Friday, April 12, 2024

8 Legendary Lockpicks (Magic Thieves Tools)

When it comes to fantasy roleplaying; the "cool" loot is not created equal. You have an absolute ton of magic weapons and armors for the fighters, barbarians, and paladins of the party. On the flipside, you have magic wands and staves, orbs, and the entire concept of spell-scrolls and spellbooks for the magic users; but what about the Rogues? The Thieves or Specialists? Perhaps because they aren't as iconic as the standard fantasy fighter, but don't have that obvious supernatural element that Magicians do. 

It's rare you get magic items for characters like this. Aside from magical leather or light armor, which is already pretty uncommon, maybe a magic cloak or dagger if you're lucky, and rings of invisibility or magic winged sandals (that anyone could theoretically use) you really don't get a lot unless you make them yourself. This blogpost is kind of meant to remedy that.

As for "Thieves Tools", we're going with the modern day D&D description of being a small packet or bundle of metal tools and implements used to disarm traps, pick locks, open up wedged doors, and other tricks of the trade for Roguish characters. This is a type of abstraction I'm fine with. For generic high fantasy adventures, this level of abstraction is about right for me. But if you were doing a more serious resource-management dungeon crawler, keeping track of individual numbers of lockpicks, files, etc. may be a better fit for that kind of campaign. In that case, you'd have to adjust the rules to fit this table, which is more meant to be like a form of "equipment" that Rogues use to do stuff and are semi-permanent items, as long as they aren't stolen or thrown down a ravine or whatever.

Treat each of these items as a standard set of Thieves Tools but Magic, meaning they will be protected from your average run of the mill magic traps or barriers that destroy lockpicks put into them and they can't be destroyed by rust monsters or if you accidentally fall into a slime.

8 Legendary Lockpicks
[1] The Elvish Ivory
(+1 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
This set of tools are of a beautiful pearl white, carved and engraved with tree patterns. They look incredibly delicate, but are as strong as standard iron tools, and can still be used to force open and finesse locks and clasps. Because they aren't made of metal, these tools cannot be effected by magnetic forces and as such can be used to disarm magnetic traps or special locks that would fling away traditional tools.

The name is also not merely for the sake of appearances; these tools are actually made from the bones of a single beautiful elvish woman. Legends say that she was the love of the original master-thief who created them. They have changed hands many times and have become somewhat infamous among the world of high-class criminals for their grace and beauty.

[2] The Woeful Set (+0 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
These cruel tools are hooked with barbs and spikes and are made from a very dark, dense metal. Dried blood has set in the grooves that were cut their intentionally for that purpose. The creator of these believed that prying secrets from a prisoner was no different then clicking the tumblers of a stubborn lock.

These tools double as implements for torture. Whenever you use these to torture someone to extract information from them, you can use your lockpicking skill/bonus in the place of intimidation or whatever other social skill is called. Additionally, the set has a strange set of tongs that look like a pair of hands. If you pull someones tongue out of their mouth, you can force them to confess to the last lie they told. This action requires the individual to be helpless or unable to resist given how finicky it is to grab and pull out a slippery tongue- even with magic tools.

[3] Dolphin's Delight (+1 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
Held in a light gray pouch, supposedly made from dolphin leather. The pouch always feels a little damp on the outside, but is always dry on the inside. It's waterproof and can be used to store various notes or dry goods without worry of them getting soaked and destroyed for underwater adventures. 

When someone new gains ownership of these tools, they have a dream that night of swimming in the ocean with a dolphin, before turning into a dolphin and swimming down into the depths of the ocean. After this dream, the thief has the inexplicable ability to hold their breath for up to two exploration turns (twenty minutes)- more then enough time to pick stubborn underwater locks in sunken ships and drowned temples. Also, you can use a special pearl-encrusted tension tool on the mouth of any sea clam and it'll open up, giving you just enough time to grab its pearl before it closes up again.

[4] Juritovi's Dancing Knives (+1 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
Selection of knives held in a roll, lined with fine fox fur. The knives are all very finely made, with well carved wooden handles, and runes carved onto the flat of each blade. Despite being a collection of knives, they are fine, flexible, and strong enough to be crammed into locks and used as prybars for small locked containers and so on.

While not technically thieves tools, these enchanted knives have been the envy of many thieves. When placed out on a roughly table-sized area, they can be verbally commanded and magically dance, hop, and slide around to their owner's wishes- doing whatever is commanded of them. They can slice up vegetables in preparation for a feast, perform some surgery, or commit genocide on a colony of rats. Despite their strength and apparent ability, the knives are absolutely terrible for combat purposes and would rather hide down their owners pant legs then fling themselves at people and attack.

[5] The Knucklebones (+3 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
This set of very old and beat up tools is remarkable for its long legacy. There are many stories about these thieves tools, especially among pirates. Despite their worn appearance, anyone who has laid hands on them will swear by their usefulness and that they must be magic. The name of this set come from the pair of dice always kept with them, which despite what everyone says, are 100% fair and don't guarantee your fortune if you go out and use them to gamble.

This set of dice has the unusual quality of stealing away the skills of experience of thieves who use them. At first, it greatly enhances your abilities and makes you extremely deft, but slowly those who use them find their fingers getting more and more clumsy and more absent-minded, eventually leading to them misplacing the tools and having them stolen by the next victim. Every time you use these tools, there is a 1 in 20 chance that you lose -1 to your rank, X in 6 chance roll, or an associated saving throw permanently.

[6] The Mouse (+2 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
This "tool" is held in a small cloth pouch that is filled with a few small knick-knacks, some straw, and a very sleepy fat little brown rodent. The rat is an otherwise unassuming common household mouse that is blessed with a strange intelligence. Anyone looking into its eyes can see how it is much more then a common mouse, and given how tame it acts when handled, it is more a pet then a tool.

The Mouse can squeeze itself into various machines, locks, in the spaces between walls and is seemingly able to disarm, open, or otherwise manipulate the machines from within using internal levers and its own body. Nobody knows exactly how this rodent gained this level of intelligence or knowledge, but seems to just "know" how machines work. It can be easily bribed with a few grains of wheat or a small chunk of cheese, and is otherwise very affectionate. The mouse still has the lifespan of a regular mouse, which means after buying it from its previous owner it probably doesn't have much time left. Roll 2d6 to determine how many months the mouse has left until it dies of natural causes.

[7] Sha & Sira (+1 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
This is not one set of thieves tools, but two. One is made from a green jade, the other from a blue lapis-lazuli. The sets are otherwise identical, with matching decorations, dimensions, and level of quality. The two sets are from a far off desert land, and are bundled in silk with white and black bands to hold them all in place each. The tools smell faintly of cinnamon.

Despite being named after two famous lovers in legend; they act less like a pair of lovers and more like squabbling siblings. Every time these tools are used, you must specify which set you are using. If you use Sha, you will also gain +1d6 coins inexplicably from chance or find them wrapped in the pouch. (Note: this is only if you use the picks "legitimately", as in while adventuring, doesn't work if you just keep opening/locking the same door over and over to farm coins). If you use Sira, you regain one hit point after successfully opening a lock OR restores one light-turn (lantern/torch) to whatever light source your party is using with a sudden gentle kindling of the flames. These magic effects are constant and always "on", but the picks get jealous if you favor one benefit over the other.

If you use Sha three times in a row, the next time you use Sira you are infected with a common disease.
If you use Sira three times in a row, the next time you use Sha, you are cursed and get -2 to your next Save vs Death.

If you use one of the pair five in a row without using the other once; all of the picks of the other color crack. This is your warning. If you use the uncracked one again (six times in a row), then the next time you open the silk bundle all of the picks will be destroyed and turned to dust and pebbles out of grief. The picks being cracked does not prevent you from suffering the curse of the spurned picks- just use them both evenly and there won't be any problems.

[8] Stolen Heart (+2 to Proficiency Bonus / X in 6 chance)
Appears as a knitted human heart made from bundled up yarn. All of the tools are pierced through it, with special holes for each, which makes it look like a pincushion when they're all in place. The "heart" here is actually a voodoo doll's heart of a spurned lover, who can feel the lockpicks and metal bits piercing their heart each time you use this. The witch who made these tools is very upfront about this, as she is very spiteful, and encourages you to store your other sharp needles and pokers in the heart as well.

The tools are carved with circles and anointed with special oils, giving them a strange spell. When you press these tools against a magic glyph or rune, you will be able to manipulate it on the page much like it was a lock. With proper skill, the "enchantment" of any item can be unlocked, which transforms the rune or symbol into plain common text that explains what the enchantment is or does, and remains that way for one minute. Essentially, you can use these tools to Read Magic or Identify Item; using your Lockpicking skill in place of an Arcana or Lore check.