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The description of the Move Object power effect says:

This effect can move objects, but cannot perform tasks of fine manipulation (like untying knots, typing, or manipulating controls) without the Precise modifier.

The description of its Precise modifier says:

Precise: Move Object with this modifier can be used for tasks involving fine manipulation.

Do my Ranks in Move Object, with Precise, become my Technology roll to pick a lock? If not, why?

I've asked this on Reddit, and people weren't citing pages or specific quotes from the text (and/or explaining it to me in a way I understood).

My character is a Metal Manipulation concept, and I thought it would be cool to touch a lock and have it open itself - if it's mechanical and made of metal; my power also has the flaws Limited Material (metal) and Close (must touch it).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, if your power allows you to manipulate all the parts of a metal object you're touching, and gives you any kind of ability to "see" or sense the metal in the object, you should just automatically unlock any mechanical lock you want. As a recent locksmithing enthusiast, I promise you that all the defenses and tricks that make locks harder to pick rely entirely on the picker not being able to see the internals, and a few of the most advanced also make it difficult to touch the pins. If you can "see" and move them freely, you win. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3, 2020 at 13:10

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Short answer, there's nothing in the book to support replacing your Technology check with your Move Object ranks, so there's nothing in the book to support that idea. So by the book, it is simply your Technology roll. And given Move Object ranks decide how much weight you can lift, not your precision, I honestly don't think extra ranks really make sense for becoming more precise in your movements.

What you can do is to buy Enhanced Skill (Limited to metal objects) alongside your power and use that. Note that, while I don't think there's a canonical addressing of the subject, the general agreement is that Flawed Skills follow the regular power Progression, and one Flaw would bring you to 1 PP / 3 ranks. If you made it also limited to Lockpicking (your character not really being the type to assemble a car engine on the spot), you could readily go to 1 PP / 4 ranks. Because of your ability to sense and move the metal using your powers, it's very cheap to get your Technology (or relevant Expertise skill, such as Expertise (Burglar)) high enough to hit caps, and thereby be one of the best around. 5 PP is enough to provide 20 ranks of Technology, enough to hit caps in a PL 10 game, and enough to be able to open bank vaults as a Routine check.

Side note, as discussed by a few people on the Reddit thread, there's nothing really inherent about picking locks being an Intellect thing. While it's not explicitly stated for other skills (and there are issues of point economy to consider), Expertise explicitly states that you can use other abilities as applicable, so Dexterity wouldn't be out of line.

The ability modifier for Expertise is typically Intellect, but some areas of expertise may call for different abilities, perhaps depending on the task involved. For example, a technical expert might rely on Intellect to answer questions and handle day-to-day procedures, but need Dexterity to perform the actual functions of the job. Performance skills, such as acting or music, may rely on Presence. The GM sets the ability modifier as needed for the specific Expertise check.

I'd also recommend getting either Improvised Tools or a relevant Feature so that you don't need tools for things you can do directly with your power to avoid any penalty.

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    \$\begingroup\$ after some more brainstorming, I eventually realized that using move object to attack something needs an attack roll, and that the move object rank is only for damage. It took a while but i think it finally clicked that lockpicking is more akin to attacking the lock rather than damaging the lock. I knew something was probably a miss when at PL6 i had a "lockpick" ability at 28 lmfao. Time to redo this aspect of my "manipulate Metal" array! \$\endgroup\$
    – MC_Hambone
    Dec 2, 2020 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad I could help. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2020 at 11:30

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