Zumbs' Blog

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Zumbs’ Lockpicking Mod

Posted by Zumbs on September 20, 2009

This shows how holding the lockpicks looks in 1st person while sneaking.

This shows how holding the lockpicks looks in 1st person while sneaking.

Version: 1.3

  1. Introduction
  2. Requirements
  3. Installation and uninstallation
  4. Old Saves
  5. Playing the mod
  6. Compatibility
  7. Version history
  8. Thanks

1. Introduction

Have you ever wondered why time magically seemed to stop when you started lockpicking? Even if it took you 500 tries? Or why a falling tumbler could break your lockpick? Or what happended to all those broken pieces in the lock? I did, and that’s why I made this mod.

This mod gives you the option of getting rid of the lockpicking minigame and replace it with one that is much more realistic. The mod adds three new equipable lockpicks. When one of these lockpicks is equiped, you can attempt to pick a lock by pointing the lockpick towards a locked item and leftclicking. Beware that someone may see you and report your crime! A more detailed description of how to use the mod can be found in section 5 below. Please take your time to read it.

A new and more advanced version of this mod is available here.


Planet Elder Scrolls

2. Requirements

This mod is made for TES4: Oblivion version 1.2.0416. It should work with older versions, but I haven’t tried it out.

3. Installation and uninstallation

a: Installation

The mod should contain the following files:

ZumbsLockpickingMod – Hide Difficulty Addon.esp
Zumbs Lockpicking Mod – readme.txt

This time there are a few options, so you’ll have to copy the files to a temporary location, and open the folder “Data” in folder where you installed Oblivion (probably “C:\Games\Oblivion\Data”).

Holding the lockpicks in 3rd person.

Holding the lockpicks in 3rd person.

If you wish to disable the minigame, just copy all files into your “Data” folder. If you prefer to keep the minigame as an option, remove \menus\lockpick_menu.xml first.

Then launch Oblivion. In the launcher, press the button “Data Files”. Scroll down the list until you find ZumbsLockpickingMod.esp and make sure the box is checked.

If you wish to hide the difficulty of a lock, also make sure that ZumbsLockpickingMod – Hide Difficulty Addon.esp is checked.

d: Uninstallation

To uninstall the mod, remove all lockpicks from your inventory (except for vanilla Oblivion lockpicks). Wait three days (or whatever your respawn time is). Uncheck ZumbsLockpickingMod.esp in the launcher and delete the five files mentioned above.

4. Old Saves

There shouldn’t be any problems in upgrading from older saves. You may have to reconfigure the mod through menus (more in section 5).

5. Playing the mod

a: Lockpicking

When the mod is loaded for the first time, it will convert vanilla lockpicks to the best possible equipable lockpick. To upgrade to a better lockpick open your inventory and find the vanilla lockpicks. Leftclick them. If you have enough lockpicks for the a better set of picks, a new set of picks will be added to your inventory (the quality of the lockpicks depend on the number of lockpicks in your inventory, see section 5d).

To pick a lock using lockpicks, first equip one of the three lockpicks. They can be found under “Weapons” in your inventory. Turn towards a lock and leftclick. If you are successful the lock will be opened. If not you’ll have to try again. If you wish to try to open a lock without lockpicks, you’ll have to use the lesser power “Bare Hands Lockpicking”.

Your chance for success are given by:

0.5 * Security + 2d25 + Bonuses < Locks difficulty

Security is modified for luck and bonuses depend on the quality of your lockpicks and skill perks (see later subsections).

b: Experience

As this mod doesn’t use the lockpicking minigame, you’ll be happy to learn that this mod handles experience and skill increases in a way that mimics Oblivions experience system. Be warned, however, that you can’t see skill progression of Security in the skill menu – I would have loved to, but the Construction Set doesn’t supply the needed methods. To see your current progress, just equip one of your lockpicks (it will be shown as a message).

As not all needed values are easy to get from Oblivion, you’ll have to answer a few questions about your class, to ensure correct leveling speed. All the settings you enter can be changed by using the console, as shown in section 5g.

c: Skill Perks

Each skill Perk add 5 to the roll mentioned above (section 5a). Note that the skill text haven’t been changed due to compatibility.

d: Quality of Lockpicks

Name Bonus Cost in vanilla lockpicks
Bare Hands -50 0
Bent Steel Wire -10 1
Bent Steel Wire -10 1
Lockpicks 0 100
Quality Lockpicks +10 300
Skeleton Key +20

How much do the different types of lockpicks help? The table below notes the chance of successfully picking the most difficult lock of the given difficulty level (assuming Luck is 50) with different lockpicks.

Security Very Easy Easy Average Hard Very Hard Key Needed
Bare Hands 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bent Steel Wire 89.4 % 52 % 2.4 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Lockpicks 99.8 % 83.2 % 19.2 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Quality Lockpicks 100 % 98.4 % 52 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Skeleton Key 100 % 100 % 83.2 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bare Hands 12.5 % 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bent Steel Wire 100 % 91.2 % 30.4 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 66.4 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Quality Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 91.2 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Skeleton Key 100 % 100 % 100 % 7.2 % 0 % 0 %
Bare Hands 66.4 % 21.8 % 0 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bent Steel Wire 100 % 100 % 85.4 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 99 % 3.36 % 0 % 0 %
Quality Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 100 % 21.8 % 0 % 0 %
Skeleton Key 100 % 100 % 100 % 55.8 % 4.48 % 3.36 %
Bare Hands 99.5 % 80.8 % 16.8 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bent Steel Wire 100 % 100 % 100 % 16.8 % 0 % 0 %
Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 100 % 48 % 2.4 % 1.6 %
Quality Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 100 % 80.8 % 19.2 % 16.8 %
Skeleton Key 100 % 100 % 100 % 97.6 % 52 % 48 %
Bare Hands 100 % 100 % 72.6 % 0 % 0 % 0 %
Bent Steel Wire 100 % 100 % 100 % 72.6 % 12.5 % 10.6 %
Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 100 % 94.2 % 40.5 % 37 %
Quality Lockpicks 100 % 100 % 100 % 100 % 75.5 % 72.6 %
Skeleton Key 100 % 100 % 100 % 100 % 95.5 % 94.2 %

Note that the distribution is calculated using the most difficult version of each lock, so even at 25 with bent steel wire, you’ll have a decent chance of opening the easier “Hard” locks. Lock difficulties and levels are given below:

Lock level Lock difficulty Alteration skill to open
Very Easy 1 – 7 Novice
Easy 8 – 20 Apprentice (25)
Average 21 – 40 Journeyman (50)
Hard 41 – 80 Expert (75)
Very Hard 81 – 99 Master (100)
Need key 100

e: Key needed locks

If you (like me) dislike the usage of unpickable locks, you can allow lockpicking of all locks by choosing the option in the menu.

f: Criticals

When you try to pick something there is a small chance that you make a critical success or failure. The probability for each is about 1:600. On critical failure you fail opening the lock, and may damage your lockpicks. On critical success you succeed in picking the lock and get more experience.

g. Changing Settings

If you need to change the settings, you’ll have to use the console. The console can be opened (and closed) by pressing ~. To reset all type:

set ZumbsLockPicker.UserDataInitialized to 0

Open your inventory to redo the configuration.

h. Skeleton key

In vanilla Oblivion, the Skeleton key makes the Security Skill obsolete. Therefore the bonus in security is removed, and by clicking it, you can get an equipable Skeleton Key.

Note, that until you try to equip the vanilla skeleton key, you’ll still have the vanilla bonus.

i. Underwater and troublesome doors

The lockpicks are essentially enchanted staffs, using a targeted effect. This gives problems underwater as no targeted spell effect works when underwater. Similarly, some doors are defined as being “transparent” allowing objects (such as targeted spells and arrows) to pass through, but disallowing PCs and NPCs. This is actually a vanilla Oblivion bug, as Open spells are unable to unlock these doors.

This problem is solved by adding the “Bare Hands Lockpicking” lesser power. Having a range of touch, it works underwater and on troublesome doors.

When using Bare Hands Lockpicking you should have your lockpicks equipped and drawn: If not, you’ll get the -50 barehanded penalty.

6. Compatibility

This mod primarily adds new stuff: A quest, an enchantment, 7 scripts, 3 sounds and 4 items. It does, however, edit three things: it edits the visuals of scripted spell effect (to remove them) and adds a script to vanilla Lockpicks and the skeleton key. If a mod changes these, you’ll have to ensure that they load before this mod, or this mod will stop working. I have, as much as possible, tried to call game settings and global values in the scripts, so if you use a mod that edits these values, you wouldn’t have to worry about them.

So this mod should be compatible with most other mods.

OOO: I know that there is exactly one “conflict” with OOO, in the edit of scripted spell effects, but that doesn’t matter as it is the same changes made by the two mods. Also, traps on containers will not work when lockpicking.

Scruggsy Lockpicking BETA: Believe it or not, but these two mods can work side by side, provided you load Zumbs Lockpicking Mod after Scruggsy Lockpicking BETA.

7. Version history

v 1.0: Initial release (July 8th 2007)

v 1.1: Released on July 12th 2007
Following changes:

  • Menu configuration
  • Added critical success and failure (section 5f)
  • Tweeked difficulty to make a bit more difficult (section 5a)
  • Changed bonus of Bent Steel Wire and Lockpicks (section 5d)
  • Fixed bug where Luckbonus could raise effective Security over 100
  • Updated readme (this document)

v1.2: Released on August 6th 2007
Following changes:

  • New feature: Added option of super-slow levelling
  • New feature: Barehanded lockpicking (see sections 5a, 5d and 5i)
  • Bug fix: Underwater lockpicking now possible (see section 5i)
  • Bug fix: Solved problem where Citadel Hall Door were unpickable due to distance
  • Bug fix: Solved problem where some doors were transparent (see section 5i)
  • Minor bug fix: Edited havoc information to better reflect the dimensions of lockpicks
  • Tweek: Increased damage to lockpicks on critical failure
  • Tweek: Crime-detection now only happens within 1500 feet as in vanilla

v1.3: Released on June 11th 2008
Following changes:

  • New feature: Added sounds
  • New feature: Equipable Skeleton Key
  • New feature: Optional disabling of the minigame
  • New feature: PC gains a little experience when failing to open a lock
  • New meshes: Bent Steel Wire now uses Grumblepunk’s meshes
  • Minor bug fix: MiscStats Locks picked and Lockpicks broken will now be updated
  • Tweek: Improved showing of PC experience progress
  • Tweek: Made Quality Lockpicks more expensive (200 -> 300 lockpicks)
  • Tweek: Popup box when trying to pick an unpickable lock if this is disabled
  • Tweek: Only upgrades lockpicks if there are picks enough to get better version

8. Thanks

  • Bethsoft for making Oblivion and publicising the Construction set
  • The community for the many questions and answers at the forums and wiki, in particular Haama for the proff-of-concept mod, “MW Lockpicking”, showing that it could be done, and scruggs for “Lock Bash 99.9” showing that this type of mod can be made to be highly compatible with other mods.
  • Grumblepunk for kindly letting me use his Lockpick meshes for “Bent Steel Wire”
  • ElminsterAU for the very useful tes4view-utility

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