Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Burglar Class for ACKS

My first step in converting some of my ideas about a Homes/Cook Averoigne campaign to ACKS is the idea that the primary purpose of the Thief is that of door opener. As such, I have re-cast the Thief as Burglar and have replaced the Thieves Guild with the Adventurer’s Guild.

Mechanically and philosophically, it is important for the feel of the game I want to play that PCs will encounter a semi-intelligent and hostile environment whenever they enter a dungeon. One way to emulate this is that all doors are locked. As such, the primary way of opening doors is to muscle through them. If the attempt fails, however, all chance at surprise is gone. Therefore, PCs have two alternative ways of attempting to open a door without giving up that chance of surprise should that attempt fail. One is magical (Knock) and the other is the Burglar.

Enter the ACKS Player Companion. Ostensibly, it is filled with extra classes, races, spells and equipment for use in Autarch’s house campaign world. However, they live by the credo that Every campaign is a law unto itself. Therefore, they provide a section wherein they brake down all of the mechanics that they used to create every class in ACKS (including the core classes) making it possible for Judges (the ACKS version of the DM) and players alike to create custom classes for their own campaigns.

This is, by far, my favorite aspect of ACKS. It is mechanically sound, balanced and backward compatible. The first part of my attempts to convert Averoigne to ACKS will heavily involve these custom class rules. First up is the aforementioned Burglar:

Burglar Class for ACKS

Prime Requisite: DEX
Requirements: None
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 14
Burglars are adventurers who specialize in the opening of doors (thus the title burglar). They may wear chain-type armor or lighter and are able to use axes, bows and crossbows. They can use the fighting styles weapon + shield or two-handed weapons.

Burglars have three Thieving skills: Open Locks, Find Traps and Climb Walls.

In addition they have the following Custom Powers:

  • Difficult to Spot: Burglars are very good at seemingly disappearing into shadow, nooks and crannies found within dungeons. If they are quiet and hold still while in cover, they can escape detection on a roll of 3+ on a d20. They can put this skill to use in wilderness conditions as well; however, the roll required is 14+ on a d20. [Note: the original Custom Power reverses these two rolls for Explorers and Elven Rangers]
  • Keen Eyes: Burglars can detect hidden and secret doors with a roll of 8+ on a d20 if they are actively searching and a 14+ on a d20 if only casually inspecting.
  • Loremastery: The burglar can decipher runes, remember ancient history, identify artifacts, etc. with a roll of 18+. This improves by 1 per level of experience.

Burglars fight and save as Thieves and can build an Adventurer’s Guild at 9th level (same rules as a Hideout). They also have the same Proficiency list as Thieves with the exception of Skulking and Sniping which are replaced with Blind Fighting and Eavesdropping. XP progression looks like this:

  • Level 2: 1,400
  • Level 3: 2,800
  • Level 4: 5,600
  • Level 5: 11,200
  • Level 6: 22,400
  • Level 7: 44,800
  • Level 8: 89,600
  • Level 9: 179,200
  • Level 10:279,200
  • Level 11: 379,200
  • Level 12: 479,200
  • Level 13: 579,200
  • Level 14: 679,200
Please Note: I deliberately chose not to give the Burglar the ability to Remove Traps specifically because I do not like having the process of disarming traps reduced to a die roll. I much prefer coming up with the traps and seeing how players figure ways to overcome them. I also chose axes over sword/dagger for allowable weapons because an axe can also be used to open a door. Additionally, in Averoigne swords are something primarily reserved for fighters.


This was the first big test for the Custom Class system of ACKS: could it emulate what I was looking for in the Bilbo Baggins inspired thief/burglar archetype? I think it has done so better than my own earlier attempts at  making the Thief class something that I would not only allow in my games, but would actually like to play.


Thiles Targon said...

I like it!

I do think the Difficult to Spot skill is more effective outdoors, not just due to the outdoor affinity of the other classes, but because there is more area to hide in and stuff to hide behind. Perhaps the roll for a burglar could be 50% in both locations.

Edward Hamilton said...

When you say "axes, bows, and crowssbows", do you mean only those weapons and no others? Not even a club, staff, sling, or knife? As a crafty burglar, I feel like jimmying the latch with a dagger would be my first alternative to trying the lock. Taking an axe to the door reminds me less of a burglar and more of a firefighter!

I feel like that would theme the class a bit too heavily for my tastes. In particular, it doesn't do much to make me visualize Mr. Bilbo. I'd also say that it places the DM under a certain social contract to use non-random methods to generate treasure items, since it would be excessively frustrating for a player to be unable to equip 95% of found items.

FrDave said...

Well, one of the options for a group of weapons available to the category of allowable weapons that I used for this class is "any 3 weapons." How about dagger, hand axe and sling? Given this weapon choice, I would replace the TH fighting style with the two weapon fighting style.

Tavis said...

I am glad to see that my previous comment about "every campaign is its own law" and the utility of the Companion in making this so was superfluous!

Restitutor Orbis said...

It looks like you built the class with a Narrow Weapon Selection. Given its goals of door-opening within a dungeon environment, here are some thoughts.

A longbow or composite bow's range is not particularly helpful in a dungeon; a short bow almost always suffices. An arbalest is large and clumsy, as is a great axe. Removing those weapons from the axes, bows, and crossbows selections narrows your needs considerably.

A narrow weapon selection allows you to select any three weapons as one of your two choices. You can take that twice, and take the following six weapons:

Battle axe, crossbow, dagger, hand axe, short bow, staff; or
Club, crossbow, dagger, hand axe, short bow, sling

If you choose the latter, you could eliminate the Two-Handed Weapon Fighting Style and get one more class power.

Restitutor Orbis said...

Incidentally, I quite like the class. I really enjoy seeing all the variant thief-type classes people have made with PC.