Stealing as a newbie feef
Stealing, or rather, snatching, is really one of the easiest ways you can get money as a newbie thief, and here's how you can start filling your quota ASAP:
1. Get the Snatch Command
If you got the 5 levels of covert skill in Pumpkin Town, you can get the snatch command. Just go to Kordane and ask him nicely to teach you. Don't worry about not being able to fill your quota. You're more likely to wish you had a bigger quota.
2. Get Your Licence
It is easier to steal in Ankh Morpork, so do remember to tell Kordane that you've returned from your leave of absence unless you want to end up in the river.
3. Get Healthier
If you have any XP to spare, it may be advisable to train up some levels of adventuring.health just in case you fail a snatch horribly. About 1000 hp is okay for a start. This isn't necessary, but it's safer if you do.
4. Consider Before Snatching
Consider the NPCs before snatching. If it says "<target> is into the don't think about it region" or "You would have to be utterly insane to attack <target>", you may wish to think twice before trying to snatch in case you don't manage to run away before getting hit a couple of times.
5. Snatch Money
I suggest you stick to money for a while unless you actually want the item(s) for keeps. After the guild tithe, you have 70% of the money you steal. If you snatch or shoplift items before you have some crafting and people.trading.valueing skills, after the guild's 30%, not laundered ?%, not mended / fixed ?%, you won't have much left.
And no, you do NOT want to snatch any relic, holy symbol, and other priestly items while in AM. On a side note, yellow stone rings are also not worth shoplifting in AM. (These items are perfectly good out of AM though.)
After snatching, keep running. You need to move at least 1 more room away, 2 rooms if you failed and didn't manage to run out of the first room.
6. Steal Money
Once you have learnt the steal command, you no longer have to dart out of the room from the NPC you just stole from (if successful). You can "steal coins from <target>". The same precautions still apply as with snatching. It maybe worth your while to both consider and case the target as failure will often lead to being attacked.
7. Suggested NPCs
Lawyers, accountants, merchants, traders, dealers, bodyguards, beggars, priests...
8. Filch vs Fighting Skills
There are two ways to go. Some people prefer to advance fighting skills first. Others prefer to advance stealing. I tend towards the latter, so the following paragraph is written with that view in mind, and I'll let someone else write about the advantages of going the fighting path first:
Things will go much smoother if you put the XP you've gotten from snatchings (or attempted snatchings) back into covert.manipulation.stealing as you go. If you have chosen to focus on stealing instead of fighting, I would recommend 150 levels as a beginning target, to get the filch command (and shoplift and steal commands along the way too). After that, it's just a matter of finding out where the good stuff is, and your money problems are pretty much over.
9. Never steal from Guild NPCs. Never, ever, do this. Ever. They will beat you, and you will be temporarily banned from the Guild, rendering fences and Kordane unusable until your ban is over.
10. Watch your quota carefully. Do not steal the contents of that banker's purse if you know you only have a couple of pence on your quota. If you do steal over the maximum, check your licence. If it's only by a few dollars, you can advance your lower primaries so you won't be over anymore. If not, carry some money and camp at Artan by the time your quota rolls over so you can pay your fines. If, for some reason, you know you've got only a minute left and you are too far to make it to the guild on time, do not read your licence. Sometimes the new quota doesn't begin until you check it, walk through the entrance of the guild, and some other actions. Then go to Artan and pay your fines before the heavies deem you too slow. Don't rely on this option; strive for the first two.
11. Theft Beyond Ankh-Morpork
You may find as a newbie thief that your quota is filled up very quickly, but that doesn't mean your mini crimewave has to stop! As soon as you step outside the city walls, quota restrictions no longer apply; you can snatch/steal/filch/shoplift to your heart's content. This includes thieving from NPC's on the roads surrounding AM as well as the nearby towns just a short walk away. Be warned however, don't expect them to be any more willing to part with their goods/wealth than their Morporkian counterparts. Individual towns and cities will have their own rules regarding theft, so be sure to know what they are beforehand.
12.1 Sto Lat
An excellent location both as a newbie thief and beyond is Sto Lat. Just a few seconds journey east from the Hubward gate of Southeast AM. The city has a range of NPC's and shops offering a variety of items at varying difficulties from newbie to oldbie. Clothing, jewellery, weapons and armour are all available for limitless theft attempts . Shoplifting is more difficult here, though the lack of quota restrictions easily make up for it. Realistically, due to security measures being increased after every theft attempt from a shop, it is unlikely to be able to shoplift more than 3 or 4 items per shop, except for very low valued items (relative to your skills). Thus it is a sensible approach to move to another shop once you receive your first couple of failures. On a similar note, a sensible approach to successful shoplifting is to go for successively lower valued items for every attempt at the same location. e.g. "shoplift gold ring; shoplift silver ring; shoplift bronze ring".