This article attempts to figure out the actual mechanics for Stealing, to aid players in deciding their stealing strategy.
If you stick to items you are having good chance with, stealing will be more reliable and time effective source of both gold and experience for a few early levels. Compare your odds of meeting and defeating certain sewer monsters and time or money spent on healing with odds of being imprisoned. Soon the experience gain diminishes and cash becoms only source of motivation.
As a general rule, slightly less expensive items produce more exp per turn (including the time you spend in jail), but less gold. Slightly more expensive (but not too much) will produce more gold and less exp. Since there is no formula that i would know of to calculate risk, it's up to you to estimate what kind of items you'll try to tackle.
About training, it takes considerable amount of turns (gold comes easily from practicing your skill between every lesson at blacksmiths') and let's you steal significantly more expensive items with the same odds once you get up to 20%. If in the beginning you get caught stealing 200 gold items more often than not, in the end you will regularly, easily steal 500 gold items and ocassionally not fail on an Amulet of Teleportation too. However it's not clear whether this strategy pays off later, when, inevitably, your character has to switch to combat as primary source of exp and gold gain. Sure you can easily buy a lot of consumables, items, trainings and enchantments in early mid game, but you fall short of experience that a sewer-exploring rogue counterpart of your character gained meanwhile. It's unclear whether your turn investment into gold can speed up levelling later on making you better off than other rogues untrained in stealing.
Basic expierience for attempt at stealing, disregard result, is 200/L^2 exp, L = level.
The following mechanics that used to be presented on the Hero abilities#Stealing were proven to be incorrect, probably outdated, as of November 2010:
Stealing is: ((Cost of Item / 100) * ShopDifficulty) - (Artifice * 1.5) = StealDifficulty <BR> Successful steal happens when Steal Ability % > StealDifficulty + 1d100<BR> where 1d100 represents a random number between 1 and 100. If you steal and are not successful you will be incarcerated for a certain amount of turns! If you are caught stealing you lose turns according to the formula:<BR> Turns incarcerated when caught = ((ShopStealDifficulty/2) to ShopStealDifficulty) turns.
In absence of exact formulas, the following experiment data can be used for reference. Characters that were created and then spent 250 turns stealing certain item. Total gold is calculated assuming every stolen item can be sold at 75% shop's sell price.
- Rogues gain Art on levels 2 and 4. Each time only insignificant amount of 5 attempts were made with initial Artifice. Majority are made with Art+1/Art+2.
- Experience total gain is unimportant for planning mid-/late-game strategies, and only shows how different Art/item pairs affect the progress of character in the beginning. In any case, sewers become progressively better source of experience for Rogue than stealing at levels 3-5.
- Total gold divided by 250 shows the average effectiveness of stealing as a mean of income for Art+1/+2 Rogue for a certain item. Since experience gain is getting poor soon, this becomes the only motivation to consider, when deciding whether to spend turns stealing rather than slaying monsters. The amount is calculated assuming stolen goods can be sold at 75% their shop price, which is not always the case (fe. Healing Potion).