Picking pockets is performed in one of two modes, each of which has a separate goal. Both modes, however, use the same table, presented here:
The first mode is simply nabbing an item out from under another’s nose. For this, simply roll equal or under on the table to determine success or failure.
In the case of failure, the thief has lost the opportunity to steal the item. Failure can also have one of two additional consequences.
If the thief’s result is higher than 74 plus their level, they are not noticed, but have committed some small error which has made target of the theft more wary of thieves. Further attempts to steal any item from this target are at a +10 penalty on the roll; this penalty is cumulative if additional attempts also rouse suspicion. The relevant target numbers are given on the table. Suspicion will remain until the thief leaves the area and stays away for at least an hour, with each hour of absence removing +10 of accumulated suspicion.
If the thief’s die result is higher than 79 plus their level, then the thief is caught in the attempt. Thus a first level thief is noticed on an 81 or higher, while a 20th level thief failing the roll is only noticed on a 100. These numbers are also given on the table.
It is not always possible to gain another opportunity to nab an item, but if another opportunity does come up, a repeat attempt at the same item is not penalized other than for any suspicion, as above.
The second mode is concerned with making money. The character stands in a market square or similar location for the whole day, taking a few coppers there, a few silver here. By this method they can earn 4d4 times their level in silver pieces per day, at no appreciable risk.
Additionally, they get one chance per level per day to roll a d20. If one of these d20s comes up 1, the thief has seen an opportunity for a single large haul. This is some choice item, such as a jeweled comb sticking out of a pocket, or a bracelet with a loose clasp. Such an item will be worth d10x10 gp. Furthermore, for each d20 which came up 1, the thief rolls again. Anything other than 1 changes nothing, but a second 1 means that this particular large haul is now worth d10x100 gp. This multiplication by 10 of the base value continues indefinitely for each additional 1 rolled.
For each of these opportunities to snag a choice item, the thief may choose to roll their pickpocket chance in order to snag the item. For an item worth d10x10 gp, the chance must be successfully rolled once to snag the item. For an item worth d10x100 gp, the chance must be rolled twice, and so on. Note that these rolls ignore the “suspicion aroused” result from mode 1; failure is based only on the “noticed” column on the table.
Failing one of the rolls for an item means that the thief is spotted by nearby guards or watchmen, local thieves guarding their turf, and of course by the target, as well as anyone else that is looking.