Open Locked Doors with Strength

Here’s another AD&D rule that I came across in the section on doors that I don’t ever remember using:

Regardless of how a door opens, it is usual that its weight and condition require that force be used to swiftly operate it. This is represented by the roll of d6 for each person involved in pushing, pulling, lifting, sliding, or whatever. A roll of 1 or 2 typically indicates success, anything above indicates the door still remains unopened. (Cf. PLAYERS HANDBOOK, Character Abilities, Strength.) Very heavy doors might reduce chances by half. Locked doors might only open if two or even three simultaneous 1’s are rolled. (DMG, page 97)

Note the bolded sentence. I’m positive that I would not have allowed a locked door to opened. Broken down, but not opened. The wording of this and the description of Open Doors under Strength in the PHB seems to refer to opening (“operating”) doors, though I know some people (and maybe the rules of some editions) indicate that the result may be a broken open door.

I’m sure I read this many times back in the day, as I read the book cover to cover several times and often just opened up to a random page and started reading. But I don’t specifically remember it.

Did/does anyone play that rolling a couple 1s on Open Doors checks opens a locked door?

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2 Responses to Open Locked Doors with Strength

  1. JB says:

    Nope, that one’s news to me and back in the day we used ALL the rules in AD&D…right down to speed factor and random head hits!

  2. 1d30 says:

    The rule assumes that all doors in the dungeon are stuck, unless otherwise noted. The hinges are rusted, the wood of the door and jamb swollen, encrustations of grit, spikes pounded in long ago to stick it, and tough dungeon vines clutching it. That’s the 2 in 6 chance (based on STR).

    Then you have locked doors. If you bash a locked door, you break the lock. You typically have to apply huge force to destroy the door or smash it off its hinges. Think like a policeman kicking in a door on COPS – even relatively weak solid core exterior doors typically just break the lock.

    When I read that rule, I wonder if they mean you need 2 or 3 people simultaneously bashing, or if when you roll a 1 you can reroll, and need subsequent rerolls all in the same bash attempt? In that case, a “needs 2 1s” means a 1 in 36 chance, while “needs 3 1s” is a 1 in 216 chance. Needing multiple people instead doesn’t change the chance, except that on a “needs 2” you have 3 chances to get 2 1s so that improves things somewhat.

    Because a 10′ hall offers “three abreast” walking space, I’d say you can’t bash a door with more than 3 people at once, and possibly only 2 or even 1 in narrow hallways.

    I’d give these modifiers:
    a heavy crowbar gives +1 to one person’s roll, weighs 10#
    a long pry-bar gives +1 to one person’s roll and lets him help from the back rank, weighs 30#
    a ram that needs a crew of 2 a +2 to each roll, 200#
    a ram that needs a crew of 4 a +3 to each roll, 400#

    So if they carry that big 400# metal ram they can roll 4 times and break down the locked door if at least 2 or 3 of them get 1-4 on d6.

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