Forgery and Lockpicking


Cosmic Mongoose
Both of these skills seem hard to pin down in 2e. Both are specialised. In earlier editions I recall Forgery was a skill.
What do you use? Mechanical for locks seems unsuitable as knowing how to fix a machine is really far removed from doing things you shouldn't...
Well, first of all nothing prevents you from creating any skill you need in your games.
With higher Tech Level, I would say TL7+, locks are more likely to have some electronic components, that can be tricked into opening the lock. So the Electronics skill with the specialization Comm/Computer might replace a Lockpicking skill. You could introduce the specialization Security should you desire. For pure mechanical locks you could use Athletics(Dexterity). Mechanic(DEX) might be an option as well. Or maybe they can be opened by pure force so Athletics(Strength) might be handy.
Any appropriate Art skill can be used as a forgery skill.
Another approach could be to put Forgery and Lockpicking under the Streetwise skill.
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Skills are fairly general by design so it isn't odd for Mechanics to cover a range of things.

Per CSC: lockpicking is covered by Mechanics (for physical locks) or Electronics/Computers (for digital locks).

Conventional Forgery would most likely fall under Deception, which is a catch-all for underhanded methods. Admin or Electronics/Computers might suffice for specific cases.
One tool I use only occasionally is "lower of two skills." So Lockpicking might be lower of Mechanic and Stealth for analog, or lower of Computers and Stealth for digital. And Forgery might be lower of Admin (or sometimes Computers) and one of Stealth, Deception or maybe even Streetwise.

This breaks with general best practice of construing skills broadly (i.e. spotting a tail in a crowd I'd take Recon or Streetwise, not only Recon and definitely not requiring lower of the two). But it works well for things that you want some but not all characters to be able to do. If you want nearly all Travellers to be gunsmiths then it can be Gun Combat + Int or Edu, but if you want only some Travellers to be gunsmiths it can be lower of Mechanic and Gun Combat, or lower of Electronics and Gun Combat - Energy. And if you don't want every PC with Mechanic 0 or 1 (which can be all of them in some groups) to be a lockpick, then pairing it with Stealth works.

Credit where it's due, I stole the general idea from 1e's Rogue book. It's a great idea, but inexplicably poorly implemented there. Instead of making Stealth or whatever else the cap they introduced an unneeded and unasked for new skill (Security? I forget) as the cap. Which breaks compatibility with the core career skill charts, and needlessly dilutes the value of skills you roll. (Presumably, any character you think should be a lockpick, second story man, or whatever else, will also be getting Stealth at some level anyway, so might as well use that.)