Kobold Press

Menagerie of Mischief (Part 3)

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In two earlier parts, Menagerie of Mischief covered ammunition and weapons (part 1), plus explosives (part 2)! This week, take a look at some tools and tricks of the trade.

Tools and Tricks

Where would rogues be without all their tools? Sure lock picks and the occasional crowbar are practically a thief’s best friend, but what about precision instruments for all those trickier situations and heavily guarded areas? We’ve got just the thing.

Stink Stick (A, D, S): This small cylindrical device is about the size of a baton and crafted from a shiny black metal. It has several slats that slide up and down across its surface. Each of the slides open to unleash a gout of potent scent that quickly billows out to fill a 30-ft. by 30-ft. area with a very pungent odor. Typically olfactory jammers have five or six scents “built in”—commonly things such as fresh meat, baked goods, rain, rot, and animal urine. First used by hunters and pranksters, these devices have also found many uses in the underbellies of society as well.

Often used for distracting guard dogs or fooling predatory creatures, stink sticks have as many uses as one can dream up. More scents can also be acquired since placing a sample of a desired smell within a vacant slat begins a process that amplifies and proliferates an identically scented harmless gas that is ready to be unleashed within an hour’s time.

Rarity: Uncommon

Cost: Moderate–Expensive

Clarion Key (S): Sometimes also called a fate cutter, a clarion key is a scrying stone that is as hard, if not harder than a diamond. The hardness of the gem allows it to double as a fantastic glass-cutting tool, able to slice through glass up to 3 inches thick. The stone itself was the invention of a once-great thief turned archmage who spent his life’s work attempting to find ways to control the fates of those who dwelled within the capitol city he called home. The stone can perform minor auguries and act as a scrying device, allowing for clever cutpurses to get a leg up on being in the right place at the right time—and giving them additional aid in getting into said places.

Rarity: Uncommon

Cost: Costly

Iron Oculus (S): This item is only for the most absolutely dedicated and perhaps masochistic spies who desire an enhanced view of the world. A meticulously crafted sphere of magic and metals complete with precision lenses, reticles of silver, and a fine iron aperture is placed into the eye socket during an expensive and dangerous surgery. The procedure itself can be performed only by the steadiest of hands and weakens the body permanently. As a result, a character with an iron oculus will permanently lose some hardiness in exchange for this new gift.

This permanent eyepiece allows its user to see up to ten times the normal distance without any reduction in detail and also provides darkvision. An iron oculus gives off a faint bluish white glow from the inner magic that makes them possible, and they are therefore typically covered with an eye patch or hood since they are unable to be passed off as a regular eye.

Rarity: Rare

Cost: Expensive

Lesson Locks (D, E): Used for training fledgling rogues, ordinary practice locks don’t serve much more use beyond their obvious scholastic value. The difference with lesson locks is that after they have been successfully bypassed, they can be armed to explode the next time a tool is slid into the keyhole, or the bolt can be pulled from the lock, which gives it a 10-second timer before detonation. The explosion is a forceful one for such a small device and sends the metal shards from the lock out into exposed flesh as well. These locks are great for getting past security since they seem like ordinary locks to an outsider, and also make for great booby traps.

Rarity: Uncommon

Cost: Moderate

Scouting Orb (S): Sometimes referred to as a “rogue’s familiar,” these floating spheres of precious metal and clandestine magic are used only by the wealthiest and most prestigious of thieves and cutting-edge explorers. A scouting orb will delve into any area it is commanded and project back a three-dimensional image of its surroundings to an area designated by its operator. Magical prowess is not needed to use a scouting orb, since its user needs to know only a few command words and simply think them or say them aloud. The language of the command words the orbs interpret often vary, since it comprehends only the languages its creators allowed for, which largely depends on who, where, and when the orb was created.

Scouting orbs are made by a powerful ritual that takes several days and involves dozens of artisans and powerful spellcasters. The process involves a freshly harvested illithid brain, which is fused it into a complex apparatus made of obsidian and platinum. The ritual itself can be performed only during a full moon and with only the finest materials. Scouting orbs are peculiar pieces of equipment since they sometimes, albeit rarely, retain some sentience of the illithid that was used to create them. When this anomaly is present in the orb, it sometimes results in inaccurate mapping, which often leads its navigators into grim situations.

Scouting orb commands are as follows: traverse, ascend, descend, survey, and return. Scouting orbs cannot move through impassable terrain but can otherwise navigate through water, gas, rough terrain, and tight spaces since they are typically only about 3 inches in diameter. The survey command forces the scouting orb to spend 1 full minute focusing on its surroundings, and during this period of time the orb hovers completely still and can detect intelligent life and simple mechanisms such as doors, pulleys, and gears within 50 ft. After a scouting orb has mapped out the entirety of the floor or level it is on, it will await further instruction in the last area it explored and will attempt to return to its user within 5 minutes of not receiving a command.

Rarity: Rare

Cost: Expensive–Priceless

One Reply to "Menagerie of Mischief (Part 3)"

Krista Salvatore

February 5, 2013 at 7:52pm

Great article. Thanks for this information.