Friday, February 19, 2016

Door Week: Around a Door in 80 Ways

Door Week continues.

Okay, there aren't really 80 ways around a door in GURPS unless you start double-counting, but I like the song by BAD.

But for players not fully conversant in the first half of Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons*, here are some ways to get through doors in my game. This is basically summarizing the rules from DF2, with clarifications and notes to help you know your options for making it better.

Important Note: All of the force options are noisy. Lifting, picking, and possibly magic will be potentially stealthy, if you yourselves are also stealthy. Using any forcing method is potentially going to attract wandering monsters (more rolls or improved chances of monsters appearing), destroy the possibility of surprise, or otherwise make your presence and actions obvious.

Bashing: We all know doors are the greatest enemy of adventurers, so why not slay them? Forced Entry @ +1 or +2 gives a damage bonus, and Breaking Blow is very useful.

Wooden doors have Ablative DR, so if you keep hitting the same spot you can wear it down to a mere 1 DR per strike (stone is 3 DR, for the occasional stone doors.) Iron-bound and iron doors have normal DR, so if you can't ding it up on a few strikes you're probably not going to take it down. Only the lighter ones give you any hope of inflicting damage - an average-quality metal door has DR 25!

Bashing opens a roughly 10 square foot hole (per Low Tech p. 122); you need to bash up a double-sized spot if you're going to go through without crouching and one half again as big in either case if you want a SM+1 person to fit through without squeezing.

Assume hinges aren't modern pin hinges designed for easy removal - taking them off might be one way to get a door open but it's not quick and easy. IQ-based Forced Entry can help here.

Helpful Tools: Crowbars (DF1, p. 24) do extra damage to doors. Otherwise, use an axe (for the cutting multiplier on penetrating damage). Don't use a sword - there is a 3-in-6 chance of it bending (DF2 p. 8); fine and very fine swords hold up a bit better.

A portable ram (DF1, p. 26) is ideal. A Siege Stone (p. 30) might help, too, in certain cases. A mallet (p. 24) or crowbar is what you need for removing hinge pegs, and a work hatchet (p. 24) is a good idea if you don't want to use your weapons to open doors.

Image of a much bigger ram.

A bit-and-brace might be useful (p. 25) to make a hole to look through or to get at concealed locks and hinges. Finally, acid (p. 28) is another way to deal with locks and hinges.

And if you want to know what's behind the door, a spy's horn (p. 26) might help you hear it. It's much harder without one of those to suss out noises.

Forcing: If the door is merely stuck, Forced Entry will do the job, usually without a penalty.

For locked, barred, or wedged doors, brute force might do - see Muscling Through.

I assume you've giving it the boot or shouldering it open, and this affects your defenses as if you're doing a Committed Attack (Strong), if it matters. There really isn't an option for a "light shove" here. I'd allow an All-Out Attack (Strong) for a +1 to your ST for forcing purposes.

Extra Effort (p. B357) or anything else that boosts ST helps - Power Blow, Might spells, etc.

Helpful Tools: Crowbar (DF1, p. 24) for a +2 to rolls, but it needs two hands.

Picking: If the door isn't stuck, just locked, you can pick the lock. Generally this is DX-based Lockpicking, although complex locks and puzzle locks would be IQ-based Lockpicking. Some puzzle locks are player-facing challenges, though, and you'll have to figure out the trick to open the door.

This takes time (1 minute per attempt, longer if you want a bonus, per p. B436). The Lockmaster spell is faster, but won't work on locks proofed vs. magic (meteoric or mana-drained components.) Such locks aren't uncommon - by default all of the high-end locks are done this way.

What about grates and portcullises?

Bending uses the rules for forcing. No tools will help, although it's possible to engineer ways to get multiple people pulling on one bar (cable, space, and the old heave-ho, for example.)

Lifting a movable grate is just a question of Basic Lift, unless it's secured - go back to Forcing or Picking the hinge or lock, or Bending the bars.

We'll Shape the Walls! Of course, magic might help you simply bypass the door. Costs are for worked stone (6x, so minimum cost 12), even if the door is set in generally non-worked stone (it's worked by nature of having hinges, a lock, etc. put in it). Most walls in Felltower are worked and/or treated with mana resistant enamels, paints, and carving methods, giving a further -1 to -10 to shape. Assume designers putting in a serious door put in serious countermeasures to common and easy magic!

There are other magical ways to get around doors - Apportation might remove a simple bar, although you cast at at least -1 for range and -5 for unseen. Most non-improvised bars will have a locking handle, latch, length of cord, etc. to keep the bar from moving freely until it's unlatched. That will effectively stop Apportation unless you first cast the spell on the latch and then work it free, blindly. Undo is possible to completely remove a door, depending on the construction. And many spells can cause damage to doors, dovetailing with Bashing, above. Spells cast beyond the door are at -5 for an unseen target and normal range penalties (minimum -1.)

Mining. You can also try digging through walls and floors - use the rules under Digging, p. 350-351. Requires a pickaxe (p. 24) to break up the rock, and then a to move the debris efficiently (hands are 1/4th as fast.) Slow against stone - the door will almost always be easier, and if it's not, it's probably because the walls or floors are thick. And tiring - one hour of breaking and/or shoveling rock is 4 FP.

That's not 80 ways around the door, but it's a start. Any I missed, please ask me, point them out, or write them up in the comments. Page refs are appreciated if I missed a rule!

(Important clarification: if I missed tools from the Dungeon Fantasy books, rules from Basic Set, or completely new methods for dealing with doors, please let me know. Minor variations of the above aren't really necessary. Neither are ones that don't deal with doors, like "learn the Secret Teleportation Spell from DF11!" Obviously Ethereal Body or going around a different way that doesn't have doors would work, but it's not useful to discuss here. This about the rules for dealing with doors as physical obstacles.)

* I actually have the first half of DF2 printed out put in the three-ring binder of DF rules for my players, aka "The DF Player's Book." The first half of that book is excellent player-facing material, which really helps lay out the effect of their skills, stats, and basic choices in clear rules.


  1. Bypassing:
    Shapeshifting for Druids to turn into something that can bypass the door then shift back and unlock/open from the other side.
    Summoning a Minion on the other side of the door to undo the lock, whether this be a Summonable Ally or Create Servant spell.

    1. What can a druid shapeshift into that can bypass a door? None of the forms in DF5 are small, and while you could learn the spell for a very small animal, it would need to be tiny and still require the door to have a hole, and gaps under or to the sides. So, generally, it'll be expensive way to deal with not very secure doors.

      I'm not sure I'd allow people to Summon Ally on the far side of a barrier unless it's physically close and they can see or reach through it. Create Servant can do it, though, but it'll be at -6 just like Apportation, and you'll want a Brute or skilled servant if the door is secured with a locking and/or heavy bar. The PCs have realized that "have a Servant do it" is severely limited by their low ST.

    2. How about an ooze to go under the door? Or through a drilled hole? Or a pudding to batter the door down? Do druids not shapeshift into goo?

    3. Oozes and puddings aren't Animals, they're Slimes, and Shapeshifting is for animal forms.

  2. Mining and safecracking come to mind.

    There is at least one other type of drill that should be available at that tech level. The one where a hammer, in one hand, is used to tap the bit, and the bit is rotated with the other hand.

    I'd guess that a PC artificer and an NPC enchanter could eventually put together a fairly nice drill and set of bits.

    If the lock isn't mechanically strong enough, a hole might provide enough access to force the bolt into the unlocked position. Or perhaps the lock can be drilled.

    Holes can be used to split stone. Wedges can be driven into a series of holes, or water frozen in them.

    Maybe digging a real tunnel would take too long. If the wall around the door isn't reinforced to match, dig into the wall. One might be able to squeeze around the door, or even remove the door.

    If anti-magic coatings are a problem, perhaps they can be mechanically or chemically removed. I don't see any mention of chisels.

    I'm not certain if that would be the niche of an artificer or a dwarven demolisher.

    If you have enough space, you should be able to flood the area, and use water pressure to break the door. Or perhaps just enough flooding that enchanted water could batter the door down. (Would that be Hanno or Hamilcar's specialty? Whichever one, I would hope that the player has heard the term 'water hammer'.)

    1. I guess I should clarify - what I meant by "ways I missed" I meant rules or methods, not variations on the method. Holes with ice is just another way to damage the door. Water pressure is just forcing, but with massive side effects (akin to using Fireball to take a door down instead of a hammer), I'm not sure how "safecracking" is different than either "lockpicking" or "bashing," etc.

      Mining is possible - that would be p. B350-351 and worth consideration. I'll add that. But generally a door is weaker than the surrounding material, however. Portals are inherent weak points. The time spent to tunnel around a door is always going to be more than the time it would take to just smash the door down.

      Drills are covered in the post above. And drilling a lock is just drilling a lock - use the damage for the drill vs. the DR and HP of the lock.

      Demolishers and their explosives aren't in my game, and the post specifies this is for my game. Artificers can find other ways to make these rules apply (you can see it in this session) but it's not like they're doing anything different than either bashing, forcing, lifting, or picking a lock.

      It's not always possible to remove anti-magical coatings, as it's rarely just surface - true walls are done in layers, so you can't just crack the surface and then shape underneath. Even if the layers are totally removed, it's still 12 points to shape 2 hexes worth of stone, and that's not always enough to get past a door - and if it is, it's because it's enough to physically remove the door.

    2. Social skills/mimicry/acting to trick someone into opening the door? Architecture and cartography to realize weaknesses to bypass the literal door? Observation or shadowing to try to sneak through when someone else is opening the door?

      Those are all slightly abstract lateral solutions though.
      The first one occurs a few time in FROM's Souls franchise (Thought it was funny that one of the official solutions to opening a door is to bang on it to get enemies on the other side to unlock the door... and swarm you... into an area that can be prepared ahead of time with traps.)
      The second happens a lot in Zelda games... look at the map and figure out where doors used to be.
      The third... I've used a ton in the real time strategy game Age of Empires II, but that was probably an unintentional bug... I wasn't being sneaky when propping up a castle portcullis someone else opened... by using a catapult.

    3. Too abstract and lateral. I really, very simply and very literally, wanted to put a post together on the rules for physically getting past doors as obstacles. Approaches that work out to larger gaming solutions ("Get someone else to fix the problem! Decide to go somewhere else! Wait until the door opens!") aren't really germane.

      It's my own fault for getting cute with the title, I expect. But I really meant this part:

      "But for players not fully conversant in the first half of Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons*, here are some ways to get through doors in my game. This is basically summarizing the rules from DF2, with clarifications and notes to help you know your options for making it better."

      It's a how-to of rules on bashing, forcing, bending, lifting, picking, and a few notes on common magical solutions to those physical problems.

  3. This is a variation on Forcing or Bending, but might bear mentioning when an Artificer is present: Adjusting a Windlass or similar to crack open a door or bend bars can get as much as x3 ST going. For bending bars, that might even be quiet, but I imagine a door would do a lot of groaning, cracking, and noisy splitting.
    Similarly, a block and tackle could be rigged by just about anyone to lift a gate at BLx32, at one foot per second.

    An adjunct to drilling is sawing (p.28 Low-tech). Useful for its sw-3 (2) cut.The saw in DF 1 is heavier and more expensive, so might do more damage. Useful for hinges, if you can get at em. Sawing is likely to be quieter than taking an Axe to the door, at least as far as wandering monsters are concerned (those on the other side of the door will probably notice). Rich delvers or Very Wealthy Artificers might make some or all of their tools Fine, Very Fine, or even made from Oricalchum. Bonus damage and no chance to break might be very handy. Doing so also provides a bonus to the HT roll to keep your tool from being rusted, rotted, or dissolved by Gunk (DF 2 p.18), a real concern.

    It is anything BUT subtle, but as another alchemical option, there is the Burning Stone (DF 8, p.23).

    In that spirit, you might summarize the rules for setting a wooden door on fire (adventurers always seem to have some way of doing that), how much damage it does, and the consequences of smoke: Most wooden doors are Resistant (seasoned wood), taking 10 points of fire damage to light immediately. Alchemist's fire would get 3 rolls on 3d, one roll every 10 seconds, looking for a 16 or less to light the door on fire (and would do its usual 1d(5) per second to the door and its ablative DR, which might burn through before the door catches fire naturally!). A torch works less well (needs a 6- on 3d every 10 seconds, possibly doing 1 damage per second to ablate the DR) but is cheap. A burning door would produce smoke (Basic p. 439): after 10 seconds roll vs HT or cough. Dense smoke would also cause suffocation, and might occur in a small dungeon corridor with no air flow... holding your breath may or may not be an option (Basic p.351). A burning door takes 1d-1 bur per second, burning an Average wood door to coals in a few minutes, and likely rendering it useless as a door in as little as a minute.

    Usefully, burning is fairly effective against iron bound doors (those that arent actually iron _plated_), as the wood should catch fire at the same rate, leaving the iron behind to be sawed, bent, or simply unbarred and opened. Be careful though, merely brushing against burning hot iron (or burning wood!) is worth 1d-3 bur and might sent your sleeve on fire. Grasping hot iron to bend or lift it is going to be 1d-1 bur per second! Resist fire is helpful, or wait for it to cool (could be a while, 30 minutes or more after the fire is out!). Water could help here if you have it to spare.

    Spell wise, Transparency can help reduce the penalty for casting beyond the door, and let you see (and be seen!) those behind it. And while shape earth is nice and all, Reshape is far better, as it takes no penalties for worked/unnatural stuff. Just anti-magic paint etc. And it works on any material you are willing to put your hands on... Hazardous Material (Gunk or Magical) might be useful here!

    1. The note on superior equipment is useful, thanks. I'd allow an Artificer to rig up a crank to help bend bars, but to be useful on a door you'd need to have a very narrow business end to get in there. I certainly wouldn't allow it as just standard equipment (if only because what are Artificers for if whatever they make is just a tech upgrade for anyone with money?). The block and tackle is a good idea, too. I'll have to look into what skills you'd need to rig it up. It's probably not trivially easy to get one one, and you'd need a place to hang it (also potentially noisy, or potentially as expensive as just shaping a new door in a 3' thick wall thanks to minimum costs.)

      The issue with burning is most of what you said - smoke, suffocation, etc. All of which is on the adventurer's side of the door. We already have the rules handy for burning things, but no one has really tried to set a door on fire. The ones that'll burn without choking the PCs out of the area aren't strong enough that they need burning. The ironbound ones seem to assume armor plating, or at least no way to get through just the wood - their DR is not ablative! That makes it much harder to get down to burnable materials. In any case, I'm curious if a door would really keep burning in a low-airflow environment where smoke can't easily escape. It would seem like you'd severely char the front, the fuel will run out, and you've got a weakened door and an air issue. Create Fire would ensure it kept burning, of course, coupled with Purify Air so you don't die from being in close proximity. An average door would be far easier to chop down - a ST 17 Barbarian with an axe would do 3d+1 twice per second to its DR 2 / HP 39 . . . it should be making HT checks in 2 seconds and fail automatically in only a few more. So fire might be too much solution for the problem. Still, it's good to know my players might read the rules for smoke after seeing your comment. :)

      On the anti-magic paint, I'd better point out that I also included layers, carving methods, etc. It's not just a patina of surface material to chip off and then shape past. You can reduce the penalty with some chiseling, potentially, but it's still going to be hard. The rules changes you need to keep Earth College wizards from just tunneling through your megadungeon instead of exploring . . .

    2. Yeah, the burning option isnt a good one, its just one of the 80 ways I was thinking of. And hey, the pyromaniac might try it anyway... :)

      I get you on the anti-magic things. But where magic is an option, Transparency and Reshape seem custom made for doors. Or at least better than apportation and shape earth.

    3. It's well worth writing out - and I'm grateful to you for doing it in such detail. It's main role is probably going to be providing a good reason not to try burning doors down!

  4. I'm not glad Hannibal is dead, but I'm glad he never tried burning down a door.

  5. A couple small things come to mind, though they're more variations on what you've said above than strictly new.

    First, a portcullis or other barred entry is also vulnerable to saws or files. These would fall under Forcing, but are another tool to get the job done. They -might- be quieter, too.

    Second, for Forcing, those with truly amazing Strength available could just drag the whole thing out of the frame. Useful for the Hulk or the party who has brought a team of mules into the dungeon.

    Finally, acids or other solvents may be useful. This ranges from specialized vials of lockpicking acid you squirt into the mechanism to eat it away to a wizard repeatedly casting Create Acid up against the door and being willing to wait a long time.

    On the wizard front, you might want to include the effects of various environmental conditions on doors and locking mechanisms. I'm thinking fire or ice to malform delicate components. (Generally, I'd think instead of getting you through the door this would break it to the point that forcing it is your only option, but there might be exceptions.)


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