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Archetypes

Greenstone.Walker

Registered User
Thief/assassin/arcanetrickster. Skills such as second-story work go against the character iam trying to build. Do I just ignore that part of the archetype? The character is supposed to be a geeky lockpicker who really enjoys the problem solving of traps, not a wall scaling, pocket picking thief who just happens to be good at locks/traps.
Here's an alternative suggestion - don't play a Rogue.

The character you describe could be a Fighter or a Bard or a Monk. A background (Guild Artisan, perhaps) can give you proficiency in thief's tools.

Rogues do not have to be thieves; thieves do not have to be Rogues.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
makes sense lads/ladies. I guess iam just coming from a time when you put % into the skills you wanted or used. never did backstab with that character. quarterstaffs were way more useful at triggering traps when they couldn't be disarmed
As someone who loved his 3.5 Ranger micromanaging skills... I understand what your saying. It is a bit different having skills that are so broad. I have to remind myself that the archatype names are not what you call yourself in game but reference for meta game simplicity. What I mean is a "rogue thief" in no way shape or form has to be roguish or an evil thief. They could easily be a former City Guard Quartermaster, who knows locks and traps from years of designing and placing them legally as part of his job to protect equipment from theft instead and knows how the hide valuables to protect them which gives him a good idea where to search for them. Its actually, interesting to play the inverse of the name because usually a role has a counter role with similar skills because they need to know their enemy.

In that same vain, a Thief, a Captain of the guard, and a detective could all very easily have the same skill set. We have "rogue" in our group now that specializes in operational security (scouting and ensuring we are save as we move forward) and item recover, meaning he steals but mostly steals back from thieves returning them to proper owners. That means he makes less profit but he doesn't have to hid his activities and has no risk of going to jail being views like a private eye and supplement to busy town guards with a wider range of service.

I find my GM has more problem with that than me. I am playing a warlock and we had a number of sessions where he was trying to paint me as evil and I had to confront him asking why. He originally said, "well you made a deal with an evil being" I pointed out that only "The Fiend" patron is by nature evil. The ArchFey and Celestial Patrons could very likely be good, Hexblades are "generally" hunters of the undead from their Raven Queen Roots, and Undying is somewhat natural. I choose The Old One described as, "The Great Old One might be unaware of your existence or entirely indifferent to you, but the secrets you have learned allow you to draw your magic from it." which I described my "pact" as an accident of cult experimentation on me while I was captive. The patron doesn't necessarily know I exist nor do I know or understand my patron. So what have I done that makes me evil? It took the GM almost a year to come around to the idea that I could be an involuntary warlock who the patron doesn't know exist and not an evil PC searching for power. Made for some interesting session when my patron became aware of me and I of it. Until then, my farm boy become warlock thought he was a sorcerer per my character flaws, though other know what he was and didn't have the heart to tell him because of "evil implications".

It took me a while to adapt to this because in 3.5 you were much more what you picked than a summery of skills and abilities you take. In 3.5 I was a ranger hunter of the undead and my character know it and it was all supported in the rules. In 5e I originally felt I couldn't do anything because it wasn't spelled out, then I eventually learned I could do anything because I wasn't tied down... well … as long as I can explain it to my GM and get him on board. So their is a bit more GM acceptance requirement than 3.5 where their was no room for GM bias base interpretation. That may have always been and option in concept but my 3.5 GMs were very much "it is as the book says". So a thief was a thief. I like being able to be a city investigator by background and keeping that as a security specialist using the thief subclass.
 
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akr71

Explorer
What [MENTION=6801213]akr71[/MENTION] said. Plus take the Guild Artisan background as a locksmith. Pick Tinker's tools to go along with your Thieves' Tools. Maybe later, take a multiclass dip into Wizard just to learn Knock and Arcane Lock.

In the end, though, it's not up to the books to make your concept work. It's up to you to make it work. Any 5e DM should be on board - 5e is as flexible as you and your DM want it to be. Remember 5e's basic premise: have fun!
Ooh! Guild Artisan crossed my mind, but I didn't think about Tinker's Tools!

Disarm traps, if they've removable (ie on a chest or something), tinker with them, learn how they work and build and modify them.
 
makes sense lads/ladies. I guess iam just coming from a time when you put % into the skills you wanted or used. never did backstab with that character. quarterstaffs were way more useful at triggering traps when they couldn't be disarmed
Think of it this way: the character mechanics you want to support your old AD&D2e character concept are all present in a 5e Rogue (Thief) with certain skill/tool proficiency selection and perhaps background choice.

In 5e, you just get some extra things on top of that to keep your rogue contributing/surviving in combat.

In fact IIRC, back in AD&D2e, your rogue character couldn't even be of Lawful Good alignment! So there's one thing you can be grateful for having changed.
 

Azzy

Explorer
But regardless of that, 5e provides many ways for you to play a locksmith/trapsmith. You can pick absolutely any class you want, fighter, ranger, wizard, whatever. Then grab whatever background looks like the best fit, flavor-wise, and swap out the skills for whatever you want and take Thieves' tools and tinker's tools instead of whatever languages/tools the background gives.

The backgrounds presented are simply examples and the Players Handbook tells you to customize them as you want.
This.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
I think you are taking my confusion as complaining. Like the title of the thread says, I am referring to the 3rd level archetypes provided to the class. Thief/assassin/arcanetrickster. Skills such as second-story work go against the character iam trying to build. Do I just ignore that part of the archetype? The character is supposed to be a geeky lockpicker who really enjoys the problem solving of traps, not a wall scaling, pocket picking thief who just happens to be good at locks/traps. A lot of great insight here.
I would consider The New Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron Mark of warding dwarf race which is House Kundarak with smith tools proficiency + "Master of Locks" ability (When you make an Intelligence (History), Intelligence (Investigation), or Thieves’ Tools check involving lock and trap mechanisms, you can roll one Intuition die, a d4, and add the number rolled to the ability check.) and possibly double down on that with the background House Agent (Kundarak) -> thieves tools and tinker’s tools. Then House Kundarak is just what ever guild you and your GM agree it is.

This frees up your actual class to be what ever makes since to you and not need to be a "rogue" unless you so chose. With a primary Archetype of dwarf locksmith you could easily be Forge Domain Cleric, Champion Fighter as dwarf being a dwarf and having the locksmith part covered, Rogue Inquisitive rooting out secret and traps keeping eye out both for safety but also out of prelesional curiosity (if you want to keep the "rogue" style play), a Drunken Master Monk (because as much as dwarfs drink you could have just learned to fight in bars in your natural state, and this means your an unarmored fighter instead of a locksmith in armor with combat skill for some reason. This is my favorite based on your first description the race and background cover your locksmith goals and essentially your class is your usually drunk and better fighter than people expect. lol it also has access to many rogue abilities, some identical, for a similar type of play trading martial arts attack die and multiple attacks instead of backstab.)
 
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Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
You cant play this character because at level 3 you are forced to pick either a Thief/assassin/arcane trickster archetype. None of which are conducive to the character I described
Thief is a vanilla rogue (2nd edition) / thief (1st edition). Your statement is factually incorrect.

5e is better than those editions if you want to create a less standard character. You might perhaps look at the Scout and Investigative archetypes in Xanthar's Guide if you want a rogue who isn't into climbing.
 
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To the OP:
In 5e it is even better: the class doesn't even matter.
Your dwarven locksmith does not need to be a rogue, but can be any class!

And with a feat from Xanathar's / Unearthed Arcana / Homebrew, you can get as good as the rogue with expertise in thieves' tools.
 

WolfhillRPG

Villager
It seems like I need to adjust my understanding of the 5e rules. I didn't realize the level of diversity the backgrounds offered. It seems like the background defines the character more than the class now. thanks for the input.
 

Azzy

Explorer
It seems like I need to adjust my understanding of the 5e rules. I didn't realize the level of diversity the backgrounds offered. It seems like the background defines the character more than the class now. thanks for the input.
I wouldn't say more. Backgrounds are just that—they define who the character was/is prior to their current adventures. Classes still define what you're capable of and your main abilities.
 

DM Dave1

Explorer
It seems like I need to adjust my understanding of the 5e rules. I didn't realize the level of diversity the backgrounds offered. It seems like the background defines the character more than the class now. thanks for the input.
I wouldn't say more. Backgrounds are just that—they define who the character was/is prior to their current adventures. Classes still define what you're capable of and your main abilities.
I'd add that backgrounds, while not necessarily the major defining characteristic of a PC, can really serve to differentiate your PC from another PC with the same class or even the same Archetype. The small mechanical boosts they each provide certainly add to that differentiation.

As the PHB backgrounds are intended as samples, players should feel free to work with their DM to create their own. As long as it is comparable in power to others, it should be good to go.

I'd recommend doing a quick search for Backgrounds on www.DMsGuild.com -- lots of great free ideas to be gleaned. Enjoy!
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
In the end, though, it's not up to the books to make your concept work. It's up to you to make it work. Any 5e DM should be on board - 5e is as flexible as you and your DM want it to be. Remember 5e's basic premise: have fun!
I couldn't disagree more. It's a sign of a good system that it can realize mechanically a concept a player has.

5e is decent at this. Heck, this particular concept could be done with straight rogue, with background and a different class, with multiclassing, etc. The concept of "Lawful good dwarf locksmith who loves traps" is not a deep concept, we can realize it several ways. Especially since unlike earlier editions you don't need to keep pumping skill ranks into it so it's something we can set up early and then take levels of other classes to realize further aspects of the character.

Heck, take Rogue 2 / Fighter X, with the Guild Artisan background to make the character as a legitimate locksmith and part of the guild. That gets someone with expertise in the appropriate skills / tools, avoid the "thief" subclass, and then end up more traditionally dwarf-like. Or really any other class.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
The thing is, if someone makes a character who is only good at picking locks and disarming traps, what do they do if the adventure has no locks or traps?
 

Hriston

Explorer
The thing is, if someone makes a character who is only good at picking locks and disarming traps, what do they do if the adventure has no locks or traps?
They should talk to the DM and tell them they expected there to be some locks and traps in the adventure and ask them if they would add some, so they can play their character the way they imagined it.
 

DM Dave1

Explorer
I couldn't disagree more. It's a sign of a good system that it can realize mechanically a concept a player has.

5e is decent at this. Heck, this particular concept could be done with straight rogue, with background and a different class, with multiclassing, etc. The concept of "Lawful good dwarf locksmith who loves traps" is not a deep concept, we can realize it several ways. Especially since unlike earlier editions you don't need to keep pumping skill ranks into it so it's something we can set up early and then take levels of other classes to realize further aspects of the character.

Heck, take Rogue 2 / Fighter X, with the Guild Artisan background to make the character as a legitimate locksmith and part of the guild. That gets someone with expertise in the appropriate skills / tools, avoid the "thief" subclass, and then end up more traditionally dwarf-like. Or really any other class.
I’m a little confused: you disagree with me by agreeing. Huh?

Perhaps my point was lost in the simplicity of my prior statement. Put another way, the books don’t serve up every particular concept, you the player most often need to pick and choose mechanical and fluff options to make your concept work.

Sounds like we’re more on the same page than your initial reaction would indicate.
 

ClaytonCross

Explorer
It seems like I need to adjust my understanding of the 5e rules. I didn't realize the level of diversity the backgrounds offered. It seems like the background defines the character more than the class now. thanks for the input.
I would not say more but I would say they can be just as important or not important at all. My Warlock scout would not have Stealth or proficiency with thieves' tools with out a background. I had the options of Criminal, Urban Bounty Hunter, or Urchin to be functional act as a scout. Just like for your character thieves' tools are generally the "lock smith tools" where tinker's tools are us commonly the "gadget building tools" so as a Dwarf the background House Agent (Kundarak, dwarf house) with thieves tools and tinker’s tools proficiencies seems like a great fit however you could get by with anything that has thieves tools. All the ones I listed above but also Clan Crafter, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan / Guild Merchant, Uthgardt Tribe Member, House Agent (Medani, half-elven house) or House Agent (Tharashk, human and half-orc house). But you can always make your own background PHB p126 "Customizing a Background" select a back ground feature then "choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds." Then the equipment/gold form a background. So instead of Guild Artisan you could have "Lock and Trap Master" as a background then select proficiencies in investigation, perceptions, thieves tools, and tinkers tools. Custom Background is at the top on D&D Beyond if your using that.

I would also say races provide a lot of backstory options now. There are a lot more sub-race diversity than in previous editions now that they added the house races with Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron. That said, Human Variant's feat selection allows for the most variety which is why its the number one race pick. I used it to give my Warlock scout proficiency in perception (variant provides one skill) then prodigy survival + Expertise in perception, with warlock investigation and the previously mentioned stealth and thieves tools from urchin background I mentioned earlier, I had all the bases covered for a scout in a typically non-scout class. It just so happens Mark of warding dwarf race has House Kundarak (a dwarf house) with smith tools proficiency + "Master of Locks" ability which by chance makes a perfect fit for your stated goals. If you wanted to make a human lock smith, the human variant option would allow for skilled or prodigy feats to help you with that as well.

… Unfortunately, Some concepts are harder than others. Sure you could make an elf locksmith using a custom back ground but if you wanted a "fleeing apprentice" who was not trained enough to continue as wizard hiding for survival so playing as a rogue on the lamb as the class for example, the only race that really supports that would be human variant with magic initiate or ritual caster(wizard) feats. I wish they would make a variant option for all the races that allowed for a feat selection.

Example: Dwarf +1 con, 60ft Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience aka Poison resistance, Common and Dwarvish, Stonecunning and subclass features they could select a one feat of their choice. You can also claim a another dwarf subrace for story reasons. This still might make it better than human variant because darkvision and poision resistance are things it can't achieve and your getting at the cost of one +1 to a stat and on skill proficiency, but only getting +1 to con (which is universally useful) means if your point buy you don't get two 16 stats at level 1 making it less versatile for players who HAVE to have that 16 combat stat, so I suspect we would see both. Of course you have to reduce the +2 con to +1 because they could take a feat that adds +1 constitution and start with a 18 con on point buy which does seem a bit broken. At any rate this is just and example.

For comparison:
Human variant is +1 to two stats of your choice, one skill proficiency of your choice, and one feat of your choice.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I’m a little confused: you disagree with me by agreeing. Huh?

Perhaps my point was lost in the simplicity of my prior statement. Put another way, the books don’t serve up every particular concept, you the player most often need to pick and choose mechanical and fluff options to make your concept work.

Sounds like we’re more on the same page than your initial reaction would indicate.
I completely disagree that if a game system can't mechanically realize you on-genre concept that it is 100% the player's fault, and 0% the system's fault. If I needed to give an all or nothing opinion I would reverse it, though the reality is much more shades of grey. If this is what you believe, then we're in sync and I'll throw in an apology for misunderstanding what you said.

As a related but separate point, 5e can do the LG Dwarven Locksmith concept pretty easily. Showing some goodness of system there. While that concept is not a "common adventurer" it is a straightforward and on-genre topic and I would be disappointed in a general fantasy RPG that had problems modelling that.

(*General means just that. You get to Warhammer Fantasy and being a locksmith might be not a starting career - but Warhammer has it's own feel, it's not standard fantasy.)
 

ad_hoc

Explorer
They should talk to the DM and tell them they expected there to be some locks and traps in the adventure and ask them if they would add some, so they can play their character the way they imagined it.
That doesn't actually accomplish anything.

A character who is supposed to help the party with traps who adds traps to the adventure is doing more harm than good.

In the specific case of traps I think it is a staple of D&D. Most adventures should have some.
 

DM Dave1

Explorer
I completely disagree that if a game system can't mechanically realize you on-genre concept that it is 100% the player's fault, and 0% the system's fault. If I needed to give an all or nothing opinion I would reverse it, though the reality is much more shades of grey. If this is what you believe, then we're in sync and I'll throw in an apology for misunderstanding what you said.

As a related but separate point, 5e can do the LG Dwarven Locksmith concept pretty easily. Showing some goodness of system there. While that concept is not a "common adventurer" it is a straightforward and on-genre topic and I would be disappointed in a general fantasy RPG that had problems modelling that.

(*General means just that. You get to Warhammer Fantasy and being a locksmith might be not a starting career - but Warhammer has it's own feel, it's not standard fantasy.)
Yeah, I’m with you on the shades of gray. I’m saying that 5e is very flexible and has lots of opportunity to create a concept with so many combos of race, background, classes. That’s why it’s ultimately up to the player to design their concept. The building blocks are provided in 5e as long as you and your DM realize the system is not rigid.
 

Hriston

Explorer
That doesn't actually accomplish anything.

A character who is supposed to help the party with traps who adds traps to the adventure is doing more harm than good.

In the specific case of traps I think it is a staple of D&D. Most adventures should have some.
Sorry for the confusing use of pronouns. My suggestion wasn't for the character to add traps to the adventure. It was for the DM to add traps to the adventure. I hope that clears things up.
 

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