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Thief Secret Skills

by Rob

Well. Here are my thoughts - some people have already had a gander, but I'll air it for the whole MML to see... Any thoughts? (And any replacement for that Fighting skill for the Iron Ring? I was running out of ideas...).

This stuff is powerful, but what the hell! "It's only a thief. How hard can he be?"

Thief Secret Skills

Single classed thieves affiliated to a Guild may be taught special skills by their Guild which enhance their thieving abilities above and beyond the norm for a thief. Only a thieves guild has the resources available to train thieves to such a high degree.

Membership requirements of a Guild vary, but typically Thieves Guilds demand 15% of the characters gross income as payment. Training for a skill requires a month of work at a Guild training hall.

A thief may select a single skill at every 3rd level (ie 3, 6, 9, 12, 15). Different Guilds have different skills available to them. Note that Skills are a Guild secret - a character who betrays his Guild by revealing guild secrets (especially to other thieves guilds) should expect the worst...

Enhanced Lockpicking

Available to :- Kingdom of Thieves, Fellowship of the Pouch Description :- A thief possessing this skill is trained in the art of lockpicking to an unusually high degree. The thief requires specialised picks to utilise this skill, costing double the norm for thieves picks. A Master Lockpick requires but a single round to open any lock. He gains a +10% bonus to his Open Locks roll. Any penalties incurred due to the lock being of particularly high quality are halved. Even magically warded doors are not secure against the Master Lockpick, who may pick such a lock with a -30% penalty to his roll (-20%, with his +10 bonus).

Fast Draw

Available to :- The Unseen Hand, the Iron Ring

Description :- A thief so trained may draw and strike with a melee weapon no larger than a shortsword with total surprise. In addition to the speed, the thief is trained how to inflict as much damage as possible with a single sword cut. Thus the thief may conceal weapons about his person and strike a victim as if Backstabbing, even if the victim is aware of the thieves presence and ready for him. A suspicious target is entitled to a Dexterity check to avoid the effects of the Fast Draw. If the Fast Draw attack succeeds, the victim must then make a surprise roll, so a lucky thief may even get two blows in before the opponent can respond.


Available to :- The Unseen Hand, the Veiled Society

Description :- Another combat skill, the thief must be proficient in a missile weapon to be a Master Sharpshooter. The skill requires a rounds preparation, and so is usually used from an ambush position. The Sharpshooter shoots as if he were a fighter of equal level to the thief if he has taken a round to prepare his shot. In addition, if the target is within 50 yards the thief inflicts damage with his attack as if it were a Backstab.

Note that as long as the thief takes the time to prepare his shots, he may gain all the benefits of this Skill even if the foe is aware of his presence.


Available To :- The Kingdom of Thieves, the Fellowship of the Pouch, the Veiled Society

Description :- This skill grants the thief exceptional ability in the art of manipulating people so that their attention is not on the thief. The thief makes his distraction, and the target must make a wisdom adjusted saving throw vs spells or be distracted. A thief of higher level than the victim(s) incurs a penalty on this save of -1 per level difference between thief and victim. So a 7th level thief distracting a 3rd level guard incurs a -4 penalty on the save.

Targets who fail their save are briefly distracted. If the thief so desires he may sneak past the distracted targets even when it would seem impossible (such as getting through a locked door with two guards standing outside it). The skill may also be used for less difficult tasks, where it may grant a bonus of up to 20% to a thief skill that involves avoiding someone's attention (pick pockets, move silently, hide in shadows). Distract may be used only once per encounter.

Inner Sense

Available to :- The Kingdom of Thieves, the Fellowship of the Pouch

Description :- "Having eyes in the back of the head" would often be helpful to a daring thief. With training a highly skilled thief can seem to have just that ability.

If a the thief approaches within 1 metre of a trap, creature or secret door and passes a Wisdom check, he feels "something wrong". In addition a successful Wisdom check will alert the thief if he is being closely watched by someone. Inner Sense only works when the thief is accompanied only by other thieves - great clanking knights detracts the thief from being properly in tune with his surroundings.

Inner Sense may negate a Backstab attempt, as well as attempts to magically scry the thief.

Shock Attack

Available to :- The Unseen Hand, the Iron Ring

Description :- This skill enables a concealed thief to attack with total surprise. It can only be done from an ambush position, and the thief must be alone.

A victim of equal or higher level than the thief is automatically surprised in the round the thief attacks. Targets of lower level are automatically surprised for one round, and if they fail a saving throw modified by -1 for every level above the victim the thief is, will be surprised in the following round too.

Thus, if lucky a thief could get three rounds in on his foes before they can react. (one ambush attack, followed by two surprise rounds.) A Shock Attack makes a lot of noise and commotion. Anyone nearby will be alerted (once the surprise has worn off).

Master Trapfinding

Available to :- The Kingdom of Thieves, the Fellowship of the Pouch

Description :- A Master Trapfinder can search a 10' x 10' area thoroughly for traps in a single round. He gains a +10% bonus to his F/RT percentage. Magical traps may be disarmed as if they were a normal, non-magical trap. The act of disarming a trap takes only a single round for a Master Trapfinder.

Heart Reading

Available to :- The Veiled Society, the Fellowship of the Pouch

Description :- A thief with this skill is trained in interpreting body language. The thief may, by carefully studying a persons reactions, gain insight into his thoughts.

The thief must clearly see the target, this typically limits the range to around 10 feet. The target must be human or demihuman. A successful Wisdom check by the thief will grant a limited form of empathy and lie detection. The thief may pick up basic drives and/or emotions, such as thirst, hunger, fear, pain, rage, uncertainty, curiosity etc. If the target lies a successful Wisdom check will reveal to the thief that it was a lie. In addition, thieves with Heart Reading can see through disguises with a successful Wisdom check.

Unreadable Mind

Available to :- The Veiled Society

Description :- This skill enables a thief to conceal his true intentions - as such it is the reverse of the Heart Reading ability described above. The thief trains himself for some time at perfecting a mental facade that is strong enough to even resist magical and psionic attempts to divine his true intentions.

A successful Wisdom check on the part of the thief will foil magical ESP, psionic probes, the Heart Reading ability described above, detect lie spells and any other such attempt to divine his thoughts. A disguised thief with this skill is virtually undetectable.

An aspiring thief must have the Heart Reading skill before he can take Unreadable Mind.


Available to :- The Kingdom of Thieves, the Veiled Society, the Iron Ring

Description :- Training in the art of manipulation, this skill is slightly different depending on the Guild which taught it. Successful use of each ability requires a Charisma check on the part of the thief. The thief must be able to communicate clearly with the victims for this skill to be effective.

The Kingdom of Thieves ability requires the thief to converse with the target for at least five minutes. At the end of this time the victim must make a saving throw versus death adjusted by Wisdom, with a -1 penalty per three levels of the thief. Failure indicates that the thief has fallen under the effects of a short-lived non-magical charm. If the victim is of the opposite sex, continued use of this ability may even cause the victim to become enamoured of the thief. The charming effects of this ability last half as long as the wizard spell, charm person.

The Veiled Society ability requires a single round of conversation. If the victim fails a saving throw as described above the thief may cause the victim to act as if a suggestion spell had been cast on him. The suggestion must be a reasonable request, and cannot force an individual to go against his alignment or duty.

The Iron Ring ability also requires a single round of conversation. A failed save indicates that the victim has been intimidated and cowed by the thief. The victim suffers a -2 penalty to all rolls when dealing with the thief or his comrades for d10 rounds.


Available to :- The Iron Ring

The art of taking people alive. The thief may Mug instead of Backstab - the mugging inflicts no damage, but if the victim fails a saving throw vs death, adjusted by the difference between victims and thieves level, he will be knocked out for d10 rounds.

In addition, once per combat the thief may attempt to mug his victim in a straightforward melee attack. The thief does not gain the usual +4 bonus for a Backstab attack, but if he hits the attack is resolved as a mugging from behind.

Fighting Proficiency

Available to :- The Iron Ring

Thieves of the Iron Ring sometimes take time off from thievery to study the art of fighting in greater detail. The thief selects a single melee weapon of choice. When wielding that weapon he gains +1 to hit and +2 to damage. The thief may also gain multiple attacks as if he were a fighter.

Alchemical preparations

Available to :- The Iron Ring, the Unseen Hand

This skill enables the thief to prepare a variety of chemical compounds. Three common uses for this skill are outlined below, but the DM may allow many others.

Assassin's Lotion :- A venom which can be smeared onto an edged weapon. The venom inflicts 25 points of damage to a foe who fails a saving throw vs poison 1-2 rounds after the venom is administered. Five days of work and 100gp will yield three doses of assassin's lotion.

Knockout drops :- A foul smelling liquid whose fumes can cause unconsciousness. A thief sneaking up behind an opponent may attempt to knock him out with the use of a rag soaked in this liquid - a failed saving throw indicates unconsciousness. Alternatively the thief can make a version to be applied to weapons. Targets failing a save vs poison are slowed for d6 rounds, before lapsing into unconsciousness. The sleep lasts for d6 hours.

Three days of work and 75gp yields three doses of knockout drops. Flash pellets :- These are small pellets which when hurled against a hard surface produce a brilliant flare of light. Victims within 10 yards of the flash who fail a save vs spells are blinded for d4 rounds, enabling the thief to attack the dazzled victims or slink away while his foes are sightless.

A flash pellet requires a day of work to make, and 20gp worth of materials. Smoke bomb :- A large clay pot which can be hurled up to 30 yards. When it breaks and the chemicals inside are exposed to the air it creates a dense fog of smoke in a 20' radius that blocks vision.

A smoke bomb takes five days of work to make and costs 75gp.

Meditational techniques

Available to :- The Unseen Hand, the Fellowship of the Pouch

Description :- Through meditation and the use of certain drugs available through the Guild, thieves may create uncanny, pseudomagical effects through manipulation of their psyche.

The thief must enter a trance for a certain length of time. While in the trance the thief is rigid and unmoving, but remains aware of his surroundings and may break the trance at any time.

The Light Trance :- Allows swift recovery from injury. The trance must last for a full day, at the end of which the thief is cured of 2d8+2 hit points. There is a 20% chance that the trance will cure any poisons or diseases that the thief is suffering from. While in the trance a poison will not harm the thief.

The Water Trance :- Duplicates the Non Detection spell, shielding the thief from magical divinations. The thief must spend one uninterrupted hour in the trance state. Upon completion of the trance the thief gains the benefit of a Non Detection for one hour.

The Darkness Trance :- Duplicates a Feign Death spell. The thief must stay in the trance for ten minutes, and then he falls into a deathlike coma, which lasts for a preset duration of up to one month.


Available to :- The Veiled Society, the Kingdom of Thieves

Description :- An enhanced hiding ability, this skill requires the thief to be appropriately clothed. With this skill the thief may make a Hide in Shadows roll where one would not normally be allowed - broad daylight, complete absence of cover etc. The skill also grants a +10% bonus to more mundane efforts to hide.

Spells such as continual light prove to be no obstacle to a thief so skilled. A successful roll at -30% will fool a detect invisibility spell, and at -50% even true seeing can be foiled.

If some form of cover is available spells like true seeing and detect invisible are useless against a thief with this skill.

Advanced Meditation

Available to :- The Unseen Hand

These more advanced trances are only available to a thief of at least 9th level who already possesses the basic meditational trances.

The Earth Trance :- The thief must remain in the trance for a full hour. Upon completion the thief is unharmed by non-magical extremes of heat and cold. Actual flames and magical fire and cold attacks inflict only half damage. In addition, the thief need draw a breath only once an hour. The beneficial effects of the trance last for three hours.

The Void Trance :- The trance must last for half an hour, at the end of which the thief gains the benefit of a true seeing spell, with a duration of five minutes.

The Fire Trance :- The trance must last for a full hour, and gives the thief the benefit of a haste spell. The benefits last for ten minutes, and the thief suffers no detrimental effects from being hastened.

The Wind Trance :- This trance takes an hour to complete and provides the thief with the power of Intangibility - he can walk through solid objects as if they were not there. While intangible the thief cannot be struck by non-magical weapons. The thief may control his intangibility so as to be able to walk up steps and suchlike. This ability goes beyond Wraithform in that the thief is able to penetrate even airtight barriers. The effects last for 2d6 rounds.