Locks and lockpicking

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Big Mac
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Locks and lockpicking

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:01 pm

I just saw a link to a video called Could You Pick The Unpickable Lock?:
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In the video, Thoughty2 talks about an inventor called Bramah, who invented, toilet designs, beer pumps, fountain

Apparantly the Egyptians created wooden locks 6,000 years ago. Thoughty2 said that the Greeks and Romans improved the technology very slightly, but not by much. He said that during the Middle Ages people used to create fake keyholes as "improved security".

The Thief class is one of the big four D&D classes. And lockpicking is one of their skills.

So, without the sort of machine tools that Bramah used to create his legendary lock, how good are the locks in a typical D&D campaign?

D&D rules seem to give fixed chances for Thieves to pick locks, but is that realistic? Or should there be a range of different locksmiths available in different campaign settings, so that some locks are substantially harder (or easier) than other locks?

And, if an adventuring party delve down into a dungeon that was build hundreds or thousands of years ago, should the locks be hard to pick...or should they be much easier than current day locks on the surface?

My initial thoughs (based on real-world locks) is that older locks should almost always be easier than newer locks. But then I remembered that D&D has a lot of "lost civilisations" that are supposed to be more advanced than current day civilisations.

Would people actually go looking for ancient locks, from the cities of creator races, not so that they could defeat them, and steal treasures, but so that they can steal the locks themselves (and reuse them on current-day era buildings that they want to make secure?
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torkill13
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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by torkill13 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:21 pm

This is another area where I think the 5E rule set has added improvements. You can set different difficulty check levels based on the complexity of the lock. So for example an easy lock would have a DC of 10 and a very difficult more expensive lock would have a DC of 25.

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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by torkill13 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:40 pm

Thinking about how do so something similar in older D&D where it is % based. Perhaps standard locks use the current level, more difficult locks could be Thief level -X, and easier locks could be Thief level +X. Where X changes based on the lock difficulty.

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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:44 pm

That's not something new, several older modules had locks with varying degrees of difficulty expressed as a -/+ to lockpicking. (i.e. -10% to lockpicking for a difficult lock or +5% for an easier lock. I think the best/worst I remember was in the neighborhood of -30% for an extremely difficult lock and +15% for a really easy lock.) I can easily see Thieves stealing incredibly difficult ancient locks in order to study them at their leisure and learn to duplicate them.

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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by torkill13 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:46 pm

As far as seeking out older (presumably better) locks, they would also need the keys for those locks. I think making keys would be a skill set all in it's own. How would one go about that without a key to duplicate?

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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by agathokles » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:51 am

I think bonuses and penalties for good/bad quality locks have always been there. The Complete Thief's Handbook says:
However, locks and traps are in fact found in great variety, and while many might provide little challenge to the skilled thief, some will prove daunting even to the most experienced veteran. A device can be listed with a modifier of + or - up to 30%, reflecting the ease or difficulty with which a thief might pick the lock or find and remove a trap. The modifier is applied to the thief's chance of success with the obstacle; a –30 lock, for example, lowers the thief's chances of picking it by 30%. If his normal percentage is 65%, then his chance with this lock is only 35%.
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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by Digitalelf » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:03 am

torkill13 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:46 pm
How would one go about that without a key to duplicate?
I would imagine it would be done in a similar fashion that it is done today... Locksmiths regularly make keys for locks that no longer have functioning keys, or keys that are missing entirely.
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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by Illuminatus » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:18 pm

The 2e DMG had a lock quality table (Table 24.)

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Re: Locks and lockpicking

Post by torkill13 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:00 pm

Found this interesting article on creating a key from a lock.

https://unitedlocksmith.net/blog/can-a- ... rom-a-lock

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