|Thief protection; Edited by Xena Dragon
|Thiefproofing Yourself, by Lady Harmony
This is an article to help
you out in thiefproofing yourself. There are pros and cons
to it, but based on the fact that I have not lost anything
since January to a thief makes it well worth the trouble that
you have to go through to do it. If you follow my suggestions
and tips you should be able to live a relatively safe life
without fear of being robbed. But like any theft deterrent,
it can be gotten around, but it will take them some time and
you are more likely to be passed up for an easier target.
Think of it as putting "The Club" on your backpack.
First thing to do is get the right items. I use a small
pouch, 10 spellbooks (in addition to my real spellbook,
the one with spells in it - I keep this one separate from
the rest to keep it from getting mixed up so I don't have
to try and figure out which is which) and 3 deathrobes dyed
"highlight" yellow. You can use less than this,
but it will not be as effective and as with anything, if
you skimp to save costs, you may end up paying for it in
the long run. I like to be safe.
The basic method is to use the small pouch as your backpack,
cover it with the spellbooks and deathrobes and leave nothing
but newbie items or things you really don't care about getting
stolen in the top layer of your main backpack.
position the small pouch near the bottom of your main backpack
(see picture) and make sure that a spellbook will completely
cover it when it is dropped over it. Make absolutely sure
it is completely covered since if the smallest sliver of
it is exposed, the thief can easily gain access to the pouch
by double clicking the sliver and snooping the pouch. You
may have to work to get it in the exact spot, but it is
not impossible. When dropping the spellbooks and deathrobes
over the pouch, I drag them to the edge of my open backpack
(see picture) and drop them. It took me a while, but I finally
found the right spot for my pouch in the bottom of the backpack
so I could line the spellbook's corner up with the minimize
symbol and drop from there for better accuracy when dropping
to cover the pouch.
So how do I access this covered pouch once it is covered
you ask? Simple, before you start covering it, open it and
minimize it using the <-> symbol at the bottom of
it and never close it or your main backpack. This way you
always have easy access to it while the thieves don't.
Here is the routine I always go through when logging in
to the game. First, if you can, hide whenever you log out.
This way you reenter the game hidden and don't have to worry
about getting robbed when you first log in. Next after you
have hidden and logged in, open your backpack. You may notice
at this point that the pouch has "floated" to
the top of the pile. This is OK, simply open it, and minimize
it, then move the stuff carefully out from under it and
off to the side for a moment. Once everything is cleared
out from under it, start stacking the spellbooks on top
one at a time, then finish with the deathrobes. If you happen
to grab the pouch while trying to drag the stuff out from
under it, don't fret, simply drop it onto a spellbook and
it will return to it's original position - so you don't
have to try and reposition it in that exact spot you spent
so long finding in the first place. OK once you are all
logged in and covered, minimize your main backpack and you
are ready to go. Always remember to never close your pouch
or main backpack and you are set for a worry free day on
The next thing you need to be aware of is this. When crossing
server boundaries the pouch can and sometimes does, float
to the top of the stack again. No worry, I run off to a
secluded spot and hide as fast as I can and reopen the main
backpack and start restacking as I described above. The
only way you will know if the pouch has floated to the top
though is to actually close and reopen your main backpack.
To you it will still look covered, but if you close and
reopen the backpack, it refreshes the graphics to show you
what is really there and how it is arranged. So please heed
this advice. Whenever you cross a server boundary, close
and reopen your backpack. It only takes about a minute and
is well worth it over losing that Magic Viking sword you
have in your pouch or your house keys.
There is a way around this protection though, and you will
see why I use so many items to cover the pouch. The thieves
have learned that if you grab the deathrobes or spellbooks
and "fling" them aside fast enough, the graphics
get out of sync and things start to "disappear"
or are no longer visible in your backpack. What they will
do is grab and toss as fast as they can until they have
"uncovered" the pouch or can see it and can grab
it before things snap back into place in their view. What
the 10 spellbooks and 3 deathrobes do is delay these guys
long enough so that if I don't stand in one place for too
long they will never get to my pouch since when I walk off,
my snooped backpack closes to them and they have to reopen
it and start all over.
In dungeons I normally uncover the pouch since, on the
odd chance I close my main backpack, I won't have to wade
through 13 items to get to my stuff inside the pouch. But
by virtue of the fact that your stuff is in the pouch, it
will take the thief 2 snoops at least to get to your stuff.
And you never have to worry about random theft as long as
the pouch weighs over 10 stones, since they random steal
from the top layer of your backpack only. Of course if you
are like me, that pouch is more likely going to weigh over
100 stones, so you never have to worry about that limit.
For you inscribers out there who are saying "Well
does that mean I have to carry 11 Full spellbooks?!?"
(10 for the stack and your main one not in the stack). The
answer is no. I have found that if you open your main spellbook,
close it, then pick it up and drop it, you will inscribe
out of that book.
I have been so successful with this method that the local
thieves in Moonglow on the Chesapeake Shard don't even bother
If anyone would like to roll up a snooper and come into
Moonglow on Chessie, I will be glad to show them this technique
and let them snoop my backpack and try to gain access to
my pouch. All I ask in return is that in addition to choosing
snooping as your main skill - take Cartography, Musicianship,
Discordance, Provocation, Fishing, or Healing as your other
skills and give me all your newbie items and clothes when
we are done.
My backpack has a newbie sextant, 2 newbie daggers, a watch
(newbie status from the holiday bags) and a newbie book
for notes in the top layer. None of this stuff can be stolen
so I keep it there.
Editors note: Instead of a spellbook, you can also use
a newbie clothes item. They are unstealable and will cover
a pouch quite easily.
- Lady Harmony
|the Monte Carlo strategy, by HawkEye
| There are two basic approaches
for thief protection. The first is Lady Harmony's "Mt. Everest"
strategy. The thief can't get through the mountain of stuff
you've piled on your pouch before you move and make the thief
start over again. Of course, with this strategy it is clear
to the thief where the pouch is. Another basic approach is
the "Monte Carlo" strategy, where the thief doesn't know where
to look, and wastes time looking in the wrong places, giving
you the opportunity to move away. Perhaps the most effective
approache is a hybrid of the two or perhaps alternating use
of the two. The Monte Carlo strategy and hybrids are discussed
As discussed in the U.Hall Message Board, some have recommended
a pure Monte Carlo type strategy of using nested pouches:
a pouch containing three or four pouches, with each of those
pouches containing 2 or 3 pouches, etc. Thus, for example,
the chances that a thief finds your real pouch on the first
try for a 3-2-2 strategy are 1 in 12 ( 1/3 x 1/2 x 1/2 ).
A hybrid approach would be to also cover the bottom pouch
with a few death robes. I place a newbie item in the first
layer of decoy pouches to avoid a stack of decoys from simply
being eliminated by theft.
I think a better pure Monte Carlo strategy would be one
using Lady Harmony's approach of making use of blank spell
books, which can't be stolen and don't weigh anything. If
a dozen such spell books are scattered about along with
your full spell book, the thief has only a 1 in 13 chance
of finding your pouch on the first try, a 1 in 12 chance
on the second try, etc. Your pouch could be hidden under
your real spell book but only you would know which one that
is. Using this approach, you avoid all of the set-up work
for the Mt. Everest strategy (carefully stacking spell books),
and you never risk accidentally forgetting to reset to your
main spell book, since it is the only spell book you need
to touch. While this may be less protection than the Mt
Everest approach in town, it is far more protection in dungeons.
Note that in dungeons, Lady Harmony leaves the pouch unprotected
in the main pack because of the risk of accidentally closing
your pack, and having your vital equipment buried under
stacks of stuff. (Actually, I'm a bit clumsy and have to
worry about this when in combat in the wilderness as well).
With the Monte Carlo approach, your pouch is only covered
by your full spell book, and is easily accessed, and recovered
even under stressful circumstances.
A hybrid strategy would be one that scatters piles of blank
spell books instead of single spell books, making it more
time consuming and frustrating for the thief to find the
real pouch. Alternatively, or in addition, each pile could
have a pouch underneath (perhaps with a newbie item in it),
or perhaps a nested pouch.
There are lots of possibilities, depending on how you trade
off cost versus weight versus town risk versus dungeon risk
versus convenience. You could even use the Lady Harmony's
pure Mt. Everest strategy in town and then scatter the same
spell books to use a pure Monte Carlo strategy in a dungeon.
- HawkEye (archer-bard) aka Dragon's Breath (tank-mage)
on Lake Superior
|Using traps against thiefs, by Princess Diana
| Everyone who has been playing
UO long enough, should know to be very cautious while doing
If thieves steal from you in the first two situations, you
will not lose much. You can just pretend they are beggars
who have no skills in making a living, and you are being generous
- stand in a bank area, chatting, organizing your bank
- stand around the smith shop busy making or repairing
items and negotiating prices for your armor.
- mining in a remote cave.
- fighting with an animal or monster in dungeons or in
- restocking your vendor.
In the third case, a thief will steal your heavy ore
off the ground, and of course, you will then attempt to
take the ore back, soon you will realize that he has infact
stolen your recall runes and black pearls, and the thief
turns into a murderer, using your own reagents to cast spells
In the fourth case, most of the killers you will encounter
do have stealing abilities, and you will usually end up
dead and stuck in an area without a bank to resupply,
like in Wind city.
In case five, which is the worst scenario, a thief
hides on top of your vendor, steals your keyring with
all your keys (which weighs 0 stones even if you have
200 keys on it) while you are restocking your vendor.
Now you will end up losing your home. This was exactly
the case done to my careless partner. Not only did we
lose our house and all our belongings but also our guild
Since then, I did a lot of thinking and research.
Finally I came up with the best method for theft protection.
Here is how it works:
- Buy yourself a GM tinker made lockable trap box.
When triggered, it will deliver extreme damage to
the person wearing opening the box, even if he/she
is wearing 30 AR armor. Usually this results in
instant death. Editors note: You can read all about
trapping chest in the Tinker
- Copy 3 more keys for the trap box before you lock
it up. Put 1 loose key in your bank box, the other
2 keys inside the same trap box, with one key on
a key ring and the other key loose. Give the last
key to whomever you usually travel with.
- Keep the trap box as your only level 2 bag, put
ALL your backpack items inside the box except your
spell book which cannot be stolen at all that way.
- Keep the trapped box picture OPEN at all times,
even after you lock the box. You will just have
to get used to playing with a smaller screen as
the open box will block up a small corner of the
If you use the loose key inside the box to lock and
unlock the box, it will also ARM and DISARM the trap.
Keeping the box in locked and armed condition is really
good while you have to stand around in a high traffic
area chatting or doing business.
If you use the key on the keyring to lock or unlock
the box, it will not effect the box's current armed/disarmed
status. (ie: if you locked & armed the box with the
loose key, then unlock with the key on the keyring,
the box will be unlocked but still remain armed!)
A box in unlocked but armed condition is really good
during a fight or while you are far away from the
city... you will be hoping your enemy to steal from
you by opening the box as it is your most powerful
Now, the most inconvenient aspect of this method
arises if you mistakenly close the picture of the
box while it is armed. You will have to go back to
the bank and use the loose key inside the bank box
to : a) unlock and disarm the locked box, or b) lock
the unlocked armed box first, then unlock it again
to disarm it, or c) get your partner, who has your
spare key, to pass you back the key to do the above.
The good side of this method is that even with the
box locked and armed, as long as the box picture is
still open, you can still eat the food from within,
drink potions, cast scrolls, target the runes, target
keys, target shovels etc. all without triggering the
trap. You cannot cast spells however, a message will
appear saying you have not enough regents.
The explosion will only go off only once, so it makes
no sense to leave it unlocked and armed in town. Cheap
town thieves will trigger it off and their dead corpse
has no valuables for you to loot. But if you are far
away from a city, always leave it in unlocked and
Now here is the best part. Whoever opens or lockpicks
your armed box will certainly die, but you will not
be flagged a criminal. (Editors note: who will
gain the fame for the kill ?) The tinker who trapped
the box will get the murder count if he trapped the
box outside his own house. If the tinker trapped the
box inside his house while the box was on the floor
he will not get a murder count.
Since our house has been looted, I do now carry 2
traps inside my backpack, a trap chest inside a trap
box, (trap box being level 2, trap chest being level
3). I keep all my stuff in level 3. When I tried out
this method it took only a few days to get used to
playing with these trapped boxes, not once did I kill
myself. Nevertheless, I do suggest one should begin
with a dart trapped box or a poison trapped box to
get used to it before attempting to carry a GM Tinker
made explosion trapped box such as mine!
For the past 2 weeks, I am always taking my time
slowly restocking my tent vendor. And almost everytime,
someone all dressed up in armor will come by and stand
close to me. After a few seconds, I will hear KABOOM
and a corpse will lie in the middle of the road. A
ghost will appear and say ...OOOoo oOOOo oo.... I
figure that he must be begging me to loot his gold
and his armor! I've acquired thousands of arrows this
For those who do not wish to bother with this method;
God bless you!
For those adopting to this method; Good luck to
all you thieves out there!
- Princess Diana, Pacific Shard
|The Art of Personal and Home Security, by Carmella
| 'Tis a sad day in Britannia
when the streets are thick with thieves and homes are violated
freely, but such is the state of society today.
There are some methods that can be utilized to make a thieves
job more difficult however, and teach a few cutpurses a
lesson in manners in the process. This book covers activities
anyone can do to help protect themselves from theft, both
on their person, and in their homes.
One method of making a thieves' life more difficult
is by using a hide, a fur or a deathrobe in your pack to
cover your more valuable possessions inside your pack. Deathrobes
are particularly effective for this, since they cannot be
stolen. Any item of this nature must be moved aside and
the thief must be quick enough to try to steal from underneath
the covering before it goes back to it's original position.
This is not foolproof, but few thieves are quick enough
or skilled enough to successfully steal when this method
is employed. Keeping your possessions within a black dyed
bag also makes them much harder to spot, especially if under
a piece of black cloth or black dyed deathrobe. Remember
to make this heavy - random stealing only works on the top
level of a pack without snooping - but anything the thief
is strong enough to cart away can be taken - even containers.
It is also good practice to keep valuables in your bank
vault. This is just common sense, what you are not carrying,
cannot be stolen.
Another method of discouraging thieves is the use of
the trapped box. Extraordinary care must be given if these
are used - as a trap has no friends, and will blow your
head off as readily as a would-be bandits.
Lord British's laws have changed significantly in the
making of traps - unless you are fully versed in the legal
ways to do this - leave trapmaking up to the professional
tinker. If a trap is illegally made, it is the tinkers
responsibility, and they are the ones that will suffer
the consequences. A traps strength also is dependent upon
the tinkers skill at their craft. Trapping your own boxes
can be done, but the trap is likely to be both weak, and
also open you up to legal sanctions if made improperly.
That said, I am only going to cover proper USE of these
boxes in this text. Some things to know about trapped
- Only a lockable chest can be trapped.
- Although a key on or off a keyring will open a trapped
chest, only one OFF the keyring - a single key, will
disarm the trap.
- Trapped chests cannot be transferred within a trade
Now, let's take a mage for example, a trapped chest is
an excellent place to keep reagents. Reagents can be used
from within, as long as the box is not locked. If you
carry a trapped box - NEVER forget and just open it, it
will do YOU damage. If a thief snoops your pack, opens
the box, THEY take the damage.
Here is the proper way to load and open a trapped chest
- and arm for use.
- Obtain a trapped chest.
- Use the key on the chest singly, you will see a disarm
and relock message.
- Load the box, it is suggested that you make it over
12 or 13 stone, most thieves are not strong enough to
steal more than that as a whole.
- Place the key on a keyring, and unlock the chest.
At this point, the chest should be unlocked, armed - and
quite dangerous to anyone unwise enough to be pawing about
in your pack.
This same trapped box procedure can be done for home
security purposes. Using the key by itself will allow
you to use the chest - using the key while on a keyring
will unlock and leave it armed. It is also quite dangerous
- make sure ALL GUILDMEMBERS know if these are lying about.
If you have been having problems with people breaking
into your home, a few of these scattered about leave a
Traps come in 3 varieties, dart, poison and explosion.
Explosion is the most powerful and effective of the
three in most cases. Remember, the laws have changed.
If you are uncertain of the legal ramifications of trapping
yourself - leave it up to qualified tinkers.
Another means of home protection - at least if you
are home, is the guardpet. Any pet will do for this
purpose, place them inside your home, and instruct them
to guard your door. Anyone not friended to the pet,
that uses the door - becomes a criminal, and if you
are home, you can take matters into your own hands without
fear of incurring a murder penalty. Naturally, a pet
dragon make a significantly better defense if you AREN'T
home, but for alerting you, and letting you deal with
a criminal in your home legally, a rabbit, cat or dog
does just as well.
I hope this text helps clear up some of the mystery
surrounding way to protect yourself and your property.
On a sidenote - a fun thing to do although not strictly
security related, is to carry a false set of keys in
a more prominent spot than your real set as bait. This
can be particularly humorous if you name the keys -
or have so many on the ring that the thief becomes overloaded
when opening. A set of 50 -100 is a humorous sight,
they must sit there and pick each and every one up individually
and do SOMETHING with them just to move. While on a
keyring, keys weigh nothing, off a keyring, they weigh
one stone each.
If you are carrying a trapped chest and use an outside
program like UOAssist make SURE NOT to count reagents
while carrying an unlocked trapped chest, many outside
programs go thru your backpack and open containers to
count, this WILL set off the trap.
It is also a good idea to carry a box of this nature
inside another unique container - if it is your only
chest, not a problem, if it is NOT your only chest
- and you die and reclaim your things, you will be
hardput to know which one is which. Using the key
on it, or trying to pass it to someone is the only
way to tell trapped from untrapped. Again, I cannot
warn you strongly enough - these are excellent protection,
but must be use cautiously for you own sake.