Pockets of Passing

edited June 18 in DesignFinder Chat

Pockets of Passing

Aura None/Faint Conjuration and Illusion (see description); CL 9th

Slot None; Price 18,000 gp; Weight - lbs.

Description

These plain cloth pockets were commissioned by a major thieves’ guild faced with a sharp eyed and divination adept city watch. They are usually found in pairs, but can be made in sets up to seven. Detecting that these pockets are magical using divination is difficult requiring a DC 20 Caster Level check. When attached to piece of clothing, bag, or backpack, any object, weighing less than 1 lb and 1 cu ft in volume, placed inside the pocket disappears and reappears in one of the other linked pockets within 60 ft.

However, the Pockets of Passing’s truly perfidious ability is to pass blame for the theft onto an unsuspecting patsy. Once a day, when an object is passed through the pocket the bearer may designate a pocket within 60 feet and a perfect fake of the stolen object appears in that pocket. Anyone attempting to scry or make a Perception check for the stolen object or thieves must make a DC 17 Will save or be lead to the false object and the unfortunate scapegoat. The fake lasts for 24 hours at which point the illusion fades during that time the false object appears genuine and gives off a correct aura if the object was magical, however any attempt to use that magic fails and the object fades prematurely. Anyone who examines the fake is allowed a DC 25 Perception or Appraise check to realize the deception. A pocket bearer of the same set automatically succeeds on this check, preventing a thief from cheating their partners.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Apport Objects, Misdirection, Major Phantom Object; Cost 9000 gp


COMMENTS FROM THE JUDGES:


JACOB: First of all, congratulations; welcome to the Top 16 of the very first DesignFinder! This is a fun item that creative players will find fun ways to use. Obviously passing each other information, setting up patsies, etc. This could be a great item for a political intrigue campaign or a heist adventure. I do see some potential for abuse, however -- there’s no reason you couldn’t make a fake 1,000 (or more)-gp gem in an ally’s pocket and have him go on a spending spree, unless suddenly all the GM’s merchants have really top notch Perception/Appraise checks. I liked how you treated magic items passed through here, and I can see that being a great trick (giving an enemy something they think is a magic item only to have it fail, which a GM could even pull on the PCs once).

Be careful not to include extraneous detail you don’t need in magic items. Who first commissioned these items aren’t really important; unless it’s an artifact (or a very specific plot item), the background of most magic items doesn’t come into play and you don’t see them in write-ups. Similarly, I’m not a fan of telling the reader what an ability is (i.e. that it’s truly perfidious, in this case); you can just say what the item does and let the reader’s imagination come up with how it can be used and what adjective would best describe it.

Template-wise, I notice some errors: the aura and slot should be lowercase, as should the spells (which should also be in alphabetical order). You don’t need “lbs.” if the weight is 0, but it should be an em-dash and not a hyphen: There’s a great breakdown of this type of punctuation that Sean K. Reynolds wrote in 2012 (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p4ke?How-to-properly-use-dashes-in-text). They’re probably not necessarily something the average layperson will notice, but your developer will love you for using the right ones. More discussion on that can be found in a 2015 thread (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2rz29?What-the-heck-is-an-en-dash#1). Kate noticed some grammatical errors (see her comments, below) in your writing, which you definitely want to clean up -- some missing words and punctuation, among other things.


KATE: This is a really fun item! The ability to move objects between different people with matching pockets and the ability to pin the crime on someone else elevate this beyond a basic item to help hide a stolen object. There is some wording inconsistent with preferred terminology for Pathfinder writing. For example, rather than “make a DC 17 Will save,” it should be “succeed at a DC 17 Will save,” as the word make could mean either attempting or succeeding. I also see some grammatical errors, so make sure to proofread future entries really well. Nice work on a creative item for sneaky thieves!


MIKE: The pockets of passing are an ingenious item for rogues and other characters who enjoy misdirection. I like the scapegoat aspect of the item is pretty ingenious. I wasn’t sure if the patsy’s pocket had to be one of the set; I’d assume not, but it wasn’t clear. This also has the potential for abuse as Jacob mentioned above, but you did make sure this couldn’t be used for inter-party strife (which some gaming groups loathe), so kudos for that. There was room for proofreading and editing, as Jacob and Kate mentioned, so you’ll want to be careful about that in future rounds. Either spare yourself some extra time, or find a trusted friend to help with proofing.

Congratulations and welcome to the top 16!


REP: Congratulations! I enjoyed reading this, and I’m a sucker for thiefy/intriguey items. This item feels “classic” to magical adventure and yet I don’t think I’ve seen something quite like it before. My only issue is that with the frame-job aspect of the pockets--how do you target a pocket you can’t see or can’t even be sure is there? I like that there is an option to use it for trickery, but the application could have used more development, and the item could have used another proofreading pass. While most errors are quite minor, it brings down the presentation. This came in well before the deadline, so you could have taken more time to work on this--yes, you got in, but be sure in future rounds to take all the time possible for refinement that you can.

Comments

  • This is a cool item, and the scapegoat aspect really elevates it! Good work on covering corner cases (divination, copies' magical auras, etc.)

    A few small things not touched on by the judges:

    You specify they can be made in sets of up to seven—why seven? Not that that's a wrong number or anything, but I'm curious how you arrived at it!

    "Anyone attempting to scry or make a Perception check for the stolen object or thieves must make a DC 17 Will save or be lead to the false object and the unfortunate scapegoat." The wording on the Perception call-out strikes me as odd. If the PCs are searching a room for an item, and the pockets-born fake is present, why would they need to make a Will save before encountering it?
    I don't believe that's the intent here, but the wording could be clearer, and the Perception->Will thing does feel off. Maybe that's because failing the Will save leads the searcher to the fake item—it seems strange that a Perception check would do that, vs. say scry's magical pointing. I'd personally just stick to the divination call-out, but that could be my own hangup!

    I'd third Jason and Mike's worries over e.g. coin forgery. I could see a certain kind of party using that in a disruptive way, but I'm not 100% sure that means you need to change the item's function.

    That's all I can think of! As Rep said, this feels like a classic item, yet I haven't seen its like; good work again on a cool item with a unique twist!


  • Well done on your advancement to the top 16!
    Like a few others, I think the wording leaves me a little puzzled on some of the mechanical aspects of the item.  For instance, the wording of how the item is passed to a pocket leaves me wondering if it's automatic and random or has to be directed or what exactly happens/is done as an item is dropped into one of the set of magical pockets.

    Additionally, when you mention creating a fake, you use the word 'pocket' as a target within 60 feet, but I don't know if you mean the fake is created in one of the magical pockets or can be placed into any pocket (which could contain the item conceivably).  I think adding a word or two  as an adjective or clarification, like 'linked' or 'part of the set' or 'any' would go a long way. From the wording, I think you mean that when the item is passed to a linked pocket, a fake duplicate is created and that wearer can then retrieve it (they can automatically tell which it is) and then place it, but that may just be because I think just allowing placement into any pocket with no save or Perception check or anything else on the victim (am I not going to notice potentially one cubic foot of something appearing in my otherwise non-magical breast pocket?) seems weird and hard to justify.
  • Thanks for the congratulations from everyone and thanks for the great feedback.

    To answer some questions in the comments:

    andrewm said:
    You specify they can be made in sets of up to seven—why seven? Not that that's a wrong number or anything, but I'm curious how you arrived at it!
    This was actually inside joke from a group of gaming friends; while planning a heist in one campaign, my friend said "Man this is going to be so cool, like Ocean's Seven!" Since there were only 5 of us and the movie is in fact Ocean's Eleven there was a lot of good natured ribbing over that and most of my heist related creations carry that joke over. To make it less arbitrary I may suggest changing it to 9, the CL required to craft.
    "Anyone attempting to scry or make a Perception check for the stolen object or thieves must make a DC 17 Will save or be lead to the false object and the unfortunate scapegoat." The wording on the Perception call-out strikes me as odd. If the PCs are searching a room for an item, and the pockets-born fake is present, why would they need to make a Will save before encountering it?
    I don't believe that's the intent here, but the wording could be clearer, and the Perception->Will thing does feel off. Maybe that's because failing the Will save leads the searcher to the fake item—it seems strange that a Perception check would do that, vs. say scry's magical pointing. I'd personally just stick to the divination call-out, but that could be my own hangup!
    The purpose of the perception check is that, because the object instantly appears in one of the other enchanted pockets, it would be conceivable that someone could spot the sudden addition or change in behavior. Also this applies to scanning the crowd for suspicious individuals as well.
  • curtisin said:


    JACOB: First of all, congratulations; welcome to the Top 16 of the very first DesignFinder! This is a fun item that creative players will find fun ways to use. Obviously passing each other information, setting up patsies, etc. This could be a great item for a political intrigue campaign or a heist adventure. I do see some potential for abuse, however -- there’s no reason you couldn’t make a fake 1,000 (or more)-gp gem in an ally’s pocket and have him go on a spending spree, unless suddenly all the GM’s merchants have really top notch Perception/Appraise checks. I liked how you treated magic items passed through here, and I can see that being a great trick (giving an enemy something they think is a magic item only to have it fail, which a GM could even pull on the PCs once).


    This is a good point, I may rewrite this to a previous version of the mechanic where it only appeared when the mislead searcher actually checked the patsy's pocket. I had changed it to fit better with how the real object was transported, but that may avoid some possible abuse.

    On the other hand, allowing the abuse could be much more fun, the value of the item would be limited by the merchant's willingness to take it without a expert opinion and, when brought in, a Lvl 10 Expert would have little trouble spotting a fake. Even if they fooled a lot of merchants, once a day with a smaller value like 1000 gold, they would face some repercussions as the cities merchants realized all the objects were disappearing. The merchants may not figure out how this was happening, but a lot of suspicion would fall on a greedy party who tried to run this scam.
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