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LockpickTurningLock

The process of picking a lock

Locks are found throughout the wasteland on doors, safes and boxes. In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the player can use their Lockpick skill to pick a lock using bobby pins. Some can also be unlocked with keys.

Lockpicking in Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of SteelEdit

Picking locks in older Fallout games is simpler than in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas; instead of a mini-game, a lockpick skill roll will take place every time you use the skill on a door or a container. A successful roll will open the lock, a failure will not. A critical failure will break the lock, rendering it unavailable until the next day.

The lockpick skill can be used on unlocked doors and containers as well, and locking them will give the same amount of experience as unlocking a locked one (25 XP). Note that each door or container can only give experience once via lockpicking.

Lockpicking in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New VegasEdit

Lock difficultiesEdit

Difficulty Required Lockpick XP reward
Very Easy 0 20
Easy 25 30
Average 50 40
Hard 75 50
Very Hard 100 60

Locks come in 5 difficulties: very easy, easy, average, hard and very hard. Which locks you can pick depends on your Lockpick skill (see table to the right). Difficulty and your Lockpick skill also determine the probability of success for an attempt to force a lock open (see force lock below).

Experience pointsEdit

Depending on its difficulty (harder locks reward more XP), successfully opening a lock grants an amount of XP. Without any XP reward-increasing perks, each level rewards the player with the XP shown in the table above.

Picking a lockEdit

PickLockBobbyPinLocations

In order to pick a lock you must have a Lockpick skill high enough for the difficulty of the lock, and you must possess one or more bobby pins. Bobby pins are weightless items, often found in first aid kits and locked containers.

If the conditions are met, a mini game is activated. A bobby pin and screwdriver (a free, weightless item which does not appear in your inventory) are inserted into the keyhole of the lock. The player attempts to find the correct position for the pin, which is checked by turning the screwdriver as if it were a key. The further the screwdriver turns the lock, the closer the pin is to the correct position. Once the screwdriver is able to turn the lock a full 90 degrees, the lock opens.

The basic premise is complicated by several factors. If the player fails to determine the correct position of the lock too many times, the bobby pin will break, forcing the player to use another in order to continue the attempt. The number of times it takes for a pin to break varies, as placing too much force on the screwdriver will cause it to break faster than a light touch. The integrity of the pin can be roughly tracked by how violently it shakes on a failed attempt. When it is about to break, it will bounce out of the center position. The player can exit the mini game and restart it, which will prevent the pin from breaking, but this will also reset the correct position for the pin. Since there are dozens of bobby pins in the main game alone, it is often more practical to simply break one or two pins on a difficult lock. In addition, the difficulty level of the lock determines how accurately the bobby pin must be placed and how easy the pin is to break. A very easy lock needs little to no pin adjustment for a successful attempt, in turn making the likelihood of breaking a pin low. A very hard lock, conversely, requires extremely precise placement, and thus the repeated checks to find the correct position will wear out a pin quickly.

Controls for PCEdit

The bobby pin is moved with the mouse, in a semi-circle around the top of the lock. The screwdriver is moved by tapping any movement key. In order to get the most out of a single pin, it is recommended to gently tap the screwdriver until it encounters resistance, then adjust the pin position and repeat until the lock is opened.

Controls for console versionsEdit

The bobby pin is moved with one analog stick, and the screwdriver with the other. The controller will vibrate with the wiggling of the bobby pin, and vibrate strongly as it starts to break. As with the PC, a light touch is recommended to keep the pin intact as long as possible.

Force lockEdit

It is also possible to skip the mini game by attempting to force a lock open. The probability of success for this action depends on your Lockpick skill and the difficulty of the lock. This is far less reliable than the mini game, as the only combination which has a 100% success rate is a very easy lock with a Lockpick skill of 90-100; every other combination will have a smaller percentage.

If you fail at forcing the lock open it will break, and no other attempt at opening it can be made unless you have the Infiltrator perk (which grants a second attempt) or the appropriate key.

List of locks (Fallout 3)Edit

Closest map marker Directions Difficulty
Chryslus Building Lower offices, first door on the left in the hallway. Very Hard
Citadel B-Ring: Elder Lyons' safe in the far back of his room, near his bed. Very Hard
Citadel Citadel laboratory: The Armory is located in an extra room on the bottom level with a locked cell door. Very Hard
Corvega factory South of it, a footlocker in a flipped over truck trailer. Very Hard
Dukov's Place South of it, in a small enclosed raider camp. ammunition box behind a counter. Very Hard
Falls Church The southernmost of the Office buildings with a bunch of super mutants has a 100 skill door inside. Very Hard
Fort Bannister In a bunker to the right just as you enter the front entrance. Very Hard
Fort Constantine Bomb Storage, and several doors within. Very Hard
Grayditch Dumpster, behind the diner. Very Hard
L.O.B. Enterprises Safe in the CEO office. Very Hard
Mama Dolce's Food Distribution: 2 doors on an isolated catwalk with blank walls behind them. Very Hard
MDPL mass relay station Safe inside. Very Hard
Megaton Back door to Moriarty's Saloon Very Easy
Megaton Mister Burke's house Very Hard
Megaton Craterside Supply Very Hard
Megaton Desk in Water processing plant; see Leo's Drug Habit Very Hard
Megaton Megaton armory Very Hard
Meresti trainyard First aid kit in Robert's area in Meresti service tunnel Very Easy
Meresti trainyard Ammunition box in Robert's area in Meresti service tunnel Average
Meresti trainyard 3 locked first aid kits in Meresti Metro station, one behind the counter in Karl's shop, one up the escalators on a shelf and one in Vance's room Very Easy
Meresti trainyard 2 ammunition boxes behind the counter in Karl's shop Average
Megaton The cabinet in Moriarty's room in Moriarty's Saloon can contain quite a few caps Hard
Meresti trainyard Ammunition box behind the counter in Karl's shop Hard
Meresti trainyard Cabinet up the escalators Very Easy
Meresti trainyard Cabinet up the escalators Hard
Meresti trainyard Wall safe in Vance's room on the second floor, also can be unlocked by terminal next to it Average
Minefield Entrance to Gibson house, also can be opened by Ridgefield gate key Very Easy
Minefield Ammunition box in Arkansas' sniping post Easy
Minefield Entrance to Gillian house, also can be opened by Ridgefield gate key Average
Minefield Entrance to Zane house, also can be opened by Ridgefield gate key Average
Minefield Entrance to Benson house, also can be opened by Ridgefield gate key Hard
Minefield Wall safe behind dresser in upstairs bedroom in Benson house Easy
Minefield Wall safe behind book case in upstairs bedroom in Gibson house Easy
Minefield Small model house inside the Gibson house (the key to this model house can be found inside the Capitol Post building in L'Enfant Plaza on the body of Gibson) Very Hard
Minefield Floor safe under bed in upstairs bedroom in Gillian house Easy
Minefield Wall safe behind dresser on the first floor of the Zane house Easy
Museum of History On the 2nd floor. Very Hard
National Archives Along the "front door" (long way) entrance to Button Gwinnett's office. Very Hard
National Archives Gate, Archives Sub-basement, on top of stair case, opposite to "Door to Archives Secure Wing East". Very Hard
Nuka-Cola Factory Door straight ahead as you enter. It can be opened from other side with a switch on the left. Very Hard
Oasis Gate to the Damp Caves to fulfill the Oasis quest. Very Hard
Old Olney Olney sewers has one. Very Hard
Rivet City In the broken bow at the west end of the ship. Watch out for the frag mine on the left as soon as you enter. This door can also be unlocked by activating a flip switch just on the other side of the door if you enter the broken bow the long way (underwater entrance). Very Hard
Rockbreaker's Last Gas Gun Locker in the abandoned shack at the top of the cliff. Contains the Victory Rifle. Very Hard
Roosevelt Academy Roosevelt Library Very Hard
SatCom Array NW-07c First aid kit 50 metres away due East inside at the back of a blue semi-truck. Also find "Internment Orders" holotape at the mouth of the truck's rear opening. Very Hard
Springvale School On the lower level - leads to an unfinished tunnel towards Vault 101 Very Hard
Springvale School On the second level - ammunition box located next to a terminal. Easy
Super-Duper Mart Pharmacy in the back of the building Easy
VAPL-58 Power Station Safe inside, also north of it, inside a walled up cable tower. Very Hard
Wheaton Armory In a very radioactive bunker with an excellent stash of weapons behind it. Very Hard
Vault 101 In atrium, the door to the Overseer's office. Very Easy
Vault 101 In your fathers office, the picture on the wall of your mothers favorite passage. Average

List of locks (Fallout: New Vegas)Edit

Closest map marker Directions Difficulty
Atomic Wrangler casino Ground level, behind the bar, near the bathroom there is a door. Very hard
Bitter Springs recreation area In the office, there is a safe. Average
Black Mountain Behind the broadcast building after you've reached the top there's a gate. Hard
Black Mountain One of the large, light-blue trunks in the large makeshift shelter near where Neil waits for you after your initial encounter. Average
Bloodborne cave Go straight as you enter the cave and you'll find a gate, be careful as there is a trap wire right behind the gate. Very Hard
Bloodborne cave You need to have picked the very hard gate first, and then there's a trunk. Average
Bradley's shack Behind his bed is a first aid box. Very Easy
Brewer's beer bootlegging The door to the cellar. Average
Brewer's beer bootlegging In the basement is a gun cabinet. Can also be unlocked with the key found in the next room on the table with the chemistry set. Hard
Brewer's beer bootlegging In the southeastern corner of the cellar is an explosives crate. Average
Camp Forlorn Hope Across from the Quartermaster's tent; the storage shed door. Very Hard
Camp Forlorn Hope In the Medical Center, there's a locker. Hard
Camp McCarran In a large tent north of the central entrance to Camp McCarran terminal building there is a Grenade Box. Average
Camp McCarran terminal building The MP confiscated goods trunk found on the second floor, across from the interrogation room. Can also be unlocked with the NCR MP confiscated goods trunk key. Very Hard
Camp Searchlight In the Seachlight NCR storage room where Logan is found. Can also be accessed via the nearby NCR storage database terminal (Average). Average
Cannibal Johnson's cave Next to Cannibal Johnson's bed there is a locked trunk. Average
Charleston cave In the center of the large room directly south of the entrance there is an ammunition box. Easy
Crimson Caravan Company In the guard barracks there is an ammunition box. Easy
Crimson Caravan Company In the Crimson Caravan main office, the desk that Alice McLafferty sits behind. Very Easy
Crimson Caravan Company In the Crimson Caravan main office, there is a safe between the lockers and the desk that Alice McLafferty sits behind. Average
El Rey Motel At the western end of the bridge near the motel, there is a mine box near a sandbag fortification. Easy
Emergency service railyard At the southwest corner of the building, there is a metal box under the wooden platform. Easy
Freeside In the Atomic Wrangler casino, the door in the large entrance room labeled for entry by authorized personnel only. Very Hard
Gomorrah Various doors throughout the building. Very Hard
Goodsprings Northeast exterior door of Prospector Saloon. Very Easy
Goodsprings Southwest exterior door of Prospector Saloon. Very Easy
Goodsprings Safe inside bedroom of Goodsprings Home directly SE from Doc Mitchell's house. Average
Goodsprings Safe inside Goodsprings schoolhouse. It can also be unlocked via the nearby Average terminal. Easy
Goodsprings Floor safe inside Goodsprings gas station. It's located behind the counter, partially concealed by the bed. Easy
Goodsprings Floor safe in south room of Prospector Saloon. It can also be unlocked via the nearby Easy terminal. Hard
Gun Runners (Fallout: New Vegas) The chain gate to the left of the kiosk. Average
Gun Runners (Fallout: New Vegas) The locker on the right in the room with the Gun runner terminal. Average
HELIOS One A door at the southeastern corner of HELIOS One Power Plant. Very Easy
HELIOS One A safe at the Solar collection tower down the stairs from the entrance. Average
HELIOS One A safe at the Solar collection tower, downstairs in a southern room. Average
Hidden supply cave The exterior door of the cave. Average
Hidden Valley The door in the bunker that is next to the intercom. Very Hard
Jacobstown The exterior door of the Jacobstown Bungalow that is closest to the Jacobstown lodge's front doors. Average
Jean Sky Diving There's a locker inside the building. It can also be unlocked with the key on the nearby table. Average
Lucky 38 At the cocktail lounge you can find a safe. Average
Lucky 38 At the cocktail lounge you can find a briefcase. Hard
NCR Correctional Facility On the first floor of the Administration building, there's a First aid box. Easy
NCR Correctional Facility On the second floor of the Administration building, there's a door directly ahead of the top of the stairs. Average
NCR Correctional Facility On the second floor of the Administration building, there's a wall safe directly behind Eddie. Average
NCR Correctional Facility In Cell Block A, there is an armor case in the last cell on the right. Average
NCR Correctional Facility In Cell Block A, there is a mine box in the last cell on the right. Easy
NCR Correctional Facility In Cell Block B, there's a footlocker in the first cell on the right. Very Easy
NCR Correctional Facility In Cell Block B, the first cell door to the left. Easy
Nipton The cage door in the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Average
Nipton The refrigerator in the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Easy
Nipton The kitchen cabinet in the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Average
Nipton The desk in the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Very Easy
Nipton The bedroom cabinet in the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Easy
Nipton The safe in the bathroom of the booby-trapped house East of the Nipton General Store. Very Easy
Nipton General Store The door behind the counter. Easy
Nipton Hall In Town Hall Steyn's Office, there is a door. Very Easy
Nipton Hall In Town Hall Steyn's Office, the door to the room behind the mayor's office. Average
Nipton Road Pit Stop There is a Grenade Box in the destroyed house to the North of the road. Easy
Novac Inside the Dino Dee-lite front desk, behind the counter there is a floor safe. Easy
Novac Inside the Dino Bite gift shop, behind the counter there is a door. Very Easy
Novac Inside Ranger Andy's bungalow, there is a gun case atop a shelf on the wall. Average
Novac Inside McBride house, there is a first aid box in the bathroom. Easy
Novac Inside McBride house, there is a gun case atop a shelf on the wall. Average
Novac Inside the Novac house just north of McBride house, there is a first aid box in the bathroom. Very Easy
Novac Inside the Novac house just north of McBride house, there is a footlocker in the bedroom. Average
Novac Inside the Novac house just south of No-bark's shack, there is a footlocker under the bed in the bedroom. Easy
Primm Inside the Bison Steve Hotel, there's a door behind the counter to the right of the front entrance. Hard
Primm Inside the Bison Steve Hotel, there's a safe in the room where the Bison Steve maintenance key can be found. Average
Primm Inside the Bison Steve Hotel, there's a floor safe behind the counter in the gift shop. Contains Lucky Hard
Primm Inside the Bison Steve Hotel, the maintenance door in the SE corner of the room where the elevator can be found. Can also be unlocked with the Bison Steve maintenance key. Easy
Primm On the second floor of the Bison Steve Hotel, the door immediately to the left of the elevator. Very Easy
Primm On the second floor of the Bison Steve Hotel, a door near the SW corner. Very Easy
Primm On the third floor of the Bison Steve Hotel, the gun cabinet in the large destroyed room. Can also be unlocked with the Worn key (Bison Steve hotel) Average
Primm The door leading to the cashier's cage in the Vicki and Vance Casino. Very Easy
Primm The sixth safe from the left on the top row of safes in Vicki and Vance Casino's cashier's cage. Easy
Primm The first safe from the left in the middle row of safes in Vicki and Vance Casino's cashier's cage. Hard
Primm The fifth safe from the left on the bottom row of safes in Vicki and Vance Casino's cashier's cage. Easy
Ranger station Bravo Inside the truck trailer at the southwestern corner of the station, there are four total Ammunition boxes. Average
Ranger station Delta Inside the communications tent, there is a Gun Case. Average
Ranger station Echo Inside the communications hut, there is an Ammunition Box. Easy
Ranger station Foxtrot Inside the tent, there is a First Aid Box. Very Easy
Ranger station Foxtrot Inside the tent, there is a Mine Box. Very Easy
REPCONN headquarters A door on the main floor, to the right of the lobby as soon as the building is entered. Can also be unlocked with the nearby Average terminal. Average
REPCONN headquarters A door on the main floor, to the right of two protectron bays. Average
REPCONN headquarters A door on the main floor, near the Shipping sign. Very Hard
REPCONN headquarters A door on the main floor, behind the counter in the gift shop. Hard
REPCONN headquarters A safe in the room behind the gift shop. Average
REPCONN headquarters On the main floor past three exhibit rooms is a double broken door. Average
REPCONN headquarters A door to the second floor, located by climbing the ramp created by the broken floor in the room with the Q-35 matter modulator. Hard
REPCONN headquarters On the second floor, across the hall from the Hard locked door containing the Q-35 matter modulator, there are two separate doors. Average
REPCONN headquarters On the second floor, across the hall from the Hard locked door containing the Q-35 matter modulator, there are two separate doors. Average
REPCONN headquarters A safe in the northwestern corner of the top floor. Can also be unlocked via the nearby terminal. Easy
REPCONN test site On the road leading to the site, to the southeast there's a Grenade Box in the sandbag-fortified area where the road curves slightly. Easy
REPCONN test site In the lobby, there's a door directly behind the semi-circular desk. Easy
REPCONN test site Up the stairs beyond the locked lobby door, the first door on the left. Easy
REPCONN test site Up the stairs beyond the locked lobby door, inside the locked room on the left, there's a safe. Easy
REPCONN test site Up the stairs beyond the locked lobby door, inside the locked room on the left, there's a door. Easy
REPCONN test site Up the west stairs beyond the broken double doors, the first door on the left. Very Easy
REPCONN test site On the third floor, in a carpeted room. There's a safe behind the semi-circular desk. Average
REPCONN test site On the third floor, the room across the hall from the carpeted room. Very Easy
REPCONN test site The door to the REPCONN basement. Can also be unlocked with the key given to the player by Jason Bright. Easy
REPCONN test site In REPCONN basement, the southern room. Harland is inside. Easy
Residential District Dead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM South of the entrance to the Villa and directly to the east of a staircase, there is a gate. Average
Residential District Dead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM Inside the Cloud in the courtyard with two trees there's an ammunition box. A RadAway is nearby for visual reference. Average
Ruby Hill mine In the area filled with water. You can get there either by swimming or walking, there is a box. Average
Ruby Hill mine In the area filled with water. You can get there either by swimming or walking, there is a box. Hard
Silver Rush The door at the southwest corner of the large main room. Hard
Silver Rush A safe in the room leading to the stairs. Can also be unlocked with the terminal on the nearby table. Hard
Silver Rush A door up the stairs, straight down the first hall on the left. Hard
Silver Rush A door up the stairs, straight down at the end of the first hall. Hard
Sloan Inside the Worker barracks, the locker on the right in the back of the room. Easy
Sniper's nest A Gun Case on the floor. Very Hard
Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters Go up a flight of stairs and down another to the ground floor. The door that's already open and broken can be picked for the xp. Very Hard
The Prospector's Den In the second room on the right, there is an Armor Case. Average
The Prospector's Den In the second room on the right, there is a Gun Case. Easy
Ultra-Luxe The cashier's door in the lobby. Average
Vault 21 The door to Sarah's room. It's located northeast from the entrance. Average
Vault 21 Inside Sarah's room there is a locked dresser next to the bed. Hard
VillaDead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM In the area directly east of the fountain where the hologram of Father Elijah is encountered, there's a metal box on the second-floor walkway. It can be reached via the stairs from the nearby gift shop. Average
VillaDead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM In the shop directly south from the Salida del Sol entrance, there's a cash register. One of Dean's Secret Stashes can be found here as well. Hard
VillaDead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM The door to the Villa Police Station. Very Easy
VillaDead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM North of the door to the Villa Police Station, there's a courtyard with two tree planters. There's a blue door on the west wall. Up the stairs inside this door, there is a gun cabinet. Average
VillaDead MoneyGametitle-FNV DM Near the door to the Villa Police Station, there's a metal box. Average
Wins hideout Inside the Wins hideout is The Wins' safe. Can also be unlocked via dialog check (Speech 55) with Pauline Wins. Very Hard

Behind the scenesEdit

  • The way in which lock picking is portrayed in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas is almost completely inaccurate. A torque wrench (screwdriver) and a pick (bobby pin) are present, but the action of actually picking the lock is nothing like what a pin tumbler lock or most other locks with a cylindrical design would require to successfully manipulate the lock.

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