Originally Posted by wolfing
You can see what's going on behind the curtain if you open the message log (think it's the 3rd or 4th button bottom left). Basically, if I remember correctly it works sort of like this. Your skill and tools give you a 'buffer' # of points to succeed (so, if your skill is 6 and you use lockpicks (+2) you have 8 buffer points). Then, 3 rolls are made (if you right click on the skill it'll tell you what it uses, for example (CO, DE, AG) those are the 3 checks against your stat scores it makes). Let's say you have CO 10, DE 11 and AG 12. A 1-20 roll is made on each. If it's lower it passes. If it's higher, you use your 'buffer points'. So, let's say your rolls are 8, 15 and 10. The 8 would be lower than the CO 10 so it's a pass. The 15 is higher than the DE 11, so you use 4 buffer points, and the 10 is lower than the AG 12, so you make the check and are successful with 4 points to spare.
There are modifiers of course, a difficult lock could be +2, or a specially easy lock could be -2, etc.
All made up numbers, I'm just talking from memory.