Pen and Paradise Episode 2:
Allow me to explain a little more about what I have in mind for the thieving model. Right now, stealing is no challenge. Anything people don’t see this specific instant is up for grabs. You can steal battleaxes, statues, and full plate armor as long as everyone’s backs are turned.
Moving to a Suspicion model would help with this. In short, I have in mind that players should arouse suspicion rather than the binary get-caught-or-don’t model. Sure, if you’re seen taking something in broad daylight, the guards will shortly come for you. But just because you’re not spotted immediately doing something doesn’t mean you won’t be a suspect. Take something when you’re shopping, and the owner is likely to have the guards sent to ask very pointed questions.
The Suspicion model would be handled by three factors: being seen, the value of the item taken, and the starting location chosen. The last is the trickiest. You can just walk up and take things, but for real heists, you’d want to begin at a Thieving Point. This is just a waypoint which enables you to have an alibi. Then, you must make your way stealthily to your targe. Preferably you want to avoid being seen, but it’s better to walk slowly down the city streets like a normal person than sneak around the alleys but get caught. Once you arrive at your location, you must make sure noone sees you enter. Then you can grab stuff and make your way back the same way. As long as you don’t raise too much suspicion, you won’t be caught. Depending on what items you wear, you might have an advantage in avoiding suspicion.
The advantage of this mode is that it has enough challenge to make thieving fun again. It’s just too easy to nip in an nab somebody’s goodies otherwise. it will also force care in designing cities, since you’ll have to work on making dark alleys and places to dodge the guards. But it’d be a lot more fun.
Also, it allows you to separate thieving from the Thieves’ Guild. You’d be able to sell items, as long as they’re not too unusual. The Guild could then offer better rates, more contacts, tips on where to find goodies and ways of disposing loot much too hot for a normal merchant. Hilariously, both in Oblivion and Skyrim you really couldn’t steal anything for sale without joining the Guild, since you needed them to open up fences for you.
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