Whether you're just trying to loot some extra gold or you like to break into every house in Tamriel, learning how to effectively pick locks in "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" is a crucial skill to learn. Lockpicks are a finite resource, and jamming them haphazardly into a lock is a surefire way to break them.
Acquiring Lockpicks: Honest and Dishonest Methods
Honest Method: With your weapon in hand, clearing out the caves where bandits, raiders and goblins hide is sure to reward you with several lockpicks along the way. You also have a 10 percent chance to come across a lockpick when looting anything outdoors. If you want to buy lockpicks, your only option is to prepare for a life of crime and join the Thieves Guild.
Dishonest Method: If you have a high enough Sneak skill, you can steal lockpicks NPCs carry. If they don't have any on them, just take their gold instead; you can buy more lockpicks from fences after joining the Thieves Guild.
Manipulating the Locks: Make Them Yours
Seating yourself in front of a locked container, check the text on-screen to see how difficult the lock is. The harder the lock, the more tumblers you have to pick to open it; Very Easy starts with one tumbler while Very Hard uses all five. Your lockpicking skill doesn't actually dictate what kind of locks you can open, but instead prevents an increasing number of the lock's tumblers from falling should you break a pick. The higher your skill, the fewer tumblers break after a failed attempt.
Begin by tapping the tumbler up a few times. You want the tumbler the stick to the top of the lock without immediately falling back into place. It may take a few tries before you learn the pattern of when the tumbler will stick to the top of the lock and when it will simply fall back down.
Press the action button to secure the tumbler while it's sticking to the top. This keeps it in its place.
Continue until all of the tumblers are secure. Take your time; the tumblers don't fall if you take too long, but they will fall if you break the lockpick setting the next one. After all tumblers are in the correct position, the lock will open.
While you're still learning, save your game before picking a new lock; this way, you'll be able to reload the save if your lockpick breaks to avoid the loss.
Avoiding Arrest, You Criminal Scum
As you might expect, it's not exactly kosher to undo the locks your neighbors set; if they wanted you to take their things, they wouldn't lock it in the first place. You'll get a tiny bounty of five gold if you're caught stealing.
Don't get busted: When you crouch, you'll see an eye appear as your cursor. When the eye is lit and visible, someone can see you; give a quick look around to make sure it's not just a stray animal. When the eye is dim, you're hidden and free to pick the lock without worry.
What to do: If you do get busted, it's a small fee unless you take your revenge on the witness and someone ends up dead: then it's 1000 gold. Just cough up the small five gold bounty and expect your stolen goods to be confiscated.
Obtaining the Daedric Skeleton Key: Even More Power
You can't really trust the fences you get new lockpicks from, and taking out bandits is just dangerous; you're built for stealth, not combat. Completing Nocturnal's Daedric quest, which requires you to return her eye from the Tidewater Cave, grants you the Skeleton Key. This unbreakable tool boosts your Security skill by 40 points briefly when you use it, making it impossible to get locked out of a container. Rather than using the tool manually, just auto-solve the lock until it eventually opens.
How to Pick a Car Lock
If you've shut the door of your car before taking the keys out of the ignition, you know that sinking feeling of...