Thieves are a class in the Ways of Darkness franchise. Thieves are characters who make a living of stealing what is not theirs.
They are diverse class of adventurers, from the simple pickpockets to the more serious career thieves who operate in larger groups (namely, guilds). Off course, there is more to being a thief than just pickpocketing, lockpicking and stealing what is there - thieves are a much more diverse group than just pickpockets and burglars. Thieves also include smugglers and forgers. While the name of the class seems to imply taking away things that do not belong to them, either for survival, profit or other ends, they really are a profession that deals with anything illegal - pickpocketing, burglarly, forgery, smuggling, production of illegal goods - on a professional level.
Being a thief is not about survival. It's about taking it to the next level and making a good living out of something illegal right in front of the authority's noses. It's not about survival - it's about becoming rich. It's about being profitable and professional.
Thieves are the main reason why money leaks out of the nobles pockets. Sometimes traders hire thieves to ruin other traders, and sometimes thieves turn on each other, competing for targets and turf to operate on. All is fair in war and love...
In the original forum-based RPG, being a Thief requires at least an Intelligence of 11, an Endurance of 12 and an Agility/Dexterity of 13. Being a thief grants the character basic swordsmanship, basic smuggling, basic stealth, basic forgery, basic tracking and basic archery.
Thieves has an ample amount of prestige classes: Assassin, Headhunter and Bard. Being both a Thief and a Druid means being a Ranger, which is also available for Warrior-Druid dual-class characters. The special prestige class Bard is also unlockable for Thieves.
In the video game adaptations of the FRPG, thieves are fragile speedsters and glass cannons. They have high speed and attack ratings, but low defense ratings, a mediocre amount of hitpoints (still higher than that of Magicians), and their choice of armour and weaponry is rather limited. Nevertheless, just like Warriors, they are blessed with the ability to use every single ranged weapon - even the slow crossbows, which may or may not defeat the purpose the of being a fast thief.
The ability to disarm and detect traps was considered for both games, but as no such feature even made it into the actual plans - let alone the unfinished games - Thieves are little more than a faster and more offense-oriented alternative of Warriors. Another mean to make thieves more unique was considered, by allowing them to use poison-inflicting attacks as opposed to the more powerful raw-physical attacks of the Warriors, but ultimately, this was never implemented.