Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Now in English! Thieves in Épées & Sorcellerie 2nd ed.

I've often thought I should translate the additional material in É&S 2nd edition into English, and Sophia's post today in an RPG group reminded me of this fact. It's a really fine game and I think everyone should try it, so to that end, I will translate bits and pieces when I have time (I'm working on 2 other projects right now which need to take priority).

So for now I present the fourth character class, The Thief.

(If you don't know about Épées & sorcellerie, you can get a  free PDF of the 2nd edition (in French), or a free English translation of the 1st edition.)

17/3/22 addendum: Extra thanks to donjondo for pointing out discrepancies in the text, which turned out to be differences between the PDF and printed version. I've amended this page to follow the print version, as the PDF had some inconsistencies.



The thief can be an acrobatic burglar, an expert treasure hunter, an unscrupulous crook, a spy devoted to a just cause, a big-hearted brigand, an audacious smuggler and many other roles besides. Because of his meticulous training, he has several special skills, which go far beyond what an ordinary individual could do faced with the same difficulties.

Hit Dice
The Thief gains 1d6 additional hit points per level up level 8. However, certain races stop gaining extra hit dice before this level.

Weapons and Armour
A thief can use all light weapons (one-handed melee and all throwing weapons) and armour (up to Chain Mail), but some of his particular abilities require certain freedom of movement. In this case, he may wear at the most leather armour, and must abandon any shield, in order to benefit from the special bonuses for these abilities. The Abilities concerned are: Sneak Attack, Reflexes, and Stealth.

Sneak Attack
When the thief manages to surprise and/or attack a target from behind, he gains an additional +2 bonus to attack. All damage caused is doubled. This ability is not effective against any creatures that do not have "backs" per se, nor against thieves of a equal or higher level.

The thief gains a +1 bonus to saving throws against traps requiring reflexes, speed, etc.

A thief is able to pick locks and disarm small traps, such as a poisoned needle in the lock of a chest or an alarm on a door), with the proper tools (+2 bonus).

Keen Hearing
The thief has developed better hearing than normal, being always on the alert. He is more likely than others to perceive suspicious or alarming noises (+2 bonus).

A thief is generally more skilled than others at hiding in the shadows, getting lost in a crowd (by disguising himself, for example) or remaining unnoticed by all those who are not paying attention (+2 bonus). Some thieves take advantage of such stealth to pick the pockets of passers-by and the unwary (+2 bonus). In addition, when he is prowling about on his own, a Thief adds his attack bonus to the normal surprise chance (2-in-6). For example, a Level 4 Thief would have 3 chances out of 6 to surprise his opponents. Carrying a light source cancels this bonus.

Beginning at level 2, a thief is able to use magic items that are normally prohibited. The thief must make a successful saving throw (10+) in order to use the object in question. A success indicates that he can use the object without risk. Scrolls and objects with charges require a saving throw for each use. If the saving throw fails, the thief is unable to use the object and may suffer damage. However, this special ability does not allow the thief to escape the effects of a cursed object.

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack  Special
  1       0        1d6      +0
  2     1 500      2d6            Cunning
  3     3 000      3d6
  4     6 000      4d6      +1
  5    12 000      5d6
  6    24 000      6d6
  7    48 000      7d6      +2
  8    96 000      8d6
  9   192 000      8d6
  10  280 000      8d6      +3
  11  340 000      8d6
  12  436 000      8d6

 this is the print version of the chart. It aligns with the example in the Stealth paragraph (which was also corrected in the print version to show the correct surprise chance). The chart in the PDF gives an attack bonus of +1 at 5th level, +2 at 8th, and +3 at 12th. 


  1. Thank you for doing these translations. It's been really great to add new content to my E&S game. I've written a follow up article to this one which you may find interesting. Thanks once again.

    1. I'm always happy to see people playing É&S. I think it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

      And thanks for your article, which I will use to correct this post.

    2. I love the system. It's my go-to fantasy RPG! No probs. Many hands make light-fingered work ;)