Is stealing stuff really this easy??


Rules Questions


PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 104 wrote:

When you use this skill under close observation, your skill check is opposed by the observer’s Perception check. The observer’s success doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed.

If you try to take something from a creature, you must make a DC 20 Sleight of Hand check. The opponent makes a Perception check to detect the attempt, opposed by the Sleight of Hand check result you achieved when you tried to grab the item. An opponent who succeeds on this check notices the attempt, regardless of whether you got the item. You cannot use this skill to take an object from another creature during combat if the creature is aware of your presence.

Now I've always thought of sleight of hand as meeting any normal DC skill check, such as a knowledge, (you wish to know about this duke? match or exceed a DC 15 knowledge (local)) in that if I wish to take something from you unnoticed, roll your perception, and I'll see if I meet that DC and get to take it from you without you noticing. And in my previous games my DM has ruled that if they notice you they effectively "slap your hand out of the way" and you don't get the item and they caught you trying to thieve.

But after reading the rules a little more carefully, it sounds like all you need to do is match a measly DC 20 sleight of hand, which isn't too hard with a class skill in SoH and gloves of larceny, by level 5 you're looking at >75% success rate on pilfering stuff. But you have to beat someone's perception to go unnoticed, now how it reads is I as the thief make an artificial DC using my sleight of hand, and now you as the one getting robbed have to make a perception check and if you match or exceed my sleight of hand DC then you notice that I stole something, buuuuut I still have it in my hands and can just book it and hopefully get away with it... (seems especially broken if I'm invisible and put the item in my cloak, making it invisible and just walk away)

I brought this up with my DM and he mentioned that playing it that way would be worse for us as a party cause he could get a couple of fast NPC's that could easily meet the DC 20 to steal and just make off with some of our important magical items that we've spent a lot of money trying to get whether we notice them or not. Do any of the GM's in the forums play by similar set of rules whereby if your perception check matches the SoH that they don't get the item? I tried to find situations that would add to the SoH DC, but it seems like there isn't anything outside of attaching them to your body so they can't be removed from your person. Just seems to me that taking stuff is achievable early and downright exploitable later on.


It mostly works that way. But I think the attempt would count as an “attack” and break normal invisibility.


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Everything is about choices.

If your intention as a player is to invest in and exploit SoH, just be honest with the GM and let them know at the start of the PC build and find out how the Gm intends to rule it -- what modifiers or interpretations they plan to use in-game for "balance."

Your impression of stealing an item while invisible and hiding it in your cloak to walk away even if detected may be hit with a GM interpretation that stealing is an "attack" and you turn visible, or that things you pick up AFTER turning invisible, do not themselves turn invisible in your hands (even if under your cloak.)

Find out the specifics ahead of time so you all can have a great time.

BTW, 35yrs of RPG AD&D & PF and never once experienced a GM that would even consider the, "put it under the cloak while invisible makes it invisible also," option.

Grand Lodge

Generally, if the item wasn't on you when you went invisible, you can't make it invisible unless you cast invisibility again while you have the object in your possession.

Some GMs might allow you to drop it into a bag of holding/handy haversack that is invisible.

Silver Crusade

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I think the question you need to ask is

"Does everybody want to play a game where we're a bunch of thieves who's adventures will often revolve around stealing stuff, having stuff stolen, and the consequences thereof?"

If the answer is yes, go for it.

If the answer is no, then I'd suggest not pursuing this path and not worry about the rules too much.

Grand Lodge

Smash and grab robbery certainly works, abusing it will certainly cause repercussions though.


Oh I went and read the invisibility spell and I read this line

PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 301 wrote:
Items dropped or put down by an invisible creature become visible; items picked up disappear if tucked into the clothing or pouches worn by the creature. Light, however, never becomes invisible, although a source of light can become so (thus, the effect is that of a light with no visible source). Any part of an item that the subject carries but that extends more than 10 feet from it becomes visible.

So I thought you could just make it go invis with you. The count it as an attack to force breaking stealth would be a good house rule to reign in excessive thievery although I don't think RAW it would, although being the impish devil that I am my mind immediately goes to greater invis for those juicy items one wishes to extract without repercussions... :D

Thanks for everyone's advice and counsel, I can see how becoming a kleptomaniac could easily destroy the fun for the party if that was a big focus for a character and I'll keep it in mind.


Sleight of hand is not kind of poorly written, especially the section on stealing things. Any reasonable GM is going to have to make up some of what should have been written. One thing to keep in mind is that sleight of hand can only be used to take small items. As far as I know there is no actual rule defining what a small object is so that puts most stealing attempts into the GM’s option. Any reasonable GM is going to need to make some house rules or the skill is going to be useless. Here is a couple of things I would do.

A small item is something about the size of a dagger or smaller.

Any item has to be directly on the target, not stored in a container. A small container like small pouch can be stolen in which case you get everything inside the container.

If an item is stored in a larger container you can make a separate sleight of hand roll to open the container. If the target makes his perception roll vs your sleight of hand on this roll you are noticed before you can take the item. At that point combat has started and sleight of hand cannot be used. If you succeed at this roll you can then make your sleight of hand roll as if the item were not in a container. This assumes that the item is fairly accessible. I would allow stealing out of a side pouch of a backpack, but if something is buried at the bottom of the main compartment of a back pack it is beyond what the skill can do.

Sleight of hand cannot be used to steal any items in an extradimensional space.

Scarab Sages

You still have that period of time between picking it up and tucking it in where it is basically moving on its own.

It's also reasonable to assume that a shop with more valuable items will have more valuable protections. Some basic gear shops may have dogs or npcs with scent. Other shops may have guards that can see past invisibility, or specialized alarms of some kind or another.

In my experience, the difficulty of stealing items is proportionate to how valuable it is compared to overall party wealth - and once it starts to unbalance things you'll either run into enemies with, strangely, less treasure than normal or you'll find someone has hired bounty hunters to track you down.

In other words, my experience as a player is that occasional stealing can be fun and flavorful, but once a player tries to make it a significant source of income it gets negated one way or another as needed to maintain party balance. I'm sure not all tables are like that, but those I've experienced so fare have been.

Some other things to keep in mind is that invisibility functions against visual senses, which means the gm may compare results to other senses than just vision. Hearing a case open, or the clink of coins or steps in an otherwise empty shop... It'll vary though. But it never hurts to pump those stealth ranks up.


STEAL Combat maneuver.

I would rule that it would break invisibility (it involves an attack roll). I would also rule that if you try to steal something and get caught the "victim" has the option of retaliating - meaning "Roll for initiative" (and no surprise round* for you since the "victim" passed their perception check).

If you beat their initiative you still have a chance to target their flat-footed initiative with your steal combat maneuver and book it, but at this point it's not really "sleight of hand" so much as "mugging".

*You could still have a surprise round if there's someone else in either your party or the "victim's" party who didn't see the fight coming, but you don't surprise the guy you were trying to steal from.


The steal combat maneuver is for use during combat while sleight of hand is for out of combat.


The steal combat maneuver is in combat maneuver section in a bigger sections called "Special attacks".
Stealing something from someone breaks an invisibility.
At least I'd rule it does


Quote:
You cannot use this skill to take an object from another creature during combat if the creature is aware of your presence.

This is why the Steal combat maneuver exists. And the steal combat maneuver certainly breaks invisibility.

What's less sure is if successfully using sleight of hand also breaks invisibility.


Right, but if the person catches you trying to pick their pockets they're going to try to stop you. If they're actively defending against a hostile action I would class that as combat, hence the "roll for initiative".

Shadow Lodge

Yes, stealing stuff is that easy. This is why normal people don't carry lots of valuables around on them and they keep their money pouch tucked away under their clothes where you can't see it. Wealthy individuals like merchants and nobles travel the common streets surrounded by guards who don't let those filthy peasants within arms reach. In the magical world of pathfinder, they're also going to have protections against things like invisibility.

If you just go around snatching loose coins, then you can roll sleight of hand like a profession skill and earn some money per week. If you try stealing things that are really valuable, rest assured that whoever owns them also is capable of protecting them and probably has access to divination magic to track down their stolen property. Stealing stuff is easy, getting away with it is the hard part.


The Invisibility spell says "Actions directed at unattended objects do not break the spell.", which in return means actions directed at attended objects do break the spell.

Muckles wrote:
I brought this up with my DM and he mentioned that playing it that way would be worse for us as a party cause he could get a couple of fast NPC's that could easily meet the DC 20 to steal and just make off with some of our important magical items that we've spent a lot of money trying to get whether we notice them or not.

Note that the DC listed is to "Lift a small object from a person" - that doesn't include unfastening a necklace or slipping a (magically fitting) ring off a finger. Basically, no slotted item should be stealable this way, at least not without a much higher DC.


But can you steal the guys pants?


I think the main constraint on sleight of hand and stealing is that, while it may only be a DC 20 to successfully steal, and you don't care about being noticed, you can only steal easily accessible small objects based on the context of the skill. It's not explicitly stated, but it's within reason.

So you're not getting anything most things a person is wearing with stealing. Loosely worn object should be possible, such as a purse. But a ring or necklace should be a no. Pants too.

Most weapons are probably too large. Armor is straight out.

Most interesting items simply can't be stolen while the person has possession of them because they're either too large or too closely worn to come off easily. If your run sleight of hand this way, it becomes unimportant. Unless your adventurer makes a habit of keeping their gold pouch on their belt instead of inside of backpack or something.


Is a dozen street pickpockets an existential threat to most martial characters? If so then stealing is as easy as you suggest. If not, there are limits on it, like Claxon says or otherwise.


I'm an adventurer. Yes I can steal a handful of coins, a couple marbles, a chunk of old bread, and assorted everyday junk, etc. all worth a whopping few gold (maybe tens of gold even) on a good day probably earning the ire of the locals in the process. Or go out and you know 'adventure'. Pulling in hundreds if not tens of thousands of gold while earning a solid reputation and the good will of the locals. The choice is yours. Especially by 5th level or higher.

Hello risk vs reward.


Sleight of Hand has been around since DnD 3.0. It goes in and out of vogue. Like any skill, a home game GM will have to create some clarity or bounds as PC/NPCs push the skill rules beyond their normal common limits.


Kayerloth wrote:

I'm an adventurer. Yes I can steal a handful of coins, a couple marbles, a chunk of old bread, and assorted everyday junk, etc. all worth a whopping few gold (maybe tens of gold even) on a good day probably earning the ire of the locals in the process. Or go out and you know 'adventure'. Pulling in hundreds if not tens of thousands of gold while earning a solid reputation and the good will of the locals. The choice is yours. Especially by 5th level or higher.

Hello risk vs reward.

Stealing isn't just for getting rich. There are times when it makes more sense to nick the MacGuffin than to waylay the person carrying it. It's good that the game system makes that relatively simple--though doing it without being noticed is more difficult.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a librarian, I often see some material that can be used while playing. One of those was about how Medieval and Renaissance people were hiding cash while traveling.
Generally, money pouches were worn under their garments, high denomination coins were in hidden pouches seven into the inner layer of the garments. Easily accessible money pouches were only for the low denomination coins, copper pieces in the game world. And money belts were relatively common for the well to do people that traveled a lot.


Theft is easy; consequences are difficult.

(It's why the jails and cemeteries are full IRL.)

Grand Lodge

I mean...you can walk up to any person on the street and snatch something from them...super easy...I could go snatch someones iPhone right out of their hands while they are using it. This would result in either an immediate fight, or them calling for the authorities.

Sleight of hand is there to let you take it out of someones pocket without them (or anyone else) noticing. If you beat the DC, you have the item...if they make their perception check they saw you do it. If you fail the DC and they fail their perception, you don't manage to get the item, and they don't manage to see your attempt. If you fail the DC and they make it, you don;t get the item and they catch you trying.

If they see you do it, refer to my first paragraph and either roll for initiative, or run from the cops...if you have a lenient GM, maybe roll bluff to try to lie your way out of it.

Dark Archive

This is precisely why most street gangs can make a buck.

Dex 12-14= +2.
Class skill, with a rank=+4.

Some trait or skill focus or both=+5.

Now they're 55% to rob you at 1st level.

You run into a group of 6 kids... Ok, you caught a few of their hands in your pockets. Did you get them all? Are you sure one didn't nat 20 you (for 31 perception)?

And this is why low level adventurers can't run around with 10,000 gp items out in the open. No. The level 4 city guards with 4-8 skill points didn't see a darn thing.

Slyme: if they're on their iphone you can probably take their shoe laces of their shoes and they wouldn't notice.


this is where the whole weight of coins come in(what was it 20 coins per pound?)

..sure they can try and steal your belt pouch. now what is their str mod and how many coins can they move with in light load? just run after the one who suddenly drag behind. (remember small mean 3/4 of caring capacity as well.young age has str penalty)


zza ni wrote:
this is where the whole weight of coins come in(what was it 20 coins per pound?)

By RAW, it's 50 coins per pound (that's also what the per-pound prices for copper, silver, gold, and platinum are based on).


blahpers wrote:
Kayerloth wrote:

I'm an adventurer. Yes I can steal a handful of coins, a couple marbles, a chunk of old bread, and assorted everyday junk, etc. all worth a whopping few gold (maybe tens of gold even) on a good day probably earning the ire of the locals in the process. Or go out and you know 'adventure'. Pulling in hundreds if not tens of thousands of gold while earning a solid reputation and the good will of the locals. The choice is yours. Especially by 5th level or higher.

Hello risk vs reward.

Stealing isn't just for getting rich. There are times when it makes more sense to nick the MacGuffin than to waylay the person carrying it. It's good that the game system makes that relatively simple--though doing it without being noticed is more difficult.

Hmmm serial McGuffin stealing :P

What you're describing is an adventure, what I'm pointing out is not.


Kayerloth wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Kayerloth wrote:

I'm an adventurer. Yes I can steal a handful of coins, a couple marbles, a chunk of old bread, and assorted everyday junk, etc. all worth a whopping few gold (maybe tens of gold even) on a good day probably earning the ire of the locals in the process. Or go out and you know 'adventure'. Pulling in hundreds if not tens of thousands of gold while earning a solid reputation and the good will of the locals. The choice is yours. Especially by 5th level or higher.

Hello risk vs reward.

Stealing isn't just for getting rich. There are times when it makes more sense to nick the MacGuffin than to waylay the person carrying it. It's good that the game system makes that relatively simple--though doing it without being noticed is more difficult.

Hmmm serial McGuffin stealing :P

What you're describing is an adventure, what I'm pointing out is not.

It sounds like we're on the same page then. : )

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If someone is great at this, they can get away with more than you'd think. Check out Apollo Robbins.

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