Thief (character class)

Thief, taken from the Battle for Wesnoth computer game.

The Thief, Burglar, Scoundrel, Ninja, or Rogue is a character class found in many role-playing games, including Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft and many MMORPGs. Thieves are usually stealthy and dexterous or speedy characters able to disarm traps, pick locks, spy on foes, avoid enemy detection and perform backstabs from hiding.

Thieves are usually nimble melee or ranged combatants, and tend to be focused on dodging attacks rather than withstanding damage. They often attack by dual-wielding daggers or with other small one-handed and/or concealable weapons, relying on speed and rapid strikes rather than sheer damage output. Thieves usually work in small groups or guilds. Thieves usually have a stealth ability, allowing them to disappear from sight, often this is combined with attacking an unaware or flanked opponent to inflict high damage. Although thieves may be of any moral alignment (Good, Neutral, or Evil), they are usually either required or pressured by game design to maintain a Chaotic or at least non-Lawful (i.e., Chaotic or Neutral) ethical alignment, with game design pressures including the diminution or loss of their class-specific abilities should their actions render them Lawful or on the Lawful side of a certain point within the Neutral range.

Thieves are usually restricted to the lighter armors that are easier to move in, leather and the like. While thieves typically cannot practice magic, they might use scrolls or magic items in some games; if neither options are available, then technical gadgets are used. In most fantasy settings, smaller and more agile fantasy races (like elves, gnomes and hobbits) are particularly suited for the thief class.

Dungeons & DragonsEdit

Although the thief as an archetype in role-playing games achieved popularity through Dungeons & Dragons, “Thief” in the Dungeons & Dragons game was renamed to “Rogue” in the game's Third Edition, to broaden the class to any highly skilled character[1], with "Thief" as a subclass option in the current edition[2]. Rogues in all editions are capable of doing lots of damage with “sneak attacks”, especially from behind their enemies.

Fire EmblemEdit

In the Fire Emblem games, the thief is the main class able to unlock doors and chests. Their weapon of choice is usually a sword, but in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, they use knives. In addition to opening doors and chests, they may also steal items from enemy units or lower drawbridges, depending on the game.

Thieves were not able to steal items until Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and were only limited to stealing all of the target's gold on hand by striking them. In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, thieves were able to steal any item from the enemy, as long as their Speed was greater and their Build was higher than the Weight of the item stolen. Similarly, in Path of Radiance, thieves may steal weapons and items in the same manner as Thracia 776, but only items that are unequipped. Thieves were limited to only being able to steal normal items in the GBA Fire Emblem series.

Thieves may promote to Thief Fighters, Assassins, Tricksters or Rogues, depending on the game, or not promote at all. They are generally offensively weaker than most other classes, but their high speed and skill helps them evade attacks with ease.

Ragnarok OnlineEdit

In the Ragnarok Online MMORPG, the Thief is one of the basic character classes available to the player.

In combat, Thieves rely primarily on their agility - they have moderate hit points and their attacks don't deal a lot of damage; however, thanks to their speed & agility, they are able to dodge most enemy attacks and deliver a lot of blows at the same time. While they are able to use some ranged weapons, this is rather rare; a typical Thief will be seen utilising some sort of dagger in combat, as one of the skills available only to this class greatly increases their efficiency with them.

Other abilities of the Thief include stealing items from non-player enemies, becoming invisible for a certain time (although they cannot move while in such a state), throwing rocks and/or sand at enemies, performing a basic poison attack and curing themselves (or other players) of poison. The weapons a thief may equip are bow, one-handed sword, or dagger.

A Thief who has acquired enough experience can become either an Assassin or a Rogue.


In MapleStory, thieves are one of five choices of characters. Like bowmen, they have ranged weapons, a requirement of luck and dexterity, an accuracy increasing skill, and a good balance of HP and MP. Like pirates, they have the option of a ranged weapon or melee weapon, as well as a moderate amount of HP and MP. Like the warrior they can both be equipped with daggers. And like the Magician, they rely greatly on MP, which is consumed quickly.

Rather than stealing, thieves are more based on Ninjas since very few of their attacks are theft related. They are however able to do great amounts of damage rivaling and even surpassing that of Bowmen. This does not go so much for the Bandit choice who must go close up to enemies to attack. Assassins can be a powerful class, as long as they are able to be funded with the right equipment.

Guild Wars 2Edit

A master of stealth and surprise, the Thief in Guild Wars 2 is deadly in single combat—particularly when catching enemies off guard. Thieves compensate for their medium armor and low health by being quick and evasive. They can move through the shadows, vanish into thin air, or steal items from their opponents and use them as weapons.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook Core Rulebook v3.5 (PDF) (3.5 ed.). Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. July 2003.
  2. ^ Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook (5th ed.). Wizards of the Coast. 19 August 2014.

Further readingEdit