City of a Thousand Towers
For your run of the mill gang of thieves, consider one of the Scrapper backgrounds. The Stilettos, while thieves, are more like Japanese Ninjas: trained from birth for stealth and assassination. Generally, members are rogues or monks but you can find other classes among them.
They are often hired by the noble families or even the palace for missions that require guile, stealth or the ability to disavow the participants.
As a member of the stilettos you must be a rogue or a monk, or review your class selection with the referee. You also need to review your race selection if the disguise skill cannot reasonably let you pass as a human. You must also clear most activities with the head of the order, especially service with or for a guild, noble house or palace, as well as any looting of abandoned towers or theft from anything but a scrapper tower.
You also have to tithe 10% of your income to the order and be prepared to accept any mission from the order. Revealing order secrets, disobeying an order or refusal to tithe are all grounds for execution.
You also get:
- One trait
- Due to heavy training from youth: Disguise and any two other skills as bonus skills (treat as a class skill, ranks equal to your current level)
- Mark of the gifted: the order selects only the best. You get a +2 bonus on any stat of your choice, max +2. You must have a minimum intelligence and wisdom of 9 and one of the two must be 12 or more (no dummies in the Stilettos) .
- You gain a bonus language, Stiletto cant, known only to members of the order. This cant has a sign-language component for non-verbal communication
- You are trained in poison use and do not suffer a chance of poisoning yourself when using poisons.
- You have access to the guild’s Cabinet of Wonders, which contains poisons and alchemical gear. In general, you can take small quantities of poisons and items that cost less than 150GP without question and have access to better items for specific missions or if you establish yourself at a higher rank in the order (a combination of level and service to the guild). Taking too much from the cabinet is a great way to earn a dangerous mission.
- You have 50 GP in any coins, gems or jewelry. You have any non-magical gear that best serves your class, as long as armor check penalties are 4 or less and you are not more than medium encumbered while carrying all of it. It can all be masterwork (which, don’t forget, reduces armor check penalties).
- You have as a bonus the feats exotic weapon proficiency and improvised weapon mastery plus either Catch off-guard or Throw Anything (this lets you use anything as a weapon with no penalty and with better damage than usual).