Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lock-picking for all!

I'm not in favour of absolute exclusivity between the classes in my D&D campaigns. Anyone can try pretty much anything, as long as the players can reasonably justify it somehow. The benefit you get by choosing one class over another is that, whatever your class schtick might be, you can do it better than any of the other classes. At first level the difference might not be extreme, but it will become so as you rise in level.

In this spirit, I present my house-rules for handling lock-picking.

Picking Locks

Anyone, with access to a set of lock-picks and a little bit of training*, can attempt to pick a lock. An attempt takes one Turn (ten minutes) and succeeds if a 1 is rolled on 1d6.
* When I say "a little bit of training" I really do mean a little bit. Basic lock-picking is easy; a couple of hours instruction is enough to get anyone of reasonable intelligence into action.
If you buy a set of lock-picks as part of your starting equipment, it can be assumed that you've had that basic training as part of your character's background. If not, (i.e. after character creation) you'd have to seek out such training in-game.
If a 6 is rolled, the lock is unopenable — the pick breaks off in it, the mechanism is jammed, or something else similar occurs — and will require attention from somebody with real skill (i.e. a Thief or a locksmith) to clear it before another attempt can be made.

A Thief works in fundamentally the same way, but has advantages:
  1. A Thief takes a Round (one minute) per attempt, not a Turn.
  2. A Thief succeeds on a 1 or 2, but still jams the lock on a 6.
  3. A Thief can use a successful picklock roll to clear a jammed lock. (Note that a 6 rolled on a clearing attempt makes the situation worse: each additional 6 doubles the number of successes required to clear the lock).
  4. At every three levels, a Thief gets an additional die to roll per attempt; a 1 or 2 rolled on any of them indicates a success, and a success on one die can be used to cancel out a jamming result (a 6) on another (a success used to cancel a jamming result doesn't count against the successes required to open the lock).
Note that a successful picklock roll won't neccessarily open a lock; more difficult locks might require two, three or more successes to get them open. Particularly fiendish locks might even require multiple simultaneous successes, and would thus only be openable by Thieves of elevated rank. Or by a key.