View Full Version : [3.5] (Help with) Fiendish traps! (My players stay out!)

Renegade Paladin
2010-11-06, 07:59 AM
If you are in my campaign, Nights of Steel and Fire, click the back button on your browser right now or rocks will fall. You know who you are. :smalltongue:

Now that that's out of the way, I'm designing an encounter area for my campaign. It is laid out thusly (large image): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v350/RenegadePaladin/STGOD%20Maps/Westgate/Safehouse2.jpg
The large white space around the building is for the addition of the surrounding streets, which will become important.

The building is located in the slums of a large metropolis and is a tenement that has been taken over by the local (powerful) thieves' guild and used as a safehouse. The apartment on the far left is intact and inhabited by an innocent family that stays there at a discounted rent in return for putting up a credible face on the place and keeping their mouths shut. (The one upstairs from it, not shown, is a similar deal.) The exterior doors and windows to the gutted remainder of the building (which constitutes the safehouse proper) are boarded up; the only unobstructed access is via a secret door in area 2.

The trouble is, if the PCs catch on, they can always just break down one of the boarded entrances, so I also need area 2 to be the only safe (for those who know how to open it, at least) entrance. This means that the exterior door to area 6 needs a trap, and the areas marked 7 (access from area 6 to area 9 is via another secret door; the obvious door is bait) and 8 can be as trap-ridden as I please. (I also plan a trap for the secret door, based on it being mounted on a central pivot that triggers a trap if it's pivoted the wrong way. One of the villains who uses this location is left-handed, making the correct way natural for him but not for any of the PCs.)

The PCs are 4th level and include a cleric, a warblade, and a beguiler. I own the DMG, the DMG2, and Dungeonscape, which means my options for traps are fairly extensive. The city has an extensive sewer system, so traps involving it could be appropriate. (There's already a hidden trapdoor where one of the privy rooms was prior to removing most of the interior walls, leading to a secret, if smelly, escape route for the thieves.) The safehouse is presently not occupied by the party's targets (by design; they want to trash the place as an intimidation move), so traps that would be fatal when coupled with a few low-to-mid-level rogues would both be appropriate and not party-killers in this context. I'm kicking a few ideas around already, but I'd like some outside input; I generally run wilderness adventures, which don't lend themselves well to traps, so I'm not the most experienced at this particular area of DMing. The session's tonight, so time is a factor. Anyone got any bright ideas?

2010-11-06, 08:09 AM
Personally I've had good luck with symbols and other proximity traps. Much more likely to get set off.

Renegade Paladin
2010-11-06, 08:21 AM
Personally I've had good luck with symbols and other proximity traps. Much more likely to get set off.
I'd like to stick to mechanical traps where practical; these particular guys don't have a lot of magical firepower to sling around, much less make traps with. There's some, but the guild doesn't have arcanists to assign willy-nilly to every neighborhood cell. Having a magically skilled higher-up set up the place with traps even though he doesn't stay there could work, though, so I'm not ruling it out.

The main reason I'm having problems is that most of the traps presented in the books are designed with large dungeon rooms and corridors in mind, which a residential building tends not to have. It (coupled with the party's low level) is severely cramping my otherwise wide array of options. I'm considering a hobbling trap (DMG2 p. 44), but the CR is a bit high. I might cut down the number of attacks and lower the damage a little.

2010-11-06, 08:25 AM
If you don't mind homebrewing some stuff, I've had good luck using trap-like entities. You can do wonders with a special mold that releases nasty spores when disturbed. Or some sort of plant creature that they left there.