The Abstract Thief (PFRPG) PDF

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Steal the Unstealable!

The Abstract Thief is a new base class for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. Utilizing the connection of ideas which make up reality, abstract thieves can steal intangible concepts from others! Life, youth, knowledge, luck, all are within easy reach of one who masters the esoteric art of Abstractions.

In addition to being skilled in mundane cloak-and-dagger skills, the abstract thief has a versatile assortment of spells to better confound and outwit their enemies.

Introducing the abstract thief into your game is great for both Player and Game Masters alike, as it provides new sneaky tricks for the party and formidable adversaries for future adventures!

Within this book you’ll find:

  • A new base class
  • 18 Abstractions, the unique abilities which allow the abstract thief to take a target’s good fortune, hit points, weapon proficiencies, skills, souls, spells, and more!
  • 5 new feats, from Be Quiet and Follow Me which helps the sneakier members of your party to keep the entire group concealed, to Scry-Proof Item which masks equipment and structures from the prying eyes of diviners.
  • Two sample legends for how the art of abstract thieves came to be known in the world.

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***½( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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4.5/5 short term, 3.5/5 long term

****( )

This supplement clocks in at 21 pages, including 14 pages of content. The first thing of note is that the PDF comes with no bookmarks, nor is there a table of contents. At this size, it probably isn’t necessary, but it is a minor drawback.
The primary feature of this supplement, as the name suggests, is the Abstract Thief base class. This class is a 3/4 BAB class with six levels of Int-based prepared casting. It has its own custom spell list (all the Abstract Thief spells are drawn from Paizo’s Core Rulebook, Advanced Player’s Guide, and Ultimate Magic). The spell list is quite a bit narrower than that of the Bard. The class has a variety of minor class features, including trapfinding and sneak attack (though with a delayed progression compared to the rogue class), and a variety of small number boosts.
The principle class feature of the Abstract Thief is its Abstractions. Starting at level one, they can steal “essential elements” of enemies, which replenishes a pool of abstraction points. The abstraction points do very little before level three. At 3rd level and every three levels after that, the Abstract Thief learns one of a variety of Abstractions (in a similar manner as rogue talents, witch hexes, and similar types of class feature choices). Each Abstraction allows the user to steal some idea from a target, applying a temporary debuff to the target and a temporary benefit to the Abstract Thief. The effects of the different Abstractions are varied: one allows you to temporarily steal skill ranks from the target. Another allows you to steal the effects of beneficial divination. One Abstraction allows you to steal the targets emotions, giving you the benefits of Moral bonuses, rage, etc. Other abstractions let you steal things like the targets memories, youth, senses, and health. One of my favorite Abstractions is called Steal Shadow: it temporarily removes the target’s shadow…and replaces it with a Shadow (as the monster from the Bestiary) that aids the thief.
I have mixed feelings about this class overall. Power-wise, it falls right in the middle of the range of Paizo classes, so balance is not a concern. The Abstraction class feature is one of my favorite class features I have read in quite a while. On the other hand, the Abstractions are the only unique or interesting thing this class brings to the table. I would have preferred if it got another major unique class feature (or an expanded version of Abstractions), and lost either the plethora of dull/minor class features or had its spellcasting scaled back or removed.
After the base class, we get a small handful of thief-friendly feats, including the expected Extra Abstraction feat. Finally, there are a few pages of fluff describing backstories of sample Abstract Thieves.
There is a small amount of color artwork scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: The editing is good, though not perfect. The rules are presented clearly enough to be used easily, so you shouldn’t have trouble dropping an Abstract Thief into your campaign, making for a short term rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: As I said above, the Abstraction class feature is one of the best class features I have seen in a long time. The class has a niche as a skillmonkey class that is more “thief” oriented than the bard and alchemist, and doesn’t suffer from a lack of out-of-combat utility the way the rogue class does. On the other hand, the choice of Abstractions are the only meaningful decisions an abstract thief gets to make when leveling, which really leaves a narrow range of possible Abstract Thief builds, at least unless an expansion is released. Overall, it earns a long term rating of 3.5/5, rounded up to four due to the low price.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

**( )( )( )

This pdf clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The abstract thief is a new base class that receives d8, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-saves, proficiency with simple weapons, hand crossbow, rapier, shortbow and short sword, light armor and also receive prepared spellcasting via Int of up to 6th level. They also receive sneak attack progression at 2nd level, going up to a maximum of +7d6. Starting at 5th level, sneak attack range is increased to 60 ft. and can be combined with abstractions, but more on that later.

Beyond that, they also receive an abstraction pool of 1/2 class level (min 1) +int-mod; these can be used as swift actions to grant rather massive +4 bonuses to thieving-related skill-checks (but NOT acrobatics), somewhat akin to Drop Dead Studios' guile pool. At 4th level, things get nasty, though - here, the abstract thief may use combat maneuvers with int instead of str AT RANGE. Only 30 ft., granted, but still, using abstractions this way is very powerful and one of my red flags since it avoids combat maneuver's retaliation/feat-investment. That being said, the limited range does salvage this ability for me. Finally, at 9th level, the abstract thief can use abstractions to cast Mage's Private Sanctum as a Spell-like ability.

Starting at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the abstract thief also receives a so-called abstraction, essentially a type of talent that has a duration of class level minutes and costs 1 abstraction point. Using an abstraction requires close proximity (again, the 30 feet), a standard action and a scaling will-save on the side of the victim of the theft. Notably, the theft of abilities cannot eliminate PrCs, feat prereqs and the like - which is a nice caveat. A total of 18 such abstractions are provided and their ideas are rather cool - take "Steal Divination": Highjack a target as a recipient of a divination or caster of a divination? Cool! However, the wording here is rough around the edges - "If successful, the next time a beneficial divination spell is cast on the target or by the target, the abstract thief benefits instead as though she had cast the spell." - okay, so what constitutes a beneficent divination spell? I *get* what the ability *means* to do, but the exact definition of "beneficent" may be subject to interpretation - why no go with divination in general as a school (well defined) or at least go via the subject-line? Does the target have to be specifically targeted or does running into a scrying sensor count? This looks good on paper, but in execution can lead to quite some issues.

Steal Force allows you to break the magic weapon rules - with it, the abstract thief may leech enhancement bonus, qualities etc. from a weapon to a weapon s/he wields, stacking all but direct enhancement bonus. So beyond the artifact/intelligent item-question - this allows the stacking of magical weapon qualities to make nova-god-blades. Why? Because there's no limit on how many of these can be applied to a given weapon - as written, you could burn your daily allotment of abstract points to boost ONE weapon with all magical qualities you get your hands on. Temporarily, yes, but still. A *MUCH* tighter wording is required for this ability to work as intended, perhaps with a nerf and an increased duration? Codifying how the ability works beyond the enhancement bonus is the significant challenge waiting here.

Compared to these, +2/-2 luck bonus and rerolls feel conservative, but they do work. What's actually rather cool is the option to temporarily steal int-based skills and add them to their own playing field. The thing is, they're added as RANKS, not as typed (NON-SCALING) BONUS, as RANKS. This allows the abstract thief to break the level cap for skills and means any organization with one abstract thief and enough experts could succeed in just about ANY ridiculous, int-skill-based check. It's a small thing, but it breaks the class feature. Save or die at 9th level is another issue I found herein - not only is it gained at too low a level, Pathfinder usually only provides massive damage output, not downright death for many former insta-kill effects. Why not adhere to this formula, especially since the abstract thief does incur damage upon using this abstraction? (Another point - damage incurred by the abstract thief equals 2 x HD - easy way to determine enemy HD - why not go 1d3 or 1d4 per HD to leave at least SOME room for variance?) Duplicating Trap the Soul at higher levels, conversely, feels better balanced than its small sister abilities.

Stealing the memory of a short time span of a target creature, experiencing all they know would be my favorite in this array - mainly because it opens some significant roleplaying potential. HOWEVER, once again, the abstraction fails to specify something crucial - that this is damn well supposed to be a mind-influencing effect. Sans that, there's no way of properly guarding versus it and that would render quite a plethora of precautions etc (and in-game logic) rather obsolete.

Now Steal Proficiency is downright broken - why? Because it also takes away everything based on that proficiency. Feats and special abilities based on it? *poof* This instantly eliminates *A LOT* of builds - anything on shield bashing, weapon focus etc. -GONE. Every ability that can just instantly make a character useless for minutes, is Su (no countering, no AoO) and has no precautionary means of preventing it...well, is OP in my book. Plus: This will make gameplay crash down to a grinding halt whenever it is used. Why? Do *YOU* know which feats require proficiency in armor/weapon as prereq? Hint: Weapon Focus does, Point Blank Shot does not. Now if you have more follow-up feats, you have to know the exact prereqs of them by hard, potentially ages after you've selected them. Good design in a meta-space, in actual play, extremely annoying - researching which feats suddenly no longer work and which do proved to be exceedingly frustrating.

Stealing unusual senses works fine, and conceptually, so does ripping a shadow as a servant from a creature. However, the shadow needs to stay "within 30 feet of the abstract thief, and automatically stretches to hit distant creatures" - so 30 ft. reach? Is it a regular shadow? If so, it becomes obsolete VERY fast. What does that automatically stretching part mean? Which square does it materialize? Also: Shadows have "Create Spawn" - can the shadow create spawns which then persist? Are they permanent? A jumbled mess, alas.

Not all have these issues, though - switching positions DOES mention that it's a conjuration (teleportation) effect, for example - kudos! The same can be said about stealing spells, which, while a bit rough regarding wording, works. Oh, and one abstraction is narrative gold - this one lasts longer and lets you steal the target's youth! Yeah, damn cool!

Beyond these talents, hide in plain sight, trapfinding, affecting unintelligent adversaries as if they had a mind, getting past special sensory detection measures like blind-sight etc. Minor metamagic, nondetection - rather nice. Being able to cast an illusion or enchantment spell after sneaking a flat-footed opponent and finally, as a capstone, using two abstractions in one round make for fitting high level abilities.

The class also receives FCOs for the core races minus elf/half-elf, plus drow. Nice ones. The abstract thief gets her own spell-list - and the spell-list per se is interesting - based on utility, the list allows the abstract thief to fill the terrain control/utility aspect of wizards/witches rather well...perhaps a bit too well. But to determine that, I'd need more playtesting time than I can currently allot to the class.

We also receive 5 new feats - extra abstractions, of course, but also one that lets you extend your stealth's benefits to allies - alas, there is already a feat that does that - it's called Stealth Synergy and works based on Line of Sight rather than close quarters, making this feat utterly redundant. It also refers to the "Hide in Plain Sight TALENT", which the abstract thief does not get - she gets that as a class feature. Treating cards as weapons makes for a cool feat, as does faster slight of hands. The best feat here would be one that makes mundane material as if it were lead for magic - this one has so many uses for creative gaming, it's awesome!

Finally, we receive advice on abstract thieves in the world and 2 fluffy, nice legends.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good, on a rules-level, the more complex pieces could have used more care. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard that is extremely printer-friendly and bare-bones and which weirdly changes fonts in the middle of the pdf. At the end of each "chapter", the pages sport quite some blank space - here, a more compressed layout would have helped. The class-table lacks the plusses in front of BAB and saves. Artwork is thematically fitting new mixed with stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, a comfort detriment.

Author Ray Chapel has taken an interesting turn here - the abstract thief is an interesting take on the rogue, though one that probably should mention that it's an alternate class of x, thus precluding classing into parent classes. That being said, the spellcasting rogue/trickster has always been one of my favorite tropes and this one tries to fill it. And it almost works. The Abstract Thief has quite a lot going on for it - good sneak attack, skill-boosting somewhat akin to Time Thief et al., good stealth and a neat array of spells. And then there's the abstractions - the drawing point of the class, its unique toys, are unfortunately where it comes apart.

This is what I'd call a gentlemen's agreement-class in my game - the player gets to do xyz, but in turn, may not do zyx. Now this is not intended as bashing, many of these abilities you'll read and know what they are *supposed* to do. Alas, that's not all there is to game design - the wording of complex abilities, especially ones as powerful as the abstractions are with the extended sneak attack, need to be precise and alas - the majority herein are not. So that's a big detriment, but not one that's unfixable.

What I don't get, apart from the multiclassing oversight, is why the abstract thief tries to do SO MUCH. The abstractions are limited in how many you get and the class forces quite an array of abilities Abstract Thieves may not want upon them - a less linear progression would have made this more interesting. I also do not understand why the rogue talents have been more or less ignored in this build - there is a huge pool of options, why not use it? Well, the answer would be - the abstract thief is less like the rogue and more like a bard in theme, focus etc. That's also how it fared in playtesting - somewhat akin to an alternate bard with significant sneak attack, ranged combat maneuver options, save-or-die...you get the drift.

I understand that the rogue needs some power upgrade (though weirdly, in my game, Rogue Glory's rules were more than sufficed for that) for some people and that this was the intention of the class. But in playtesting, especially for as long as the abstractions are not fixed, this does too much - it's essentially bardic-style spellcasting, sneak attack, pool AND the unique talents and thus just does a bit too much.

Is this an unmitigated mess? No, far from it! But it shows that it's a freshman offering, with some glaring glitches in many of the original, i.e. NEW content. Can this one work? Yes. Can it be fixed! Heck yes! Can this be glorious? Once again, a resounding "yes" would be the answer. But it does need some balance fine-tuning, mechanical editing of the rules language and much more precision before it can be considered good. Due to it's at this point significant flaws, I'll settle on a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 for the purpose of this platform and hope we'll one day see a fully revised, less linear and more balanced version of this cool prototype - for that is, what I consider it to be at this point.

Endzeitgeist out.


Stole my breath away.

*****

I’ll be honest with you, I’m of the camp that the base Rouge has little to none going for it in Pathfinder. Besides a small damage multiplier in Sneak Attack, it gets to choose from mediocre options and is generally outclassed any time Paizo releases a splatbook that can give someone Trapfinding. So whenever I see “different” types of Rogues with extra abilities, it always makes me happy. The latest version I’m looking at is the Abstract Thief by the new publishing Team Quasar Knight Enterprise.

The Abstract Thief is a 21 page PDF, with a 1 page front cover, 4 pages of OGL, 1 page of Commercial Art License, and 1 back cover, leaving 13 pages of content. It covers the 20 level base class, the Abstract Thief. The Abstract Thief is a 20 level base class with a medium BAB, D8 Hit Die, one good save (Will) and 6 skill points (+INT) per level. It gets 6 levels of spellcasting, with its own spell list (Points just for that!), and prepares its spells each day. The spell list consists of spells like Disguise Self, Invisibility and Silence, so you can figure out what you’re supposed to do with them (spoiler alert, get in there, take everything that isn’t nailed to the ground, and get out). It gains proficiency with the same weapons as a Rogue (Hand Crossbow, Rapier, Shortsword, Sap and Simple weapons) and Light armor Proficiency; however it does NOT reduce Arcane Spell Failure in Light Armor (Unless that’s an editing Error).

For Class features, at first level it gains an ability called steal the abstract, which is a Pool equal to half the classes’ level + it’s INT mod. It can use that to give itself a bonus to Bluff, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth checks, and later on at 4th level, gains the ability to use it to make a Combat Maneuver as a swift action using its INT mod in place of its STR, anywhere within 30 feet, having an invisible magical force sweep someone from under their legs, send their weapon flying or even better. The other thing it can use those pool points for are its signature abilities, Abstractions. Abstractions allow the class to steal certain things from enemies, including their weapon/armor proficiencies (Watching someone in Full Plate lose the ability to wear it is a joy that is not witnessed enough), Stat points, and eventually their life! While the latter sounds strong, it is only a save or die effect that you get at 9th level, when the Wizard has been doing that whole shtick for a while.
The class also gains a light amount of sneak attack dice, once per every three levels after second level, having it reach a total of 7d6 once it hit’s 20th level. Among other class features it gets are free metamagic feats (Still Spell and Silent Spell respectively), the ability to make stealth checks even when something has Tremor Sense or blindsight (at a penalty of course), or even allow you to use an Abstraction with a sneak attack.

Further down we have favored class bonuses for all of the base races and the Drow, except for Half Elves and Elves (Unless Drow Elves meant it’s the same for Drow/Elves), which are all fine. After that we get to one of my favorite parts, which are the feats. My personal favorite of the feats from there is Be Quiet and Follow Me, which allows others to use your stealth rolls (but with the highest penalty to size added in the group), so that when you’re sneaking by, the guy in heavy armor doesn’t give you away. Another good one is Card Sharp, which lets you throw Tarot cards, and use Dex to damage instead of STR with them. Additionally, you can use the deck to cast Augury once per day. The last two pages before credits/OGL are some fluff dealing with Abstract Thieves in in the world, and is worth a read.

All in All, aside from a few unclear things (Drow Elves and the arcane spell failure in armor), this class is pretty boss. It’s very well designed, has the thief flavor with a nice arcane splattering in it, and isn’t overpowered or broken in the slightest. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Edit: All the aforementioned errors are fixed, bumping it up to 5 stars (which it was anyways so...)


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available—and welcome Quasar Knight!


Looks like a really interesting idea! I'm putting this in my cart, and will get it and review it (hopefully) soon. I really hope the mechanics are as good as the idea.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oooh, this looks interesting...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reading this (it is great so far) and working up some test NPCs for my games... I have to ask why they didn't do a feat for unlocking another "abstraction" feature, I see we have one to get more abstraction points but another abstraction even with a level limit would be nice. This feature is the meat and potatoes of the class and you don't get a ton of them.

Grand Lodge

I just purchased this book and downloaded my copy and the only thing in the zip file was a .jpeg of the cover.

Which is funny that my money was taken and an abstract cover was given. Do we know when the file might be properly uploaded?


GarnathFrostmantle wrote:

I just purchased this book and downloaded my copy and the only thing in the zip file was a .jpeg of the cover.

Which is funny that my money was taken and an abstract cover was given. Do we know when the file might be properly uploaded?

My apologies. I had some technical problems when fixing the Abstract Thief cover's Paizo logo.

The product itself should now be available. I just updated it now. Upon downloading it again on my end, I received the full PDF. Is it the same for you?

Tell me if you're still having problems.

You can contact me via PM, or at quasarknight@gmail.com


apexut wrote:
Reading this (it is great so far) and working up some test NPCs for my games... I have to ask why they didn't do a feat for unlocking another "abstraction" feature, I see we have one to get more abstraction points but another abstraction even with a level limit would be nice. This feature is the meat and potatoes of the class and you don't get a ton of them.

I figured that the Abstract Thief got plenty of nifty tools already. They have a good assortment of spells, and as a prepared spellcaster with a spellbook they can add more magic to their repertoire. The limited sneak attack progression helps them out offensively in regards to more "mundane" combat.

When designing the class I was wary of option paralysis. Between sneak attacks, spells, and Abstractions, an Abstract Thief PC can do quite a bit of stuff. Allowing feats to pile on the Abstractions feels a little excessive to me.

Grand Lodge

Libertad wrote:
GarnathFrostmantle wrote:

I just purchased this book and downloaded my copy and the only thing in the zip file was a .jpeg of the cover.

Which is funny that my money was taken and an abstract cover was given. Do we know when the file might be properly uploaded?

My apologies. I had some technical problems when fixing the Abstract Thief cover's Paizo logo.

The product itself should now be available. I just updated it now. Upon downloading it again on my end, I received the full PDF. Is it the same for you?

Tell me if you're still having problems.

You can contact me via PM, or at quasarknight@gmail.com

Fixed now, thank you. I am reviewing it now.


Review Posted.

And edited for readabilities sake, thanks Obama :(


Rubber Block wrote:

Review Posted.

And edited for readabilities sake, thanks Obama :(

Thank you for the review. To clarify some things, the Drow Elf entry is for Drow only. Elves of other subraces do not get that favored class bonus.

And the Abstract Thief was intended to be able to cast spells in light armor without arcane spell failure. I'll be sure to make that change the next errata.


I'd probably just clarify it to just Drow instead of Drow Elf, since just Drow is correct.

It's good to see new third party publishers throwing their hat in the ring with well made content.


Made some errata. For those who previously purchased the product, download it again for the updated version.

I added in a line that Abstract thieves don't suffer arcane spell failure from light armor and shields, changed the 20th level ability to make sense, specified that Abstractions cannot result in the target losing the ability to use feats and prestige classes, and changed "drow elf" to "drow."


Any other thuoghts on this one from people who have it?


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on d20pfsrd.com's shop.


I wrote a review and uploaded it here and on OBS.

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