4
\$\begingroup\$

Related but not exactly what I'm asking: Can Thieves' Cant be understood without a level in Rogue?

Also related: Would other PCs eventually notice two rogues talking in Thieves' Cant?

Thieves' cant is a spoken coded language only shared and comprehended by thieves; as far as my understanding goes that means this language shouldn't sound like a different language, but would likely use Common with hidden messages to hide its true intention.

The situation: A rogue PC is talking to a vendor NPC who is a member of the local thieves' guild, but other PCs are in the room. While the rogue PC is able to talk in thieves' cant to the NPC, what does the remainder of the party hear during this conversation?

\$\endgroup\$

closed as primarily opinion-based by KorvinStarmast, Thomas Jacobs, Miniman, Wibbs, Thyzer Jun 24 '17 at 15:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4
\$\begingroup\$

During your rogue training you learned thieves’ cant, a secret mix of dialect, jargon, and code that allows you to hide messages in seemingly normal conversation. Only another creature that knows thieves’ cant understands such messages. It takes four times longer to convey such a message than it does to speak the same idea plainly.

(PHB p. 96, for DnD 5e)

According to the above quote, it sounds like normal conversation. The differences are probably in subtle things like whether you use one pronounciation or the other, which are both valid in different dialects.

This is at least what 5th edition DnD has to say about this. Other systems might of course have different intentions.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ What version of the PHB? Question is tagged [system-agnostic]. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jun 24 '17 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ oh, good point! DnD 5e \$\endgroup\$ – lucidbrot Jun 24 '17 at 15:07
2
\$\begingroup\$

The idea behind Thieves' Cant is, that you encode your language by giving certain words other meanings etc. another language used in that way is Polari, which was used by gay men in Britain prior to the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Here is as short film entirely in Polari. Thieves' Cant works similarly. Another example would be this scene from Ocean's Twelve.

If you would listen to the whole conversation without knowing the code, you would not understand anything. If you would just pass by and pick up snippets, it would sound like a normal conversation to you.

\$\endgroup\$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.