Full Item Description
The Cracker Powder is distributed in small steel vials. Within is a powder of greenish colour, coarse and grainy with a tendency to form flakes along the inner rim of the vial. This then is a powder that the master thief will spread across a surface that he wants guarded against intrusion, for instance outside the door of the room which he is robbing. The use of the powder is moderated somewhat by the fact that it is easily spotted in daylight or bright rooms.
The effect is only shown when someone steps on the surface, as the powder ignites on impact. Then the powder will begin to burn with a bluish flame, cracking and hissing. The effect is more of a firecracker show, than any actual harm. There is a chance that volatiles or flammable clothing will catch fire. There have been cases in which a nervous thief applies several vials of the powder, in which cases there is a chance of an explosion upon impact. While the cracking sure is not very loud, it is startling to the victim and gives the thief warning and a chance of escape.
The Korinthan thieves are given access to cracker powder when they leave on solitary guild assignments. Master thieves can buy it directly from the alchemist. The cracking powder is a guild secret and only guild sanctioned alchemists receive the recipe. Any further distribution of the recipe carries the death penalty.
Selling it: Korinthan Cracker Powder is sold only to thieves of sufficient rank. It is quite expensive, costing more than what an Erekese Courtesan demands for a full evening of exotic pleasure. The resale of the Cracker Powder is not allowed as all distribution must go through the Korinthan network, by decree of the Vizier of the Night.
Usage and hooks: Another master thief bona fide, the cracker powder could be an exotic reward to a skilled PC thief. Or it could be used against the PCs.
* The PCs have been hired by a wealthy merchant to guard his rare and expensive collection of gemstones. As the PCs are patrolling the mansion, they suddenly set off the Cracker Powder. This is a nice way to confound the PCs. Stress them and make it sound like they are under some sort of attack, as the very floor catches fire and explodes beneath their feet. If they manage to keep their calm and enter the room at once, they might see the master thief escape; otherwise they will only see fluttering curtains and an opened window.
* Caltrop replacement: As the PCs persistently hound a mysterious thief across the rooftops they suddenly discover that they have gained on him. When the PCs run up to catch him, he laughs and jumps to a nearby rooftop.
It is important to unsettle the PCs, either by laughter or by other means. Then when the rooftops suddenly begin to crack, hiss and burn beneath their feet, explain to them that it seems as if the thief has laid a trap. This should make the PCs cautious, unless they are very calm and level headed. If the master thief then decided to attack with throwing daggers or other weapons, the PCs are seemingly in a tight spot. Such use of the cracking powder will of course be a desperate feint, and the thief will soon enough try to flee once again.