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Thief Abilities Table

Disclaimer: Levels above 15 are considered legendary. Levels above 20 are the realm of immortals, and level 23 is the approximation of a demigod. Level 25 equates to a lesser god in strength. These percentiles are for optimal conditions. They will change based on the circumstances which affect the skill’s use.

Base Percentages For Thief Abilities

Pick Pocket 15%
Open Lock 10%
F/R Traps 5%
Move Silently 10%
Hide in Shadows 5%
Hear Noise 15%
Climb Walls 60%
Read Languages 0%

The race of a given thief will affect their chances at certain activities. These adjustments are known as “Racial Adjustments”. They are as follows:

Beastfolk Thieving Skill Racial Adjustments

Skill Bearfolk Hawkfolk Ravenfolk Wolffolk
Pick Pocket -10% +5% +5% +0%
Open Lock -5% +5% +5% +0%
F/R Traps +20% +10% +10% +10%
Move Silently +5% +5% +5% +15%
Hide in Shadows +0% +0% +0% +15%
Hear Noise +0% +0% +0% +5%
Climb Walls +10% +0% +0% +0%
Read Languages -10% +0% +10% -5%

Genasi Thieving Skill Racial Adjustments

Skill Air Genasi Earth Genasi Fire Genasi Water Genasi
Pick Pocket +10% +0% +0% +5%
Open Lock +5% +10% +5% +5%
F/R Traps +10% +20% +0% +5%
Move Silently +15% +5% +5% +15%
Hide in Shadows +15% +0% +0% +10%
Hear Noise +10% +0% +0% +5%
Climb Walls +10% +0% +0% +0%
Read Languages +0% +0% +0% +0%

Demihuman Thieving Skill Racial Adjustments

Skill Dwarf Mul Elf Half-Elf Halfling
Pick Pocket +0% +0% +5% +10% +5%
Open Lock +10% +5% -5% +0% +5%
F/R Traps +15% +10% +0% +0% +5%
Move Silently +0% +0% +5% +0% +5%
Hide in Shadows +0% +0% +10% +5% +15%
Hear Noise +0% +0% +5% +0% +5%
Climb Walls -10% -5% +0% +0% -15%
Read Languages -5% +0% +0% +0% -5%

More dextrous characters, by nature, are more suited to pursuits of a roguish nature, and therefore get bonuses based upon their nimbleness.
Note: The percentages go up or down by 5% per point respectively beyond the charted Dexterity scores.

Thieving Skill Dexterity Adjustments

Skill 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Pick Pocket -15% -10% -5% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +5% +10% +15%
Open Locks -10% -5% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +5% +10% +15% +20%
F/R Traps -15% -10% -5% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +5% +10%
Move Silently -20% -15% -10% -5% +0% +0% +0% +0% +5% +10% +15%
Hide in Shadows -10% -5% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +5% +10% +15%

Armor is worn to protect the wearer. The trade-off of this is, it also restricts the wearer’s movements, and greatly increases the wearer’s bulk. Thief abilities, which one and all tend to require dexterity and careful movement, are hindered by these restrictions. The specific penalties for armor is as follows.
Note that armor above chain mail is not shown. It can be assumed that the wearer of such heavy armor will either not be acting as a rogue, or will have a greatly decreased chance of success decided by the DM.

Skill No Armor Elven Chain Padded Leather Hide Armor Studded Leather Chainmail Ringmail
Pick Pocket +5% -20% -30% -30% -30% -25% -25%
Open Lock +0% -5% -10% -10% -10% -10% -10%
F/R Traps +0% -5% -10% -10% -10% -10% -10%
Move Silently +10% -10% -20% -20% -20% -15% -15%
Hide in Shadows +5% -10% -20% -20% -20% -15% -15%
Hear Noise +0% -5% -10% -10% -10% -5% -5%
Climb Walls +10% -20% -30% -30% -30% -25% -25%
Read Languages +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0% +0%

Pick Pocket
The thief uses this skill to obtain small items from a victim’s person without their knowledge or consent. This skill is also used for legerdemain, sleight of hand, and palming items (such as keys). A failed pick pocket attempt means that the thief failed to obtain an item, but does not necessarily mean that the attempt was noticed either. Multiply the victim’s level (or Hit Dice) by three, and subtract the product from 100.
The multiply the thief’s level by two, and add that to the total found above.
If the failed pick pocket roll was above the end total, then the attempt was noticed. In some cases, the attempt may succeed and be noticed at the same time.

Open Lock
A thief can attempt to pick padlocks, finesse combination locks, and solve puzzle locks (sliding panels, hidden releases, concealed keyholes, and other annoyances). Picking a padlock requires tools. A typical thief’s tools grant normal chances for success. Using improvised tools (a bit of wire, a stiletto, a stick, ect.) imposes a penalty on the character’s chance for success. This can range from -5% to an improvised but suitable tool, to -60 for an awkward and unsuitable item (ie, a stick). It takes 1d10 rounds to pick a lock.

Find/Remove Traps
A thief is trained, or has trained themselves, to find small traps and alarms. These include poison needles, spring blades, deadly gases, and warning bells. This skill is not effective for finding deadfall ceilings, crushing walls, or other large, mechanical traps. To find the trap, the thief must be able to touch and inspect the trapped object. If the DM says, “You didn’t find any traps,” it is up to the player to decide whether that means there are no traps, or that there are traps, but the thief didn’t see them. If the thief finds a trap, they know the general principle of the thing, but not it’s nature. Searching for traps requires 1d10 rounds.
A found trap can be removed or disarmed. This also requires 1d10 rounds. If the dice roll suceeds, the trap is disarmed. If the dice roll is 96-00(100), the thief accidently triggers the trap and suffers the consequences. A thief may deliberately trigger a trap while standing in (supposedly) the wrong place. Thieves can attempt to remove invisible or magical traps, but their chances of success are halved from normal.

Move Silently
A thief can try to move silently at any time simply by announcing that they intend to do so. While moving silently, the thief’s movement is reduced to 1/3 normal movement. The DM will roll percentile dice to determine whether the thief is moving silently; the thief always thinks that they are being quiet. Successful silent movement improves the thief’s chance to surprise a victim, avoid discovery, or move into position to stab an enemy in the back. Obviously, a thief moving silently in plain sight of his enemies is wasting their time.

Hide in Shadows
A thief can try to disappear into shadows or any other type of concealment (bushes, curtains, crannies, ect.). A thief can hide this way only when no one is looking at him, and remains hidden only as long as they move very slowly and carefully. If watched by a guard or enemy, it is impossible to hide in shadows. However, it is possible to hide from a creature locked in battle with another individual, as the enemy’s attention is fixed elsewhere. The DM will secretly roll percentile dice to determine whether the thief is hidden, but the thief always thinks he is hidden. Spells, items, and abilities that revela invisible objects can reveal the location of a hidden thief.

Detect Noise
A good thief pays attention to every detail, no matter how small, including faint sounds that others miss. A thief’s ability to hear tiny sounds (behind heavy doors, down long hallways, ect.) is much better than that of the ordinary person’s. Listening is not automatic; the thief must stand still and concentrate on what he’s hearing for one round. He must have silence in his immediate surroundings and must remove his helm or hat. Sounds filtering through doors or other barriers are unclear at best.

Climb Walls
A thief is not only superior to most others in their climbing ability, but they can also climb most surfaces without tools, ropes, or devices. Only the thief can climb smooth and very smooth surfaces without climbing gear. Of course, this severely limits the thief’s actions. They are unable to fight to effectively defend themselves while climbing in such a fashion.

Read Languages
Out of necessity, thieves tend to learn odd bits of information. Among these is the ability to read various languages, especially as they apply to treasure maps, deeds, secret notes, and the like. At the 4th level, the thief has enough exposure to languages that he has a chance to read most nonmagical writing. This ability naturally improves with more experience. The DM can, and will, rule some languages indechiperable to the thief. A die roll must be made every time that a thief attempts to read a document. Success means that the thief puzzled out the meaning of the writing. The thief’s understanding is roughly equal to that of his chance of success; if the chance was 20%, the thief understands roughly 20% of the document.

Thieves can attack someone from behind and improve their chance to hit (negating their opponent’s shield and dexterity bonuses in addition to a +4 to-hit bonus), and greatly increase the amount of damage caused to a victim. This is only possible when the thief is behind the victim, and the victim is unaware of the thief. If the victim sees, hears, or is warned by another, the intended victim is not cuaght unaware, and the backstab is treated as a normal attack. Someone who isn’t expecting the attack can be caught unaware even if he knows the thief is behind him (a friend or ally, for example). Backstab multipliers apply to a weapon’s base damage plus the strength bonus. Magical damage is not multiplied. Further, the victim must be humanoid, or the thief must be more than passing familiar with the anatomy of the intended target. Further, the thief must be able to reach a significant target area. While a backstab to a giant’s kidney would be undeniably effective, backstabbing the giant in the ankle is simply not as harmful.

Level 1-4, the damage is multiplied by 2.
Level 5-8, the damage is multiplied by 3.
Level 9-12, the damage is multiplied by 4.
Level 13-15, the damage is multiplied by 5.
Level 16-18, the damage is multiplied by 6.
Level 19-20, the damage is multiplied by 7.
Level 20+. the damage multiplier goes up by 1.

Thieves’ Cant

Thieves’ cant is a special form of communication known by all thieves and their associates. It is not a language, but rather is resplendent with double-meanings, implications, and slang that can generally be worked into just about any language. Thieves’ cant is limited to vocabulary that interests those who use it: stolen loot, easy marks, breaking and entering, mugging, confidence games, and such. Assassins have an expanded version of thieves’ cant, and can be understood by thieves’ and vice versa. Someone using the vocabulary of an assassin while speaking in cant is generally assumed to be one, for good or bad. Two individuals cannot communicate via thieves’ cant unless they share a common language.


Thieves in particular (not assassins, silvertongues, or spellcloaks), gain a limited ability to use arcane and divine scrolls at level 10. However, such a knowledge of magical writings is far from complete. The thief has a 25% chance to read the scroll incorrectly and reverse the spell’s effect. This malfunction is generally detrimental to the thief and their party. The exact effect is up to the DM (this is the sort of thing that DMs enjoy, so expect the unexpected).

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