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Thread: It's a trap!!!

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default It's a trap!!!

    Never having messed with traps before and never having had a DM who made use of traps, I'm having problems coming up with my own. So partly for ideas but also a bit out of curiosity. What traps have you encountered or you as a DM have thrown at your players and how did they turn out?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Escheton's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I like combination traps. Ones that combine with other elements in the room.

    Such as a few cone of coldcasting traps in a room filled with different types of skeletons. Uttercold skeletons if you are feeling frisky.


    Dropoff into a room filled with rustmonsters is always fun.

    Contact poison on door handles is a classic.

    A well timed rolling boulder combined with a longjump pit trap the party has just circumvented is always nice. Again, now with feeling (and less failsaves).

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    The nastiest trap I've sprung on my players was a twisty maze of passages, all alike. Every one was a dead end, but every dead end had many twists and turns. Once you went two turns into the passage, it sealed off. Every twist after that you went down, another door would block your exit. When you finally reached the dead end at the end of the passage, something nasty was released into the room with you.

    The only way to get out was a secret passage hidden in the stairs that lead to this dungeon.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    You need to decide how you want your trap to function first. Usually this means choosing between two broad types of trap:

    1) HP Tax: This is the poisoned arrow that fires when you open the door, the pit you fall into, or the pressure plate which causes fireball to be cast in the center of the room. HP Tax traps tend to be quick 'gotchas' which can make the players overly paranoid if overused. Also, depending on the system you use, it tends to only be solvable by one or two members of the party (ie: Those with trapfinding)

    2) Interactive: This trap is your indiana jones style boulder, chasing the PCs down a hallway, the walls which slowly close in and threaten to crush you, the chamber full of swinging blades on a pattern. These traps are different and may require that the PCs trigger them initially or may just be out in the open for all to see with no chance of the PCs missing it. The solution to these traps doesn't always have to be 'disarm it' but can include creative solutions like 'Find the pattern in the swinging blades and get across' or 'Climb out of the room before the walls crush you.' Traps like this require PCs who want interactive traps though as some players tend to dislike them and they can be as time consuming as a normal encounter.

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Escheton View Post
    I like combination traps. Ones that combine with other elements in the room.

    Such as a few cone of coldcasting traps in a room filled with different types of skeletons. Uttercold skeletons if you are feeling frisky.


    Dropoff into a room filled with rustmonsters is always fun.

    Contact poison on door handles is a classic.

    A well timed rolling boulder combined with a longjump pit trap the party has just circumvented is always nice. Again, now with feeling (and less failsaves).
    Ironwyrm golems.... Over a pit filled with oleum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

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    Thorcrest's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I once made my players go through a Subjective Directional Gravity Maze! Every time they went around a corner they would fall towards a wall, or a ceiling! Hilarious!

    It was just as funny when they figured it out:

    I throw my dagger into the hall!
    It falls towards the right "wall".
    We all lean up against the wall and go into the new corridor.
    You go throught the passageway and feel yourself pressed against the wall.
    Congrats, you are now on the floor!

    It was even more fun when the gravity would be the opposite side of the doorway from them, so they'd all go crashing through the hall as they entered with little way of bracing themselves!

    Oh, and did I mention that every passage was a 20' by 20' prefectly square carved out hall identical to all the others!
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    At the entrance into a long lost Dwarven underground kingdom is a long, smooth 30 foot wide corridor, 20 feet high. You have to step over a 1 foot high doorstop, though no signs of a door are visible. If they take any especial notice of the entrance, they will see that there is an equivalent doorstop across the ceiling. The passage continues on straight for about 400 feet into the mountain. Any dwarves will notice that the floor is particular smooth, even for dwarfwork. The walls are cover in friezes depicting dwarves in battle, winning using dwarven weapons and armor, nmen in battle, elves in battles -- all the civilized race, all victorious in battles over orcs, goblins, etc., and all using dwarf-made weapons. This is, in fact, the entrance to a market, where the dwarves sold weapons and armor. The passage opens into a very large room, which was the market.

    The passage continues in an exact straight line out the other side, and begins to slope upward. After you go another 50 feet or so, you hear a quiet rumbling, which starts getting louder, up the passage. As it gets louder, it sounds like movement of a large object -- rolling?

    This is a false passage, intended to defend the dwarven kingdom from an invasion. (The true entrances are hidden doors.) A thirty-foot granite wide, twenty-foot diameter cylinder is rolling down the passage toward the party. A non-encumbered party can make it back to the wider room and escape. The cylinder is intended to roll all the way to the entrance, where, due to the doorstop, it will block the way out.

    It worked much better than expected. When the PCs arrived, they were grossly over-burdened by an immense dragon hoard, which they had to drop. The cylinder was stopped by a huge hoard of gold (remember that it just fit in the corridor), and their 50,000 gold coins were now stuck under tons of granite -- which would crush them if they found any way to re-acquire the gold.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    At the entrance into a long lost Dwarven underground kingdom is a long, smooth 30 foot wide corridor, 20 feet high. You have to step over a 1 foot high doorstop, though no signs of a door are visible. If they take any especial notice of the entrance, they will see that there is an equivalent doorstop across the ceiling. The passage continues on straight for about 400 feet into the mountain. Any dwarves will notice that the floor is particular smooth, even for dwarfwork. The walls are cover in friezes depicting dwarves in battle, winning using dwarven weapons and armor, nmen in battle, elves in battles -- all the civilized race, all victorious in battles over orcs, goblins, etc., and all using dwarf-made weapons. This is, in fact, the entrance to a market, where the dwarves sold weapons and armor. The passage opens into a very large room, which was the market.

    The passage continues in an exact straight line out the other side, and begins to slope upward. After you go another 50 feet or so, you hear a quiet rumbling, which starts getting louder, up the passage. As it gets louder, it sounds like movement of a large object -- rolling?

    This is a false passage, intended to defend the dwarven kingdom from an invasion. (The true entrances are hidden doors.) A thirty-foot granite wide, twenty-foot diameter cylinder is rolling down the passage toward the party. A non-encumbered party can make it back to the wider room and escape. The cylinder is intended to roll all the way to the entrance, where, due to the doorstop, it will block the way out.

    It worked much better than expected. When the PCs arrived, they were grossly over-burdened by an immense dragon hoard, which they had to drop. The cylinder was stopped by a huge hoard of gold (remember that it just fit in the corridor), and their 50,000 gold coins were now stuck under tons of granite -- which would crush them if they found any way to re-acquire the gold.
    Transmute rock to mud. prestidigitation. create/destoy water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I once had a teleport trap that would teleport the party into a room identical to the one they came from, so there was no indication that they had teleported. The rooms and passages were identical for about 60 feet in all directions, except that a jade column they passed on the way in was a clay column on the way out.

    This meant that instead of wondering if they had been teleported, they would be wondering what turned the column to clay. Eventually, they would discover that their map was wrong, but they would learn that far from where the change had occurred.

    Unfortunately, the party never found it.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I like to "trap" the walls. People expect traps at doors, and often try to go around them rather than do the cautious Search/Disable Device/Open Lock routine. I like to put full cisterns on the other side of some walls, so that if the PCs knock a hole in the wall the room they're in will quickly fill with water. Also many walls are important structurally, so that if they remove a big enough section to get through then the ceiling will collapse.

    Note that neither of these are actual traps; they just represent the reasonable consequences when PCs start obliterating structural elements of the dungeon.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I remember at a Nancon tournament dungeon in the 1970s, there was a room with a lava flow too broad to leap across between us and some monster (I forget what) guarding a large treasure.

    He was impressive. You fired missile weapons at him and he absorbed the damage. Fireball? No effect. In fact, the monster's broad tail was resting on top of the lava , and one could easily jump onto the tail and then to the other side.

    Unfortunately, he was a Phantasmal Force. When you touched him, he disappeared.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I heard of a pretty interesting one once. There were spikes on the ceiling. If you walk under them then a trap that reverses gravity triggers and up you go.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Transmute rock to mud. prestidigitation. create/destoy water.
    Fifth level characters -- no Transmute Rock to Mud yet. If they'd come back as much as a week later, they'd have found the trap reset, and the gold gone.

    Besides, this was Original D&D, and Transmute Rock to Mud is an area, not volume, effect, which means if you affect the cylinder, you will also get the floor. The gold, being heaviest, sinks to the bottom while you're dodging a mudslide of a 20 foot diameter, thirty foot cylinder of mud you just conjured uphill of your position.

    In any event, by the time they had that level spell, they were on another continent.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    banshees wail has resulted in many a tpk
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Kenzer publishes gaming magazine called Knights of the Dinner Table. They have one trap plan each month, maybe you can check it?

    Or check this: http://www.kenzerco.com/product_info...roducts_id=686
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    flare X2's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I like to use traps that have a 'time limit' but provide a easy way out (if you figure it out (usally quite easy)). For example a flooding room but if the players pull the three leavers in the correct order then an escape hatch opens.
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    TalonDemonKing's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Best trap used against players?

    "She" is really a "He".

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorcrest View Post
    I once made my players go through a Subjective Directional Gravity Maze! Every time they went around a corner they would fall towards a wall, or a ceiling! Hilarious!

    It was just as funny when they figured it out:

    I throw my dagger into the hall!
    It falls towards the right "wall".
    We all lean up against the wall and go into the new corridor.
    You go throught the passageway and feel yourself pressed against the wall.
    Congrats, you are now on the floor!

    It was even more fun when the gravity would be the opposite side of the doorway from them, so they'd all go crashing through the hall as they entered with little way of bracing themselves!

    Oh, and did I mention that every passage was a 20' by 20' prefectly square carved out hall identical to all the others!
    That's probably one of the best ideas i've EVER read. I hope you don't mind if I, err... Steal it? >_>

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    My biggest problem with traps is the practicallity of them. I hate games when there are traps on commonly used doors during normal awake hours. Sure you could booby trap your door as you lock up for the night but who turns on&off the fire trap everytime they cross the hallway. Nobody activates a trap that they are likely to set off on themselves unless they are immune, have SERIOUS OCD or are insane. I set traps for my players all the time but I usually set them up in places that the occupants of the lair rarely use (backdoor or back hallways, vaults, etc.)

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chells View Post
    My biggest problem with traps is the practicallity of them. I hate games when there are traps on commonly used doors during normal awake hours. Sure you could booby trap your door as you lock up for the night but who turns on&off the fire trap everytime they cross the hallway. Nobody activates a trap that they are likely to set off on themselves unless they are immune, have SERIOUS OCD or are insane. I set traps for my players all the time but I usually set them up in places that the occupants of the lair rarely use (backdoor or back hallways, vaults, etc.)
    This. Almost every module/adventure path seems to habitually use traps in the most ridiculous ways (Our group never really uses modules or anything, but they're a good read to plunder for ideas sometimes). It seems like overtrapping is a bit of old school habit that has survived alive and well through the years. To far in this direction seriously damages my suspension of disbelief for many of the reasons listed above.
    A man who dies fighting with his principles intact dies in glory. To expect enemies to follow the same code of honor defiles that honor, reducing it to a set of arbitrary rules.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Transmute rock to mud. prestidigitation. create/destoy water.
    It's a good thing you had those all prepared! Now you can turn that perfectly carved cylinder into-

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    This spell turns natural, uncut or unworked rock of any sort into an equal volume of mud.
    oh
    Last edited by Rixx; 2011-01-24 at 07:44 PM.

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    Dimers's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    My favorite one that got used on me was an illusion. When triggered, it made everything go dark for a moment while creating ominous shuffling sounds and making every nearby character look like a monster. Since it was at a corner in a thin hallway, it could catch a couple scouting PCs and give them hell. (If it hit the whole party, it would be too obvious.) I was playing a somewhat triggerhappy character in that game, and even though I (the player) knew what was going on, I shot my companion full of arrows because it looked like a lizardman had ambushed him. I think back on that trap with glee.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!


    (Was in an aquatic campaign once where we (the PCs) once got trapped in a forcecage trap with a group of sahuagin fighters. We had a Malenti NPC on their side whom the DM made yell, "It's a trap!" when the fight started. Everyone cracked up.)

    The best traps are the ones that are either a real challenge to the creativity of the players, or (in less serious campaigns) the ones that make your players die laughing. Preferably both, if you can get away with it. For instance, over-the-top door-or-chest-trapping insanity can be hilarious if done right (*cough*), and things like the good old Indiana Jones-style rolling boulder can be great too if you spice it up a bit. Say, you're outrunning a boulder while fighting swarms of dire half-dragon stirges and being shot at by kobolds with crossbows.

    Just be creative, use your imagination, and worry about mechanics second.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2011-01-24 at 08:02 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    some guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    I had a bit of fun with a camouflaged spiked pit. That was of course no problem for the group. The problem was the goblin sorcerer hiding in the dark waiting to cast Grease on the slope that came after the pit. While reinforcements came from both sides of the hallway. As others have said, traps get more interesting when they're in combination with something else.

    One of my dungeons that I'm proud of featured a hall way with lots of rooms with lava and illusions.

    room 1: a bridge is covering a stream of lava
    room 1: an illusionary bridge is covering a stream of lava
    room 3: an illusionary stream of lava is actually a stream of water (with an hidden passage in the stream)
    room 4: an illusionary floor is hiding a slope which drops adventurers in a stream of lava
    room 5: an illusionary stream of lava is actually acid
    room 6: a bridge is covering a stream of lava

    The last room was most amusing for me as DM.

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rixx View Post
    It's a good thing you had those all prepared! Now you can turn that perfectly carved cylinder into-



    oh
    Note: I said nothing about turning the cylinder into anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    my party loves it when i throw mimics at them and i find they make the best traps ever as they can look like anything. one of the PC's in my campaign now has a phobia of chests as the last couple of chest that he opened were actually mimics and he got bitten. the funny thing is that he always seems to be the one to open the chest that are actually mimics. he just has bad timings. he's starting to try and smash the chests open now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnath View Post
    Warforged: We can draw the guards away from the treasury if we set that orphanage two blocks down on fire.

    Paladin: wtf, NO! Why would you say something like that?

    Warforged: Fine, fine. I'll go burn down the church instead. I bet the screams of the monks will carry farther than the children's anyway, judging on their singing capacity.

    Paladin: I've got a better idea. You shut up and we'll send the rogue around back >.<

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    Default Re: It's a trap!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Note: I said nothing about turning the cylinder into anything.
    ..Yeah, you're right! You can turn the masterfully detailed walls and perfectly smooth floor into-

    oh

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