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Professionals

You are a member of the Organization. A group that has existed since before Rome. It’s had many names over the years; The Guild, The Brotherhood, The Agency. Always vague, always secret. The Organization brings the bonds of fraternity to an unruly group of individuals. Before you joined the Organization and became a Professional you were a Freelancer, but those days are behind you now. You are no longer out for yourself. Now you have a family.

While “Professional” might sound like a polite term for a thief but it implies membership in an Organization of Thieves  Thieves who treat their craft like a trade and want to protect its secrets. These Professionals have passed their knowledge down from generation to generation and, in some ways, have had a subtle impact on the world. The Organization is not a clandestine order bent on global domination, but a collection of like minded, like skilled individuals interested in working together for a greater cause. Or bigger score.

There are as many kinds of Professionals as there are members of the Organization. Some call themselves bandits others burglars. Mugger, pickpocket, pirate, con artist, or highway man the name they use doesn't matter, what matters the job. Their profession. Each and every member of the Organization has one goal in mind; to take something from someone else. It could be their money, their possessions, or the life. Professionals take from others.

Conversation

At it's heart, The Professionals is a conversation between everyone participating. The conversation includes literal "in-character" talking, "out-of-character" discussion, and hundred of other points in-between and beyond. There are two major parts of the conversation you're about to have. The Role-Playing side involves discussing what's happening in the story, what the Characters are doing, and what the next situation to deal with involves. The Game side involves rolling dice, overcoming Target Numbers, and figuring out how a Character's traits influence the conversation.

The Conversation should flow between these two parts, Role-Playing leading into the Game and the Game informing the next bit of Role-Playing. If everything goes smoothly you shouldn't even notice that the conversation changes. Before we can start talking about these two parts of the conversation we need to understand responsibilities of the participants to the conversation and each other.

Roles

To help facilitate the conversation participants can have one of two primary roles; The Game Master and the Players. Understanding these roles helps understand how they communicate with each other, as each role has different responsibilities to the conversation.

While each of these roles has unique responsibilities to the conversation there is some overlap between the two. Everyone participating is responsible for ensuring that everyone around them has a good time. This means making sure everyone gets a chance to speak, the other Characters get the spotlight for a moment, and that no one leaves with a major complaint. It's important to remember that the Role-Playing Game is not about a single protagonist and instead focuses on a group of people who shift between being the main character depending on where the story is at.

Hopefully you're playing with people you consider your friends. People you can talk openly and honestly with about the story and what you want from it. Communication is difficult and sometimes conveying your desires is challenging. Everyone needs to remain civil, avoid name calling or insults, and be considerate of each other's points. If you're struggling with this you might have some work to do outside of the table, on an interpersonal level. 

Game Master

The Professionals requires a single participant to take on the role of Game Master. The Game Master is the person responsible for setting the overall direction of the plot, presenting the Players with interesting situations, creating challenges for the Characters to confront, deciding how Non-Player Characters interact with the Player Characters, and managing the flow of the story in the moment. 

The Player role and Character role distinction comes into play because the Game Master should not make things challenging or difficult for the Players, just their Characters. Communication between the Game Master and the Players needs to stay open, honest, and transparent.

The Game Master must remember that their plot isn't the center of this story, just a vital part of it. The Players need to have input in the story as well.

If this was a television show or a movie production the Game Master would be the Executive Producer, Director, Head Writer, and Talent Agent. As the Executive Producer the Game Master must decide what the overall direction of the story is and work to keep things moving towards that direction. As a Director they are responsible for the current session and making sure that this story fits into the overall plot. As the Head Writer they produce ideas and approve ideas from players, deciding what becomes part of the story and what is left on the floor. As a Talent Agent they create all the non-player controlled characters and either play them or turn them over for the player's to control.

Players

Everyone else playing use the Player role. Players are responsible for responding to situations presented to them, deciding their Character's reactions to challenges, telling the Game Master what they would like to see from the story, and helping set the course for their Character's participation in the events to come. 

Players also needs to recognize that their Character isn't the center of this story, just a vital part of it. The Game Master has things they would like to see and the other players all need to have input into the story.

Returning to the television show or movie production analogy the Players are the Producers, Writing Staff, and Actors. The Players they act as Producers when they tell the Game Master what they would like to see from the story. As Writing Staff they make suggestions for scenes, complications, and outcomes for the Game Master to consider. While they typically focus their writing on their specific Character it's not unreasonable for the Player to make suggestions to other Players or even the Game Master. A good idea is a good idea, it shouldn't matter if it was the Game Master's or not. Finally, as the Actors they portray their characters in the moment, decide how they would react, and talk about where they would like to see the character taken.

Balance of Power

It's expected that everyone manages these responsibilities at once, with Players often acting as a writer for their Character's agenda one second, actor the next as they portray their Character in the scene, and wrapping up the conversation telling the Game Master where they would like to go from here. The Game Master may start as by introducing a new character before they jump to directing the scene, and then fielding ideas from the players.

If you haven't talked about what's expected from everyone this shifting of roles can become taxing and often times one or more of those duties gets neglected. The Player doesn't speak up and suggest an idea so the story moves in a sup-optimal direction. The Game Master forgets to Direct the scene because they were too busy introducing a new Non-Player Character, leaving each Player with a different vision of what the situation looks like.

To manage these responsibilities there is often an unspoken balance of power between the Game Master and the Players. Everyone expects the Game Master to consider what the Players want and to present interesting and engaging stories for them to interact with. The Players are then expected to take on the challenges and make interesting decisions to the situations presented while keeping the Game Master's direction in mind.

When Game Masters over-step their bounds they risk alienating their players with forced directions, lack of choices, or by simply not giving them anything they want to engage with. When Players over-step their bounds they can side-track the group, create points of contention, and be disruptive to the other participant's enjoyment.

When Game Masters under-step they can lose the players attention to distractions or irrelevant details. When Players under-step they can end up being nothing more than glorified dice rollers, too scared or bored to voice an opinion.

Role-Playing

Once everyone understands their roles and responsibilities to the conversation The Professionals can begin. Sessions often start with Role-Playing, but it's always possible to start the night off with the Game. Since these two elements of the conversation help inform each other there is no wrong way to get going, but for the simple sake of finding a place to start understanding how everything works we're going to start with the Role-Playing.

To start the Role-Playing conversation the Game Master presents a situation that they believe the players will find interesting and challenging. They can arrive at this situation though their own creativity, from suggestions from the players, or from published information.The Players then get to decide their Character's reactions to with consideration for the direction things are heading. They can ask questions from both the in-character and out-of-character perspective that help them decide the most likely, and interesting, response for their Characters. Once the Game Master hears how the Players wish to respond they decide on how those reactions would impact the situation and respond themselves. Sometimes this is by presenting more information, changing the situation, or engaging in the Game rules.

The most important thing is that the Role-Playing, the Game Master presenting and the Players responding, continues until there is potential for multiple interesting outcomes of a Player's action. At the absolute minimum both a successful result and a failed one must be able to lead the session forward. If the conversation can only advance when the action has one specific outcome, success or failure, then don't use the Game rules and continue Role-Playing. Whatever outcome drives the story forward, whatever result that will engage the Players, is what the Game Master should use. Good or bad. Success or failure. You should never start using the Game rules if the result could leave the story stranded.

Outcomes

One of the key elements in knowing when to transition from the Role-Playing conversation to the Game conversation is understanding the Outcomes of a Character's action. This part is exceptionally difficult to explain because there are so many outlying possibilities and edge cases a writer can't possibly be expected to cover every scenario. The most important tool you have to decide when to move from Role-Playing into Game is your own judgement. To help you build that judgement here are a handful of common occurrences you may encounter.
  • If an action could have an interesting consequence, then it's a good candidate for using Game rules.
    • If the consequence is overcome quickly and would only serve as a distraction, do not engage with the Game rules.
  • If there is no other way to progress in the story, then do not use the Game rules.
    • If the outcome simply limits the way forward, but other avenues are still an option, then the Game rules are appropriate.

Game

The goal of the Game rules are to help introduce options or factors outside of the control of anyone involved. The Game rules become useful when you reach a point in the Role-Playing that you could take things two or more ways that would be equally entertaining and the Game Master doesn't want to, or can't, decide which is best for the overall story direction.

It's easy to think that when the Game starts the conversation stops, but that isn't true. The Game is simply a more focused conversation than during Role-Playing, where little details like what Skills are relevant or what Talents would help become important. The situation the Game Master presents to the Players is no longer a creative or narrative one, but a mechanical one. The Player's decide their response based on their character sheets. The conversation is still there, it's just no longer about the overall story. It's about that moment in time when anything could happen.

To start the Game conversation the Player needs to articulate their intent to the Game Master. This is what you want your Character to accomplish with a successful die roll. Depending on your Intent, the GM has a few options. They can simply state that your Intent is well within your ability and grant automatic success. They can decide that failure isn't an interesting option or could stall the game and grant automatic success. They could decide that the Intent is impossible, improbable, or likely to stall the game and force an automatic failure. Or they could decide it's time to roll dice by assigning Target Numbers for the Intent.

Dice Notation

The Professionals uses the step-die system, meaning it utilizes dice of various sizes and acknowledges a progression of those dice from smallest to largest. In order to play you'll need an assortment of dice four-sided (d4), six-sided (d6), eight-sided (d8), ten-sided (d10), and twelve-sided (d12). Some traits also use a die pool notation, a count of how many dice of a specific size should be used. This is notated with a number before the d. If the first number is ever omitted it means only one die is rolled. If you were to see a d12 somewhere it would mean to roll one twelve-sided die while 5d6 means to roll five six-sided dice. 

Below are a handful of terms in use to help simplify explanations. 

Die RankThe number of sides on a given die, measured in d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12.
Die Rating: A number calculated by taking the number of sides on a die and dividing by two.
d4 = 2, d6 = 3, d8 = 4, d10 = 5, and d12 = 6.
Step Up: Increase a die size to the next highest die size.
Step Down: Decrease a die size to the next lowest die size.
Break Down: Replace a single die with two dice of the next step down.

Flow


Target Numbers

Before a Player can roll dice the Game Master needs to decide on the Target Number(s). 

Impersonal Actions

When a Player Character is doing something that doesn't go against another Character the Game Master considers the difficulty of the action, the complexity of the action, and the circumstances around the action.

The difficulty of the action determines how many Target Numbers are assigned. The more difficult the action is the more Target Numbers should be used. The chart below serves as a guideline for determining how many Target Numbers should be used.

 TNs  Difficulty
1 Simple
2 Routine
3 Demanding
4 Difficult
5 Challenging

Next the Game Master should consider the complexity of the task at hand. Because Professionals relies on precision, having a higher Target Number doesn't always mean it's harder. Any number between 1 and 12 can have a successful result with a single die, however 1, 2, 11, and 12 all require two dice to get to one side of a partial success, making them suitable for more complex actions. Any number less than 1 or greater than 12 must use a minimum of two dice to achieve even a success, making them candidates for very complicated actions. Game Masters should consider the standard difficulty range between 3-10 with 0 and 13 being the upper and lower limits.

Range Complexity
 0 Complicated
1–2 Complex
3–10 Basic
11–12 Complex
13  Complicated

Finally, the Game Master should consider any other circumstances around the action that could have an effect. If the situation is generally favorable for the action then the the Game Master should use Even numbers and if it's unfavorable use Odd numbers. This is because Odd numbers are harder TNs than even numbers. That might sound weird but I'll explain. Adding, or subtracting, odd numbers can provide an even result (1+1=2) but adding, or subtracting, even numbers can only provide an even result (2+2=4). If your TN is an odd number and a player rolls all evens, they can never get a full Success. 

 Parity  Favor
 Even  Favorable
 Odd  Unfavorable

Multiple Characters & Assisting

Impersonal Actions are always rolled against by a single Character. If the Action is something that multiple characters need to accomplish, then each character rolls against the Target Numbers assigned to the action. However, sometimes it is best for one character to take the lead for the group.

In these instances one Character rolls dice and every Character that doesn't want to, or can't, roll for the Action adds Target Numbers to the action for the Rolling Character. The Non-Rolling Character chooses a Skill like normal and adds it's Rating as an additional Target Number for the Rolling Character.

Unlike most other games, splitting the party is now a very valid tactic. If the group is big enough it can mean that one Character taking the lead is going to have a bunch of Target Numbers. It may be in the group's best interest to split up and attempt two different rolls to cover the rest of the group. 

Personal Actions

If the action is ever directed against a Non-Player Character the Target Numbers are decided based on the Character's Traits and not by the action itself. The Character's stat blocks indicate what their Target Numbers are.

When it comes to designing Non-Player Characters there are four variations the Game Master has at their disposal; Insignificant, Minor, Major, and Significant. None of them get Specialties and only Significant NPCs get a Talent. They all get the same standard Skill array. The difference comes with Aspects and Tools. The chart below details the Ratings available to each NPC type.
 
 - Insignificant Minor Major Significant
Skills 8, 5, 2, 11, 0, 13
Specialties n/a 
 Aspects  n/a 8 5, 8 5, 8, 11
 Tools 8 5, 8 5, 8, 11 2, 5, 8, 11
 Talents n/a 1 Talent

The numbers listed in the chart above are list from "worst" Rating to "best" Rating. An NPC with a 0 in a Trait is as complainant in that Trait as an NPC with a 13.

Multiple Characters & Assisting

Personal Actions can be rolled against by any number of Characters. This means that a group of Characters can gang up a single character far easier than a single Character can take on a large Group.

Every Non-Player Character involved in the action adds their relevant Rating to the Target Numbers. This means if you're dealing with multiple Characters they all add Target Numbers. The Game Master should keep track of which Target Numbers come from which NPC and the Players should make sure they tell the Game Master which NPC's Target Numbers they are contributing to. 

When multiple Player Characters roll against a single Non-Player Character they must all use the same Skill.

Player vs. Player

Don't settle matters between Player Characters with dice. Ever. Talk between each other, and the group, and decide on the outcome together. Don't hide behind dice to manipulate your friends.

Rolling Dice

Once you've established Intent and the GM has told you the Target Number(s) you build a dice pool. You may use any of the following dice for free. Rolling additional dice costs 1 Bit. You can also spend 1 Bit to Break Down any single Die.
  • One Skill die.
  • One Specialty die.
  • Any Tool dice.
  • Any Aspect dice.
Your goal is to match the Target Number(s) you were given or get within two points (higher or lower) that number. You can add your dice together or subtract them from each other to reach that target number.

There are three possible outcomes to a roll. 
Success happens when you can total the exact target number. 
Partial Success happens when are at least within two points (higher or lower) than the target number. 
Failure happens if you’re outside of the range of a Partial Success.

Target Number Example
Success Partial Success Failure
1 -1–0 & 2–3 <= -2 & >= 8
7 5–6 & 8–9 <= 4 & >= 10
12 10–11 & 13–14 <= 9 & >= 15

Success & Failure

A Success means that the character gets whatever their Intent was.

A Partial Successes means that the character achieves their Intent but also suffers a Consequence. The player may pay a Bit to forfeit their Intent and avoid the Consequence.

A Failure always prevents characters from achieving their Intent and inflicts a Consequence. There is no way to avoid the Consequence of a failure, however, failures allow for Adaptation. Adaptation is the ability to shift traits around at the cost of Bits.

When dealing with multiple Target Numbers, every TN must be a Success or Partial Success for the Intent to be achieved. Partial Success and Failures each add Consequences, meaning you could take multiple Consequences from a single roll. Even a single Failure however results in a Failure of the Intent. It can be better to take a Failure to avoid a barrage of Consequences; If the choice is between three Partial Success, with three Consequences, or two Successes and Failure, with one Consequence.

Consequences

If there are Target Number(s) there must be Consequences. Consequences are incurred when you fail to match a Target Number. They are all the things that work against your character. While they always have a narrative element they also have mechanical effects on the character as well. 

Whenever a roll results in a Partial Success of a Failure the character incurs a Consequence based on the Skill used in the roll. For Impersonal Actions the Skill effect is the main Skill used in the roll. For Personal Actions the effected Skill is always the main Skill used against the Character. 

Every Consequences decreases the number of dice a character can use for specific SkillAfter rolling that Skill the Player must pick a number of dice equal to the Consequence Rating to discard before applying any dice to their Target Number.

Consequences last until they are resolved, but what it takes to resolve a Consequence is often dependent on the stakes of the Intent. Some go away when the current scene ends, others linger until the Character does something to fix the problem. Consequences like physical injuries need to be medically treated, alarms being raised can often be resolved by leaving the scene. 

Sometimes a Player will have a good idea for consequences of an action. While it is often be the Game Master who brings the Game into play and decides the consequences it's these times when Players can ask to use the Game rules and make suggestions. It's less important that the Game Master decides the consequences and more important that everything is entertaining to the group. The Game Master still needs final say, sometimes the suggested consequence could radically alter the story's direction, but in general everyone should feel free to contribute when they have an idea.

Rewards

No matter the result, there is always a chance to earn some Bits when you roll. If you achieve a Success or Partial Success you earn one Bit for every two dice you didn't use to match a Target Number. If there is one Failure to match a Target Number you earn one Bit for every original, unbroken die, in the pool instead.

Resolutions

After the dice Are rolled and everyone has taken stock of their successes and consequences it's time to resolve the Game conversation and move back to the Role-Playing. Making sure that the effects of the Game rules connect to the Role-Playing is a vital part of the game. Never let dice be rolled without having something happen in the story. 

The idea here is that Role-Playing flows smoothly into Gaming and then Gaming flows back into the Role-Playing to close the circle. This system, properly implemented and managed, leads to role-playing actions having outcomes that lead to game interaction which present resolutions. The resolutions are them felt in the role-playing which directs the next set of actions to their outcomes for the game interaction and so on. 

Game Example

Mahmoud Atef

Profession: 1d4
Bits: 1

Skills
Covert: d12\6
Hide: d8\4
Sneak: d6\3
Stash: d4\2
Steal: d10\5
Unlock: d6\3
Swipe: d6\3
Scrounge: d4\2
Notice: d8\4
Focus: d6\3
Alert: d6\3
Escape: d6\3
Climb: d4\2
Run: d6\3
Talk: 0\0
Fight: d4\2
Aim: d6\3

Character Aspects
Best Thief in the World: d6\3
Audacious: d10\5
Always Has a Way Out: d8\4

Tools
Lockpicks: d6\3 & d8\4
Crossbow: d10\5

Talents
Shroud of Night: Spend a Bit; Create
an area of darkness, swallowing and
suppressing all light, except sunlight.
All Covert Skills may be Broken Down
once for free while inside the Shroud.

Trophies
A Lock of Selene's Hair: d6\3
Rob and Mike sit down to play a game, Rob takes on the Game Master (GM) role while Mike is a Player. Mike's Character, Mahmoud Atef, is detailed to the right for reference. 

Rob opens by telling Mike that it's a dark and stormy night, the perfect setting for a little skullduggery. Mahmoud has found himself outside of a mansion of a well-to-do noble and plans to take the greedy aristocrat for all he's worth. Mike tells Rob that ideally, Mahmoud would like to pick the lock to slip into the house, but Rob tells him that this particular Lord has been robbed several times in the past and has invested in some pretty hefty security. Mike laughs and admits that this isn't his first time robbing this house.

Rob tells Mike that it will be a TN 2, 6, 9, and 13 to pick the locks on the main entrance. Mike says that Mahmoud doesn't care for those odds and decides to check the back and side door. What do you know, security here is a little lighter. Rob informs Mike that I will only be a TN 4 and 7 to pick the lock and slip into the mansion through the servant's door.

Since Mahmoud is pretty good at this Mike feels confidant in his odds. He starts gathering his dice pool; Steal Skill (d10), Unlock Specialty (d6), Audacious Aspect (d10), and Lockpick Tools (d6 & d8). Everything he's using is pretty obvious to Rob, except for Audacious. Mike explains that it's this kind of bravado, breaking into a secure mansion... that he's already broken into before... all alone, that Mahmoud thrives at. Rob agrees and Mike is allowed to keep the Audacious Aspect. Mike's pool is 2d10, 1d8 & 2d6. He rolls and gets:

2, 8, 6, 4, 4

Mike uses the 4 to get a Success on the TN 4 and the 8 to get a Partial Success on the TN 7. He has three dice left unused so he converts two of them to 1 Bit (bringing him to 2 Bits.) Rob then tells him the Consequence he has to deal with because of the Partial Success. Mahmoud leaves traces of a break in behind and that he now has a +1 Die Limit to Escape Rolls for the duration of the Heist. Mike declines spending a Bit to avoid the Complication, valuing the Success more than the Consequence.

Emerging from the cold rain, Mahmoud finds himself in the hallway leading to the kitchen. He can see shadows dancing in the servant's hall ahead and decides to use his Talent, Shroud of Night, to darken the hallway. Rob agrees that this will be more than enough for Mahmoud slip past the servant's hall unseen, and that there is no need for a roll. Mike notes that he spend a Bit (bringing him to 1 Bit) Mahmoud quickly makes his way upstairs.

Soon Mahmoud is in a guest room and decides to take it for all it's worth. This time Mike asks if he can make a Scrounge roll to toss the room and find something really worth his time. Rob agrees and assigns a TN 14. Mike gathers up his pool; Steal Skill (d10), Scrounge Specialty (d4), and his Best Thief in the World Aspect (d6). This time the Rob understands why Mike is using every Trait he gathered. Mike spends one Bit (bringing him to zero Bits) to break down his Best Thief in the World Aspect into 2d4 resulting in a pool of 1d10 and 3d4. He rolls his dice and gets:

10, 3, 2, 1

He uses the 10, adds the 3, and adds the 1 to get to a perfect 14. He has one die remaining so he doesn't get any Bits. Rob tells him he finds a d10 Trophy and a d4 Trophy, not a bad little haul for the first room. Pocketing his find he moves on to the next room and asks to Scrounge again. Not wanting the game to turn into a room-by-room Scrounge-Crawl, the Rob instead asks for a Covert roll... There is someone sleeping in this room! 

Sleeping Guest

Skills
Covert: 2
Steal: 0
Notice: 5
Escape: 4
Talk: 6
Fight: 3

Aspects
Light Sleeper: 2
Mahmoud smiles. While he's a great thief, he's even better at stealth. He asks Rob what his TN is and Rob consults the NPC's sheet for reference. The guest has a Notice of 5 and a Light Sleeper Aspect at 2. 

Rob could either make a single TN of 7 or use both as two TNs. He opts to use both and informs Mike that his TN is 2 and 5. Miek gathers his dice; Covert Skill (d12), Sneak Specialty (d6), and Audacious (d6). His pool ends up being 1d12 and 2d6. He rolls and gets:

1, 6, 3

Mike subtracts 1 from 6 to get the 5 he needs for a Success TN 5 and then uses the 3 for the TN 2 getting only a Partial Success. Mike uses all his dice, leaving no extras for Bits. Rob tells Mike that he's undetected, but the man stirs in his sleep, forcing Mahmoud into the hallway.Undeterred Mahmoud begins to make his way to the next room, only to heavy hear footsteps coming his way. 

Mike asks if he can make a Notice roll to tell who's coming but Rob tells him that the footfalls are easily identifiable to a thief like Mahmoud. Those are guard's boots. Fighting a Guard is the last thing Mahmoud wants to do, so Mike asks about hiding somewhere. Rob tells him the hall doesn't have any crevasses large enough to squeeze into. Mike wants to use his Shroud of Night Talent again but doesn't have an Bits left for it. Mahmoud curses and decides to simply run for it. Rob nods and looks at the Guard's sheet for reference. 

Guard Patrol

Skills
Covert: 3
Steal: 0
Notice: 5
Escape: 4
Talk: 2
Fight: 6

Aspects
Ever Vigilant: 2
Fresh Faced: 3

Tools
Club: 4
Lantern: 2
The Guard has a few traits to use for this, his Notice (5), Ever Vigilant (2), Fresh Faced (3), and Lantern (2) could all help spot Mahmoud before he gets away. Mike asks what "Fresh Faced" means and Rob explains that this guard is new on the job and extra dilligant in his rounds. Mike sighs and mutters something about his luck. Rob decides to use two TN 5s and one TN 2. A decent challenge for Mahmoud.

Mike gathers his dice, Escape (d6), Run (d6), Audacious (d6), and Always Has a Way Out (d8). Rob asks for Mike to explain how Audacious is helping him and Mike thinks about it for a second before admitting it would likely work against him. Rob agrees and instead of adding it to his pool, Mike gains a Bit and adds a TN 3 to the challenge. Mike then decides to spend the Bit to add his Covert (d12) and Sneak (d6) to the pool for a total of 1d12, 1d8, and 3d6. He rolls:

6, 6, 6, 4, 1

Rob then reminds Mike that he has a Die Limit for Escape Rolls! Mike chooses to discard one of the 6s. He uses the other two 6s for the two TN 5s, getting two Partial Successes. He then uses the 4 against the TN 3 for a third Partial Success and the 1 against the TN 2 for a fourth Partial Success. There are no remaining dice for Mahmoud to get Bits from and with his pool exhausted it looks like Mahmoud is stuck with four Consequences. Rob tells Mike about his mad dash down the hall and a dive from the window into the the bushes outside. For the first two Consequences, Mahmoud gets cut up from the window and bruised from the fall, a +2 Die Limit on any Physical Rolls until he can get medical attention. In his dash he damages one of his Trophies, lowering his d10 Trophy to a d8. Then for the final Consequence the Guard managed to see Mahmoud's face, so the city watch is going to start looking for him. This means Mike's +1 Die Limit on Escape rolls is extended past the heist and remains in effect until heat from the City Watch dies down. Mike thinks that's fair and doesn't protest further. He's away from the Mansion, a little battered up, but with some some nice Trophies for his time.


What is it that I like about thieves?
  1. Avoidance. A thief never wants to tackle anything heads on. They need to think about their problem, some up with clever or creative solutions, and avoid conflict at all costs. Nobody ever knows a good thief was even around until they realize something is missing. 
    • This is the idea being the "precision" mechanic. Instead of tackling a problem head on (simply beating a Target Number), the Character needs to look at what's in play and pick the right advantages for the job.
  2. Competency. Thieves need to be highly skilled, trained, and talented people. Things like sleight of hand, palming, and lock picking all take years to master. While there is room for thieves to grow and learn I like when success is the default outcome.
    • This is shown in how difficult it is for the Characters to actually Fail a roll. Often times Failure comes as choice, often between a Success with a Failure or two Partial Successes.
  3. Teamwork. There are a lot of good stories about solo thieves but to pull off the big heists you always need a crew. It’s easy to fall into the loner mentality when playing a thief in a group of adventurers, but when you’re in a group thieves there needs to be more trust and respect. 
    • This is why every character has a Skill group they are missing and the Profession stat is a shared resource. A single Character can do a lot, but they can't do everything.