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TheThan
2009-08-29, 02:22 PM
Iíve decided to deploy the murder holes in an up and coming dungeon. The question I have is how exactly to handle the trap.

I've come up with two ways of doing this. I could simply have any pc passing under the murder hole make a reflex save or take 1d6 damage from the falling rock (ceilings are only about 10 ft tall). Or I could have the creatures manning the murder holes make ranged attacks with the rocks. Dealing I guess 1d6+str bonus damage to anyone they attack.

However Iíve hit an interesting problem, the murder holes are all built into 5ft wide hallways, which means the pcs canít simply evade them. However they may decide to run through the traps, trying to get through it as quickly as possible. Which is the crux of my problem, what sort of penalties would the creatures manning the murder holes suffer if they were to throw their rocks on a group of running pcs?


Depending on what sort of information I get I may just end up using the first idea. oh by the way, this is going to be a 3.5 game.

Eldariel
2009-08-29, 02:49 PM
As written, PCs actually defend worse while running - you can't benefit of your Dex-bonus to AC. That sorta makes sense, since you aren't defending yourself and dodging the projectiles, but it is true that an untrained thrower would have trouble predicting the runners' speed and hitting them.

Mayhap just issue an ad hoc penalty if the throwers aren't used to the activity and remove the penalty if none exists. Also, no crossbows or such? Would make sense with murder holes. Burning oil, pitch (and sticky substances), etc. too.

RS14
2009-08-29, 02:54 PM
Murder holes don't really make sense in a hallway. You put them above doors or exterior walls (machicolations) to bombard people trying to mess with your doors or walls. Their purpose isn't really to kill people (though they can do so), but rather to keep people from loitering in the places they protect.

Mike_G
2009-08-29, 03:07 PM
But, the way D&D Hp work, it's nice attrition.

Plus, the party will be looking up, not looking for other traps, or, if they run though, they are less likely to spot pit traps.

Not a lethal encounter on their own, but a nice addition.

Umael
2009-08-29, 03:58 PM
Typically, murder holes were used between the first and second gates of a castle. The defenders could shoot arrows, but boiling oil or hot sand was more effective.

Of course, this being D&D, I recommend going with something... nastier.

Green slime for example.

TheThan
2009-08-30, 02:10 AM
Iím using small sized creatures for the opening level of this dungeon. So I figured Iíd make good use of crawlspaces to get them around the dungeon without getting them killed by the PCs. Inside these crawlspaces small creatures can move around at no penalty but medium creatures have to crawl (5ft movement, AOOs). In these crawl spaces they have arrow slits, murder holes and probably some other ďmannedĒ traps.

Honestly Iím taking a little inspiration from Tuckerís Kobold and am simply making these guys work together and fight with tactics. One of the tactics is heavy use of traps.

awa
2009-08-30, 02:24 AM
readied actions to hit any thing running through would work, for a small creature throwing a rock d6+ str seems a little bit high Boiling water/oil/lead were all dumped out of murder holes, lead is both very expensive and take a huge amount of prep time but it will wreck your day

daggaz
2009-08-30, 02:37 AM
There is no mechanic for what you want, so if you want to be fair to both your players and your brain, just make one up.

Say the pcs run, but the little murderers see them coming, so they ready an action. RAW says they automatically hit the square when the PCs are in it. You as the DM can just give them an appropriate miss chance, perhaps based on the individuals running speeds. A clever thing would be to work in whether they miss one or two squares ahead or behind of their target, as they might inadvertantly mook another slower or faster PC..

For instance, have them roll a d10 to hit the first PC. 3,4,5,6,+7 hit the PC successfully (hey, its a big rock, right?). 2 and the rock lands right in front of the PC (who has to make a reflex save to not run smack into it for damage), 1 and the rock lands two squares ahead, creating a minor barrier. 8 and the rock lands one square behind, 9 is two behind, both might squash whoever is behind. 0 is for a critical failure :smallamused: maybe one of the badguys accidenally falls out of the hole instead of the rock, roll again to see which square he lands in and just reroll a double zero.

Lycar
2009-08-30, 06:16 PM
Hm... what if a player informs you that his shield-bearing hero is effectivly immune to the small missiles from the murder holes, since the (large) shield covers his entire body (from above anyway)?

This wouldn't help against the nastier stuff (burning oil maybe) but should indeed afoord a much better protection then a mere +1/2 to AC would indicate.

Lycar

Foryn Gilnith
2009-08-30, 06:19 PM
Why are you using anything but boiling oil anyway? A mere rock is going to be impossible to aim; oil gives you a much greater margin of error. It could even be represented through a Reflex save rather than an attack, saving you the effort of having to figure out attack modifiers.

Grumman
2009-08-30, 06:35 PM
Of course, this being D&D, I recommend going with something... nastier.
Mindflayer larvae?

Thinker
2009-08-30, 06:50 PM
Depending on the size of the rocks I'd make it 1d6+Str damage, -4 penalty for thrown (nonproficiency), running characters have no dex to AC, the creatures throwing the rocks gain +8 bonus AC for cover.

Raum
2009-08-30, 08:19 PM
I'd recommend making it an attack roll to hit for single target attacks (arrow, thrown rock, etc) and reflex save for area attacks.

Classical murder holes are fairly deep (up to several feet) and narrow making moving targets difficult to hit. So I'd designate a target / trap area and fire at anyone who ends movement in that area. I'd also locate the murder holes where movement is likely to be constricted and stopped - doorways, near open pits, intersections, etc.

However, if/when the defenders are using area attacks (buckets of rocks, boiling oil, acid, burning sand, pepper, etc) through the murder hole I'd have them use readied actions to hit anyone moving through the area. Then create a DC based on attack type and allow reflex saves for half.

Manually triggered traps are more likely to be used in areas where the targets keep moving...they don't require time to aim. Just pull the lever when your victim moves into the area.

Umael
2009-08-30, 08:20 PM
Mindflayer larvae?

...um, no.

How would kobolds get ahold of mindflayer larvae in the first place, let alone keep them alive long enough to be effective? Plus, the larvae work very slowly, and if they were effective, did you think the kobolds would want a fledgling mindflayer in their midst?

On the other hand...

hot sand
boiling oil
hot tar
liquid nitrogen (well, good luck with that one, but still...)
dung
lots of Tiny Constructs (or smaller)
wyrmling Black Dragons (more likely than White Dragons)
small Water Elementals
Gnome body parts
napalm?
Tiny vipers (lots of them)
rot grubs
vermin swarms (centipedes are good in my book)
Assassin Vines might be able to reach through the murder holes
spears go through too

And of course, kobolds have sorcerers. Pick up the PHB and look for an appropriate 1st level spell or two, and have fun.

Pika...
2009-08-30, 08:29 PM
There is no mechanic for what you want, so if you want to be fair to both your players and your brain, just make one up.

Say the pcs run, but the little murderers see them coming, so they ready an action. RAW says they automatically hit the square when the PCs are in it. You as the DM can just give them an appropriate miss chance, perhaps based on the individuals running speeds. A clever thing would be to work in whether they miss one or two squares ahead or behind of their target, as they might inadvertantly mook another slower or faster PC..

For instance, have them roll a d10 to hit the first PC. 3,4,5,6,+7 hit the PC successfully (hey, its a big rock, right?). 2 and the rock lands right in front of the PC (who has to make a reflex save to not run smack into it for damage), 1 and the rock lands two squares ahead, creating a minor barrier. 8 and the rock lands one square behind, 9 is two behind, both might squash whoever is behind. 0 is for a critical failure :smallamused: maybe one of the badguys accidenally falls out of the hole instead of the rock, roll again to see which square he lands in and just reroll a double zero.


I love this. May I steal it?

Thrawn183
2009-08-30, 08:34 PM
I would say make the hallway really long. Then make it so that there is a limit to how many times the PC's can be attacked in a round. Even though the PC's will be easier to hit while running, by taking less attacks, they'll end up getting hit less.

Pika...
2009-08-30, 08:35 PM
Hm... what if a player informs you that his shield-bearing hero is effectivly immune to the small missiles from the murder holes, since the (large) shield covers his entire body (from above anyway)?

This wouldn't help against the nastier stuff (burning oil maybe) but should indeed afoord a much better protection then a mere +1/2 to AC would indicate.

Lycar

I'd personally rule that he start keeping track of the damage I am calculating for his shield.

He makes it past before the shield loses all it's HP? Congrats, I just rewarded a player for being smart.

The shield collects enough damage to break it? Well, at the very least the PC avoids some damage.

TheThan
2009-08-31, 12:59 AM
I'd personally rule that he start keeping track of the damage I am calculating for his shield.

He makes it past before the shield loses all it's HP? Congrats, I just rewarded a player for being smart.

The shield collects enough damage to break it? Well, at the very least the PC avoids some damage.

I would treat this like sundering personally, it makes perfect sense.

player: "i hold my shield over my head and run through the danger zone!"

DM: ok (rolls alot of dice).. you make it to the other side of the hallway safely.

player: awesome!

DM: however your wooden shield is smashed to pieces, after taking so many hits from the falling rocks and other crap they've been throwing at you. You'll need to replace it.

player: :smalleek:

Raum
2009-08-31, 07:50 AM
Why not just let the guy with the shield be (relatively) safe from the attacks? It's not like a shield needs nerfing...

Hal
2009-08-31, 08:26 AM
This is one of those situations where normal D&D rules don't really work. You can either do it with the rules and then whack your players with the DMG when they complain, or follow some of the suggestions others have already proffered. I might give the attackers a suitable miss chance if the players are running (25-50%) or treat them as if they had cover.

If you decide to drop something else on them, why not acid or alchemist's fire? Those are mundane chemicals, and would make sense as defensive liquids here.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2009-08-31, 08:35 AM
Well, it's a 10ft drop, so they won't be taking excessive damage. Also, it's relatively easy to dodge, since a 5x5ft area gives some good room for movement, and the holes don't cover the entire ceiling. Personally, I'd make it a DC 20 if they're unaware of the murder holes, dropping to DC 13 or 14 when they begin to keep an eye out. Carrying a shield or other object above their head gives them a +2 bonus or a +4 bonus, depending on the size of the shield.