting Equipment: A modern semi-automatic rifle and one full magazine, both of which have definitely been used in at least one murder. A police badge. Some uninteresting clothes. Nothing else.
Benefit: You have to-hit with firearms as if you were a fighter. You can infer weapon name and stats from spent bullets and/or brass.
Drawback: The sound of gunfire that isn't yours causes you to save vs. fear.
- Gumshoe Detective
Starting Equipment: A leather trench coat, a battered fedora or trilby, a hip flask full of good, cheap whiskey, an equally battered, good, and cheap revolver, one cartridge, 20 slightly squashed cigarettes, alcohol dependency, debt.
Benefit: You can consider any number of clues, personal possessions, and/or the city for one full minute to determine how they are connected.
Drawback: Each time you do the above you have a [things]-in-6 chance of coming down with a splitting migraine that prevents you from doing anything useful until you get a good rest.
Starting Equipment: A blunt object, a white undershirt and black pants, a four-pack of tallboys, a 20-pack of 100's, ominous tattoos, a burner cellphone, absolutely nothing else.
Benefit: When you intimidate an NPC, they get a penalty to their morale check equal to the number of the following things that are true: You broke something of their in front of them; you mentioned a specific, non-obvious fact about them; you came up with a good in-character threat; you confronted them somewhere they thought was safe.
Drawback: You are always assumed to be the person of least importance, unless an action hero is fighting you, in which case they'll take you out first.
- Gentleman Thief
Starting Equipment: A domino mask, a nice suit (+1 reaction, not armor), twenty calling cards (design them in photoshop, ms paint, or another image manipulation program), none of that other garbage.
Benefit: Your calling cards count as invitations to the most exclusive clubs and parties, can automatically get you out of minor punishments with a minimum of embarrassment, and - once per settlement - excuse you from a death penalty in favor of permanent exile.
Drawback: At some point or when you reach template D (whichever happens first) the rest of your line will perish, leaving you with an estate in the city, an estate in the country, a yacht, a ski lodge, a crypt, at least three dark secrets, 15,000 gp in gambling arrears, and any other grudges your family is owed.
- Dagger Cultist
Starting Equipment: Six daggers, a sash and sheath for each dagger, light and loose ramie clothing, the lantern, boots, and cloak you are owed.
Benefit: When you whisper the true name of a target to your knives, they automatically hit it when thrown. If you didn't already speak swordsong you do now, and short blades speak more intelligently to you than they do to others.
Drawback: You sprout visible horns and/or antennae according to your power. If you do, you may be executed as a witch.
Starting Equipment: Your knife, a S&W M1917 .45 ACP revolver and 6 cartridges in a moon clip, a leather bullwhip, leather vest, and leather hat, the lantern and boots you demand, and no cloak.
Benefit: You can tell when things belong in a museum (exceptionally ancient, powerful, or valuable) at a glance. If someone could know a historically relevant fact, you're that someone.
Drawback: When it would be least convenient (to you) and most funny (to the DM), you have a 1-in-6 (exploding) chance of discovering snakes, which terrify and upset you.
Starting Equipment: A cool spring-loaded wrist blade or an elegantly curved dagger (your choice), a loaded two-shot derringer, a smoke bomb, and your clothing, lantern, et cetera.
Benefit: You can line up lethal shots against distant unaware targets without a roll, as if you were right next to them. If you want it, there's always work available.
Drawback: Your order will require you to take on certain jobs. Failure would be... unwise.
Starting Equipment: A monkey wrench, an iron bomb, three molotov cocktails, a red bandana, your clothes and lantern and such.
Benefit: Given an economy with significant wealth inequality, one hour, and a soapbox to speak from, you can cause significant unrest among the lower classes. Make a reaction roll to determine how well you are able to direct their ire.
Drawback: -2 reaction with other revolutionaries (due to leftist infighting) and agents of authority (for obvious reasons) as long as your identity is known. Both of the above will pen screeds and tirades against you and have them delivered to you by messenger.
- Cat Burglar
Starting Equipment: A cat's paw, a pair of razor-clawed gloves, a small (cat-sized) burlap sack, a cat, dark clothing, soft boots, no lantern.
Benefit: You can see by starlight as if it were daylight, climb and balance like a cat, and pounce about fifteen feet when making an attack.
Drawback: Slit pupils and twitchy, furred ears and tail mark you as some sort of horrible mutant. You have a prey scent and will be attacked immediately by large predators and prioritized as a target by foes with strong aesthetic sensibilities.
Starting Equipment: A crudely forged iron dagger, enough stout hemp rope to bind a king, a large (king-sized) burlap sack, clothes and lantern and such.
Benefit: You can carry one securely bound person in a sack as easily as if they were, I don't know, a 3 slot sack of potatoes.
Drawback: You're responsible for the care and feeding of any king you kingnap. Allowing one to die in your care will see you hunted to the ends of the earth.
- Sewer Rat
Starting Equipment: A viciously hooked cutlass, a repeating crossbow and 20 bolts, a gas mask, clothes and cloak and lamp and whatnot.
Benefit: You can speak chew if you couldn't already, and summon [minutes spent chanting]^2 rats with a secret incantation, up to the number of rats reasonably present wherever you are. They aren't automatically obedient, roll reaction as normal.
Drawback: The stench of the sewers is permanently upon you, and it is gross. If you ever manage to scrub it off, you lose your rat-summoning powers and rats won't talk to you until you get good and grimy again.
Starting Equipment: 100' of high-quality silk, assorted swivels, carabiners and clips, an elaborately tasseled jian, none of that other trash.
Benefit: You weigh about a third as much as you would if you weren't an aerialist, and can swing from silks, vines, rigging, kites, and chandeliers like a monkey. Treat falls as though they were 20' shorter than they actually are.
Drawback: Hollow bird bones break easily, giving you -2 HP per HD.
- Secret Agent
Starting Equipment: A silenced small-caliber pistol with one magazine and 7 cartridges, a nice suit (+1 reaction, not armor), a nice watch, a secret communication device.
Benefit: You can call for backup to have a level 1 member of your organization with an appropriate class appear from an unlikely hiding spot to assist you with a single task. If you get them killed, Headquarters won't send you another one for 1d6 weeks.
Drawback: Your organization will, naturally, give you tasks to accomplish in order to further their interests in the region.
Starting Equipment: A loaded two-shot derringer, a straw boater, a nice suit (+1 reaction, not armor), a cloak and a lamp and a whatnot.
Benefit but also Drawback: When you succeed at a d20 roll, you can choose to roll it again for double or nothing. A success on the second roll upgrades your result to that of a critical success, while a failure downgrades it to a fumble.
- Escape Artist
The Escape Artist has vanished from the confines of this blogpost. If any of you see it, please let me know.Lexi has found the Escape Artist. Here she is:
Starting Equipment: A set of lockpicks, a pot of grease, a catsuit (+1 reaction or as leather, your choice), an incredibly valuable and even more incredibly stolen gemstone, twenty small and worthless signature trinkets, none of that other garbage.
Benefit: You can squeeze through spaces slightly smaller than your head, and wriggle effortlessly free from mundane bonds.
Drawback: You are compelled to leave your signature trinkets at the scene of every crime or other significant happening, to prove how much better you are than the authorities. You are pursued by a bumbling but persistent investigator (perhaps a gumshoe detective) who has staked their career and reputation on catching you; should they perish or be fired for their incompetence, you will receive a new one following the next time you leave a signature trinket somewhere.
- (Disgraced Former) Stage Magician
Starting Equipment: A nice suit (+1 reaction, not armor), a very sharp hand-saw, a deck of trick playing cards, a deck of non-trick playing cards, a very tall hat with a false bottom, the top half of a rabbit.
Benefit: You can cut willing (or unaware) people in half without killing them, which is very impressive.
Drawback: 1-in-6 chance you can't put them back together 😳
Starting Equipment: An M1921 Thompson Submachine Gun, Caliber .45, a drum magazine, and 100 cartridges, a violin case, a nice suit (+1 reaction, not armor), a nice cigar, none of that other stuff.
Benefit: You're part of a famiglia, and can scare up 1d6 Little Italian Boys at a moment's notice plus travel time to and from Little Italy.
Drawback: Little Italian Boys are a rowdy bunch, difficult to direct effectively. Until you've reached template D (and become a capo), you must answer the call when 1d6 Little Italian Boys are needed by another mafioso.
Starting Equipment: You just get the normal stuff, honestly.
Benefit: You can step into any shadow and out of any other within a stone's throw (that you can see).
Drawback: When you step through a shadow you have an X-in-6 chance of losing a random item, where X is the number of times you've stepped through shadows that day. You don't cast a shadow of your own.