3 new rules...
Standing on the shoulders of research done by Telecanter, I rigged up these...
BURP Lockpicking Rules
Quoth the man:
Your thief knows four ways to manipulate locks...And that's it. She knows the wrong actions might Jam the lock permanently preventing it from being picked or opened with a key.
So, DM, when you come upon a lock, roll d4 to determine the method that will finally be effective:
Or BURP as a mnemonic.
An ordinary lock--most locks--only have ONE right move.
Roll or decide how hard the lock is--1 thru 4: This is how many guesses the PC gets. The harder the lock, the fewer wrong guesses you can make before it jams: i.e. a 1-Guess Lock jams on the first wrong guess.
A 4-Guess Lock is the easiest.
Assume "bump" and "probe" are radical solutions--like performing a "controlled drop" on your ipod to fix it.
Guessing wrong by 1 (i.e. guess "probe" and it's actually "rake") means you get to keep guessing (up until the jam limit for the lock). Guessing wrong by 2 or more (i.e. probing when you should be undulating) means the lock jams.
(Clever thieves will be able to realize after a while what their options are after one pass according to what happens to the lock. i.e. after a "rake" that does not jam the lock, the thief will know the next thing to do is undulate or probe.)
Every time a thief levels up, s/he gets one "get out of a jam free" card.
"Get out of jam free" cards can be used once, ever, so even high-level thieves will only have a handful at most at any given time.
These "cards" take 20 minus (thief level) rounds to use.
Having lock pick tools adds a number of "cards" equal to the gp cost of the tools divided by 25.
You can bolt on a system which takes into account traditional lock pick percentages by including that as a chance to unjam and remove the unjam-free system.
New traps: For any given civilization/dungeon/building that has recently and arbitrarily-placed traps, simply assign a number 1-4. That number represents trapped locks in that place. So like in one dungeon all "bump" locks could be trapped, in the next, all "rake" locks are trapped, etc. These traps respond to any attempt to pick the lock.
Old traps: This rule is for ruins and decaying places--these ancient traps are hard to spring. Two wrong guesses result in a trap going off.
BURP Disarming traps:
Tell the thief there's a trap and it'll go off after a number of wrong guesses equal to his/her level. The thief's options are as for a door, with the added modifiers of "hard" and "soft" (i.e. rake hard, rake soft, bump hard, bump soft, etc.) DM rolls a d8 to determine the proper action.
Die Drop Fumble:
If you drop a die off the table while rolling (DM too) it results in a "fumble token" to be used later to make a failure into a spectacular failure. If a player dropped the die, the DM may use it next time the PC fails to do something, if the DM dropped the die the players may choose to use it next time an NPC or monster fails to do something.
Playtest in 3 hours.