Baldur’s Gate 3 – Pickpocket Proficiency

Information about how to pick pocketing with what works and what doesn’t.

Basic Concepts

  • Use the Hide action to enter stealth. Rogues also have an alternate version as a bonus action starting at level 2.
  • Stay out of sight lines. Entering stealth will show you these but you can also hold the ‘shift’ key to see them without attempting to Hide, thus avoiding suspicion.
  • You can distract NPCs with your other characters OR block their sight using spells.
  • Enter Turn-Based Mode: this is a life saver so that you don’t feel rushed. You can pick pocket as long as you want and as much as you want, on a single target so long as you don’t get caught.
  • If you fail an attempt, they will attempt to apprehend you.
  • When you finish stealing, run away from the NPC and probably anyone near them for a while. About 2-3 turns or 15 seconds is how long I’ve seen the NPCs wander and search for you. As long as you don’t get found, they won’t know it was you.
  • If you DO get found, you can weasel your way out with skill check rolls. The NPC is still going to suspect you and you may lose rep with them.
  • Only the thief character is at risk. Any other PC that gets approached can just tell the truth that they didn’t steal it and just walk away.
  • If you get caught and end up going to prison, you have to break out. I haven’t seen any way to serve your time. You get about 15 turns of Fugitive when you leave so just wait it out. People may not like you in general but won’t be hostile. All your inventory will be in a chest labeled Equipment Chest.
  • You can exit turn based mode and then click return to camp before you get noticed. Effectively making a safe getaway. Just detach from the party so they can watch the guards search pointlessly.
  • Sleeping targets are safe to steal around, but if the sleep is not magical in origin, they WILL notice you on a failed roll. Magical sleep they won’t notice or anything.

Bonuses

Below are sources of Slight of Hand bonuses you can acquire.

Character Features:

  • Dexterity Modifier
  • Proficiency Bonus (if taken)
  • Expertise (Rogue)
  • Advantage (Spell – Enhance Ability: Cat’s Grace), listed on the ‘target roll’ as situational, will display in the combat log breakdown as “(1d20, Advantage)”.
  • Race: Halfing
    Lucky: “When you roll a 1 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.”
    (Unsure if this works for each advantage roll or functions at all with advantage.)

Items:

  • Gloves of Power: Absolute’s Bane: On a melee hit, possibly inflict a -1d4 penalty to the targets Attack Rolls and Saving ThrowsSlight of Hand +1
    (I found them on a Goblin during the initial encounter outside Emerald Grove)
  • Smugglers Ring: Slight of Hand +2, Charisma -1, Stealth + 2
    (on a skeleton hidden in some bushes along the river. Find Scratches the dog and then go north and jump across the river. 2 jumps total. Then walk left, should be super close. No roll required to find it, just mouse over the bushes.)
  • Gloves of Thievery: haven’t found yet but they supposedly exist in the Zhentarim Hideout. Gives Slight of Hand advantage.
  • The Graceful Cloth: 10 AC clothing, gives Cat’s Grace and +2 Dex(max of 20), Nimble As a Cat: +1 to Dex saves and increase jump distance by 1.5m. Sold by Lady Esther.

Items that DON’T work but sound like they should:

  • Hedge Wanderer Armour: Balance: Gain a +1 bonus to Dexterity Saving Throws and ChecksNature +1
    Did NOT lower target roll when attempting or appear in the roll breakdown after attempt.
    (purchsed/stolen from a vendor in Emerald Grove)

Spells

Cantrips

  • Guidance – +1d4 definitely affects your roll and helps you.

1st Level

  • Fog Cloud – Failure will still result in the thief being apprehended. Will block sight lines if between the searching people or thief is within.
  • Sleep – If seen performing the spell by bystander(s), results can vary. Combat or Apprehension or warning will ensue. If target is alone and no bystanders notice then you’re safe. Target must have 24 hp or less to perform. Target will not even search for missing items nor attempt to apprehend you on a failed attempt. No rep loss. Does NOT affect pick pocket roll. Best spell so far. Can be upcast to increase hp pool allowed.
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter (Prone) – target will go prone but still apprehend you. Does NOT affect pick pocket roll.
  • Hex (Warlock Spell) – turns target hostile in all situations tested except while target is affected by Sleep. Lasts until long rest. Does NOT affect pick pocket roll.

2nd Level

  • Invisibility – used a scroll (I think it’s a level 2 spell), doesn’t seem to affect roll. If you fail you will still be caught. After you steal one item the spell will end and you won’t be hiding anymore. Nobody will have seen you unless they have some feature that negates it.
  • Enhance Ability: Cat’s Grace – Gives you advantage on Dexterity checks. Listed on the ‘target roll’ as situational, will display in the combat log breakdown as “(1d20, Advantage)”. Also lasts until long rest but IS concentration.

TL:DR Best Methods

  • Have good character features.
  • Don’t get caught.
  • Use sleep if target is alone and it will work.
  • Use turn based mode. (crucial)
  • Teleport back to camp after you get your haul for a safe getaway.
  • Get advantage(Enhance Ability: Cat’s Grace)

In theory: halfling is the best race because of the Lucky feature being a shield against nat 1 critical failure. I assume a nat 1 would fail you even if your bonuses would still succeed, but I can’t say for sure.

You can try and save scrub. I’m 100% sure that even with the Karmic Dice feature turned off, they had something in place that messes with the randomness. I tried to steal ONLY Arron’s gold stack with a roll target of 12 and I failed over 20+ times in a row. I finally succeeded when I stole something else first and then the gold. Perhaps a seeded system or something so mix it up if you struggle with failure.

Yes some items like certain keys have a low enough DC that your roll target is 0.

Testing Methods

Initial testing done in Emerald Grove with only the level 1 spells + cantrip Guidance.

NPCs Used:

  • Kaldani: sits in a chair alone near the front gate but patrols over to the gate now and then.
  • Arron: the lightfoot halfling guard/trader at the entrance to the cove, stands in front of a shrine.
  • Dammon: the blacksmith.
  • Elegis + Rikka: guards overseeing the gate.

Natural sleep tested on drunk/sleeping bugbears+goblins above the goblin camp.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13578 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

8 Comments

  1. Well. Yes and no. It’s technically true that any classical processor (i.e. non-quantum computer) is deterministic. But that isn’t an impediment in this application. Suffice to say that modern computers and algorithms are more than capable of producing a number which is, so far as human end users ever will be able to tell, completely random in the sense that it will approximate an arbitrary probability distribution to an arbitrary precision within the limit of memory capacity.

    If the programmers of BG3 decided to write their own RNG algorithm, they are guaranteed to have done a worse job of it than if they just used any of the existing libraries for the language they’re writing in. Larian bolted on some custom code to keep track of the history of results in your game so far, and then it will step in to provide numbers according to some desired outcome. What they aren’t telling players is that turning that option off still does not give you a true flat probability distribution.

  2. I think Critical Miss works with pickpocketing too.
    If you roll Nat 1 then you fail even if you have basic value from items.

    Additionally you can use hireling to safely explore NPC inventories.

  3. Players need to be aware that this game categorically does not generate random results of 1d20 with each result being equally likely. The dice in this game are absolutely, definitely not “fair” like that, whether you have the karmic dice setting toggled on or off.

    It seems to have been an intentional design decision by Larian, but they should have communicated more clearly to the players about this decision.

    • computer generated numbers are always technically not random/fair. They’re often an algorithm based on system clock.

  4. there is definitely some kind of strange seed thing going on with stealing because I have all those items you mention and expertise, (gloves of power used to steal gloves of thievery lol now using gloves of thievery)

    I have expertise giving me a +9 to sleight of hand, im trying to steal gold and it seems to always fail…
    The rolls DC is 20 but i just need to roll an 11! thats a 55% chance to get and nope ive saved reloaded over 10 times…

    I also did the thing where you change what you are stealing, seems that is the correct way to do it.

    For example: aaron steal DC was 18, (no advantage gloves at time but i had guidance) I save scummed for almost an hour and couldnt steal it, ended up stealing in real time and bam got it.

    ALSO I was literally passing the checks by like 25s and the game still made me get caught!

    So yeah if you get caught try doing it in real time because it appears that sometimes the npc gets bugged and will always catch you no matter how high you roll!

  5. Theres also the gloves of thievery that give a permanent advantage to sleight of hand. Believe they can be bought in the Zhentarim Hideout fairly early on.

  6. Item: Smuggler’s Ring, Stealth +2. Sleight of Hand +2, Charisma -1.
    Location: skeleton on the bank of a river near Karlach

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