The Guardsman was fighty, of a defensive sort. The Scion was talky, of a high society sort. This week we’re taking a look as someone sneaky. There’s a lot of basic variety here: Assassin, Pickpocket, Spy, but we’re going to look at the Burglar, who is more at home working a lock than working with people.
Elective Traits: agile (nimble), perceptive (discerning)
Skills: Acrobatics (Balance) 2, Artistry (Devices, Legerdemain) 2, Intuition (Urban, Wilderness) 2, Melee (Balanced) 1, Ranging (Urban) 1, Stealth (Urban) 2
Powers: fortitude, infiltrator, light step, misleading thrust, unobtrusive
Equipment: Burglary Kit, Personal Blade
Acrobatics (Balance) relates to movement. You use it to make jumps, and, with powers, easily traverse terrain and run up walls. It’s also used to resist force, like being pushed, and to move across unstable or rocking terrain without negative effect. Half its level can be used to counter physical attacks in place of the Tumbling expertise, so there’s some defense built in too. With the initial build, this expertise doesn't do a whole lot for the burglar beyond things like walking across a tightrope, but it gives room to grow that will assist in infiltration.
Artistry only has two expertises: Devises and Legerdemain. The Burglar has both. Devices is the Burglar’s bread and butter as it’s all about dealing with locks and traps. Legerdemain is picking pockets and running sleight of hand. It can help the Burglar acquire keys, hide a score, or plant evidence.
Intuition, as discussed previously, is your awareness of surroundings. Most characters will have a level or two. Here the burglar is most at home in the city or hiding out in the wilderness when the heat gets to be too much. It’s an easy swap from Wilderness to Reading People to give the Burglar better ability at telling if someone is about to screw her over.
Sometimes something goes sideways. A level in Melee helps with that just in case. Balanced covers knives, swords, staves, and spears. Knives and staves are great tools, not just weapons. A swap for Weighted could make you better with a blackjack.
Ranging is another skill we’ve seen before. It’s concerned with navigating and finding what you want in an environment. You’re a thief in a city; this is pretty much a requirement.
Stealth is pretty self explanatory, but how it works may not be. Perhaps the most important part about Stealth is the sneak stance. Anyone can try it, but only the trained are good at it. If you want to not be seen, you have to sneak, which means you can’t be using other stances for combat advantage unless using Sapphire Flame to combine things. While sneaking, you cannot be targeted unless someone has an unobstructed line of sight or their “notice” (normally their Intuition for the environment) is higher than your Stealth for the same. If you’re infiltrating a mansion, you want to not be seen.
The Burglar’s first power is Infiltrator; it covers your tracks. Normally when you do a search you turn a place upside down looking for this. That’s not a simple, “I check the drawer”; it’s a ransacking. Infiltrator hides all this. No one can tell you went over the area unless their notice exceeds your Stealth. You may notice a trend here. Detecting Stealth is all about Intuition versus Stealth; though, Ranging can also be used for a search. Where, as above, your notice is normally equal to your Intuition, you can take more time (e.g. via search or scan) to try to boost your notice when looking for something or someone.
Light Step helps you avoid traps. If you fail to find one, forget to search, or just screw up your attempt to disable a trap, light step lets your re-roll a failed resist surprise test and/or counter against the trap’s action. Since the Burglar is built around dealing with locks and traps, this gives a safety net.
Misleading Thrust is a fun bit of stabby that gives the Burglar a bit of combat ability. If neither you nor your target attacked each other since your last turn, then you gain surprise. It’s easier with a personal weapon, like a dagger. This is included because most Burglar PCs will be in a party with a few brutes and likely see combat more than a Burglar that flies solo. Besides, who doesn’t like to stab first?
Unobtrusive lets you turn partial concealment into full concealment under certain circumstances (e.g. you aren’t moving or you are in a crowd), which is quite useful when hiding. It also gives a more broadly applicable benefit of penalizing a victim’s attempt to resist surprise.
Taking all that together, the Burglar is pretty straight forward. She infiltrates homes and fortresses. Stealth, coupled with Unobtrusive, gets her to the door and helps her avoid being seen by guards. Artistry helps her manage the locks and traps. If she fails to find a trap with her Intuition, then Light Step gives her a better chance to avoid doom. If violence is unavoidable, then the Burglar starts it with a Misleading Thrust.
Moving forward, the Burglar will continue to focus on Acrobatics, Artistry, Intuition, and Stealth with an eye towards the powers they open up.
The first purchase would probably be Secreted (hide small objects on you so it can’t be found), which will help if you get stopped and frisked by a guard. Acrobatics opens up Displacing Step (ignore terrain penalties) and Ascending Step (run up walls), which can help you get in and out of places easier. Alertness (extra counter) sets up a greater tier power.
If you’re anticipating more combat, Danger Sense (bonus against surprise), Opportunist (bonus vs. a target that is distracted by someone else), and eventually Vanishing Strike (stay stealthy after you attack) are good choices. You may also consider Garnet Kiss, a new stance based around fighting with personal weapons, like daggers.
At the greater tier, you’ll want the appropriately named Burglar (retain successes from your attempt to manipulate a device and use them on later devices), Deft Hands (re-roll Artistry), Longer Shadows (re-roll Stealth), and Third Eye (mitigate vision penalties). You may also consider Misplaced Blame (if your thieving attempt fails, you can blame someone else).
More than likely, the Burglar will eventually also dabble with talking or light combat, picking up skills and powers associated with both.