Tag Archives: thief

Rynth Flat-Dagger’s Hideout

Trapper's Fort

Trapper’s Fort

The main feature of this map is the extensive set of linked trap doors at the front entrance. When meddlesome adventurers come breaking down the door, they’ll find themselves dropped into a steel cage below. Once inside, the first two options for exploration offer the same fate. At the rear is a hidden exit, a supply cache, and a path down the cliffside behind the hideout.

“We had a good lead that Flat-Dagger was holded up at his manse overlooking the beaches. They told us he was paranoid… and rich too. The comically large ‘welcome mat’ was obvious and easily sidestepped. In hindsight, the two iron golems that charged towards us as soon as we opened the door must have been illusions; even he couldn’t afford the expense. Still, we ran down the first exit we saw and slid face-first down into a cage. The guard’s laughter shamed us… I hope someone pays our ransom soon…”


Random Underworld Contact Generator

A merchant who will buy stolen jewelry and treasure

This table is meant to be used with the post earlier this week about the Street-hood Profession. If you want to make up an interesting NPC on the fly when the Street-hood creates a Contact, just roll 3d20 to generate a name and use their nick-name as a seed for their backstory or an interesting detail. If the player isn’t picky about what kind of Contact they want, their specialty can also be found.

If anyone has more suggestions, please leave a comment. If I get enough, I’ll add them to the table. Enjoy!

d20 Name Prefix Suffix Optional Specialty
1 Alec Dead- Boy Bodyguard of a local aristocrat
2 Arik Empty- Coin Bodyguard of a local crime boss
3 Bronn Fancy- Dagger Bouncer at a private club
4 Cathi Flat- Eye Connected to hitmen
5 Dalga Four- Face Crime scene cleanup / disposal
6 Eskal Glitter- Finger Fence (jewels only)
7 Galf Gold- Foot Fence (magical)
8 Hershk Grab- Girl Fence (mundane)
9 Ingrit Hide- Hand Guard at local prison
10 Itani Know- Head Information on Assassins
11 Jalk Light- Knife Information on Illusionists
12 Lutho One- Lip Information on local clergy
13 Morfo Pretty- Mouse Information on the city’s criminals
14 Otho Silver- Mouth Information on the city’s underworld
15 Rynph Solid- Pants Information on Theives Guild
16 Soren the Rat Master Locksmith
17 Taigec the Ring Officer in the local law enforcement
18 Turg Three- Shoe Retired cat-burgler
19 Vik Tight- Tongue Retired smuggler
20 Worrt Two- Tooth Sells specialty ammunition

Lockpicks, Theives’ Tools, and Keys – Part 2

In Part 2, I present magical picks and keys. The picks, of course, can really only be used by someone with the Pick Locks skills, but the keys can be used by anyone.

Single-use Picks and Keys:

All of these items will either break or lose their magical charge once they’ve been used. This means that they’re relatively cheap and easy to make.

Beginner’s Pick:

This learner’s pick is skillfully designed to be forgiving and easy-to-use. When used on any lock of Good or less quality (see Locksmith), the Pick Locks attempt can be made four times instead of the normal three times. Weather the lock is opened successfully or not, after the four attempts, the pick is blunted and useless.

Catburglar’s Ease:

When this magical key touches a pane of glass no larger than 5’x5′ and of ordinary thickness it causes the pane to vanish for 1 Turn (10 minutes). The pane will reappear when the time has expired, no matter what is inside the frame at the time, so a Thief will have to be careful not to push his luck.

In any case, the key can be used twice before it snaps in two, so if he takes longer than ten minutes inside a location, the key can be used to make his escape.

If the window is larger than 5’x5′, the appropriate sized piece will vanish, but the window will shatter under the stress.

Crusader’s Key:

This thick, ornate key is made of gold-plated bronze and is covered in runes of divine protection and free-movement. When touched to any portcullis or gate, the key’s magic reduces the portcullis or gate’s weight to that of a wooden door for three Turns. This makes it much easier for a single person to lift such a gate. Keep in mind that complex locks or bars might continue to hinder attempts to get through.

Door to Nowhere:

This enchanted key is made of mithril and quicksilver and looks thin enough to snap with your thumb and forefinger, but it is quite strong. Made by fey who were curious of mankind, they allow for a deceptively quick get-away.

When placed in the keyhole of any door and turned, the door will become a portal to a small pocket dimension, much like the space provided by the Rope Trick spell. This pocket dimension holds up to five humanoid creatures and is a riot of bright and ever-shifting colours and light in all directions, but the floor is solid. They can stay in this space for up to one hour before being ejected through the same door in the direction in which they entered.
While the door is closed, only the handle appears to remain on the inside of dimensional space. If the door is opened from the outside, everything appears normally.

Exiting the “Door to Nowhere” requires the original door to be closed before being opened again. If the door is purposefully left open or blocked, the person inside holding the handle knows that to be the case, but not the specific nature of a blockage; one cannot see out of a “Door to Nowhere”. If there’s nothing blocking it, the door can be pulled closed from inside and opened again. If the door cannot be closed or if the door, the door frame, or both are removed, those inside are ejected into the nearest open space from where they entered the “Door to Nowhere” when time runs out. Once the bearer of a “Door to Nowhere” key leaves the pocket dimension, the spell ends: the key turns to dust, anyone left inside it is automatically ejected, the door shuts automatically and returns to its original state.

At the DM’s discretion, doors that are locked, stuck, barred, Arcane Locked, or otherwise prevented from opening, and doors that are very small, very large, or otherwise of a strange shape or composition are ineligible for a “Door to Nowhere “unless those impediments are removed or a different door is selected. In that case, the key simply doesn’t work. At the very least, when a “Door to Nowhere” is exited, the door returns to its original state, whatever that might be. So an Arcane Locked door might be opened by a Door to Nowhere key, but as soon as the spell ends, the door is once again shut and Arcane Locked.

Naturalist’s Key:

This twig that has been grown or magically bent by a Druid into the shape of a key.
The key can be put into the lock of any unlocked wooden door or chest. Doing so will warp the wood, causing it to become quite stuck. Only by destroying the wood can it be opened. The key has become a part of the wood and so cannot be removed, but it can be turned, which unsticks the door or container again. The key can be turned an unlimited times.

Forcefully removing the lock or breaking the key will cause the door or container to become permanently stuck.

If this key is used on an entirely metal door or metal chest, the door or chest is permanently stuck and the key cannot be turned.

Doors and containers that are stuck are difficult to break through. Rolls made to break them down are harder by 1.

Pick of Fortune:

Some thieves believe in luck and others believe they make their own luck. This pick has been passed down through the years by successful thieves until it was enchanted to provide a measure of that luck to whoever possess it.

So long as it is held in one hand, it can improve the chance of success for a single Thief Skill roll (except Hear Noise) by +20%. This can raise the range of success above 100%, guarenteeing success. Using this ability requires little more than a mental command and a will to succeed.

Once used, the pick becomes mundane.

Trickster’s Key:

There were once mass-produced by a Gnome thief and illusionist named Froogal Pendashawl as gifts to colleagues during parties. Most were used to confound guests trying to leave the gnome’s home at the end of night. Contests were held to see how long a party-goer could prevent a guest from leaving.

The key is made of a gold-plated copper and inscribed with a few simple runes.
When placed in a keyhole and turned, the user rolls for a d12 for a single effect:

  1. The door’s handle or doorknob, keyhole, and hinges appear to be on the opposite side (that is, left to right and vise versa).
  2. The door appears to have no handle, doorknob, or keyhole on any side.
  3. The door is invisible until someone tries to move through it or knocks on it.
  4. The door’s handle or doorknob grows a Magic Mouth and speaks a predetermined phrase up to ten words long.
  5. The door’s handle or doorknob appears to grow a mouth full of sharp teeth and tries to bite whoever tried to use it. The mouth as a THAC0 of 18 and does 1 point of illusionary damage (that is, once disbelieved, all damage incurred vanishes).
  6. The door’s handle or doorknob appears to move to a random location on the door just before being grasped.
  7. The door is Arcane Locked and has a Magic Mouth effect. The Mouth will ask the person at the door what the most embarressing thing to happen to him was. No matter what the reply is, the Arcane Lock vanishes, though the Mouth will laugh manically.
  8. When the door’s handle or doorknob is gripped, the victim must Save vs Paralysis to avoid being unable to move (and unable to let go of the door) for 1d4 rounds. His hair will stand on end comically during this period.
  9. When opened, the user is presented with a mirror image of the room behind him and himself dressed as a buffoon or jester. Of course, the mirror isn’t there and can be passed through.
  10. When opened, the user is presented with a very convincing image of being a mile above his present location. Wind, birds, clouds, and so on are very realistic. If the victim wasn’t paying attention, he might walk out before realizing his situation and think he is falling. If he fails a Save vs Spells, he’ll be unconscious for 1 Turn out of fright.
  11. When opened, the user is presented with the image of a long hallway in the same style as the door’s location and a minotaur charging down the hall at him. The image is very convincing; the sound of the minotaur’s hooves, his warcry, and the vibration of the ground beneath the victim’s feet. If the door is left open, of course, the image of the minotaur vanishes once it passes into the doorframe.
  12. The key’s user can choose an effect or come up with one of their own. The DM has the final say on any suggestions. As a general guideline, they should be non-lethal, non-damaging, and simply try to impede the opening of this particular door.

Most of these effects may be seen through or avoided with a successful Save vs Spell, but only once the illusion is interacted with. Once an illusion is seen through, triggered, or successfully bypassed (often by opening the door and walking over the threshold), the key’s effect ends.

Once used and removed from the lock, the key becomes a useless and twisted piece of copper.

Magical Lockpicks and Keys:

These items, being permanent magic items, are much more expensive to make and much rarer to find.

Giant’s Lockpick:

Named as something of a joke, a Giant’s Lockpick is a carved granite key about a foot long; far too large to fit in any conventional lock. One end is round and blunt and covered in deep notches and the other has a handle big enough to put one’s hand into.

Two times per day, when held by the handle, pointed towards a door, and a command word bellowed (usually something simple like, “OPEN!”), the stone key will increase in size and weight (about six feet long and eight hundred pounds) and become, essentially, a battering ram. It will move on its own (so the user should remember to let go) at great speed towards the targetted door and smash into it. It will smash open any door as if it has a Strength of 19.

The Giant’s Lockpick will stay in this form until a second command word is used. In the meantime, it can be picked up and used as a battering ram.

If someone is standing between the Giant’s Lockpick and the door, make an attack roll (THAC0 15) that, if it hits, deals 3d6+4 damage.

Skeleton Key:

This rare key is made by a Master Locksmith from the fingerbone of a Prince of Thieves.
It increases the user’s Pick Lock skill to 99% and will also automatically disable any lock-based mechanical trap if that roll succeeds. A lock-based mechanical trap is one that is triggered when a lock is picked, turned, or unlocked.

Once per day, turning the key in a lock will also act as a Knock spell. This can be used after the lock has already been picked or to guarantee its success.

Spy’s Scope:

This ornate key is made of green jade and features a very realistic eye painted on the handle.

The key has a peculiar Silence effect that surrounds it at a radius of about four inches. This means it can be placed in a lock completely silently.

Twice per day, when turned inside a lock, the bearer may choose to replicate the effect of a Clairvoyance spell with the ‘eye’ of the spell being the keyhole on the opposite side of the door. The ‘eye’ is invisible, has natural Darkvision, and can be mentally turned in any direction, but cannot otherwise move from that spot. Sound, however, is not trasmitted, but a character might be able to employ his Hear Noise ability at the same time.


Lockpicks, Theives’ Tools, and Keys – Part 1

Want to give your Thief, Assassin or Monk more options for opening doors? Missing someone with the Pick Lock skill altogether?

In Part 1 and 2, I’ll present some Thieves’ Tools and magical keys for use by all classes that can make use of them. If you have any other suggestions for interesting tool sets, please add them into the comments below!

Crowbar / Prybar:

While not a terribly complicated tool, the crowbar a staple of low-level thieves, fighters who neglected to hire a thief, burglars, and graverobbers. Its use is fairly simple: wedge the bent end under what you need moved and push down.

The crowbar grants a +1 to STR checks (a d6 rolls) to open doors and chests of all kind. It’s also significantly quieter than simply applying one’s weapon, boot, or shoulder to the problem, though not as quiet as a lockpick, of course. If the STR check should come up with a natural 6 (an automatic failure), the crowbar has snapped or bent far out of shape and is useless until repaired. Trying to use it again might result in success, but the crowbar will break beyond repair regardless of the outcome.

Masterwork Thieves’ Tools:

These tools were crafted by the ancient artisans employed by the Thieves’ Guilds of the Elves or Dwarves. Each set consists of a wide variety of perfectly honed tools made of adamantium and mithril. Flawless crystal lenses and razor sharp wire-cutters make this kit invaluable in unlocking the toughest of locks and disabling the most ingenious trap mechanisms.

Masterwork Tools provide a +10% bonus to pick locks and to disable (but not to locate) traps, including magical traps.

Assassin’s Tools:

These tools were created by the Unseen Brotherhood and are enchanted with shadow magic. Each set is needle-sharp, incredibly precise, and durable.

Immediately after making a successful Pick Locks roll on a door, the user may attempt to enter the room. He gains +15% to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently rolls to pass through and close the door behind him unnoticed. This effect must be used immediately or be wasted. This effect cannot be used on the same door more than once in a 24 hour period.

“As soon as the lock gently clicked open, the assassin vanished like a swift shadow.”

This set can also hold up to six doses of poison and specialty tools for applying and deploying these poisons safely. If the character is an Assassin already, the set doesn’t provide any special benefit, since he already uses poisons safely. Normally, when applying a poison to a weapon or otherwise using a poison, a d20 roll of 1 results in exposure to the poison, forcing a Save vs Poison. When the set is used, it grants a second Save vs Poison roll to prevent damage or death if the user is exposed. Note that one doesn’t receive this bonus when one rolls a natural 1 to hit with a poisoned weapon and is exposed, only when applying a poison to a weapon with the help of this set. If found, Assassin’s Tools are 50% likely to already have 1d6 doses of random poisons as part of the set.

Find / Remove Trap rolls made to set or create a trap using these tools gains one of the following without increasing the trap’s cost or difficulty:

  • +15% chance to be set up correctly
  • +1 to the trap’s THAC0
  • +1 die of damage
  • -2 to a single Save associated with the trap

Goblin Thieves’ Tools:

While the tools are typically made of scrap metal and carved bits of bone, they are oddly durable. In fact, the types of tools included in this set suggest a focus on bypassing, rather than disabling traps. Due to their crude nature, Goblin Tools can also be disguised as little more than utensils and food scraps.

The Thief can make a Sleight of Hand check to hide this kit amongst his belongings, though he runs the risk of it being thrown out as garbage if it’s found.

The set also provides a +5% bonus to disable mundane traps, but no bonus against magical traps. When he disables a mundane trap, he may make a separate Remove Traps roll at half the normal chance in order to bypass the trap. Failing the roll just means that he disabled the trap and cannot bypass it. As soon as he and any allies have passed through the trap, he can arm it again in no time. He can also disarm or bypass the trap later without any difficulty.

Tools of Balance:

Created by the monk-scholar Hoisen Uldamar, who spent long years as an adventurer tracking down relics for his monastery, this tool set is enchanted to help maintain a karmic balance for its user.

Whenever a lock is picked that is trapped (that is, the lock itself, the door, or the container) with a mechanical or physical device whose presence has been undetected, there is a 50% chance that the trap will be disarmed instead of the lock being picked using the same Pick Locks roll for the Remove Traps roll. Regardless of success, the lock become unpickable by the owner of this set (the lock now confounds his efforts).

The bearer of this set of tools also gains the benefit of +5% to Climb Walls and +1 on DEX checks (+2 on DEX saves) to stay upright on a slippery or narrow surface.

As a special feature, a Monk using these tools will become aware if a particular use of his thief skills will have serious repercussions on his alignment.

Spellthieves’ Tools:

Created by shadowy Conclave Spellthieves, they make it very easy for a thief with a talent for magic to safely break into any location protected by magical wards and steal their secrets.
Spellthief tools grant a +10% chance to find and disarm magical traps, even ones that would normally activate as soon as they are read.

Once per day, the Thief can channel a spell through his lockpick. He may also expend any prepared Level 3 spell in order to mimic a Knock spell.

A special crystal eye-piece can be used to cast Read Magic at will.

Part 2

Jeweller and Locksmith Professions

Fëanor with Silmaril

Fëanor with Silmaril

Jeweller and Locksmith Professions

As usual, I want to link those interested back to Secondary Skills and How to Make Skill Checks and How to Improve Secondary Skills.

The Jeweller is probably one of the most lucrative professions in the secondary skill set and very handy for a Thief or Magic-User to practice. I’ve based it loosely on the Middle-Earth hero and jewel-crafter from the First Age, Fëanor. Perhaps, at Rank 5 – Grandmaster, a Jeweller could craft a Silmaril or something similar.
The profession can also work very closely with the Miner profession (which I’ll be including in the coming weeks), merchants who deal in gems or precious metals, or mine-owners who could be persuaded to sell their raw gem-stones. Now, in my games I tend not to bother with the appraising of items too much, but if you and your players dig the lore and background of every antique piece of jewelled finery they encounter, I’ve included some guidelines for you on how much to tell your Jeweller.

As a Master he can even create a powerful magical jewel: a once-in-a-lifetime achievement of his art.

The Locksmith is useful for any class, but especially the Thief or Assassin, who may want to keep their fortunes locked up without anyone knowing exactly how and who also gain a moderate bonus to their Pick Locks ability as compensation for the redundancy. Fighters and Rangers may have a need for the ability to secure prisoners. Wizards and Clerics may want to keep their sanctums secure. Also, in any party where there is no Thief, Monk, or Assassin, having a Locksmith can be very valuable at maintaining the element of surprise (less need to bash down doors and chests).
As a Master, the Locksmith can even add some magical protections to his locks and create the legendary Skeleton Key. Continue reading