Thieves

Here’s something that has been coming up pretty frequently in our gaming group: thieves are crappy at scouting in dungeons.  Well, human thieves…which are the only kind in B/X anyway.

In theory, the guy who can move silently, hide in shadows, find traps, and hear noise sounds like the guy you want to scout ahead in enemy/dangerous territory.

But he needs a light source.  And that’s a monster magnet.  So you’re better off sending the halfling, the dwarf, the elf … anyone who won’t be stumbling around blind and attracting all kinds of moth-monsters to his torch or lantern.

I suppose there is something gritty and challenging about furtively dashing through the darkness, occasionally opening the lantern hood to take a look-see, maybe wearing an eyepatch or something to save your feeble human nightvision…  so I should be OK with thieves needing to work around darkness issue, but honestly it hasn’t been fun to do that; not for me as DM, not for the players.

So the alternatives are:

  • silly magical items that provide some limited form of nightvision/infravision/faint light (screw that…you need them most at the low levels before you can afford fancy equipment or have found much magic)
  • using ‘Hear noise’ more explicitly as a substitute for seeing (no thanks to more pointless rolling though)
  • giving thieves nightvision/infravision as a class ability (what?)

I’m actually thinking 2&3 make the perfect combination.  Thieves have acute senses, which can substitute for vision under the right circumstances.  The rule would be:

If a thief is at least 40′ away from distracting noise (allies in mail or plate armor, etc.), and at least 20′ away from distracting smells (dwarves, barbarians, unshod halflings, etc.), he operates as if he has torch light (up to 40′ visibility), using his other senses to compensate for the lack of real light.  He will not be able to discern colors unless some minimal, ambient light is available.  But he can notice movement or the presence of monsters, make out most details of a room, and even search for traps or secret doors, as if he could see.

This would allow a thief to sneak up ahead in the dark and poke around without automatically notifying every monster within 120 feet that outsiders are about.   But he is going to have to be alone, or with other thieves to pull it off.  Maybe he could string along a magic user, or another character in no armor or leather armor, but no knights or smelly rangers.  I like it because it gives thieves a very nice but mostly non-combat ability, and encourages them to go ahead and get into deep doodoo on their own, as Gary intended.

Advertisements
Published in: on December 15, 2011 at 8:54 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/thieves/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I don’t know, “dungeoneer’s goggles” has something of a quirky steampunk charm to it. Perhaps they can only be used for a limited amount of time before they run out of juice.

    I “fixed” this problem by removing infravision from the demi-humans.

    Actually, I’m sort of on the fence regarding the scouting activities. Sometimes, scouting can turn into a one-player mini-game where the other party members have nothing to do for a while. It’s kind of a problem in general with stealth abilities like move silently and hide in shadows.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Fail Squad Games

Cigar Box Battle

An online resource blog for gamers and geeks focused on wargames miniatures and board games and role playing games

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

POWER WORD KILL

Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

hosercanadian

Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.

Cirsova

An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.

Dagger and Brush, Daggerandbrush, dagger brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides

Fractalbat

A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

tenfootpole.org

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

The Rambling Roleplayer

A collection of advice, essays, and rambling rants about tabletop gaming and other geekiness. Often updated Monday-ishly.

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

inthecitiesdotcom

Just another WordPress.com site

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"

chieflyill

gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

Metropollywog

Role-Playing Games, Medieval History, Assorted Legends and Myths, and My Stupid Life.

%d bloggers like this: