The Thief’s Night Out

“What do you do that night?” This question is often asked at the table before the GM cuts a scene and says the mighty words “the next day…” In a mechanical sense, players answer the question with adventure preparation or advancement for their PC’s. Polish armor, buy potions, check with contacts, load up on ammo and flammables are wll timeworn answers. Then there’s the thief. The thief that wants to do thiefly things at night.

This example can extend to any time a player wants her PC to head off for some personal screentime. Examples could be a karma ritual in Earthdawn, learning a Gift in Werewolf the Forsaken, or re-training in Dungeons & Dragons.

As the GM, I first have to decide how interesting I want the night to be for the player’s thief. If I wanted nothing to happen then I would just tell the player “the night is uneventful”, which might be fine depending on the tempo of the adventure. I would not go for more than 2-3 Waylays in the night, but if the current adventure was rather slow I would definitely keep my eyes open, as the GM, for any fallout that could occur the next day.

I decide that there will be two Waylays arced within the Theme Waylay of “the thief’s night out”. I am hoping that I can get the Waylays to follow each other in a type of “cause and effect” relationship.

For the first Waylay, I have the player roll. She rolls “sudden deputies overcome by strong attribute“.

This is a pretty easy narration given the Theme Waylay. The law appears, and the thief runs away. I could stop there and handwave the night on, but I push the player. What was she doing that moved the eye of the law on to her? “A bit of burglary,” she responds.  Another player at the table who plays a cleric says that he tipped off the law enforcement because he didn’t want trouble while passing through this town. He expected the thief to get away. The thief’s player glares at the cleric’s player, and I take the pause to ask the thief’s player to roll up the next Waylay.

She rolls for the second Waylay “incompetent deprivation overcome by personal resources“. Laughing, I explain that she didn’t get away that night. The more or less incompetent town guard finally caught her, and locked her up for the night. The cleric, using the thief’s funds, posted bail since the thief never actually got around to burglarizing anything.

It wasn’t the best thief’s night out, but the table laughed at the crazy and quick adventure anyway. The story of how the thief became caught becomes a veritable meme at the table whenever they need to send the thief ahead for scouting and traps. It’s one she will never live down.

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