Friday, December 20, 2013

Thieves in DF Felltower

Ultimately here is what I did with the Thief template in my GURPS DF game.

Use Thief as written, except:

- Remove Filch (saves 2 points)

- Remove Smuggling (saves 2 points)

- Remove Shadowing (saves 2 points)

- Move Perfect Balance from a required Advantage to an Optional Advantage

- Reduce Urban Survival from Per+1 [2] to Per [1]

Put the 22 points from this into:

- 20 more points of Advantages (total 50)

- raise the Melee Weapon skill from DX-1 [1] to DX [2].

- raise the ranged weapon skill from DX-1 [1] to DX [2].

Also, although I normally restrict new PCs to just the abilities on the template itself, for the Thief I do allow unrestricted purchase of any Power-Ups. While I like the idea of a restricted startup set and Power-Ups as those first new things you get to learn, many of the Thief Power-Ups are too important to a Thief's success right out of the gate.

And don't forget, in DF, picking locks and removing traps are both DX-based tasks, not the more realistic IQ-based task it is in Basic Set.


  1. Aaah, I was wondering why GCA was telling me that lockpick and traps were both IQ when I kept reading about High Manual Dexterity adding to them. That makes more sense now.

    1. Yeah, they're based on IQ. But you float the roll over to DX for most tasks in DF, and Per to spot things.

      There is a way to tell GCA to do multiple lines showing your IQ, Per, and DX-based Traps and Lockpicking. I'll see if I can't find the thread explaining it and link to it.

    2. Ah, cool! Sorry, still a major GURPS / GCA noob.

  2. My big trouble with DF thieves is that my players expect them to do a lot of damage like they do in MMOs and That Other Game but they're entirely specialists will very little combat utility. I've leaned players toward sneaky damage dealers like the Assassin, Ninja or Swashbuckler but they're not 100% replacements for a thief's skill set.

    1. My problem has just been memories of games where people who didn't specialize in combat could compete with those who could to a degree. Or at least hold their own. In DF, what is utter fodder to a Knight can often kill a Thief dead without a problem. That's really the issue for me - it's not realizing the disparity of combat power. To play a thief you really need to embrace that and emphasize what you do better.

    2. Even with backstab they're still pretty inconsequential? Or is it just that they are very fragile glass.... not cannons, but maybe handguns?

    3. In DF, a handgun. Even a well-made thief doing a backstab isn't going to compare much to a Weapon Master Knight with high strength bashing something from the front. The Assassin will do better than the thief, but still not as good as the Knight.

      The thief can really make one guy's day really bad, but it's comparing a commando to a Main Battle Tank.

      With a thief and backstabbing, the trick is to get good enough to pull it off and use it with care and in conjunction with others. If you try to one-shot things and be the Boss Monster Slayer, you're in the wrong job.

    4. Makes sense. Just gotta remember... thieves are for other things, NOT super crazy damage dealers. Duly noted.

  3. I think it's also not a bad idea to cut IQ by a level and then raise PER +1 and Traps +1 (total of 11 points gained).

    Could also play around with increasing HT and consequently Speed and lowering Move using these points.

    Getting 12 HT really helps with staying alive. The higher dodge won't hurt either.

    1. I'll have to play with that and see what I think. At first glance it seems like a potentially good approach for dungeon-focused thieves who need more Per, DX, and successfully HT-based resistance rolls than IQ-based skill prowess.

    2. Probably could go a little further too, now that I think about it.

      Drop IQ one more point and substitute a talent (IDHMBWM, but something that adds to some thief skills) to increase the thief based IQ skills.

      Then buy PER up one more and with the talent and a few more points in appropriate skills.

      Should be something like another five to seven points extra to spend on survivability.

      That makes PER three more than IQ which is a reasonable difference and fits the thief as trap/loot detector.

    3. Probably if I was playing a thief I would by up the HT to 13 for with the DEX of 15 true point efficiency.

      The high HT thief doesn't feel 100% thiefy, but neither does a 13 IQ thief.

      More difficult builds would push for 16 DEX.

      Perhaps moving some of these options into optional advantages would be good to allow the player to choose.


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