The scoundrel got a bit of flak earlier for being underpowered. However, while she has a higher minimum skill buy-in to start with, and has trouble in the very early game, she more than makes up for it with low reliance on random treasure, the fairy-tier Quick Step ability and a snowballing power curve that renders Hell collectively helpless. Early Game On the other hand, skelly starts off pretty weak, with no healing items (almost; the rotten food heals 1-2 HP) and the least food out of any class. Furthermore, the Pickpocket snowball won't really get rolling for a few levels. The key here is a bit of foresight in using inventory items. You start with Sleep Darts and (if you've finished the challenges) an Energy Potion (= hand grenade). If a fight looks difficult, put one of the enemies to sleep before it starts. If it looks hopeless, blow up several enemies with a potion grenade. Also, fight in choke points until you get Quick Step. Pickpocket This is your late-game plan, but you need to start early. A successful pickpocket gives items that let you avoid taking damage, then you can use the extra HP to attempt more pickpockets. Eventually you'll be able to tank your targets long enough to pick all their pockets, but to start with, you should restrict pickpocketing to three situations: *You are at full health *Your target is asleep (naturally or induced) *You are facing the last enemy in the room and still have plenty of HP left Furthermore, pickpocketing the right enemies gives you near-guaranteed access to certain items. The important ones are: *Bandits give gold. A couple of bandit pickpockets turns into a real item at your first shop. *Gypsies and ghosts give energy potions. The potions are valuable enough to chase them down for; a pair of grenades solves most early-game problems, including the dreaded four red rat room. *Snipers give bows. A couple of your abilities work really well with bows. Obtain one this way if you don't find one in a chest. *Gingerbread men give food! Pick their pockets and then kill them for two heads! *Necromancers give quadbones, which are better than daggers at head-to-head fighting. *Knights give rings. Obtain two if possible. You may need to sleep dart them first. *Skeletons, robots, bone devils and bosses act as treasure chests. They are collectively a source of armor, shields, melee weapons and enchant and increase scrolls. Once you get strong enough to loot each one you come across, the modifiers start stacking up. You can loot each square of a boss separately except for the genie (who only lets you loot the bottle). Quick Step This is your do-everything ability. It's your offense, your defense and your get-me-out-of trouble. It lets you dance around an open room, picking off a swarm of enemies one hit at a time. It lets you chase down a fleeing ranged enemy and pickpocket them at the same time. It lets you swap equipment on the go for free. It lets you kite melee enemies with a bow. And it means every attack in a duel is a backstab. I call the backstab trick the 'square dance'. You need to start by luring the enemy to a 2x2 open area. Stand diagonally-adjacent to them. Skip your turn, so that the step next to you. Now double move into the square they just left. Backstab them. Then, if they're still standing, quick step back into square dance position. The skip-quickstep move is useful in other contexts too, like trying to chase down a fleeing enemy, but the square dance is by far the most powerful. Other skills The Marksman, Evade Up and Crit Up skills help you kite better, pickpocket better and square-dance better respectively. Bloodthirst gives a bit of cumulative HP over the course of the game, which in turn translates to more pickpocket attempts (but less of them than Evade Up). And while chaining leap attacks together into a death combo is fun, it isn't really necessary for anything. The Dark Pope The second boss battle deserves a special mention because it's where you go from 'pretty strong' all the way to 'pwns everything'. The acolytes are infinitely respawning food and HP (red potion death drops) and the skeletons are nigh-infinitely-respawning treasure chests. During the first phase of the battle, you want to stay directly under the boss at all times; this keeps both acolyte doors active but keeps the top doors from spawning skeletons. Your priorities during this phase are survival first, acolytes second, then killing half the double team (preferably the ranged half), then pickpocketing the boss and skeletons. Since skeletons respawn quickly when killed, it's often better to quick-step dance to avoid them for a few turns before killing them. Once you have a dozen or so red potions, switch to looting skeletons most of the time and farming acolytes off one of their destination tiles. The top side is better than the bottom for this; you can camp adjacent to both the destination tile and the skeleton spawner. Note: Skeleton archers are only comfortable at a range of exactly 3 squares. At 2 or 4 squares, they rarely shoot. With quick step, you can avoid being shot at most of the time.