Thieves are rogues who can open locks, steal items, hide in shadows, find and disarm traps. Given their skillset, thieves can't be lawful good. However, you'll run into many situations in game that require these thieving skills, making a thief party member essential for almost every playthrough.
Thieves can't wear any metal helmets, they wear leather or studded leather armor and can only use bucklers as shields to protect themselves. Their array of weapons consists of lightweight weapons such as long swords, short swords, katana, scimitars, wakizashi, ninjatōs, daggers, throwing daggers, clubs, quarterstaves, light crossbows, shortbows, darts and slings. All of the above restrictions can be later overcome by the Use Any Item high level ability, which grant rogues access to almost all items.
All races can become a thief as a profession.
Ability scores tableEdit
|Character Ability Score||Minimum Score||Shadowdancer^^|
During character creation, rolls below the minimum value for the class will be increased to that value. This table uses the values for Humans, other Races have modified ability scores.
*Prime Requisites for Dual-classing.
^^ The Shadowdancer class kit has a different set of minimum ability scores, and has Strength and Charisma as prime requisites for Dual-classing in addition to Dexterity.
A thief gains a fixed +25 thieving skill points (numbers vary among kits) upon level up. Starting stats and subsequent play values in various thief skills are further modified by dexterity and race. At no time may you put more than 250 skill points into a skill. Therefore the only way to raise the base skill higher is by raising dexterity after 250 points have been invested into that skill. Different potions and items may be stacked up to a bonus cap of 30 to each skill. Some thieving skills have no benefit over 100 points.
|Race||Open Locks||Pick Pockets||Move Silently||Hide In Shadows||Stealth||Find Traps||Detect Illusion||Set Traps||Total||Total|
Pick Pockets Edit
A thief can steal items from non-hostile characters (including party members) by using the Thieving skill on them. The chance to steal an item depends on the thief's and the target's Pick Pockets level and the place of that item inside the target's inventory. Stealing from another thief (or any character that has skill points assigned to Pick Pockets) may require a skill level of over 100 to steal. 250 has been observed to have a slight chance of failure on some targets. In the Enhanced Editions, there's also a "critical failure" possible for one attempt out of twenty (1 on a 1d20).
Pick Pockets is raised by 5 points for every point of Dexterity above 16, and lowered by 5 points for every point of Dexterity below 12 (up to -15 at 9 Dexterity, which is the minimum for a thief during character creation).
Also in the original Baldur's Gate II, both Dexterity modifiers and racial bonuses affect the maximum value of Pick Pockets. A character without a Dexterity modifier or racial bonus may raise their Pick Pockets up to 265 with skill points alone (270 for Elf and 275 for Half-elf). Beyond this point, a Half-elf with 25 Dexterity and magical effects that boost Pick Pockets can reach the cap of 325.
In the Enhanced games, Dexterity modifiers and racial bonuses only affect the starting value of Pick Pockets. The maximum value which can be reached with skill points alone is fixed at 250, regardless of race or Dexterity. The absolute cap is still 325 which can be reached with magical effects that boost Dexterity and Pick Pockets.
Not all items are stealable. Every item entry on a creature has a set of flags as seen in game file inspectors such as Near Infinity. Having either the "Not stealable" or "Undroppable" flag will make the item unstealable. The "Stolen" flag will make the item unsellable to most vendors. Furthermore, the item will also be unstealable if the item file itself does not have the flag "Droppable".
A failed Pick Pockets attempt is treated as an attack against the target, and will cause most neutral characters to become hostile.
- However, not every "fail" is a "fail": the Enhanced Editions handle cases where the thief's skill isn't high enough to steal from any of the available item slots (or if the target has no items) not as a fail and the attempt will not count as detected and thus not yield consequences.This icon indicates content from all Enhanced Editions of the Baldur's Gate games.
|Magically created weapon||–|
*Impossible for the currently equipped weapon, in combination with the active quiver if a ranged one.
Each inventory slot is assigned a value which is the required level of Pick Pockets for a thief to steal from that slot. A value of 0 means the slot cannot be stolen from. The original games and the Enhanced games have different sets of values.
In the original Baldur's Gate, the following inventory slots cannot be stolen from: Armor, Belt, Boots, Cloak, Gauntlets, Helmet, Rings, Shield and equipped or active Weapon (incl. Fists) and Quiver. All other inventory slots can be stolen from even with a very low Pick Pockets level (e.g. 4).
The Enhanced games assign more dynamic values to various inventory slots, which are shown in the table to the right.
|1 – 5||10||25||250||1000|
|6 – 10||17||40||400||1,750|
|16 – 40||32||15||1,550||3,250|
A thief can lockpick locks from doors and containers to open them. The chance to open a door/container depends on the difficulty of the lock and works on a threshold system - if you're within 5 points of the target lock's difficulty you have a 50% chance of bashing it successfully, while if you're equal to or greater than the lock's difficulty, it's guaranteed. Does not benefit from scores higher than 100.
Find / Disarm TrapsEdit
A thief can find traps if they activate their find traps mode. Any found traps can then be disarmed if the find/disarm trap percentage is high enough. There is no benefit to increasing this score higher than 100.
Skill usage experienceEdit
The original Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn introduces experience for these two skills: whenever thieves open a lock or disarm a trap, they gain a certain amount of experience, increasing with their level. This system is carried over into the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, though with drastically reduced numbers, due to the level cap; see the table to the right.
DISARM_TRAP" for the opening locks experience and "
PICK_LOCK" for traps; the experience that's actually gained in-game is shown correctly in the table to the right.
Move Silently / Hide In Shadows Edit
These skills allow the thief to effectively become invisible. See the Stealth article for more information.
Thieves may attempt to dispel non-friendly illusion spells within 30 ft whenever their Find Traps skill is active. Does not receive any modifier from a thief's dexterity score. Does not benefit from scores higher than 100.
- Detect Illusion can penetrate hostile illusions protected by Spell Immunity: Divination where True Seeing fails
Set Traps Edit
Allows thief to lay a trap when outside an enemy's line of sight, also required to use traps gained by high level thief abilities. Laid traps are triggered by enemies within a fireball spell range. A maximum of 7 traps can be set in one map area. Thieves with a set snare score lower than 100 have a chance of being hurt by their own trap if they fail to set it. Does not benefit from scores higher than 100.
The backstab ability allows attacks a thief makes while concealed and behind a target to perform additional damage. The additional damage is substantial enough to often kill targets in a single blow. See the Backstab article for more details.
Backstab multiplier / Level
To accomplish one's goals, for good or ill, the Thief is a skilled pilferer. Cunning, nimbleness, and stealth are a thief's hallmarks. Whether a thief turns talent against innocent passersby and wealthy merchants or oppressors and monsters is a choice for the Thief to make.
- May not wear armor heavier than studded leather
- May not equip shields larger than bucklers
- May only use the following weapons: long sword, short sword, katana, scimitar, dagger, club, quarterstaff, light crossbow, shortbow, dart, sling
- May only become Proficient (one slot) in any weapon class
- May only become Proficient (one slot) in any fighting style
- May distribute 25 points per level (40 at level 1) in thieving abilities: Open Locks, Pick Pockets, Find Traps, Move Silently, Hide In Shadows, Detect Illusion, Set Traps
- Starts with base scores of 10% in Open Locks, 5% in Find Traps, 15% in Pick Pockets, 10% in Move Silently, and 5% in Hide In Shadows
- May backstab for increased damage: Lv1-4:x2 Lv5-8:x3 Lv9-12:x4 Lv13+:x5
- May use the Set Snare ability once per day. Gains one use at level 1 and an additional use every 5 levels thereafter. Set a trap in the chosen location when no hostile creatures are in sight. Traps grow more powerful with the Thief's level and can only be triggered by enemies.
- 1st level: Deals 2d8+5 missile damage
- 11th level: Deals 2d8+5 missile damage and additionally deals 2d6 poison damage per round for the next 3 rounds
- 16th level: Deals 3d8+5 missile damage and 4d8+2 fire damage
- 21st level: Deals 3d8+5 missile damage and 20 poison damage with no save, slays target if a Save vs. Death with a +4 bonus is failed
- Alignment restricted to any except lawful good
- Hit Die: d6
- Prime Requisites For Dual-Classing: Dexterity
Assassins are killers trained in discreet and efficient murder, relying on anonymity and surprise to perform their tasks.
- -1 bonus to THAC0 and +1 bonus to damage rolls
- Backstab ability reaches x6 (at Lv17) and x7 (at Lv21) multiplier instead of capping at x5
- May use the Poison Weapon ability. Gains one use at level 1 and an additional use every 4 levels thereafter
- May only distribute 15 skill points per level among thieving skills
- Poison Weapon applies poison to any attacks, including Arrow of Detonation, the Fire Seeds spread. Even though this ability has been severely nerfed in EE, it remains as a valuable option
- Assassin dual-classers arguably have the highest backstab damage potential in game, take the following extreme cases as comparisons:
- Assassin (21) > Cleric: (18 Staff of the Ram & Righteous Magic + 0 proficiency + 1 style + 1 kit + 2 Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise) x 7 = 154 (max)
- Kensai (24) > Thief: (18 Staff of the Ram & Kai + 5 proficiency + 1 style + 8 kit + 2 Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise) x 5 = 170 (max)
- Assassin (21) > Fighter: (15.5 Staff of the Ram average + 5 proficiency + 1 style + 1 kit + 2 Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise) x 7 = 171.5 (average)
- Assassin (21) > Mage: (18 Black Blade of Disaster average + 5 proficiency + 1 kit + 2 Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise) x 7 = 182 (average)
- Keep in mind that what's shown above doesn't include bonus from many spells, strength or critical hits
- Although backstabbing multiplier looks astonishing, in practical use it is very meaningless. Most of the Monsters will be killed in single strikes with backstab multiplier x5 already. If not, they are likely to be immune to backstabs anyway
- Unlike common concepts, this class kit shows the best synergy when dual-classed into mage because of poisoned weapon and Melf's Minute Meteors
This is a hunter of men, skilled in tracking quarry and bringing them back alive - whether for lawful authorities or underworld masters. Bounty Hunters are specially trained at their task and make fearsome opponents. They have honed their trap-making abilities well beyond that of the average Thief.
- +15 bonus to Set Traps
- May use the Set Special Snare ability once per day in addition to the normal Thief's Set Snare. Gains one use at level 1 and an additional use every 5 levels thereafter. Set a trap in the chosen location when no hostile creatures are in sight. Traps grow more powerful with the Bounty Hunter's level and can only be triggered by enemies
- 1st level: Deals 3d8+5 missile damage and slows target for 5 rounds if a Save vs. Spell with a -4 penalty is failed
11th level: Deals 4d8+5 missile damage and holds target for 5 rounds if a Save vs. Spell with a -1 penalty is failed
16th level: Erects an Otiluke's Resilient Sphere around the target for 7 rounds if a Save vs. Spell is failed
21st level: Mazes the target, no save
- 1st level: Deals 3d8+5 missile damage and slows target for 5 rounds if a Save vs. Spell with a -4 penalty is failed
- May only distribute 20 skill points per level among thieving skills
- Bounty Hunter’s special traps can be thrown upon enemies as long as they’re not in the thief’s eyesight
- Temporary companion Yoshimo is a bounty hunter
- Special traps eventually lose their usefulness bit by bit due to high ability traps in later games.
Swashbucklers are part acrobat, part swordman, and part wit: the epitome of charm and grace.
- -1 bonus to Armor Class at 1st level, plus an additional -1 bonus every 5 levels
- -1 bonus to THAC0 and +1 bonus to damage rolls every 5 levels
- May Specialize (two slots, -1 THAC0 bonus, +2 damage rolls bonus, but does not gain extra 1/2 APR) in any melee weapons available to Thieves
- May place 3 slots into Two-Weapon style
- Gains the Whirlwind Attack HLA from the warrior pool in place of Assassination
- May not use Backstab ability
- Though have no backstab multiplier for attacks from back when invisible, swashbucklers still receives -4 THAC0 bonus for attacking from the invisibility state
- Best suggested weapons are Ninjatō of the Scarlet Brotherhood and Belm as explained on Swashbuckler specific page.
Shadowdancer (EE only)Edit
Shadowdancers can harness the power of magic to increase their stealth abilities. Enigmatic and dangerous, these uniquely skilled Thieves are able to blend seamlessly into the shadows in ways that a normal Thief cannot, striking without warning - sometimes with supernatural speed.
- +10 bonus to Hide In Shadows and Move Silently
- Hide In Plain Sight: A Shadowdancer may hide in shadows even while being observed
- May cast Shadowstep once per day. Gains one use at level 5 and an additional use every 5 levels thereafter. Step into the Shadow Plane and move for 7 seconds while others are frozen in time. The Shadowdancer cannot attack, cast spells, or use items while in the Shadow Plane and cannot use thief skills except Find Traps/Detect Illusion, Hide In Shadows. Items stolen from chests while shadowstepping will not raise any alarms.
- Slippery Mind: -1 bonus to saving throws
- Shadow Form (High Level Ability): Temporarily transposes some of the user's tissue with shadow-material, making the subject partially incorporeal. For the next 5 rounds, all physical attacks directed against the Shadowdancer only deal 50% of their normal damage. During this time, the Shadowdancer is also under the effects of Improved Invisibility and cannot be directly targeted by spells
- Shadow Maze (High Level Ability): Opens a temporary gateway to a small pocket within the Plane of Shadow. All enemies within 10 feet of the Shadowdancer must make a Save vs. Spell at a +4 penalty or become trapped inside a shadowy labyrinth as per the Maze spell
- Shadow Twin (High Level Ability): Creates an almost exact duplicate of the Shadowdancer for 2 turns. The duplicate is created at 60% of the level at which the Shadowdancer is currently on. It has all the abilities that the Shadowdancer would have at that level. It also has 60% of the Hit Points of the Shadowdancer. The duplicate is fully under the control of the Shadowdancer
- Alignment restricted to any non-lawful
- Backstab multiplier is one less than an unkitted Thief, cannot backstab until level 5: Lv1-4:x1 Lv5-8:x2 Lv9-12:x3 Lv13+:x4
- May only distribute 20 skill points per level (30 at level 1) among thieving skills
- May not use Set Snare ability, may not use Set Spike Trap, Set Exploding Trap, Set Time Trap HLAs
- Has three Prime Requisites For Dual-Classing: Strength, Dexterity (already has a min. requirement of 15) and Charisma
- You may have only one clone of Shadow Twin, but the clone can duplicate itself, so does clone’s clone, provided the shadowdancer has picked this HLA enough times. The subsequent clones are getting weaker and may not use weapon or items like the first “official” clone, but they are still able to activate the shadowdancer's special abilities, HLAs
- Since the Staff of the Magi grants invisibility when equipped, a Shadowdancer can backstab and then swap to the staff while waiting for Hide in Shadows to cool down. This offers a (less efficient) alternative to Mislead for performing multiple backstabs.
Thieves start to get HLA at level 24 and each level after, single class thieves will have 17 in total at level 40
- Assassination (Except Swashbuckler)
- Avoid Death
- Greater Evasion, requires evasion already selected.
- Scribe Scrolls, use any item is a requirement.
- Set Spike Trap (Except Shadowdancer)
- Set Exploding Trap (Except Shadowdancer)
- Set Time Trap (Except Shadowdancer)
- Use Any Item
- Whirlwind, (Swashbuckler only)
- Shadow Form (Shadowdancer only)
- Shadow Maze (Shadowdancer only)
- Shadow Twin (Shadowdancer only)
Table for experience, hit dice and weapon proficiencyEdit
|No. of HLA|
This icon indicates content from the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition campaign.
The Black Pits (2012)
This icon indicates content from the Black Pits campaign in the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.
This icon indicates content from the original Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal campaign.
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition – Shadows of Amn (2013)
This icon indicates content from the Shadows of Amn campaign of the Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition.
This icon indicates content from the Black Pits II: Gladiators of Thay campaign in the Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition.
|T Indicates the base Thief kit.|
A Indicates the Assassin kit.
B Indicates the Bounty Hunter kit.
S Indicates the Shadowdancer kit.
Character creation and development Edit
Except for swashbucklers, thieves are relatively poor melee characters:
- they have a poor THAC0 progression;
- due to their weapon proficiency caps, they're unable to receive the additional THAC0, damage or APR bonuses offered by higher proficiency levels;
- they don't have many hit points;
- their armor restrictions can result in a poor armor class value.
Here are some general ways to mitigate these shortcomings:
- Consider playing an Elf. Elves have a max Dex of 19, which not only gives them higher thieving ability scores, but it improves their ranged THAC0 and armor class. Elves also have a +1 to-hit racial bonus when using short swords and long swords.
- Halfings also have a max Dex of 19. They don't have the additional melee bonuses, but they do have access to "shorty" STs.
- See the THAC0 article for general ideas on improving that attribute
- See the Stealth article for a list of armors that will improve AC but with a (small) penalty to Thieving Abilities.
- Thieves can increase their overall melee damage output by using a two-weapon fighting style. Even with their low THAC0, if they attack more often, there's an increased chance that at least one of the attacks will connect.
- Before embracing the two-weapon fighting style, consider that:
- If the two-weapon style intrigues you, see:
- With the Cleric / Thief class, the thief gains:
- With the Fighter / Thief class, the thief gains:
- With the Mage / Thief class, the thief gains:
- access to several invisibility spells. See the Backstab article for a complete list.
- access to several spells for improving armor class and mitigating incoming damage
- access to Mislead which permits continuous backstabs, even when dual-wielding
- access to the Black Blade of Disaster, the ultimate backstabbing weapon
- easier access to the Fog of War trick
The following armor can be worn by thieves without disabling their stealth abilities.
|Armor of Deep Night||Leather||3|
|Armor of Missile Attraction||Leather||5|
|Armor of the Viper||Leather||2|
|Aslyferund Elven Chain||Chain Mail||0||Y|
|Bladesinger Chain||Chain Mail||1||Y|
|Drow Adamantine Chain||Chain Mail||0||Y|
|Drow Elven Chain||Chain Mail||2||Y|
|Elven Chain +1||Chain Mail||4||Y|
|Elven Chain Mail||Chain Mail||5||Y|
|Human Flesh +5||Leather||3|
|Karajah's Life and Death||Leather||5|
|Leather Armor +1||Leather||7|
|Leather Armor +2||Leather||6|
|Leather Armor +3||Leather||5|
|Protector of the Second||Leather||6|
|Shadow Dragon Scale||Leather||1|
|Skin of the Ghoul||Leather||4|
|Studded Leather Armor||Leather||7|
|Studded Leather Armor +1||Leather||6|
|Studded Leather Armor +2||Leather||5|
|Studded Leather of Thorns||Leather||1|
|Sylvan Chain||Chain Mail||3||Y|
|The Night's Gift||Leather||3|
|White Dragon Scale||Chain Mail||-2|
Class exclusive itemsEdit
Class Group exclusive itemsEdit
- According to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition ruleset sourcebook Player's Option: Skills & Powers, half-orcs would have a Find Traps skill five points higher than humans, which is equal for both in the Baldur's Gate series. Also would all races have a base value of ten points in Detect Illusion opposed to zero in the series, to which half-elves receive a bonus and half-orcs a penalty of five each – while dwarves and gnomes have the correct modifications to this in Baldur's Gate, those former two races miss them.
A "bugfix" for this can be installed with the unofficial mod Rogue Rebalancing.
- The Move Silently skill uses wrong values for elves, half-elves and halflings in the original Baldur's Gate II: all three races have it set five points too high. This is fixed in the Enhanced Editions.This icon indicates content from the original Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal campaign.
- Special thanks to kjeron, for the explanation of mechanics on stealing!
Gameplay (community) Edit
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