Making Tools Useful in 5e: Forgery Kit
Other tools: Disguise Kit, Herbalism Kit, Glassblower’s Tools, Navigator’s Tools, Leatherworker’s Tools, Cobbler’s Tools, Poisoner’s Kit, Cartographer’s Tools, Alchemist’s Supplies, Mason’s Tools, Gaming Sets, Tinker’s Tools, Healer’s Kit, Brewer’s Supplies, Smith’s Tools & Cooking Utensils.
Getting into the last of our tools! This one marks the 10th to last tool left… I find myself getting a little sad about that as well… I quite like working on these tools, and now I’m going to have to find something new for me to work on when it’s all over with, luckily for me I will get to the last one by next February unless I decide to skip a few weeks of the Planes and focus on just getting the tools done… which probably not. I like planescape too much!
Back to what this article is really about, cause no one cares about me reminiscing about myself, we are going over the forgery kit! A rogue’s best friend and a diplomat’s greatest enemy. How does a diplomat know that that is actually the King’s signature telling him to declare war on the great nation of gnomes and smurfs? What about our King who isn’t sure if that one document calling him a smelly butt is actually from the High Elves envoy from the Court of the Stars? Forgery Kits are a great way to add a little mayhem and maybe even get a fancy new castle without too much hassle!
For those that don’t care about the how of my tool:
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If anyone knows anything about Forgery Kits, I bet our favorite beholder who wrote a book about tools knows all about forgery kits! Flip over to page 81 of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything:
A forgery kit is designed to duplicate documents and to make it easier to copy a person's seal or signature.
Components. A forgery kit includes several different types of ink, a variety of parchments and papers, several quills, seals and sealing wax, gold and silver leaf, and small tools to sculpt melted wax to mimic a seal.
Arcana. A forgery kit can be used in conjunction with the Arcana skill to determine if a magic item is real or fake.
Deception. A well-crafted forgery, such as papers proclaiming you to be a noble or a writ that grants you safe passage, can lend credence to a lie.
History. A forgery kit combined with your knowledge of history improves your ability to create fake historical documents or to tell if an old document is authentic.
Investigation. When you examine objects, proficiency with a forgery kit is useful for determining how an object was made and whether it is genuine.
Other Tools. Knowledge of other tools makes your forgeries that much more believable. For example, you could combine proficiency with a forgery kit and proficiency with cartographer's tools to make a fake map.
Quick Fake. As part of a short rest, you can produce a forged document no more than one page in length. As part of a long rest, you can produce a document that is up to four pages long. Your Intelligence check using a forgery kit determines the DC for someone else's Intelligence (Investigation) check to spot the fake.
I’m going to give it to Xanathar the Beholder of stupid dad jokes, this isn’t half bad. In fact, it’s probably one of the few tools that doesn’t need a lot of revisions. Unfortunately, it just isn’t crunchy enough, and if we are being truthful with ourselves… If you are looking for tools to do more than fluff, we pry like a bit more crunch in our system.
But still… part of me just can’t roll their eyes any harder when you read about how you can use a forgery kit to determine if an old document is authentic. I wonder if the designers at WotC purposefully made the tools fluffy because they didn’t want to add too much powercreep into the game, even though a lot of the subclasses in Xanathar’s are stronger than their Player’s Handbook kind.
The first part of any kit creation is determining what we want it to do, and luckily for us the Forgery Kit kind of says it all. We want to use it to forge things. To accomplish that, I am going to lean a bit on what we did with our disguise kit as they are pretty similar tools.
First off, we have our three complexities: Simple, Difficult and Complicated. Each one represents how hard it will be to forge something.
Simple forgeries would include just making a quick signature or small handwritten note.
Difficult forgeries involve recreating a simple page but changing a few words here or there or reproducing a quick sketch of something.
Complicated forgeries are going to include massive documents, like trade agreements with fancy filigree, expensive paper and 20 to 30 pages of legalspeak. That’s going to take multiple days to accomplish.
Creating a forgery doesn’t require a check, though a DM might decide that certain tasks require their own checks, but typically no check. Instead, anyone who is suspicious of your document is going to make an Investigation check against a DC determined by 8 + Dexterity modifier + Proficiency bonus. Pretty simple, and keeps us from having to determine how often checks should be made for a kit that will get used in tiny jobs and massive jobs.
You can make it harder to determine it’s a forgery by spending double the amount of time on it. So if you want a signature to be really, really, really good… You have to spend 20 minutes on it instead of 10 minutes. Or maybe the massive trade agreement needs to be able to fool anyone. Normally a job like the trade agreement would take you 30 hours to create, you will have to spend 60 hours fine tuning and getting it just right if you want to fool anyone investigating it.
But that brings us to a key part of the tool. Our forger needs an example of what they are trying to forge, or they have to have studied something before hand and have really good memory, which will be up to the DM. It’s hard to forge something, if you don’t have a good example of what it is supposed to look like.
Like our disguise kit, we also have a list of extra materials you might need when it comes to forging a document. While the forgery kit comes with a few things, eventually you are going to run out of materials or you are working on a big job. A single blob of sealing wax isn’t going to be enough for 30 envelopes. Tables like this can be a handy thing for your table to use their money on. While nothing is crazy expensive, if they are doing massive jobs for a gang it’ll start adding up.
The forgery kit is a pretty simple tool, but you could get incredibly granular with it which is not something I am attempting to replicate. Instead, I want an easy rule system I can hook on to my game system and get my players out into the world, lying and cheating their way into a fancy new castle! Hopefully your kings are fooled, and kingdoms toppled thanks to the stroke of your player’s pen!
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