Friday, April 15, 2011

Lockpicking: the game

Telecantar has a great post about using a procedural method to simulate lock picking, rather than just rolling a die and assigning a chance to succeed (based on looking for a solution to the problem posed on rather gamey here).  Basically it is a rock/paper/sissors sort of game, with one correct answer per stage.
(Zak also posted about this here, with some refinements)

This sort of mechanic could be adapted for several different sorts of tests, such as trap disarming, mechanism working etc.  Anything which could be set up as more than an either or solution, but still has a limited set of options could have a little branched path "game" like this, where the player has to make a choice to move along the path to success.   Many computer RPGs have some variant of this mechanic as logic puzzles, since you can not describe what you are doing as well.

The challenge with this system is to make it simple enough that it can be "played" in a few seconds, and not have the rest of the players disengaged.  I think that the way to do that is to limit the total number of steps (d4+1) , and allow for "auto passes" once a lock has been solved.

What do you think?  Does this slow things down too much vs. a die roll?

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