Originally Posted by AgentPaper
You don't need a large criminal underworld to have Thieves' Cant. What you need, is a large number of criminals, who have reason to want to talk to each other without anyone else noticing. I find it had to believe that there are that many settings that wouldn't fit this requirement.
You need to have a large number of criminals who have organized to the extent that they have developed their own sekret speshial language which no one else can ever crack. And who have inducted every Rogue, in every city, of every age, by teaching them this sekret speshial language. Incidentally, this also ensures that classes are in-game constructs (There's a clear, in-game distinction between a Rogue and a Fighter with the Thug background who's had a criminal history). I can't actually think of any published setting where there's a magical cabal of criminals that all speak the same code across every city, in every country, with no other person breaking the code. It's comical how silly that idea is, but that's what Thieves' Cant, by RAW, currently is.
"Among thieves, there is a secret language, a way of communicating between members of the criminal underworld that rogues know and use. Creatures hearing you converse in Thievesí Cant might think you say one thing when you are actually saying something else entirely.
Benefit:You have learned the secret language of thieves."
Name me a setting that actually has a "secret language of thieves"? Because off the top of my head, established settings like FR, Eberron, Golarion, Dark Sun, etc. don't
have a secret language of thieves.
Yes, which could happen in any number of ways. A gentlemanly thief doesn't just jump out of bed one day and steal the crown jewels. He needs to spend a long time learning how to open locks, sneak around, disarm traps, bluff guards, and fight dirty. Where do you think he learned all of this, a book?
I don't have any problem with giving the thieves' cant to a background, I simply don't see why it can't be on the rogue, as well.
I think they learned it the way most real life criminals learn it - by experience, rather than teaching. As an example, check out people like Bill Mason
, and his autobiographical book Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief
- and note that Bill doesn't speak in a magical, sooper sekret language that only jewel thieves can understand. Nor do I think that every Rogue needs to be a criminal; a military specialist who's had formal training within armed forces on sabotage would have no reason to speak in this secret, magical, criminal language - but he magically learns how to do so the second he receives his military training. I should be allowed to choose my character's background - and unless they intend that every Rogue be familiar with crime, they should change it.
Unless the designers are intentionally restricting the range of characters that can be expressed by the Rogue (to characters who are intimately familiar with criminals, in settings where thieves have a secret language), Thieves' Cant should only be part of a background that is available for any class (because every class could have a criminal background).