One of the legacies of ACKS is that thief abilities use a per-level throw value while other proficiencies have throw values that are flat and increase by +4 when additional ranks are taken.
The result of this legacy rule is that thief abilities are notoriously unreliable at early levels; and by the time their abilities become reliable, thieves find themselves lackluster in comparison to spellcasters who can cast Find Traps, Knock, and Telekinesis.
In creating the Player’s Companion, I worked out a series of constants representing what the effective value of an ability at a particular level of experience is. This is how the trade-offs for class powers are calculated. For example, a power at 7th level is worth about half a power at 1st level. This same math allowed me to work out the following flat target values for thief skills:
Open Locks 12+
Find and Remove Traps 13+
Pick Pockets 11+
Move Silently 12+
Climb Walls 4+
Hide in Shadows 14+
Hear Noise 10+
As an optional rule, instead of having a variable target value with level, give the thief (or other class) these flat target values when he selects the class power.
A thief who selects the same power again (or spends a proficiency rank) gains +4 on his throw.
I’m contemplating including this as a rule in the “Hero Conqueror King” supplement. As a player, would you choose the traditional ability progression or would you choose the flat values?
Alternatively, what about a system with slightly higher target values and a minor but still credible advancement per level progression?
NOTE: Hijinks would not a second look, I know.