Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Dragon Dentists



By Tom McGrath.  His work can be found here among other places.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Will Ferrell You Never Knew


HOLLYWOOD - In the payoff of what must be the most elaborate practical joke in history, gridiron heart-throb Ben Roethlisberger has been revealed to be a made-up character played by none other than comedian Will Ferrell.

 The literal giant of comedy came about his least-famous but arguably most important role quite by accident.

He enrolled at Miami of Ohio University to prepare for his role in Old School, made the team, and just went from there.

"Roethlisberger? I was sure someone would figure out the joke just from the name," the larger-than-life funnyman revealed in our exclusive interview. "I mean, come on! Have you seen how comedically I throw the ball?"

When we asked him about his famous motorcycle accident, he said, "The funny thing about that is that we had three cameras rolling on it, and none of them got the shot. Jimmy Fallon was driving and he ruined the take because he couldn't stop laughing, just like every SNL sketch he’s ever been in."
 

"And really," chided Ferrell, "haven't you ever noticed I never do Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at the same time as a Steelers football thingy? What do you call that? The football meet? The contest? A football rally?"

His interest in football all started when he wrote the cheerleading sketch with former Miss Okinawa, Cheri Oterri. "We would go to high school games to watch the cheerleaders. Fine looking young ladies. Mouth-watering. Most of them wore panties, and I'm all for that in principle. Where were we? Oh, football. My interest in football definitely started with those high school cheerleaders."

Now as the owner of two Super Bowl rings, Ferrell has set his sights on the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Who do I have to force into a bathroom against her will while two state policemen guard the door to get voted into that one? Amiright guys?”

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Fish from "Earth Departure"


I don't know what "Earth Departure" is, but credit where credit is due.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ching Shih, the pirate queen of China

To be honest, I have nothing to add to the original article.  I just think it's pretty cool.

Ching Shih, the pirate queen of China




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Julie Has Two Mice


These are not they, but maybe they are in her dreams.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm Done

My recent hard drive loss has just taken the wind out of me.  Maybe I'll come back at some point.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Post Name: It was late and I was tired


This one's called "inktober 7" and it's by allocen.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Snips

I don't have any good idea for a big, unified post today so allow me to give you a few little snips of ideas.



1:  A Tidal Rush: A land where a Mighty river flows through the jungle. Once every three years the sun and moons align and create a "negative tide". A tidal surge flows some 200 miles upriver, wrecking the boats and homes of the unwary with unearthly riptides. Gnomes surf these waves for fun.

2: Mermen:  Are mermen just Men who have naturally selected to dive comfortably to 300 feet and stay underwater for six or more minutes? They would be small, brown and sun-baked, and nearly naked despite being quite modern and sophisticated.

Maybe instead they are elves

3: Alternate Orcish:  Orcs are like the Neanderthal. Just as smart, 2HD but inferior weaponry - they were terrible shots and couldn't make good bows. Men with superior technology subsumed and interbred with these original men, and so half-orcs now live.  What advantage did Men have over the Orcish? Community. Because we had symbolic artifacts like religious figurines and bone flutes, our culture made it possible to work together and share labor in a new and efficient way.

1- religion and culture
2- division of labor
3- more extensive political groupings
4- superior technology


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dwellings of the Several Races

I found this swell painting on DeviantArt tonight by CorinneRoberts:


How happy and whimsical!  And Orcish!

My orcish don't actually build castles or immobile dwellings of any kinds, actually.  But this picture speaks to me.

What kids of different dwellings, military or otherwise, do your orcish and other normal-types build?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sheet Music as Magic Language

There's a lot said for "magic words" in literature and in D&D games.  A lot of magic guys need to say their magic words, like "a la peanut butter sandwiches" or whatever and then wave their hands and make the spell pop out.  What does magical writing look like in your game?

My daughter is learning to play the clarinet (her third instrument- bragging now) so we have a lot of sheet music around the house.  It looks, frankly, arcane. Even though I can sight read it still looks funny.

It made me think about spells and verbal and somatic components.  When she plays the clarinet, there are complicated fingerings of the buttons to make the basic sounds. She also needs to control the breath both in volume and quality to produce the right tone.  It's a lot like how they describe casting magical spells.

I betcha some spells require the materical component of a little whistle or like a recorder to blow into with valve or holes to press down just so to make the right sounds that the spells like to hear.  And other wizards may then be able to identify the spell by the sounds.

Like modern singers doing the American National Anthem (the trend hasn't seemed to creep into other anthems yet), there are lots of personal flares different wizards would use to personalize the spell- but the notes would all be the same, and recognizable.

Illusion spells would sound jazzy.  Direct damage spells would sound like Wagner.  Spells to make holes in the wall or otherwise move things around would sound like The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia or maybe use the piccolo.  All Cleric spells would sound like Benedictine chants.  Maybe with bells or a concertina as accompaniment?

What do you think of this description?  Can you think of other spells which would have their own characteristic sounds?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

D&D And the Black Plague

D&D is a post-apocalyptic game.  Someone was around in the past with more wealth than we have now.  Otherwise that wealth wouldn’t be there to be found in the dungeon.  And for that matter, there wouldn’t be all these dungeons around if someone in the past did not dig them all. The process of excavating and treasure hunting is one of reclamation of the past.  So there, we may say that the pseudo-medieval setting D&D is different from the real world setting.

But we would be wrong to say that.  Because the real Medieval world was one of apocalypse and post-apocalypse as well.  The apocalypse we really had back then was the black plague of 1347-1349.

During those gaunt years, our best guess is that about 1/3 of the population just suddenly died.  That is by any reckoning an apocalypse! Imagine that one out of every three of your family members died in two years, or your friends.  It is unthinkable, and yet it happened to Europe in those plague years.

There were a number of effects germinated from seeds sown by the plague. 

Economics: Economically, the labor supply contracted by the largest amount ever seen on a macro scale.  Each worker immediately gained 50% more bargaining power, and with it, greater income.  Industries which were previously sated by excess manual labor turned to technology to pick up the difference (as well as raising wages by quite a bit).  For instance, mills devised wind power and water power solutions, while illuminated manuscripts were replaced by Gutenberg’s wondrous printing press.  Among those who play gnomes and sometimes dwarfs: does this sound familiar to you D&D players?

Now that there were many, many fewer people, there were fewer avenues for trade.  Merchants simply did not come around as often, and the people who remained in place at the manorial level operated mainly on barter.  Therefore, there were a great deal of coins whose value simply collapsed.  People knew what the value of their money was, but there was no market for it.  Therefore, much of it was hidden away in holes in the walls or buried in the ground somewhere safe.  Does this sound familiar to D&D players?

Military Power: Now there were fewer people to be policed as well.  That meant that men-at-arms who had previously been employed by sovereigns were now unemployed bandits and brigands.  They were not going to go back to peasantry, but instead became reavers on the countryside, committing acts of terror to force settlements to pay up or else.  Does this sound familiar to D&D players?

Disease Vectors and Demographics: Those communities which were isolated from trade and from other nearby settlements fared the best simply because they were not exposed to as many plague vectors as more-connected towns were.  That means that these isolated hamlets were left intact in disproportionate numbers.  There were tiny villages here and there, perhaps completely isolated from one another or relying on one central power such as a baron’s castle for trade and defense.  Larger towns were hit harder and therefore there were fewer of them remaining.  Numerous isolated small villages: Does this sound familiar to D&D players?

Spiritualism:  There was a spiritual overhaul that went along with the plague.  Death was everywhere.  Everyone knew many people who had died because of it.  The psychological toll on the survivors was unthinkable, and it reflected in the art work of the day in the theme of danse macabre.  The danse macabre, or dance of death, showed living people traumatized by embodiments of death- most commonly, undead skeletons come to molest and harass the living.  These skeletons represented a kind of living death, for they did not lie still in the ground but did the same things that the living enemies of Men would do.  That which is reflected in the paintings must have seemed real based on the recent experience of the multitudes.  And against such an inhuman and unholy power, the only ones who could really stem the tide were the clergy, at the right hand of God.  Does this sound familiar to D&D players?

Now the black death wasn’t the only apocalyptic event visited on Medieval Europe.  The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), fought between Protestant countries and Catholic over control of Christendom, was almost as devastating in terms of sheer horror and loss of life.  This could also be a kind of apocalypse for those of us who like to play a little later on, with full plate armor and gunpowder firearms.  But the effect on the people is the same, and will certainly lead to the same kinds of results (especially those under the header of Military Power).

Friday, September 30, 2016

Character Funnels, Have You Tried One?

This thread over on Tenkar's Tavern about the new 0-level DCC book "Sky ov [sic] Crimson Flame" prompts me to look into the idea of the "character funnel."

Johnny Thickskull, Funnel Runner

A character funnel is an adventure where each player takes four zero-level PCs into a meat grinder of an adventure.  The survivors are the PC pool that the players draw from to make their Level 1 PCs.

It seems complicated to have four guys who are equal to one another. It's not the same as a PC + henchmen for instance. How do you know who you're "really" running?

Maybe it's easier than it looks when you're playing. I just think I would pick out one of my guys to be the leader and then favor that guy over the other ones, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Has anyone had any real play experiences with a funnel situation they can share?


Having done a little research, here's a guide to how to make your own character funnel -- or in this case a "Meat Grinder."

Odd Men & Monsters

You can find the latest version of Book II: Odd Men & Monsters here.  As of this writing, the Odd Men and Monsters are done.  The treasure section is proceeding but there isn't anything added to the book yet except for the master treasure table.  Stay tuned for more.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Your Collection Just Isn't Complete Without It




1-sided die*





*Note:  This post took longer to write than any of my other blog posts so far.  I tried about fifteen different jokes, and none of them were any good.  Maybe a little chart with the possible roll outcome versus an obviously automatic result?  I don't know, that doesn't sound very original.  So. Just think up your own joke and then laugh out loud if you're by yourself in a public place. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Grognard, a CHAINMAIL Clone

Hey kid, have you heard of CHAINMAIL?  Did you pick up a copy in PDF (back when it was available of course), and read it?  Did you understand it?  

It's okay, kid.  A lot of people couldn't understand it.


A fellow named Krusader74 has done us a great service. He has cloned CHAINMAIL and cleaned it up considerably.

His game is called Grognard (Get it here!)  The PDF is 68 pages long, but the rules are cleanly presented in about 30 pages.  Maybe less.  It has a kind of fantasy supplement, and some good 1:1 rules as well, just like the original.

I have had trouble penetrating the dense and confusing CHAINMAIL rules.  A lot of it just went right over my head to be honest.  My eyes have glazed over a lot trying to understand what is going on.  Not so with Grognard.  Everything seems so clear.  Part of that is the re-organization Krusader74 did and part of it is the spread-out and clear presentation he chose to use.  I understand it now, and it's a really cool game.  No wonder it spawned D&D and no wonder people still play it today.

One of the things about wargames is that they require some equipment other than paper, pencil and dice.  They require terrain features like little trees, cannon and castles that you can buy or build.  They require large playing surfaces, usually a huge table but maybe the floor.  They require lots of miniatures.  They require lots of time- sometimes several hours.  

This particular one, and lots of other games like it, requires you to make special dowels to mark the flight of cannonballs!  That's pretty cool if you like arts and crafts.  Your FLGS might keep this stuff on hand for game night, so that's another option.

Anyhow, it's free and a really cool read, even if you don't intend to play it.  Pick one up, read it, and stash it away for a rainy day when you can't go outside and play.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Healers are Boring, Clerics are Awesome


For whatever reason I end up playing the Cleric.  (Don't tell the folks I play with that I secretly like it!)  For the players of more modern games, the Cleric is a heal bot.  Which is weird, because there are way more options for customization in 3.X and beyond.  


Furthermore, there are good arguments about why you shouldn't put a Cleric class in your games at all.  Some folks balk at the religious nature - either because they don't like religion, or because they think it partially blasphemous.  Some folks think it's stupid because it's too narrow.  Some folks say there are no historical examples of Clerics as they are presented in D&D.  

Brother, you can make any of these arguments.  If you don't want a Cleric in your game, that's cool, because everyone ought to make the game the way they want to. 

But I'm always gonna have Clerics and I think they're just the tops.  Let's talk about Clerics for a sec and I'll tell you why I think they're awesome.

1.  Clerics can take the place of Fighters, Dwarfs and Hobbits.

In BECM and earlier games including 0E and even Greyhawk, Clerics have the same fighting capability at low levels as a Fighter or Demi-man.  They can even wear the best armor.  They do however drop off slightly in a couple of places: weapon selection and hit point capacity.  The hit point difference is negligible- one HP per experience level on average.  The weapon selection is a slight problem in 0E and Holmes because they don't have access to missile weapons.  On the other hand, their spells act like missile weapons to some degree.

Additionally, a Find Traps spell, when used judiciously, is the only sure way to determine whether something or some place is trapped.  Some early-edition versions don't give Thief guys an extra chance to discover traps (only to remove them).  But even if Thief guys and Dwarf guys can find them better, they can still miss one.  Every trap you find means fewer chances to either take damage, or Save or die.

2. Their spells are brutally effective on a per-level basis.

Let's take a look at the key level one spells they get:

Cure Light Wounds - Okay, this is useful, but it can basically be replaced by... a potion.  You don't need the Cleric to carry this spell.  On the other hand, a Chaotic or Neutral Cleric may carry Cause Light Wounds, which is a nice, magical way to affect enemies.  Even as a Cure spell, it helps to manage a key resource (hit points) so the party can drill deeper into the dungeon and grab more treasure/XP.

Light (Darkness) - Casting Darkness on the eyes of an opponent is effectively a kill shot.  If cast in an area, it will neutralize any advantage the opposition may have from Darkvision.  There's really nothing like it at level one.  It can do to Fighters and Demi-Men what a Silence spell does to spell casters.

Protection from Evil - Keeping an opponent from touching someone in your party for a period of time can come in handy in numerous situations, and especially when it comes to battles where your Magic User needs to cast a spell, or you need to keep a particular PC alive at low hit points.  Arguably, a "Magic Circle" spell is much more useful (hold one evil opponent at bay indefinitely), but for a level one spell, this is very powerful.

And let's take a look at the key level two spells they get.

Bless - This is a mass buff that grants +1 to hit and +1 to damage.  It incidentally helps to keep your henchmen from running away in a bloodbath, which should not be overlooked.  It works on any reasonable number of creatures too, which means you can gain a lot of leverage by casting it.

Hold Person - Against many enemies you will face underground (and even in the Wilderlands), this can be a kill spell as well.  Affecting up to four enemies can swing a whole fight immediately.

Silence, 15' Radius  The ultimate kill spell against opposing Clerics and Magic-Users.  It can be cast on a person.  If the Save vs. spells fails, the radius moves with that person.  Cast it on a friendly Fighter, and then send him wading into the enemy to nullify any magic coming from the enemy side!  If that's not possible, you can at least hit an area where the bad guys are standing to shut them down temporarily.  Do you know what you call a Magic-User who can't cast a spell? A commoner.

3. Don't Underestimate Turning.

Low-level undead are by far the nastiest bad guys you will see during levels 1-6.  There's nothing that comes close.

Undead are completely silent and therefore often gain Surprise.
Undead do not parley, and therefore cannot be talked around.
Undead are immune to many spells that affect normal types.  And
Undead never check morale.  They never stop, ever, until one side or the other is dead.

Turning undead therefore turns these nightmares of resource depletion into a fairly beatable class of foes.  Turning may be the single most powerful class ability to have at low levels, with the possible exception of Sleep.  But even Sleep is only once per day, while Turning is repeatable.

Conclusion

So the next time you get "stuck" with a Cleric, don't fret about being a heal bot, because you're not a heal bot.  Play the Cleric like the monster hunting expert he is and the other players will want a Cleric the next time their hapless idiot dies some gruesome death.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Inspirational Image



Nothing today. Try back tomorrow!  In the mean-time, here's an inspirational image called A Courageous Venture painted by robedirobrob and posted on Deviant Art.


Oh!  This is something: I think it's how John Ostrander got his start, so look out Multiverse!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is Less Actually More?


I've been thinking a little about this lately because I've been playing a game (Here) which has only four wandering monsters per dungeon level. It also doesn't have a place to check which level table to roll against, so not only is the number limited, the particular table is predetermined. 

Simplistic?  Well, yes.  


It's not as dreadfully boring as it would seem to be in comparison to the elaborate wandering monster tables I'm used to - anything from 1d12 to 2-20, and checking which table to roll on as well.

I wonder if using more limited tables would actually give a dungeon or wilderlands hex more verisimilitude, because players can count on a few, regular, repeating enemy types.  After all, if you're only rolling one, two, four times on a particular level, there may not be a pattern for players to recognize.  Random may actually feel, well, too random to prepare for.  What do you think about, say, a wandering monster table with 6 entries?  8?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Alternate Combat System (Hit Dice)

I was in my study thinking about hit dice.  In a "disassociative fugue state,*" I put the words "hit dice" and "to hit" together.  I imagined an alternate combat system where hit dice stood for a character's attack value rather than it's defense value.

I wrote a bunch of little notes on my phone's note pad, and emailed them to myself.  They don't make a lot of sense but maybe you can do something with them?  Probably a lot more than this little girl and humongous fish guy.




To attack: roll all hit dice. Every 5 or 6 is a hit.

Attacks carry over from one target to the next (eg a two hit result against two 1HD enemies kills both).
Armor grants 1, 2, or 3 saving throws. A successful save negates a hit. Saves are successful on a 5 or 6. A shield only provides a save against missile fire.
Characters have 1 hit point per die. Pluses (any number) count as 1 extra hit point, indicating they're tougher to kill. Starting at level 4, PCs must be killed by simultaneous hits equal to their total hits (eg 4 hits for 4 HD, 5 hits for 4+1, etc.), making them nearly impossible to kill by normal types.

On attacks, the +1 etc. on the Hit Die adds that many to the hit range of 5-6 to one of the Hit Dice thrown, therefore increasing the chance of a hit with that single die.

So there.  That's what I wrote in my "disassociative fugue state."  


*spacing out, man

Friday, September 9, 2016

In Praise of 1 GP = 1/10 lb.



At a lot of game tables, people use different weight values for a gold piece.  It's one of those things people tinker with almost as much as the thief guy class.  After all, historically, gold pieces weighed between 1/30 and 1/50 of a lb.  Gold is also much more common in D&D than it was in the real world. People guess that prices in D&D are high by a factor of ten over their real world Middle Aged counterparts.  Anyway coins weighing 1/10 lb. aren't particularly realistic.  For instance, you'd need 55 or so $1 coins to weigh one pound.

Brother, let me tell you: 1 GP = 1/10 lb. is gospel to me.

In search of "realism," the game-mechanical value of 1 GP = 1/10 lb. is lost. (I say "realism" because this is a game of magic and dragons and other dimensions and lady elfs who walk around in plate armor and high heels for 16 hours a day.)

Then instead of weighing all the other stuff you use in lbs. or whatever normal people use as a unit of measurement, Gary* goes and compares the weight of everything from a clove of garlic to a suit of plate mail to an equivalent weight in coins.  What?

So why did Gary tell us we were hauling around coins the size of dinner plates?  And why weigh everything else in coins?  Here's why, friend:

The object of the game is to drag as much money out of the dungeon as possible. 

Coins are the measure of wealth.

Wealth is XP.

Not only that, but gear is XP too.  Plate mail is XP.  Pole arms are XP.  That third or fourth treasure sack you got there?  Totally XP.

Every piece of equipment you carry is that many fewer coins you can potentially haul out.  Is that extra 50' of rope worth the money you have to leave in order to carry it?  And tangentially, is it worth it to hire a lazy cowardly old stevedore for 100 GP?  Will it pay off in more than 100 GP in extra treasure?  You have to "weigh" the cost now against the possible benefit later.

But 1 GP = 1/10 lb. gets even better.

Then, Gary measures progress in distance against weight carried - encumbrance.  Again, there is a direct proportional relationship between game progress (GP = XP) and physical progress through the dungeon and wilderlands.

Gary really made it very simple for us, didn't he? 
  • He told us exactly what is important.  
  • He set the fundamental unit of game progress (XP).  
  • He translated everything else in the game into that unit of measurement (1 XP = 1 GP) so 
  • we can clearly see the costs and benefits of each logistical change we make.

10 GP weighing a pound doesn't seem much like the "real world" but it's a lot easier to imagine a world with common gold than it is to fiddle with all the numbers and make it work out as well as he did it.

*And Dave and Rob and Michael and the several others who were there first and did it right the first time.

Full disclosure: In Treasure Hunters Prolix, I made coins weigh 1/20 of a lb.  This was for a game-mechanics reason rather than for any reason of historical accuracy, but the underlying link between money, experience, encumbrance and movement speed remains intact.  Coins in TH aren't decimalized either, though, so the link between weight and value becomes less obvious.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ten Uses for Henchmen


Category 1: The Obvious

1. Carry your lantern, treasure, extra shield or pole arm
2. Consume your consumables
3. Provide tasty alternative for monsters
4. See how far down that pit goes

Category 2: The Inevitable

5. Carry dead other henchman
6. While dead: Prop open a door
7. Fail morale check; beat four-minute mile
8. Double-cross people, especially you

Category 3: The Unlikely

9. Save your life that one time; never let you live it down
10. Fall in love or have other vaguely human event happen to them

And for goodness' sake, don't taunt the henchmen!  You never know when they might think you're talking in-character and decide to desert you at the worst possible moment.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monster: Giant Drowning Spider

Spider, Giant Drowning
#Enc. 1d3 (1d3), AL N, MV 6”, AC 6, HD 3**, #AT 1 (bite), dam 1d6 + grab, ML 8, SQ: breathe underwater, TREASURE: F, XP 500


Description: the giant drowning spider is a 4 foot long blue and white spider which dwells in swamps.  It grasps its prey and holds it fast underwater with great strength (roll to perform a feat of strength each Round to escape at the end of the Round).  Each Round it deals 1d6 crushing damage and forces a Save vs. Poison or victim becomes unconscious.

There are no good pictures of a Giant Drowning Spider, since I just made it up.  Instead, here is a map of the state of Tennessee.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Monster: The Yak

There are not enough yaks in OSR games.

YAK
#Enc. 2d6 plus young (1d10 x 40)  AL N MV 12" AC 6 HD 3 #AT 2 ML 6 In Lair: 40% Treasure: nil

ECOLOGY: Yaks are just as good as other kinds of cattle.  They're bigger than almost any other kind.  They do well at high altitudes.  They like it cool to cold, so remember to turn down the thermostat if you invite a yak to a dinner party. One of the greatest things about a yak is that their body and manure have no detectable odor, because things smell bad enough out there on an adventure.

COMBAT: Yaks and yak cows (called WYLIE) are herd animals and prefer not to fight.  If forced into combat, they will attack as 3 HD creatures with two hooves.  A herd of yak will trample, which is probably a Save or Die jackpot, so make sure you can run at least 12" if you plan to annoy yaks.

GAME USES: Nomads and Dervishes would totally favor yaks over other kinds of cattle since they can survive by themselves in the wild.  Maybe a frost giant keeps one as a pet for his kid.  Can't you just imagine a gnomish community of yak farmers?

This is a yak on vacation. Note the festive beach wear:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Proposed optional class: The Thief

Rather than get into my own schizophrenic thought about thieves in D&D, I'll present my proposal for the thief in Mythical Journeys, typos and all.


THE THIEF (Optional Class)

Thieves are the extraordinary individuals who leave hearth-and-home with nary more than their cunning and wit (and perhaps a sword and lantern) to learn of the Greater World and claim it’s treasure as their own. However, Thieves can be a bit shady and they sometimes are not as trustworthy as other classes.

The Prime Requisite of the Thief is Dexterity.  See Table 2 for XP adjustments due to high or low Dexterity.

Arms and Armor:  Thieves don’t train in the use of heavy armors.  They are limited to Leather, and may not use a shield.  They may use any one-handed melee weapon (including those which are thrown) and the Light Crossbow.

The Thief’s Class Abilities:

Sneak Attack:  Whenever a defender is unaware of the Thief, is flanked by the Thief and an ally, or is unable to actively defend itself (bound or surprised), the Thief may attempt to Sneak Attack. Using this special attack, the Thief may make one attack at +4 to hit, and if he does, he deals double damage. At Level 5, this multiplier increases to x3; At Level 10, x4.  Damage is multiplied after the damage die is rolled.

Pick Locks:  A Thief is skilled in picking locks, but needs lock picks to do so. Under normal circumstances, a Thief can pick any lock in ten minutes.  The Referee should call for a roll when the Thief is rushed, must be quiet, or is dealing with a lock of a kind he is somehow unfamiliar.  He can only try to pick a lock one time, and if he fails, he may not try the same lock again until he reaches a higher experience level. The referee might grant an additional try depending on the complexity of the lock. 

Remove Traps:  A Thief is very good at removing and bypassing traps that the party finds, and can even remove magical traps.  However, he may only try one time to remove a particular trap. If a Thief uses a tool, such as a 10’ pole or small steel mirror, he receives a +1 bonus to his removal roll.   This action takes one Turn (10 minutes).  Someone must find a trap before he can remove it! 

Sleight of Hand: This skill is the bread and butter of non-adventuring Thieves.  It is a quick source of income, but not without peril.  A Thief may use this skill to attempt to pick-pocket someone.  A roll that equals half or less of the skill target number means the intended victim notices the Sleight attempt. The Referee will then roll 2d6 on the reaction table with a -2 modifier, to determine the victim’s reaction.

Stealth:  Anyone can attempt to move quietly; only the Thief can be truly silent.  When successful, others will not hear the movements of a Thief. However, the Thief always thinks he is successful in this skill, and will not know otherwise unless others react to his presence.  A Thief may attempt stealth even in unusual conditions, such as stepping on dried leaves, over egg shells, or between sleeping animals. 

Climb Sheer Surfaces:  Anyone can climb, with assistance and the proper climbing gear.  Thieves are adept at scaling sheer surfaces, including walls or steep cliffs. They require a skill roll for each 100 feet they intend to climb. If the roll fails, they fall a distance equal to half the attempted distance, taking 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet.  Thieves are adept at determining whether they can climb a particular sheer surface at a glance.  Roll the Thief’s chance of success in climbing the first 100’ before he starts his ascent.  If he fails this roll, he knows that this particular wall is beyond his ability until he reaches his next experience level.

Hide: Anyone can hide.  A Thief can hide in a mere shadow!  While remaining motionless or using Stealth, a Thief who succeeds with his Hide roll becomes invisible to all visual senses including Darkvision.  A Thief will always think he is successful in this skill, and will not know otherwise until others react to his presence.

Listen:  While every character has a chance to listen for sounds (1 on d6), the Thief’s senses are keener than others’.  Thieves can attempt to listen for noises in a cave or hallway and at a door or other locations but the Thief must be quiet and in a quiet environment, and remove his Helmet.

Read Languages:  Starting at Level 4, the Thief  can read any language on a 5-in-6 throw, including codes and cyphers.  This ability does not include magical writings. If the roll does not succeed, the Thief may not try to read that particular piece of writing until he reaches a higher level of experience.

Cast from Scrolls:  Starting at level 7, a Thief can read and cast magic from Wizard and Cleric scrolls with 5-in-6 accuracy. A failed roll means the spell does not function as expected, and can create a horrible or hilarious effect at the Referee’s discretion.

 
Table 11: The Thief
Level
Title
XP
HD
1
Dungeoneer
0
1d4+1
2
Footpad
1,251
2d4
3
Robber
2,501
3d4
4
Burglar
5,001
4d4
5
Cutpurse
10,001
5d4
6
Sharper
20,001
6d4
7
Pilferer
40,001
7d4
8
Thief
80,001
8d4
9
Master Thief
160,001
9d4*
10
Guildmaster
280,001
10d4
11
11th Level Guildmaster
400,001
10d4+1
12
12th Level Guildmaster
520,001
10d4+2
*Hits adjustment due to Constitution no longer accrue.


Table 12: Thief Skill Matrix (2d6) Roll Equal or Higher
Level
Locks
Traps
Sleight of Hand
Stealth
Climb
Hide
Listen
1
8
9
9
10
5
10
9
2
8
9
9
9
5
10
9
3
7
9
8
9
5
10
9
4
7
8
8
9
5
9
8
5
7
8
7
8
5
9
8
6
6
7
7
8
4
9
8
7
6
7
7
7
4
8
7
8
6
7
6
7
4
7
7
9
5
6
5
6
4
7
7
10
5
5
5
5
4
6
6
11
4
4
4
4
3
5
6
12
4
4
4
4
3
4
5