I love systems and mechanics that steal from classic games.

Myself, I’ve based mechanics on everything from Poker and Monopoly to… uh, other games that aren’t coming to mind at the moment. Not just the classics either, games that have had an impact on gaming are fair game too.

Hack & Slash shared a lock-picking minigame that tickles me.
Link: “On Locks and Keys: Redux”

I hate lock-picking but I might give this system a shot. Actually, reading it reminds me a bit of how adventures and tasks are resolved in Elder Sign. I wonder if ES borrowed from Yahtzee too? Now I have to look up the rules for Yahtzee.

In brief, the system works as follows:
– A lock has an unknown number of pins.
– A player starts with a pool of d6s.
– The player rolls dice looking for pairs, triples, etc.
– The player spends combinations from the pool to set pins.
– 1s are removed from the pool for the particular lock.
– The player has some number of available re-rolls.
– The lock is picked when all its pins are set.

There’s strategy involved in this — and the absence of the Yahtzee scoring component makes it possible for anyone in the group to pick locks based on their Yahtzee skills, rather than the “pure luck” of the D&D “d20 + skill bonus.”

What, if anything, might I change?

That’s a good question. Actually, since I brought up Elder Sign before, I thought maybe something there might be useful. And then, there are also the exploding and eroding dice mechanics, as they already appear in the game.

Maybe it’s best not to confuse too many things.

Let’s say for the sake of argument, that as long as you can set a single pin with a roll, you can re-roll the dice as you continue to pick the lock. Only through rolling 1s or failing to set a pin is your progress halted. As in Elder Sign.

I wonder if perhaps it wouldn’t be better to have the number of pins based on the “difficulty” of the lock — set at familiar intervals like simple, average, difficult, impossible — while the dice pool remains the same between characters?

If a player fails to pick the lock, they can make another attempt starting from scratch — or another player can try — some time passes, and that’s the only real penalty. The only way a lock might “jam” is if say, the player rolled only 1s.

Alternatively, when used in conjunction with the “party gear” system I’ve been raving about — each “retry” of a lock might cost the party a level of gear. That’s a pretty steep cost though, I’m not sure if it would work.