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Thieves’ Guild 5 (1982)

The new rules in Thieves Guild 5 (1982 second printing) pretty much admit themselves that they aren’t that useful for thieves — they focus on shields and armor. This comes along with a new, revised combat system that accounts for stuff like partial suits and weird combinations. I get the appeal of this to a degree, but it is way too noodly for me, especially for a game arranged around avoiding head on violence. A good way to do it? Not have rules for it!

Anyway, the scenarios here are excellent. The first is a tomb robbery. The tomb in question is an illusionist’s tomb and involves a long, phantasmagorical journey to get to the prize. The illusions are of exceptional quality, so there are new rules rolled out to keep players in the dark despite any meta-disbelief they might have. The five rooms have elaborate descriptions for the players (what they think they see) and the GM (what’s actually there) as well as lengthy encounter tables for the wilderness trip. This reminds me a little bit of C. L. Moore’s “Black God’s Kiss,” actually.

The second revolves around the assassination of an orc general (the illustrations of the orcs here make them look so chipper that I have qualms about murdering them). This one is interesting again because of the amount of material it gives the GM and players to construct their plan with. More — it has a timetable of events (similar to the one in the masquerade scenario in Thieves’ Guild III) that brings the compound to oh-so-complicated life. I love it and it strikes me how still most RPG scenarios are in comparison. This sort of thing should get used more!

Dig this cover, incidentally.

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