Content of the article: "Thieves Can’t, so you can!"
I’m sure there are more comprehensive guides people have created for A Thieves Cant resource, but I thought I’d put together a small easy to use guide that may help a player or two. This is one language I find goes a little underutilized in many games because of the vagueness of TC. I have a link to a simple google doc with some symbols and language that may be helpful.
TC is a great way to add extra plot hooks to any game for players to really work together to pull off a small heist. Your party may walk into a tavern and the Rogue may see a familiar pattern of a circle within a triangle, in the stained glass window above the bar illuminating the patrons. A simple pattern to the untrained eye, but to one trained in the skills of the shadow a beacon for possibilities and protection. The rogue walks to the bar and nonchalantly asks “well if it isn’t me old uncle bob.” “No my friend, my names Beery McBarman, but I think I’ve met your uncle bob. He may know Arthur Hunt and from what I’ve heard lost his China plate to a right frog and toad. If Barney’s involved you might want to give him some brown bread. He’s lost a cent or two and is a right old monkey.”
The rest of the party stand around confused at how these strangers may know each other, but the Rogue know “there’s a potential job to ambush and rob a official on the road who has been a friend of the guide but had turned corrupt. If there’s any trouble kill them. You will be paid 500gps for the job.” Now you have yourself an adventure.
Thieves Cant, so you can: A Rogue's Guide to Thieves Cant
Thieves Cant comes in two forms; the vernacular and with symbology. The spoken is based on rhyming slang where a combination of words create a new meaning through rhyme, for example a “job” could be communicated as “Uncle Bob.” In this way authorities have a hard time following any conversation utilising Theive’s Cant as words can be completely unrelated to their true meaning between the discerning individuals. The second iteration of Thieves Cant is based on Hobo markings, or symbols conveying information about a dwelling or establishment. This can mostly be utilized between rogues to share useful information such as if a household is friendly or is potentially dangerous for the novice thief.
Common slang used; Uncle Bob = “job”
Arther/Martha Hunt = “a bad person” / “enemy of the guild”
Mike Pence = “a fence or someone who receives stolen goods.”
Bob Hope = SOAP = “forged papers or identity needed”
Cent = aka a “JACKIE”= a corrupt official/guardsman/police. Or a Jackie Cent, or one might say “Jackie sent me” if working for someone who is corrupt.
China Plate = “mate” / “friend of the guild” / “safehouse”
Barney Rubble = “I/there is trouble”
Brown Bread = DEAD = “assassination job”
Frog and Toad = “a road ambush robbery”
Larry Snob = ROB = a burglary job
Artichoke =HEARTY CHOKE = “a prison breakout job” commonly used with the term ”Babe/s in the woods” meaning “a criminal currently in the stocks or jailhouse”
When discussing payment: Pony = “paying 25gp” Bullseye = “paying 50gp” Century = “paying 100gp” Monkey = “paying 500gp”
*edited some formatting
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