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Video Game Stealing

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Stealing is not the answer. Stealing is the question. The answer is yes.
— Description of the Mag-Pick item, The Outer Worlds

Video game mechanics often allow stealing in ways that are obviously unrealistic, deriving from the premise that stealing from a live body is just a little different from looting the corpse. Loot for players from a given monster may be generated at the same time as the monster's appearance and it may be possible to steal everything that the player would have looted if it was killed first.

Generally one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality, despite the Fridge Logic issues with Organ Drops where the character has stolen something that the enemy needs to live, but they're attacking you anyway. While the theft is usually fast, this isn't Impossible Theft because the enemy knows exactly how you did it: Gameplay and Story Segregation. When the character is able to steal for the plot or to advance an objective, it may count as Impossible Theft or a subtrope.

Bandit Mook and Mooks Ate My Equipment are two things that can happen when the enemies get fed up and decide to turn the tables on you. Not to be confused with stealing video games; for that see Read Only Memory and Digital Piracy Is Evil. For mundane looting of NPCs' homes, see Kleptomaniac Hero. See also Loot-Making Attack.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, it's possible to steal collection items from the monsters that drop them if you use the grappling hook in combat. In the case of Moblin Skull Necklaces and Darknut Knight Crests, they actually disappear from the monster, and he's actually surprised. You can also steal Chu Jelly from ChuChus before they die. It's also the best way to get those Golden Feathers off the Kagorocs, given that they tend to die in the air over cliffs, and therefore don't leave drops in convenient places.
    • In Skyward Sword it's possible to steal horns from Bokoblins with the whip which is presented much more realistically.
    • Link can steal from the gigantic Hinox in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, who wear greatswords, bows, and other weapons strung around their neck. Link can quietly land on the Hinox's belly and pluck the weapons from the necklace as if he were plucking an apple and sneak away all the richer.
  • The Thief's Glove in Ōkami allows Issun to become a kleptomaniacal projectile, attacking enemies for damage and stealing from them. The damage is low at first but increases with every use.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • In Shadow Over Mystara, the thief and magic user can cause enemies to drop items by dashing into them.
  • In Team Buddies, a Stealth Buddie is fully capable of stealing ammo and even weapons from enemies by simply punching them up close.

    Driving Game 
  • In the battle mode of certain Mario Kart titles, if a player rams into another player with the boost from a mushroom, rather than just spin out their opponent, the player who used the mushroom will take one of their opponent's balloons. With luck/skill, it's possible to extend beyond the usual three hit points given in the mode.

    Eastern RPG 
  • The Atelier Iris series and the subsequent Mana Khemia series allow you to steal the bones and eyes off dragons, or the underwear off of demons and angels!
  • In The Blue Contestant, the Gambler class can steal money from enemies during the combat encounters.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, Shift learns two skills that allow him to “steal” items in the middle of battle. However, there’s no actual theft involved; the items he picks up are selected at random from a list.
  • In Bravely Default the Thief job can Steal from an enemy in battle. They can also steal hit points and Mug an enemy, dealing the same damage as a normal attack but also stealing. Eventually they can learn to steal from every enemy in battle in one turn.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has some odd subversions. In some cases (one monster's favorite doll), stealing an item from an enemy will enrage it and make it stronger. In others (notably, batteries and generators for mechanical enemies), it weakens the monster. But stealable items are never found on the body, and you can steal enemy skills.
  • In Chrono Cross, three characters (Kid, Fargo, and Mel) are capable of stealing items. To avoid abuse of the system in which you can always run from enemies, running will cause you to drop the item. A bit annoyingly, you can only use steal once per battle (like all other techs), even if you can simply run from battle to reset your chances if you miss.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Ayla can learn Charm, a technique allowing her to get items from enemies during combat... as gifts, packed nicely and all. Charm can be used multiple times a battle. Enemies in Trigger are notorious for how good their stealable items are, making Charm a Game-Breaker. And if Charm's not enough, there's a more powerful version as an Ayla/Marle Dual Tech.
  • In Digimon World 3, some monsters carry items. These are sometimes collected as spoils after the battle, or can be stolen by using one of two attacks that have the bonus effect of maybe (yes, maybe) stealing the enemy's object, "Picking Claw" or "Snapping Claw". Of course, enemies never think of using these items, some of which have game breakingly good effects, like being able to attack two to three times in a single round or counter an opponent's attack with one that causes more damage for free, even when the monsters themselves use techniques with similar effects (For instance, the Etemon line has a chance of carrying healing items, and yet they prefer to waste MP on healing techniques instead of using the item that heals more HP than they can possibly have). Worse, some monsters have items with a constant effect (accessories that add a highly visible elemental effect to your physical attack) and still don't use them, so the game essentially handicaps itself for no reason.
  • Disgaea's thieves can steal immaterial things like love, memories, or joy to improve their stats. In the second game, they gain the ability to steal an enemy's lack of status effects. And, of course, they can steal the equipment that an enemy is holding or wearing.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Several of the games have a Steal ability. Oddly, in most of them, it's essentially treated as a chance to get another item after battle — instead of stealing something mid-combat, you get a message along the lines of "<Character> stole <Item> from the enemy!" during the post-battle text.
    • The Dragon Quest III remakes added a Thief class who can steal items in battle.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, the ability is available to Yangus if you put points into his Scythe skill. It first becomes usable as "Steal Sickle", then with more skill points upgrades to "Stainless Steal Sickle".
    • Dragon Quest IV: Torneko can occasionally steal items from the enemy as "goofing off".
    • Dragon Quest IX:
      • The Half-Inch Skill allows the Thief to pickpocket treasure from an enemy without a random drop.
      • You can steal the skin from snakes, the wings from butterflies, or the bandages from mummies, among others. This does not harm them or impede their ability to attack or defend in any apparent way.
      • Taking it even further is the Thief's Theory scroll, which gives an extra chance to steal an item after a battle. So it's entirely possible (if the Random Number God smiles upon you) to steal a snakeskin, grab the one that it carried in a chest, and steal another one, from the same single snake.
    • Dragon Quest XI: Erik can acquire skills which let him do this and increase the likelihood of doing so successfully. In fact, he can learn a combination move with the hero which almost guarantees he steal an item.
  • In EarthBound, Jeff can steal items from enemies with his "Spy" ability, but he will only get an item if the enemy would have dropped it on defeat anyway.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 5: Matt starts the game with the Steal Item skill, which, whilst weak and somewhat inaccurate, lets him steal items from foes. Wearing equipment with an on-hit stealing effect allows other characters to steal items.
  • In Evil Islands animal/monster corpses can be looted for valuable body parts. The same parts can be stolen from their owners if you manage to sneak up to them from behind.
  • Stealing is present as an in-battle skill in Exit Fate. While Joe the thief is otherwise by far the weakest one in your group, his stealing is the only way to get some unique items, like a really sweet armor from one boss.
  • In Final Fantasy, the series' recuring thief job allows stealing items from enemies in the heat of battle.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Edge has an ability "Sneak", which in earlier versions of the game would just check if Edge succeeds, without any sort of check as to whether or not he had already succeeded. Consequently, there's literally no limit to how many times Edge can steal an item from an enemy other than the player's patience and ability to keep the battle going. And given that Final Fantasy IV is one of the games that averted Useless Useful Spell, proper use of Stop could keep a battle going for a very long time, indeed. And that's even before you get into the fact that, during the final battle, Edge can steal a theoretical concept.
    • Final Fantasy VI: At one point, you have to use the "steal" command to grab the uniform off of a guard — leaving him in his underwear in mid-battle and causing him to flee and doubling as a theft other characters would talk about.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • Stealing from a robot will destroy the robot, and gain you a grenade. Presumably it was the machine's power source. Other robots can be frisked for Al Bhed Potions.
      • In the first battle against Seymour, his subordinates have the Auto-(Hi-)Potion skill, which means every time you deal damage to them or the boss, a Mook will counter with a Hi-Potion, restoring 1000 HP to the target. The only ways to get around this are to use status effects, use attacks that will deal over 1000 damage... or just steal their Hi-Potions so they can't use them.
      • The bribing system provides a different set of rare items that may not necessarily be stealable or won through spoils. Enemies now become hidden shops.
    • The Thief class in Final Fantasy X-2 can steal a whole bunch of stuff; HP, MP, time, sanity & will. Granted, it cost MP to do it, implying that this was somehow magical.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, you don't get money from most monsters, instead getting loot to sell. While you can get the same loot either by killing or stealing (in most cases), the things you steal suggest that your party is made up of the world's fastest dentists, skinners, and butchers. Stealing a wolf's pelt mid-battle? Priceless. Do it without hurting the wolf? Absolutely unreal. Also, stealing is the only way to get the Genji items from Gilgamesh.
    • Stealing is the only way to get the Darkness augment back from Odin in Final Fantasy IV DS.
    • Final Fantasy games also have an upgrade to stealing: mugging. Instead of covertly stealing, you attack and get some money or an item out of it. Or in the case of Final Fantasy IX where the main character is a thief, more like stealing and getting in a sucker punchnote .
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: One of the "Battle on the Big Boardwalk" trinkets grants Valentin the Mug action, allowing them to steal a random consumable item from the enemies once per battle. After that, the action defaults to Taunt Attack to ensure the player can still have a meaningful action.
  • Crow in The Heart Pumps Clay can steal both practical inventory items like potions, or do something more damaging, like stealing a Marrionette's strings, which kill them instantly.
  • The Grift command of the Low-Level Goon form in Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass allows theft of things that aren't dropped, like a Stuffed Skitter from Skitters. Non-inventory items can also be stolen, like Weird Bones from Skitterbones, which, if stolen, automatically defeat the Skitterbones, and a Mack from a Turtle Stack, which, as it is a stack of a Mack and a Mortimer, sends the stack toppling and splits the stack into temporarily stunned versions of its component monsters.
  • One spellcard in Last Scenario allows for stealing items from enemies during combat, some of which cannot be looted by simply defeating the enemy. There's also a variant of that spellcard that deals damage along with stealing an item.
  • In Legend of Legaia, an Evil God Icon gives you a chance to steal items from enemies after you defeat them. Each enemy has a particular item that you can steal with a fixed drop rate, and while obtaining mundane items such as HP and MP healing items is easy, obtaining extra Crimson Books or Stat+ Waters is an exercise in frustration.
  • The Legend of Sword and Fairy has Li Xiaoyao who inherited a technique from his father, "Southern Bandit" Li Sansi, called "Dragon Hand" (飛龍探雲手, literally "Flying-Dragon's Cloud Searching Hand"). This allows him to attempt to steal items from enemies in the middle of battle instead of attacking. As compensation for the lost turn, the rewards obtained are better than from actually defeating the enemy.
  • Thieves in Makai Kingdom, as well as the standard Nippon Ichi ability to steal stats and items held/worn by their targets, can also steal the ability to unlock sections of the map.
  • Thieves in Miitopia learn a skill early on to steal HP Bananas and MP Candy from monsters — apparently they carry them around for the sole purpose of being stolen this way, as they never use them and don't drop them on defeat. Cats learn a skill that steals grub, which can drop normally, but stealing grub during the fight doesn't seem to affect the chance of the monster dropping more grub afterward.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Thieves-class fighters can steal items within battle. They can also gain access to a special skill which always doubles the what is taken.
    • Therion's Path Action also allows him to pickpocket people in the field based on a percentage chance.
  • Paper Mario series:
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door employs a nice variation of the stealing mechanic. Steal-able items are actually visible on the enemy; badges give the enemy their full benefit, and they can and will use other items if given the chance. If you try to steal from "empty-handed" enemies, you often just get some pocket change; it actually is possible to get an item from empty-handed enemies, although it is quite unlikely.
    • In Super Paper Mario, when fighting against Mr. L, or Dark Luigi, one of his attacks is to heal with a Shroom Shake. By using Thoreau, you can steal the shakes before he uses them.
  • Stealing can be done in Parasite Eve by using a Tonfa that has the ability to steal items. Tonfas have an extremely short range, forcing you to get closer to enemies, and you are not always guaranteed to steal items on your first or later attempts. Luckily, all Tonfas have an extremely short recharge, allowing you to keep trying in quick succession and it's amplified when you cast Haste on yourself. Stealing, especially in the Bonus Dungeon, is the only way to get duplicates of Revive, Medicine 4, and Full Cure.
  • In Persona 5, Joker learns the Pickpocket ability from Morgana once his Confidant level becomes high enough. This gives him a small chance of receiving an item from an enemy when he hits with a melee attack. This is in addition to any chance of the enemy dropping an item upon being defeated.
  • Phantasy Star II has resident thief Shir Gold, who has a random chance of stealing a given item from any arms or item shop the party visits, travelling all the way back to Rolf's house in Paseo to rejoin the group. This includes on whole other planet Dezoris. However, this ability is useful for snagging the Visiphone, a global Save Point, from Paseo's Central Tower.
  • Pokémon:
    • The attacks Thief and Covet are notable when used on a Trainer's Pokémon. For one, the Trainer will block Poke Balls, yet not ask for the item back? Also, it leads to the question of why they would give their Pokémon some of the items they do (Rich Boy Winston in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is notable…who puts a Gold Nugget on their Pokémon unless their inventory is full or they are trading it to another game?).
    • Pokémon Colosseum and its sequel Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness have the Snag Balls. You would think that somebody who wasn't part of Cipher would complain to the police and get you arrested for stealing their Pokémon…
    • In Pokémon Red and Blue and the remakes, you sneak into the back room of the lab in Celadon City and swipe the Eevee off the table.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces Marshadow. Its Secret Art allows you to steal opponent's buffs then oHKO it with them right afterwards.
  • Aht and Stocke are your battle kleptomaniacs in Radiant Historia. Most enemies have two items to steal, one common and one rarer. They usually won't drop them if you don't steal them.
  • In the Star Ocean games, you can steal things off townspeople and even party members with a steady enough hand. They apparently weren't aware they had it before you took it. (Dias, you jerkass. Why, exactly, didn't you know you had that Infinity +1 Sword in your pocket until after I yanked it out?)
    • In that the original Star Ocean: The Second Story, which introduced pickpocketing, you can only make a single attempt on any given ally or NPC in the entire game. If you fail, you can't try again. Prepare for a whole lot of Save Scumming.
    • In the PSP remake of Star Ocean, you can pickpocket over and over again until you succeed. On the other hand, unlike the original Star Ocean 2, overuse of pickpocketing will reduce your party's "friendship meter" towards your main character, regardless of whether you were in a "Private Action" at the time.
    • In addition to the original Pickpocket skill, Star Ocean: The Last Hope allows Meracle to steal from enemies at a low chance by hitting them from the front with regular attacks. This is required for quite a few of her battle trophies.
  • Thayne's Cutpurse ability in SteamWorld Quest is limited to two cards, each of which can only be used once per battle, and can only affect a given enemy once. It pays in gold, regardless of the enemy. It does clean up the party deck, however, and sets up the fairly cheap and high-damage Money Mauling Fool's Gold attack.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia has Colette's "Item Thief" and "Item Rover" skills (the latter also steals Gald), which can get you rare items...sometimes. Unless you have the EX Gems to make it work all the time. There is one item that can only be obtained by stealing it from a boss that appears early enough that you wouldn't have the EX Gems needed unless you are on a New Game Plus.
      • Colette's animation for stealing is tripping near the enemy, complete with a "Whoops!", while still managing to rip the bear's pelt from his still living body. Since she uses two huge chakrams, fans like to joke about how she's just pretending to be a klutz. Considering her constant tripping on things is a Running Gag, one has to wonder how terrifying she must be in a fight to foes and friends alike...
    • Repede from Tales of Vesperia can steal items with his Thievery arte. In the PS3 version he gets a variant that causes damage in the process and new character Patty Fleur can steal money with her Steal Gald arte.
    • In Tales of Graces you can get titles for every character that upgrades certain artes into having a stealing effect. Since artes are the only attacks in this game, you can probably just forget about the stealing effects and fight normally and then notice an item stolen during combat, if you notice you stole an item at all.
    • Leia from Tales of Xillia can steal from enemies by simply knocking them down while she's linked to another character. It also has the side effect of permanently disabling the enemy's item usage (Which is really useful for the few enemies and bosses that abuse them for healing).
  • Riki of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 is capable of stealing items, as well as various intangible possessions from enemies such as strength, agility, or with the help of an skill upgrade even experience points.

    Hack and Slash 
  • While not stealing, the "Find Potion" and "Find Item" barbarian skills in Diablo II allow you to find additional items on corpses that are not there when you simply loot the killed enemy. Both of these are explained in the manual. The potions aren't really bottles of potion, but the enemy's internal organs with the same properties as healing or mana potions, concocted into a drinkable form. The Find Item skill is explained as barbarians used to living a hardscrabble life and willing to look a little harder through the carnage to find the good stuff. Considering that, at higher skill levels and on stronger monsters, this can get you hundreds of gold or rare magic items, they must be looking really hard.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Game 
  • Achaea has no 'steal' skill as such, meaning players cannot steal from Non Player Characters but instead use tricks like hypnosis to make other players give items away. Drama erupted when a powerful one-off item sold by the developers to help protect from theft — essentially a magic box — was bought by a thief, and used in a way they hadn't expected to make theft much harder to avoid. It was swiftly confiscated, and replaced with a different item.
  • A MUD based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld exists, with its own Thieves' Guild and the fun 'steal' command for things that are carried, like coins or miscellaneous items. Anyone else can learn to 'steal' too. But thieves also learn how to 'filch', which takes things that are worn or held. Ever experience the joy of stealing a sword out of the hands of an unsuspecting victim? How about their armour? Or somebody else's underwear?
  • In The Elder Scrolls Online, many of the items you can steal are actually small, easily concealed treasures that one would expect a real thief to prioritize. These are the usual find when stealing from chests and the like, are the only items that will appear when pickpocketing NPCs, and grant the most money when fenced. It IS still possible to steal whole suits of armor and five foot long swords laying around in shops and stalls though.
  • EverQuest lets you steal such things as bat wings from a bat (and you can get three), bone chips from a skeleton, serpent fangs, heads, etc.
  • Final Fantasy XI has items you can steal that the enemy could logically have, such as enemy currency from the humanoid and sentient Beastmen, but not from giant pots or worms.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has an odd take with stealing. Ninjas have the Mug skill whose effects would change depending on which poison you use. One of them gives Mug a slight chance of having additional loot drop from the target if the attack was the finishing blow, even though you aren't actually stealing anything. Using the other poison changes Mug to absorb the target's HP instead. As of the latest overhaul to Ninja in the 2020's, the Mug skill now simply adds to the Ninki gauge which is spent on powerful damaging abilities.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the second skill of Karteira's SR version applies a unique debuff, which when combo'd with her first skill, will allow her to steal up to 13,500 rupies from an enemy. The enemy needs to be kept alive in order for her to successfully steal the coins.
    • This particular example ran to the absurd often because the skill would use the creature's loot table. Well-known examples include pickpocketing a goblin and stealing its brain (after which it kept fighting), stealing a watermelon from a Dwarf miner (where did he have THAT?!?) and stealing a magical claymore (big, two-hand sword) from an eagle.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the thief, who apparently can steal items from an opponent and use it against them.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has some items, like Frigid Mote, only available by stealing. You can even steal a gold ring off a Gold Ring and body parts off monsters. The game's creators jokingly claimed that since you are pickpocketing, the monster's skin counts as a pocket and thus you could steal body parts. Considering the atmosphere of the game, this isn't too out of place.
    • Also considering how non-Moxie classes can now do pickpocketing: you're holding a miniature black hole. (This is why you shouldn't put the lime in the coconut...)
    • The community of the game at one point held a competition to find a screenshot for the most ludicrous thing pickpocketed. The winners were the fellows who stole Yeti Skin off of a yeti, Bat Guano from a bat (it was in Nature's Pocket), and worst of all, a "Mind Flayer's Corpse" off of a mind flayer. This led to a running joke in the game that mind flayers carry around the bodies of other mind flayers in case they run into adventurers.
    • The four-shadowed mimes introduce a new one: you can pickpocket their souls, apparently without harming them. Considering how friggin' creepy the mimes are, this may be intentional.
    • The white chocolate golem carries around a recipe for white chocolate chip brownies. Kinda logical, maybe. Less logical is that it's your mother's secret recipe. And you can't make your own mother's brownies until you read the recipe, which can only be obtained by pickpocketing it from the golem.
    • The quest to join the Moxie guild requires you to steal your own pants. You do this by wandering through an alley until, through broken physics, you sneak up behind yourself. You then yoink your own pants, which go into your inventory. If you check your equipment at that point, your pants are no longer equipped. The "wait, what?" moment can be quite mind-bending the first time you do this.
  • Played with in, getting hit by the Monkey's Paw makes the player drop around half the stuff they were carrying, and allows the other player to pick it up if they are fast enough. This is offset by the Monkey's Paw being a weak weapon, and one which disappears after a single swing, even if you failed to connect.
  • A prolific and imaginative thief in the first year or so of Lusternia led to the playerbase, rather than the admin, cracking down on theft. These days, stealing from people is a good way to make yourself a pariah, and fair-game for griefing tactics (including retaliatory theft) in return.
    • The McGrabby secondary weapon is literally a hand atop a stick. It does no damage (unless tediously levelled up to Ruby, at which point it begins poisoning its targets), but will instantly steal up to 250 Gold instead.
    • Thief Gear Hat also provides players with half the gold of the player they just killed, instead of it disappearing.
  • Successful use of the Steal skill in Ragnarok Online gives you one random item from the monster's droplist. This item is "extra" and doesn't affect the actual drops. Of course, many droplists contain bodyparts from their yeah, you can "steal" the beak of a bird that's attacking you with that beak, kill it...and get the beak again.
  • RuneScape has an entire Thieving Skill, with chest looting, pickpocketing, stealing from street stalls, looting snake infested tombs, cracking safes, and even knocking out thugs with a blackjack and rummaging through their pockets. Not all Non Player Characters can be stolen from, and thieving does not work during combat.
    • There's one PvP minigame in particular that lets you pickpocket other players for the first time. Granted, it takes place in an arena where you have temporary items and you can't really steal anything valuable from other players, just whatever they make in the arena. Such as daggers, runes, summoning pouches... entire sets of platemail...
    • You can however steal an entire stack of runes from someone in Stealing Creation with pickpocketing. This would normally not be much of a problem as a spell needs multiple kinds of runes, allowing for some redundancy, but there are only two kinds of runes in SC — elemental and catalytic. If you steal the former, you can cackle maniacally as they chase you, punching you for no damage as you just took away a mage's only ability to cast.
  • In players can steal random items from each other's inventories... as long as they are wearing a hood (or an even better winter hood) first. However, that'll prevent them from ever obtaining the Crown of Life item (among with looting other players' death drops, stealing from their chests, or, confusingly, making your own chests.)
  • Ultima Online: used to let you steal from anyone, player or humanoid NPC alike. Players often have rather elaborate counter measures against such actions. Locked boxes, poisons, explosives, nested containers full of decoys. To walk up to a bank and see someone suddenly explode wasn't uncommon.
    • After a patch allowed characters with high Wrestling to have a chance at disarming their opponents with a special attack, a change made to help mages who weren't allowed to hold weapons in combat, 'disarm thieves' began to appear who could literally steal the weapon out of your hand and beat you to death with it.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Rogues can steal locked boxes from humanoids, insignia, etc., which are not present if you kill the enemy. Of course, this was probably done so Rogues weren't essentially stealing loot from their party members. However, every enemy can only be pickpocketed once. If you can't find anything on a monster, another rogue probably pickpocketed it before you and didn't kill it.
    • A rogue of the appropriate level can pick the pocket of almost any hostile humanoid, with exceptions governed more by game mechanics than what they're wearing. An oblivious priest NPC in flowing robes might have nothing a rogue can find, but a nine-foot-tall ogre poses no challenge. Even if they're only in a loincloth. Same for a fur-covered bear-man.
    • At least through late Burning Crusade, rogues could technically pickpocket a given enemy more than once if said rogue pickpocketed enough enemies in between the two attempts without any of them being killed. A pacifist rogue could endlessly pickpocket kobolds in the human starting area (counting the mine) even in the absence of other players killing them.

    Platform Game 

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Battle Bugs has a unit called a "Robber fly", which steals one of the enemies' bombs/eggs/cheeses/whatever as soon as they engage in combat, and is the only unit that can disengage a unit during fighting.
  • In Red Alert Allies employ Thieves, who can single-handedly steal vast amounts of cash from enemy Ore Silos. The Thief unit would later be dropped and the cash-stealing ability given to the Spy in future sequels. In Red Alert 2, Spies can enter Ore Refineries to steal 20% of the owner's credits (which can very easily give the Spy's owner 5+ digits of cash if it's a high-difficulty AI player). In Red Alert 3, this amount was severely nerfed to a flat $2000, a net profit of $1000 since the Spy costs $1000 to train.

  • In ADOM pickpocketing generates a random new item rather than taking an item the monster already has, so pickpocketing the monsters and then killing them nets you more loot than just killing them.
  • In the Crypt Of The Necrodancer, wearing a Ring of Shadows allows you to steal items from the shops.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the Thief's default innate ability is to "Steal" enemy abilities by copying them, and he also has an optional "Pickpocket" skill that lets him get an extra coin from each enemy he uses it on. The Finders Keepers challenge allows him to take an enemy's equipment after beating them, and in Reunion, he can choose to permanently keep a copy of one of the enemy's cards for the rest of the battle and stash it in his inventory afterwards.
  • In Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode, stealing something requires you physically grab the item off the person and pull it off, always works on unconscious enemies, and anything you steal will still be there if you kill the enemy.
  • In Elona you can only pickpocket items a monster already has, and the heavier the item is the longer it takes to steal, giving the victim and bystanders more time to notice your attempted theft. However, an item being worn makes no difference, so it's easier to steal a ring the monster is wearing than the plate-mail armor the monster is simply carrying.
    • The pickpocket skill can also be used to pick up non-random items which are normally off-limits to the player, like a fishing pole lying on the floor of a fishing shop, making the skill double as a sort of "shoplifting" skill. But this also lets you do things like steal a blackjack table from a casino, or even uproot entire trees and carry them off. In fact, the fastest way to train the pickpocket skill is to wander around in the wilderness uprooting trees.
  • Equin: The Lantern:
    • The Thief in can steal items from enemies once he reaches level 7. Certain enemies can also do this to you.
    • Thieves can also steal from shops, but there is a chance to fail this and become blacklisted from all shops during the playthrough. There is a single item that removes this penalty and another one that allows the punished Thief to enter shops in disguise, though without the option to steal.
  • In NetHack:
    • Your pets can pick up an item in a store, carry it outside, and drop it, thus stealing it for you; presumably the shop-keeper is keeping such an eagle-eye on you that he completely ignores your pets. Can still get pretty ridiculous if your pets steal item after item from the same shop without the shop-keeper noticing, or if you sell back a stolen item without the shop-keeper realizing it.
    • There are also monsters with special item-stealing attacks. Any monster that is covetous will attempt to steal one or any of your Plot Coupons or your class's special item from you. Leprechauns also steal gold and teleport away, while nymphs steal anything they can get their hands on, but prioritise wands, which they can turn against you. A player can also polymorph into a nymph, and then steal items off of enemies — which can get you items from peaceful creatures without angering them (as "you smile/talk seductively/engagingly" to do so), but only if you succeed, as a failed attempt to "pretend to be friendly" still pisses them off. If you manage to turn a nymph into a pet, she'll steal items off monsters and then drop them on the ground for you — though you'll have to locate whenever she teleported to first.
    • Foocubus are a lot classier as they'll try to undress you and only seldom steal some gold for their troubles if they succeed (players consider it etiquette to have some gold on hand for the foocubus).

  • You play as a career criminal in Gas Station Simulator, and you eventually acquire a lockpick which your uncle encourages you to use to break into customers' cars and rob them. You can even do this in full view of them; as long as you don't set off the car alarm by failing twice, you're not penalized. That said, if you leave your warehouse open and unattended, customers will see fit to rob you right back.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In Assassin's Creed II (and by extension Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood), Ezio can steal small amounts of money from people just by bumping into them. Quite fun just to way through a crowded street stealing from everybody leaving tens of confused people, although they'll rapidly figure things out and start shouting for the watch. Also paying a herald and then stealing the money back is an Achievement in the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations adds the 'Counter Steal' move as one of the defensive options; if timed correctly Ezio both dodges a guards attack and uses his hookblade to grab all the money, ammunition and bomb supplies the guard is carrying, which would otherwise require looting the guard's corpse. This also stuns the target for a second as he tries to figure out what on earth just happened.
  • Castle Wolfenstein. In the original Apple II version by Muse Software your character can steal the uniform of a guard or the bulletproof vest of an SS trooper and then put it on and use it, all while holding the guard/trooper at gunpoint. This was the best way to kill an SS Trooper, actually, since it usually took a full clip or more to take one down. Sneaking up on them, telling them to give you their bulletproof vest and then shooting them? One.
  • Dishonored allows you to take items from guards, crusaders, plague-infested victims, pirates, the mafia and a master assassin by pressing one button while their backs are turned. You can even steal in plain view of the guards in the Boyle mansion (justified; everyone does it there because they have so much and it's treated like a game). Usually, it's easier to just knock them unconscious; you can even take their money as you're picking up their heavy unconscious/dead bodies!
  • Metal Gear Solid soldiers in later games have dog tags that the player can only receive by holding soldiers at gunpoint and shaking them down. For some reason you can't collect them by stunning them, sneaking up on them while asleep, or killing them. Dog tags are designed to be removed from soldiers when they die!
  • The Thief series, as you can guess from the title, focuses on stealing valuables, whether they are just lying around or hanging from someone's belt. Often, you will be able to steal some loot that a character seems to be observing, and they will say or do nothing as it disappears before their eyes unless they see the perpetrator. In Deadly Shadows, Garrett can instantly pinch an unsuspecting passerby's shiny purse, bracelets and collar, and it'll still take them about ten seconds to notice. Though, pickpocketing an enemy who's already noticed you is often impossible.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Ivara from Warframe learns "Prowl", a skill that turns her invisible and allows sneaking up on enemies to make them drop additional loot. These are the same items an enemy would drop upon death and they don't affect their normal drops, so pickpocketing and killing can be combined for extra loot.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Disgaea, enemies never drop their equipment when killed, but what you steal is taken from the equipment: Steal an enemy's weapon, they're now reduced to their fists. Some very valuable and useful items can only be gotten by stealing them from enemies in combat. Including a Legendary Equippable Horse Wiener.
    • The standard Thief units from Disgaea 2 onwards can steal stats from enemies (in the form of "vigor" for attack and so on). Their Status Infliction Attacks claim to be stealing things like "consciousness" and "movement" but the animations show them simply cracking their target over the head and such. It does avert one facet of this as it's possible for anyone on your team to steal items (but not stats), it's just Thief's are much better at it (one thing it's based on when calculating your chance of successfully stealing is level, and when a Thief does it she's treated as having a level twice as high as it actually is).
  • Thieves and Harpies in Eador can steal ammo with their melee attacks.
  • In Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, the Scoundrel class can steal a wide variety of things from enemy units, including gold, consumable items, crafting components, and buffs. Even their counter ability involves trying to steal something from their attackers.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics many of the most powerful items in the game can only be acquired by stealing them from enemies mid-battle. Furthermore, you're allowed to steal helmets off people's heads, weapons out of their hands (which they can't use anymore), and armor and clothes right off of people's backs. They also have the ability "Steal Heart," which can charm the opposite gender and monsters.
    • In one special case, a Guest-Star Party Member pulls a Face–Heel Turn and you have to fight him while he's wearing the equipment you put on him. At the end of the battle the game gives you the equipment back as a reward to prevent So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear. However, it doesn't check to see if you stole the equipment during the battle first. Those who know what's coming can easily duplicate the best equipment they have.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance lets you steal just about anything related to your enemy, including stats, experience and skills. That's one good thief. The one and only thing you can't steal? Boots, probably to prevent characters from losing the ability to stand on terrain that cannot be traversed without special equipment. Stealing plate mail off someone is trivial, and you can't steal someone's armor if they're unconscious — but you can still steal it if they've been turned into a frog. And in some cases, stealing the weapons will not disarm the enemy — they will immediately pull out a spare. And they have a lot of spares. It is made even more interesting when, after a dozen or so spares, they pull out a different, better weapon... which you immediately can steal, and in most cases is what you are actually after in the first place. In addition to Thieves, the Soldier class has the "Mug" ability, a blow to the head that makes money fall out of enemies' pockets.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 tones this down. You can only steal Gil, Loot, Accessories, Limelight (a stat that determines if a Scion can be summoned and how powerful they would be), and Armor (the last one can only be done by a Viking using Pillage, and for some reason both he and the Thief can never steal Ribbons).
    • The Tactics games do subvert at least one part of the standard - afflicting an enemy with Sleep, Stop, or Stone gives you a 100% chance to steal. Paralysis and Don't Move do not, however - they can apparently wiggle just enough to potentially fend off thieves.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, most, if not all, of your enemy forces are humans. Thus, it makes sense for an enemy to carry an extra weapon or healing item. More importantly, you can't steal a weapon the enemy target is currently wielding, or any weapon at all in 6, 7, or 8. It gets a little ridiculous in 5, where a thief can steal anything that weighed less than themselves, and the user of a Thief Staff can steal anything... including a ballistae. In Fire Emblem 4, thieves automatically steal an enemy's money (and only their money) when they hit one in combat (most enemies carried small amounts of money) and were the only units able to give money to any ally at will.
  • Ewan and Rusty are the only characters who learn skills to steal items from enemies in Stella Glow, but eventually this ability can be given to any character (with varying degrees of success) using Thief Orbs.
  • Worms: Reloaded introduced the ability to steal a weapon from another team. This was reworked into the close-range Stick Up in Worms: Revolution.

    Western RPG 
  • In Arcanum, a skilled thief can strip people off their plate armor without them noticing. Moreover, using a Fate Point allows even the clumsiest PC to do this.
  • In Spiderweb Software's Avernum and Geneforge, characters can steal from NPCs (and not suffer the consequences), but only when they are out of those NPCs' line of sight. Similarly, items can not be stolen in combat and will need to be looted off of corpses: whatever items the characters take, it was likely that their original owners actually had a probable use for them.
  • Baldur's Gate
    • It is possible to steal a monster's head while leaving it alive, since you are supposed to kill the monster and take the head from its corpse, but the head is implemented as an inventory item.
    • One side quest involves bringing in bandit scalps for gold. A bug means a Thief is able to pickpocket their scalps.
    • Stealing from stores is an exception in that the items are created when you steal. The storekeeper must keep their stock in Hammerspace.
    • In Baldur's Gate II, stealing the Ring of Gaxx in the moment before Kangaxx talks to you will net you a ring and another copy of the ring when he finally kicks the bucket. The mechanics behind it stem from the fact that he goes One-Winged Angel in battle — and you loot his final form, while stealing from the starting one.
    • The first game includes a wizard wearing the game's only +2 Ring of Protection. You meet him once outside his tower and once inside (where you fight him). Both times you meet him you can pickpocket the ring, and when you kill him he drops another one.
    • It's possible to pickpocket a heavy crossbow from one particular Athkatlan nobleman - while in full view of his wife and two guards.
  • Citizens of Earth has The Homeless Guy, who can take money or items from enemies, with bigger success rate the less HP the enemy has. Tough while the abilities serve the same function as stealing in other games, the Homeless Guy is actually begging for the enemy to spare some change.
  • Darkstone lets you pickpocket eggs from chickens.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: You can pickpocket the inventories of NPCs who can't see you, with the total weight and value of items you can take capped by your Thievery skill score. You're caught (leading to combat) if you target the same person twice, if anyone sees you, or if you linger by the scene of the crime long enough for the victim to notice their loss and then fail to convince them of your innocence.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has Stealing as a skill that can be learned by anyone (except Dog and Shale). Steal ranks 1 through 3 can only be used outside of battle and rank 4 can be used in battle. Ideally you can get some top-tier loot this way, but a lot of it is programmed incorrectly and cannot be obtained without mucking around with the Toolset. One other odd element is that what you can steal scales by level, not by who you're stealing from, meaning that a Rogue who starts as a Dwarf Noble can find more to steal on dirt-poor city elves than on the cream of Dwarf nobility.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, you can pickpocket from NPCs and from monsters, but you can only ever get five coins at a time. This includes from bats and rats. Additionally, you can repeatedly pickpocket five coins from said rat or bat until it is killed and it can be hostile to you while you steal those five coins.
    • In Morrowind, you can pickpocket non-equipped items from a target NPC's inventory by sneaking up to them undetected. Successfully doing so opens the NPC's inventory and allows you to remove items from it. The game uses a skill roll to determine the success of you pickpocket attempt. A higher Sneak skill will increase your chances of success. Additionally, smaller/lighter items are easier to steal than larger/heavier ones. Due to the way this works, an awesome pickpocket can stand in front of the target while quite literally emptying their pockets without being caught.
    • Oblivion works much the same as Morrowind. In addition, you can actually kill NPCs by reverse pickpocketing poisoned apples into their inventory and waiting for them to eat. You can do the same with lightweight hoods enchanted with continual health damage spells. It's also possible that some items won't appear on an enemy until they're killed — usually this is to prevent breaking quests. Finally, some weapons and items are just not meant for player use — you can't normally find them on corpses OR steal them, even if similar items can be stolen from other characters.
    • Skyrim:
      • Skyrim ups the ante by introducing the Pickpocket skill tree perks. A player who's fully invested in the Pickpocket skill can harm enemies just by putting poison in their pockets (Poisoned), or even steal their equipped clothes and weapons right off their backs. (Misdirection, Perfect Touch.) You have to wonder where they draw the line on the term "pickpocket"
      • Silda the Unseen and Vipir the Fleet are pickpocket trainer. You can pay them gold to get training, then pickpocket them to get the money back. There are also other NPCs that have similar pickpocket loops as well, such as selling the Strange Amulet for 500 gold to Calixto.
      • If you sneak up on a Forsworn Briarheart, you can pickpocket the briarheart he carries. Said heart is his actual heart and he keels over dead, with a hole in his chest where you pulled his heart from.
      • A fun thing to do if you take the time to fully level up pickpocket (and for the best effect, alchemy) is to steal the clothes of people, give them a high powered weapon and put a (preferably long lasting) poison of frenzy on them. So as an end result you have a naked priest running around and killing people with a war-hammer. Videogame Cruelty Potential at it's finest. By this point in the game gold has long since stopped mattering, but...
      • The Disarm shout lets you dispense with the subtlety and just force enemies to drop their weapons by yelling at them, after which they become collectible items like anything else.
  • Fable: Shoplifting an item involves holding perfectly still for a length of time directly proportionate to the item's cash value, rather than its portability, and can be interrupted by anyone who catches the Player Character in their line of sight. This applies even if you break into the store when it's unattended...
  • The Fallout games are interesting in this regard. They're generally very reasonable, even taking into account such things as the facing of characters to determine if someone noticed — obviously, if you're in front of someone, they're more likely to notice you stealing something than if you were behind them — but you can steal truly ridiculous things, such as thousands of coins and heavy machine guns.
    • In Fallout 2, it was possible to short-circuit a very long quest to get an old junk car running again by pickpocketing the needed part from a junk dealer, until the patch screwed that up.
    • There is no explicit way of freely getting items from party members, since the Fallout engine was not initially designed to support companions, a late addition. As a result, the game allows you to "steal" items from an Non-Player Character, unless you want to barter with them for equivalent cost. The best part about that is in the original game, bartering would check both parties' weight limit - but stealing wouldn't. Thus, each companion became a pack mule with an unlimited carrying capacity. The only downside is that when they died, you'd have to leave some of the five-hundred pounds of junk they were carrying behind...
    • In all the games you can use the "Steal" skill to plant items on any person not engaged in combat. The first and second games allows you to plant ticking time bombs on them, while in the third it's possible to give Non Player Characters live grenades and watch them casually walk away before exploding.
      • Leaving a bomb is usually the easiest way to pull off an assassination on otherwise well guarded targets. Also, early in Fallout 2, you can pull a fun variant with the thieving kids. Carrying a bomb in your inventory and setting the timer while strolling near the kids results in them pickpocketing the bomb off you, then (if they have enough time) running off to hand the loot to their boss. Which would then blow up and take him with it, while leaving his store inventory unharmed and available for looting.
      • In the same vein, Fallout 2 allows you to plant a bomb on the "Shitty Comedian" who is protected by a screen from a hostile crowd. If you casually walk back into the audience to watch the comedian literally bomb, the game may crash being unable to determine how all the NPC's should react to the death. (Starting a fight in the area was a long, drawn-out process because of the game's turn-based mechanic, meaning all the patrons get a turn to run, panic, or pick up weapons from the fallen and try to fight back, often hitting others due to their lack of skill, which would... well, you get the picture.)
      • Louis Salvatore can be assassinated by stealing his oxygen tank. Cue him gasping for breath before keeling over.
    • Fallout 3 introduces the ability to steal the bullets out of an enemy's loaded gun. On the other hand, you can't steal the gun itself or their armor — not directly that is. What you can do is give them an item the AI considers "better", which is mostly decided by DPS or DT/DR (depending on if you're playing 3 or New Vegas), then steal the original item once they switch to the one you gave them.
    • In Fallout 4, a sneaky character can take the ammo from enemies' guns, their weapons, and most spectacularly you can steal the power source for their power armor, forcing them to leave it. There's something satisfying about knowing that, at any point, you can completely ruin an enemy's sense of protection by ruining both their weapon and armor.
  • In Kingdom Come: Deliverance, the pickpocketing minigame allows the player to steal items from other characters' inventories.
  • The Thief (later Ninja) in Last Dream can steal items from enemies and bosses through various attacks until they run out of goods.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, the "rogue" Morwen can use her Thief Craft skills to steal unique items, Strength and Dexterity points, and even XP.
  • In Might and Magic VII you can steal from creatures, good or bad. However if good creatures catch you, they will immediately become hostile and attack you. This can also be done in stores, but you run the risk of being caught, kicked out, and not being allowed back inside. Kinda sucks, right? Well don't get caught next time.
    • This becomes hilariously broken once your party's Thief has enough skill that they succeed automatically. In which case you can casually walk into a store, take absolutely everything on the shelves and sell it right back.
  • This is an option in nearly every Ultima game:
    • Ultima I allows you to steal from shops until you get caught, in which case the guards chase you out of town. When you re-enter, the guards are passive. Starting with III, you could steal from some chests. However, stealing in Ultima IV causes you to fall back in progress to completing the game.
    • The Pickpocket spell from Ultima VI allows you to steal meat from inside a cow.
    • Ultima VII: Serpent Isle introduces the "vibrate" spell, which lets you steal objects from an enemy. However, enemy spellcasters' spells are sometimes implemented as objects, letting you "steal" the spell and gain infinite uses.
    • Ultima Online lets thieves steal anything a monster or player is carrying but not equipped. This makes going to banks during the early part of the game very risky, as thieves would often rob you blind — including stealing house/boat keys, and thus, everything in them.
  • Wizardry 8 has two theft options, Pickpocket and Shoplift. However, these can only be performed on a very small number of Non Player Characters (and only those who already trust you), or in stores, and are typically hard to do. However, storekeepers apparently don't keep money on their person, because even if you rob them blind, they'll still buy stuff from you.

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Due to the series being set in an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, KonoSuba has "Steal" as one of the many Skills adventurers can learn. The skill works by concentrating, reaching in the direction of the target, and holding the user's hand out until it glows and the item is at hand. The item stolen is not controlled by the user, rather it is based on the user's Luck Stat. Good thing the main character has a very high luck stat.


  • Rise Of The Living Forge: Upgrading [Arsenal] grants Arwin the ability to temporarily bind an extra piece of equipment, if he holds it for long enough — even if someone else was already holding it. He grapples Jessen long enough to bind his breastplate, which he can then dismiss to leave Jessen vulnerable.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 5E, a level 3 rogue with the Thief archetype can use their Cunning Action on every turn of combat to attempt a Sleight of Hand check. This means that, while the specifics are left up to the DM's discretion, there is nothing in the basic rules to prevent or even deter a rogue from pickpocketing the enemy's potions off their person in the middle of combat.
  • In Exalted, Sidereal Exalts — fate-ninjas extraordinaire — can perform the following: stealing dice and armor from foes, stealing names, and pickpocketing the ability to dream.
  • In Pathfinder, in-combat stealing is governed by the Steal combat maneuver. It's not very commonly used, due to a number of factors. First, unlike out-of-combat theft, which uses the Sleight of Hand skill to take things without the former owner's knowledge, the Steal maneuver is based on the user's Combat Maneuver Bonus, which is based on their Base Attack Bonus and Strength modifier. This makes sense because you're not using finesse to lift the item; you're ripping it away with brute force. But that means that the characters most interested in thievery, namely Rogues, aren't very good at the maneuver, as their Base Attack Bonus is mediocre and they rarely prioritize Strength. Also, unless the DM is deliberately enforcing video game tropes, anything available for stealing during combat will be equally available for looting afterwards, so there's little point to using a precious action to steal it.

  • In 8-Bit Theater, Thief soundly defeats a zombie dragon by doing what he does best: Stealing. A few vertebrae. He also stole the lich's soul from his Soul Jar, and then stole it back into him. He can also do it with memories. And, allegedly, souls and secrets. He also stole his class change 'from the future.' In a later strip his past self is shown stealing the change from his future self.
  • Adventurers!
    • Drecker, the resident thief, destroys a robot by stealing a grenade, and notes that all robots are built around one. When Ardam asks if that's dangerous, Drecker replies "Only if you pull the pin".
    • And earlier than that, he steals a sword from someone threatening them with a knife.
      Bandit: Wait... I had a sword!? Why was I using this thing, then?
      Drecker: Yeah, well, it's ours now.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied, like many other tropes, in College Saga. Here, the hero steals several items from his roommate, but he notices and attacks the party... only to be put asleep, pickpocketed and then left alone as the party flees from combat. At least they had the decency not to slaughter him.
  • Parodied in the Umineko fan novel "Witches and Woodlands." Jessica, having spent the entirety of the dungeon crawl segment trying and failing to use her "Steal" command to actually steal anything, finally succeeds during the Boss Battle with Satan, acquiring... Satan's panties. Jessica is disgusted, George is amazed at the stat bonuses they bestow, Battler wants to equip them on his head, and Satan is understandably pissed off.
  • Fire Emblem on Forums: The Thief class has access to the Steal skill, allowing them to steal any item from the target's inventory if it isn't equipped and they pass the subsequent Luck check. Scavengers have a variation that allows them to steal money, while Bounty Hunters can steal weapons.


Video Example(s):


Sly pickpocketing

Sly 2: Band of Thieves allowed pickpocketing valuables from guards, but valuables included such things as gold watches and diamonds (which most people don't carry in their back pockets) and you couldn't find them by killing the guards. Of course, being a Sly Cooper game, it provided a reason for why this happened in some missions (the keys you're after are fragile and will break if the guards are defeated) but not all.

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Example of:

Main / VideoGameStealing

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