Arcanum 1780: A New World
80 points 70 points for Customization.
Not every adventurer is professionally trained in some hoity-toity academy, some learn their skills trying to survive in the cut-throat urban landscape of this modern age. Street Criminals are a varied bunch, from ham-fisted goons to skilled niche specialists and the occasional Jack of All Dirty Trades, what they have in common is a grim view of humanities underbelly and a sense to do whatever it takes to survive amongst it.
Advantages: 20 points chosen from among ST+1 10, DX+1 20, HT+1 10, IQ+1 20, HP +1 to +3 [2/level], Will +1 or +2 [5/level], Per +1 or +2 [5/level], Basic Move +1 or +2 [5/level], Alcohol Tolerance 1, Ambidexterity 5, Catfall 10, Craftiness [/level], Combat Reflexes 15, Contacts (various street or law enforcement) [varies], Danger Sense 15, Enhanced Dodge 1 15, Flexibility 5 or Double-Jointed 15, Fearlessness [2/level], Fit 5 or Very Fit 15, Hard to Kill [2/level], Hard to Subdue [2/level], High Manual Dexterity 1-4 [5/level], High Pain Threshold 10, Magic Resistance [2/level], Night Vision 1-9 [1/level], Rapid Healing 5, Strangler [5/level], Street-Smart [5/level], Striking ST 1 or 2 [5/level], Striking ST 1-4 (Only on surprise attack, -60%) [2/level] or Tough Guy [5/level].
Disadvantages: -20 points chosen from among Code of Honor (Pirate’s or Stays Bought) [-5], Compulsive Lying [-15*], Curious [-5*], Greed [-15*], Kleptomania [-15*], Laziness [-10], Social Stigma (Criminal) [-5], Trickster [-15*], Vow (Always complete the mission) [-10], or Wealth (Struggling or Poor) [-10 or -15]. • Another -20 points chosen from among the previous traits or Appearance (Unattractive, Ugly, or Hideous) [-4, -8, or -16], Bad Temper [-10*], Bloodlust [-10*], Callous [-5], Compulsive Carousing [-5*], Compulsive Gambling [-5*], Compulsive Spending [-5*], Cowardice [-10*], Lecherousness [-15*], Loner [-5*], One Eye [-15], Overconfidence [-5*], Post-Combat Shakes [-5*], Sense of Duty (Adventuring companions) [-5], or Skinny [-5].
Primary Skills: Climbing (A) DX 2-12; Filch (A) DX 2-12; Forced Entry (E) DX+1 2-13; Lockpicking (A) IQ 2-10; Pickpocket (H) DX-1 2-11; Stealth (A) DX 2-12; Traps (A) IQ 2-10; and 2 points to raise one of these skills by a level. See Customization Notes below.
Secondary Skills: Streetwise (A) IQ 2-10. • One of Axe/Mace, Broadsword, Rapier, Saber, Shortsword, or Smallsword, all (A) DX-1 1-11. • Ten points between Area Knowledge (Streets), Brawling, Crossbow, Fast-Draw (any), Guns (Pistol or Musket), Garrote, Knife, Shield (Buckler), or Thrown Weapon (Knife or Axe/Mace), (DX/E); Bow, Cloak, Main- Gauche, Throwing, or Wrestling all (DX/A); Acrobatics, Blowpipe, Escape, Sleight of Hand, or Sling, all (DX/H); Acting, Disguise, Fast-Talk, Holdout, Shadowing, or Smuggling, all (IQ/A); Counterfeiting, Forgery, or Poisons, (IQ/A); Intimidation (Will/A); Lip Reading, Observation, or Search, all (PER/A); Housekeeping (IQ/E)
Background Skills: Six of First Aid, Gesture, Panhandling, or Seamanship, all (E) IQ 1-10; Cartography, Connoisseur (any), Gambling, or Merchant, all (A) IQ-1 1-9; Carousing (E) HT 1-11; Hiking (A) HT-1 1-10; Scrounging (E) Per 1-10; Urban Survival (A) Per-1 1-9; or 1 point for
another secondary skill or raising a secondary skill.
Customization Notes: The following optional specialties focus the Street Criminals skills and make the most of his advantages, so he is not stretched so thin.
The Dirty Dozen
- Cat Burglar: This archetype emphasizes the Climbing skill, and is about clambering up to places that most people can’t reach. It cries out for Flexibility (5), or possibly Perfect Balance (+1) – and Catfall is a sensible investment. Beyond the baseline skill set, Acrobatics and Escape both fit the role and benefit from its likely advantages; Shadowing is good, as people rarely look up, giving them -2 in Contests against it; and Observation and ranged weapons skills benefit from high ground.
- Cleaner: Some Street-Criminals make their mark by cleaning up after other criminals, a field that can be very respected by criminal organizations. Higher IQ is often the trademark of a Cleaner, or at least higher PER. Housekeeping and Search are the primary skills, and don’t neglect a few well placed contacts!
- Cut-Throat: These guys make a living doing the dirtiest of dirty work – quick and bloody murder for hire. While a professional assassin does his “wetwork” after weeks or even months of preperation to take out important political targets – often making it look like an accident – the Cut-Throat is more the type to slit a throat in the crowd, shoot a man in the outhouse or other dark deeds for a bit of coin. Strangler is made for this lens, and Striking ST (Only on Surprise Attacks) is a great fit. Focus on Knife, Garrote, Shadowing, Stealth and Streetwise; Wrestling and Pistol are good investments as well.
- Enforcer: Some Street Criminals make their living as bruisers and leg-breakers or street-soldiers for gangs. ST, HT and Striking ST are all a big plus. Advantages like Combat Reflexes, High Pain Threshold, Hard to Kill/Subdue, Strangler and Tough Guy are all good investments. Obviously, combat skills and Intimidation are the key to success, but don’t forget Area Knowledge and Streetwise.
- Fence: Some Street Criminals make a living sell off what other criminals already obtained. Higher IQ is a good investment, but not as good as a few ranks in Street-Smarts and some well-placed Contacts. Merchant is obviously the key skill, but Connoisseur will let you know what you have (even if your clients don’t), Smuggler will help move merchandise in and out of the area, and Streetwise is a must for business to survive.
Housebreaker: The Forced Entry skill isn’t subtle, but it’s fast and effective. To get the most from it, raise ST. A housebreaker needs to be able to locate loot once he’s in, so better Per is worthwhile – as is a good Search skill. Other helpful capabilities are Observation for casing the joint, and Holdout
and Smuggling for making off with valuables afterward. Even modest knowledge of Connoisseur and Merchant can help when selling the haul.
Lurker: A Street Criminal often serves not so much to perpetrate theft as to spy, scout, and act as an extra pair of eyes – possibly as a sentry against opposing skulkers! This demands better-than-
average Per, and advantages like Danger Sense, Night Vision, and Peripheral Vision. Don’t forget talents like Stalker, Strangler and Craftiness, all of which add to working as a lookout. While Stealth is central here, Lip Reading, Observation, Scrounging, Search, and Shadowing all go with the territory.
- Mugger: Some Street Criminals use their brawn or pure intimidation to make a quick buck off of unwary citizens. Striking ST, Strangler and Tough Guy are all solid choices. Stealth and Shadowing are good for surprising your target, and a decent, deadly close-range attack skill like knife or pistol. Intimidation is key to pulling it off, and Area Knowledge for the get away. Holdout is good for concealing your weapons until you need them.
- Persuader: Often, a Street Criminal just needs to have a nice chat with someone on behalf of their boss – the best of these guys make it sound like they like/respect their victim, but will not hesitate to remove knee or two if he doesn’t wise up. The Tough Guy talent was made for these guys, as all of their skills benefit from it – Focus on Fast Talk, Intimidation, and Steetwise – Forced Entry is a great way to get a conversation started, and Shadowing might be necessary to follow the mark to make sure everything is safe to talk. Acting is useful to get empathy going, but between Fast-Talk and Intimidation, not strictly needed. Obviously, some competency in a few Combat Skills is going to be necessary to pull this line of work off for very long.
- Safecracker: Every party could use an extra Lockpicking expert. It may just be worth raising IQ and buying HighManual Dexterity for the purpose – although the extra tries Luck affords are nice. For the Street Criminal who does raise IQ, diversifying into a small number of harder secondary skills, like Counterfeiting and Forgery, can sometimes pay off. One who goes for the nimble fingers will find Sleight of Hand worth a look.
- Shoplifter: There’s more to robbing merchants than just Filch, but it’s a start. To do it right, add lots of Basic Move and area Knowledge for the “running away” part. Other handy skills are Holdout for the spoils, Disguise not to look like the guilty party, Fast-Talk for “It must’ve fallen into my bag!” stories, Acrobatics to elude guards, and Wrestling to escape them.
- Urchin: The classic thieving brat is a pro at Pickpocket, which benefits from High Manual Dexterity. Just about all the advantages and skills suggested for a shoplifter are useful here, too – especially improved Basic Move! Street-Smart is a classic advantage for this type of Street Criminal. Other good supporting skills are Knife for slicing purse strings, and Observation and Shadowing for dogging marks. It’s a rare example who doesn’t also have Panhandling, Scrounging, and Urban Survival.
- Multiplied for self-control number; see p. B120.