A new third-party Dungeons & Dragons supplement takes a long look at doors and locks. Locked doors are a common impediment in Dungeons & Dragons, providing a simple but effective barrier between the party and treasure, information, or some sort of final boss. They can also be a source of great frustration and inadvertent hilarity, as players often look for traps that aren't there or get waylaid by a series of poor lockpicking attempts. Now, a new DMs Guild supplement encourages DMs to take a look at doors a different way, focusing on their use as a narrative tool and what a door says about its owner.
The Incredible World of Doors & Locks by Martin Davico is a new supplement available on the DMs Guild. Not only does the guide provide tables of the different kind of doors or traps a party might encounter during their adventures, it also points out how to use doors as clues about the people who live behind them, or as challenges that players have to overcome. For example, a door that's meant to keep a creature inside is much different than a city gate meant to keep invaders out. Likewise, a city gate that's wide open has totally different implications than a city gate that's shut and guarded. These are all different ways that a door can provide valuable context clues to their players in a subtle fashion.
I also liked how The Incredible World of Doors & Locks approaches what a spare key says about its owner. A person with a high Intelligence stat may have hidden a copy of the key nearby, a person with a high Wisdom score may have a trick to using the door, and a person with a high Charisma may have given a copy of their key to a close friend or family member. These are deliberate clues that provide a little bit of extra context and can help a DM get into their NPC's heads or provide players with a little tease of who they're about to encounter.
Of course, The Incredible World of Doors & Locks also provides plenty of tables and guides, explaining everything from different kinds of hidden doors to puzzle doors. It also explains how to use a door as a challenge, complete with a ticking clock that serves to keep players anxious as they try to escape from a locked room before something terrible happens.
I always enjoy Dungeons & Dragons material that gets me to look at gameplay and worldbuilding a bit differently. The Incredible World of Doors & Locks takes a relatively mundane topic and turns it into a great way to tell stories and give clues in a unique fashion.
The Incredible World of Doors & Locks is available on the DMs Guild for $2.95.