Pilfer, Purloin, and Pirate: 92 Homebrew Skills for Thieves in AD&D1e Part 2/3

Japanese Print of a man attacking a ruffian.

This is a continuation of Part 1, detailing additional optional thief skills for AD&D1e. Part 3 is here.

Disguise: The thief or actor is exceptionally skilled at creating costumes and using wigs and makeup. They can even mimic specialty armor using ordinary materials. The thief can invent a disguise, or copy the appearance and dress of any PC or NPC they have spent at least five minutes observing within 25′. Passing as a particular person requires a Disguise roll; the DM can modify this if observers have no reason to doubt the thief is who they say they are; if Mimicry is used; or if the observers are already suspicious.

If the disguise is original or generic (“beggar,” “knight”), no roll is required, and the disguise is not noticed as fake unless a character makes an intentional Perception roll within 25′. Someone physically interacting with the thief or searching them may notice the ruse (adjusted Perception check (WIS+3) by the character).

If appropriate, the DM can adjust rolls, or declare the disguise ineffectual; for instance, if the thief is much shorter or taller than the subject.

On a critical success, no one notices the disguise, even on a body search, unless the searcher gets a critical success on their Perception roll (must roll a natural 20 on d20). On a critical failure, the thief’s costume fails at the worst possible moment (nose or wig falls off, papier-mâché armor gets wet and dissolves).

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Eavesdropping: “I ain’t been droppin’ no eaves sir, honest!” This exploit can replace or supplement Hear Noise, as it expands the ability considerably. The thief can hear and understand a conversation up to 20′ away in a noisy, boisterous room; 50′ in a quiet area. They can understand whispered or muffled speech within 15′; and can understand normal speech through a standard wood and plaster wall, if the speakers are in a small room or within 15′ of the wall and the thief places their ear against it.

The thief can fashion an ear horn; this takes one hour with proper tools and materials, and when used increases range 150%. But if the thief is visible to the speakers, they can see the ear horn. The horn must be placed against a wall or window; or in the open must remain pointed at the speakers with clear line of sight.

On a critical success, range is 200% of the base range without an ear horn, 300% with one; this lasts for the duration of the scene. On a critical fail, the thief’s eardrum bursts, causing deafness in one ear with appropriate penalties until healed magically.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Master Spockolas using the Elven Nerve Pinch on a merhcant.

Elven Nerve Pinch: This is pretty useful, so it has lots of requirements. First, the victim must be human, demi-human (half-elf, half-orc, tiefling, etc.), or halfling. They must have no armor on their shoulders. They can wear clothes, but nothing blocking the target shoulder like a fur stole or leather strap. The target cannot be in motion; they must be standing or sitting in place. The thief should approach from behind silently; if they approach from the side or front, they will be spotted.

The thief pinches either exposed shoulder, and on a successful roll the victim loses consciousness for 3d4 minutes, minus one minute for each point of their CON HP adjustment. (This means it’s possible even a successful pinch doesn’t work, if the thief rolls a 3 and the victim is a fighter with 17 CON.) Just yelling or shaking will not awaken the victim early—this requires smelling salts or another intervention at DM’s discretion.

On a failed Elven Nerve Pinch roll, nothing happens, but the intended victim definitely notices the attempt; the thief has to try to play it off or there will be trouble. On a critical success, the victim remains unconscious until magically healed; in the absence of magical or clerical healing, the victim might sleep for years. On a critical fail, the thief sprains their hand, the intended victim notices, and the thief cannot use that hand until it is magically healed or they get eight hours sleep.

Note that you do not need to be an Elf to learn Elven Nerve Pinch—any thief can learn it, even from races that are unaffected by it. Base chance at 1st Level: 15%.

Embezzlement: The subtle art of skimming off the top. To covertly steal from a business or wealthy person, you need someone willing (or blackmailed, or conned) on the inside. If the thief themselves is the person on the inside, increase the base chance by 20%. The DM can add modifiers if, say, the owner implicitly trusts the thief, or if the owner has become suspicious. Each month the thief makes a roll; on success the thief makes off with 1d4x10% of the business’ or wealthy person’s monthly income. In a failure nothing happens.

The thief may choose to take less, as the larger the amount stolen the more likely the thief will be caught. Each month an owner with a 9 or more INT rolls against half their INT rounded up, +1 for every 10% income stolen that month. On a success they notice the fraud, but not the source, unless it could only be the thief. On a failure they notice nothing. On a critical success they know it’s the thief and can prove it; on a critical failure they will NEVER notice the grift.

As for the thief’s roll, on a critical success the thief steals ALL the money for that month, and manages to avoid any suspicion. On a critical failure, the owner discovers the theft and can prove it’s the thief.

Base chance at 1st Level: 25%.

A faun enduring confinement in a dungeon.

Endure Confinement: This allows the thief to survive being trapped in a small space; confined in a dungeon cell, hiding in a drain pipe; stuck in a large trap.

Of course, to avoid penalties for confinement, there have to actually be penalties. These are devised by the DM, based on the type of confinement. Being imprisoned in solitary confinement shackled to the wall upside down is very different from being trapped in a stone sarcophagus with an immobile lid. Hit point damage can be taken from hunger, thirst, cramped conditions, exposure to own filth, and psychological damage. On a successful Endure Confinement roll, these penalties are reduced or avoided, DM’s discretion. The thief rolls once every 12 hours for a short confinement, once a month for a long confinement.

On a critical success the thief avoids all penalties and is presented with a viable chance of escape, or simply escapes, DM’s discretion. On a critical failure, the thief loses their wits and can no longer use Endure Confinement. Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Enthrallment: This is using charm, wit, and beauty to enchant (non-magically) an NPC into doing whatever you want, within reason. Anyone with a decent CHA and COM (yes, we’re using Comeliness) can do this, but in this case the thief is formally trained in persuasion techniques, perhaps a geisha or an actor.

On a successful Enthrallment roll, the thief gets a +3 bonus to Reaction rolls for an entire scene/encounter, a +5 bonus if the NPC might be romantically attracted to the thief (taking into account race, gender, class, orientation, the thief’s COM, etc.). If the thief successfully enthralls an NPC, they will have a +20% chance on their roll the next time they meet. By the way, AD&D 1e had a weird percentile Reaction chart; I use (CHA + COM)/2 round up, roll under on a d20.

This is a roleplay skill, and it’s entirely up to the DM how things turn out. If the thief enchants two people in front of the other, they may become angry. If the thief turned down an NPC’s invitation to a party, the NPC may become disenchanted. Situational circumstances are everything, and the roll can have any modifiers the DM likes.

Base chance at 1st Level is based on Comeliness: COM 3-9 is 10%: COM 10-12 is 20%; COM 13-16 is 30%; COM 17+ is 40%.

Erotic Arts: I’ve never played in a game that included sexual encounters, except maybe subtly implied. But if your game includes such encounters, or has PCs or NPCs that are sex workers, this exploit is for you. I’ve kept it simple: on a successful roll, the thief greatly pleases their partner, which may (DM’s discretion) incline that NPC towards the thief, or even Enthrall them (see above). There is no penalty for a failed roll.

On a critical success, not only is the partner enthralled, but the thief gains a reputation in the city/town/countryside, +1 or -1 to Reaction rolls depending on the NPC encountered. (An available member of a complementary gender may have a +1, a judgmental cleric of a Lawful Good deity may have a -1.)

On a critical failure, the thief injures the partner for 1d4 damage, and definitely disinclines the NPC toward them.

Base chance at 1st Level: 25%.

Excavate: This is digging up buried treasure without damaging the treasure. If the treasure is in an intact chest, this exploit may not be necessary. The DM decides how long the PCs must dig to find the treasure, since only they know how much treasure, how deep, in what condition, number of excavators, etc.

If the thief is involved and the other PCs are willing to follow their instructions, the thief rolls for every 30 minutes of digging. On a success, nothing happens. On a failure, anything fragile in the treasure, such as scrolls and potions, is damaged (DM’s discretion). The assumption is that any excavation without a thief with Excavate will definitely lose at least some items.

On a critical success, the items are immediately found, completely intact. On a critical failure, every fragile item is ruined, and one random PC participating in the digging takes 1d4 damage.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Fast-talk: This overlaps with Criminal Lawyer, which applies only to legal matters. A fast-talker can get out of trouble with anyone, if given the chance to speak. Fast-talk only applies to situations where the listeners are antagonistic towards the thief; city guards, judges, aggrieved shopkeepers, a wandering paladin. In legal matters it works, but Criminal Lawyer works better.

On a successful roll the thief gets +3 to CHA towards anyone listening; the DM can add situational bonuses and penalties. With a couple of successful rolls, the thief can talk their way out of arrest, even execution. There is no penalty for failure.

On a critical success, everyone in earshot agrees the thief is a wonderful person and it was all a misunderstanding. On a critical failure, the thief is immediately attacked, arrested, or seized by the mob for execution.

Base chance for 1st Level: 30%.

Fencing Loot: Some other games call this Mercantile, inexplicably. This is the exploit that lets you convert stolen treasure into cash money, without leaving a trail. Usually a corrupt business owner, or “fence,” sells the items on the Black Market, then gives the thief a percentage of the value of the treasure (offering 1d4x10% of the full value). The money the business owner keeps is explained as being income from the business, and appropriate taxes are paid on it.

The Fencing Loot roll determines if the thief can locate a willing fence in the village/town/city/region. The thief can attempt this once a week. There is no penalty for failure.

The thief will only fence loot that could conceivably be identified as stolen. Dungeon treasure does not usually need fencing, although if the local lord expects a cut, it might. On a critical success, the thief gets (1d4+4)x10% of the full value just this once. On a critical failure, the fence gets caught, all the treasure is seized, and the fence may give up the thief to save themselves, DM’s discretion. Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Filch: This is the amazing ability to snatch something from an NPC’s hand—even a weapon in combat! The victim will notice the theft, although the DM may allow an unnoticed filch under certain circumstances, especially if it would be funny. The thief must be within melee range of the victim, and the victim must not be expecting the filch. On a successful roll, the thief snatches the item. On a failure, the victim keeps the item and notices the attempt on a simple Perception check (in AD&D 1e, a simple WIS roll). A filch may be attempted on the weapon of an enemy in combat, under the same rules, but with a -20% penalty. This is the thief’s entire combat action.

On a critical success, the thief gets the item, the victim does not notice, and the thief is allowed to escape unmolested. On a critical fail, the victim notices the attempt AND gets highest initiative in any ensuing combat related to the filch; if the party is already in combat, the intended victim gets an extra immediate attack on the thief.

Base chance at 1st Level: 15%.

Find/Disarm Large Devices: If you include this, then Find/Remove Traps (renamed and expanded as Find/Remove Devices) only works on small devices, nothing bigger than a breadbox. This is for big things like the Boulder Trap in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This skill becomes available at 5th Level. You must have Find/Remove Devices to gain it. At the DMs discretion, the thief will need large tools like a pickaxe or a sledgehammer rather than an awl or a pliers. Base chance at 5th Level: 30%.

Forced Entry: This exploit is the knowledge of the weakest point on any given door, window, hatch, gate, aperture, portal, or postern. The thief may attempt to force the door themselves, with a crowbar or with their body; or they may give directions to another PC or a henchman. Either way, the person trying to force or smash the door gets a +3 bonus on their STR roll, if the thief makes their Forced Entry roll.

The DM may adjust the STR roll as necessary, based on the design and composition of the door. A normal locked wooden door is different from a barred wooden door, which is different from a locked metal door, which is different from a vault door. This exploit does not work on magically barred doors, except at DM’s discretion. One attempt may be made every 10 minutes.

On a critical success, the door shatters, even if it’s made of diamond. On a critical failure, the person attempting to force the door injures themselves taking 1d6 damage for a simple wooden door and 2d6 damage for a stone or metal door. Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Forgery: The thief knows the secret of creating fake coins and jewels (or if applicable, paper money banknotes) that will fool most people. In a day of labor, on a successful forgery roll, the thief can produce 1d100 x level-of-thief gold worth of fake value. The DM may require materials to create the fake gems, coins, and certificates. There is no penalty for a failed roll; the items created simply do not pass muster.

On a critical success, no one can detect that the items are forged. On a critical fail, everyone can detect that the items are fake, but the thief doesn’t know that.

As for passing the forgeries, NPCs with INT 3-8 who are not merchants or bank employees have 0% chance of detecting the forgeries. NPCs with INT 9-12 have a 20% chance; so does any merchant or bank employee of INT 12 or less. Anyone INT 13-15 has a 40% chance; INT 16-18 has a 60% chance. Anyone with a reason to doubt the forgeries or the thief gets a +10% chance.

Base chance at 1st Level: 15%.

Fortune Telling: The thief is skilled at faking being a seer or oracle. They will specialize in a scrying technique: cartomancy (cards), theriomancy (animals), bibliomancy (books), catoptromancy (mirrors), crystal gazing, astragalomancy (dice), et cetera ad nauseum. The thief will either research their client, or do a cold reading.

The thief will have three kinds of clients, and the DM determines the type. Some clients are gullible, and on a successful Fortune Telling roll will fully believe the thief. Some clients are skeptical, and on a successful Fortune Telling roll will themselves make an INT check; if they fail, they fully believe the thief (and switch to the gullible category). Then there are hardcore skeptics; they only believe if the thief gets a critical success (and then join the gullible category). The Detect Gullibility exploit is very valuable here.

If the thief fails their fortune telling roll, gullible people join the skeptical category and skeptical people join the hardcore category. The DM can take INT into account when assigning a category, but remember sometimes very smart people can be gullible.

On a critical success, the mark becomes a true believer, and will permanently believe in the thief even if shown evidence the thief is a fraud. On a critical failure, the mark is disgusted and reports the thief to the local authorities—a liege lord, the city guard, even the monarch.

The thief can charge as much as they can negotiate; there will be a going rate in most towns/cities, and location will determine what people can afford. Rich gullible NPCs will pay a great deal; this is all determined by the DM.

Base chance at 1st Level: 40%.

Gambling: With the Card Sharp exploit, the thief cheats at gambling. With the Gambling exploit, the thief doesn’t cheat—they’re just really, really good at gambling.

I don’t think anyone has ever really used “Appendix F: Gambling” in the Dungeons Master’s Guide. So I’m ignoring it. This would be a perfect scenario for 3d34-2; but nobody sells d34s anymore, and not everybody has a dice app. If you have a dice app and care about realism, use 3d34-2 for the d100. If you don’t, or the game is cinematic, roll regular percentile dice or an actual d100.

For each hour of gambling, the thief makes a Gambling roll. On a success, they end the hour with (2d100+(the thief’s chance of succeeding))% of the money they started with. On a failure, they end the hour with (2d100)% of their money.

Huh? I’ll give an example. The thief is 5th Level, so their chance of a successful gambling roll is 40%. They succeed, so at the end of the hour, they have (2d100+40)% of their original money. They started with 100 gold, and roll 123 on the 2d100. So the thief gets (123+40)% , 163%, so they walk away with 163 gold.

On a critical success, the thief breaks the bank, ending the hour with (3d6x100)% of their original money. This may piss off the wrong people. On a critical failure, the thief ends up OWING (1d8x100)% of what they started with. This WILL piss off the wrong people.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

A thief strangling a prone man who undoubtedly deserves it.

Garrote: The thief is skilled at strangling humanoid people, with a garrote, with some other kind of rope, or just with their hands. This skill only works on Level 0 NPCs. For any kind of humanoid monster or Level 1+ NPC, the thief actually has to enter combat against them using Grappling rules.

The thief must surprise the victim, making a successful DEX roll to get the weapon or their hands around the unarmored neck. On a successful Garrote roll, the thief strangles the victim for one minute, doing 1d4 damage with hands, 1d6 damage with a rope or other impromptu weapon, 1d8 with an actual garrote or other device designed for strangling. On a failure, the struggling victim takes no damage. The DM determines if anyone overhears or interrupts the murder.

On a critical success, the thief accidentally decapitates the victim (!). On a critical failure, the victim escapes the thief’s grasp. Base chance at 1st Level: 30%.

Getaway: This is the ability drive a getaway vehicle very, very fast. In a medieval fantasy campaign, that means an animal-drawn cart, wagon, carriage, or other vehicle. In a cinematic campaign, this would even mean that Dwarf Artificer’s steampunk jalopy. Getaway does not apply to riding an animal by itself.

The thief gets a +(level/3 round up) bonus to any driving-related stats checks, and can drive at 80+(1d6x10)% of the normal distance per minute/round. That’s WITHOUT a Getaway roll. On a successful roll, the thief drives at 100+(1d4x10)% distance per round. But on a failure, they drive at a mere 90% for that round. Remember also, the chasing driver might have the same skill (10% chance)! Also, obstacles will still slow the Getaway driver down, allowing the pursuers to catch up.

On a critical success, the Getaway driver leaves pursuers in the dust, traveling at 400% distance for one minute/round. On a critical failure, the horses drop dead, the mechanism fails, or a wheel falls off, rendering the vehicle useless (and probably leading to a nasty crash, DM’s discretion.

Base chance at 1st Level: 15%.

Gliding: How often is a character going to run into a working medieval fantasy hang glider? Well, worry not, true believer! The thief with the Gliding exploit can both build and use a hang glider, starting at 5th Level!

The thief, through a combination of cunning and madness, learns to construct and pilot a contraption of wood (preferably bamboo for its lightness and strength) and leather. This device allows its pilot to glide gracefully through the air, descending from great heights or traversing vast chasms. However, the glider is not imbued with any magical properties and cannot ascend once airborne. The direction of the wind and the starting altitude are the thief’s only allies in determining the glider’s path.

Building the glider requires materials costing no less than 500 gold pieces and takes a full month of dedicated work. The thief must have access to a workshop or a similar space. A wagon is required to move the broken down glider from place to place.

Once airborne, the thief can glide at a speed of 12 feet per round. The maximum distance one can glide is determined by the starting height, with a ratio of 10 feet forward for every 1 foot of descent. Thus, launching from a 100-foot cliff allows for a 1,000-foot glide. The glider has a weight limit of 250 pounds, including the thief’s weight and any equipment. Exceeding this limit risks a catastrophic failure. While gliding, the thief’s hands are occupied, preventing the use of weapons, casting spells, or dropping objects. Landing requires a clear area at least 20 feet in diameter.

Should the thief fail their gliding check, the results can be disastrous. A minor failure might result in a rough landing, causing 1d6 points of damage. A significant failure could see the collapsing mid-air, resulting in a fall and all the associated perils.

Rumors speak of master thieves adorning their gliders with flamboyant designs, from painted dragon wings to gilded feathers, making their descent a spectacle to behold. Some thieves’ guilds have adopted gliding competitions, where members showcase their skills, daring, and artistry. These events are highly illegal and held in utmost secrecy

Base chance at 5th Level: 15% for both construction and gliding. Every 100′ of gliding requires a gliding check.

Gunpowder & Gunsmith: Wow, this turns out to be a complicated topic. It needs an entire blog post. In the meantime, check out the articles in Dragon Magazine #60 and Dragon Magazine #70.

Holdout: This is the ability to conceal a small object, such as a dagger or pistol, on one’s person, even if the person is searched. This differs from Body Packing in that the object is not inserted in the body, but hidden in clothing and armor.

On a successful Holdout roll, the object is hidden on the thief’s person in a way that, through casual observation, can only be detected by someone within 10′ who gets a critical hit on their Perception (WIS) roll. If the thief is patted down, the searcher discovers the object on a simple Perception check. If the thief is forced to strip down, or if magical means are used, the object will most likely be discovered. Note that it takes an entire action to remove the object from its hiding place for use.

On a failed roll, someone within 10′ will notice the object on a simple Perception check (short of a critical fail), and a pat down will reveal the object (short of a critical fail).

On a critical success, the object will remain hidden even if the thief is stripped naked and the clothes searched, or if magic is used (short of a crit hit on the searcher’s Perception check). On a critical failure, at the worst possible moment (DM’s discretion) the object falls out of the thief’s clothes, with a loud clatter if applicable. Alternately, if the item is a weapon and the DM is feeling malicious, the pistol goes off or the dagger stabs the thief for the usual damage.

Base chance at 1st Level: 30%.

Horse Theft: This is the ability to get a horse to cooperate when stealing it. On a successful roll, the horse is quiet and compliant. On failure, the horse is nervous and non-compliant (such a horse can still be stolen, but it takes longer and the thief is more likely to get caught).

On a critical success, the horse falls in love with the thief and does not want to be parted from them, which can be an inconvenience if the thief stole it to sell it. On a critical failure, the horse attacks the thief (see “HORSE” on page 53 of the Monster Manual).

Base chance at 1st Level: 25%.

Hypnotism: This exploit works exactly like the 1st Level Illusionist spell Hypnotism (Player’s Handbook, pg. 95), except it cannot be countered with Dispel Magic because it’s not magic, it’s pure skill. The victim still gets their saving throw (save vs. spell).

On a critical hit, the victim is permanently hypnotized unless this is countered by the thief or another hypnotist, whether thief or illusionist. On a critical failure, the thief is dazed for one minute out of combat, 1d6 rounds if in combat.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

An apple a day keeps the town guard away.

Improvised Weaponry: This is the coolest exploit, and you can consider allowing it for Monks, too. Just like Jackie Chan, the thief can grab almost any non-weapon object nearby, from the more obvious things like poles or practice weapons to inobvious things like tablecloths, chairs, and lamps, and turn it into an effective weapon. Anyone can grab a chair and hit someone with it, but the thief can handle the chair like a pro and do much higher damage than the ordinary character would.

In a cinematic campaign, the thief should be able to turn pretty much anything they can lift into a weapon, but the DM always has discretion. On a successful Improvised Weaponry roll, the thief weaponizes the object for the duration of the combat; however, the DM may determine that after dealing a set amount of damage, the item breaks or is ruined and is no longer useful as a weapon. All weaponized objects are treated as melee or thrown weapons. After a weapon breaks or is thrown, the thief can attempt to weaponize another object with another Improvised Weaponry roll.

The weaponized object does 1d4 damage at levels 1-3; 1d8 damage at levels 4-6: and 1d12 damage at levels 7+

On a critical success, the object does three times as much damage (3d4, 3d8, 3d12) and does not break for the duration of the combat. On a critical failure, the object breaks immediately and does 1d6 damage to the thief; the thief loses that combat round.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%

Interrogation: The exploit of using confinement, intimidation, ruthless questioning, hunger and thirst, and if the DM allows it, torture to get information from an NPC or speaking monster. The character will not know this, but torture will actually decrease the chance of success—this is true in both the medieval fantasy world and in the real world.

For each hour of non-torture interrogation, the thief makes a roll. On success, the victim makes either a WIS or CON roll, whichever is higher; if this roll succeeds, there is no effect. If the victim fails, they give the thief one piece of useful, true information (assuming they know something).

If it fits their alignment or background, the thief may know how to torture, which is the art of causing pain without causing significant hit point damage. On a successful Interrogation roll by the thief, the victim makes their WIS or CON check; if this roll succeeds, the victim gives information. The DM secretly rolls a d6; on 1-4, the victim tells a plausible lie, on 5-6, the victim tells a useful truth (if they know anything). Either way, the victim takes 1d4-2 damage (50% zero damage, 25% 1 point damage, 25% 2 points damage).

Whether torture is used or not, if the thief gets a critical success, the victim immediately spills everything they know, truthfully. If the thief gets a critical failure, the victim breaks their bonds and gets in a surprise attack on the thief.

Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

An intimidating Elf Thief.

Intimidation: The fine art of using threats and physical imposingness to coerce an NPC, animal, or monster into doing something they don’t want to do. A successful roll means you get a +5 bonus on a CHA check; the person obeys out of fear rather than attraction. Failure has no effect.

A critical success means the person will do ANYTHING the thief wants (at DM’s discretion); critical failure means the target intimidates the thief, and/or finds the thief absurd. Of course, some thieves will be able to back up their threats…. Base chance goes up 3 points for every level of STR 13 and above.

Base chance at 1st Level: 30%.

Lip Reading: The thief can understand spoken language from up to 50′ away, assuming a direct line of sight to the speaker’s face. Each roll represents five minutes of visual eavesdropping. On a successful roll, the thief then makes an INT check. If this is successful, the thief understands what is said, which is repeated or summarized by the DM. On failure of either roll, the thief cannot read the lips for that five minutes.

On a critical success of either roll, the thief can accurately read the lips for the entire encounter or scene, as long as the lips are in direct view. On a critical failure, the thief inaccurately reads lips for the entire encounter, getting results like “I am fish marriage, elaborate.”

Base chance at Level 1: 20%.

Locksmith: Pick Locks? Feh! The thief with Locksmith can pick locks, design locks. build locks, alter locks, design and cut keys, and make skeleton keys. This requires a small workshop and specialized tools well beyond lockpicks; Locksmith isn’t a terribly portable skill. Regular lockpicks cost 25gp; a whole locksmith’s rig costs 125gp, but includes the lockpicks. Locksmithing in the field is certainly possible, but the tools are cumbersome. A locksmith in a workshop gets +15% to their Locksmith roll.

On a critical hit, the lock the locksmith is working on or building becomes unpickable except by magical means. On a critical miss, the lock the locksmith is working on becomes locked permanently; if they are building one, it seems fine but will pop open at the worst possible moment. Base chance at 1st Level: 20%.

Looting: Anyone can take advantage of a riot, large fight, battle, disaster, dragon attack, or war to steal stuff. The thief with the Looting exploit is really good at it. What can be found is highly situational—what kind of location is it? What condition is it in? Has it already been looted? How much can the thief and their companions transport? Are they looking for anything in particular? So the DM really has to handle this as appropriate.

On a successful Looting roll, the thief gets a 20% bonus (+4 on a d20) on any roll the DM devises to randomize loot. So for instance, if the DM is using the “TREASURE (RANDOM DETERMINATION)” section starting on page 120 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, they would add +20 to each d100 roll, improving the chance of more valuable treasure.

On a critical success, the thief finds something extraordinary, like the way Gandalf came across Glamdring in a troll’s den. On a critical failure, the thief and companions are discovered and attacked, either by authorities or other looters.

Base chance at 1st Level: 30%.

Luck: This is a cinematic exploit, not really a skill, that is used in various ways in a number of RPGs. The thief is just plain lucky. The gods favor them and watch out for them.

Three times a game session, the thief can choose to reroll any die roll. This ability must be used immediately upon making the roll to be rerolled. The player must accept the second roll. Critical failures on the second roll are ignored. Unused rolls do not roll over to the next game session. There is no skill roll, this ability just works automatically.


The player may turn any roll into a critical success, once per game session. If any reroll has been used in the session, this option is unavailable. It’s either the three rerolls or the one critical success.

Luck only applies to the thief’s rolls, not to other players’. Base chance at 1st Level: 100%.

The list concludes in Part 3.

Read Part 1.

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