You are a figure in the shadows, an expert in stealth and delicate tasks. Locks, traps, and scouting are your trade; you are the eyes and ears of the adventuring party, the one who handles the perils of the dungeon itself. In many ways, you are a scholar of the world; in the course of your profession you pick up knowledge about languages and even magic. True, in combat you are not the equal of armored Fighters or Clerics, but they rely on your knowledge and specialized skills to get them safely into and out of the dangerous places where treasure is to be found. You are the guide; the scout; and when necessary, the deadly blade that strikes from the shadows without warning. In your profession, it takes great skill to survive – the life expectancy of most Thieves is very short. However, if you rise to high level, your reputation in the hidden community of tomb robbers and alley skulkers will attract followers to your side, often enough allies to place you in power as a guildmaster of Thieves. A high-level Thief is a deadly opponent, for such an individual has learned subtlety and survival in the game’s most difficult profession.
Prime Attribute: Dexterity 13+ (the character gains a +5% experience bonus if their Prime Attribute is 13 or higher.)
All Thieves must be either Neutral or Chaotic in alignment.
When attacking with surprise, from behind, the Thief gains +4 to hit and inflicts double damage.
At levels 5-8, damage is tripled, and above level 8 such an attack inflicts quadruple (x4) damage.
Thieves gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against devices, including traps, magical wands or staffs, and other magical devices.
Thieves of 3rd level and above can figure out the gist of most written languages, and have an 80% chance to comprehend treasure maps or written documents. This does not mean they can automatically decipher codes or solve riddles, although it would allow them to understand what a riddle says, for example.
At 9th level, a Thief has gained enough knowledge to decipher magical writings (although not the “divine” writings of Clerics), but their understanding is not perfect when the magic is complicated (that is, for spells higher than sixth level). Thieves can cast Magic-User spells from scrolls, but for the high level spells they have a 10% chance to get a dangerously unpredictable result, usually the reverse of the intended effect.
Thieves possess a wide range of special skills which make them very useful in dungeons and other areas. Some races are better at some skills. See Table: Non-Human Thief Bonuses for details.
At 9th level, a Thief is well enough known to assemble a small guild of Thieves if the character chooses, attracting a shadowy band of sneaks, thugs, and other unsavory characters into his (or her) service.