September 25, 2013

Confessions of a Jaded Geek: 28/30

For this 28th post in the 30-day D&D Challenge, I’ll talk about the character class I’ver never played and will probably never play at all – the Thief.

I’ve never played a Wizard before, but I can think of playing one; I’ve played a Cleric only once, and didn’t get much out of it, but I’m still open to playing it again; but I’ll always leave the Thief’s role to other players. The Thief class seems to embody all the D&D tropes I prefer not to deal with,  save the magic system.

First, the Thief is a class that seems to have been built with the mechanics in mind over the fiction; we have dungeons with locked doors, and locked chests, and traps, so we must have a class that is good at dealing with those things. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know by now that this makes thieves rather useless in my preferred settings, which are mostly wilderness. I don’t use traps much in my games either, and if something is contained in a locked chest that’s absolutely vital to the plot, I can’t count on there being a thief in the party and that the thief can open it – anybody must have  a chance to do that if the plot is to forward.

Second, I’m not really comfortable with the thief class’ built-in conflict hook with the rest of the party. I can enjoy a betrayal story if there’s real drama in it – say, someone is actually the son/daughter/apprentice or what not of the villain, or does a Boromir – but to have conflict with another PC simply because that PC ‘is a thief and is acting like a thief would’ is merely annoying.

On the other hand, a custom build of this class that emphasizes more of the pulp archaeologist aspects ala Indy Jones would interest me.

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