Cloak of the Thief

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Version 0.22: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
A pitch-black cloak which allows its wearer to excel in the arts of thievery, and can be evoked to release thick clouds of smoke for a hasty escape.

Cloak of the thief.png the +2 cloak of the Thief

+2 cloak

-2 slaying
See invisible
+50 Stealth
Can be evoked to emit clouds of fog (+Fog ability)

Desirability

Being able to generate clouds of smoke and fog on demand is incredibly powerful when used correctly - it allows you to ignore all threats that are not within a 2 tile radius of you, almost like a better version of the Darkness spell. This is really strong for melee builds and most definitely worth the -2 slaying. Even for characters with ranged weapons, the ability to block line of sight to dangerous ranged enemies like fire giants or golden dragons makes this cloak useful.

Strategy

Evoking the cloak of the Thief is as difficult as evoking an amulet of rage -- at 0 Evocations, it has a 50% chance of working, which can be manageable as long as you don't mind losing a couple of turns trying to set up a smoke cloud. Improving your Evocations skill improves your chances of success (24% failure rate at 6 Evocations, 10% at 11 Evocations); around 6-8 ranks in Evocations is probably plenty if you don't have any other reason to invest in evocables.

History

Prior to 0.15, this cloak only penalized damage (-3), not accuracy, and provided a slightly higher stealth bonus.

Prior to 0.12, this cloak provided small bonuses to EV and dexterity, as well as evocable invisibility and levitation, but lacked the fog effect.

Prior to 0.10, the -3 damage slaying penalty was much more severe, as slaying bonuses and penalties were multiplied by your skills.