RMMZ Skillsets for "Thief" and "Ranger" in Horror/Urban Fantasy Setting


solohomo game dev
Feb 17, 2018
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So I've been working on some ideas with a horror-inspired RPG setting in the modern day. One thing that's been really fun has been mixing classes with horror media archetypes, like your warrior being a werewolf who gets a huge DPS boost from shifting but goes into an uncontrollable state, or the jock being a tank who taunts enemies and uses his athletic experience to shirk off or avoid damage.

I'm pretty satisfied with what I came up with for fighters, mages and healers, but I'm stuck on/not satisfied with my rogue-type classes (modeled on a thief and a ranger/hunter). I was going to have them be a run of the mill petty criminal and a monster hunter, but I'm running low on inspiration and ideas for their skillsets.

All I've really come up with is the thief can backstab (leave the battlefield for 1 turn, come back and deal damage) and steal, and the hunter can snipe for a critical hit. All the other classes have eight abilities that grow stronger over time and make sense with the setting and that character's role in battle/the story, and I'm just hitting a wall with these last two options that's really stopped my development in its tracks. Was hoping maybe some discussion might stir some ideas and help me move past this annoying bout of creator's block. :kaocry:


Oct 20, 2015
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the typical ranger is someone who can go long periods of time out of the city... and you're putting them *in* a city.
the most fundamental aspect of a ranger is resourcefulness and adaptability.
if we're talking modern rangers, I'd say make it a street urchin... someone like Billy Butcher from The Boys.

there is actually a youtube channel called Modern Rogue:

just the other day I was watching a playthrough of Starfield, with a player with a thief build, and he got to a mission where he had to sweet-talk an NPC.
he tried brute-forcing his way through it, bordering intimidation more than persuasion, and it failed... he had to grind for it 1 point at a time, where his persuasion focus payed off.
that's where I thought "What did you expect? you got *persuasion* not *intimidation!*"
that's another point to consider for a rogue: Butcher has persuasion as much as intimidation. Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop would be another example.
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Sep 1, 2020
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Honestly, a modern-day thief isn't all too different from a fantasy one. You can have skills that will steal items/mug an enemy. Maybe a skill called "Stick 'em Up" that might inflict the Stop/Stun status on a foe. Etc, etc.

Now for Ranger, I think you flavor it in two different ways:

1. "Doomsday Prepper" aka a person who's preparing for the end of the world. They can specialize in ranged weapons like Ranger (IRL Preppers are notorious gun-nuts.) You can easily favor a bow and arrow skill into a firearm one. Depends on how your game is, you can have the Doomsday Prepper have the ability to fire different types of ammunition can will deal a different elemental damage/status effect. Maybe a skill called "Scavenge" where they check the area/battlefield they are in and it will produce a random effect based on the area (i.e. buffs for the user/party, debuffs for enemies, etc.)

2. "Paranomal Investigator" Instead of guns/bows as weapon, maybe they can use semi-religious artifacts to "hunt" down monsters from a distance. A useful skill would be "Arcane Check" where the user identifies a foe's weaknesses. Perhaps the class can have ritual skills that will temperary make their normal attack supereffective against certain type of enemies. For example: "Exorist" makes the standard attack supereffective against demon enemeis, "Shaman" is great against ghost enemies, "Hunter" is great against monster types, etc, etc.

I guess the bonus 3rd option will be "Urban Explorer." There are people in real life at explore abandon buildings, theme parks, and even crypts beneath the city. You can even give this class some parkour elements to increase their evasion or something.

But that's all I got from the top of my head.

El Capitan

May 4, 2012
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There's an urban ranger prestige class in D&D 3.5, specifically in the Unearthed Arcana splat. Here's the wiki version, which might be something you'd find intersting:

It essentially converts the wilderness theme into an urban theme, so it can't get a large animal companion, and the favored enemy is changed from a species of monster (dragons, ogres, etc) to an organization (Thieves Guild, Harpers, etc). Some spells (an actual component of the D&D ranger skillset) were also switched around as well to make the class actually workable in a city-based campaign. So while he can't use Commune With Nature or Speak With Animals, but he can now cast Comprehend Languages or Knock (a spell that opens locks). In a JRPG combat scenario, perhaps he can sic his dog to take an enemy down, heck maybe throw in a couple more dog tricks like making it do puppy eyes or snarling to catch enemies off guard, marking an enemy to focus on to deal extra damage, or even switching stances between ranged and dual-wield melee to maximize damage on different enemy types (Rangers are popularly built as dual-wield DPS, thanks to the Drizz't books)

The Thief class is much easier to modernize, to be honest. Maybe you can take inspiration from characters like Batman (or heck Catwoman, I mean, c'mon), James Bond, Solid Snake, etc. Thieves are sneaky and can (to some extent) pull off ninja tricks, yes, but they're not really ninjas.

One way I can see around it would be using the "underworld" aspect of the class to make things so that your Modern Thief is more of a dirty fighter, acting as a single-target DPS that also throws a ton of status effects in the process. Groin kicks, pocket sand, pretending to be injured to drop aggro, bonus damage to enemies with negative status effects, that kinda deal.

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