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Thief EquipmentbyTed Garland

 Item  Cost Weight   Legal
Arm Sling   3 cp Yes
Mini-Blade 5 cp No
Razor Ring (iron) 2 gp No
Razor Ring (silver) 10 gp No
Glass-cutter (handled)  120 gp No
Hollow Boots 15 gp  No
Marbles, bag (30)  2 cp Yes
Pin Ring (iron) 2 gp  No
Pin Ring (silver) 10 gp No
Sword Stick 25 gp No
Wrist Sheath  3 sp No
False Scabbard 12 gp  1-2 N o
Silenced Armor +300 gp Yes

Arm Sling: This is simply a cloth sling; the thief wears it to appear as if he has a broken or injured arm, and speedily withdraws his hand from it for the pocket-picking attempt. This actually reduces the chances of picking pockets by -5 penalty but the payoff is that the DC for being spoted is reduced by 5. This reflects the fact that people simply do not expect to see a man with a broken arm picking pockets and the expectation determines the perception. The use of this unusual strategy is only useful – but it is really useful here – when the priority is not to be discovered, rather than to be sure of success. A thief working in a city where he is not a guild member, or one where legal penalties for picking pockets are very harsh, might favor the use of this ruse. A thief obviously cannot use this ruse for an extended period of time in the same place (save possibly by posing as a beggar). There is a limit to how long an arm can plausibly need for healing, after all.

Mini-Blade: This is a generic term for a very small (and usually very sharp) blade which can be held (with care!) between the fingers or in the "edge of the hand". A very sharp coin edge, filed down, can be used in this way. and has the advantage of being readily available. A more sophisticated (and rarer) version is the razor ring, a hollow signet ring with a flip-tap and a very sharp blade within. The mini-blade is used to cut a soft container – most obviously a purse or pouch – so that the thief can get at what’s inside it. It is the most effective technique for getting at coins, gems, etc., inside a purse with drawn and tied strings. With a mini-blade the thief only has to make a simple pick pockets check to effect the larceny. If the thief has, instead, to try to open the purse strings and then extract what’s inside because he has no mini-blade, this needs two pick pockets checks for success (one to open the purse, one to get at the goodies) – and two opposed spot checks for being observed, as well!

Glass Cutter: This very simple instrument is usually a small diamond set into a suitable handle, or even one set into a ring. The diamond must be cut to a line point, and if used in a ring a hinged top should be used to protect the gem. Such a tool will cut through glass fairly quickly. Attempting an entry through a window is always superior in principle to attempting to force a door, since windows cannot be as physically tough as doors and are less likely to be locked; but if they are locked, a glass cutter is highly useful.

Hollow Boots: These come in various forms, but a common design is one with swiveling heels. The heel of the boot is grasped and twisted firmly toward the inside surface. The heel swivels and reveals a small, hollow compartment within the boot. These compartments are very small, and will typically only hold one gem of moderate size or up to four small ones. The design at the boot is such that there is not an externally visible built-up heel, but nonetheless a thief wearing these boots suffers a -5 check penalty to any move silently check he has to make.

Marbles: The use of these is an old chestnut, but perennially popular with thieves, not least because of their effectiveness. A small bag of marbles (a general term for small spheres of glass, metal, etc.) unleashed over a stone floor to roll around forces any pursuers to slow to half normal speed or be forced to make a Balance check DC 15. If the check fails the pursuer slips up and have to spend a full round getting up again. Because marbles roll around a lot, a small bag (30 or so) will cover a 10′ x 30′ (or equivalents area. Small stones and pebbles can only be substituted for marbles if they have been polished, filed, etc., so that they are almost perfectly round – a time-consuming business.)

Pin Ring: This simple weapon is a ring with a flip-up lid, below which is a needle capable of delivering a dose of poison (or knock-out drug, etc.) to the target. The most primitive version of this will have the pin simply sitting in a small reservoir of liquid drug or toxin. Since administration of the poison/drug is rather haphazard here, the victim receives a bonus of + 2 to any saving throw against its effects. Subtler and more refined designs have a needle capable of drawing up liquid from a reservoir, so that only a normal saving throw (or even one with a -2 penalty) applies. The DM should decide which to allow in the campaign (both can exist at the same time, of course). An attack with a pin ring takes a -4 penalty to the attack roll because it must strike exposed flesh – the pin will not administer poison through any significant thickness of clothing. A strike to the neck is the time-honored way of making sure the toxin gets into the bloodstream quickly.

Sword Stick: This is simply a long, slender, rapier-like blade concealed within what appears to be a simple walking stick or cane. Damage done by the blade is as per a short sword. It takes one round to draw the blade from the sword stick and ready it for use. The main use of the weapon, obviously, is the possibility of smuggling it into places where weapons are not permitted. It is highly doubtful whether anything like a sword stick existed in medieval times, but this weapon definitely adds some style and dash to a campaign.

Wrist Sheath: This small leather sheath is made to hold a dagger, and is strapped to the forearm (below the sleeve of a garment) so that the weapon can be flipped to the hand by an arm movement and the blade readied for action. A dexterous thief can work a blade into his hand by arm movements disguised in the context of changing posture while sitting in a chair, or similar, seemingly innocuous moves. Again, the obvious advantage is that of concealment. Variants on this theme are drop sheaths, which are usually sewn into leather jackets or similar articles of clothing. Here, release of the dagger from the sheath can be triggered by mechanical means (pressing a jacket sleeve stud, etc.) or by muscular stimuli triggering pressure pads (tensing the biceps firmly against the fist of the other arm, etc.).

False Scabbard: Thieves can employ stout scabbards which are slightly longer than the swords which fit into them, leaving a length of scabbard at the end which is a separate, hollow compartment. Usually, this can he accessed via a sliding panel at the end of the scabbard. This hollow compartment can be used to conceal a great many kinds of things, either to smuggle them in (poisons, blinding powder, etc.) or smuggle them out (gems and such). Some are so well-designed that the compartment can be entered from above or below, so that the thief can use the false scabbard as a snorkel (or, more correctly, as an underwater breathing tube) if he has to stay concealed in the water for any reason.

Silenced Armor: Favored by any thief or ranger who uses armor heavier than leather and enjoy sneaking around. When a suit of armor is created you can pay an additional 300 gp to have it silenced, thus reducing the check penalty to move silently checks when in armor by 4 but nor lower than the armor check penalty. You can put this on an existing suit of armor but it only reduces the check penalty for moving silently by 1.

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