*crunch* Waaaugh!
  — Garrett

The Sudden Heart Attack Syndrome, or SHAS, is a fan-based colloquial for an odd Dark Engine bug. It is most frequently encountered on stairs and other uneven surfaces, but could conceivably occur at any intersection of terrain brushes.

This strange occurrence seems to happen randomly in game to Garrett, where suddenly with a yell, he dies. It should not be confused with dying suddenly while jump-sprinting, leaning, or under the effects of a Speed Potion, as that would result from Garrett's inertia.


The exact causes of SHAS are unclear, but it appears to be a consequence of the shortcuts taken when a level is optimized. It does not exist in Thief: Deadly Shadows, because of the different engine.

Numerous mechanisms have been proposed in order to explain SHAS, such as the engine failing to render certain brushes properly and calculating lethal bash damage from a tiny fall, and Garrett being caught and crushed between crowded and misaligned polygons,[1] but these have not been verified.


Crushing SHASEdit

This form of SHAS has extremely rapid onset. Symptoms are falling abruptly to the ground, usually screaming, and blacking out from loss of health shields, quickly followed by death. There is no known cure or treatment.

Sinking SHASEdit

Less virulent than crushing SHAS, this ailment is characterized by a sudden paralysis in which Garrett becomes stuck in place and sinks into the ground beffore taking damage. He may bob back up periodically with or without losing health, but the end result is nearly always fatal.[2] It may be possible to remedy this by wedging non-explosive objects directly under Garrett if he's moving slowly enough, but success is extremely unlikely. If using game mode in DromEd, the player may escape by activating flight (shift+q).

RTC stairs of doom

Watch your step.


  • Using caution in areas that are known to have a high incidence of SHAS, such as those listed below.
  • Avoiding, when possible, walking on jagged terrain and overhanging edges.
  • Saving frequently.

Known OccurrencesEdit


  1. [1]
  2. [2]