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I'm running through the game for my first time since release, put around 40 hours in as an honest type.  Playing a more 'if it's not nailed down it's mine, and I brought a crowbar' type this time.

 

But I can't figure out how to steal from merchants. They all have guards sitting on top of chests, even if they're not looking directly at them.  All of the guides etc. reference mechanics that seem to have been patched out.

 

Firecrackers didn't seem to work, invisibility is 'combat only', as is the rogue escape ability. They're too close for my stealth score alone to work. What am I missing? I hadn't ever played a stealing oriented character and it feels like it was 101% removed from the game according to old posts I can find!

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It works like always. If your stealth skill is too low to sneak up on them (a few points can make a huge difference) you need to use Sparkcrackers to lure them away so your thief can quickly sneak up on the chest. 

Note that guards will have a circle where they hear and a cone where they can see. It's a lot easier to sneak up on them (or what they are protecting) if you don't cross their vision cone. 

Also, when guards walk their hearing circle is smaller as when when they stand still.

Most chests (not all) can be opened without a reaction from guards. So you can pick the lock in plain sight. Only when you take the items inside it will be treated as theft. You only need to manage to reach the (open) chest stealthed. If the items inside are not red you can take them without somebody noticing.

Best practice is to have one char with all-in mechanics (who's opening stuff) and another with all-in stealth (who takes it).


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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That's what I'm doing, but I wasn't trying spark crackers.

 

Do I just throw them off to the side of the building and wait for the merchant and guard to walk over there?  Using the Overlook blacksmith as an example, both she and her guard stand next to her three boxes. I've got all three open - she wanders off so I can open the one, but the other two are inside the guard's circle and vision, and he doesn't move.

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Trying to lift Caroc's breasplate, aren't you. :biggrin:

 

Anyway, with sufficient stealth you should have enough time to reach that box next to the guard before timer goes out, because red circle with an eye does not mean he spotted you yet. As Boeroer said, if stuff in opened container is not red it's safe for grabbing. 

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Afaik the stealing of high quality gear from chests was made harder in some patches. The guards have better detection and the chests have a lot tougher locks now.

This is to prevent low level players to obtain legendary equipment too soon which might trivialize the game (Devil of Caroc, Patinated Plate, Grave Calling etc.).

You have to throw the Sparkcrackers somewhere wehre the guard can hear it. So - not too far away. Just far enough that they have to move a bit. They won't run through the whole shop. If you do it like that they should move. Note that only Spoarkcrackers will work, not noisy spells like Dazzling Lights whch would otherwise work perfectly fine to lure enemies from stealth. Neutral NPCs only react to Sparkcrackers. If the gurads don't react then it might be that they are hard-coded not to do so and you're out of luck until you get your stealth up or enough money to buy the items. 

Also note that you can often pickpocket the key for chests from shop owners or guards. This is often easier than picking the lock itself. You only need high stealth and no mechanics. But there are also cases where there is no key to pickpocket.

 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Fyi I just loaded up a savegame in Mahiri's Metalworks and threw some Sparkcrackers into the doorway between main and back room and the guard moves just fine in order to investigate - which gives me plenty of time to sneak to both chests he was guarding:

sparkcrackers_mahiri.png?dl=1

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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There is also an exploit to work around this problem: use the Bounding Boots.  Just position your character in a corner, and make sure they are completely undetected while in stealth. Then use the Leap ability of the Bounding Boots to move your character next to the chest and immediately pause the game after your character lands.  Your character should still be undetected when they land, so you should be able to grab the items from an unlocked chest.

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