DMs Guild Review – The Incredible World of Doors & Locks

A supplement that’s all about one of the oldest challenges in the RPG genre – the closed door!

A review copy of “The Incredible World of Doors & Locks” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Martín Davico

Locked doors are a staple in RPGs, yet the base lockpicking rules in D&D 5e leave much to be desired. The Incredible World of Doors & Locks attempts to spice up the act of lockpicking with expanded rules and tables.

At only nine pages, the supplement is far from definitive, and the designer’s intent is to focus more on expanding the narrative around lockpicking rather than providing a lot of crunch rules.

But this is one area where I would welcome some expanded rules. There’s so much more we can do with lockpicking, from multi-step skill challenges to specific door-based traps and alarms.

The supplement does add one excellent new rule: dual difficulty. Every door could have both a Safe Difficulty Class (SDC) and a Problematic Difficulty Class (PDC). If your lockpicking roll (or presumably, other skill check) hits the SDC threshold, you open the door without incident.

If you only hit the lower PDC, however, you still open the door, but suffer a repercussion.

Possible repercussions are listed in a d10 table, but are mostly either too vague, or too much of a narrative headache. “Trigger a trap,” is too broad, for example. Give me some traps to use! Another repercussion is finding a scared child on the other side of the door, which is all kinds of problematic and not something I’m leaving up to a random table!

doors and locks

The best part of the short supplement are the tables of sample hidden doors, magical doors, and puzzle doors, though really they’re all puzzles in their own way.

I’m a bit confused on the skill check needed to operate these doors, as they’re not locked in the traditional sense yet still list PDC and SDC skill check requirements. But these tables are full of fun ideas, like doors that open when a book is pulled of a shelf, or a door that only opens when hit by moonlight (or the Moonbeam spell!).

There are a few other sections and tables that I was less impressed with, such as a page-long table about what different kinds of doors say about their owners, or where hidden keys could be located. It’s all very narrative-focused and not nearly as useful as providing traps, magic lockpicks, specific alarm systems, or complex vault-style locks. Lockpicking is in sore need of some supplemental content, and this doesn’t quite cut it.

 Pros:

  • Problematic DC on top of Safe DC is a an excellent method of failing forward
  • Sample tables for hidden, magical, and puzzle doors.

Cons:

  • Lacks door-based traps and intricate, multi-step door puzzles and tumblers.
  • Repercussion table could result in a lot more narrative work for the DM.

The Verdict: The Incredible World of Doors & Locks offers some nice tables and optional rules, but ultimately falls short of being a definitive supplement for lockpicking.

A review copy of “The Incredible World of Doors & Locks” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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