Please Don't Call it "Thievery"


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Long ago, when the class was called "Thief", almost every player running a character that used D6 for hit points felt it was mandatory to be a kleptomaniac lawbreaker who cheats his friends at every opportunity. Even Tolkien seemed limited to "burglar". It was a great new day for the game when the class went Rogue, so to speak.

The class description of rogue currently in the test book, with its emphasis on stealing, is an unfortunate step backward. More troubling is the sleight of hand and disable device meld into a single skill called "thievery". Conflate them, okay, but don't tie a skill by its title to moral choices for its use.

Just one simple example: I could see a paladin who has learned to clear traps. It would be annoying to hear a DM call for the paladin to make a thievery check.

I suspect the problem arose because it's challenging to find an effective term for open locks/disable device which also covers sleight of hand. Maybe Sleight of Hand is the better catchall? Or something like "Skill of Hand". Infiltration? I'm not sure. Just please not "thievery". We've come too far.


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Lets look at the actions the skill allows you to take: PALM AN OBJECT, STEAL AN OBJECT, DISABLE A DEVICE, PICK A LOCK... So take an item unnoticed, take an item from a person without notice, bypass a trap and open a lock. SO shoplifting, pick pocketing and breaking and entering... My vote is to keep the name as/is. The name doesn't matter as it's a meta issue: only the DM and player hear the name, the paladin never has to hear the name. IMO the bigger issue is why is your paladin is learning to pick pockets and snatch items unseen and not the skill name. If you can rationalize IN CHARACTER why you pick up thieving skills, it should be no problem for the actual player to rationalize a skills name.


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Ben Ehrets wrote:

Long ago, when the class was called "Thief", almost every player running a character that used D6 for hit points felt it was mandatory to be a kleptomaniac lawbreaker who cheats his friends at every opportunity. Even Tolkien seemed limited to "burglar". It was a great new day for the game when the class went Rogue, so to speak.

The class description of rogue currently in the test book, with its emphasis on stealing, is an unfortunate step backward. More troubling is the sleight of hand and disable device meld into a single skill called "thievery". Conflate them, okay, but don't tie a skill by its title to moral choices for its use.

Just one simple example: I could see a paladin who has learned to clear traps. It would be annoying to hear a DM call for the paladin to make a thievery check.

I suspect the problem arose because it's challenging to find an effective term for open locks/disable device which also covers sleight of hand. Maybe Sleight of Hand is the better catchall? Or something like "Skill of Hand". Infiltration? I'm not sure. Just please not "thievery". We've come too far.

Look at the things that the Thievery skill is used for, and explain it to me how there are ways for those activities to be done in a way that is considered "Good," and then you might have a case. Last I checked, lifting or stealing objects from others' possession is Evil, breaking into a house or sealed container without authority is Chaotic/Unlawful, and messing around with traps generally means you aren't in a very good or trusting neighborhood, either.

Until I start seeing Paladins finding fair and valid uses for the skill, without losing their powers, then this is just an argument in futility.


Never thought about this before, but I see your point. "Thievery" means "the act of stealing" according to the dictionary. It's decidedly not neutral in the morality of it.

Considering there are many applications aside from stealing, it's kinda suspect to label every application of it as a thievery check.


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graystone wrote:
Lets look at the actions the skill allows you to take: PALM AN OBJECT, STEAL AN OBJECT, DISABLE A DEVICE, PICK A LOCK... So take an item unnoticed, take an item from a person without notice, bypass a trap and open a lock. SO shoplifting, pick pocketing and breaking and entering... My vote is to keep the name as/is. The name doesn't matter as it's a meta issue: only the DM and player hear the name, the paladin never has to hear the name. IMO the bigger issue is why is your paladin is learning to pick pockets and snatch items unseen and not the skill name. If you can rationalize IN CHARACTER why you pick up thieving skills, it should be no problem for the actual player to rationalize a skills name.

It's kinda funny that Houdini or Ricky Jay used all those same skills to entertain, and police use all those same skills to enforce the law... but, sure, let's just call them all thieves. OP has a damn'd good point that the collection of things put under the skill have wider berth than just "stealing stuff."


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Just wanna add my 2 cents as a speaker of other language (Portuguese).

Thievery is a very hard translating term.

Thievery may sound "cool" in english, but I can't find any word that could be translated that doesn't sound bad.


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Dante Doom wrote:

Just wanna add my 2 cents as a speaker of other language (Portuguese).

Thievery is a very hard translating term.

Thievery may sound "cool" in english, but I can't find any word that could be translated that doesn't sound bad.

Yeah, "ladinagem" sounds pretty bad, but it's hard to translate other terms that could apply to this as well. Sleight of hand is at least as bad, and in some languages it just becomes some weird phrases. I also speak Portuguese and... To be honest I find it really hard to find any term for this that makes sense in English and is easily translatable to other languages.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Legerdemain would be a better, if harder to pronounce, name.


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Greg.Everham wrote:
It's kinda funny that Houdini or Ricky Jay used all those same skills to entertain, and police use all those same skills to enforce the law... but, sure, let's just call them all thieves. OP has a damn'd good point that the collection of things put under the skill have wider berth than just "stealing stuff."

For houdini and such, that's magic... Yeah, let's go with THAT name. :P As for law enforcement, how many are picking pockets, picking locks, ect... MAYBE trap disabling but normal law enforcement isn't using the majority of it.

Tridus wrote:

Never thought about this before, but I see your point. "Thievery" means "the act of stealing" according to the dictionary. It's decidedly not neutral in the morality of it.

Considering there are many applications aside from stealing, it's kinda suspect to label every application of it as a thievery check.

Then what do you suggest that covers all the uses? You say thievery and breaking and entering and lifting purses comes to mind... In 'modern' lingo, you might get away with magic or prestidigitation but that's beyond confusing in a fantasy world that has actual magic and prestidigitation. A more esoteric name isn't going to have the recognition like thievery does. For instance, 'skill of hands' could be a skill to be good at crafts, combat, magic, writing, ect... Legerdemain covers sleight of hand but not traps or locks, has the exact type of bad connotation [means deception and trickery] and is a less recognizable meaning. At best a sidegrade to a less understandable word.


dmerceless wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:

Just wanna add my 2 cents as a speaker of other language (Portuguese).

Thievery is a very hard translating term.

Thievery may sound "cool" in english, but I can't find any word that could be translated that doesn't sound bad.

Yeah, "ladinagem" sounds pretty bad, but it's hard to translate other terms that could apply to this as well. Sleight of hand is at least as bad, and in some languages it just becomes some weird phrases. I also speak Portuguese and... To be honest I find it really hard to find any term for this that makes sense in English and is easily translatable to other languages.

Sei que se é BR tbm! Hahaha

Melhor termo que achei foi gatunagem... Mas aí já tem que explicar pra crianças mais novas...
Termo complicado!


How about воровство? ukweba? ʻaihue? zlodějství? 偷竊? 도둑질? I don't have the ability to tell how well such translated words work in those languages.

I know for me I don't care about "cool" for a word but that it actual covers the actions the skill allows accurately and so far I haven't seen one better than thievery.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Kingmaker game calls it Trickery.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I'd suggest trickery is a much better name, as Pathfinder: Kingmaker cRPG uses.


Greg.Everham wrote:
graystone wrote:
Lets look at the actions the skill allows you to take: PALM AN OBJECT, STEAL AN OBJECT, DISABLE A DEVICE, PICK A LOCK... So take an item unnoticed, take an item from a person without notice, bypass a trap and open a lock. SO shoplifting, pick pocketing and breaking and entering... My vote is to keep the name as/is. The name doesn't matter as it's a meta issue: only the DM and player hear the name, the paladin never has to hear the name. IMO the bigger issue is why is your paladin is learning to pick pockets and snatch items unseen and not the skill name. If you can rationalize IN CHARACTER why you pick up thieving skills, it should be no problem for the actual player to rationalize a skills name.
It's kinda funny that Houdini or Ricky Jay used all those same skills to entertain, and police use all those same skills to enforce the law... but, sure, let's just call them all thieves. OP has a damn'd good point that the collection of things put under the skill have wider berth than just "stealing stuff."

Magicians aren't exactly stand-up citizens (chances are they have used some of those skills for less-than-stellar purposes), and modern police don't lift/palm objects, lockpick, or set up mechanical traps. They confiscate contraband (which is completely different than taking valuable rings and jewelry from people without them noticing), break down doors (after search warrants are received of course), and put up roadblocks or other such "traps" that don't require special skills to disable, just a lot of time and man power.

It's a major misnomer to say police are thiefs and magicians have always been upstanding citizens, and really I'd only expect police that are corrupt to have any sense of the skill as we know it in PF2.

And changing the name won't do much good because all aspects of the skill still involve gray areas and moral conundrums that characters like Paladins can't really approve or get involved with the same way that other characters can. The only way you can get away with it is by sanctioning the "good" uses of the skill into something separate from the "bad" uses of the skill, and that goes counterintuitive from a game that's meant to consolidate the number of skills that exist (even more than PF1, anyway).


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


And changing the name won't do much good because all aspects of the skill still involve gray areas and moral conundrums that characters like Paladins can't really approve or get involved with the same way that other characters can. The only way you can get away with it is by sanctioning the "good" uses of the skill into something separate from the "bad" uses of the skill, and that goes counterintuitive from a game that's meant to consolidate the number of skills that exist (even more than PF1, anyway).

I'm having a hard time with the idea that a Paladin is morally incapable of picking a lock. It's not hard to come up with a scenario where a Paladin would smash a door down to get at what's on the other side, and property damage is the only real difference between picking a lock and smashing the door down.

The idea that we'll brave all sorts of horrors and do all sorts of things to rescue people and smite bad guys but can be stopped by putting a locked set of manacles on their hostage just doesn't pass a smell test.

I mean, even lifting something could be perfectly legitimate if you're acting in an espionage role and need to break in & steal something without the bad guy knowing you're doing that. You usually won't hire a Paladin to do that, but I don't see what in the code says "I can't be hired by the legitimate ruling authority to help on a mission against evildoers if it involves gathering evidence discreetly." (Could actually make for an amusing story where a party breaks in and someone else wants to steal some stuff while they're there but the Paladin insists they only take the target item as taking anything else would be outside of their state-sanction and thus theft.)


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ben Ehrets wrote:

Long ago, when the class was called "Thief", almost every player running a character that used D6 for hit points felt it was mandatory to be a kleptomaniac lawbreaker who cheats his friends at every opportunity. Even Tolkien seemed limited to "burglar". It was a great new day for the game when the class went Rogue, so to speak.

The class description of rogue currently in the test book, with its emphasis on stealing, is an unfortunate step backward. More troubling is the sleight of hand and disable device meld into a single skill called "thievery". Conflate them, okay, but don't tie a skill by its title to moral choices for its use.

Just one simple example: I could see a paladin who has learned to clear traps. It would be annoying to hear a DM call for the paladin to make a thievery check.

I suspect the problem arose because it's challenging to find an effective term for open locks/disable device which also covers sleight of hand. Maybe Sleight of Hand is the better catchall? Or something like "Skill of Hand". Infiltration? I'm not sure. Just please not "thievery". We've come too far.

Look at the things that the Thievery skill is used for, and explain it to me how there are ways for those activities to be done in a way that is considered "Good," and then you might have a case

Open Lock: Unless you condemn good to being passive or completely unstealthy, there's plenty of use for this when attacking bad guys. SWAT doesn't always batter down or blow up locked doors (since that tends to be loud among many other issues) and neither should the forces of good.

Disable device: Stop bombs and other devices intended for evil, or just remove traps on locks above.
Palm an object: Hiding stuff from the bad guys is very much in a hero's skill set.
Steal an object: Doesn't this cover Indiana Jones style pressure plate trickery?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
modern police [...] lockpick.

Assuming you meant to have a don't there, this is false. While rank and file (beat) will not, it's definitely within SWAT's skill set to pick locks.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Isn't Pathfinder (or any fantasy RPG for that matter) a game about breaking and entering and taking somebody's stuff regardless of who it belongs to? Isn't basically burglary the core element of an adventurer's party, unless the entire group is LG and the Paladin insists that every "liberated" coin, gem and artwork needs to be returned to its rightful owners?


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In my Iron Gods campaign, the dwarven smith technologist gunslinger/rogue would often disable technological devices. She was a gadgeteer and I had to improvise new rules for her pushing the limits of gadgeteering with alien technology. Sometimes she rolled Disable Device, sometimes she rolled Knowledge(engineering), and sometimes she rolled Craft(mechanical). The disable device did not make her a thief.

In Numeria, possessing alien technology without a permit was illegal by the rules of the Technic League, which was not the government but still enforced their rules. Thus, the PCs did sometimes have to hide their technology on themselves to avoid the attention of Technic League informants. That was a Sleight of Hand roll. That did not make them thieves.

In my Rise of the Runelords campaign, one rogue's backstory was that he was a professional treasure hunter, exploring runes and finding treasure. The laws of Varisia counted that as wealth legally earned. Some of that treasure was behind locked doors or in locked chests, so he picked locks. He was not a thief. In contrast, another rogue in the party robbed the cashboxes of vendor booths during the goblin raid on the Swallowtail Butterfly Festival in Sandpoint and then stepped beside the strangers thrown together by that beginning adventure and said, "I was with them all the time, helping fight the goblins." She was a thief.

I liked the Dirty Trick combat maneuver in PF1 and I hope it will appear in PF2. Disarm, Grapple, Shove (Bull Rush), and Trip became Athletics attack actions. Dirty Trick would fit better as an attack that uses the Thievery skill. But it would not be thievery. It would be trickery, like a feint.

The dictionary defines thievery as, "the act or practice of thieving; theft." It does not mean disabling a device, unless that was part of a robbery. The more respectable names for nimble-fingered skills are "sleight of hand" and "legerdemain." More general names are "trickery", which also means deception, and "manipulation", whose verb form is used as trait on actions.

Manipulation would be a nice name, because we could put some fine handling skills under it that have nothing to do with robbery. "Roll Manipulation to tie a good knot." "Roll Manipulation to aim the beam of light exactly at the gemstone on the idol."

I have a similar problem with the name of a feat: Trick Magic Item. An Arcana, Nature, Occultism, or Religion skill described on page 173, it allows a non-caster to use a magic item that otherwise requires being able to cast particular spells. That sounds more like arcane study to learn a greater variety of magical activations; nevertheless, Paizo decided to go with the old "fool the magic item into thinking you are a different class" name. And if it keeps that name, I am sure that some GMs will forbid that feat to paladins because paladins can't lie.


Tridus wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


And changing the name won't do much good because all aspects of the skill still involve gray areas and moral conundrums that characters like Paladins can't really approve or get involved with the same way that other characters can. The only way you can get away with it is by sanctioning the "good" uses of the skill into something separate from the "bad" uses of the skill, and that goes counterintuitive from a game that's meant to consolidate the number of skills that exist (even more than PF1, anyway).

I'm having a hard time with the idea that a Paladin is morally incapable of picking a lock. It's not hard to come up with a scenario where a Paladin would smash a door down to get at what's on the other side, and property damage is the only real difference between picking a lock and smashing the door down.

The idea that we'll brave all sorts of horrors and do all sorts of things to rescue people and smite bad guys but can be stopped by putting a locked set of manacles on their hostage just doesn't pass a smell test.

I mean, even lifting something could be perfectly legitimate if you're acting in an espionage role and need to break in & steal something without the bad guy knowing you're doing that. You usually won't hire a Paladin to do that, but I don't see what in the code says "I can't be hired by the legitimate ruling authority to help on a mission against evildoers if it involves gathering evidence discreetly." (Could actually make for an amusing story where a party breaks in and someone else wants to steal some stuff while they're there but the Paladin insists they only take the target item as taking anything else would be outside of their state-sanction and thus theft.)

Because the Paladin is using dishonorable means to get what he wants. Lockpicking, AKA Thievery, isn't really something that Paladins should learn or aspire to gain as a skill. "Oh yeah, I'm an honorable embodiment of Good and Law, but I'm not above picking a lock that obviously the person whom has locked it doesn't want me to see." Violating personal space is not something a Paladin does unless doing so is important for saving innocents. And you'd be hardpressed to find a situation where a Paladin can still be called that while employing such skills. You can compare it to outright breaking down the door all you like, but it's more honorable and fair for a Paladin to do that (especially if he has the authority) than it is for him to sleight the lock and get a dishonorable advantage on an apparent enemy or threat.

Putting a locked set of manacles on a hostage because they are under arrest by legitimate authority or can't be trusted to be in your custody quietly or safely is certainly within a Paladin's purview to do. Can you imagine how silly and mortified that Paladin would feel if he didn't decide to cuff the serial murderer, whom after apprehending him, decides he still wants to go out and kill more innocent people? A locked set of manacles on a felon is way different than lockpicking a chest or lockbox that people probably don't want you looking in to. Apples and oranges here.

You're really suggesting a Paladin should have the right to steal things from people that don't belong to him? Let me guess, you'd call Robin Hood a Paladin now, because he steals from the rich to give to the less fortunate, which is technically the greater good? Don't be ridiculous. A felon is a felon is a felon, and if a Paladin does something like that, especially over the course of his adventuring career, his privilege as a Paladin will be called into question by his peers and his God (unless he follows the God of Lies and Deception, but seriously, that's not a valid Paladin God), even if what he does is for those less fortunate. In fact, a Paladin would have to fight against Robin Hood, not because Robin Hood is evil, but because he is a vigilante fighting against legitimate authority that a Paladin has to abide by.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Look at the things that the Thievery skill is used for, and explain it to me how there are ways for those activities to be done in a way that is considered "Good," and then you might have a case. Last I checked, lifting or stealing objects from others' possession is Evil, breaking into a house or sealed container without authority is Chaotic/Unlawful, and messing around with traps generally means you aren't in a very good or trusting neighborhood, either.

Until I start seeing Paladins finding fair and valid uses for the skill, without losing their powers, then this is just an argument in futility.

"That of the magician is the most, nay the only honest job in the world: from the moment a magician steps on stage, he will lie, cheat and steal just as much as everyone else, but he's the only one you gave permission to do so."


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I agree with it would be nicer to have a different name. (Although I do like to some extent that the skills were condensed. Often needing Stealth, Sleight of Hand, Bluff, AND Disable Device felt like an awkward income tax on rogues' skill points.)

As for morally okay uses of it. Uhh... my LG paladin of Iomedae in Wrath of the Righteous has max ranks in Disable Device and has picked locks a bunch of times. She hasn't fallen for not using enough brute force while rescuing prisoners, and I'm pretty sure she shouldn't. Her spyglass archon cohort is also pretty good at it.

Regarding breaking down doors being "fairer"... honorable does not mean stupid. Paladins are not forced to give their enemies maximum time to be ready for attack. I mean, there've been canon instances of Golarion paladins being spied on, and if they had to broadcast attack plans for the sake of honor, there wouldn't be much need for that, right?


deuxhero wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ben Ehrets wrote:

Long ago, when the class was called "Thief", almost every player running a character that used D6 for hit points felt it was mandatory to be a kleptomaniac lawbreaker who cheats his friends at every opportunity. Even Tolkien seemed limited to "burglar". It was a great new day for the game when the class went Rogue, so to speak.

The class description of rogue currently in the test book, with its emphasis on stealing, is an unfortunate step backward. More troubling is the sleight of hand and disable device meld into a single skill called "thievery". Conflate them, okay, but don't tie a skill by its title to moral choices for its use.

Just one simple example: I could see a paladin who has learned to clear traps. It would be annoying to hear a DM call for the paladin to make a thievery check.

I suspect the problem arose because it's challenging to find an effective term for open locks/disable device which also covers sleight of hand. Maybe Sleight of Hand is the better catchall? Or something like "Skill of Hand". Infiltration? I'm not sure. Just please not "thievery". We've come too far.

Look at the things that the Thievery skill is used for, and explain it to me how there are ways for those activities to be done in a way that is considered "Good," and then you might have a case

Open Lock: Unless you condemn good to being passive or completely unstealthy, there's plenty of use for this when attacking bad guys. SWAT doesn't always batter down or blow up locked doors (since that tends to be loud among many other issues) and neither should the forces of good.

Disable device: Stop bombs and other devices intended for evil, or just remove traps on locks above.
Palm an object: Hiding stuff from the bad guys is very much in a hero's skill set.
Steal an object: Doesn't this cover Indiana Jones style pressure plate trickery?

Good isn't passive, but they are also most likely people who respect the laws of the land (at least a lot more than Neutral or Evil people). Going around and randomly lockpicking doors and chests will (and should) get you arrested in today's society, so while it's not "evil," it's also certainly not "good" either, so expecting a Paladin to be on board with this isn't going to gel.

There are generally other ways for bombs to be taken care of that doesn't involve cutting wires. A lot of the Superman episodes where he throws a bomb out into space comes to mind. Not realistic or technically appropriate across all situations, but this is a fantasy world we're talking about here, so let's let the imagination fly.

Again, there are easier ways to hide objects and stuff from bad guys besides trying to be deceptive about it. It might make for a more boring story if there isn't anyone treading that thin line, but if we're talking about Paladins, this isn't something they would do.

I never watched the Indiana Jones movies. (Yes, burn the heretic, I know, same goes for Star Wars and Star Trek and all that strange business. Mainstream be damned.) That being said, I don't think Thievery falls under the sort of shenanigans I believe you're describing, and if we're going that route then I have seen an example of this being done that doesn't, again, involve this kind of skill set. Unfortunately, it's usually sacrificial when done, so...

And yes, I did put a "Don't" in there, it's at the front of the list of three.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because the Paladin is using dishonorable means to get what he wants. Lockpicking, AKA Thievery, isn't really something that Paladins should learn or aspire to gain as a skill. "Oh yeah, I'm an honorable embodiment of Good and Law, but I'm not above picking a lock that obviously the person whom has locked it doesn't want me to see." Violating personal space is not something a Paladin does unless doing so is important for saving innocents. And you'd be hardpressed to find a situation where a Paladin can still be called that while employing such skills. You can compare it to outright breaking down the door all you like, but it's more honorable and fair for a Paladin to do that (especially if he has the authority) than it is for him to sleight the lock and get a dishonorable advantage on an apparent enemy or threat.

There is nothing "dishonorable" about picking a lock to get at the bad guy vs smashing down the door to get at the bad guy. It's the same door, leading to the same place in the room. One of them just leaves you with a working door afterward.

Are you suggesting that if the door is too strong for the Paladin to smash, he should just leave it closed and climb in a window instead of picking the lock? Because that's just silly.

Quote:
Putting a locked set of manacles on a hostage because they are under arrest by legitimate authority or can't be trusted to be in your custody quietly or safely is certainly within a Paladin's purview to do. Can you imagine how silly and mortified that Paladin would feel if he didn't decide to cuff the serial murderer, whom after apprehending him, decides he still wants to go out and kill more innocent people? A locked set of manacles on a felon is way different than lockpicking a chest or lockbox that people probably don't want you looking in to. Apples and oranges here.

No, I was referring to the bad guy putting manacles on his hostage. The idea that "lockpicking is bad, period" means the Paladin is forbidden from unlocking the hostage.

Which, again, is silly. It makes no sense whatsoever. No God is going to say "sure I wanted you to rescue the innocents from the kidnapper, but since they were locked up, you were a very naughty person for unlocking them." Especially since smashing them off would be fine, despite the greater risk of injury to said hostages.

You seem to be really hung up on the idea that locks are sacred things that can't be picked by Lawful Good people no matter the reason but are perfectly okay with accomplishing the exact same outcome (getting past the lock) using much more violent means. Which is fine, but the idea that it's somehow "honorable" to do that doesn't hold up.

Quote:
You're really suggesting a Paladin should have the right to steal things from people that don't belong to him? Let me guess, you'd call Robin Hood a Paladin now, because he steals from the rich to give to the less fortunate, which is technically the greater good? Don't be ridiculous. A felon is a felon is a felon, and if a Paladin does something like that, especially over the course of his adventuring career, his privilege as a Paladin will be called into question by his peers and his God (unless he follows the God of Lies and Deception, but seriously, that's not a valid Paladin God), even if what he does is for those less fortunate. In fact, a Paladin would have to fight against Robin Hood, not because Robin Hood is evil, but because he is a vigilante fighting against legitimate authority that a Paladin has to abide by.

If the King tells you to retrieve an item needed to incriminate the criminal activity of a Baron, is it really "stealing"? That's what I was talking about, and I specifically referred to a lawful authority hiring the Paladin to do it.

Robin Hood is clearly working against the law. A Paladin contracted by the legitimate ruler to do a covert action is not, although it could be immoral depending on what they're actually asked to do.

Really though, the original question was about picking locks. And unless we're playing Lawful Stupid, there is very little difference between a Paladin who gets past a door by smashing it and one that gets past it by picking the lock. The result is the same (minus the property damage).


Example from Film and maybe Literature (I did not read the books)
Sherlock Holmes (1930-50's ,probably not a paladin but maybe) in a film stole by slight of hand (removed from possession) a jewel that he knew was going to be stolen and thus the thieves stole the fake.

From real life:
Here is Oregon State, USA
A person trapped their property with various devices one of which killed a SWAT officer (IRRC their affiliation) but before that they disabled and bypassed a number of other traps before they missed the one that killed the officer.

Locksmiths in general:
Locksmiths/lock crafters; have the knowledge to often become successful lawbreakers as the skills/knowledge are the same it is the intent and how you use those skills/knowledge that breaks the law.

Medicine:
Tortures study medicine to better execute their profession.

In general:
The best course of action is the least damaging (evil one) for good/holy PC's.
Bad guys use locks just like good guy's.

MDC


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It does feel weird that a character who wants to be good at taking apart and putting together clockwork and other mechanical devices would want to invest in "craft" and also "thievery".


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BTW,
In all my years (Con's, home games, store games, etc) of seeing a player play a Kinder (Dragon Lance setting race) I have never seen the race be played in any other way except a kleptomaniac who acted child like.

The above may be good in books as it can provide humor breaks from the drama but in game settings over the long term it was very disruptive.

Having said that I know of quite a few PF 1 groups that liked to play goblins and their attitudes for a game or two as presented in the free goblin adventures.
And they had lots of fun.
But when trying to integrate that type of goblin into their regular game they found the same issues as the "Kinder race" above but not in the same way.

MDC

P.S. The Kinder issue is one common dividing point among groups that I have seen in that very few are in the middle of the issue.


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Tim Statler wrote:
The Kingmaker game calls it Trickery.

How is trickery better?

"synonyms: deception, deceit, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, double-dealing, legerdemain, sleight of hand, guile, craftiness, deviousness, subterfuge, skulduggery, chicanery, fraud, fraudulence, swindling". Dishonesty, cheating, double-dealing, fraud, swindling, ect should give the same feelings about the name as thievery...

Mathmuse wrote:
Manipulation would be a nice name

That word can mean "to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose" and "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" so I'm not seeing the connotation better and it's less obvious what it does as it gives no indication if it's physical or verbal manipulation: Manipulation could, for instance, be an umbrella for a combined bluff/intimitate by 'manipulating' the way they look at you.

Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
Kender

They must die in fire. I have no idea how they have survived as any sane race should begin the sacred/righteous culling of those vile creatures. Viva la genocide! ;)


graystone wrote:


Mathmuse wrote:
Manipulation would be a nice name

That word can mean "to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose" and "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" so I'm not seeing the connotation better and it's less obvious what it does as it gives no indication if it's physical or verbal manipulation: Manipulation could, for instance, be an umbrella for a combined bluff/intimitate by 'manipulating' the way they look at you.

It being a Dex-based skill should be a clue, as should actually reading the skill description in the rulebook. ;P


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graystone wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Manipulation would be a nice name
That word can mean "to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose" and "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" so I'm not seeing the connotation better and it's less obvious what it does as it gives no indication if it's physical or verbal manipulation: Manipulation could, for instance, be an umbrella for a combined bluff/intimitate by 'manipulating' the way they look at you.

I see that both graystone and I like the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Yet graystone left off:

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2a: to manage or utilize skillfully

And its etymology is, "from French, from manipuler to handle an apparatus in chemistry, ultimately from Latin manipulus." It means to handle, but with a sense of delicate handling rather than brute force.

The nimble-fingered skill can't have a name that is totally stainless, because it is used for thievery in addition to other skillful handling of delicate apparatus. But we could use a name that is not 100% devoted to the criminal side of skillful handling. Because eventually my characters will need to roll for a Dexterity-based activity similar to threading a needle, and I don't think that Acrobatics and Stealth will be suitable.

How about "handy" or "manual dexterity"?


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Mathmuse wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Manipulation would be a nice name
That word can mean "to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose" and "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" so I'm not seeing the connotation better and it's less obvious what it does as it gives no indication if it's physical or verbal manipulation: Manipulation could, for instance, be an umbrella for a combined bluff/intimitate by 'manipulating' the way they look at you.

I see that both graystone and I like the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Yet graystone left off:

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2a: to manage or utilize skillfully

And its etymology is, "from French, from manipuler to handle an apparatus in chemistry, ultimately from Latin manipulus." It means to handle, but with a sense of delicate handling rather than brute force.

The nimble-fingered skill can't have a name that is totally stainless, because it is used for thievery in addition to other skillful handling of delicate apparatus. But we could use a name that is not 100% devoted to the criminal side of skillful handling. Because eventually my characters will need to roll for a Dexterity-based activity similar to threading a needle, and I don't think that Acrobatics and Stealth will be suitable.

How about "handy" or "manual dexterity"?

Handy would probably be the worst term to translate in the history of TTRPGs, and Manual Dexterity would probably be confusing for new players with the Dexterity stat. To be honest I'd prefer if they just kept Sleight of Hand.


Acquisition.

Circumvention.

Extrication.

Infiltration.

Sabotage.

Subtlety.


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There probably should be a better term for it, but the mixing of two rather different skills into one does make that difficult. The main commonalities between slight of hand and disable device is that they're both dex based, and they're often (but by no means always) used to steal stuff.

But if we're talking about problematic naming, I'll bring up some of my pet causes: Barbarian and Monk. Both are terrible names for their classes. Barbarian is a cultural slur, not a class. You can be perfectly civilized and have that class. Call it Berserker, it's a better descriptor, and it doesn't imply class levels for some primitive tribal folks. And Monk is all about Kung-Fu, and not at all about monastic tradition. What would you call Benedictines? They don't practice martial arts. But now their job title has been stolen by guys who do. There should be space in the world for monasteries, where the inhabitants don't punch people in the face.

Of course the difference is, that Thievery has a much better chance of getting a name change than something that people have gotten used to for decades. But they're still bad names. Also, spell levels.


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I've said this before, but the skill shouldn't exist in the first place. It combines specialized uses of crafting skills with a specific type of stealth action, and treats it as a new skill.

It wouldn't hurt to require the magical crafting skill feat in order to disable magic traps. I'd also want bonuses to crafting locks or traps to translate to bonuses to disable or reset them.


Tridus wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because the Paladin is using dishonorable means to get what he wants. Lockpicking, AKA Thievery, isn't really something that Paladins should learn or aspire to gain as a skill. "Oh yeah, I'm an honorable embodiment of Good and Law, but I'm not above picking a lock that obviously the person whom has locked it doesn't want me to see." Violating personal space is not something a Paladin does unless doing so is important for saving innocents. And you'd be hardpressed to find a situation where a Paladin can still be called that while employing such skills. You can compare it to outright breaking down the door all you like, but it's more honorable and fair for a Paladin to do that (especially if he has the authority) than it is for him to sleight the lock and get a dishonorable advantage on an apparent enemy or threat.

There is nothing "dishonorable" about picking a lock to get at the bad guy vs smashing down the door to get at the bad guy. It's the same door, leading to the same place in the room. One of them just leaves you with a working door afterward.

Are you suggesting that if the door is too strong for the Paladin to smash, he should just leave it closed and climb in a window instead of picking the lock? Because that's just silly.

Quote:
Putting a locked set of manacles on a hostage because they are under arrest by legitimate authority or can't be trusted to be in your custody quietly or safely is certainly within a Paladin's purview to do. Can you imagine how silly and mortified that Paladin would feel if he didn't decide to cuff the serial murderer, whom after apprehending him, decides he still wants to go out and kill more innocent people? A locked set of manacles on a felon is way different than lockpicking a chest or lockbox that people probably don't want you looking in to. Apples and oranges here.
No, I was referring to the bad guy putting manacles on his hostage. The idea that "lockpicking is bad, period" means the Paladin is forbidden from...

No, what's silly is expecting the Paladin to break the law and get away with it because apparently it's the "right" thing to do. It's what separates the Paladin from being any other Vigilante. There's nothing that prevents someone else from opening the door for him, merely that the Paladin himself can't. If the Paladin can't lockpick a house or chest of someone else's property because it's against the law, then he can't do it himself because his Paladinhood forbids him. He'll just "turn a blind eye" when someone else (in the party) does it.

Okay, that makes a bit more sense, because I thought you were saying a Paladin can't use the key he has for his manacles and has to lockpick it, which just falls apart for no reason. Using lockpicking on a slave's manacles might be good in this case, but if that slave is legally bound to the owner, then the Paladin has no authority to set that slave free, and would likewise be breaking the law anyway. (Unless he's a Liberator, but we're talking about traditional Paladins here, so that's a non-sequitur.) A Paladin would probably sooner simply break the chains of the manacles than waste precious time trying to safely unpick them (which he can have done later when the slaves are brought to safety), especially since said Paladin wouldn't be afraid to confront the kidnapper if he crosses his path because of whatever sound the snapping of manacle chains makes.

Confiscating contraband on legal authority is way different than stealing riches to give to the poor, or more accurately, blindly going around and breaking/entering into random houses or lockboxes. The example you provided is of the former, not the latter, which means you don't understand the ramifications of a Paladin randomly going around and stealing things from rich people to give to those whom are less fortunate.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

The fact that several fine and intelligent folks here have struggled to realize lawful good purposes for picking locks - to say nothing of removing traps! - reinforces and adds to my concern that the name "thievery" will increase unfortunate views of this skill set.


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Like changing the name will likewise change the connotations behind the skill set. News flash friend, it doesn't, and it won't, because this isn't the first time this sort of thread has come up.

While we're at it, why don't we change the name of Necromancy? Even though it's used to deliver positive energy and bring people back to life from the dead, Necromancy is most commonly referred to as something that is evil because it is used for evil ends. Rending Negative Energy to deliver unto mortals and corrupt them, turning corpses into your mindless undead slaves, extracting souls from the mortal realm to throw into a gem, these are things most commonly associated with Necromancy that it gets so much of a bad rep it outshines whatever good can come from Necromancy (such as healing mortals and bringing them back to life that I mentioned before). Maybe we should change the name of that school of magic? I mean, it is why we got the Satanic Panic of the old days of D&D, maybe we can be more progressive and call it something as simple as Alteration magic? Said no one ever.

Just because the name has bad connotations doesn't mean it's always going to be used for bad ends. All I'm saying is that skills such as Thievery aren't practiced much by Good people, and even less by Lawful people, and just because we have a skill with those connotations doesn't mean that it's bad on the surface. Conversely, suggesting Paladins to accept the life of a thief isn't going to be very practical for good for the ideals of Paladins as a whole. Of course, Paladins are the odd egg out as with every edition of tabletop RPGs, so what else is new.


graystone wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:
The Kingmaker game calls it Trickery.

How is trickery better?

"synonyms: deception, deceit, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, double-dealing, legerdemain, sleight of hand, guile, craftiness, deviousness, subterfuge, skulduggery, chicanery, fraud, fraudulence, swindling". Dishonesty, cheating, double-dealing, fraud, swindling, ect should give the same feelings about the name as thievery...

Tricking evil is plenty acceptable of heroes. Definitely more associated with chaotic good than lawful (especially excluding detectives who trick people into incriminating themselves), but it's absolutely something good natured protagonists can do.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Yet graystone left off:

I left it off because I was #1 explaining area of confusion [the 2 definitions I posted] and #2 the inability to tell offhand what kind of manipulation it was. I will say manipulation is better than some suggestions as at least 1 definition covers the actions AND it's a generally known word.

Mathmuse wrote:
How about "handy" or "manual dexterity"?

Neither jumps out as an ability to disable a trap and sleight of hand.

Artificial 20:
Acquisition. : not really related to traps and locks. Sounds more like a merchant skill.

Circumvention.: not seeing the pick pocket or sleight of hand elements.

Extrication. :Fits for escape artist more than thievery.

Infiltration. :Works for stealth and maybe open locks.

Sabotage. : works only for a small subset of disable traps.

Subtlety. : might fit for pick pockets and sleight of hand but doesn't have anything for locks or traps.

Ben Ehrets wrote:
The fact that several fine and intelligent folks here have struggled to realize lawful good purposes for picking locks - to say nothing of removing traps! - reinforces and adds to my concern that the name "thievery" will increase unfortunate views of this skill set.

It's simple to come up with a good reason for the paladin. Locksmiths are a perfectly valid profesion: people lose keys and things need opened.

Traps cover something as simple as snares for animals and sometimes the bad guys that need vanquishing place traps. As such, nothing here either seems difficult for a paladin.

Now the difficult parts are the sleight of hand/pick pocket abilities. THOSE are difficult to come up with good reasons for the average paladin to have as they are meant to allow you to take something without notice" IE thievery. Is it possible to not steal with the abilities? Sure but if someone notices you use the ability, they aren't going to think you're trying the 'coin behind the ear' trick... :P

deuxhero wrote:
graystone wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:
The Kingmaker game calls it Trickery.

How is trickery better?

"synonyms: deception, deceit, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, double-dealing, legerdemain, sleight of hand, guile, craftiness, deviousness, subterfuge, skulduggery, chicanery, fraud, fraudulence, swindling". Dishonesty, cheating, double-dealing, fraud, swindling, ect should give the same feelings about the name as thievery...

Tricking evil is plenty acceptable of heroes. Definitely more associated with chaotic good than lawful (especially excluding detectives who trick people into incriminating themselves), but it's absolutely something good natured protagonists can do.

Remember we're talking about changing the term because of connotations. A paladin can use thievery just fine but the term 'sounds' wrong: I argue 'trickery' sounds as bad 'thievery' for someone honorable, and is less likely to be recognizable as the skill that lets you open locks and disable traps: you aren't tricking [the practice of deception] locks and traps after all.


Honestly it's not hard to think of Lawful Good purposes for the Thievery skill. The best way to catch a thief is to know how they think and understand their craft. It's easy to understand a Paladin with the skill would cause a raised eyebrow, and maybe a reminder, but there's nothing in their Code that would stop them short of 'Lying', 'Cheating' or 'Causing harm to another', unless of course they violate a higher tenant.

As for Rogues always being Klepto's, that's usually a fantasy people gravitate to regardless of what it's called. Thievery could end up having the most virtuous and accurate sounding name imaginable and people will still grab it for the sticky fingered implications, or possibilities of it. That's just gonna happen till the player realizes there's more to the class than cashing in on his five fingered discounts all session long(same with dual wielding, but i'll leave that one under the carpet for now).

I've only seen one person in here so far have a real issue with good or lawful actions with the thievery skill. Either way it's just the limits of the imagination. I honestly have yet to play a Paladin cause i have trouble playing LG.

In the end if people want to use a different word other than 'Thievery' than go for it; so long as it expresses the skills it's meant for at a glance, but it just feels like slapping lipstick on a pig to me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Darksol seems to operating on the assumption that the only locked doors to be found belong to upstanding citizens and mild-mannered shopkeeps, and therefore picking their locks is always "unlawful."

This is silly.

Enemy strongholds have locked doors. Wizards' towers have locked doors. Temples of evil gods have locked doors. Haunted houses have locked doors. There are many reasons to pick a lock. Conflating "picking a lock" with "stealing" is fallacious.


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Mathmuse wrote:

In my Iron Gods campaign, the dwarven smith technologist gunslinger/rogue would often disable technological devices. She was a gadgeteer and I had to improvise new rules for her pushing the limits of gadgeteering with alien technology. Sometimes she rolled Disable Device, sometimes she rolled Knowledge(engineering), and sometimes she rolled Craft(mechanical). The disable device did not make her a thief.

In Numeria, possessing alien technology without a permit was illegal by the rules of the Technic League, which was not the government but still enforced their rules. Thus, the PCs did sometimes have to hide their technology on themselves to avoid the attention of Technic League informants. That was a Sleight of Hand roll. That did not make them thieves.

In my Rise of the Runelords campaign, one rogue's backstory was that he was a professional treasure hunter, exploring runes and finding treasure. The laws of Varisia counted that as wealth legally earned. Some of that treasure was behind locked doors or in locked chests, so he picked locks. He was not a thief. In contrast, another rogue in the party robbed the cashboxes of vendor booths during the goblin raid on the Swallowtail Butterfly Festival in Sandpoint and then stepped beside the strangers thrown together by that beginning adventure and said, "I was with them all the time, helping fight the goblins." She was a thief.

I liked the Dirty Trick combat maneuver in PF1 and I hope it will appear in PF2. Disarm, Grapple, Shove (Bull Rush), and Trip became Athletics attack actions. Dirty Trick would fit better as an attack that uses the Thievery skill. But it would not be thievery. It would be trickery, like a feint.

The dictionary defines thievery as, "the act or practice of thieving; theft." It does not mean disabling a device, unless that was part of a robbery. The more respectable names for nimble-fingered skills are "sleight of hand" and "legerdemain." More general names are "trickery", which also means deception, and "manipulation", whose verb...

+1 for Manipulation. The somewhat morally charged nature of the term "thievery" isn't my concern so much as clarity - while manipulation maybe isn't quite the right term since it's often used to refer to emotional manipulation, it does get across what the skill is actually about, which is fine motor skills. The GM, when b+*!*$@$ting a DC and asking for a skill roll, is largely going to just look at the names an pick whatever fits, so having the name accurately reflect what the skill does is paramount.

Need to fish a hook around a tiny object 50 feet below in disease-ridden water? Manipulation. Need to pull a wallet out of a pocket without being noticed? Manipulation. Need to pick a lock on a steel door keeping, like, two dozen orphan babies trapped in a burning building? Manipulation. Applies to thief-y things as well as to not-thief-y things, you can rob someone with it or you can just be really handy with tying secure knots when taking enemy combatants alive to bring them to JUSTICE.


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I'm perfectly fine with the way it is.


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Yeah a lock picker is a job, but you don't think of the legal uses for them when you think of the action.

Thievery if a fine skill description.


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Pillars of Eternity has Mechanics.

It is used for picking locks, making and disablind traps and also findig traps

So it could be;

Mechanics:
Finding, making, repairing and opening locks.
Finding, making, repairing and disabling traps.


Igor Horvat wrote:
Pillars of Eternity has Mechanics.

As with a lot of the other suggestions, it leave a few actions the skill can do behind. Mechanics falls far short when it comes to sleight of hand/pick pockets.

Helmic wrote:
+1 for Manipulation.

Going with "fine motor skills" would also cover things like escape and grab edge [acrobatics], practice a trade [lore/craft], administer first aid [medicine], create a diversion and feint [deception], Performance [instrument] and/or create forgery [society].

Secondly, "Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes." As such, it could cover things like climbing, stealth, trip, jump, grapple, balance...

I'm still sticking with thievery for the best option.


Sandal Fury wrote:

Darksol seems to operating on the assumption that the only locked doors to be found belong to upstanding citizens and mild-mannered shopkeeps, and therefore picking their locks is always "unlawful."

This is silly.

Enemy strongholds have locked doors. Wizards' towers have locked doors. Temples of evil gods have locked doors. Haunted houses have locked doors. There are many reasons to pick a lock. Conflating "picking a lock" with "stealing" is fallacious.

What I'm saying is that lockpicking is a skill commonly used by characters of majorly moral ambiguities that Paladins generally don't approve of, meaning the odds of a Paladin being able to pick a lock is the same odds of a Paladin being good at sleight of hand: it will probably be taught by someone who doesn't care for the laws of the land, and is someone that a Paladin would struggle to maintain his powers with at best, or outright turn said person into the authorities or he loses powers via alignment change.

If Paladins had the authority to pick locks, they'd be fine. If they could have a legitimate means to learn how to pick locks, they'd be fine. More often than not, however, they have neither.


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I have been watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America. Guess what the Doctor most often uses his sonic screwdriver for? Opening locks.

In my Iron Gods campaign, locked doors were a plot device. The crashed alien spaceships have been in Numeria for centuries. Why haven't they been looted yet? Sometimes, they were buried deep enough to be hidden. Other times, the door was locked and could be opened only with an e-pick or the right access card.

Iron Gods:
In the first module, Fires of Creation the player had to acces two locked areas: a buried alien spaceship and a guarded and locked warehouse. The module left an access card for the PCs to find to open a sealed door in the spaceship, but I removed it because the dwarf gadgeteer had found an e-pick and that gave her a chance to use it. As for the warehouse, the party talked to the town officials of Torch and the officials asked the owner to let them in.

The second module, Lords of Rust, had another set of locked doors in the headquarters of the main bad guy.

In the third module, The Choking Tower, the town officials of Iadenveigh asked the party to deal with a buried alien spaceship and they had to open some locked doors in it. Surprising, the Choking Tower itself had unlocked doors except for some puzzle locks.

The fourth module was mostly outdoors and caves. No regular doors. The fifth module was an urban adventure where the one break-in the party accomplished by posing as customers while some other party members snuck into the back.

In the sixth module, The Divinity Drive, instead of invading the mile-long starship Divinity, the party contacted its ruler and persuaded him to hire them as a repair crew. They were given access cards that opened almost every door as part of their duties. But a more normal party would have needed to open a lot of locked doors as they proceeded from one end of the ship to the other.

Thus, in Iron Gods the party opened plenty of locked doors. However, all the doors they opened were with the permission of local government or the doors to a lawless lair of a known bad guy who endangered other towns.

They never picked a pocket. They hid technological contraband in their clothes in violation of Technic League rules, but possessing the technology was the lawbreaking rather than hiding it. They disabled plenty of alien devices, which were either dangerously malfunctioning or salvaged for parts.

The writers of Paizo Adventure Paths work hard to allow a lawful party to act lawfully. Nevertheless, Thievery skills are useful to that lawful party, too.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
What I'm saying is that lockpicking is a skill commonly used by characters of majorly moral ambiguities that Paladins generally don't approve of.

In practice most adventures feature a BBEG and their lair. The lair has locks and traps. So the heroic adventurer needs these skills. Breaking and entering into the evil lair is not a crime or wrong in any sense.

Even on crime-solving TV shows, the investigators usually resort to a bit of lockpicking.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

For anyone who doesn't think word choice matters much, talk to any advertiser, or really any professional communicator in any field anywhere. Words influence thoughts which lead to actions.

There's reasons not to call it this, but for sake of example: If we called the skill "Free Captive", I guarantee you'd see more paladins taking it and using it more frequently in play. I contend there would be more good aligned rogues.

"Thievery" is going to encourage stealing in play and discourage helpful and imaginative uses of the skill. Imagine, in particular, new players looking down their characters sheets to see not only what they can do, but what they believe they're SUPPOSED to do. I see this sort of thing happen all the time.

This is a side point, but we have a friend of the family visiting us today who is telling me he doesn't know much about fantasy worlds, but that there is far more legal lockpicking going on in the real world than illegal, and that he would be pretty offended if someone called anything he does thievery.

The "Read This First" guidelines tell me I should make my point concisely and move on. I've strained that by replying, and I'll stop now. Thank you kindly all who gave the matter any thought and all who replied respectfully.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

What I'm saying is that lockpicking is a skill commonly used by characters of majorly moral ambiguities that Paladins generally don't approve of, meaning the odds of a Paladin being able to pick a lock is the same odds of a Paladin being good at sleight of hand: it will probably be taught by someone who doesn't care for the laws of the land, and is someone that a Paladin would struggle to maintain his powers with at best, or outright turn said person into the authorities or he loses powers via alignment change.

If Paladins had the authority to pick locks, they'd be fine. If they could have a legitimate means to learn how to pick locks, they'd be fine. More often than not, however, they have neither.

IIRC from playing PFS without my own character and using premades, the iconic Paladin has a backstory along the lines of "stole a Paladins helmet, that Paladin got killed because of it, felt bad, became a Paladin herself."

It's a very short reach from there to "also learned how to pick locks while learning how to steal before becoming a Paladin."

Any background involving being a criminal/troubled street child/spy/etc before becoming a Paladin would have easy justification for having learned how to pick locks prior to becoming a Paladin.

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