Sleight of Hand from different parts of targets gear?


Rules Questions


What have you ruled as the DC modifiers for noticing a item being pickpocketed from different parts of the targets gear.

Here's the scenario that caused a lot of different opinions on the difficulty of the theft being performed.

Our second level party that consist of a monk, a paladin and a rogue, has just finished killing a seahag on the deck of a large ship, and the paladin of the party has found a small gem worth a 1000 gp from the body of the hag. The paladin drops the gem to his backpack and then continues to search the deck for more hags that could have climbed on to the deck of the ship.
The rogue of the party (that being me so I might be a bit biased here) is struck with greed and decides she wants the diamond for herself. As the paladin searches for the seahags with the "help" of the rogue. The rogue makes her move and does a sleight of hand check to get that precious diamond. Now the rogues throw is 19+9=28 for sleight of hand, and the paladins perception check is 14+8=22. Our DM ruled that the check succeeds and the rogue got the diamond, but this caused a lot of different opinions on should the check have succeeded.

Now the player of our paladin first suggested that there should be 5 sleight of hand checks vs. perception checks for the theft to succeed. Then it was lowered to 3 checks. One for getting the backpack open, one for digging for the diamond, and one for getting the diamond out unnoticed.

I personally don't favor multiple checks where one party only needs one success and the other has to succeed in every roll.

Later on the player of the monk suggested that the DC for stealing something from a backpack that is on someone’s pack should be as hard as or almost as hard as stealing a sword from someone’s belt.

DC 50
Task: Lift a sheathed weapon from another creature and hide it on the character’s person, if the weapon is no more than one size category larger than the character’s own size.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/skills.htm#sleightOfHand

So the player of the monk suggested that the DC for the diamond theft should have been DC 40.

What difficulties would you as DM's and players suggest for picking items with sleight of hand from different parts of targets gear?
And do you think the paladin would count as being distracted because he was looking out for the possible seahags?
I seem to be the only one who seems to think that stealing something from a backpack shouldn’t be next to impossible
I would really appreciate the input because this incident caused a discussion that will set precedent for later stealing attempts.

And as an additional question, how would you think a actual thief would go on about stealing something from a backpack that is on someone back. By cutting a hole in the bottom and hoping for the right item to drop out, or some other means that would make the theft seem plausible?

I think that if the rogue wasn't being so greedy, she would have waited for the paladin to go to sleep and then search trough his backpack, but there was the slight possibilitity that the paladin would have hidden it better in that time.

Thanks beforehand for your answers.


Well, first I would point out two things about the DC 50 example that you list:

1.) That rule is a D&D 3.5 rule, not a Pathfinder RPG rule; and
2.) That check is for lifting an object up to one size category smaller than yourself[i] (!) and then immediately [i]hiding it on your person (!), all as a single standard action. The task you describe is not the equivalent of that DC 50 version.

There absolutely are not supposed to be multiple checks to get into someone's pockets or bags, lift the item, etc.

The Pathfinder RPG says that lifting an item from another character is a simple Sleight of Hand (with a set DC for success) opposed by Perception (to catch the attempt). Reading the entry, however, it looks to me like a hand crossbow is just about largest item you can hide on your person, meaning that you probably could not hide the fact that you have just stolen someone's longsword. You could draw their longsword as a standard action (though this would probably require you to roll initiative), but not Sleight of Hand it.

Stealing a gem from a backpack, however? Sure thing. That's kind of what the skill was made for. Well, that and palming weapons (or components, or wands).

As for the paladin being distracted, our group has always ruled that a character is distracted if he is actively doing something other than standing guard. Idly sitting around the campfire? Not distracted. Searching the bodies of the monsters you just slew? Distracted.

The 3.5 rules were pretty clear on this point - the Pathfinder SRD rules are less so.


I know I should resist the temptation to do this. but..

Logically speaking. yes. It should be nigh on impossible to open someone's backpack, stick your arm up to the shoulder, wiggle your hand around, find the gem, pull it out, close the back, and then stand back and hum innocently about it while the wearer of the backpack is wide awake and standing there.

If the paladin hadn't specified that he had simply dropped the gem into his backpack then sure- Sleight is fair game. Then, I would simply assume you swiped it from a pocket or such.

But rifling through someone else's backpack while they are awake, trying to find some small item, without them noticing? No.

I Might allow you to slight of hand their backpack generally but it would be a random roll on what you got out of it. It would have to be something small and likely to be on top though. (not something light, that likely sifted through to the bottom. but that would also depend on what all he had in his backpack, too.)

Just my thoughts.

(and I am currently playing a rogue..)

-S

Dark Archive

Selgard wrote:

I know I should resist the temptation to do this. but..

Logically speaking. yes. It should be nigh on impossible to open someone's backpack, stick your arm up to the shoulder, wiggle your hand around, find the gem, pull it out, close the back, and then stand back and hum innocently about it while the wearer of the backpack is wide awake and standing there.

If the paladin hadn't specified that he had simply dropped the gem into his backpack then sure- Sleight is fair game. Then, I would simply assume you swiped it from a pocket or such.

But rifling through someone else's backpack while they are awake, trying to find some small item, without them noticing? No.

I Might allow you to slight of hand their backpack generally but it would be a random roll on what you got out of it. It would have to be something small and likely to be on top though. (not something light, that likely sifted through to the bottom. but that would also depend on what all he had in his backpack, too.)

Just my thoughts.

(and I am currently playing a rogue..)

-S

you went to a nice schools growin up, didnt you

I've taken Calculators, pencils, ect out of people in the hallways backpacks when i was in school, with them wearing it and not noticing.

its totally possible


You also have to consider the relationship between the party members, and if there is a blind accepting trust, or some deep suspicions. In addition to how the backpack is secured, these would all equate to penalties or bonuses to the skill checks (perception or sleight of hand). And depending if there is a significant lack of trust, may turn in combat, to add grappling and associated maneuvers.

This also offers a ripe opportunity for roleplaying, so I would opt for that, before combat.


Name Violation wrote:

[

I've taken Calculators, pencils, ect out of people in the hallways backpacks when i was in school, with them wearing it and not noticing.

its totally possible

And you took them from the BOTTOM of their backpacks where they had loads of other stuff as well? Taking from a backpack's side pouch would be easy but from the main compartment...? Tough.

Also, please remember that although you were not (probably) a thief or a rogue per se, your victims in the school were also not Paladins who have maxed out their perception stats :)

I just think the Pally got screwed here (I'm the guy playing the monk in this group) and would not complain if the gem had been in a belt pouch or in his pocket... but it was in his backpack, along with 20-40 pounds of random gear!

I'd say the DC for Sleight of Hand in this situation is somewhere around 40 just because it's so damn hard to get a single small stone the size of a d20 dice out of the bag in 6 seconds!


Someone please post the video....

I steal his pants.....

They need a link here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiTEHqAeanw

about 7 minutes in.....

Scarab Sages

Take a look at the bag depicted in the equipment chapter. It's just a floppy fold of cloth for a cover.

There's nothing there securing it for access. Actually, there's an expansion book with an Adventurer's Satchel or something like that which requires a move action to open once closed. If the paladin had one of THOSE, I'd expect he would get two checks. One to open it unnoticed, and one to grab the diamond which is likely sitting on top of all his crap.

Also, if he's looting bodies, he's moving around, kneeling, bending over, and whathaveyou. There'll be plenty of opportunities for even a small rogue to gain access to the top. Though, really, the best time would have been during the rogues watch :D

Now, if the paladin had taken pains to put the gem underneath everything else in his bag, I'd give him a significant bonus to that too. But personally, I think the scenario as described above works just fine with a single check to nab the gem.

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