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Rogues Gallery: 7 D&D heists for a Thieves Guild Campaign

Updated: Jan 18

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Introduction - Rogues Gallery: 7 D&D heists for a Thieves Guild Campaign

Ever wanted to run a d&d heists campaign for your players but struggled coming up with enough content to fill a full campaign arc? We've got you covered. In this article, you'll find 10 fleshed-out encounters, NPCs, and adventure hooks perfect for a thieves' guild campaign. Whether you're looking to plan an intricate heist, shake down some local businesses for protection money, or uncover a traitor in your midst, you'll find plenty of inspiration here to keep your rogues busy for many game nights to come.

Whether your group is planning the ultimate theft from the city's most fortified vault, or a simple pickpocket job in a bustling marketplace, running a heist campaign in Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) can bring your storytelling to new, thrilling heights. This form of play adds an additional layer of intrigue and suspense that can keep your players on their toes, engaged, and constantly scheming.

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of our 10 ready-to-use encounters, here are three key hints to ensure that your D&D heist adventures are packed with fun, excitement, and suspense:

  1. Diversify your Obstacles: Every great heist needs some compelling hurdles to overcome. These obstacles should not be limited to physical barriers or security measures. Introduce complex social dynamics, magical challenges, or even inner conflict within the party to add layers of depth to your heist. The success of the operation should rely on more than just a series of dice rolls, instead promoting innovative problem solving, planning, and cooperation amongst your players.

  2. No Plan Survives Contact with Reality: The thrill of a heist lies in the unpredictability. As a DM, don't be afraid to throw curveballs that disrupt the party's plans, keeping them reactive and adaptive. The occasional twist or unexpected complication can bring suspense, excitement, and fun to the campaign. This could be an unplanned guard change, a sudden alarm, or even a rival thieves' guild showing up unannounced.

  3. Every Action Has a Consequence: The choices your players make should influence the narrative and future encounters. If the heist is flawlessly executed, perhaps they've made a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to retrieve their stolen treasure. If the heist goes poorly, they may attract the attention of the local law enforcement or even disgruntled allies.

Stay tuned as we delve into our detailed encounters, NPCs, and adventure hooks. You'll find a wealth of ideas to craft a gripping, engaging, and exciting thieves' guild campaign. Remember, the best D&D adventures are built on collaboration, creativity, and a dash of chaos. Let's set the stage for your grand heist!

The Ornate Ewer Heist - Steal an Priceless Artefact From the City's Museum to Sell on the Black Market.

This heist will require stealth, cunning, and a crew with diverse skills. The ornate ewer you're after is a priceless relic on display in the city museum's Hall of Antiquities. Getting past their security systems and guards won't be easy, but the payoff will make it worth the risk.

Each of your players will step into the shoes of a distinct member of the crew: the nimble-fingered thief born from aristocracy and disgrace; the charming rogue, a bard hiding a web of secrets; the brute, a formidable warrior seeking redemption; and the shrewd fence, a cunning merchant entangled in dangerous debts. Their paths are unique, their motives disparate, but their objective unites them.

The stage is set within the city museum, a veritable fortress brimming with magical safeguards, creature guardians, and vigilant guards. The path to the ewer is fraught with danger, and time is as formidable an adversary as any. Observation and timing are your players' best weapons. Encourage them to study the museum's patterns and seize the perfect moment for their daring strike.

However, this adventure is anything but ordinary. A rival gang, the dreaded Crimson Vipers, has their eyes on the same prize. This twist not only adds an extra layer of suspense but also ensures that your players must be ready to adapt on the fly, highlighting the dynamic and unpredictable nature of a good heist.

Once your crew manages to pilfer the ewer, the race against time truly begins. Skilful negotiation, brute strength, and quick thinking will play critical roles as they strive to make their daring escape, all while protecting their precious loot.

The aftermath will shake the city, keeping your players on their toes even after the adventure ends. From high-alert city guards to vengeful rival thieves, consequences will follow their actions, offering an array of exciting plot hooks for future adventures. Encourage your crew to celebrate their victory but also remind them to remain vigilant.

But, above all, ensure the adventure is fun and engaging for your players. Allow them the freedom to strategize, to navigate the challenges as they see fit, and to truly immerse themselves in their roles. Remember, a successful heist is not just about obtaining the prize but also about the thrill of the chase and the bonds forged along the way.

So gather your crew, lay out your plans, and step into the shadows. An unforgettable night of adventure awaits your daring band of rogues. Good luck, Dungeon Master, and may fortune favour the bold!

Vyktor Bloodmane, Leader of the Crimson Vipers

Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil

Armor Class 16 (studded leather armor)

Hit Points 75 (10d8 + 30)

Speed 30 ft.

Strength 12 (+1)

Dexterity 18 (+4)

Constitution 16 (+3)

Intelligence 14 (+2)

Wisdom 12 (+1)

Charisma16 (+3)

Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +6

Skills Acrobatics +8, Deception +7, Perception +5, Stealth +8

Senses Passive Perception 15

Languages Common, Thieves' Cant

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Vyktora Bloodmane deals an extra 14 (4d6) damage when she hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Vyktora Bloodmane that isn't incapacitated and Viper doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Cunning Action. On each of her turns, Vyktora Bloodmane can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Evasion. If Viper is subjected to an effect that allows her to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, she instead takes no damage if she succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if she fails.

Leader's Inspiration. Vyktora Bloodmane can use a bonus action to inspire her allies. Up to three allies within 30 feet of her gain advantage on their next attack roll or saving throw.

Multiattack. Vyktora Bloodmane makes two attacks with her shortswords.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

This is a general stat block for a skilled, experienced, and dangerous rogue-type character. You can modify these stats to suit the level and abilities of your player characters, and to fit the unique elements of your campaign. Remember, this is your game - feel free to adjust things to make them work for you!

Check out out other posts on encounters, from back alley deals to haunted forest quests

The Bank Robbery - When the heist backfires.

As the overseer of this thrilling escapade, it's up to you to build a world ripe with opportunity and danger. The bank, an impregnable fortress adorned with intricate security measures, houses more than just gold and jewels. In its deepest chamber, a vault veiled in mystery, lies a potent magic artifact. This artifact, when used correctly, opens a portal to another location in the city - the perfect escape route.

However, it's not that simple. This artefact is encased in a puzzle-lock box, a test designed by the bank's arcane engineers to deter potential thieves. As your players navigate the bank's security, they'll also need to decipher cryptic clues hidden throughout the bank to unlock the artifact. Consider these clues an added layer of intrigue and challenge for your players, a cerebral diversion amidst a thrilling heist.

To add an extra element of suspense, the bank vault is guarded by magical guardians, powerful constructs programmed to protect the bank's treasures at all costs. These guardians, each with unique abilities and strategies, are formidable foes, and your players will need to work together to overcome them.

Just when your players might think they've got everything under control, throw in the ultimate plot twist: betrayal. Perhaps an insider, an ally they trusted, sells them out, alerting the city guard and effectively surrounding the bank. With no way out, their only hope of escape lies with the artifact.

This element of treachery adds a depth of emotion and conflict to your game. It highlights that even in a world of magic and monsters, human (or humanoid) nature can often be the most unpredictable adversary.

As the heist concludes, your players, hopefully rich in loot and experience, should have a newfound respect for the complexity of the city's underground and the treacherous path of a thief. With their newfound wealth and notoriety, they've just begun to explore the web of intrigue and adventure that awaits them.

Arcane Warden

Large construct, unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 90 (12d10 + 24)

Speed 30 ft.

Strength 16 (+3)

Dexterity 14 (+2)

Constitution 14 (+2)

Intelligence 6 (-2)

Wisdom 11 (+0)

Charisma 1 (-5)

Damage Immunities poison, psychic

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages understands the languages of its creator but can't speak

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Immutable Form. The warden is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Magic Resistance. The warden has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. The warden is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 10). The warden has the following wizard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, ray of frost

  • 1st level (4 slots): detect magic, magic missile, shield

  • 2nd level (3 slots): arcane lock, misty step

  • 3rd level (2 slots): counterspell, dispel magic

Multiattack. The warden makes two melee attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

These constructs would be a formidable challenge for a heist crew, as they are designed to defend the bank against intruders. The Arcane Warden's spells allow it to provide substantial control and protection over the bank's vault, forcing the players to strategize how to bypass or disable these constructs. Remember, the stats can be adjusted based on the party's level and number of members to ensure an exciting and balanced encounter.

The Artful Forger - Help a Master Forger Create Copies of Rare Artwork to Sell to Unsuspecting Nobles.

The Artful Forger

In this encounter, your players will aid the half-elf master forger, Varrus, a cunning and enigmatic character with a talent for replicating renowned artworks to dupe the city's elite. But remember, Varrus is as skilled at deceit as he is at forgery, and your players must tread carefully as they navigate this artful adventure.

Varrus's operation requires stealth and finesse, traits he admires and rewards in his helpers. However, beneath his charming façade, Varrus is a slippery character, always plotting his own safety above all else. Always one step ahead, Varrus isn't above betraying his associates to save his own skin, should his plan go awry. After all, in the high-stakes game of forgery, there is no room for loyalty.

As your players aid Varrus, they'll embark on a quest to gather rare pigments and fine canvases. The procurement of these unique materials, like crushed lapis lazuli, cinnabar, and malachite, presents an exciting challenge. From dodging protective enchantments in artisanal shops to negotiating with volatile miners, the risks in obtaining these materials add an element of excitement to the adventure.

Next, your players must scout extravagant manor houses and formidable castles, meticulously studying security patterns and noting ideal times for the high-risk swap. The replacement of original artworks with impeccable forgeries must go unnoticed, adding a thrilling stealth element to the encounter.

The climax of this encounter comes when the forgeries are ready, and it's time for the audacious swap. This phase requires careful coordination, exceptional stealth, and, potentially, a dose of smooth talking. As your players orchestrate the switch and sell the original artwork on the black market, they might find themselves locked in a high-stakes negotiation or evading angry nobles.

Ultimately, they must decide their level of involvement in this treacherous operation. Will they fully engage in the enterprise, or will they try to outwit the deceptive Varrus? Can they manage the mounting risks and potential repercussions of their actions? Whatever they choose, one thing is for sure: this encounter is not just a challenge of skills, but a test of morals and quick decision-making.

This encounter, filled with deception, strategy, and peril, will provide an unforgettable experience for your players. It promises the allure of high rewards, but with the very real threat of dire consequences.

Varrus, the Master Forger Medium humanoid (half-elf), neutral Armor Class: 15 (leather armor) Hit Points: 45 (10d8) Speed: 30 ft. Strength: 10 (+0) Dexterity: 16 (+3) Constitution: 12 (+1) Intelligence: 14 (+2) Wisdom: 12 (+1) Charisma: 16 (+3) Skills: Deception +6, Sleight of Hand +6, Investigation +5, Perception +4, Stealth +6 Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14 Languages: Common, Elvish, Thieves' Cant Challenge: 3 (700 XP) Cunning Action: On each of his turns, Varrus can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action. Deceptive: Varrus has advantage on Deception and Sleight of Hand checks. Forgery Expert: Varrus has advantage on any ability check made to create a forgery or to identify a forgery. Spellcasting: Varrus is a 4th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following Bard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): Friends, Message

  • 1st level (4 slots): Charm Person, Disguise Self, Silent Image

  • 2nd level (3 slots): Suggestion, Invisibility

Actions Dagger: Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage. As before, you can adjust these stats to better fit the level and makeup of your party. This version of Varrus is designed to be a challenging and elusive character who uses his cunning and charm to escape precarious situations and his forgery skills to facilitate the artful heist.

The Smuggler's Bane - Hijack a Shipment of Illegal Goods to Sell for a Profit, but Beware the Smugglers' Retribution!

A Smuggler's Ambush

As the twilight draws near, whispers of a lucrative opportunity waft through the clandestine corridors of your thieves' guild. An illicit shipment, rich with dwarven spirits and precious elven artefacts, is expected to grace the city's docks under the cloak of darkness. The smugglers, expecting an uneventful night of illegal commerce, plan to trade these forbidden treasures with shadowy dealers, accruing hefty profits from their risky endeavor. However, your guild has a different plan: hijack the cargo, sabotage the smuggler's aspirations, and monopolize the gold from the lucrative sale of these high-demand items. One thing is certain; this audacious heist is bound to attract the ire of the thwarted smugglers, potentially sparking a violent feud.

Devising the Ambush

The intricate operation hinges on several vital pieces of information: the precise timing of the shipment's arrival, the designated dock, and the logistics of the smugglers' operation. Beyond gathering intelligence, your team needs a robust plan for intercepting the shipment, neutralizing the smugglers, and successfully transporting the valuable goods back to the guild. Several strategies might emerge:

  • Coercing or bribing the dock workers, wringing out the clandestine details of the smuggler's plan.

  • Masquerading as city guards, intervening under the guise of official duty as the smugglers unload their contraband.

  • Tracking the smugglers to their storage location, strategically striking once they depart, leaving the goods unprotected.

  • Collaborating with a pirate crew, orchestrating an ambush at sea and rerouting the cargo to a clandestine cove.

Regardless of the chosen strategy, anticipate ferocious resistance from the seasoned smugglers and their hired mercenaries. Arriving well-armed, and preferably with reinforcements, is advisable if the situation degenerates to violence. Speed is paramount to evade the ever-watchful city watch and potential reinforcements.

Counting the Gains and Consequences

In the optimistic scenario of a successful heist, the booty, once sold to discerning buyers, could swell the guild's coffers by several thousand gold pieces. However, such a grand operation is bound to leave a trail of wrath in its wake. The smugglers, bruised in their pride and pockets, are likely to harbour a deep thirst for retribution. Prepare for counterattacks in the ensuing weeks, or even months. Their tactics could range from directly assaulting guild members, to undermining your operations, or worse, snitching about your illegal operations to the city authorities. Your key to survival will be constant vigilance, and perhaps a plan B.

This thrilling operation is not just an adrenaline-filled mission for your team of thieves, but it also unravels a fresh, persistent adversary in the guise of the spurned smugglers. Will your party be able to bask in the victory spoils while dodging the furious storms whipped up by the Smuggler's Bane? The trials ahead assure a tense, intriguing storyline for your guild campaign, testing the mettle of your team and their proficiency at living on the edge.

Smuggler Captain - CR 7

Medium Humanoid, any alignment

Armor Class: 16 (studded leather) Hit Points: 85 (10d8 + 40) Speed: 30 ft.

STR: 15 (+2)

DEX: 18 (+4)

CON: 14 (+2)

INT: 13 (+1)

WIS: 12 (+1)

CHA: 16 (+3)

Saving Throws: Dex +7, Con +5 Skills: Deception +6, Perception +4, Stealth +7 Senses: Passive Perception 14 Languages: Any two languages Challenge: 7 (2,900 XP)

Evasion. If the smuggler captain is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the captain instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and onl