I'm starting a campaign, and one of the players is developing a character who has kleptomania. It's wrong, and dangerous, and he doesn't need the items he steals, and if he Order finds out he'll be in trouble, but the thrill is too much...
So if a Magus was going to use magic to assist in picking pockets, rather than just using Dexterity + Legerdemain, what spells would be useful?
I think it's a 2-stage process:
- ensure your victim doesn't feel your hand entering their pocket, and 2) ensure your victim doesn't feel the item being removed from their pocket:
Touch of the Light-fingered Wizard - the Magus' touch cannot be felt by others (Although a strong push would still be felt and reacted to as normal)
Range: self, Target: Individual, Duration: Diameter
Pe Im level 3
Base 2 (Destroy an object's ability to affect touch)
Unnoticed loss of an unneeded burden - a person with an item in their pocket will not feel changes to the position of that object. Victim can make an awareness roll with a modifier
Range: touch, Target:Individual, Duration: Sun
Pe Im level 5
Base 2 (Destroy an object's ability to affect touch)
These seem rather low-level. Am I missing anything?
I could still require a Legerdemain roll, but reduce the ease by some amount to compensate for the successful spell
I thought about adding a Corpus requisite to Unnoticed Loss of an unneeded burden, but that isn't normal for a Perdo Imaginem ability. the spell prevents the object from emitting Species for touch. It does not prevent the person from receiving them.
Hm... I think that last one might not be cancelling out the changes in weight distribution of the item - it would be cancelling out the perception of its weight completely. As such, as soon as the spell was cast, it would feel as though it had disappeared from the target's pouch. You'd probably need a CREO Imaginem to create a duplicate "weight" in the target's pocket.
You may want to consider the following:
These are all touch-based effects - which means that they're either being cast at a -15 penalty for no words/gestures, the character has the Subtle Magic virtues, or else has that virtue that allows them to use skills in place of gestures/incantations (Performance magic?). You can go that route, or else do all of this through a ReVi sight-based Arcane tunnel. Either one will work. Otherwise, the character is standing right next to the mark, waving his arms around in the air and chanting in Latin - not exactly the most subtle of effects.
You may wish to consider PeMe "destroy the last 5 seconds of memory" effects, to delete any memory of the ledgerdemain. Or else ReHe/ReAn/ReTe effect to teleport the objects out of the pocket.
Alternately, you can use the Rego craft rules to just grant a huge bonus to your skill roll.
A kleptomaniac magus will absolutely want to have a variant of MoH p.93 Invisible Hand of the Thief (ReTe 20, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind), which he can cast as surreptitiously as possible. He might give it another R: than Voice, have appropriate Virtues for stealthy casting, master his variant, learn it as a Rote or whatever fits his concept - and then it will forever be there, tempting him to make use of it.
It may be worth adding that pockets sewn into clothing date only as far back as the 1700s. Before then, money and other valuables were stored in pouches attached to the belt; or in the hood of a cloak (for heavy items such as books).
To accommodate this, I would suggest PeAn at Touch range to slit the bottom of a pouch, allowing the contents to fall into the waiting hand (Base 2 to damage something made of animal products, +1 Touch). If you are using Invisible Hand of the Thief (as suggested above), then you could do this at Voice range instead.
Also, magic can only affect targets that the magus can sense (barring an AC of course). So, moving the visible pouch with the unknown contents inside it is feasible, plundering unknown contents of a visible pouch is not. Spells that detect things or allow Personal range sense spell s would be useful to get sight or smell of a target are a must IMO.
A spell to see through animals and plants would be useful when pickpocketing. Then you can use a sight ranged spell to port the stuff out. Another trick would be a rego mentum and give them the command to "not notice pickpockets".
Both are pretty effective kleptotricks, but they are totally different from your design.
For the existing spells if you can cast them silently the first spell is good but for the second one:
I would change it to
Base 1 (create an object to affect one sense)
The spell would cause the object to continue causing the same sense even if it gets removed. Or you could add a perdo requisite too. That way the coin or whatever can't bump the guy and cause him to feel something.
Loss of But a Moment's Memory is also a really good spell. Perhaps a variant that changes it to Touch than Eye (no level difference).
Thanks for all this info – very helpful. The Mage has the minor virtue Deft Imaginem, so the lack of gestures and voice won’t be a factor.
KevinSchultz is right, he second effect should be a CrIm ability. Lamech has a good design, still only a level 10 spell. I'll just use that!
As for the Mentem spells, they are all good ideas for kleptomaniacs in general, but in this particular case the Mage doesn’t want to affect his victim’s minds, just make his thievery easy. It’s an Ego thing!
It’s been 20 years since I last had enough Roleplaying friends nearby to be able to run an Ars Magica campaign, and my memory is extremely rusty. I’m sure I’ll have more questions over the next few weeks.