I like utility magic items. My favorite magic item, hands down, is the Immovable Rod. It practically begs you to think creatively about how to use it. The magic weapons are fine, and the powerful artifacts are great macguffins for your story, but utility style wondrous items are often great ways to relay magic without having to change a power level. It is also provides some flavor to a character and how they interact with challenges. Having a few clever toys can be as much of a statement as a Holy Avenger.
I am also fond of rogues and other thieving ne’er-do-wells. You might have figured this out in by all my posts about thieves guilds. They are very pragmatic in their approaches to problems. A thief who murders every problem doesn’t actually last long. Having useful tools to avoid that is ideal.
I decided to combine these two loves, so here are a few roguish magic items.
The Dust of Marking
Wondrous Item, Common
The term “Mark” is sometimes used to describe the victim of a crime or confidence game. The term is tied to how a carnival worker would leave a surreptitious mark on the back of a likely victim, so the other carnies would know if he was susceptible to their rigged games.
The Dust of Marking is a light power kept in a jar, to avoid spilling it. The powder is poured on the hand and applied by a friendly slap on the back or a hand shake. The rest of the bottle is applied to the eyes of up to 5 people. The dust is largely invisible once applied. It is a colorless and thin powder. A perception check with DC 25 is required to notice the dust at all.
It is only easily visible to people with the dust applied to their own eyes. The dust remains applied until it is actively cleaned off or submerged in water. To a person who has had the dust applied to their eyes, the mark created is visible in the dark or fog and seems to glow. This grants them advantage on perception checks versus the mark in the dark, as well as in crowds.
This dust is often shared in a guild, so a few people will dust their eyes to see the mark, and follow the marked person for a range of purposes. How it is made is a close kept secret but the alchemist who do make it often have very unusual spiders in their homes.
Scroll of Pretending
Wondrous item, Uncommon, Requires Attunement
The Scroll of pretending is not a commonly found item, but it is very useful in the right (or wrong) hands. It is used by legendary confidence tricksters and spies to bypass officious document inspections.
This scroll can, upon command, appear as the viewer expects it to be.The document is always a perfect forgery. It grants advantage on any Deception or Persuasion check made with it in hand. A Perception or Investigation check with a DC 20 can see past its illusion. Also, the wielder of the Scroll may make the same check to see if they can tell what their target is seeing on the page, otherwise it appears blank to the wielder.
Harness of Travel
Wondrous item, Rare, Requires Attunement
The Harness of Travel is a thick belt with tightly wound spindles along its length. It is the sort of tool Rogues may kill for and it is said only a few exist in the world.
Using a bonus action, the harness shoots cables in multiple directions. This harness allows a limited form of flight as these cables pull and swing the wearer through the air. The movement speed while wearing it is 20ft per turn. You can go vertically, but the range upward is limited by the height of nearby objects. This Harness will not work if there are no objects to pull on in 20ft. It also allows “hovering” where is holds you in place in air. The carrying capacity is the wearers encumbrance limit.
Attacking the cables is usually insufficient to ring the wearer down, but damage which effects all the cables at once can drop them back to the ground. For instance, if the wearer is hit with a fireball, they will lose all their connections at once. They can always send them back out as a bonus action on their turn.
Wondrous item, Common
The Bouncing Ball is an alchemical creation. The ball exhibits unusual characteristics when thrown. Its bounces always seem to return the ball to the thrower’s hand. This makes it remarkably useful to rogues in a few ways.
First, if thrown at a target, it does damage as a standard thrown weapon with the Finesse trait, a damage of 1d4 bludgeoning, and range of 20/60. When thrown, hit or miss, it returns to the throwers hand at the end of their turn. This is due to bounces that just happen to carry it to the thrower, no matter where they moved, so long as they are still within long range of the target at the end of the turn.
Second, the ball can be used to trigger or otherwise help find traps. Using it properly to do this requires proficiency in Thieves Tools. By skillfully bouncing the ball through a space, the thief may find traps and triggers more easily. It grants advantage on checks to find physical traps.
Wondrous item, Uncommon
Bone Keys are single use macabre keys. They are keys made from the fingers of a dead thief and require special rituals to create. When inserted in any lock, no matter how complex, it will unlock the lock. This will not disarm any traps, alarms, or enchantments, but the key will work on that lock from then on.
These keys hard to come by. Many thieves guild have a single one, and it is only used in very special jobs. They are sometimes seen as a symbol of prestige in thieving circles.