10 Things to Say When a PC Spectacular Fails to Pick a Pocket

Rogues pick pockets all the time. Whether it is a starving beggar trying to grab a few coppers for his next meal or a heroic adventurer trying to snag a key to release his companions, deft hands are a necessity for any thief.

By Harry Theaker

By Harry Theaker


However, sometimes pick pocketing goes horribly wrong. Perhaps the mark is super aware or luck does not favour the erstwhile thief. When a rogue spectacularly failed his pick pockets check, use this table to determine what happens:

  1. You slip your hand into the mark’s pocket and search about for some small treasure. You cut your hand on something jagged within and suffer 1 point of damage.
  2. You miss the mark’s pouch and instead slip your hand into his trousers (or her skirt). This—unsurprisingly—immediate alerts the mark to your attempt!
  3. As you slip your hand into your mark’s pouch, he steps forward unexpectedly. Your hand gets snagged in the pouch and you are dragged along behind him.
  4. You successfully cut the pouch from your mark’s belt, but fail to actually catch the pouch as it falls. It clatters to the ground, immediately alerting the mark to your attempt.
  5. Just as you slip your hand into the mark’s or pouch he also reaches into it to retrieve something. Embarrassingly (and potentially disastrously) you end up holding hands.
  6. You try and slip your hand into your mark’s pouch, but miss your target. Instead, you get your hand tangled up in the victim’s belt, which causes you problems as you are now effectively entangled with your victim.
  7. As your hand drifts toward the mark’s pouch, you step on something slippery and fall to your knees in front of your target. You try to break your fall by grabbing the mark’s belt but this does nothing but alert him to your larcenous doings.
  8. Picking pockets is hard. As you reach your hand forth, you start to daydream about what you’ll spend the proceeds on. Sadly, this distracts you and you miss the target instead slipping your and into his shirt (or her dress). When you feel warm flesh beneath your hands you realise your mistake, but it is too late…
  9. Clearly, walking and pick pocketing at the same time is tricky. While you manage to get your hand into the mark’s pouch and extract some shiny goodies you pull your hand out too quickly. Consequently, what you filched flies from your hand, arches through the air and lands with a clatter on the floor nearby.
  10. You fail to extract anything from your victim’s pouch. Even worse, as you remove your hand, one of your rings—or perhaps a bracelet—snags on the leather material and falls off ending up in the depths of the pouch.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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7 thoughts on “10 Things to Say When a PC Spectacular Fails to Pick a Pocket

  1. Our thief had a bag of holding to keep all her tools. Once when she went to retrieve something, she felt another hand grab hers! We never got to finish that story line, but the plot was another thief also had a bag of holding and they were drawing from the same extradimensional space.