RPG’s like this usually have a thief class who can steal gold or items from enemies. The rate of success is usually a combination of player stats and random luck. Well, here’s an idea – perhaps stealing could be 100% effective, but take several turns to accomplish. I can think of two different ways to do this.
First: it could be 2 or 3 separate abilities – spy, sneak, steal, etc. – which must be performed in order. Since these stealing abilities aren’t weapons or spells, they could be implemented as auxilliary items That way, they aren’t taking up the thief’s entire weapon inventory. The items could be spy glasses, thief gloves, and so on. There could also be a theft spell that works in only 1 turn, but uses up MP.
Second: give all players an “approach” ability. When you approach an enemy, it uses up a turn and makes you more vulnerable to attack. However, when you are close to an enemy, you can steal from them or deal a heavy attack. Since this attack takes up two turns and leaves you vulnerable, the damage dealt would have to be worthwhile – maybe 2.5x a normal attack. This is borrowing heavily from FF3, but it’s a little different.