Thieves' Rant


People play thieves for their abilities; climbing, pickpocket, lockpicking, and in some games stealth and backstab. These are useful skills for any "adventurer" (a term I hate; it's not like you can put "Adventurer" on your resume) but there is more to a thief than just some cool skills.

Sir Dumbass surveyed the army of Orcs charging up the hill. This was going to be fun. Casually strapping his helmet on, he turned to address the motely group gathered around him.

"Drake, you take the left flank with your bow. Marge, you take the right flank with those great balls of fire you like to throw. Bob, you circle arou... Bob? Bob?"

Dumbass looks around for a moment, face reddening with anger.

"I hate thieves!"

I was sucking vomit from some guy's mouth at work the other night (don't ask) when I realized that I've never seen anyone play a thief as a thief. Sure I've seen people play thieves -- I've even played a thief myself -- but never as a thief.

For example, how many people playing a thief try their hand at con games, rigged gambling, pimping, shakedowns, burglary, cat-burglary, fencing stolen goods, forgery, grand-theft equestrian, or the like? I am aware that some of these things do get used in the course of a good adventure, or in passing as a means of entertainment when the game starts dragging. Things like forgery, cat-burglary, and fencing stolen goods (as the one trying to get rid of hot items) is a standard, which is why people play thieves.

I'd like to see someone play a thief who has to pick pockets in order to get food for the night

As I wiped bright orange chunky goo from the aforementioned guy's neck and face, I thought a bit about what I would like to see when people play thieves. I decided that I'd like to see someone play a thief who has to pick pockets in order to get food for the night as opposed to doing it for shits and giggles, or because they're bored. I'd love to have a thief spend a week researching and planning a break-in to a manor or mansion that has nothing to do with an adventure or the campaign. You know, thief stuff. How cool would it be to have a couple of thief characters come up with a bunch of con games and try to con other con artists and gamblers? Or an entire party of thieves trying to make the big score without losing all their stuff to each other or rival thieves? Or even an Animal Handler/Horse Breeder who steals some studs for a couple of nights to augment his herd without paying an arm and a leg?

Instead of playing a "thief", how about playing a prostitute who fleeces her johns and sets them up for her friends? Or a card shark who's trying to scrape together enough for a stake in the biggest poker competition in the west? Or a cat burglar by night who is a merchant during the day and only steals from his competition?

Let's stop with the "I wanna play a thief who somehow happens to get along with all the other party members, even the really honest and righteous ones like paladins and priests, who never gets in trouble with the law (unless the other party members do in the course of an adventure), and never has to worry about struggling to get enough food to live on, shelter for the night (because of course I'm with a party of adventurers who will pay for everything), warrants, rival thieves and gangs, the big score, or anything remotely thief-like".

I see true thieves every night I work. I see drug addicts and drunks, weirdoes and psychos. People who get jumped because they flashed a wad of bills at a bar or a strip club, people who get shot or stabbed because they wore the wrong color in the wrong part of town, people who have nothing and risk the last thing that they have, their freedom, for that little extra to see them through the night or until next week. Real thieves are, more often than not, desperate people going through desperate times. A night or a week in jail is free room and board for the duration of their stay.

a true thief, just like a true gambler, will know when to cut their losses and run

Occasionally you'll get people who con or steal from other people as a way of life. These people tend to be slick, smooth-talking, friendly people who by necessity move around a lot and don't have any close friends. These people are likely to travel with a group of "adventurers" (gag) as protection during their travels or as a front for less legitimate work, like slaying dragons and wiping out the entire orc population from a region. Of course, real thieves will bail as soon as things start getting hairy unless the have a sincere investment riding along with the party's future. Even then, a true thief, just like a true gambler, will know when to cut their losses and run.

And so I leave you with a few words of wisdom from the Great Gambler, Kenny Rogers:

"You got to know when to hold 'em.
Know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.
You never count your money,
When you're sitting at the table.
You've got time enough for countin',
When the dealin's done."

calamar, you raise some interesting points.

my character in the current campaign i'm playing is a thief. a real born-in-a-poor-family, raised-on-the-streets thief. however, as we've started playing, i learned that it's difficult to keep being a thief while in a group with other good-aligned people (and yes, even a paladin). the tensions were high for a while and the prominant qoute is "put those candlesticks back!".
My character has now reached level 3. In the few adventures we've had, Gijau (think Peugeot) has accumulated more cash than he ever had.while gave most of it to his family, he is now no longer in need to steal for food and a place to sleep. considering he's a Good character, it would not fit for him to keep burglering for a living.

in addition, although he loves playing cards, he won't have anything to do with hussling or conning innocent (as far as he knows) people. it's also disruptive to inter-party relationship.

In any case, the scenarios and acts you describe can indeed be interesting. it only requires the appropriate setting, non-good or desperate characters and a willing GM.

For the last theif I played, I dumped everything I had into pick-pockets, and used the skill not only to pick pockets, but also to steal rings (while shaking someone's hand), necklaces (while hugging the ladies), and so forth. To keep from getting busted with the goods, he'd sell 'em as quickly as he could, and then live life to the fullest until the funds ran out.

Then do it all over again.

The party always had the best accomodations when traveling with my theif-- they may have had to wait a while in the tavern, though, while my theif, um... went to the bank so to speak. =)

Although the party was aware of my character's less-than-moral actions, they didn't complain so long as he didn't really go overboard with the stealing. It helped that we had no paladin (or other LG PCs), but my character was warned on numerous occasions that the party wouldn't break his sorry butt out of jail if he ever got caught.

They looked at him with a sort of don't ask/don't tell philosophy.

Having a DM on the same page as the player when it comes to a character like this (and not allowing his shenannigans to take too much game time from everyone else) is a major plus. Taking a week to plan and implement a heist wouldn't have been fair to other players, which is why I played the type of theif I played.

But that's just my $0.02 worth.

I played a 'real' thief once, a cat burglar whose parents were merchants. She did once carry out a break-in targeted on a rival (wealthier) merchant's premises. She spent a week planning the mission, working out escape routes etc. It was great fun and she pulled it off successfully - I loved the tension of sneaking through the rival merchant's house in the dead of night!

Sadly, a one-of that has never happened since. As others have said, this kind of thing only works if the DM and the player concerned have enough spare time to run this as a side adventure so as not to eat up group session time, as that's unfair on the other players. A party of thieves would be interesting....but not everyone has the inclination (or patience) to play a thief properly.

Another of my characters is an aquatic elven fighter/thief who is fairly amoral when it comes to things like property ownership and even shares of treasure. He's a bit of a magpie. On the last adventure he went on (exploring a 'ghost ship' of extraordinary size) I had him carry an oilskin sack filled with fleece to pad it out and make it look as if it was already full when he embarked. During the adventure he volunteered to take point, scouting ahead of the party at every opportunity. Plundering everything small, valuable and potentially magical he could lay hands on when the party weren't looking! As he filled his sack up with loot he emptied out the fleece. As the party wandered along behind following up, they kept finding bits of fleece lying about. It was quite a head-scratcher for them.....they thought it was an important clue as to what had happened to the ship! Luckily they didn't resort to commune spells or similar to glean more information.

Well, if they'd caught him out he could always have leapt overboard and dived for the depths.....he never likes to wander far from a body of water in any case, it makes for a great getaway if he's in trouble!

I wonder if any of the other players will read this.....

{heh heh}

The main problem I have with players playing 'real' thieves is that they rarely have any inclination to work with the group as a whole, and players often view such characters as excuses to start robbing other PCs and sowing dissent among the player group.

I categorically forbid PCs to fight amongst themselves or leave the party for "IC" reasons. IC reasons should never govern OOC decisions, in my opinion: that's the tail wagging the dog. I require absolutely that the PCs will work together "just because" (if they can't think of a better reason). I've been burned by internal strife between players too many times to think it's any fun. I'm up-front about these things before I start any campaign, too: I tell the PCs that they will work together, no matter what, and I then beat them mercilessly with that axiom whenever they start bickering too much. And if they persist, I sink the campaign. I'm not in the mood to tolerate any insubordination on this count.

The most enjoyable way I can think of for 'real' thieves to be played in a tabletop RP setting is to set up the campaign as a "Thieves' Hand" -- that is, a gang of thieves where each PC is a specialist (the "classic" thief is the screwsman, the burly half-orc is the muscle or second-story man, the charismatic thief or bard is the leader, the halfling is the snakesman, etc etc etc). Their campaign consists of pulling "jobs" together, as in The Great Train Robbery, Ocean's 11, or insert-your-favorite-heist-movie-here. This approach works in almost any genre, and I find it can be a great whopping amount of fun.

I've played a real thief. IT helped that both me and the other PC were both thieves (and were even brothers) and this worked out wonderfully. We had a great deal of fun robbing several houses and getting everything in the house even to the point of stepping over a couple of overly amorous house servants to get the fine china. We even took the cat. It was a lot of fun, even when we had to run one step ahead of the guards and gallows.

However, its impossible to play a 'true' thief in a party because most parties do things real thieves never would. There's typically very little theft going on and while adventuring parties sometimes do unlawful things, they're usually on the up and up. Unless the target location is terribly evil, most parties leave the valuables alone and just get what they came for.

Two examples: Once a party broke into the manor to get an important scroll. The owner was not evil, just unwilling to sell the scroll we needed for the quest. So we snuck in, got the scroll and left. No deaths, no thievery beyond the scroll, and a good time by all. In another mission we were sneaking into an Evil Sorcerer-King's palace and we took EVERYTHING (after killing the gaurds and looting the corpses. The difference? One was Good, one was Evil.

But thieving for the sake of thieving? Seldom happens in a standard party. That's why you need to make the all thief party like Cocytus suggests. That works very well for most thieving campaings.

As a follow-up to my earlier tale of sneaky plundering, I should mention that if the party HAD caught my thief, they would most likely have sighed, said 'Tsk Tsk Sunaeco - at it again!' turned him upside down and shaken his pockets out.

Our characters have been together through too many life-and-death situations to take a bit of looting on the side very seriously.

(And we as a group have been friends for over twenty years)

Party dissent is the bane of GMs (and gaming groups) when the group isn't strong enough to handle it and if I were DMing a munchkin group I might feel inclined to impose restrictions and browbeat them into good behaviour. But with the group I play with, we are mature enough not to take many things personally - and we know where the lines are drawn that shouldn't be crossed (the main one being characters actually trying to kill each other outright, which hasn't happened in our group for donkey's years). Within limits, a bit of party dissent can add a frisson of excitement to a campaign - as long as everyone keeps smiling about it IRL! A party schism in my own campaign world has led to the development of a very interesting plot - which fitted in with some ideas I already had, and saved me the trouble of developing a bunch of NPCs and working out what they were doing behind the scenes! I just have to moderate the 'conflict' - which is more to do with politics and manouvering than player characters coming to blows.

I wouldn't advocate or condone my theif's behaviour as a model for theives in roleplaying campaigns everywhere. In our campaign however, it works.

Hell, what am I worried about? Munchkin players will do this kind of crap any day of the week anyhow and have PC vs PC bloodshed over it with or without my say so. It's just part of their learning curve....

One further thing I'll add.

You may be thinking - 'But if that theif keeps getting away with it isn't he going to wind up much richer (and possibly go up levels faster) than everyone else?'

Well, maybe, except he's not quite as 'career-minded' as the other player characters. He's very flighty. And quite hedonistic, in fact.

He typically participates in less than half as many adventures that other characters appear in. The rest of the time - why, he's just living it up! He tends to have lots of love affairs that take him out of the campaign for months at a time. Sometimes he just gets wanderlust and goes for a really long swim.

When the party first met him they were 2nd level and he was a 4th level NPC prisoner that they liberated (I took him on as a PC as I didn't have a character in that adventure at the time). Those 2nd level characters (the ones that are still alive) are now 10th-11th level, while he has only just scraped in at 7th level. Being an elf, why should he be worried? He's got centuries of life ahead of him!

Oh, and we don't give out xp for treasure. (We don't give out much treasure either if the truth be known).

Upon first reading it yesterday, this article left me with mixed feelings. As it happens, the thief is one of my favorite classes. Yet, oddly, I never seem to play a thief. The reason is that I know I won't be able to play it the *right* way. The last thief I ran was a light-footed thief/illusionist-slash-professional gambler (ala Jodie Foster in Maverick).

She spent most of her time providing distractions for the rest of the party, and very little time at the card table.

All of those Very Thiefly Things to Do revolve around ONLY the thief, so that's not very appropriate for carrying out during the game, unless somehow the rest of the party can be incorporated (ie, have each PC stakeout a side of the house, then make a few perception rolls to see get an accurate idea of the comings and goings of residents).

Usually, the week-long projects and other such gambits happen 'off camera.' I saw a game once (a friend played in it) where the party thief had an entire second life & identity outside of the PC party. Over the course of the campaign, he invested in different businesses and participated in thiefly pursuits whenever the party was in their primary city of operations. All of these dealings were kept secret from the party AND other players. Eventually his business dealings came to light and the rest of the party got pissed (IC; OOC they were very impressed at his ingenuity, and yes a bit miffed that he hadn't shared his riches with them).

So, I think I'm rambling toward saying that, like any other activity of a PC that detracts from the party's goals and the rest of the group's playing time, some of these thiefly pursuits belong in the sidelines and shadows of the game. Not as much fun, sure, but they can still be carried out and hopefully lead to the thief's fame. It's up to the player to work with the GM to make them happen, in the same way mages spend their downtimes creating potions and scrolls.

These events can be addressed in-game indirectly during usual downtimes or even more directly...

Imagine the GM starting the evening's game like this: "As you're milling about the tavern room, a guard walks in and tacks a notice to the announcement board. It's a proclamation of a public hanging scheduled for the next day as swift sentence for the attempted theft of a Very Important Person's very important property. It even states the name of the thief. It's !"

Thanks for sharing such a great rant, Calamar. It's given us plenty to think about. It even brought me out of the lurking-closet! :)

Party dissent is the bane of GMs (and gaming groups) when the group isn't strong enough to handle it and if I were DMing a munchkin group I might feel inclined to impose restrictions and browbeat them into good behaviour.

Time was when every campaign I ran had built-in internal strife; half the party is from country A, the other half is from country B. People from country A hate people from country B, who return the favor with interest. Hilarity ensues.

Not one of my regular players is a munchkin. And I'm not saying the party can't bicker among its members; the IC bickering between the priest and the thief has provided many of the campaign's finer moments.

But my rule remains: push comes to shove, you guys work together. Look, Jane, I don't care that he's a paladin and you're a necromancer; you built these characters knowing you'd be in the party together. You work it out. Don't tell me your necromancer's not going to "fit in" -- make her fit in. Work it out. I'm not going to tell you why you guys adventure together; that's your job.

My inflexibility has nothing to do with munchkinism or inexperienced roleplayers. It's all a question of why you roleplay. And colorful bickering is fine; battle lines being drawn is not. Other GMs can encourage it all they want, but that's not why I roleplay. I run games for people to go on adventures together, not to tear their own parties (and sometimes player groups) in half.

Usually, the week-long projects and other such gambits happen 'off camera.' I saw a game once (a friend played in it) where the party thief had an entire second life & identity outside of the PC party. Over the course of the campaign, he invested in different businesses and participated in thiefly pursuits whenever the party was in their primary city of operations. All of these dealings were kept secret from the party AND other players. Eventually his business dealings came to light and the rest of the party got pissed (IC; OOC they were very impressed at his ingenuity, and yes a bit miffed that he hadn't shared his riches with them).

Ah, yes. Pretty much every character in our D&D campaign of 8th level or higher has developed a life outside of adventuring, similar to your description. This is fine as long as the DM has time to moderate all that out-of-session activity, and as long as they don't favour one player over another.

I must confess I haven't played 3eD&D so I'm not sure what the 3e rules for character followers are like - you know, all those people that turn up suddenly when your character turns 10th level. But in our campaigns we require characters to actually DO something to attract followers, rather than simply looting dungeons. This generally involves developing strong civic ties, or in the case of thieves maybe running protection rackets or something similarly illicit, clerics need to be actively involved in temple life and do missionary work, and so on. Basically they need to be 'out there' amongst people and highly visible in order to attract people who will follow them.

I don't see that my cat burglar will ever attract followers as she operates entirely alone. She considers taking extra hands on a job a liability. She might attract some notoriety but any would-be followers would have to find her first!

(She did once get caught and roughed-up by some members of the local thieves' guild in a city she was passing through. Fortunately she managed to escape her bonds - with her Escapology skill, of course - and slip away before things turned really ugly...lost everything she was carrying, though....)


I'm sure you don't DM for a group of munchkins, Cocytus! I was, however, a little concerned that my gloating over my character's ripping-off the party on the sly might have given the wrong impression of the way our group plays. You know, all the munchkin-style backstabbing and one-upmanship that tends to characterise roleplaying groups in their larval phase.

Luckily, we don't find it necessary these days in our group for DMs to make OOG insistences that players behave in a certain way; the group more or less sorts things out in its own way. True anti-social playing tends to de-select itself in a Darwinian fashion. Sometimes a DM will contrive an in-game reason for two incompatible characters to HAVE to work together (eg a mutual patron who requires this of them). This often arises because the players themselves have requested a rationale from the DM for their characters to go on the same mission, even though the characters don't get on with each other.

As a side issue, I recently became curious as to the origin of the phrase 'Munchkin'. You see, when I started gaming at school in my early teens there was a mentor group of older players in the same school a few years above us. They used to call us the 'Munchkins'.

Later on several of those guys went on to pursue careers in the gaming industry. They published a fanzine (while still in school I think) called 'Dragonlords'. You might have heard of Marc Gascoigne? He seems to be mostly involved in the Warhammer scene:

In that fanzine they made liberal use of the phrase 'Munchkins' and did quite a send-up of us (well deserved at the time). This was in the late 70's / early 80's.

I know that the phrase 'Munchkin' also appeared in Dragon magazine but Dragonlords was quite highly regarded at the time and I think it won a 'best fanzine' competition in Dragon. I'm not quite sure of the timeline. I'm speculating that it may have been Marc's lot that coined the phrase - although I may be wrong, and they may have picked up on it themselves from another source. Maybe the Dragon references pre-date their own usage. I don't remember seeing it used in White Dwarf at the time.

If my hypothesis is correct, then my schoolday gaming group were the original Munchkins!

Comments, anyone? Any of you have any 'Munchkin' references that pre-date 1978?

{Whoops, wandered a little OT but never mind...}

ps - If there is anyone out there who has fond memories of 'Dragonlords' - I still maintain a tenuous RL connection to the actual P.B. of 'P.B. barbarian for hire' fame - possibly (but unprovably) the inspiration for 'Thrud the Barbarian' later published in White Dwarf....

{What, name-dropping? Moi?}

BTW For all you newbies, you might say that 'P.B. Barbarian For Hire' was the 'Leeroy Jenkins' of his time - in the UK, at least....though far superior entertainment, of course.

Oh, and while I'm in a nostalgic mood, and steering back on-topic....

....who could forget the greatest thief that ever lived -

- Finieous Fingers!

Must thumb through my 'Finieous Treasury' again tonight.

There's a character in the Eberron campaign I'm in whose background sounds like a thief's--raised on the street, dirt poor, etc.--but she's actually an urban barbarian. It's a rather interesting character because that background makes her weapon choice unusual for a barb: twin kukris. She's irreligious but very superstitious, which is frequently amusing as well. If only all the PCs were that interesting to RP with!

A friend of mine actually ran a semi-real thief character a little while in a Vampire (Requiem, not Masqerade, for the curious) campaign I ran (I'm usually GM for my group) a little while back. His character mostly was a thief as a side sort of thing, instead of having a job to pay bills, he robbed people and places. He was a college student - not one poor enough to need to rob to get by, but not rich enough that his thief was just a thrill seeker. He was also trained by one of the many contacts his father (a CIA agent) had made through work - an ex-KGB officer in Moscow. Amazingly, this was a good character - a good player can pull this without it getting corny, only cool.

Anyway, our brief campaign (and yet, at 4 sessions, one of the groups longest.) included a few major scenes involving him dragging the party along as he made rent robbing a hotel. As we set the game in the early nineties, I didn't have to run hypertech security, and the rest of the party found their skills useful. Our Ventrue car salesman earned the party's trust by not only distracting a staff member who nearly interrupted the others sacking the hotel office, he convinced him they had a good reason to be there. The Gangrel hacker managed to pull a few floppies worth of information off the office computer and find the passcode to the hidden wall safe, while the thief managed to create a master roomkey and steal an illicit second set of bookkeeping, which would eventually have proved useful in blackmailing someone after the copied and returned it. Then, the hacker and the thief robbed some man's hotel room while the salesman unscrewed lightbulbs to cover their escape and ran into a suspicious stranger.

And, once their heist was finished, they went right back to the prince's meeting in the hotel's main hall. It was an interesting side adventure, it didn't detract from the main campaign, and I used it as an oppurtunity to plant some plot threads (the stolen data is currently being decrypted - it was in Russian, of all things...), and the party later geared up selling their loot to a fence, allowing those players who desire such things a legitimate reason to possess firearms, as well as helping them survive future fights. Of course, the subplot cost us an hour and a half of plot time, but everyone enjoyed it, and I learned then rolling with the punches is good if the whole group follows the interests of everyone at different times - sometimes the GM and the main plot, sometimes character subplots.

Of course, the only reason all this worked is - 1) A good group that's friendly and shares the spotlight, so the thief and the rest all get to enjoy the game, and 2) A party which had a dynamic of not killing eachother and generally going along with each other's actions. Not that party tension is terrible, but in Vampire, most other PCs would watch a thief's back in a bind (Except those with tons of humanity or personal reasons). In D&D, there are enough lawful good paladins and clerics (more than high humanity Vampires, IMHO), that this sort of side plot might have the party actively orking against itself.

I guess, if you can pull it off with your group and player dynamic, it can be a great one shot subplot. If you can't... sometimes you can't.

I want to share a little situation from last night's session:

The party wizard "lost" his money pouch. since he and my thief character were previously on shaky term, he decided that my character did it. at the thief's vehement claims of ignorance he immediately began threatening my character with magical violence. attempts at dissuation by the other party members (including our local paladin) went unheeded, as the wizard was certain of my character's guilt. even searching through his gear produced nothing, the discussion went very close to physical and the tones were harsh. "sense motive" checks went unsuccessful and Detect Lies was unavailable.

Now, why am I telling you this?
two reasons: The first is that, keeping in mind that the two characters' argument (read: verbal fistfight) was completely IC and appropriate, i find it hard to find a reason to keep the thief in the same party with a dangerous, hot-headed spellcaster (our nickname for him is Psycho Mage, as in Psycho Dad fame). It seems we now need to resort to OOC reasons to keep the party together, as mentioned in this thread. (that, or let the thief take a Sleep With One Eye Open feat :) )

Second, the aforementiioned threat-match was (as all our playing is) done in the first person. that caused me to be more emotionally involved (see my unanswered thread on the subject) and find it difficult to continue playing this character in the situation above.

any ideas/notes/tips?

BTW, although my character did not pick the pockets of our hot-headed evoker, he did point him out as a good target to the local thief's guild...(for reasons unimportant)

This is the kind of thing that led us to evolve a 3rd-person playing style in our group. In the past we used to play in 1st person. But as our game evolved and the 'stakes' got higher, as the realism increased in our campaigns, we moved more towards 3rd person playing.

I saw Rogue's comments about how his players play 1st person in preference and slipped into 3rd person when they are tired, but this sounds strange because I find that playing in 3rd person requires more discipline and is actually harder work - though rewarding, because the detachment of 3rd person lets you take the campaign places where it's awkward to go in 1st person. Such as romances between player characters, for also makes the sort of confrontation you've described above a little less personal!

How can your theif continue to be a member of this party? Well, it depends on how much your character WANTS to stay in the party. If you decide that your character would want to carry on as a party member then maybe they would need to do something in-game to heal the rifts - like apologising to the mage (though this might stick in your thief's craw!). If the mage is genuinely likely to be a threat to your character, are there some other party members that your theif is on good terms with who can back your theif up? Does the party need your theif?

How well do the theif and the mage know each other? You say they were on shaky terms, which doesn't bode well, as this event has exacerbated the divisions. I guess this isn't something they could laugh off a few days later over a few jars of ale?

How about the other player who runs the mage? Does he/she also want to find a reason to keep the party together? How personally have they taken the disagreement? If they themselves haven't taken it too personally then the two of you should be able to put your heads together and come up with something between you. If the roots of the disagreement are OOG it's going to be hard to plaster over the cracks in-game.

As a follow up, when our characters have an argument, I will admit that we DO tend to slip into 1st person in our group!

BUT - when the fur really starts to fly, slipping back into 3rd person is a great way to defuse arguments!

I have done this on more than one occasion involving my own characters. As the temperature rises (and our PC vs PC argument starts eating into playing time, and starts becoming a player vs player argument) I stop and say something like 'OK, well Cerys continues to have a heated argument with Dangor for a while longer. Eventually she flounces off in a huff, muttering under her breath.'

It really calms things down.

The best thief I ever played was actually the party's heavily armed and armored warrior in a Gurps fantasy game. The GM was very strict that the local authorities really cracked down on looting (the government was supposed to get the possessions of criminals, monsters, etc and payed the heroes finder's fees).

I was real smart about the way I stole things though (especially because I did not have any pocket picking ability). I would take about 1/3 of everything I found and pocket it, and report the other 2/3. Of that 2/3, I also got my share of our "finders fee" By the end of the campaign, my character had risen from a grunt fighter to a knight in training due to the wealth he gained through skimming the tax-man!

My second best thief was a goblin named grifter who was a kleptomaniac, and would steal food from the marketplace even though his pockets were packed with stolen gold.

Hey Zip. My response here is that the responsibility lies on you and the player of the mage character. YOU are the people breathing life into these write their lines and motivations. The two of you should be able to find ways to bring the two characters back to a more friendly relationship. (That's assuming that you both WANT to continue playing these characters. If one of you wants to change characters, then here's your opportunity.)

If you need help, maybe ask the GM to help provide you with some situations that require the two characters to work together. Perhaps a situation can arise where the mage has his life saved by the thief...when the thief doesn't really HAVE to do so. At the very least, he should present you with reasons to have the two characters work together, to give you opportunities for the PCs to interact "on the job."

I'm thinking of any of my favorite TV shows where you have two adversarial characters that NEED to get along, even if they don't WANT to. (Review your Joss Whedon DVD collection for examples.) The writers could take the easy way out, and just write-off one of the characters, but a good show...they'll use the relationship as a point of drama. Over time the characters can grow together...they may never become best buddies, but they can certainly come to trust, or at the very least, accept one another.

Having a couple of characters who don't always see eye-to-eye is not a bad thing. They can be good for balance. But remember that the rest of the group has to function around these two characters. The other PCs won't (shouldn't) babysit the mage and thief all the time. about an intervention?! :)

Good luck, and keep us updated!

thanks for the suggestions, gamer-x and LG.

the other player and i are going to sit together soon to think something up regarding our characters' situation.
involving the GM about a bonding experience sounds like a good idea, too.
maybe i should frame an old nemesis for the theft :)

moving to play in the 3rd peson is something i'm considering; might be a little awkward if everyone else is in 1st, but we'll see.

As noted by Cocytus (and myself) on the 1st vs 3rd thread, it is possible to mix the two to good effect, in a way that enhances roleplay - and can limit the intensity of the player's (or referee's) personal involvement in certain roleplay situations, where such limitation is desirable.

It just takes a little practise :-)

latest news from the front:
the situation has escalatred as the wizard arranged for a Zone of Truth to be cast but my rogue still managed to dance around the issue, supplying him unsatisfactory answers. this has resulted in the wizard (possibly) causing my rogue's beloved magical boots to disappear during the night from next to the bed on which my character slept. in retaliation, the rogue hid the wiz's maical cloak while he was distracted. great commotion ensued. the other party members have had it with our ongoing fight (as do the players).

it seems we really need to to make some OOC rules/decisions in order to keep the current party going

Zip, Is this dispute a purely IC thing? Or is it a bit personal between you and the other player now?

If there's an OOC dispute going on between the two of you it's unlikely you'll be able to get things straight IC either...

You need to sort it out between you and the other player first and agree to some kind of truce before next session I'd say. And cook up some IC rationale for your characters cooling the whole thing down (maybe with assistance from the GM if required).

Hey, zip!

How's your thief these days?

Has he been flambéed, or has his wizardly adversary recently been subjected to fatally unnecessary surgery by (ahem) persons unknown?

Or.....did they manage to patch things up?

Hopefully the latter!

Just being nosey....

oh, after the other player and myself came to an understanding that some "forgive and forget" is the way to go, and decided to return all stolen goods when possible in play, our party followed trails of a massacre to a suspicious group of female warriors. the initial encounter was tense and when the other group's cleric created some sort of smoke cloud, 'psycho-mage' managed to roll a natural '1' on his spellcraft check, decided it was 'stinking cloud' and starting burning the other side with spells. then all hell broke loose and hectic combat was joined.

after the dust settled, our group was captured, the wizard knocked unconcious and my rougue has been Charmed. as you see, all is well :P

The problem here, as I see it, isn't really between you and the other player. It's (mostly) the GM's fault. I understand that groups can have a falling out (both IC and OOC), but the GM has the ability to control some portion of your characters actions. By that, I do not mean that the GM can arbitrarily state "You can't fight over stupid shit anymore!", although I have done that a time or two.
What the GM should do here is overload you with enemies. Make it so difficult for you to survive that you have no time to fight.
For example:
The missing money pouch, having the mage's monogrammed initials on it, turns up at the scene of the high Dukes' murder. Naturally enough, the authorities come to believe that he was involved in the murder. Your character, and the mage, happen to have been together that whole night of the murder arguing about whether or not you had stolen the money pouch. Now, not only have you been comepletely exonerated, but he'll need your help, and the rest of the party's, to clear his own name.
This will not only make a pretty decent adventure, but one with a lot of questions that need to be answered. Like who stole the money pouch, why did they leave it at the crime scene, is this a revenge plot or coincidence, how can the mage clear his name, etc.?

Really, anything that forces the characters to work together to save their butts is going to work. Just remember, when in doubt, throw in some bad guys and combat...

"When the Game Master smiles, it's already too late..."

The best example of a fictional thief in a fantasy setting are: Cadrach from Tad William's "Memory, Sorrow, Thorn" trilogy and Livak, from Juliette E. McKenna's "Tales of the Einarrin" series. Both excellent reads...

"Wit is educated insolence."

The best representation of a fictional "true thief" in modern times would be Garrett. Cynical, suspicious of even apparent allies and dragged out of his happily larcenous life only by circumstances beyond his control he's the best example of what a rogue would probably be on his or her own without the semi-artificial constraints of a group party.

In one of the current campaigns I'm a part of, I play a rogue but I don't play him as a true thief, rather more of a military scout covert-ops specialist who's assigned to the party. It makes for a coherent reason as to why he'd associate with others and would go out of his way to help them rather than cut losses and bolt.

One of my biggest complaints about theives is this; what is their reason for staying with the group? Livak, from Juliette E. McKenna's "Tales of the Einarrin" series is hired by mages because of her skills after she tried to sell them a unique item that they had tried to purchase the day before. After the 1st book, or adventure, she rejoined the campaign for money and then love (she fell for Ryvak the swordsman). She kept her individuality and stayed a pure thief through most of the series.

Cadrach from Tad William's "Memory, Sorrow, Thorn" trilogy was a scholar and a mage before becoming a thief due to alchoholism and depression. He stayed a scoundrel through entire series and barely redeemed himself at the very end of the last book. You get to find out why he is the way he is, but it doesn't change my feelings for him...

The point is that these characters were both thieves of the selfish greedy me first variety and still played well in a party.

Just a thought..

I played a real thief once. I remember it vividly. 2nd Edition D&D. Only problem was, I was a Wizard. I didn't want anyone to know my real identity, and decided I would use my magic... when none were looking, to augment my thievery.

Sadly the group wasn't quiet good at keeping metagaming away from the table, so the affair wasn't as grand as I had hoped. However, the premise was excellant. Imagine (as I attempted) that you scout ahead. You are out of view so you use Fly to get up a steep ledge to gain the vantage and the view. You take an aresnel spell (if you have one) to take out a lone sentry. When the party gets to you, you have "Scaled a cliff face to sneak upon the enemy and deal his death". Sounds great to them, and it's all a simple bit of magic to you.

Of course picking locks and disarming traps is a scary procedure, especially when one tends to stand over your shoulder to watch. Being a recluse helps.

Now with 3rd and 3.5 Edition, their is no need to 'Fake the Funk'. You simply multi-class (which I love, but the challange of the Secret Mage was very enjoyable). You pick the right spells, or even be a Sorceror so you can use the right spells more (if you can talk your DM/GM into letting you choose the spells. Mine went Random with few exceptions. Although I liked that challange as well. Imagine being taught all illusions when you really want to be a blast a mage for hire, or all attack when you really want to be a seer) and you can be a very effective Rouge.

Yes, Rouges should be Rouges. The only 'rule' I have is to not steal from friends and those I accompany in travel (i.e. The Party). Everyone else... :P

As for a "Party of Thieves" the name is not all it's cracked up to be. A great party would be,

Rogue. (Well, wouldn't he fit?) He'd be the "Everyman" and the brains behind the operation.
Fighter/Barbarian. You need a good strong arm, don't you?
Cleric (of Thieving? Sure, there's a god for that!) Healing helps, most Priests can gain access to places others can't, nice front man, can heal for hire to help fill the parties coffers, and Hold and some other spells can really do a doosey when you need to take things and leave.
Wizard/Sorcer. With the right spells he can either aid all party members (Cats Grace, Bull Strength, Owl Wisdom, etc) or can help the Rouge by adding magic to traps, enhancing weapons and gear, or even casting Knock or other spells. Unseen Servant and alot of other spells can help in a pinch, and magic is a great diversion. If worst comes to worst, Fireball the front door while the theif sneaks in the back.
If you need a 5th, I'd take a Ranger. His bow will be like a sniper suppressing fire to aid in a retreat, and quick two sword slashes while darting to and fro will help in a raid.

A whole party can have fun being Thieves, with only one Rouge. You just have to have a love of excitement, money, and challenges... probably in that order. And knowing your place in the group helps alot.

An example. Phinieus set the whole plan in motion. The raid would happen that night. For now, he napped in his chair waiting for visitors to his shop. He needed his rest for the action ahead. Ton donned his Holies and cast blessings on some of those who paid him, collecting easily from those less fortunates that wished for a divine grace to help them. Ragnor went from shop to shop demanding pay for protecting them. When a rival shop asked what he protected them from, he gladly showed them by destroying the goods placed out front to draw attention to the shop. He knew Phinieus would be pleased that the competetion had lost valuable goods. El studied hard, brewing potions for sale, and a few for the night raid. He was tired though, and would rest soon. He hoped the Ring of Invisibility would do the trick. Aleo hunted down the days lunch, as much for free food (for all the gold in the coffers, Phin sure didn't like to buy anything that didn't shine or sparkle) as for practice for tonights raid. It was his job to take out the guards on each wall before El flew himself and Phin over the wall while Ragnor charged the front door. As usual, Ton would be close enough to engage those following the retreat, and ready to heal and mend. (or perhaps Ton is a distraction. Knocking on the door, beseeching entry for a nights rest. He'd 'bless' the house for letting him stay... and then cast curse on the biggest and best in preperation for the fight. When the sounds of battle begin, he'd then attack from within with spells and mace.)

Oh, you have to be EVIL to do such! Nope, merely nuetral while being picky about targets. Targeting other Nuetral groups, or Evil groups, is fair and well. Even if it's for profit. The world of fantasy.. as the real one, would be less many heros if not for profit. Also it's up to each individual and their own personal goals. In this, it is assumed that Phin is just looking at profit. But he could be doing this to build a School or a Hospital to improve the life in his town, or to overthrow a corrupt and powerful authority. Even if it is for Profit, El could be doing this to pay his debt to the School of Mages, or to aid in Research at the School. Nobel and ignobel causes can COMBINE, they don't always have to COLLIDE.

Another way to have a real nice theiving party is exemplified in the Firefly TV series. For more information on the series itself, and the movie based off the series, please refer to my Serenity article.

What I'd like to point out here is that the crew of Serenity makes a perfect theiving group. They have Captain Mal, the leader and a fighter. He plans each mission and keeps discipline in the group.

Zoe and Jayne are also fighters. Two of the others are REALLY wanted by the Law.

None of them are theives.

They rob trains, smuggle things and people, rob the rich, steal priceless antiques from high secure areas, and are constantly on the run from the law. The take jobs like characters do in Shadowrun, some legal, most not.

I don't think a better example of thieves working together exist.

Here's a scene from the Train Job...

Crow goes down in a heap onto his knees. He is on the ramp, the huge jet engine behind him just starting to whir to life, wind kicking up as the ship prepares to take off.

Mal stands before Crow, holding a wad of bills.

"Now this is all the money Niska gave us in advance. You give it back to him, tell him the job didn't work out. We're not thieves -- well, we are thieves, but -- the point is, we're not taking what's his. I'll stay out of his way as best we can from here on in. You'll explain that's best for everyone, okay?"

Crow rises. He towers over Mal, hatred on his face.

"Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where
you go, how far you fly -- I will hunt you down and the last thing
you see will be my blade."


He kicks Crow back -- and the huge fellow is instantly SUCKED into the engine of the ship. It's very sudden, but the resultant crunching noise goes on for a bit.

A beat, and Zoe shoves one of Crow's henchmen in front of Mal.

"Now. this is all the money Niska..."

"Oh I get it. I'm good. Best for everyone, I'm right there with you."

Mal smiles, puts the money in the man's breast pocket and pats it.

ah, little moments of joy :)

Thieves and inner-party-qwoms are somehow almost always connected. I see a DM who forbids this sort of thing (inner fighting, party nukeing etc) and I understand why he does this: I steals from his time, joy and plans for the game. I myself do not forbid any actions from a party when dealing with the additudes between PCs.
Rogues in my realm are often insulted or given reason to take action when called "theives". The term implies a criminal way of life, or a common thug's way. A rogue is not a thief (or at lest a rogue would quickly point this out, and a theif is nothing as talented or useful as a true rogue.

What seperates theives from rogues? Nothing really, other then self-proclaimed importance of title and the way they both operate. The difference between a guilded individual who works with a guild (pays dues, has access to local jobs, inside information etc)and a theif (one who is a maverick recluse with little or no respect for the governed guilds of roguery. But make no mistake, both are criminal (almost always) and both are hunted and delt with the same by the law (hands? you dont need your hands no more boy!).

But a Rogue who works with a guild gets benifits that a common un-guilded theif would not get. A guild of rogues (in my realm) forbid theivery from amatures or free-lancers of the trade. A man walking into town that sapports an active guild, with plans to loot, will find it much more dangerous then just sneeking around police or local guard. A freelance theif can easyly find himself/herself hanging upside down in a warehouse, with bloody stumps where thumbs once were, begging the guild-men to release him offering to trade every last lump of his treasure in exchange for his life.

In my game/realm, guilds are no joke. I have played in many games where the PCs laugh at the in-party rogue (or rogues) in the group. People tend to find those of said-class to be a comic-act or a run-about hassle that is only useful when a trapped chest needs unlocking. This view on rogues seems to also streamline more then half these posts above (mind you its not blatent but I see alot of hinting around the bush that some of your games also shelv rogues as pocket-picking weiners who have little drive in life then to grab some fast cash and retire rich).
Nothing wrong with that, but I do insist that the rogue class is as huge as any other, and that when played with respect to his/her importance or flexibility, the rogue class can be very deep and rewarding in other aspects then just loose gold or random stolen objects.

in my realm a rogue is guilded, and a thief is un-guilded. Playing a thief is dangerous and often leads to the PC running from both the law and the local guilds equally as fast. In fact, I once saw one of my players turn himself into the king's guard house, knowing his hands were gunna be lopped off, just to get away from the guilded rogues of the area (saddly, the guild also had control of a small percentage of the guards and paid to have him hung in his cell).

A true guild is not just a bunch of flop-about morons who want coins and trinkets. A true guild, even one of little size (3-8 theives), could and SHOULD be run professionally. Often shaking down the local buisnesses for "protection fees" or infecting the local government with inside officals who are deep within the guild's pocket for one reason or another. The Rogue is not unlike a mafia-man or any other orginized crime-gang. Who laughs at the mafia when the mafia is really around? Who thinks the yatkusa (spelling? bah!) are a bunch of lock-picking punks who can be pished around cus they got cuaght stealing a coin or two from another player?

Now i admit, most players play theives to be punk-ass dorks who think stealing from everyone who walks by is a "good idea" or "common practice" for a rogue...Thats stupid. How many criminals do you know? me? alot...I know not a single one who would risk his criminal career by selling drugs openly to every stranger walking by, or breaking into every house they pass. Most PC rogues just roll pickpockets every time they walk past a dude with a nice ring on. This is silly and dangerous. Robbing from those who "pay" the guild for "protection" can result in the guild taking actions, and unlike the law, they do not have to obey the rules of said law.

Every game I run, I have side plots and interesting things to do for each class. I refuse to know ahead of time what players I will be having, what classes they will be playing, what alignments they will be picking...all of that is not needed by me. I am the DM, I run a world (or three) and those worlds do not operate or bend due to what you choose to play. To keep this kind of non-linear game running smoothly I must have at lest 30-50 side adventures ready at any time, many of them are class oreintated, and many more are just open to all.
Each story unfolds with many many other adventures happening around the players. The times of leading my players by the nose, and pointing out the bad guys ended when I was about 16. So for each area that the players play in I build the guild and its members way before my players even choose a class to play. I choose their skills, roll their hitpoints, pick their methods and decide who they have control or influence over. I stock them up and arm them properly for the area and power-level of the guild. From there I tell any new theif-class players that they know of the guild and how they handle freelancers. From there they choose to either remain freelance or strive to join the guild.

Joining may allow the thief many freedoms (you can steal where we allow you to steal, you can kill who we allow you to kill, etc) but they will also pay upto 50% of stolen goods to the guild or suffer the punishment of the guild.
They may have an easyer time dealing with some of the local police, or a great criminal lawyer who can have charges dropped or cancled out. The guild can offer NPC back up, or supplie the rogue with tools and posions (though only evil guilds have poisons). Of course to join you must be tattooed or branded (only those wearing a perminate badge of proof risk enough to be considered family to the guild)
But those who join also have to deal with things like other guilds who are unfriendly or in out-right war with the guild, law that punishes guild memebers for the entire guild's actions, etc.

Those who are freelance get the advantage of not paying dues, not having a brand or tattoo, not having anyone looking over thier shoulder demanding them to join jobs or run criminal missions etc. They can walk around free as the wind, till they are cuaght, stealing and dealing how they wish with anyone they wish. Of course, once captures, convicted or found out, they have no orginized friends to bail them out...Or worse, they have the local guild ready to kill them for operating within their territory.

How does this lead to a point that has anything to do with the topic of theives being played wrongly? Well, like this...

Theives or rogues who waste time, in-game or out, just picking other PCs pockets or stealing nic-nacs between battles are wasting a great oppertunity to really get deep into the under-world of the criminal world of fantasy. They are simply playing a guy who wants to take stuff, and has a few skills to do it. They are not delving into the politics or mechanics of the rogue. They are being whimpy dorks who just want to add more gold and items to a sheet and not really playing the fun-side of it all. This can also be the DM's fualt for not building enough (or any) adventure for such a class. Either way, every game we play has close to (if not more) a dozen side jobs for both guilded and non-guilded thieves. There is no reason a good GM can't map out one or two houses with a few guards and items of worth that a guild may pay any memeber to remove. There is no reason that a GM cant write up the stats of a few gulded theives from another area who are in town to wack a couple local rogues. There is no reason that a DM can't plant a spy within the local guild who needs to be followed and found-out by your rogue-pc. Painting a lush and lavish world for your PCs isnt easy, but its also our job that we love to do. So please, spend some time produce some gritty, interesting, risky work for your rogues. No need to waste alot of time with side-missions or in-between-game-adventures. its easy enough to add this sort of thing into the party's interests.

I have seen too many games treat theives as worthless trap-springers who should be treated like exspendable goons who shouldnt be trusted. But in my game, I watch players fear PCs who have been known to communicate with the local guilds. Pushing such a small-fry around could eventually lead to a poison glass of ale in any common bar that may secretly work for the guild, or a middle-of-the-night attack on you or your loved ones.

There is litterly an endless avenue of adventure and misfortune that can befall a theif...and it dont all have to be crap that only involves the non-theif players.

Im sorry i cant spell...and I'm also upset that you can read.


In the last campaign I GMed, the entire party spent most of the time as thieves. A couple of them were actually thief classes (we were playing with the Warhammer system), but due to circumstances, the entire party had to live off of the ill-gotten gains of breaking into rival businesses, claim jumping, petty theft, and any other illegal means they could find.

They had real jobs from time to time, but I made sure to keep them hungry enough that they had to consider every opportunity for theft as a means to their next meal and a place to sleep. It was a rare day when they managed to upgrad their equipment, or even repair the stolen goods that they had.

Good times.

I agree with both Sifolis and Mightycow... That's why I wrote this article in the first place.

I lot of people have responded by saying that theive's have a limited role in games because the party as a whole are law-abiding dungeon-delving orc-smashing fools and that a theif either holds back the game by going solo or gets the party in trouble.

I don't agree with this at all.

As an experiment, I decided to run two seperate campaigns within the confines of a single large port city. I used the old D&D map for Lankhmar as a place setting but used my own police, nobles, theive's guilds, ect. Each character starts off on the bottom of society and has three free contacts.

One campaign is centered on thieves and other lowlife's trying to get jobs that make them money. I worked it all as a medevil (sp) fantasy Shadowrun game complete with Corporations (Guilds), Mr. Johnson's, contacts, and reputation. Running the Shadows is still viable once you take away all technology...

The second campaign has most of the players as members of the City Watch that are all members of the same squad and fresh out of boot camp. These players will be trying to stop a serial killer based loosely on the Zodiac Killer. In addition to their normal patrol duties, they will have to conduct research, investigate murders, meet and form contacts both legal and through the street.

As you could imagine, playing a straight up theif would be a huge advantage in either campaigne. Multiple theives could work together with minimal backstabbing. Other classes would be wanted and would get the same amount of play (with the exception of Paladines and possibly Priests).

The players and the characters get to know the city extremely well and I (as the GM) have a large resource of ideas and NPCs available in Franz Leiber's Farvhad and the Grey Mouser books (I know that I spelled most of that wrong, sorry).

"She's a Goddess mate, you know what happens to mortals who get involved with gods?"

"Buggered, isn't it?"

"Every time."

I'll give a bonus to anyone who knows what that quote is from. ;-)

Whats my bonus?

movie: 1999's Notting Hill.

and the correct line would be

"ANNA is a goddess, yknow what happens to mortals who get involved with gods"???

unless this line appeared in another "crappy" movie...thats right, i said it..Notting hill=crappy.

wheres my bonus!!!?

Ahhh.... You wound me, that was a great movie! Oh well, you get a +1 to every roll in your next gaming session. If your players don't like it, then they should have made a guess then, right? I would have given you a +2 but you dogged Notting Hill. That's just not cricket mate ;-)

actually, my most "real" thief wasn't a thief at all. although he did dual class to rogue later, he started the game as a mage! i ended up shit out of luck on more than one occasion, and ended up with absolutely nothing, so next time i levelled up, i started putting points onto skills that could somehow lead to acquiring wealth, surviving through, well, very thief-like things, and i think he wouldve ended up starving to death, otherwise (he was thrown out of the party for "immoral actions"... i was chaotic neutral, and the rest of the party was either lawful or neutral good)it all worked out, because he came back later in the game, somehow 4 levels higher than everyone else, and systematically killed them all one by one... just one of those success stories that warms your heart, isnt it?

I found your blog on google. I think your blog is the best :).
I am from Nigeria and too bad know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Your one stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in music, movies."

Regards :-D Tracy.

[URL removed, but comment kept to retain response sanity. --Morbus]

I think that "Tracy" above is a Spawn-bot douchebag. But that's just me I guess. ;-)

lol No, she's my secret lover! From Nigeria! And she says our "blog" is the best! Nigerians love D&D!

Oh, Tracy isn't a dude?
..and I was just about to hand him all by bank account details :)

I haven't been on here in a while and for that I apologize. However, I wanted to add something to the above conversation and no, I'm not talking about Tracey. I've roleplayed quite a bit over the last couple of years without running a game. Played Shadowrun almost exclusively with a subpar GM. however, a few months ago I started running a campaign set in a fantasy world. The party is a pretty typical with a young mage apprentice, ex-military scout etc. However, one player (who doesn't know about Gamegrene or this article) decided to play a con man.

His character can change personalities like Michael Westin from "Burn Notice" and has studied micro expressions like Dr Lighthouse in the show "Lie to Me" with a background that backs up his skills. In a fantasy world. He is intelligent, suave, and usually poses as a merchant (we are playing a game I've written that doesn't have classes, levels or other D&D hangups. More like GURPS). He is an invaluable party member and has helped immensly with the adventure the characters are on.

Instead of taking time away from the group to run his cons, he does it under the table right in front of everyone. In fact, the con man has incorporated the other players into his cover story without them knowing! Wow!

One thing that has made this possible is by using IM. IMing each other and the GM is a quick, easy way to pass hidden messages and information. It helps keep everything in the dark while enhancing the gaming experience.

In Shadowrun, our group had a run that took us to Chicago. Anyone familiar with SR will know how bad an idea that is. While there, my friend Charles was able to get a second run and accomplish it during the game without any of the other players or characters knowing about it! His second job paid almost as much as the entire group earned for the original job! That wouldn't have been possible without using IM.

As for interparty disputes...

It is my practice that when starting a new game that all the characters are friends or partners starting off. People with a vested interest in each other. I let them make up how and why.

You wanna play a necromancer and he wants a Paladin? How do you guys know each other? Why do you get along?

I make it the players responsibility to create a party that gets along. I try never to browbeat the players, especially if they are playing IC.

When IC conflict does arise, and it will occasionally, I refer back to an earlier post I made in this string. Throw some bad guys at them!