The Thief, right? Nobody digs this class. Every blog and every forum has about 20 different variations on the Thief. Most of the complaints fall into three categories:
- The Thief is weak. You cannot suck this much without professional training.
- The Thief bolts a weird-ass percentage skill system onto D&D, which is as elegant as a brick upside the head.
- The Thief doesn’t model the Grey Mouser very well. (I’d argue, though, that it’s a pretty good fit for the ridiculous number of thieves in Dunsany’s Book of Wonder, which may have been the primary inspiration.)
So check it out: my theory is that the Thief wasn’t really meant to work as a class in its own right.
- Debuts in Supplement I: Greyhawk
- Greyhawk introduces AD&D style multi-classing for demi-humans, finally making sense of the OD&D Elf
- All demi-humans are eligible to take levels in Thief
- All demi-humans have strict level caps . . . but unlimited advancement in the Thief class (even in 1e)
- All demi-humans get sick Thief skill adjustments
- The Thief is pretty much a joke at low levels, so the demi-human is getting half XP in the main class for little benefit. Maybe this is a handicap to compensate for the demi-human’s racial bonuses over a Level 1 human character.
- By Levels 7-9 or so, the Thief no longer stinks out loud, and this is approximately when the demi-human hits a level cap in a “real” class. Thus the Thief class becomes viable around the time the demi-human has nothing better to do. (Halflings hit the level-cap earlier, but their insane Thief bonuses are like having an extra level or two of Thief so they’re viable earlier.)
- In Greyhawk your XP will always be divided by your number of classes, even after you hit the level cap. So a Halfling Fighter/Thief who’s hit level 4 as a Fighter is still only going to be getting half-XP to devote to the Thief class . . . which may explain why the Thief XP chart is so ridiculously easy to level.
I mean, I can’t help you if you think the Thief’s percentage score ability thing is a kludge implemented without any forethought (it obviously was), or if you think that the Thief absolutely must model the Grey Mouser (it mustn’t).
But looking at the Thief as a component of a multi-class character, rather than as an independent class in its own right, helps me understand why the class was designed in such a weird way.
No Joesky tax today because I am late for work.