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Comments: 11
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4
Condition: Normal
ID: 2423


March 18, 2006, 10:47 pm

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Whispers Of The Thief


A crude and appearently worthless trinket, this tawdry bit of finery would attract no notice at all, disregarded as as just foolish vanity on the part of an improvished peasant or labourer. 

But mind you don’t lose one of these when you’re on the errand of some powerful guild leader. He’ll be sure to skin you for that.

Full Item Description
A simple cylinder of clay glazed a gaudy scarlet, it has strong twine wrapped around both ends that allows its to be slung over the neck of its wearer like a necklace. All in all, its a very mundane looking object that displays no inkling of being anything more than the crude ornament it appears to be. But in the unlikely event that you do find yourself ever handling it, you’ll be surprised to discover that its hollow. There’s obviously something contained within. 

Ever since time immemorial, seedy individuals inhabiting the rungs of the criminal class of Haracron, have communicated with one another through numerous ways. There are always clandestine secrets to be communicated to another party, secrets so vital that it would not do to have them fall into the wrong hands.. But scraps of parchment can be seized by overly suspicious law-enforcement officials and messenger pigeons are always liable to be intercepted. Indeed, conveying messages of the utmost importance can be an extremely delicate undertaking.

Well aware of these many risks and determined to neutralize them as best he could, one exceptionally ingenious Harold of The Shelby Counterfiritor’s Guild put his boundless imagination to work and soon devised a scheme that continues to be much in use among the Counterfiritors.

Something of an amatuer scholar, Harold looked for inspiration, to certain semi-civilized cultures that existed on the boundaries of the Haracon Empire. Many of them, lacking a true system of writing, chose instead to communicate with the aid of colored strips. Made from the extremely elastic sinews of the hardy Ixyrian ox, these strings could be knotted with each other to form a complicated arrangement and pattern that only the recipient could understand.

A quaint but very effectual design that suited Harold’s agenda perfectly. Wasting no time, he soon begun work on adapting this unique medium of communication, devising an elaborate profusion of meanings and messages, each of which had at least two ways of expressing itself, subject to the precise way in which the strips were entwined with each other.

However, being of a rather paranoid temperament, Harold still feared that the strips by themselves might attract unwanted attention. Determined to eliminate this chance all together, he soon hit upon the idea of concealing them in tawdry bits of adornments that only the very deprived might wear. By encasing the all vital strips in hollow receptables of clay pendants, he could succeed in designing the most difficult to discern way of carrying very sensitive information. Thanks to his innovation, the Counterfiritors soon found themselves bringing the flow of leaked tidings to an almost complete stand-still.

So don’t be too surprised when your Gild boss thrusts a cheap contraption of twine and clay one of these days, insisting that you wear it around your neck until you reach Mister. so and so. Just remember that the very existence of your Guild might depend on you keeping it secure. 

Magic/Cursed Properties

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

March 18, 2006, 10:16
Updated: I hope you enjoy this, Muro.
Voted Scrasamax
March 18, 2006, 10:26
While I've heard the notion of communicating via knots, I find the presentation to be very good. Nice work Maggot!
Voted CaptainPenguin
March 18, 2006, 18:21
Great job. I will definitely use it.
On a side note, I like the recent flood of theivery-related items... Thumbs up for the trend!

Voted MoonHunter
March 19, 2006, 0:46
For me, the write up detracted from the idea. It did not leave me with a strong impression of what the final product finally looked like. Sure I figured it out eventually, but it missed something for me.

I have one comment and follow up question: Every cipher that is open, i.e. available for many to use and read has been broken moderate quickly. This is because either rumors become confirmed.. then the code is worked on and broken or someone captures it (i.e. trades a person's freedom or lack of pain for the code). Most codes stay secret because means of solving the code are not available. (Go Read Cryptonomicon the original or the novel... )

So the police/ guard/ spies have not caused someone who knows the code to role over why? Nobody has gotten drunk and said too much... giving the law the clues needed to either break the communication chain or find someone to translate for them? We are talking about thieves here. Even Family Men have been known to leak information for reduced sentences... imagine if torture and hand cutting were added (or removed) from the mix.
March 19, 2006, 1:06
The code is quickly changed, the moment word reaches the Guild of a code being cracked by law-enforcement. An extra knot here and there, and the cops find themselves starting from scratch again. This is the beauty of the system,
Voted Murometz
March 19, 2006, 1:12
I will be using this system for my upcoming Thieves Guild gaming session!!

Like Scras, I have heard of something similar somewhere before, but who cares? Here it is in full execution! + 1/2 sword for hoping that I enjoyed it :D I did!!

please link this and Varok Fly (like the creature, I love pomegranite juice too!) to BM if you would. Thanks!
March 25, 2006, 4:35
''please link this and Varok Fly (like the creature, I love pomegranite juice too!) to BM if you would. Thanks!''

I would love to do that, but I fear the new system leaves me confused in this area.
March 25, 2006, 6:19
To link something inside of a text, just put the submission's ID or name inside of square brackets. Similarly put the submission ID or name into the Suggesten Submission box on the bottom of a page. (Take a look into the Citadel Explained section, or ask us if there is anything unclear. If there is a way to make things more intuitive for our users, we want to know about it.)
Voted Cheka Man
April 23, 2006, 15:26
Simple and useful.
Voted Ria Hawk
June 13, 2006, 20:44
I think I like this. Useful as a background element, or a plot point. I think I'd probably use it more as something that came into the PCs' hands that they would have to decipher. But still a neat idea.
Voted valadaar
July 16, 2014, 14:17
I like this - it could even work as a form of one-time-pad, which is nearly unbreakable.

Another feature would be the knots and such must be unraveled to be read, making it almost impossible for the message to be intercepted, read, and then passed on. This is a big deal since not receiving the expected message, or one with signs of tampering can warn someone.

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