Friday, August 22, 2014

DCC RPG Variant: Thief Advancement by Guild

Of the seven available classes in DCC RPG, the Thief is the only one with a codified skill system. Naturally, these skills revolve around hiding in the shadows, pickpocketing, and stabbing things in the back. Y'know, Thief stuff. However, one of the more curious design choices was tying which ones advance to alignment. The book tries to make this more flavorful by renaming each advancement tree after a path (Path of the Boss, Path of the Assassin, Path of the Swindler), but I don't feel this adequately captures the true variety of Thiefdom. None of the three paths offered, for example, allocate the highest bonus to the Pick Lock skill.

One houserule I've been working on is advancement by Thieves' Guild. Rather than tie the skill advancement to alignment, it would be based on the flavor of the guild. Want a guild that is notorious for breaching the highest security areas in your world? Done. All the GM has to do is choose:

  • 4 Skills to receive the highest bonus
  • 4 Skills to receive the second highest bonus
  • 2 Skills to receive the second lowest bonus
  • 2 Skills to receive the lowest bonus
  • One of the two advancement tracks for Casting Spells from Scrolls

Of course, basing advancement on guild flavor opens up a world of possibilities. For one, having a guild with such influence on a character means a direct source for adventure. It also provides opportunity to completely customize the Thief class. In exchange for a smaller selection of skills, perhaps the player advances faster or higher in their areas of expertise. Maybe each guild has a wholly custom list of skills and abilities or favored weapons. With all of these options, I find it best to start with the the fiction and worry about how to make it work within the rules after the fact.

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