All PCs are Thieves

Over the past five months I've drawn over 144 wizards, thieves and fighters. Characters, vignettes and accompanying texts. A number I've also published here.

The Wizards were easy. They're madmen, plumbing the depths of creation, seeking knowledge humanity was not meant to know, bringing magic, science and weirdness into the fantasy rpg. A wizard as an opponent in a game of D&D is the perfect opponent. It takes so little to make them wrong. The corruption of magic can make dispatching a wizard, even one who is good at heart, an act of mercy. No hero needs feel bad about dispatching a wizard.

The Fighters were also easy. They represent power, hierarchy, strength, domination. A wizard breaks the rules of reality to get to the top, a fighter is the top. Two heroes walk into a ring, one comes out. That is the fighter. A fighter represents the Man and it is so easy for the power of the fighter to corrupt. After all, there can be only one.

But Thieves. Making thief-type opponents is hard, because by their nature they are not the opponents of PCs. They are not kshatriyas or brahmins, they are not in positions of power, they do not seek to spit in the eyes of gods and demons with their magics. They are the underdogs. Ordinary folks getting by on guts and guile.

Thieves are essentially all adventurers. At best, they are competitors, but not opponents.

Prometheus. Heinrich Füger 1817
Prometheus. Anansi. Loki. Robin Hood. Reynard the Fox. Bilbo. Aladdin. Sinbad. Odysseus. Theseus. Conan. Brier Rabbit. Coyote. Bart Simpson. The Doctor. Bugs Bunny. Benjamin. All of them are "Thieves" and "Upstarts" against the order. Against the Man. Sneaking into the Scary Wizard's Temple to steal a ruby. Overthrowing a tyrant king. Going against the giants. Assassinating a hobgoblin holy man to prevent the downtrodden goblinoid masses rising up against the rightful elven aristocracy.

The only thieves are the ones who overthrow the tyrant and then put themselves in his place, becoming the Man, the Wizard, the Priest.

At the core of the D&D adventure is a group of down-on-their-lucks making it in the big world. Rising up, against all odds. To do this they use guile, trickery, guts and if they don't die, they achieve glory. In essence, it doesn't matter if a 1st level character is a barbarian or a bard or a warlord (terrible class name, by the way), they're all thieves.

And that's why setting thieves as opponents is kind of crappy. They're thieves because they're the underdogs and have to fight a sneaky battle against those in power. And that's why following Elminster the All-powerful's instructions is kind of lame, because it's just doing what the authority tells you.

The PCs are in a fantasy world where they can overturn everything at no cost. And now, they're going to follow orders from the Man to keep things the way they are. How boring!

Subvert the order! Bring down the Fighters and the Wizards that keep the common goblin down!

d12 Table: As you leave the Popular Noble King Wizard's Audience Chamber

  1. a maiden slips you a discrete silk purse that holds a crystal rose and a scented letter alleging that the king has had six secret sons imprisoned in a crypt beneath the citadel of City Over.
  2. a group of petitioners with magic cabbage growing from their ears are beaten away from the doors by the NKW Police.
  3. an NKW security wagon rumbles by, three captured goblins inside, destined for the NKW processing facility five.
  4. a merchant comes to you, offering to pay for goblin futures on scalps you'll collect cleaning the New Expanse of their troublesome hides. He'll give you 50% on the rate, so you can armour before you go to the New Expanse.
  5. a group of peasants with placards protesting the price freeze on turnips imposed by the NKW to fight speculators and kulaks. A group of Official Trading House accountants laughs at them from their coach and throw turnip pies at them.
  6. a nobly accoutred knight pulls you aside and mentions that if you do well in clearing out the Marble Quarries of Marmarra of the filthy kobold raiders, he may have a job protecting the tax collectors in the Western Ranch Reach.
  7. an astrologer attorney offers additional money if you also bring her any patent amulets on farms and mines that the goblins might have stolen in their raids. The goblins don't realize that these trinkets are valuable, if properly argued in the NKW property protection courts.
  8. a preacher stands on a box ranting about the inhumanity of the filthy hobgoblins in the New Expanse, who continue to pollute the Good Folk with their robbery and brigandage and breeding like rabbits and bringing sexual diseases and corrupting young folk with filthy notions and stealing young men for their lust matriarchs. The ranting goes on. And on.
  9. a noble scribe comes to mention that he knows a specialist interested in live goblins as test subjects (for a spell that will allow for the more effective fumigation of the New Expanses) and will pay 'andsomely for them. He passes an address in the Fine Warehouse Quarter of City Magnificence.
  10. a woman in a great dun coat whispers if you want any illegal goblin tech to help you out, maybe some of their cryptic mesomorphic keys to help you out in the Rainbow Ruins?
  11. a troop of proud young recruits, chests puffed and wearing the silver and red livery of the Righteous Fighters of the NKW march back and forth in the parade square, groups of young fine women swoon delicately, peddlers offer snacks, shoe shining and grooming for pennies.
  12. a number of drunken NKW university students accost several half-goblin slaves and beat them with smelly salamis while onlookers cheer and wager.


30wizards - The Soft Cloud

The Soft Cloud

HD 5-5 - massive but soft
AC 8 - pillowy
Atk 1d4-1 - intoxicating, gentle and filling

Glorious ruler gently rests, smoking the Pipe of Djinn on the Throne of Little Three-Eyed Thralls while contemplating the world through the colour haze of trans-plutonian existence.


  • Little Three-Eyed Thralls - numerous, cute, lasagna-eating menaces. A vigorous shakeup of their hierarchy is a common spectator sport. HD 1-1, AC 13, Atk 1d4 poisoned lasagna, see your embarrassing secret.
  • Chair Golem - immobile but unforgetting, golem immunities from below and behind. HD 2, AC 18.


  • Pipe of Djinn - summons gin vapors and communicates with a Djinn named Eugene. Intoxicating
  • Colour Haze of Trans-Plutonian Existence - a void-traversing communication-enabling spell. Enlightenment brings confusion. Confusion brings release. Answers are questions wreathed in purple.

Someone has stolen my Throne and now the Thralls won’t carry me!

  1. It was Pneumato, the Gas Wizard!
  2. Perhaps it was just misplaced in Trans-Plutonia?
  3. It’s a Thrall Revolution! Lasagna for the masses!
  4. There is no throne. The pipe is corrupted.

Eugene the Djinn has a well-laid business proposition for a gin franchise. It will be a success.

  1. I will never let him go! He’s my only friend!
  2. Gin?! Who would ever drink that! Folly!
  3. The Polly Pogue Gang won’t stand for that. It has a nice Cracker Jack racket going.
  4. But to release him, some gentle virgin must drink the Aetherial Gin Prison! It turns mortals into (1) rainbows, (2) potatoes, (3) water nymphs, (4) cheese, (5) iron golems and (6) a shrubbery.


SUD: Session 3 - Three Wizard Time

Three Wizards Walk (and are Carried) About

Dramatis personae:

  • The Astrolomancer, a quarterling astrolomancer with a tarot deck, some crappy illusion spells and the summoning spell from lotfp
  • The Psychotropic Neomarxist Healer, a priest of empowerment with a lot of psychotropic herbs and a few crappy healing spells
  • The Pretty Pot, a magic pot with an unseen servant, charm spells and the ability to brew potions inside itself.

... after becoming friends with the slothrog and releasing it. They wander into the Reaver Camp. After putting on a harmonica duel with one of the pirates, sharing some long pig, charming another pirate and singing an epic poem in praise of Fooloo, first mate, they are acclaimed as true friends. The pirates pay them for the entertainment and the charmed pirate, 'Chunky', joins as a henchman carrying The Pot.

They arrive at the Golden Barge and spot the skeletons on it. After denting the barge, a skeleton comes to fix it. With mending, they help fixing it. They engage the skeleton in conversation and soon prove that they too abhor "the flesh demons" and point to the pot, the mending and some illusion magics as proof. After demonstrating their "non-fleshiness" to some more skeletons they are allowed in.

The skeletons take them to see the "Great Machine Mind", while equipping them with some sentient snacks to deliver. At the foot of the great staircase they run into the great ape dropping barrels on them. After very little thought the Astrolomancer summons an arachnid demon from the great icy seas of chaos that is 'immune to all physical attacks'. It promptly breaks free of his control.

Making themselves scarce (crappy illusions, darkness, phantasmal barrier and some other stuff) the summoned demon goes after the ape. Bypassing the whole battle they enter the "Control Chamber" where they find the odd-headed supercilious and sniffy creature with a vibro axe trying to activate the "mind-machine-interface-helmet". Eventually they lure the demon inside and close the door behind them, while they rest.

Returning an hour later, the room is a mess, the demon has evaporated back into the seas of great icy chaos and they discover that they don't know the odd language to control the machine. Disappointed they proceed to poke around further in the barge, picking up some books, discovering great hamster wheels, and deciding to discover another of these "odd-heads" to use them to control the "great machine mind".

Then they politely leave, thanking the skeletons for their help.

Weirdness: 4/5
Bypassing Combat: 5/5

(Golden Goats Session 58)


30wizards - Kromo Reza the First Version Sword

Kromo Reza the Sword V1

HD 2+10 - heavy and metal.
AC 18 - high and strong
Atk 2d6+6 - proud and mental, the greatsword glimmers

Great magus of the metal order, binder of demons, witch king of barbarians, poses with the great thrall Littlehead Metalknees.


  • Servant Littlehead Metalknees - a mind closed to reason and influence, a strength to bring down great goats. HD 6, AC 16, Atk 2d6+6 and the Words of Metal.


  • Bewitch Barbarians - influence speakers of unintelligible tongues by waving hands and flashing metal eyes.
  • Hill-arising Runes - they do make the hills walk and the lowlanders quake in fear. "Gor na gor bo goru!"
  • Metalknees - heavy metal knees that stomp and shake the ground and mark the true thrall. Prosthetic.


  1. Worship me, fleshy warrior, and I will make you King!
  2. Sacrifice your most beloved sheep to me, that I see your heart is truly mine.
  3. Wield me and your bones will be as iron.
  4. Climb the peak of Ca-Ru-Na, defeat the three-headed bird Alabu and call the Lightning!
  5. Eat the soul of the horned wolf and your mind shall be closed to all ill magics! I swear!
  6. Expose the 3 Words of Metal!

The Three Words:

  1. Ca (death) is visited by those you strike in my name! (save vs. death)
  2. Ru (black) blinding ink fills the eyes of the stricken! (save vs. blindness)
  3. Na (dark) lights burn dark and shed night around us!

Pull me from the stone!

  1. Free! Free at last! Die mortal spunk!
  2. Ga-ju-ga! My task is complete! You are unbound!
  3. As a boon, that stone is now Glod. Enjoy him.
  4. Yeah ... that was anti-climactic. Do you have a body ready for me to inhabit?


30wizards - Baron Baron

Baron Baron of Baronia

HD 2+2 - arrogantly low
AC 13 - quite unnecessary
Atk 1d6 - sharp and to the point

Hat trick wizard and summoner of rabbits of Arrgh, tips the Hat of Conjuration to you. With the Cape of Night and the Black Pince-Nez of Rainbows, how can you stand against his magnificent thinness?
  • Pince-Nez of Rainbows - summons rainbows and holy divers. May avert evil eye (4 in 6).
  • Cape of Night - Night is still looking for it. Inverts circadian rhythms. Causes insomnia. Is a very dark white. Protects against sun burn.
  • Hat of Arrgh - summons Beast of Arrgh. Does not come with instructions. HD 1+1, AC 20, Atk 2d6 vorpal.
  • Barron’s Ballistic Bunny - rodents fear a spell that accelerates them in ballistic trajectories. 
  • Get Real Thin - reduces body volume while maintaining mass by a factor of up to π.

Complaints in the Court of Confusions

  1. My neck fell off.
  2. It’s right there, sir. Are you mad?
  3. It must have been the purple lotus!
  4. There are myrmidonoborgs in the Iron Machine of Mulachi that make new ones!
  5. Why do you want mine? It’s still attached!
  6. The new caryatid cravats will be the rage of the season, just ask Lady Flightshade.
  7. And inside was this pearl choker. Perhaps it will convince the Silver Priestess to go to the Feast of Fools with me?
  8. My dumnorian iron dwarf servant is Rusty. It’s just a bad joke. The red-haired dwarf still has no soul. Does it eat children?


30wizards - First Wizard

First Wizard Tentaclebeard

HD 7 - elegant
AC 7* - untouchable
Atk 2d7 - sparkly

Slayer of the Scumbag Sorcerer, Defeater of the Douche Demonist, the Evil Elementalist and the Wanker Wizard.
  • Scarf of the Tentabeard - stops hearts with its touch and charms cephalopods.
  • Eary Robe-hat of Sparkles - imbued with magic by the Mad Arch-Imp ‘Cat’ Cheerdrums.
  • First Wizard’s Misrule - a cursory spell that inspires drunkenness and wild partying.
  • Orb of Rubber - bounces and brings the bouncy back
  • My other house is a cake-shaped crypt.

Who Will Rid Me of this Self-Absorbed Fairy Princess?
  1. She ate all my cross-pies!
  2. Those were priceless experiments, not imp-cakes!
  3. I will not be humiliated and sparkle in daylight again!
  4. He said he was a princess!
  5. There is now a temporal vortex in my lavatory. Ah.
  6. How dare she turn my snakes into socks?!

There is a filthy goblin in the basement playing checkers with a ghost in her head.