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Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)/Legerdemain

< Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)


Legerdemain is an active skill involving distraction, deception, and dexterity. With it, you can trick people in combat, lighten pockets, poison drinks, conceal weapons on your person, and perform other feats of misdirection. Those with advanced skill in legerdemain can throw their voices, make large objects or people seemingly vanish, and even swipe attended objects without the target noticing.

Key Attribute: Dexterity

Check ModifiersEdit

Situation Check
Concealed item is 4 or more size categories smaller than you +5 Coin (for a human or halfling)
Concealed item is 3 size categories smaller than you +0 Dagger (for a human)
Concealed item is 2 size categories smaller than you −5 Shortsword (for a human)
Concealed item is 1 size category smaller than you −10 Longsword (for a human)
Concealed item is the same size category as you −15 Greatsword (for a human)
Concealed item will be easily retrievable −5 Hiding a dagger to retrieve as a standard weapon draw
Conceal item shift less than your space size +0
Conceal item shift within your natural reach −2
Conceal item shift within half your base move range −5
Conceal item shift within your base move range −10
Conceal item shift within twice your base move range −15
Conceal item shift within four times your base move range −20
Rushing a 1 round or full-round action to a standard action -3
Rushing a standard action to a move action -2
Rushing a standard or move action to a swift action -5

Untrained UsesEdit


A bit of misdirection can get a foe to drop their guard for a moment. You can feint in combat, and if successful, gain an opening for a potentially more damaging strike. You take a penalty on this check as if you were trying to conceal the weapon, modifying your check as indicated in the table above. You may also rush your feint attempt.

This is an intentional skill and modifier change from the rules presented in the combat section of the SRD (or Races of War, if you prefer Tome material). Bluff no longer functions for feinting in this revision, as it has acquired the Combat Distraction ability instead. Feinting otherwise works as listed in the appropriate section.

Rank 1 UsesEdit

Conceal ObjectEdit

Hiding contraband on yourself so you can walk it through a checkpoint or carry it into a peace treaty is a time-honored tradition. As is concealing contraband in furniture or other objects so that it is missed during a search. You have a bit of knowledge in both of these areas. As a full-round action, you can hide an object on your person or elsewhere. Your check result, modified by circumstances as in the table above and the size of the item, sets the DC for someone to find the hidden object while searching. You can also hide an object on any other willing or helpless target or in an object, but the adjustments to your check for item size are made against their size. Objects concealed on your or another body are found with a Notice check, objects concealed in an object are found with an Uncover Secrets check.

Retrieving an hidden object is a full-round action unless the object was placed to be easily retrievable, in which case it can be retrieved with whatever action you would need to draw a weapon. Easily retrievable items are, of course, also easier for someone else to notice.

Base DC: None.
Check Result: Your check result is used as the base Perception DC for someone to notice or find the object you are attempting to hide. Modify your check result with the above table.

Rank 4 UsesEdit

Conceal ActionEdit

Things to conceal...
You can use the Conceal Action ability for a lot of things. Simple sleight of hand like coin palming, card tricks, swapping a card with the one up your sleeve, and cheating at Three-card Monte is well within the scope of the ability. You can use it for more nefarious things, like slipping poison into a cup while carrying it, trying to pickpocket someone, or hiding the fact that you’re holding a knife to someone’s back from the rest of the public. You can use it to hide that you drank a potion or that you poured your mug into the potted plant behind you. You can use it to hide a quick item toss, though you must be able to actually move the item, and the further you move the object, the harder it is to hide that you did it. Yes, that means you can hide a ranged attack with a dagger or flask; your target would know if it got hit and the direction it came from, but not necessarily that you did it. You can use it for more amusing things, like hiding the fact that you disarmed your target's belt right before their pants fall off. And you could probably kidnap small fae with it as well (though they would certainly know). Just as there are lots of stage tricks that rely on small misdirections, there are lots of things you can try to use this ability on. Ingenuity is rewarded here.

Sometimes, you just don’t want people to notice exactly what it is that you’re doing. You can actually hide small actions while under scrutiny so that no one is the wiser. In general, you can adjust your work so that it is not noticed by observers' senses of sight or touch. You could hide that you were picking a lock from someone watching you or hide that you had a dagger in an inappropriate place until you felt like pointing the threat out. There are limitations, of course. You can not conceal actions on an object that someone else is holding and paying attention to, so you could not conceal an attempt to steal a sword pointed at you. There are lots of other example uses for this ability, however, and you can find them in the sidebar.

Using this ability increases the length of time the action you are attempting to hide would normally take, as you must wait for proper timing and direct the observers' attention in just the right way. A swift or immediate action would become a standard action, a move or standard action would become a full-round action, a full-round action would become a 1-round action, and any action longer than 1 round would simply double in length. Aside from this increase, however, this ability requires no action of its own; the check is simply made in addition to the action taking place.

The result of this check is added to the base DC for a witness to notice the attempt with a notice check. Your check is modified by the size of the object you are attempting to hide your action on as well as if you attempt to rush the hiding, as indicated in the table above. Your check result has no impact on the success or failure of the action that you are trying to hide, and onlookers can spot both failed attempts and successful ones. Most attempts will be successful, if only because most onlookers will use passive perception and your active check should generally exceed theirs. Repeated attempts are likely to draw suspicion, however, as the delay is more noticeable than the hidden action. Additionally, some extremely perceptive individuals might see through even your best tricks without trying. Care should be exercised with this ability if you don't intend to get caught at it.

Note: Some sensory blocking is just not covered here. You can hide a call for help with a well-timed cough, but that's just a timing concern. You can hide a smell with a stronger one, but that's just a matter of being prepared. And while attempting to hide the taste of a poison with a stronger taste might require you to conceal the addition with this skill ability, the actual covering of the taste has little to do with your skill. These sorts of sensory experience concealments are not the sorts of things that require training and experience, and are not covered by this skill as a result.

Base DC: None.
Check Result: Your check result is added to the base Perception DC for someone to notice the action you are attempting to hide. Modify your check result with the above table.

Improved FeintEdit

A little sleight of hand goes a long way on the battlefield. Your practice has made your feints faster and harder to predict. If you are using the SRD feinting rules, you can feint as a move-equivalent action and need not strike the target this round. If you wait until next round to attack the target, you may not move more than 5’ before making the attack and they are only flat-footed against your next attack, even if you take a full attack action. This ability also replaces the Improved Feint feat.

If the feinting rules from Races of War are in use instead, you are treated as having the edge on any opponent with a base attack bonus lower than your ranks in legerdemain, but only for the purposes of determining what action your feint requires.

Rank 6 UsesEdit

Plant EvidenceEdit

Instead of concealing that you’re taking something from another person, you can hide that you’re planting incriminating evidence on them instead. You can attempt to conceal an object on an unwilling, non-helpless, and unaware target. Planting something on a person is resolved as a pickpocket attempt, and follows that procedure. This otherwise functions as a use of Conceal Action.


Sometimes it's nice to be able to talk without letting people know where you are. You can throw your voice so that it appears to come from someone or somewhere other than yourself. This ability has limits, namely that your voice can not come out of thin air with this ability; you must pick an object to act as a source. This is a standard action, and you must succeed on a Legerdemain check with a DC of 10 + the distance (in feet) from you to the object you wish your voice to come from. If you remain stationary and do not change targets, you do not need to make any further checks. If you move or wish to send your voice from a different place, you must make a new check.

A successful check does not mean that no one can trace you back to the source. A successful perception check against your check result +5 allows a listener to hear through your trick and locate the source of your voice.

Base DC: 10 + distance to object
Check Result: A successful check also sets the DC, your result +5, to hear through your ruse.

Rank 8 UsesEdit

Disappearing Pig TrickEdit

Shifting small unattended items around doesn't do it for you anymore. You've moved on to bigger and better things. You suffer penalties for attempting to conceal items or actions on items as if they were 1 size category smaller than they actually are. This can be useful for quickly shifting a friend out of sight of the guards or looting greatswords from barbarian chieftains, among other things. Hiding objects this large after the move may prove problematic, but as long as you can move them out of sight or just convince people that you’re not doing it, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Possibly more useful, however, is that you can also conceal actions taken on objects that are being wielded and actively paid attention to by someone else. You can swap someone’s short sword with a rubber chicken mid-fight or exchange their potion of cure serious wounds with a nasty poison, if you want. You suffer a −5 penalty to your check when attempting to work on these objects, but your check result does not impact the success or failure of your action. Such an attempt would be resolved as either a disarm or a pickpocketing attempt, depending on the current hostility level. This otherwise follows all the rules of conceal action.

Rank 10 UsesEdit

Faster than the False EyeEdit

Tremorsense, blindsense, blindsight, and scent are strong enough as to be almost cheating. Luckily, you can cheat right back. Your concealed actions and objects show poorly against these senses, at least for a time. Against all of these senses, your concealed actions show poorly. Concealed objects that are touching you also show poorly against these senses. When a concealed object is no longer touching you, because it was shifted or dropped, it continues to show poorly for 5 rounds.

Rank 12 UsesEdit

I Can Work With ThatEdit

You've had a lot of practice making people not see the things you're doing, and it would show if you ever let anyone notice. There aren't a lot of things that you find difficult to work with. You suffer penalties for attempting to conceal items or actions on items as if they were 2 size categories smaller than they actually are. You no longer suffer a penalty when you attempt to conceal an action on an object that is being wielded and actively watched.

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