Monday, October 5, 2020

d100 Table - Locks & Lockpicks

Here is another table I have been working on. It is of distant relation to the d100 This Secret Door Opens... resource. This collection is primary geared toward providing a little embellishment for those pesky generic Locks and oft-hand-waved Lockpicks.

Sometimes naming minutia can be fun, and I have always been fond of giving specific lockpicks fanciful tradenames. A stray adjective can turn a boring and frustrating lock into something more engaging and interesting, with a bit of story and character to hopefully fire imaginations on both sides of the screen.

I’d be tempted to just let little details generated here inform the fiction and see what the players do with the information and if it results in any creative play, strategies, or emergent story, but this tends to dovetail with only certain styles of gaming.

For the more mechanically inclined or sub-system disposed, how could one use this other than decorative fluff? Well, you could transmute the Thief’s “Open Locks” roll a little bit to have it represent the chances of knowing or intuiting the “right tool for the job” and marry Traits to certain Picks. Perhaps something like this:

  • This lock is Enameled and Gummed-up, it is opened easily with a Milkmaid's teaser
  • This lock is Derivative and Kobold-made, it is handily defeated with a Crowhorn
  • This lock is Straightforward and Spinous, it is especially susceptible to a King's rocker

Here's a handy generator based on the above table:

In the above examples, each Lock encountered has a corresponding Pick/method that opens it instantly according to the traits it’s been assigned, or more generously, specific Lock traits are linked with certain Prefixes/Suffixes respectfully, and if you have a Rooktalon that works on “Rusty and Bulky” Locks then it will also work slightly better on all locks with the “Rusty” traits (maybe via a circumstantial bonus to the roll), or perhaps “Rook-“ picks work on Rusty, and “-talon” picks are especially good at “Bulky.” I’d lean toward tracking this being at least somewhat player-facing, any book-keeping seems easily worth an occasional bacon-saving, free Knock Spell. 😊

If you are feeling a tad more parsimonious, perhaps the “right tool” (or corresponding trait/pick) allows the Thief to flip the ones-and-tens for that lock.

Another option is to have the “Open Locks” percentile roll do some double duty by leveraging it alongside this table. Successful rolls might “name” a lock-pick, granting it additional character but also some sort of persistent bonus (either against certain Lock Traits, or something incremental and tracked with tick marks...say +1% for each successful roll).

If the d100 “Open Locks” is used to reveal information about the Lock, perhaps it can serve as a way to build in a “second chance” (I failed, but now that I know this lock is “Dwarven” and my Knitter’s Nose typically works on Dwarven locks, I get another try with that pick). Could be an interesting replacement for “gaining a level” before trying again.

With my House Rules that repurpose the Cleric’s Turn Undead Table for Thief Skills, I’d probably let the a Pick associated with the corresponding Trait turn a T into a D, or maybe step down the Difficulty by a step. The particularly callous/cruel could use the “ones” place of the d100 roll to inform this Difficulty when placing the locked door on the dungeon map itself.

I am very curious about what kinds of inspirations and ideas this table might ignite. Let me know if you can think of a useful way to utilize it!

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