BECM Thief (Revised)

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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by Big Mac »

ExTSR wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is it "Thief" because people will be looking for "Thief" or should it be changed to "Rogue" on RPG Geek?
PLEASE note that this is in Rough/Tweak stage (as clearly noted in the PDF). There WILL be various changes.

As to the name... part of the problem is that this isn't just a 'revised Thief', it's opening up new doors entirely. I put large emphasis on the Campaign, the context within which characters function (not mere dungeon crawls), in the Variable section (Guild & Network).
Thanks. Maybe I should hold off putting this onto RPG Geek until you have finished it then. :?
ExTSR wrote:So at this point I'm thinking a new class entirely, leaving the old Thief alone, for tradition if nothing else. ;>

Currently leaning toward: Tinker

btb definitions:
1. A traveling mender of metal household utensils.
2. A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveler. (British)
3. One who enjoys experimenting with and repairing machine parts.

aka Handyman, Factotum, or Jack of all Trades.
That's good logic, but I can't hear Tinker, without thinking of the Tinker Gnomes from Dragonlance and Spelljammer. I think the word has a bit of baggage to it now.

BTW: If this process works out for you, do you think you would ever consider something like a Patreon to build some sort of "BECMI 2nd Edition" retro-clone? :)
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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by ExTSR »

See O.P. for current download.

First (out of date) version here, for comparison.

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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by Irondrake »

Had time to review your newest revision, Frank. Here are my thoughts.

Firstly, I have to say that I really like the new, cleaner version. It now reads much more like a Basic D&D class, and is streamlined and much easier to understand. Love it!

The idea that the Tradesman is a new class that is similar to, but not the same as the Thief is very cool. As to the name of the class, it does share a simplicity to the other Basic D&D human classes (cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief), describing their basic core function, which is good. However, it does not really grabs me as one that inspires thoughts of adventure or mystery, but it does work. I honestly don’t have any good suggestions for alternate class names for this thief variant.

The revamp of the Thief abilities into Tradesman skills of Standard and Advanced is really good. Basing them on a d20 roll is brilliant, and keeps the class abilities simple and easy to use. The inclusion of the skill rolls of Amateurs is also a very nice touch, and shows just how the Tradesman stacks up against a normal Joe. Separating Listen into its own category from the Stealth abilities makes sense, and grouping all the “thievery-type” skills under Tradecraft is welcomed.

The exclusion of Pick Pockets does not really bother me as this is a Thief variant or altogether different class from the Thief, although I imagine DMs who wish to use your Tradesman as a replacement for the Thief could easily add in the Pick Pockets skill under Fingerwork.

The Advanced Skills section is my favorite though. Allowing the player to distribute points each level to either Appraisal, Networking, or Status gives them the ability to customize their character, and who doesn’t love that? Overall, I really like the inclusion of the Advanced Skills, and the player’s ability to choose how they advance. Good stuff!

I did notice that the Backstab ability was absent from this version. Actually, it may have been absence from your first draft of this class, but I cannot recall. I would think this makes sense for this class as you have presented it.

As all of the Tradesman Standard Skills seem to cap out around 15th level, the class seems to be in a similar situation as to the original Thief class from B/X and your Expert set (before the revision in Companion). That is, after 15th or 16th level, there is nothing new to the class abilities other than increases in attack rolls and saving throws. While the Cleric and Magic-User gain more spells, and the Fighter gains the Combat Options at 9th level, then Multiple Attacks at 12th, 24th, and 36th levels, the Tradesman does not have any combat related skills to look forward. Of course his Standard Skills will continue to increase, giving him better odds against difficult (i.e. penalty inducing) obstacles and his Advanced Skills will also increase per the player’s choice, but combat-wise, or even new ability-wise, there is nothing new.

Should there be any new skills or combat abilities to be achieved past the mid-teen levels on this class? If I were using this class as a substitute for the Thief class, then yes, I may desire to add something minor to the higher levels. If this were a true reboot of the Thief class, and not a new class variant, I might suggest a couple of advantages to be added to the backstab skill (like say, the ability to paralyze, knockout, or somehow impede a target on a successful backstab), which would be unlocked at certain levels.

Of course, one could view that the Tradesman’s increase in Standard Skills to phenomenal numbers to be a doorway to allow the character to attempt some pretty amazing feats. For example, maybe he could pick a wizard locked door or chest if he takes a -32 or greater penalty to his Fingerwork roll? Or uncover magical protections or traps with a similar penalty on his Search skill. Given that at 36th level the class has a 43 in Tradecraft, this could be a possible feat for a Tradesman of that level. Or maybe he could use his Hear Noise to help him fight when blinded; perhaps a successful roll at a penalty of -26 would negate the combat penalties for being blinded. Perhaps these are the boons of the high-level Tradesman as compared to those of the high-level Fighters, Clerics, and Magic-Users.

At any rate, I really like what you have put together thus far, and the way you have presented it. This version is great improvement over the 1st version.

Thanks for sharing and asking for our input.

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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by Urieal »

I like this version better, Frank.

I'm always a proponent of the concept of "less is more". The information herein is sufficient for both player and DM, and it seems there is certainly a nod to old-school "rulings not rules" mentality in the writeup. It's verbose, but that aligns well with BECM.

Things I like
I like the inclusion of Amateur, but I would remove it from the skills listing on page 1 and keep it only on page 5.

I like the inclusion of Multiple Actors and the examples given. It is a good baseline for DMs to use for assistance.

I like the specification of both Partial and Penalty. Sometimes applying a penalty makes something impossible that shouldn't be, and partial covers this nicely.

I really like the mention of $$$ as the most common modifier for Guild and Networking. Good for DMs and Players, and a great way to manage the GP bloat of mid and late-game BECM.

Things I dislike
I have always disliked the modifier you've mentioned in trap search, wherein the DM is asked to modify the roll by -x in relation to the HD of the trap's designer. That seems like a mental exercise for the DM that is completely unnecessary, and wouldn't virtually ALL traps have at least a -1 modifier? It's not a bad thought, but as a DM I really don't want to sit down and think "what sort of person/monster made this trap? what was their HD?" Maybe all the traps in a ruined castle were made by a master trap-maker who is; like an Armorer, Animal Trainer, Sage, or Spy; more of a Specialist and thus doesn't have or use HD. Tucker's Kobolds wouldn't work under this scenario without adjustment by the DM; which you graciously suggest in the Preface, and most DMs know anyway, but that's beside the point.

I would much rather see you offer DMs a better descriptor on how to apply penalties based on a set of circumstance. Example for Trap Search:
Modifiers: When designing a trap, the DM should annotate any modifiers (generally penalties) which might be applied due to extraordinary concealment of the trap, auditory or environment distractions or difficulties, design of the mechanisms, magical enhancements, and so forth. These should not be applied to all traps, but on occasion to traps for which there might be special circumstance or those guarding a particularly wonderful treasure.

This forces a changing dynamic of thought. The DM isn't asked to think about the designer's HD, but rather, the purpose of the trap and the environment and circumstance in which it lies.

The Time paragraph under the Modifiers paragraph. It suggests double, half, etc. But it does not give a baseline and that's something that should be given, otherwise, a DM might waffle on time under the pressure of the players. The player could argue that it only takes 20 seconds to pick a lock, and players will certainly pressure a DM for every advantage (as they should). A strong DM would simply not cave, but many DMs are a softies underneath, and having a baseline would, IMO, be better. I would suggest 1 round for Listen, Climb, and Stealth (Climb may be performed in battle, the others cannot) and 1 turn for Search and Fingerwork. You do give time for Appraisal, so it would be fitting to include such in the description.

It is unclear in the Appraisal description on how to apply variance. I assume you mean the ± is meant to be read as a percentage of the overall value; i.e. Furnishings would be ±10% of the actual value. If I am wrong, please correct me. Also, I would personally change the Appraisal from 1 round to 1 turn, except in small quantities (i.e. it's easier for a party to count a 500gp pile of coins then to have a Jack appraise the pile). Regardless, this is a minor quibble at best.

I would like to see Buy (under Networking) changed to Find. Resources aren't necessarily things you buy (though, you may have to pay to find that resource). It could be people of a specific nature (sage, spy, trapmaker, etc.) or even people who wish to remain hidden (someone in a safe house, for example). It, of course, can refer to items or objects, but I would like to see it expanded to explicitly include people and information. A successful check might give the Jack a means or knowledge on how to find the history of a person or how to find something that might provide leverage over a political adversary. Find just seems like a much more robust term.

Finally, in the final version, I would like to see a complete write-up that follows the same general flow of other classes in BECMI. Jack --> Description --> XP/Title/Spells --> Other Details --> PR/HD/Armor/Weapons etc. You can accomplish such without stepping on IP by changing layout and presentation. This would give it a full BECM feel and make it seem like a new class concept from the author. Of course, you would also add in Read Lang. and Read Scrolls in the description. Just my 0.02

Final Thoughts
Thanks for this, even in its current state, it's incredibly useful.

Oh, one more thing, I like it enough to replace thieves in my game completely with it (given my listed adjustments above). I would rather see you change it back to Thief from Jack, but that's another personal pref. The only thing you've removed is Pick Pockets, and that falls nicely under fingerwork. So, I would call a spade a spade, and just rename it back to Thief. It works (rather well).

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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by Big Ulf »

Thanks for posting Mr. M, I know it takes time to do it and there's some neat encouragement for wider roleplaying in this class.

Overall I'm a more simple guy, so I gravitate toward the revised B/X version as seen in "The B/X Companion" by Blackrazor. Keeps the original 1-14 progression of most skills, and adds 3 extra skills (some of which were alluded to in the blue Expert book).

Your writing in the BECMI books was a lot more riveting IMO, but the Thief seems to really shine in the B/X version of said character. Wonder if you've seen Blackrazor's version and if you have any thoughts on same?

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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by DuBeers »

Bump! Any new revisions on the horizon?
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Re: BECM Thief (Revised)

Post by RabidWookie »

Any updates? This is very interesting!

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