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RPG Superstar 2015

Addition of better, more flavourful traps and devices of death by PFS writers


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Grand Lodge *

From Haunts In Pathfinder Society - An open letter to scenario authors I've split off this thread so that traps and haunts don't get tangled.

What I'd like to see is more trap challenges, rolling boulders and spiky grates that spring out when you step into the light etc and more particularly still, traps that not only challenge the ingenuity and skill of a party, but traps that can't be "disabled" by walking the barbarian into it and then hosing him off with a wand of CLW or a level 1 summoning... traps that if you do set them off without disarming them have horrible implications and results.

I acknowledge that you don't have to be a Rogue these days to disable traps and a Cleric with a good perception can do the job but that takes valuable resources. How about some traps in the ancient Runelord tombs and temples that make a Rogue with Trapfinding feel like they are really bringing something to the table.

Anyways, discuss...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I think this is a great idea. Full stop. I don't challenge the core assumption of the OP.
But....

********
I am reading a lot of posts that concern themselves about "what is a Pathfinder"? I.e. They are relic hunters. Archeologists. Treasure and lore seekers.

And how that plays in with traps is: a Pathfinder is someone who should expect to deal with traps. Rigtht?

Or... is a Pathfinder, as a concept, something more complex than that?

Because I have seen Pathfinders cast in the role diplomats, bodyguards, troubleshooters, and unoffical do-gooders.

You see, I am hearing less of "We want more traps" and more "We want this (more traditional?) role of the Pathfinder to be asserted more." Am I right? Am I wrong? Have you considered that?

How does this fit in with a recent demand for more roleplaying in scenarios?

I have more comments on this, but I am going to hang back.. and not over editorialize.

EDIT: Nah, I am going to say a little bit more. Traps are often found in 'dungeon' type environments. Granted they all don't have to be literally dungeons, but you get my gist? They're warding devices to kill or discourage people from entering certain locations. Very very very rarely are they devices set to cause someone harm or used for assissination. I have seen reviews where anything that smacks of a dungeon crawl is critiqued. Yet.. we're missing that feeling of overcoming a trap? I kinda want to reconcile those points, and get down to what people feel is missing.

Liberty's Edge *****

Jim Groves wrote:

I think this is a great idea. Full stop. I don't challenge the core assumption of the OP.

But....

********
I am reading a lot of posts that concern themselves about "what is a Pathfinder"? I.e. They are relic hunters. Archeologists. Treasure and lore seekers.

And how that plays in with traps is: a Pathfinder is someone who should expect to deal with traps. Rigtht?

Or... is a Pathfinder, as a concept, something more complex than that?

Because I have seen Pathfinders cast in the role diplomats, bodyguards, troubleshooters, and unoffical do-gooders.

You see, I am hearing less of "We want more traps" and more "We want this (more traditional?) role of the Pathfinder to be asserted more." Am I right? Am I wrong? Have you considered that?

How does this fit in with a recent demand for more roleplaying in scenarios?

I have more comments on this, but I am going to hang back.. and not over editorialize.

That's a very good point Jim. Even Indiana Jones had to be diplomatic, be good at combat, able to overcome strange obstacles, deal with traps, et. al.

I'm not sure people are asking for more traps, but rather when a trap is included, make it more interesting.

Rebel's Ransom is a good example of what I would consider interesting.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I can appreciate that Andrew.

And the way the new writer's guidelines identify major and minor encounters versus combat/social/and traps.. should help with that.

* Star Voter 2013

I'm not sure most players want more save-or-die traps. Many players hate haunts, which have basically devolved into save-or-die death traps.

If the traps/haunts aren't save-or-die, they fit into the category of the Barbarian soaking the damage and a wand healing it. The exception being if there's a condition attached to it (which is uncommon for traps).

I also find there are plenty of traps (and haunts) in PFS. This is the first time I've seen someone asking for more traps.

I find that the best traps in PFS are combined with a combat encounter.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Jason S wrote:
The exception being if there's a condition attached to it (which is uncommon for traps).

Then let's make it less uncommon!

Snap to it, authors! Non-HP-damaging traps, go! ;)

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

More bestow curse, flesh to stone and waves of exhaustion traps? Got it.

The Exchange ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The way I see traps, there are five types of traps:

Traps that...

  • kill – I don't like these. Much like with haunts, walking into a room and dying sucks.
  • cause hit point damage (or ability damage at higher levels). – If it causes some trivial effect that even unprepared groups can overcome easily, it doesn't add to the challenge of the adventure at all. If it's fixed by cure light wounds or lesser restoration, it's probably just an irritating speed-bump.
  • cause effects that linger (curses, ability damage at lower levels, dispel magical buffs, etc) – These can be frustrating, but when used logically, they make sense. There is a great one in Dog Pharoh's Tomb I did something stupid and my character got **** for it. Some groups are prepared for these sort of traps with counters and... rewarding good preparation is good scenario design.
  • cause some related effect – If the trap destroys the treasure the players are looking for, signals the bad-guys, or does something else nasty that doesn't directly impact the party it can be interesting and add to the challenge. These are tricky though.
  • part of an encounter – My favorite type of trap! But it has to make sense in the context of the scenario. Adding traps to every major fight is bad form (unless you are fighting kobolds!).

    To me, one of the biggest things with traps is tells, traps should make sense where they are and when they get set off players should think "Damn, I should have seen that coming!"

    IMO the biggest thing a rogue brings to the table trap-wise is the trap-spotter rogue talent. Being able to sniff out traps is a great ability. Sadly, GMs often just gift this ability to everyone in the the general public, stealing one of the few moments in the spotlight from a notoriously under-served class.

  • The Exchange ****

    The machanic for traps has been reduced to a couple skill checks. Is this good? maybe, but picture the same thing for combat.
    .

    Silly Combat as a Pair of skill checks:

    Player A - "Crud, another fight. Ok, bring up the Tank."
    Tank Player - "I move up to the doorway. I got a +14 Offence, so when I take 10 I get a 24. Oh, and Defense is +12."
    Archer Player - "And I aid the offence for a +2! Makes a 26!"
    Cleric Player - "I aid Defense, so +2 for a +14 Defense, and cast the spell 'defense boost' for another +4 making it +18 Defense"
    Judge - "Great, you guys need 12 points of post combat healing and remember to spend the 2 arrows Archer. Now that you're past the combat and can move on into the room you see...."

    That's what traps have become. Can we fix them so they are more fun for everyone playing? I don't know, but here's a few suggestions to think about.

    1) More skill checks. Maybe while being shot at (so we can't take 10). Got 10 rounds to disable the trap? Does it have 7 parts? Seven rolls, while the entire party tries to aid/Guidance/block enemy attacks/do something! Keep the PCs on thier toes because the trap is not over with just one roll, and everyone has some buy-in (not just the trap-monkey).

    2) Traps as alarms. BBE sets up a trap outside his door. If the PCs find and disable it, they (maybe) get surprise. This worked well in a resent scenario. Also, in another scenario, if the PCs set off a trap the next encounter has warning that they are there.

    3) Traps that matter if you turn them off rather than just disable them. And then back on. The party shuts off a trap, moves past it and re-arms it, so that when the BBE calls in his Guards - they set the trap off.

    4) Traps in the middle of combat. See the big orc at the end of the hall? why is he shooting a crossbow rather than charging you with his great ax? Because there is a pit-trap in front of him, and he wants YOU to charge into it.

    Silver Crusade **

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    nosig wrote:
    4) Traps in the middle of combat. See the big orc at the end of the hall? why is he shooting a crossbow rather than charging you with his great ax? Because there is a pit-trap in front of him, and he wants YOU to charge into it.

    Been there, done that, have ooze-stains. :/

    ****

    nosig wrote:


    4) Traps in the middle of combat. See the big orc at the end of the hall? why is he shooting a crossbow rather than charging you with his great ax? Because there is a pit-trap in front of him, and he wants YOU to charge into it.

    I really like this one where the enemy goes right by/over the trap knowing how to bypass it and only when the inattentive PCs go by does the trap trigger.

    Sczarni **

    Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I am a fan of traps that make you think. Yes, the perception check or take damage variety are widespread and plentiful, but I so much want the sorts of traps you see in epic adventure movies, or read about in epic tales.

    Where's the chessboard trap, where you have to move like chess pieces to get across without taking a massively painful attack from the enemy pieces?

    Where's the trap where everyone has to pull on a different handle in the room (or separate rooms, if you really want to make them paranoid) to open the big door without triggering some awful trap? Or the identical "fake" trap where they do that and rather than opening the door, they release some awful monster encounter?

    What about the trapped hall where if you step in the light, or don't follow the properly sequence of walking on the runed tiles the walls start closing in, or a rust monster is dropped on the party?

    Where's the trap that when you trigger it, it starts filling the room with water until you- wait... Guess that one has been done...

    Spoiler:
    The "Clever Door" in Delirium's Tangle. Good GODS I love that encounter. That scenario in general is just fun.

    The wall-sythe traps are all well and good, but I really like the ones that don't absolutely have to be "disabled" to bypass, though a clever rogue might be able to pull off some amazing feats by doing so.

    If I ever actually have the chance to write a scenario, I've got some definite ideas of what I might include on such a tangent. Maybe I should take a look at those quest things... Hmm...

    Grand Lodge *

    I want additional consequences traps - Example: walking the barbarian or using a summoned pony into it doesn't disable the trap. Instead it sets off an alarm that increases the number of guards overall and increases the CL of the rest of the dungeon.

    The ideas for lingering condition effects is also good and one I will need to think on.... being blasted by Fairie Fire as an AoE with an extended duration could be fun.

    Dark Archive **** Star Voter 2013

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

    Bear in mind that disable device for complex traps takes 2d4 rounds, so should present GREAT difficulty to accomplish in combat.

    The Exchange ****

    TetsujinOni wrote:
    Bear in mind that disable device for complex traps takes 2d4 rounds, so should present GREAT difficulty to accomplish in combat.

    Depends on the Trapsmith. This is like saying that killing the Dragon takes several rounds in combat... and then you run into the Cheese-wiz Pistol dude who does 200 HP a round. I have a Trapsmith with a Disable Device above 25, and he takes half as long to disable a trap... which just means he SHOULD get it done fast. He's built for traps, and not as good at dealing damage to the monster, because he's built for traps.

    .
    We should let the Melee guy shine when in the fight. We should let the Trapsmith shine too.

    So when the day is done and everyone looks at each other they say things like...
    "Glad you were here for that Dragon. Shesh, never seen anyone do that much damage in a round"
    "Breath of Life and a Quick channel? talk about healing!"
    "7 disable traps rolls in a row! In the middle of combat!"


    Helaman wrote:
    How about some traps in the ancient Runelord tombs and temples that make a Rogue with Trapfinding feel like they are really bringing something to the table.

    I don't particularly want more situations where most of the part sits around doing very little while one PC does his thing. That doesn't just apply to "rogue vs. trap" -- it also applies to "cleric vs. haunt", "ranged expert vs. inaccessible enemy", "stealth expert vs. stealth challenge", etc. A little of that goes a long way.

    Jack-of-Blades wrote:
    Where's the chessboard trap, where you have to move like chess pieces to get across without taking a massively painful attack from the enemy pieces? [etc]

    The problem with puzzle traps is that they can potentially take a very long time to figure out, regardless of how obvious the solution is to the puzzle's creator.

    The Exchange ****

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    hogarth wrote:
    Helaman wrote:
    How about some traps in the ancient Runelord tombs and temples that make a Rogue with Trapfinding feel like they are really bringing something to the table.

    I don't particularly want more situations where most of the part sits around doing very little while one PC does his thing. That doesn't just apply to "rogue vs. trap" -- it also applies to "cleric vs. haunt", "ranged expert vs. inaccessible enemy", "stealth expert vs. stealth challenge", etc. A little of that goes a long way.

    Jack-of-Blades wrote:
    Where's the chessboard trap, where you have to move like chess pieces to get across without taking a massively painful attack from the enemy pieces? [etc]
    The problem with puzzle traps is that they can potentially take a very long time to figure out, regardless of how obvious the solution is to the puzzle's creator.

    When I play at a table with someone else running a Trapsmith, I just don't sit there. Maybe my PC has enough Disable Device to aid? or my cleric casts Guidance - or guidance and resistance. My Bard casts Heroism to boost skill rolls. A Luck domain cleric gives a "bit of luck" re-roll. A high perception PC will do the checking for traps, or aid another PC while he checks.

    .
    what I'm trying to say is the traps do not HAVE to be a "situation where most of the party sits around doing very little while one PC does his thing" any more than combat needs to be a situation where most of the party sits around doing very little while one PC hacks the monster up. We do this to ourselves.

    The party is gathering info at the start of the adventure? Yeah, your PC has no social skills and a -2 Cha. So roll to aid the guy talking anyway. "I'm going to stand behind our bard and be the 'bodyguard' to add status to what he says". The fights over and healing is in full swing? Ranger uses the fighters CLW wand to heal the fighter while the cleric works on other PCs. Moving into the sewers? One PC guards the rear of the party, but if your PC could hold the light for the perception dude in front.

    what I'm trying to say is, sometimes we can just be the flunky aiding the guy in the lime light. As long as we all get our chance to be the "main" character, let's try to be good "supporting cast" too?

    edit: wow... I talk to much sometimes. Sorry. Gets down and puts soapbox away.


    nosig wrote:
    When I play at a table with someone else running a Trapsmith, I just don't sit there. Maybe my PC has enough Disable Device to aid? or my cleric casts Guidance - or guidance and resistance. My Bard casts Heroism to boost skill rolls. A Luck domain cleric gives a "bit of luck" re-roll. A high perception PC will do the checking for traps, or aid another PC while he checks.

    Aid another/Guidance/etc. is what I mean by "doing very little".

    The Exchange ****

    On this same note, does anyone have suggestions on how we (as PCs) can make dealing with traps more of a Party thing? How do we help if we are NOT a trapsmith? Here's some I've seen.

    1) Clerics with the spell Guidance (and Resistance).
    2) Dex based PCs who take a rank in Disable Device - just enough to aid. (and maybe a trait that makes D.D. a class skill).
    3) Spells that boost skill checks. (Heroism?)
    4) Luck domain Clerics - giving a re-roll on the check.

    Dark Archive **** Star Voter 2013

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber
    nosig wrote:
    TetsujinOni wrote:
    Bear in mind that disable device for complex traps takes 2d4 rounds, so should present GREAT difficulty to accomplish in combat.
    Depends on the Trapsmith. This is like saying that killing the Dragon takes several rounds in combat... and then you run into the Cheese-wiz Pistol dude who does 200 HP a round. I have a Trapsmith with a Disable Device above 25, and he takes half as long to disable a trap... which just means he SHOULD get it done fast.

    Sure, I was referencing base time there. The point was that it's not one standard action to disable a trap in combat time....

    The Exchange ****

    hogarth wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    When I play at a table with someone else running a Trapsmith, I just don't sit there. Maybe my PC has enough Disable Device to aid? or my cleric casts Guidance - or guidance and resistance. My Bard casts Heroism to boost skill rolls. A Luck domain cleric gives a "bit of luck" re-roll. A high perception PC will do the checking for traps, or aid another PC while he checks.
    Aid another/Guidance/etc. is what I mean by "doing very little".

    ??

    often the Disable Device skill check has been reduced to a single roll (or a Take 10 in my case). It goes something like this...

    Judge "you detect a trap on the door"
    Trapsmith: "I move up and disable it. I take 10 for a 29..."
    Cleric: "I Guidance him! 'Desna, guide him in our time of need!' you guys are going to hear that alot..."
    Archer: "hay, I've got Disable, can I assist?"
    Judge: "well,... there's room in front of the door, and it's not a magic trap so sure. Make a roll"
    Archer: "A '5' plus my '6' means a +2 to you Trap Guy!"
    Trapsmith: "Ok, looks like I got a '32' disable".

    with out the other PCs it's....
    Judge "you detect a trap on the door"
    Trapsmith: "I move up and disable it. I take 10 for a 29."

    Star Voter 2013

    Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Remember, in any given PFS game there is no guarantee that there will be ANYONE with Disable Device. Anyone can make a perception check, ranks or no, but DD is trained only. Sometimes nobody has it, so be carefull with traps that can't be bypassed, because "Knock" doesn't always do the job.

    *

    nosig wrote:

    On this same note, does anyone have suggestions on how we (as PCs) can make dealing with traps more of a Party thing? How do we help if we are NOT a trapsmith? Here's some I've seen.

    1) Clerics with the spell Guidance (and Resistance).
    2) Dex based PCs who take a rank in Disable Device - just enough to aid. (and maybe a trait that makes D.D. a class skill).
    3) Spells that boost skill checks. (Heroism?)
    4) Luck domain Clerics - giving a re-roll on the check.

    For parties that don't have a trap dealing member, which is fairly common in the games I play, I see the suggestions falling into 2 categories.

    1) Finding the trap to begin with. Unless you are an awesome rogue, you are not going to get a free spot the trap check. So as a player you need to have a decent perception bonus, which you can bump up in a variety of ways, but more importantly you need to use the skill actively as a player. A lot of players don't. They just walk on down the corridor and when something bad happens they go "Oh...did I mention that I was making perception checks every 5 feet."

    2) Ways to mitigate a trap that you see but can't ignore or go around. Some players like to use summon monster I and have the summons walk down the corridor first but forget that you can't communicate what you want to them. My preferred method is a wand of unseen servant and a 100lb sack of bricks (if a halfling / gnome can set it off then a sack of bricks can too). In addition, unseen servant can set off traps that trigger when you open a door or chest. A lot of players are partying with an arcane caster or have UMD (A very good skill to pick up by trait) and getting that needed 20 before rolling a 1 is pretty easy outside of combat.


    nosig wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    When I play at a table with someone else running a Trapsmith, I just don't sit there. Maybe my PC has enough Disable Device to aid? or my cleric casts Guidance - or guidance and resistance. My Bard casts Heroism to boost skill rolls. A Luck domain cleric gives a "bit of luck" re-roll. A high perception PC will do the checking for traps, or aid another PC while he checks.
    Aid another/Guidance/etc. is what I mean by "doing very little".

    ??

    often the Disable Device skill check has been reduced to a single roll (or a Take 10 in my case). It goes something like this...

    Judge "you detect a trap on the door"
    Trapsmith: "I move up and disable it. I take 10 for a 29..."
    Cleric: "I Guidance him! 'Desna, guide him in our time of need!' you guys are going to hear that alot..."
    Archer: "hay, I've got Disable, can I assist?"
    Judge: "well,... there's room in front of the door, and it's not a magic trap so sure. Make a roll"
    Archer: "A '5' plus my '6' means a +2 to you Trap Guy!"
    Trapsmith: "Ok, looks like I got a '32' disable".

    with out the other PCs it's....
    Judge "you detect a trap on the door"
    Trapsmith: "I move up and disable it. I take 10 for a 29."

    To clarify: I think both of those cases are pretty lame (notwithstanding the exclamation marks you added to your example!); a single die roll is boring whether there are a few extra bonuses or not. But at least the player of the trap expert can take consolation in knowing that his character was essential(ish) in moving the story along.

    Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

    The situation described takes less table time than most turns in combat (let alone the whole round), and most people don't find combat boring. Just saying.

    The Exchange ****

    SlimGauge:
    Agreed, but I look at this as a failing on our part as players. It's one skill point... amoung at least 4 PCs. I've seen wizard with D.D. - as the player said, "Sometimes I need it for faction missions".
    The worst example of this I've seen was back in season 2 when I played Year of the Shadow Lodge. In a room of 5 or 6 tables, there was one Rogue. He was at the high level table (Tier 10-11). The only other PC with D.D. was at the Tier 1-2 table... and was a 1st level fighter. At one point the 1st level player walked over to the tier 10-11 table to aid the rogue in a D.D. roll.
    This is like having a healing at the table. No one has it? Sad. Just sad.
    .
    Lab Rat:
    1) I have seen a lot of Clerics with high perceptions. So many that I am getting used to seeing "teams" with the Cleric as "Spotter" and a Dex fighter as "Disarm-er". One with the Perception, the other with the Disable Device. Cleric player: "SOP for moving down the hall is half speed, doing perception checks each move, and at each door/corner/room. Taking 10 I have a 30 from here in the party".

    2) My Bard has an unseen servant[i] up almost all the time. Standing insturction is for it to bring me any weapons anyone within 30' of my drops (yeah, dragging some heavy ones). But the idea is to avoid the trap if you can, avoid setting it off. My favorite? "the door is trapped" - "we [i]stone shape a opening in the wall beside it". Also, a window from a Robe of Useful items can be a big surprize. My wife also has used this... Judge: "Door is trapped. If it's opened it blows up." My wife: "But we can touch the door? Ok, be sure an look surpised. I cast invisiblity on the door - and stand like I just opened it. What do I see?"


    Jiggy wrote:
    The situation described takes less table time than most turns in combat (let alone the whole round), and most people don't find combat boring. Just saying.

    I'm not sure where you get the idea that only slow things can be boring. As noted by nosig above, if combat were decided by a pair of die rolls, that would be boring (and quick) too.

    The Exchange ****

    Hogarth, the example is a real one. And the players enjoyed themselves even more when the judge said we had "just avoided" the trap. And that we got surprise on the very tough monsters in the room because we avoided it... Everyone involved got to feel good about themselves. And that's what this is all about right? On, and also, there was no "single die roll", the rogue took 10.

    The Exchange ****

    hogarth wrote:
    Jiggy wrote:
    The situation described takes less table time than most turns in combat (let alone the whole round), and most people don't find combat boring. Just saying.
    I'm not sure where you get the idea that only slow things can be boring. As noted by nosig above, if combat were decided by a pair of die rolls, that would be boring (and quick) too.

    The point is, that each player gets to add something. Every player involved is ... well, involved and not feeling boored. It takes longer, but everyone has a buy in. and everyone gets to note that "my +2 is what put us over the top".

    The Exchange ****

    Jiggy wrote:
    The situation described takes less table time than most turns in combat (let alone the whole round), and most people don't find combat boring. Just saying.

    Actually, I often find the combat boring. But that's just me. YMMV.


    nosig wrote:
    Hogarth, the example is a real one. And the players enjoyed themselves even more when the judge said we had "just avoided" the trap. And that we got surprise on the very tough monsters in the room because we avoided it... Everyone involved got to feel good about themselves. And that's what this is all about right? On, and also, there was no "single die roll", the rogue took 10.

    Now I'm totally confused. Weren't you just saying that "The mechanic for traps has been reduced to a couple skill checks. [..] Can we fix them so they are more fun for everyone playing?" Because I totally agree with that sentiment and now it sounds like you're disagreeing with my agreement! :-)

    *

    I think one thing that makes traps a boring encounter is the fact that they tend to be the typical trap on a door or on the floor in the corridor. These are traps that if spotted are a quick roll the die and move on things that doesn't add much to the story.

    I much prefer traps that are integrated into a combat and are part of the CR of the combat itself. These traps don't need to be the boring, do damage, reflex save type traps. The enemies in the room can supply that part. These traps work better when they set conditions on a player or change the environment in a way that favors the enemies in the room.

    A cool one I used in a home game was a trap that set off a wall of force down the middle of the room, splitting the party in half and making an easy CR encounter much harder than it first appeared.

    The Exchange ****

    hogarth wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    Hogarth, the example is a real one. And the players enjoyed themselves even more when the judge said we had "just avoided" the trap. And that we got surprise on the very tough monsters in the room because we avoided it... Everyone involved got to feel good about themselves. And that's what this is all about right? On, and also, there was no "single die roll", the rogue took 10.
    Now I'm totally confused. Weren't you just saying that "The mechanic for traps has been reduced to a couple skill checks. [..] Can we fix them so they are more fun for everyone playing?" Because I totally agree with that sentiment and now it sounds like you're disagreeing with my agreement! :-)

    In my example, there was one where there was only one PC involved and a single die roll. In the other (the first), several PCs were involved, each adding in part and being part of the "fix".

    .
    the single die roll is not the booring part to me (IMHO). the fact that we have removed the social interaction between players is what I see as the part we can fix. Get the rest of the players involved (some of them anyway). If you're the Trap Guy, check for help from your friends. If you're the Party Face and you're doing Gather Information, get the party Wall Flower to aid you ... or at least try. Some people NEED to roll dice, even if it's only to give someone else a +2. It lets them feel like they are involved, and without it they "drift into space".

    During the VC briefing, I've seen Gather Info rolls done three ways at a table.

    1) Anyone with a little Kn Local or Diplomacy grabs a dice and rolls and shouts out numbers. the judge listens for the highest and reads off some text.

    2) The Social guy or the Knowledge guy does the check (roll or T10) and give the judge a number while other players ingage in cross-table chatter. Judge reads some text.

    3) Player interact to see who has the best skill, he does the check and several (or all) the players aid him. Judge reads some text.... no, judge passes the player a slip of paper cut from the scenario and let's HIM read the text. And leaves it with him so he can reference what he knows later in the scenario. And everyone sees that they got the 20+ info because of the aid from everyone at the table. A team effort.

    *

    Jack-of-Blades wrote:
    Where's the trap where everyone has to pull on a different handle in the room (or separate rooms, if you really want to make them paranoid) to open the big door without triggering some awful trap?

    Spoiler:
    The Infernal Vault has a room very much like this; 4 levers in 4 corners to open the door... at the 3-4 tier, an imp (invisible at will) resets the levers if players don't separate and stand at them (in which case he attacks some player that is on its own). Sounds like great fun; I played this at the low tier so I didn't get to see that go down.

    nosig wrote:
    In my example, there was one where there was only one PC involved and a single die roll. In the other (the first), several PCs were involved, each adding in part and being part of the "fix".

    If traps have a DC high enough that they require a dedicated trapfinder rolling a 10 or higher PLUS other PCs aiding another and casting Guidance on top of that, then I'm screwed -- I almost never have a dedicated trapfinding PC in my party. :-(

    By the way, my favourite trap from a PFS scenario was the flooding room from

    Spoiler:
    Delirium's Tangle

    Note, however, that it doesn't require a dedicated trapfinder to disarm (or at least it didn't for us).


    As an old school player and DM, I love traps. The more complex the better. Just like most searches in the modern era of rules has degraded to a contest of who put the most resources into Perception checks (as opposed to actually describing where your character is searching), it seems traps have devolved into Perception/Disable Device rolls. A pity, because really good, memorable traps are big, complex, and multistage. They are puzzles with consequences. Grimtooth had some great ideas, and they become engaging for the whole party if it takes more than two die rolls to get around.

    For PFS, this holds doubly true. You cannot guarantee that any given party has a trapsmith among them, so you can't have any dead-end traps that block progress into the scenario (or faction missions). But that does not mean you can't have traps that require teamwork and problem solving skills (instead of, or in addition to, die rolls) to overcome. Challenge of Champions, anyone?

    The Exchange ****

    Resently, I was running a Mod for a group of friends. They spent some time emailing back and forth getting thier "team" set up, and my wife had a choice of PCs. Should she run her Cleric? or Rogue? Clearly the Cleric was the better choice, but she expressed concern to the rest of the players that they wouldn't have anyone with Disable Device. I think her words went something like, "Can anyone pick a lock? Even taking 20?" I will say I am very proud of the group, not one of them responded with what I often hear at a PFS table.

    commone response:
    "I've got a GreatSword skeleton Key! Heck, traps are just a resource tax anyway, slap on some extra healing."
    One of the players responded that rather than play thier 2-H-W fighter, they could run thier Gunslinger, who had some Disable Device and could handle some traps ("But not Magic one!"). By no means a "Dedicated Trapsmith". ANd you know what? he was enough - with help from the rest of the team.

    We don't NEED dedicated trapsmiths - as long as the judge/author doesn't require it all done as a single unassisted skill check. A dex fighter, with a trait and a single point could easily have a 9 disable device. With help from his party, and masterwork thieves tools that nets him a 25+ average skill check, which is often good enough. And it's done as a party.


    nosig wrote:
    We don't NEED dedicated trapsmiths - as long as the judge/author doesn't require it all done as a single unassisted skill check.

    But then you get people saying that their dedicated trapfinding rogues feel underappreciated!

    ****

    Just keep this in mind.

    CRB, Skills wrote:
    In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

    The Exchange ****

    Mike Lindner wrote:

    Just keep this in mind.

    CRB, Skills wrote:
    In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

    Very true, and often overlooked. For a good many skills.

    Dark Archive ***

    The problem with traps is the DC's are too low for rogues but too high for non focused disablers to handle.

    I run a basic rogue with no perception or disable enhancers (except masterwork thieves tools) and my take 10 for both perception and disable device is 34 at level 12. I havent met any traps so far that trapspotter wont instantly point out and require more effort than a take 10 to disable. Without DC's that Scale above 34 there is no risk after a certain point in a characters career (I mean yes im level 12, but I also have no gear that increases perception or disable device meaning someone who has those sorts of gear can handle any trap from possibly as low as level 7)

    At lower levels you have to roll everything but traps DC's scale slower than skill checks (as the DC of a trap wont rise by +1 every level).

    Magical traps standard DC is 25+ spell level, (so 26 for level 1 players and 34 for level 9 spells) which means while a trap is hard for a level 1 to spot/disable as you level up your skills scale faster than the traps DC making the disable check fairly easy.

    I am more than willing to allow PC's to take thier time to do things, but I mark off the amount of time between encounters (in rounds or minutes if they are taking a long amount of time) and then remove it from their buff timers at the start of the next fight (I personally track my own buff timers when im a PC and occasionally this means I will take risks with traps to keep certain spells active).

    Paizo Employee ** Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    What about replacing all traps with haunts that cast the entire room in deeper darkness and summon swarms all over folks?

    Seriously, though, more unique and original traps are on my list of goals for the campaign. Thanks all for the feedback, and keep up the discussion.

    Grand Lodge **** Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

    I really like traps that are integrated into combat scenarios. These up the stakes so much on the 'resource-tax' that traps become when used out of combat. There is a great example during one big fight in Golden Serpent.

    I think PFS would need to tweak the rules-as-written in order to be able to celebrate actual traps more. As it stands now, they're kind of lying broken in a heap with the rogue class.

    Currently the only class in the core rulebook that has disable device on their list is the rogue, which we all know has become a redundant choice, a class that was left in the dust by the ninja and just about everyone else. Less and less people are playing rogues as a result.

    This is made worse by the reference to the rogue's 'Trapfinding' class skill in the actual Disable Device description. It has set in stone a reference to probably the least popular class in the game. You can't disarm magical (and interesting!) traps without a rogue. Where's your rogue? Nobody wants to play one.

    The trait 'Vagabond Child' grants disable device, but this limits the roleplaying background of the character. How can you make a Taldan noble that grew up on the streets? Also, when I choose Vagabond, I take Escape Artist, a skill that keeps me alive. Also, you need amazing dexterity. So many barriers for people choosing this.

    You can't blame the writers for not embracing traps enough when the current rules have traps very much attached to a class that few people play.

    ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston aka Harley Quinn X

    KestlerGunner wrote:

    Currently the only class in the core rulebook that has disable device on their list is the rogue, which we all know has become a redundant choice, a class that was left in the dust by the ninja and just about everyone else. Less and less people are playing rogues as a result.

    This is made worse by the reference to the rogue's 'Trapfinding' class skill in the actual Disable Device description. It has set in stone a reference to probably the least popular class in the game. You can't disarm magical (and interesting!) traps without a rogue. Where's your rogue? Nobody wants to play one.

    There are now several archetypes that give Trapfinding and/or Disable device now. Alchemists, Archaeologist Bards, Urban Rangers get Disable Device and usually have fair-good Dexterity. While Rogues excel at it, my Ranger is doing well disabling at least non-magical traps.

    EDIT: Not saying that they are complete substitutes for Rogues, but there are things that can "make-do".

    Grand Lodge **** Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

    For sure, but they're not in the core rulebook, which presents another barrier. Another problem with "make-do" is that if a trap seems like a failure means death scenario, you don't want to be the member of the party that has to "make-do" with a collapsing roof, or empowered disintegrate or pit filled with infernal swarms burping sleeping gas on you.

    The decision to make reference to the Trapfinding class ability in the skill description is a really bad one.

    It's like if we had entire subtype of 'cursed' monsters in a bestiary that could only be truly killed if they are beaten by a Cavalier that has used their Challenge class ability on them before taking them to negatives. It presents a class barrier that presents a big problem for organized play.

    Liberty's Edge ***

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
    David Montgomery wrote:
    Archaeologist Bards ... get Disable Device

    While archaeologists get several things to help with disarming traps, they don't get Disable Device as a class skill. Having said that, a surprising number of vagabond children grow up to become archaeologists...

    I have 9 XP of unused GM credit that I was thinking of using to build a 4th-level archaeologist with a good line in trapfinding, but if traps are so rare in PFS, I might build something else instead.

    The Exchange ****

    Paz wrote:
    David Montgomery wrote:
    Archaeologist Bards ... get Disable Device

    While archaeologists get several things to help with disarming traps, they don't get Disable Device as a class skill. Having said that, a surprising number of vagabond children grow up to become archaeologists...

    I have 9 XP of unused GM credit that I was thinking of using to build a 4th-level archaeologist with a good line in trapfinding, but if traps are so rare in PFS, I might build something else instead.

    Osirion faction "Tomb Raider" makes good Archaeologist Bards also.

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

    Making it so that anyone could perceive traps and disable non-magical ones was, IMO, one of the worst decisions by the designers, but I understand why they did it and that many (most?) gamers like it. So since that horse is already out of the barn, I'll settle for making them a greater challenge.

    First, since traps are so easy, relatively, to find now, why not make them more deadly? In previous versions of our game, everyone hated save-or-suck traps because essentially there was only one character that could do anything about it and not every party had one. Not really too fun. But since now anyone can perceive them, which is arguable the most important aspect of overcoming traps, the danger can be increased with the expectation that, much more often than not, the PC's will at least find them.

    I hate door traps, stair traps, chest traps, etc. They are obvious and almost always discovered since, arguable, perception is the most important skill in PFS (along with Diplomacy) and it is rare to find a group of players without an optimized perceiver. If you always know where to look and can always find a CR-appropriate trap with a take 10, what's the point? Locate traps where it is not obvious one exists. It will increase their challenge value and also increase the value of the rogue (with trap spotter) profession.

    Most importantly, stop using traps as their own encounter unless there is some significant effect. Doing hit point damage is just a waste of game time. Heal back up, done. Boring. If you want the trap to use up resources, it has to apply to a later encounter. For instance, if a trap with poison saps an ability score, no big deal. The PC receives a lesser restoration and moves one. But, if the follow-up encounters also do ability damage, they become more challenging because the restoring resources have already been used.

    And for Pete's sake, combine traps with monster encounters. I love the one in [spoiler]Sewer Dragons of Absalom[/i] because it adds to an otherwise low-challenge enemy. It makes the entire encounter fun to run and to play. Not to mention that, as said above, if you are in the middle of combat, having to disable a trap becomes more problematic because you don't get to hand-waive the time it takes to do so. Plus, the disabler cannot use the take rules to guarantee success.

    Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Society® / General Discussion / Addition of better, more flavourful traps and devices of death by PFS writers All Messageboards

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