Before you begin reading this guide, I would like to formally make note of my identity. I am Balamast, Master Thief of the local thieves guild; some of you may know me as Fox Fingers and if you don’t, I am terribly disappointed. I have spent the last 20 years perfecting my craft and now I will give you the five most useful tips I can share to improve your skills. If you are not of the charismatic or dexterous among us, please stop reading and go learn how to be like the rest of the barbarians. Well, shall we begin?
1) Make Sure You Have A Silver Tongue
Not every problem can be solved with metal, sometimes you must use your charm to get away with things you otherwise wouldn't. You must obtain a silver tongue. To do this, practice speaking to all manners of people. Try convincing someone that you’re somebody you’re not. Start simple, pretend to be a merchant from a far away place seeking land to be purchased. The more you practice, the better you will get at speaking quickly; especially when you are caught off guard. This is by far your most valuable asset as it will save your life in a pinch. This skill allows you to learn information that will give you an edge in these situations.
2) Light On Your Feet
I can boldly assume you understand that being light on your feet is an important mechanic to becoming a good thief, right? Well, when it comes to running away from a caravan of guards who just caught you stealing from the king's cache, you bet that your not fighting them. Do what we thieves do best, RUN! Running isn’t just about beating your feet and controlling your breathing, it’s about fluidity of movement. We need to teach you how to fall from great heights, jump over railings, using alleyway walls to climb up onto a roof, the like. What I am getting at is that you need to go practice. Find some buildings to play around with, practice running as fast as you can, stretch your muscles and let it become not thought, but instinct. Eventually everything will become muscle memory and will be easily applicable where ever you go.
3) Know What You Are Dealing With
Every rookie thief has made this mistake in the past, going in blind. You must know at all times what you are dealing with and the repercussions of such. What I mean by this is that when you pick your target, who does it belong to, what kind of power do they hold, are you willing it take to risks if you get caught. There are lots of different people out in the world, you could be stealing from a powerful wizard and you just might end up becoming a toad for the rest of your measly existence. So do yourself a favor and study. Learn everything you can about what it is your after so you have the best chances of succeeding. I am friends with far too many toads now.
4) The Thieves Language
So, once we have our shinies and bobbles, where the hell do we go to sell them? Well, we must look for the marks. Have you learned thieves cant? We use this to mark places of interest under the naked eye of the city. We use it to communicate guard patterns, places to sell your stolen goods, jobs or even some useful items for any traveling thief. Thieves cant can also be used to communicate directly to others with slight hand gestures, that's how group jobs are performed, we do it without saying a word. So keep an eye out for these markings throughout the cities, you will be surprised by what might turn up.
5) Last Resort
I always put this as my last lesson when it comes to teaching thieves. I am not a believer in killing, nor do I condone what ever acts you take outside of these teachings. But, as a thief you must be able to play dirty, a good majority of us are not tough fighters. I would always say run first but at some point in your career your going to be surrounded. Step one is to take a good hard look at your surroundings, see what you can use to advantage. Whether it be sand to throw in their faces or a rock to hide behind. Find a way to get in between the armor. Exploit weaknesses when possible, i guarantee you will always be able to out fight a man in plate. Exhaust him by dodging his attacks and when an opportunity arises go for it. We thieves tend to excel at knowing the human body allowing us to perform what I like to call “Sneak Attacks”; I am clever. Basicly pointing your blade into a weak point of the body, this tends to be more difficult with bigger weapons so we tend to stick with the knife.
Thank you for taking the time in reading this guide as I hope it helps you achieve your goals and dreams of obtaining whatever it is your after. Remember to speak well, be nimble as a fox, learn about your target, know our language and when you have nothing else know how to fight. I do not run an assassins guild so if you get in trouble for murder, understand that purchasing this document holds me under no legalities of your actions.
Benjamin Witunsky, artist, writer and nerd savant. Cofounder of the NerdMantle Podcast available on Soundcloud, Itunes and Google Play Music.
Picture provided by the author
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.