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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Quick & Simple traps

    Hey all,

    Our party (recently reduced to 3 PCs) has come across a small tribe of hunter/gatherer folk engaged in a fighting retreat from a barbarian horde of undetermined size and strength. We've offered a bit of help and organized an ambush location in a mountainous area and i'm looking for ideas on some quick and simple traps to make the job easier.

    Some details:
    - We've got 5 archers and 7 spearmen to work with. No spellcasters except 2 party members. We don't know much about the tribesmen apart from their skill at hit and run attacks and their semi-nomadic lifestyle.
    - We have a sloped aproach to an open area that my character can lay down AoE attacks in, with a spiked trench that we can collapse behind them to hinder retreat.
    - Around this slope there are a couple hills we can hide pairs or trios of people for the ambush
    - Just past the slope is a narrow pass that we have rockfalls rigged that we can trigger, as well as some good sniping spots.
    - Behind the pass is another much smaller area and a cliff. We have some logs rigged to roll down towards the cliff edge when loosed.
    - We have about a dozen poisoned arrows to use on tougher looking opponents

    And here are some of my ideas for if we have more time to prepare:
    - Vines for tripwires
    - Set up areas of tinder/drywood that we can burn for makeshift firewalls and smokescreens
    - barricade up some of the surrounding weak spots to stop anyone circling around and avoiding our chokepoints
    - Thorn bushes and brambles for cover and slowing their approach
    - Sabotaging their camp if possible.

    So does anyone have any cool tips or tricks they can share?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Hey all, does anyone have any cool tips or tricks they can share?
    You seem to have most of the obvious simple traps already, so most of this is tactical advice.

    Although it may be tempting to spread out and encircle the enemy, don't spread your forces too thin. This will get them picked off one by one (or two by two). It's better to convince the enemy that there is a "main force" that they need to take out as soon as possible to neutralise the threat, then use your traps in conjunction with this force.

    Do the enemies have ranged capabilities? If not, entice them in a charge uphill towards the archers, and then spring your rockslide and other traps on them, while the spearmen pop out of hiding and stab the severely inconvenienced baddies.

    Enemies with ranged capabilities require a completely different approach, if your DM is likely to put bad-guy archers that are under fire in covering positions, try to predict where they'd hide and spring the traps there. Alternatively, enter melee ASAP, while using smoke/firescreens to cut groups off from one another.

    Extra traps:
    - well-concealed spiked-pit traps can ruin anybody's day, especially a charging enemy's. Top it off with archer fire and/or longspear stabbing and that's one very messy deathpit.
    - trip-wires can be used to great effect in combat, but vines can be quite conspicuous (make sure they don't run into vines until everybody is distracted by the combat going on), hook them up to your destabilised rock formations and your troops don't even need to be near to trigger them. Fussilades of darts or shortspears can also be very nice, but are likely too high-end and harder to conceal.
    - Alchemist fire, or just regular torches can be used (thrown) to set off your firetraps from a distance, so you don't need to spread forces that much.

    Keep an "escape route" open! Depending on the size of the battlemap and the steepness of the hills, you may not be able to cover every possible advance so instead lure the enemy through the path you want them most to take and only rig the rest enough to slow enemies down and discourage them. Lay the heat on the enemy at every turn and then provide an "obvious path of least resistance" or finally a chance to strike at their attackers. Of course, the path of least resistance is really the worst path they could take, keep them moving forward, they can't know they are in over their heads until it is too late to turn back.

    Keep an escape route open 2: If the enemy is with too many and is starting to circumvent your deathpit, it's time to run. As you only have a small tribe to work with while the enemy might be "endless", every death on your side is one too many. You're better off killing 10 enemies and losing none, than killing 20 and losing five.

    Hope this helps.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    You seem to have most of the obvious simple traps already, so most of this is tactical advice.
    Yeah we seem to have a couple of thinkers in our group so I thought we had all the good stuff covered. But as always we always miss a couple of things.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    Although it may be tempting to spread out and encircle the enemy, don't spread your forces too thin. This will get them picked off one by one (or two by two). It's better to convince the enemy that there is a "main force" that they need to take out as soon as possible to neutralise the threat, then use your traps in conjunction with this force.
    We have the majority of our force in a chokepoint, only about 4 people werent within aid's reach which nearly killed two of them. Made for a convincing 'oh crap, the trap failed! Run!' feint though.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    Do the enemies have ranged capabilities? If not, entice them in a charge uphill towards the archers, and then spring your rockslide and other traps on them, while the spearmen pop out of hiding and stab the severely inconvenienced baddies.

    Enemies with ranged capabilities require a completely different approach, if your DM is likely to put bad-guy archers that are under fire in covering positions, try to predict where they'd hide and spring the traps there. Alternatively, enter melee ASAP, while using smoke/firescreens to cut groups off from one another.
    We hadn't considered ranged attackers. I'm confident we can outshoot them but our archers are likely to get wounded so it wouldn't be worth the plinking match. We have good cover so many of them will have to move into our field of fire to shoot at us.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    Extra traps:
    - well-concealed spiked-pit traps can ruin anybody's day, especially a charging enemy's. Top it off with archer fire and/or longspear stabbing and that's one very messy deathpit.
    - trip-wires can be used to great effect in combat, but vines can be quite conspicuous (make sure they don't run into vines until everybody is distracted by the combat going on), hook them up to your destabilised rock formations and your troops don't even need to be near to trigger them. Fussilades of darts or shortspears can also be very nice, but are likely too high-end and harder to conceal.
    - Alchemist fire, or just regular torches can be used (thrown) to set off your firetraps from a distance, so you don't need to spread forces that much.
    The extra pits and spikes might take too long, but if this battle draws out we will be doing our best to get them done.
    Good idea on the vines, we'll rig those up for sure.
    My character has fire in spades, we've already organized using fire attacks to trigger traps.
    Fullisades sound like a great idea! We'll get onto it first chance we get.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    Keep an "escape route" open! Depending on the size of the battlemap and the steepness of the hills, you may not be able to cover every possible advance so instead lure the enemy through the path you want them most to take and only rig the rest enough to slow enemies down and discourage them. Lay the heat on the enemy at every turn and then provide an "obvious path of least resistance" or finally a chance to strike at their attackers. Of course, the path of least resistance is really the worst path they could take, keep them moving forward, they can't know they are in over their heads until it is too late to turn back.

    Keep an escape route open 2: If the enemy is with too many and is starting to circumvent your deathpit, it's time to run. As you only have a small tribe to work with while the enemy might be "endless", every death on your side is one too many. You're better off killing 10 enemies and losing none, than killing 20 and losing five.
    Doh. Of course we didn't think about retreating.
    Luckily we do have a route further into the mountainside that we can make use of.
    If there's anything that these tribesmen are good at its attrition.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighWater View Post
    Hope this helps.
    Very much so. Thankyou!

    One more question: So their advance party sounded their horn before being defeated but otherwise unless they can talk to the one surviving wolf they don't have a clue what they will be facing. We plan on maximizing our advantage by disrupting their camp. What can we do in the span of a couple rounds to cause maximum damage over the next few hours?
    - I can fly and turn invisible, allowing me to sneak fairly well If i avoid the wolves.
    - We have a dose of a disease on hand that we can throw into their food/water
    - We have lots of fire handy

    Right now the plan is a strafing run after covertly contaminating their food/water, igniting as many tents and supply bundles as possible before making our escape.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Can you give classes and levels? There might be some options your spellcasters didn't think of.

    Also, have you tried talking to the barbarians?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    4e, Level 11 Bladesinger, Avenger and Warlock (more the 3.5 kind than the 4e). I'm a ritual caster but the other two aren't.

    My first idea was to get the whole ambush plan including its location and time off the tribesmen then approach the barbarians and tell them, but the other two didn't like that idea. I'm not allowed to talk to the Barbarians now

    Edit: I can't speak for the other two, but my build/loadout is:
    - Eldritch Spear
    - Eldritch Claw
    - Eldritch Burst (10' burst within 30' at reduced damage)
    - Brimstone Blast
    - Darkness (also deals a solid chunk of damage per round)
    - Wall of Gloom
    - Walk Unseen*
    - Fell Flight*
    - The Dead Walk*
    - See the Unseen/Devil's Sight
    Most of these have been modified to fit 4e gameplay but function much the same.
    - I have some Gloves of Storing and an Immovable Rod amongst my equipment

    *By gentleman's agreement I don't use these in combat, though I have entered combat with them already active from prior events.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2014-02-24 at 11:02 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    There's always the good old combination of small holes in deep grass - particularly to deal with horses. Deep, dry, flammable grass just makes it better. Both of these are highly dependent on the particulars regarding mountain elevation - at subalpine levels they could work, at alpine forget it. Plus, vines and tall grasses don't overlap all that much.

    Are there any rivers in the area? A quick dam, and then the removal of said quick dam a bit later can accomplish quite a lot.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    I'll have to check to make sure but the area is mostly sparse forest and low-altitude mountains from what I can tell. Probably more grass than vines now that I think about it.

    I'll have to check for water, that could come in handy.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    One more question: So their advance party sounded their horn before being defeated but otherwise unless they can talk to the one surviving wolf they don't have a clue what they will be facing.
    I haven't played 4e, so this is 3.5 comments on the hopes that they still apply as you seem to be playing a hybrid.

    Hmm, well, Speak with Animals is a thing of course. Depends on your DM whether it's present and how detailed gained information will be, if he's likely to up-play the panicked animal they won't know much, but if the wolf can be coherent...

    It's always dangerous to re-use ambush locations. The barbarians may be able to estimate whereabout the ambush took place and a man forewarned is a man forearmed. Cleaning up your slaughter can also be a pain, especially if the location is to look like nothing happened. And then there might be scrying. Not saying "don't re-use", just consider the possibility of the trap being turned around on you.

    The horsepits Knaight mentioned also work against distracted humans, though they have to be a bit wider for the human foot to be properly caught (and the ankle sprained or leg snapped if you're lucky). If you can cover them lightly, even better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    We plan on maximizing our advantage by disrupting their camp. What can we do in the span of a couple rounds to cause maximum damage over the next few hours?
    - I can fly and turn invisible, allowing me to sneak fairly well If i avoid the wolves.
    - We have a dose of a disease on hand that we can throw into their food/water
    - We have lots of fire handy

    Right now the plan is a strafing run after covertly contaminating their food/water, igniting as many tents and supply bundles as possible before making our escape.
    How much time between poisoning the well and setting it on fire? You're gonna want them to get nice and sick first and only THEN set them on fire. It's hard to run from the flames when your intestines are dancing the conga. Light them on fire too soon and they'll probably use your disease-water for putting it out, rather than for drinking. (The assault will also tip them off that something else may be wrong.)

    Sounds like you'd like to make your strike against the camp more than just a little skirmish. Some suggestions for turning it up to eleven:

    I see you have a few interesting BattleFieldControl options, but I don't know the range on them (I don't know the other classes, so can't comment on them). Does your invisibility turn off when you use Darkness or Wall of Gloom? If not, walling them in with Wall of Gloom while your buddies set fire to the forest upwind is all special kinds of evil (unless the enemy has some serious class-levels, is it still 6HD max on Gloom?). Shoot down any enemy who walks through the wall, make him SCREAM if possible, as a deterrent for others. Fear may just be enough to keep the barbarians in place and just before the fire comes through the wall, cast Darkness to further the blinding panic.

    Your Wall of Gloom is probably too small though for encirclement (40ft length), you either have to cast it a bunch of time (which will severely limit it's durability as you can't keep your concentration up), or find some alternative walling. If you can only keep one wall up, I'd advice setting fire to the grass/forest in the directions parallel to the wind, and then to the downwindside (create a box). Wall of Gloom the upwind side (close the box), then execute the rest of the plan. If anyone has spells that could fan the flames, or increase the flammable material, that'd be brilliant (an entangle spell on fire is just awesome).

    And, as usual, if the plan goes south, have a way to escape. Only use people who can be trusted to outpace pursuers.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Pit traps don't need to be deep. A 1'-2' pit with smallish but stiff spikes protruding 3"-6" from the bottom, concealed with branches, leaves, etc., will mess your foot up. It only needs to work once. Coat the spikes with some kind of natural toxin for extra effect.

    A shallow pit with nothing in it can actually be effective, too: a twisted ankle or broken leg can take out a combatant, and it's far worse for a horse (and the rider gets the extra pleasure of being thrown off a horse or getting trapped underneath).

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    on your slope you can use woven balls of saplings. insert flammable what ever into the middle and let them roll down the slope. while not very damaging you can use them to move a force to give a wider gap in the retreat.

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Take the Team Rocket approach and dig a bunch of holes.

    If one of your mages can summon an Earth Elemental that'll make digging holes and trenches take a fraction of the time that digging them by hand would take. I suggest filling the pits with pitch and oil to pretty much take anyone who lands in them out of the fight (Making it nearly impossible to climb out) while making it easy to take prisoners if need be.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Have a very obvious string trigger trap, and, when they step over it, there is a very cunningly hidden pit trap on the other side.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Tiger pits?

    If you have a few hours in-game, it's easy to dig a 10'x10' hole covered by leaves & vines, with poisoned woodeen stakes at the bottom. You can use horses oryourselves as bait.

    The 'Sleep' spell, provided you cantie-up victims.

    Snipers, using ranged weapons or magic to hobble your foe.

    Setting Tech-level plays a huge role

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Thanks guys! The moment of truth is tomorrow, I guess i'll write here how everything went.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Setting your logs on fire before rolling them will a) be awesome, and b) help ignite any barbarians they hit (I don't know how it plays out in 4e, but in 3.5 coming into contact with open, non-instantaneous flame gives a DC 15 reflex save to avoid catching fire, which deals 1d6 per round until extinguished). Perhaps you can coat them with flammable tar or oils.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    Pit traps don't need to be deep. A 1'-2' pit with smallish but stiff spikes protruding 3"-6" from the bottom, concealed with branches, leaves, etc., will mess your foot up. It only needs to work once. Coat the spikes with some kind of natural toxin for extra effect.
    If you don't have access to proper poisons, shoving the spikes into dirt or feces will help infect the wound with pathogens. Maybe give them a Fort save or catch a disease?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Pull some C Chulainn nonsense. Have your most physically able person pull some difficult feat (lifting huge boulders, for example) and challenge the barbarians not to advance until they can match the feat.

    Warning: this will only work with a very narrow range of barbarian flavors.

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Everything went off rather well. Apart from a few agile types that could climb the rocks and cliffs we managed to bottleneck the majority of the attackers and pick them off. We had to reatreat after a little while but we accomplished more than we thought would be reasonable.

    Thanks for the help everyone!
    Last edited by Kane0; 2014-03-02 at 05:06 AM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Quick & Simple traps

    Good to hear things went according to plan.

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