PICKING POCKETS

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SLEIGHT OF HAND

“Sleight of Hand” is one of the 18 skills in 5th edition D&D. It is a Dexterity skill. This is because “Sleight of Hand” also known as Prestidigitation or Legerdemain, is the set of techniques used to manipulate objects secretly. The employment of purely manual dexterity without mechanical apparatus may be distinguished as “Sleight of Hand.”

There are eight principles to the study of “Sleight of Hand.” These include:

  1. Palm – To hold an object in an apparently empty hand.
  2. Switch – To secretly exchange one object for another.
  3. Ditch – To secretly dispose of an unneeded object.
  4. Steal – To secretly obtain a needed object.
  5. Load – To secretly move an object to where it is needed.
  6. Simulation – To give the impression that something has happened that has not.
  7. Misdirection – To lead attention away from a secret move.
  8. Display – To demonstrate an object that is really another.

 In this case, we are focusing on #4 which relates to stealing objects. Occasionally, Playing Characters (PCs) decide that their character wants to steal something from another character. This may be something simple like the situation in a recent episode of Constantine. John Constantine enters a police crime scene and bumps into a police officer. He apologizes, and keeps walking smiling that he’s just stolen the oficer’s identification credentials.  That’s a simple action to resolve.

But what happens if the PC is just trying to steal whatever happens to be in someone’s pockets? They cut a purse, lift a pocket, or simply loot a body. Then the Dungeon Master has to come up with something on the fly. That’s what the following charts provide to Dungeon Masters who choose to use them. Enjoy.


bannerdotskullsVALUABLE ITEMS

When using the Valuable Items table, the Dungeon Master is encouraged to set the worth or value of each item based on the economy of their own campaign setting. However, if all else fails determine the value of the item by rolling 1d6 and multiplying by 100. Meaning if you roll a 6, then the item would be valued at 600 gold.

This chart is designed to provide items that may lead to further adventures and may serve as a hook. At the Dungeon Master’s discretion, these items may lead to another adventure for the characters.

Valuable Items

 % Item
01–15  A small pouch foreign coins.
16–35  A gemstone, cut and polished
36–45  Jewelry
46–60  A key marked with odd runes
61–75  A small ring engraved with ancient glyphs.
76–90  A scroll case containing a treasure map.

91–100

 A small book containing several names and locations.

bannerringCOMMON ITEMS

These are common items that just about any non-playing character might have in their pockets at any given time of the day or night. The items are not really anything wonderful or valuable, but the chart intends to have the items appear odd or different just for novelty.

d%  Common Items
01–03  A small dagger peace-bound in a sheath
04–05  A single iron key with a half-moon symbol on the shaft.
06–10  A comb made from chicken bone
11–15  A holy symbol from a local temple
16–20   A laundry ticket for a local merchant
21–25  1d4 pieces of chalk shaped to look like animals
26–34  A small flute in the shape of a hummingbird
35–37   A deck of playing cards spattered with blood
38–45  A single bar of soap wrapped in cheesecloth
46–55  A glass vial marked “Perfume”
56–60  A healing kit wrapped in a bloody cloth
61–64  A small knife with a dull edge
65–72   A small soft cap rolled in a ball
73–80  A pair of spectacles
81–85  1d4 darts with wax capped points
86–90  A flask with with Elven Wine
91–95  A tobacco pipe and bag of Halfling Sweet Leaf
96   A vial of ink
97–99   A set of lock picking tools
100   A small wooden toy

dndbannerspidersTREASURE

This chart is intended to award the pick pocket with something a little more interesting and useful. The items here are basically either items that would be considered treasure or minor magical items. Prices (worth) are provided for ease but the Dungeon Master can change this according to the economy of his or her own campaign.

 %   Treasure
01–04  A silver Ring of Protection +1
05–09   A bloodstone carved into the likeness of a demon face worth 50 gold
10–13  A pearl worth 100 gold
14–17  A polished jade pendant worth 100 gold
18–21  A small black freshwater pearl worth 500 gold
22–25  A potion of acid resistance. Prevents the first 10 points of acid damage.
26–29  A transparent moonstone gem worth 70 gold
30–32  A small container of healing salve. 2d6 uses. Heals 1d8 per use.
33–34 Vial of Magic Oil. 1d4 uses. Gives a weapon a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls.
35  A glass vial containing Sanctuary potion. (1 use as spell)
36–39  A finely wrought small gold bracelet worth 50 gold
40  A black velvet mask with numerous citrines worth 105 gold
41–45  A red tiger’s eye gem worth 170 gold
46–49  A brass mug with jade inlays worth 300 gold
50–51  An Elven Silver comb with moonstone worth 150 gold
52–54  A small gold statuette encrusted with gemstones worth 155 gold
55–57  An Eyepatch with mock eye of sapphire and moonstone worth 140 gold
58–60  A moss agate worth 10 gold
61–64  A comb shaped like a dragon with red garnet eyes worth 180 gold
65 A magnifying glass worth 50 gold
66–70  A ring carved of ivory worth 20 gold
71–75  A small hourglass worth 25 gold
76–80  A silver holy symbol worth 25 gold
81–85  A legal deed for a ruined tower on the outside of town
86–90  A small chunk of Darkwood worth 100 gold
91–95  A fist sized Emerald worth 1000 gold
96  A vial of Daylight Oil. 1d6 uses. A drop sheds light as bright as full daylight in a 60-foot radius.
97  A small pouch filled with exotic spices worth 40 gold
98  A pair of loaded dice made of bone worth 5 gold
99  A silver vial containing ambergris worth 15 gold
100 A jeweled electrum ring worth 5000 gold
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