I’ve noted before that I grant thieves six-sided hit dice in my Labyrinth Lord game rather than a d4. As I stated, I believe that thieves are generally tougher than magic-users but maybe not as tough as clerics. The problem arises because in LL clerics have d6 hit dice and magic-users have d4. There’s no simple middle ground as there is in AD&D where clerics have d8 hit dice and the d6 splits the difference. As I believe that most thieves are adventurers who have ignored advanced combat techniques for some specialized skills rather than normal men who have learned some technical crafts, I give them d6 hit dice.
Now, I find myself making another house rule to benefit the thief class.
The revised Labyrinth Lord rules have made a number of adjustments to armor. The most significant of these, in my opinion, is shift of leather armor to AC 8 from AC 7. Though maybe not a big deal to other classes, this is a major issue for thieves, who “cannot wear armor heavier than leather” and cannot use shields. Suddenly, every thief wearing leather armor is more than 10% easier to hit, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. High dexterity, magic items, whatever…any thief wearing leather armor (which is about 95% of them in my experience) lost half of their armor protection in combat.
So I’m going to allow thieves to wear studded leather armor. Studded also lost an AC point in the revision, and now grants base AC of 7, the same as pre-revision leather armor. Problem solved.
Honestly, I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of the thief class and am not thrilled about constantly tweaking things for them. If their abilities were better at lower levels, I’d probably resist the temptation. But I also don’t want their biggest contribution to be a pick locks or remove traps roll. I see them as adventurers, not specialists.