Just like the “intelligence-based” wizard from last week, the halfling thief is such a classic fantasy RPG character type I had to make one. (Thank you Bilbo Baggins.) But the character took longer to write up than some of the others I’ve done so far. I’ve mentioned before that I try to spread a character’s stunts around, both in regards to the action and and the approach the stunt modifies. But some fantasy character types seem very focused on a fairly narrow area of expertise. The fighter is one, and the thief is another.
It would have been very easy to make Sneaky the thief’s lead approach. Because of how Fate Accelerated approaches work, creeping along in the shadows, backstabbing an unaware target, picking pockets, and even picking locks could be handled with the Sneaky approach. Stunts that grant bonuses to these “thief-y” actions would also have been really appropriate. But that also would have been rather boring.
One result of Fate Accelerated‘s approaches caring about how a character does something instead of what they are doing, is that the same approach can cover many different situations. This can lead to players “spamming an approach” – meaning the player intentionally tries to finagle things so they get to roll with their character’s highest approach as often as possible. Players and GMs are meant to use the approach that makes the most sense based on the fictional situation at hand, but there is nothing forcing the player to use different approaches.
Having stunts that use different approaches is a way to encourage players to branch out and use more than a one approach all the time. (Not that I necessarily expect people to do that.) But much like the fighter, making stunts that were tied to different approaches and actions yet still evoked the flavor of a fantasy thief was rather hard to do. I didn’t really need a stunt to emulate lock picking, as the equipment aspect of Expertly Crafted Set Of Thieves Tools could cover that. Instead I went with a stunt that grants a bonus when overcoming physical barriers. I always try to have a stunt that reinforces the adjective in the character’s high concept, and moving around during a fight seemed to fit nicely here. Moving into an adjacent zone for free doesn’t feel like it equals two shifts on the ladder (which is generally what a stunt’s effect is worth) so it works on success with style for two actions; attack and defense. Lastly, because the character is a thief and a halfling, I went with a stunt that granted a bonus to avoid notice.
As I’m using the Weight rules from War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus for the fantasy monsters I’ve made, I could have given the character a Weight 0.5 (Small). But that would have meant any medium-sized opponent got to change one of their dice to a “+” when opposing the character. That doesn’t feel very heroic. Plus, the aspect Nimble Halfling Thief can be compelled when the “halfling” part would cause interesting problems because of the character’s size. It could also be invoked by an opponent for the same reason. That seems more fair, as it will only come up at interesting times, and the player gets a Fate point for having some trouble thrown at them.
High Concept: Nimble Halfling Thief
Motivation: I Must Steal A Legendary Treasure
Aspect: Raised On The Deck Of A Pirate Galley
Aspect: More Luck Than I Know What To Do With
Aspect: Expertly Crafted Set Of Thieves Tools
- Careful: Average (+1)
- Clever: Fair (+2)
- Flashy: Average (+1)
- Forceful: Mediocre (+0)
- Quick: Good (+3)
- Sneaky: Fair (+2)
- Acrobatic Fighter: Because I constantly move during a fight, whenever I Quickly attack or defend and succeed with style, I may immediately move one zone instead of gaining a boost.
- Escape Artist: Because I can always find a way out, I get +2 to Cleverly overcome obstacles and aspects representing physical bonds or impediments to escape, such as Behind Bars, Tied Up, or Superior Locks.
- Low Profile: Because I am small and unassuming, I get +2 to Sneakily create an advantage such as Beneath Notice, Inconspicuous, or Totally Not Important, representing people overlooking, ignoring, or not paying attention to me due to my size.
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
- Mild (2):
- Moderate (4):
- Severe (6):
The character illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.