Cost of lockpicking


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Grand Lodge

Hi all.

Background: my group killed a baddie, destroying a chest key in the process. The Disable Device DC for the lock is 30; the party rogue taking 20 ends up in a puny 27. They don't want to smash the chest open.

This is in Korvosa (big city), so there should be a few locksmiths able to open it.

(I could go the magic way and charge my PCs 60gp per casting of knock... which requires a caster level check at +13 vs DC 30)

Now, the question: How much gold should a locksmith charge for opening a DC 30 lock?


Are they carrying the chest to the locksmith, or making the locksmith come to the chest? Is the locksmith a Profession (other)? Or is it an NPC from the local thieves guild?

If it's a Profession then I'd say look to the Profession rules for how much they make in a given week, and divide it out per day and then per hour. I'm guessing if you stat up an NPC with enough ranks in Profession (other--Locksmith) to open a DC 30 lock by taking 20 they'll still only be making a couple silver pieces for an hour's worth of work.

Might be you want to go the way of the spell caster, just so they have to absorb at least a few gp penalty.

Any particular reason they don't just want to bash it open?


Invest in Masterwork tools and get an apprentice to aid another for another +2?

A legitimate locksmith probably 10 gold.

Upwards of 40 for no questions asked.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Invest in Masterwork tools and get an apprentice to aid another for another +2?

A legitimate locksmith probably 10 gold.

Upwards of 40 for no questions asked.

How do you figure? By my estimation the rules would cover this as either a Profession (locksmith) or a Craftsman of locks (read: Craft (locks)). In both those instances they are making 1/2 their total rolled check in a week. If my total craft modifier is 10, I take 20 on the check, that equals 30. Half of which is 15gp for a complete week's worth of work. Divide that by a five day work week (which in Golarion isn't necessarily true because the calendar shows six days are labeled as for "work.") and you get 3gp for one entire day. Divide that 3 into 8 hours, as an arbitrary number, and you get .375 gp. Which is about 4 silver pieces for a dedicated hour's worth of work (if my math is right, which is highly suspect because I'm terrible at math). Now, I can see adding in some coinage for the "non-disclosure" clause, but I don't think I'd be adding 39 gold pieces just to keep my mouth shut. Unless, like I mentioned earlier, you're actually dealing with a contracted thief from the thieves guild.

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
Are they carrying the chest to the locksmith, or making the locksmith come to the chest? Is the locksmith a Profession (other)? Or is it an NPC from the local thieves guild? Any particular reason they don't just want to bash it open?

It's a sea chest they carried to a safehouse. They won't crack it open because their only tool for doing so is the Str20 enraged half-orc barbarian, who will probably smash anything valuable into pieces.

In case you're curious, it's

Spoiler:
Devargo's chest with the ambassador letters, from Curse of the Crimson Throne: Edge of Anarchy. Poor Devargo (and his key) got fed to a shark.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Invest in Masterwork tools and get an apprentice to aid another for another +2?

Masterwork tools will do, as the PCs are lvl 2 and still haven't bought masterwork equipment yet. Still, that'd be a 20+9 vs DC 30.

But the "aid another" bit has a problem. The rules for skill checks specifically say:

Quote:

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

So RAW don't allow the aid another's +2... but I might allow it if the party rogue and ranger spend a couple of hours tinkering at it.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Might be you want to go the way of the spell caster, just so they have to absorb at least a few gp penalty.

The PCs are level 2... the estimated money to be spent in knock spells is.... *punches numbers into a calculator*... 400gp (probabilistic expected number of castings: 20/3 or 6.666). That's quite a financial hit at this point in the campaign.


In which case, go with the Profession or Craft bit and you got your lock opened for a few silvers.


There are also spells that give a competence bonus on the next skill check. Add in Aid another and Masterwork Lockpics and your rogue should make it easy enough.


To me, at least, a "sea chest" is an all-wood box, less secure than the sterotypical "pirate's chest" that is a wooden box bound in metal. The plain wood one might not justify a DC 30 lock, so maybe here we're talking about a masterwork sea chest with the metal bindings? Here's a real British Admiral's sea chest for sale, as an admiral's, it makes sense that it would be masterwork, and it clearly DOES have the metal bindings.

http://www.rubylane.com/item/601731-RL6982/Historic-British-Admirals-Sea-Ch est

If you're bringing the chest back to town, where PCs potentially have access to acids from the local alchemist or just basic tools, I wouldn't worry about goosing your Open Locks check.

Dissolve the gut of the lock with acid then pry it out. Saw the wood around the lock out. Cut the hinges. Cut out the binding on the corners.

If you don't want to keep the chest afterward, it's trivial to get it open in a nondestructive way w/ enough time and access to a craftsman's tools.

Grand Lodge

Dragonamedrake wrote:
There are also spells that give a competence bonus on the next skill check. Add in Aid another and Masterwork Lockpics and your rogue should make it easy enough.

True, there's good ol' Guidance. So, taking 20, +7 Disable Device skill, +2 masterwork thieves' tools, +1 guidance = 30. Done!

'Chobemaster' wrote:
The plain wood one might not justify a DC 30 lock, so maybe here we're talking about a masterwork sea chest with the metal bindings?

Hey, if the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP book says it's DC 30, then it's DC 30. And if it doesn't list a price for the chest itself, then the chest itself is not masterwork. Hey, complain to the authors of the AP :-P


Now lets say the PC's want to keep the chest and use it. What would it cost for a locksmith to make a key for said chest?


If its a pure wooden chest, then it might be easier to try and work your way through that, instead of getting the lock open.
If you're afraid the barbarian with 20 str will destroy everything inside, hand the weapon to the wizard and let him try. Might take a bit longer of course.
Or let the barbarian attack the lock, not the chest itself, so the chest stays intact just the lock gets busted. Again might require a few hits etc.

Shadow Lodge

I don't know the adventure, but why not mend the key?

Liberty's Edge

MendedWall12 wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Invest in Masterwork tools and get an apprentice to aid another for another +2?

A legitimate locksmith probably 10 gold.

Upwards of 40 for no questions asked.

How do you figure? By my estimation the rules would cover this as either a Profession (locksmith) or a Craftsman of locks (read: Craft (locks)). In both those instances they are making 1/2 their total rolled check in a week. If my total craft modifier is 10, I take 20 on the check, that equals 30. Half of which is 15gp for a complete week's worth of work. Divide that by a five day work week (which in Golarion isn't necessarily true because the calendar shows six days are labeled as for "work.") and you get 3gp for one entire day. Divide that 3 into 8 hours, as an arbitrary number, and you get .375 gp. Which is about 4 silver pieces for a dedicated hour's worth of work (if my math is right, which is highly suspect because I'm terrible at math). Now, I can see adding in some coinage for the "non-disclosure" clause, but I don't think I'd be adding 39 gold pieces just to keep my mouth shut. Unless, like I mentioned earlier, you're actually dealing with a contracted thief from the thieves guild.

You make several assumptions here, and I'm not sure how many of those play out.

1) You assume that they have work 100% of the time or that, lacking that, this is included in the check's calculation. You definitely don't have work 100% of the time, but this may be included (and may well be part of what the d20 represents).
2) You assume that the amount listed in the core rulebook is profit rather than revenue.
3) Even if you assume that the amount listed in core is profit on the business end, there is no way it includes personal living costs (which can vary wildly, from 0gp to 1000gp just by core rulebook). A skilled professional may try to squeeze a few extra gold out of wealthy looking clients to pad his lifestyle a bit.
4) Other assumptions are made, but the other ones that I can think of are more reasonable (little/no charity work, tasks for maintaining tools or workplace have their time/cost included in the check's resulting amount, etc)

You also make one critical error: You cannot take 20 on the check for making money. You might roll 20, but taking 20 represents trying 20 times. If you took 20 for a week of work, you did 20 weeks of work (getting a 1, then a 2, then a 3, etc). This actually reduces the cost rather than increases it, however.

In the end I'm pretty sure 1 or 2g is fair. The core rulebook lists 10g as average income, and a simple lock as costing 20gp. This means that anyone that has a lock is likely wealthier than average and can probably afford more than 4s. If the person looks very wealthy and the chest looks important (and stolen), attempting to extort as much as 40-50g might be possible.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
I don't know the adventure, but why not mend the key?

It might have been completely obliterated/lost, I don't know. But I agree if you have the pieces of the key, casting a mending on it probably solves the problem.


I take it no one has contacts with the local Guild of Thieves?

What about a crowbar, or unscrewing the hinges and breaking the lock by lifting the back of the lid? Or both?

A flask of acid isn't terribly expensive.

Hells, a properly-sized metal file will destroy the locking mechanism in oh, a half an hour?

Though I note there was a solution upthread, what with Guidance and all...


MendedWall12 wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Invest in Masterwork tools and get an apprentice to aid another for another +2?

A legitimate locksmith probably 10 gold.

Upwards of 40 for no questions asked.

How do you figure? By my estimation the rules would cover this as either a Profession (locksmith) or a Craftsman of locks (read: Craft (locks)). In both those instances they are making 1/2 their total rolled check in a week. If my total craft modifier is 10, I take 20 on the check, that equals 30. Half of which is 15gp for a complete week's worth of work.

But remember

1)Your pricing scheme makes it sound like the guys standing there all day picking locks with a "take a number" sign. It doesn't sound like a profession in medievalesque times that would be needed on a daily basis, so you pay for the locksmith to sit around in his shop doing nothing on Monday and Tuesday as well as when he's working for you on Wednesday:

2) You need someone with a +10: they may have significantly higher and may charge more accordingly. You have to pay them for the ranks they have, not the ranks you want. If you bring your ford to a mechanic thats good enough to work on porsches you still get charged out the nose.

3) They're adventurers, they have a chest, presumably there's something valuable inside and they'll have lots of money anyway.

Grand Lodge

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
I don't know the adventure, but why not mend the key?

Because

Spoiler:
the key was shallowed by a shark. Along with the owner's internal organs. By now the shark must have left the Korvosa port and be in high sea.

For low-level characters, that means "irrevocably lost". PCs are supposed to get either the key or the sutff inside, but... things deviated from the ideal course of action, resulting in a hilarious session :-)

Alitan wrote:
I take it no one has contacts with the local Guild of Thieves?

Assume yes. Now, how much does that cost?


As freakin' much as they can get away with; ideally, a small bag of coin PLUS a cut of whatever's in the chest...


Thanks to Stabbity and Big Norse for pointing out my errors in logic. Also thanks for reminding me you can't take 20 on a week's worth of work check. I always forget that one isn't allowed.


Profession incomes are just guides. They don't take into account the ebb and flow of business, taxes, rent, payment for tools, travel, etc.

Besides, any time PCs interact with NPCs, its all about the role play. If I am the GM and a group of PCs hire a locksmith to open a mysterious sea chest, they better cough up some gold if they expectthe locksmith not to brag about it in the local tavern. But they don't have to pay a premium if they don't care who the locksmith tells what he did, and what was inside.


RP wise:

The amount of gold required to pay someone to open it depends on the ability of the PC's to alter the gent (or lady's) opinion of them away from

"They have money. I want money. That chest probably has something expensive in it. ergo, they are going to be willing to pay me money to get at whats inside, rather than having Stinky the Barbarian there go at it"

to

"Well, aren't those nice people.. yeah I guess I can pop the lock for a few silver, no problem.. kinda curious to see whats in it afterall."

No way will some locksmith who can crack a 30 DC let a few silver cross his palms when he can charge a few gold to some adventurers. They come walking in there with their armor and swords and spellbooks and wands and all that and just scream /i can afford any price you set to open this box/ because.. well heck because they are *wearing* more at 1st level than alot of hard workers make in a year.

When someone can do something that you can't, and you really need it done badly, and its not something you can just go find someone else to do.. don't expect it to be cheap. :)

With that out of hte way- I'd probably start the haggling at 30 gold and let them work their way down with either excellent RP or Diplomacy checks (depending on the party and who's talking).

5gp minimum. Lockmaster has to replace his tools eventually, eh?

-S


Selgard wrote:

RP wise:

The amount of gold required to pay someone to open it depends on the ability of the PC's to alter the gent (or lady's) opinion of them away from

"They have money. I want money. That chest probably has something expensive in it. ergo, they are going to be willing to pay me money to get at whats inside, rather than having Stinky the Barbarian there go at it"

to

"Well, aren't those nice people.. yeah I guess I can pop the lock for a few silver, no problem.. kinda curious to see whats in it afterall."

-S

Keep it going, though. Knowing a band of adventurers isn't necessarily a bad thing. Even in a magic-frequent setting, a wizard that owes you one is probably not all that common. A fighter (or rogue) could easily be a handy resource in any number of situations our locksmith might encounter.

The potential for repeat business, even, could be a reduced-price factor. I certainly agree RP can/should be a big impact in this scenario.


I don't disagree.

But when the 5th (did OP say what level they were? I missed it) are charged 10-15 (or even 30) gold to pop the lock they shell it out like we would 50 cents for the same thing. Its just not enough money to worry about. They are likely to come back to him anyway unless the DM RP's him as a jerk or something just because he's the one they met and know the charge for already.

Or maybe that's just my group that doesn't tend to shop around. lol :)

-S

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