Scoundrel characters are forever endeared to me; holding a special place in my black heart. Always quick with a one-liner, these anti-heroes seem to have the best toys when it comes to magic items. Paging thru the new Pathfinder 2nd Edition rulebook, I stumbled upon a new such toy that i’m excited for players to get their hands on… of course, if they can see it! It’s the Vanishing Coin!
This coin dangles from a leather strip strung through a hole drilled in the center. Until activated, the coin becomes invisible for a few seconds at random intervals every few minutes. When you activate the coin, it casts a 2nd level invisibility spell on you, lasting until the end of your next turn. Trigger: You attempt a Stealth check for initiative, but you haven’t rolled yet. Must be a master of stealth. – Pathfinder 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
Some may see this item as nothing more than a scroll of invisibility, as they will only see its mechanical application, however, what I love most about the vanishing coin is the hook. Imagine a bard or rogue that hustles on the streets performing magic tricks. Perhaps this character has been in possession of the coin for some time, and are beginning to attune to its magic. Slowly gaining some control over the coin’s vanishing properties, however, not yet realizing the items full potential. As a DM, I would allow the character to make a bit of gold in taverns by hiding the coin under 1 of 3 cups and playing the classic shell game. If you have a scoundrel in your group that enjoys the idea of having a lucky keep-sake, then providing the vanishing coin and slowly revealing its secrets could be an exciting development. Once the character masters stealth, the DM finally reveals the activated ability that allows them to use the invisibility spell. Side stories, such as this, provide a sense of discovery and investment in your player’s character.
On the flip side (pun intended), if I was the player that received the vanishing coin, I would be thoroughly amused thinking of various ways to fidget with the coin in social situations or various magic tricks to perform at parties. A few RPG companies, including Piazo, sell different hero coins and tokens that could utilized at the table in this manner. Bringing in a small prompt, like a coin, can add a tactile feel to the table during play. Have fun learning the actual trick or fidget your character performs, but just make sure to not overdue it. Reading the room and being mindful not to distract your fellow players is important when adding these extra layers.
Though these rules for the vanishing coin are written for Pathfinder, I feel that the core of this magic item can be used in almost any system or setting. However, when used in Pathfinder, there are rules that allow the player to perform a stealth roll instead of initiative to begin combat. This allows the player to utilize the coin in order to gain a surprise attack. So, though I see a lot of flavorful role play potential with this item, the vanishing coin should also satisfy players looking for more of a power boost. Even if the character is not a rogue, benefiting from sneak attack, the player can still maneuver themselves out of danger, or into a superior tactical position. Keep in mind, you can home-brew this affect for other systems as well. For a D&D game, I would allow the character to activate the coin as a bonus action on their turn, in order to get a jump on their foes. So don’t let your players underestimate the reward of this magical coin!