Sunday, June 12, 2022

QHW, Day 5: Traps

Traps should either be A) very dangerous, so players know to be careful, but also uncommon; or B) very common, so players know to be careful, but not so dangerous. 

Examples of Type A:

The Green Demon Face in Tomb of Horrors is a good example of Type A:

A giant, evil-looking Demon Face with an open mouth that leads to a section of absolute darkness.  Right behind the mouth is a sphere of annihilation.  If the players go into the mouth, they are obliterated and die, along with anything in the mouth.

Now, this isn't a trap, per say, but it is a good indication of what kind of dungeon that you're entering.  The Tomb is not messing around.  If you screw around, you will die. 

An example of Type B:

The Tomb of the Serpent Kings is an RPG module written by Skerples (of Coins and Scrolls) and it functions as a tutorial dungeon, meant to instruct players on how to do an OSR dungeon crawl.  One of the first areas of the dungeon features a hammer trap that, if the player's aren't careful, will smash into them and do significant damage, but probably won't kill them, barring truly bad luck.  This is intended explicitly as warning and a lesson- be careful of traps, they are dangerous.

The hammer trap repeats later in the dungeon, but the second time, it is far more dangerous.  Hopefully the players were paying attention earlier, otherwise, someone's character might end up splattered. 

Some Type A Traps:


1- A set of saw-blades that are concealed in the walls.  Trigger the pressure plates and they shoot out, one at knee-level, the other at mid-chest level.  If you trigger the pressure plate, save or die.  On a successful save, you take oodles of damage.  Those who fail their saves are slashed into convenient, bite-sized pieces.  The hall is littered with bifurcated skeletons, just in case the players don't get the hint. 
2- An Indiana Jones style boulder.  When triggered, it rolls down the narrow hallway, crushing anything in it's path.  You can't save to avoid it, you need to become something that can't be crushed or somehow stop the boulder.  This one might function better as a puzzle.
3- A door rigged with poison gas.  Fail to pick the lock or use the key and it dispenses a cloud of poison gas through the vents in the door.  Save or take some large amount of poison damage, plus be sickened for 1d4 hours.  This gives disadvantages on Attacks and certain saving throws. 

Some Type B Traps:


1- A hallway with concealed dart launchers hidden in the walls.  You hit the trip-wire and it showers you with darts.  The darts do 2d6 damage, save for half, but you get advantage on the save if you have a shield.  Alternatively, the darts do DEX damage and paralyze someone if their DEX is reduced to 0 DEX.
2- A pit trap.  If you step on it, you fall into a deep pit that is too deep to climb out of.  Spikes at the bottom, smeared in poison or filth, are optional.  Not that dangerous, if there are not spikes, but still can prevent progress.
3- A Mimic.  Mimics aren't that dangerous, but can be really annoying.  High-level players are only going to be inconvenienced by them, though once you introduce the idea that Mimics are nearby, your players will become extremely cautious.
4- A bucket of acid set above a door, college prank style.  The only difference is that instead of getting wet and saying "Very funny", your flesh begins to dissolve! 

Things a good Murderhobo Adventurer never leaves home without:

1- Length of Rope or Wire
2- Caltrops
3- A folding shovel
4- Grease.     

1 comment:

  1. Now I want to put a bucket of acid above some dungeon door, with a group of goblins hidden nearby who will start laughing madly if the acid spills on anybody.