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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Last-Minute Keys and Locks: Reaction Roll Table

Not sure why this didn’t occur to me when I was working on keys and locks before… but here’s the well-known reaction table, repurposed yet again…
Every key (literal or metaphoric) has one or more keywords describing it: brass key, iron dragon key, crystal goblin key. Doors, chests, and other locked items also have key words.
When attempting to use a key to unlock a lock, count the number of keywords that are identical (match,) note whether any keywords start with the same letter (near match,) and make a 2d6 reaction roll using this table.
2d6 Results
2 Wrong Key, might break in lock.
3-5 Might Fit, all keywords must match.
6-8 Close Match, need 1-4 matches.
9-11 Fits, lock opens if any words match.
12 Lucky Fit! lock opens for near match.

On a wrong key result, the key breaks in the lock, jamming it, unless there is at least one match. If the character is cursed, the key breaks no matter what. The lock can’t be opened anymore.

On a close match, the lowest individual d6 result is the number of matches needed to open the lock.

On a lucky fit, the lock opens even if there are no exact matches, as long as at least one pair of keywords start with the same letter (the rusty key opens the red lock.) If the character is blessed, the lock opens no matter what.

For metaphoric keys and locks, what counts as a match may be expanded. For example, keywords for herbal remedies might only need to start with the same letter as a keyword for a disease, or might only need to be logically related in some way, for example through the medieval four humours system or doctrine of signatures. On a lucky fit result, a keyword matches if it comes first alphabetically when compared to the keywords for the disease.

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  1. The reaction roll looks a bit convoluted for me, but the keyword system is brilliant.

    1. What do you find too convoluted? Is it the way matches are determined for result 6-8?

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  2. One way to smooth that process is to use 1d4+1d8 instead of 2d6 (the idea which - I think - I first encountered on this very blog ages ago).

    1. Yep, I was playing around with d4+d8 a while back.

      There's also just changing "1-4 matches" to "at least half the keywords must match".