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GM seeking Trap Builder: Long Hours, Little Pay. Must be alert for Rogue Adventurers.


Advice

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Hello Messageboards!
(Let me start off by saying I'm not a 100% sure I'm posting in the correct place, so if I'm not, I'm sorry in advance.)

Now then.

I'm currently in the middle of running two different games- one of which I'm using mostly modules for one, and the other I'm trying to be more creative with, by building my own adventures.

Right now, my problem lies within the Dungeon I've created. I have the creatures to be held within it, the story to get them inside, and even a rather nice layout (if I do say so myself). My problem is in the lack of traps!

What do any good Dungeons have? TRAPS! And mine currently have none.

Id like to know if anyone knows of a website which might supply me with traps- or if any of you might have any creative ideas on some traps for low level adventures to be messing with? (Their level 3 currently).

Here's the basic idea behind the dungeon: Kobolds have been kidnapping people from a local village, and taking their hostages to an old tower out in the swamps. When close allies of the 'Heroes' are taken, our group will try and get them back before its to late! When they arrive at the old Tower, they discover the Kobolds have been hard at work, building down into a cave system below the Tower... Or is it something more then a cave? and thus begins the Dungeon. (SSSOOO Original.. I know!)

Id post a layout of the dungeon along with this, but I cant get to a scanner from here right now.

Does anyone thing they can help me out?


Well there are the old Legend's and Lairs Traps and Treachery series. You can still find them around. They have tons of good traps in them.

Then there is the grimtooth's traps series, more expensive and possibly harder to find in book form.... but their appears to be a kindle edition for 5$!? if that works for you.

Shadow Lodge

Of course, there is the standard traps: Pathfinder Traps.

But here are a few more interesting, multi-round traps:

Boulder Trap

Golden Idol Trap

See-Saw Encounter

Disintegrating Battlefield Encounter

All free and fun!!


I second Cinderfist and use a lot of Grimtooth's stuff for inspiration. Also I like to make up my own by combining spells and environments. For example a short hall, an open pit, and an arched exit at the far end. The arch has a face w/giant ears; it's LISTENING for anyone approaching. If it detects an intruder the face explodes into a fearful visage, causing the trespasser to flee into the pit they just crossed.

I stole this concept from another poster on these boards. If you're going to have traps, and your players are bound to metagame them anyway (a common meta comment from my players is "there's a statue in here? there MUST be a trap or secret door..."), then make obvious trap components to obscure the hidden ones.

Ex: party is coming to the end of a hall. As they do they see a section of wall on the right hand side that is covered in spikes. A ladder ascends to the next level beyond the hazard.

Party will naturally expect the wall to be part of a trap and signs indicate folks have been impaled on it before. Try as they might though they don't see any way the spikes or its wall section would move, so they cautiously move past and begin their ascent.

One rung of the ladder is actually the lever that swings the whole scaffold INTO the spikes, thereby killing/wounding whoever is first up.

Finally, consider the art of the BUILDING trap. I don't mean it's a whole building or that the trap builds something. Instead I mean that the effect of the trap isn't immediate but that it builds into something deadly.

Ex: The party finds a room with eerie blue-green luminessence near the ceiling and a few torches on odd wall sconces; the holders have "blowing faces" built into them, their pursed lips pointing at the flames before them.

As the party enters and enough weight is put on the floor of the chamber it slowly sinks...building air presure in the walls(Perception DC 20). One round later an iron vault door slams into place over the threshold, sealing the party in; at the same time the torches all around explode outward, singeing the party (Burning Hands). The danger isn't over yet though.

A ball of the flames also leaps skyward. The luminous dream spider webs ignite like exposed magnesium, evaporating into a disorienting vapour (Triggers a Will save or a condition is inflicted). Said webbing was being used as the tripwire, holding a series of scattered stone weights in the ceiling. One round after the vapour has the potential to take effect, the weights are released to smash into the party below. Fortunately this also reveals the vault door...


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One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.


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johnlocke90 wrote:
One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.

When they make their will save do they look at the camera, pull out a sign that says "Yikes!" and then plummet leaving behind a puff of smoke?


Mark Hoover wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.
When they make their will save do they look at the camera, pull out a sign that says "Yikes!" and then plummet leaving behind a puff of smoke?

Whats great is that if one person makes their save, everyone else will get another save at a bonus from seeing the guy fall through the floor.


Dotting. I've got my players in a dungeon. I could use some drama.

Shadow Lodge

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I'm going to second Grimtooth's traps. There's even a Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps that has 3.5 stats published by Necromancer Games.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.
When they make their will save do they look at the camera, pull out a sign that says "Yikes!" and then plummet leaving behind a puff of smoke?
Whats great is that if one person makes their save, everyone else will get another save at a bonus from seeing the guy fall through the floor.

Wow, I need to borrow that for a dim hallway leading to an inner door of a secret cult.. The cult members know to fail their save, but the pcs on a spy mission do not...

I suppose they should get a perception check to notice the floor is weird (DC 25), and follow with a spellcraft check (DC 13) to recognise the spell...


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Thomas Writeworth wrote:

Hello Messageboards!

My problem is in the lack of traps

Have whatever traps you put in make sense.

You have 3 categories hand made, fixed up, and left over.

In hindsight have it clear which is which.

Placement of traps needs to make sense as much as placement of creatures!

James

Grand Lodge

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Kobolds love making traps, but unless they're making a barricade usually need to build into each trap a method of bypassing it quickly allowing them to pass while still hindering others. A favorite is pressure/weight sensitive traps which 3-4 of the lightweight kobolds can scamper across or even jump up and down on but when 1 or 2 medium sized or larger creatures enter the square the trap triggers.

Consider trapping only half a section of a 10' wide corridor. The untrapped half is where the kobolds know to walk, and the trap can be triggered by something other than pressure to offer variety.

Also consider making some traps more of an alarm than something that can directly harm the PCs. If the trap is triggered, it means all the kobolds/monsters in the next room can't be surprised and are all armed and ready for the PCs, and may even go looking for them. If such a trap goes off, maybe the nearby kobolds release a pet they have and can barely control to hunt town the PCs.

If the kobolds have a competent caster, they'll have the potential for magical traps and can get really creative. Have an entire room light on fire unless a command word is spoken. Mix in some explosive runes among the graffiti. Label all the caster's potions "poison: do not drink" (and possibly with no magic aura via magic aura) plus a half dozen poisons which are unlabeled but detect as magic (also via magic aura).


A nice one that caught my party last game, speaking of pressure sensitive:

The party is outdoors and a wicked little fey takes off running. There are several paths through the trees and one of the PCs darts off down a side trail to cut him off. Fails a Perception; he's in a snare by his leg dangling upside down from a branch.

Next round I give him and the advancing dwarf a decent Perception chance, stating that the ground in the area is heavily blanketed by leaves; they both blow it and don't notice anything more over the distractions of the rollnig battle. Anyway, the dwarf takes position below the snared PC who then pulls a Luke Skywalker and cuts himself free to land in the dwarf's open arms...

With a crash the 2 plow through the baffle covering the top of a pit trap. It was designed specifically that anyone advancing carefully through the area wouldn't crack it, but if violent force met the lid (like someone dropping out of the snare for example) they'd go through and take the pit damage.

PC in tree didn't take any extra D6 damage since a portion of his fall was cushioned by the bulk of the dwarf. At the bottom however the fey maintained a layer of the Grease spell reskinned as slick wet mud to fit the theme. The PCs spent the last 3 rounds of the fight trying to get out of the muddy pit.

Good times.

Cheliax

The best ones are the kind where you think you deactivated it or disarmed it, but really just activated a much worse trap in the process and then you realize that the call is coming from inside the house.


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johnlocke90 wrote:
One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.

This- is to good not to use. :P


One thing I'm always worried about is that when I make a trap, I often make them too punishing. Getting a player killed or near killed because everyone rolled low on Perception is no fun for the party and it even feels too unavoidable if they just didn't think to look for a trap and then - boom - half their health gone. So I often go for traps that alert other things, trap players for a portion of a fight with minimal damage, or a debuff and an alert so make the next fight a bit more difficult.


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Im working on a project right now that includes 100 different traps (I think I am at 40 so far..) But one particularly memorable one for me is the UBERTRAP:

Basically, when someone steps on a certain square, the ceiling tile from directly above falls on their head (fort save to minimize dmg) which inturn shatter the floor tile that is covering a pit (reflex save to not fall into the pit) If you fall in it is 30ft deep, and there sre spikes (piercing dmg) that are poisoned (fort save negates) and the bottom of the pit has a layer of acid (constant small amounts of dmg) Landing on the spikes causes a new tile to slide across the opening of the pit, sealing you in. This triggers flamethrowers to pop out of the sides of the pit, doing a blast of fire dmg, and then they settle down into a torch-like flame... in this sealed chamber, which then rapidly runs out of air as the fire burns it away. :D

I know, ridiculous, right? I made it so that all the different amounts of dmg are not actually that high for the level, so even if you get hit by everything you might survive (..maybe) but it is fun to describe. And your buddies better open the pit up before you run out of air...


Interzone wrote:

Im working on a project right now that includes 100 different traps (I think I am at 40 so far..) But one particularly memorable one for me is the UBERTRAP:

Basically, when someone steps on a certain square, the ceiling tile from directly above falls on their head (fort save to minimize dmg) which inturn shatter the floor tile that is covering a pit (reflex save to not fall into the pit) If you fall in it is 30ft deep, and there sre spikes (piercing dmg) that are poisoned (fort save negates) and the bottom of the pit has a layer of acid (constant small amounts of dmg) Landing on the spikes causes a new tile to slide across the opening of the pit, sealing you in. This triggers flamethrowers to pop out of the sides of the pit, doing a blast of fire dmg, and then they settle down into a torch-like flame... in this sealed chamber, which then rapidly runs out of air as the fire burns it away. :D

I know, ridiculous, right? I made it so that all the different amounts of dmg are not actually that high for the level, so even if you get hit by everything you might survive (..maybe) but it is fun to describe. And your buddies better open the pit up before you run out of air...

I would love LOVE - LLLOOOVVVVEE to have an NPC step forward and set off this trap right before them- and describe this all happening- so that they can just stand there with a dumb look on their face. :P


Xethik wrote:
One thing I'm always worried about is that when I make a trap, I often make them too punishing. Getting a player killed or near killed because everyone rolled low on Perception is no fun for the party and it even feels too unavoidable if they just didn't think to look for a trap and then - boom - half their health gone. So I often go for traps that alert other things, trap players for a portion of a fight with minimal damage, or a debuff and an alert so make the next fight a bit more difficult.

Seconded. With the exception of pits or set pieces, I don't really like massive death traps. If you have a first level party going against a simple Adept 3 with trapbuilding you could easily have one character shredded by Ray of Frost traps before they ever even make it to the BBEG, and what fun is that.

No, I'd rather impose conditions or minor damage. At mid levels I like ability damage. A gas that Sickens or Blinds a PC; a hammer blow that delivers 1d6 but then also prompts a save vs Fatigue as it knocks you for a loop. And of course alarms. I've run 3 campaigns in recent years and all three have fallen for a variation on the old "Pots and pans strung up with a tripwire" trick.

The only thing with these kinds of traps is that you need monsters near at hand to capitalize on them. This in turn takes a bit of forethought and planning. If you're making up adventures on the fly or ad-libbing this can sometimes backfire (I've personally experienced this) but that's the only drawback I've run into.


Adventurers are their own worst enemies.
Paint scribbles and symbols on the wall. They don't actually do anything, but that makes PCs all the more paranoid. False doors that simply cannot be opened are a barrel o' laughs too.


could i ask a question on how traps work really quick? My party of players are really cautious and rightly so- but they take 10 foot steps making a perception roll (or requiring me to make a perception roll) where ever they go. unless a trap is right around the corner they can normally make 4-5 perception rolls before ever getting to the trap. even at with negatives i have almost NEVER gotten a player to fall for a trap, is there a way to fix this? Also: my players like to trigger traps with a 10 foot pole, if the players made their perception rolls is it possible they only see the trigger but not the actual trap? Making the 10 foot pole activated a pit fall 10 feet away from the trigger?

Shadow Lodge

Dotting. This is glorious and I'll be stealing this stuff for my future Megadungeon game.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Deadly Trappings from Kenzer & Company is another setting/rules neutral collection of illustrated traps. Mostly all mechanical or physics based.

To VDZ

Core Rules on Traps wrote:
Creatures that succeed on a Perception check detect a trap before it is triggered. The DC of this check depends on the trap itself. Success generally indicates that the creature has detected the mechanism that activates the trap, such as a pressure plate, odd gears attached to a door handle, and the like. Beating this check by 5 or more also gives some indication of what the trap is designed to do

So, to your question, if the PCs have no x/n-ray perceptions, they can only see what you describe to them. Mechanical traps are inevitably hidden behind walls or floors, their true mechanisms hidden from direct sight. Your PCs may spy a pressure plate or trip wire and may make guesses as to what type of trap it could trigger based on the information you give to them. It would be an easy thing to say that if the PC rolls a 30, you let them know that the pressure plate up ahead triggers a deadfall, probably in the squares near it, but its relatively impossible to know if they are the ones ahead of it, behind it, of if the square that has the plate will fall away. What you do not have to let them know is that triggering the deadfall releases a cloud of noxious fumes that have been trapped from deeper in the dungeon and have been building up in the airtight space.

If doors leading into and out of a room with a trap are of special construction (metal, rimmed, turn wheel to open) its a good bet that the room is going to fill with something. Is it gas, water, green slime? Context clues in the room description may let them know which of these it is. However, the only way to get across the room is to figure out the puzzle that disables the trap and unlocks the far door and THAT is only accessible from inside the room.

Or the inevitable happens in a trap filled dungeon. The obvious way through leads to a dead end. That strange room where the PCs bypassed all the "traps" did have those huge chains suspending the floor from the ceiling. A dungeoneering check lets the dwarf facefalm and think to go back and discover the elevator was disguised as a trap, but that they broke the mechanism and have to figure out a way to repair it.

Traps can be so much more than just Perception/Disable Device checks. Especially since the level of detail given to the PCs is controlled by the DM. Players can jump to whatever conclusions they wish when you give them the perceived information. Do understand that you give them that information and know that the trap designing NPCs live in a world where adventurers are trying to undo their life's work. They know that misinformation is sometimes just as deadly as simply hanging a rope with a sign that says "Pull Me." I think the best example of this is one of the rooms in the Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad that has an ordinary broom and bucket in it. That's it, that's all there is in the room. My players spent an hour debating on the best way to get past the chamber. Do Note: I roll for my player's checks when dealing with traps since using phrases like "you think" and "you believe" are very important when the majority of what they are trying to disable is hidden from their perceptions.


VRMH wrote:

Adventurers are their own worst enemies.

Paint scribbles and symbols on the wall. They don't actually do anything, but that makes PCs all the more paranoid. False doors that simply cannot be opened are a barrel o' laughs too.

I have seen this first hand in the past- something I'll have to consider. :P


VDZ wrote:
could i ask a question on how traps work really quick? My party of players are really cautious and rightly so- but they take 10 foot steps making a perception roll (or requiring me to make a perception roll) where ever they go. unless a trap is right around the corner they can normally make 4-5 perception rolls before ever getting to the trap. even at with negatives i have almost NEVER gotten a player to fall for a trap, is there a way to fix this? Also: my players like to trigger traps with a 10 foot pole, if the players made their perception rolls is it possible they only see the trigger but not the actual trap? Making the 10 foot pole activated a pit fall 10 feet away from the trigger?

If its an issue then put them on a clock.

But honestly, don't force parties into things. Whether those things are encounters, the BBEG getting to use his 'cool' ability, or a trap.

Have your world be a world. Have it make sense.

The above would be akin to letting your PCs go through a dungeon at the rate of one room per day... slaughtering the bad guys by blowing all of their daily resources with the next room waiting for them to come along the next day. Have things react to them.

So the case in point:

You have a populated dungeon.

How do the creatures live and go about their daily lives?

What are traps that they know about and have set up lairs based upon, vs what are the traps that they've set themselves for that purpose.

Traps should not be wandering monsters!

If the players are able to sift through a dungeon 10ft at a time, then reward them for caution. If you don't like it, then change the situation.. but PLEASE don't do it heavy handed for an end goal.. just as much as you shouldn't for an encounter of creatures don't do it for a trap.

-James


james maissen wrote wrote:
The above would be akin to letting your PCs go through a dungeon at the rate of one room per day... slaughtering the bad guys by blowing all of their daily resources with the next room waiting for them to come along the next day. Have things react to them.

Well this is not really true, if they are taking 10 foot steps per round it takes 6 seconds to take 10 steps. The logic is "Per round: Take 10 steps, total defense, percieve" rinse and repeat. It SOUNDS like it would take a long time, but in reality they can move through a hall way in about 1 minute if not longer.

I'm sorry if i'm getting off topic:

On topic though, traps are what you make of them- though i am always disappointed when i make my traps because the players generally avoid them at all costs "You see the faint outlines of a pressure plate ahead" 'okay, lets not go this way... if we have to go this way, we will have one member throw a big rock at it then run away as fast as possible" and the traps are always spotted (see above)


VDZ wrote:
james maissen wrote wrote:
The above would be akin to letting your PCs go through a dungeon at the rate of one room per day... slaughtering the bad guys by blowing all of their daily resources with the next room waiting for them to come along the next day. Have things react to them.

Well this is not really true, if they are taking 10 foot steps per round it takes 6 seconds to take 10 steps. The logic is "Per round: Take 10 steps, total defense, percieve" rinse and repeat. It SOUNDS like it would take a long time, but in reality they can move through a hall way in about 1 minute if not longer.

I'm sorry if i'm getting off topic:

On topic though, traps are what you make of them- though i am always disappointed when i make my traps because the players generally avoid them at all costs "You see the faint outlines of a pressure plate ahead" 'okay, lets not go this way... if we have to go this way, we will have one member throw a big rock at it then run away as fast as possible" and the traps are always spotted (see above)

Sure it is, though perhaps hyperbole is there- the sentiment remains.

How about something as simple as they are ambushed by archers, and when they try to charge the position they encounter a trap or two?

Put them on the clock. If they want to move forward 10 feet at a time when being fired upon that's great..

But otherwise, live and let live. They want to play a cautious group.. there's NOTHING wrong with that.

-James

Qadira

Generally PCs are going to locate traps via reactive Perception checks - that is to say, they get one check each (usually made in secret by the GM) to spot something which seems particularly 'trapish'. That doesn't tell them anything much about what the trap does, unless they succeed on the check by at least 5. Actively searching for anything, traps included, takes a move action per check.

Not all traps need to be hidden, of course - some may technically be more 'hazards' which the PCs need to work out how to bypass (the classic series of blades swinging across a corridor, for example).

The thing I like to avoid with traps is traps which make no sense. If the trap is somewhere actively used by anyone, then there needs to be a way to bypass or avoid the trap. If it's just there to stop anything which may come that way (as in some tombs, for example, to prevent theft of grave goods) then occassionally have early traps already triggered by previous adventurers (their skeletal remains still lying there, perhaps even with some helpful equipment remaining).

Like several posters up-thread I actually prefer traps which do something other than damage / kill things... as that's pretty much the most boring thing you can do in the game, traps included. If they are 'death traps', then at least take a page out of the supervillains' handbook and have them take some time to kill their victims - escaping death traps can be exciting and fun... just being killed by a massive fireball (or whatever) not so much...

'Start the incredibly slow dipping device!'

;)

Sczarni

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My personal favorite are not so much traps as they are obstacles-- the PCs can see them just fine (or at least parts of them) but can't necessarily bypass the trap just because they saw it. This also solves the problem of PCs that search for and find every trap. They'll find it easily... and get caught in it just the same.

Here's a few example traps I thought of.

It looks too easy...:
Set out several bear traps (stats in the APG). Don't hide 'em, just tell your players that there's bear traps all over the place in this room.

The obvious door out of the room is actually painted on, and the knob is a handle that rings an alarm bell. A few d4 rounds later, a kobold with a wand of Hydraulic Push pokes his head out of a trapdoor (he has cover) and starts magically bull rushing people into the bear traps.

The Dance Floor Dilemma:
The PCs enter a 60x60 room. There are several cages in the room-- some contain Medium humanoids who may or may not have weapons, and some are empty.

In fact, every square in this room is a pressure plate, and every time anyone moves 5 feet, the trap randomly chooses a square in the room (2 d12's should do it) and either drops a cage on it or releases the cage already there. The people who were already trapped there have been there a while and are delirious from starvation-- if released, they will attack and attempt to eat the PCs. If a cage falls on a PC, they can make a Reflex save to avoid it, or an Escape Artist check to get out of it, but doing so requires them to move 5 feet and stand on a new pressure plate.

Once the room is successfully crossed, have the PCs shortly discover that this path is a dead end, and they have to go back through the room...

Blast Runes:
Go look at the Cleric section of the CRB, specifically the Rune domain. The 1st level domain ability is to create blast runes-- magic traps that are invisible and have no listed duration, meaning they're permanent. If the kobolds have a cleric with the Rune domain, it's reasonable to think there could be leftover blast runes anywhere. ANYWHERE, even in the room where the PCs fight the BBEG (who remembers where the runes are and has his minions bull rush the PCs into them)

This works best if you foreshadow it-- leave a few hints that Irori or Nethys is worshipped in these caves before springing blast runes on people. If the kobold cleric might be 8th level or higher, he can start imbuing spells into the runes for extra hilarity.

Bring Your Own Torches:
A dim hallway is lined with several wall mountings holding unlit torches. The torches are actually full of smokesticks and inhaled poison, and if the PCs light them, they'll find themselves in a Stinking Cloud-like effect.

Rope-A-Dope:
A large pit trap has several ropes hanging overhead that appear to be there so the kobolds can get across. The ropes are actually pull ropes for alarm bells (Perception check) and if the PCs attempt to use them, a guard will rush in, cast Animate Rope, and the PC will be dropped into the pit.

Alternatively, the ropes simply aren't strong enough to support anyone heavier than a kobold, and each rope has an X% chance of breaking each round. Combine that with the Climb checks for passing from rope to rope, and we have a trap can easily catch a PC without catching them by surprise.


I'm playing a trap-building PC soon, and I'm designing all the traps I use myself. I've just started, and they're relatively simple, but these are just a few ideas.

A hole in the wall with a bag of treasure. When you pick it up, blades slam shut on your hand.

A whole bunch of ropes on the ground that don't look like anything. When you step over a specific rope with their foot, all of the ropes go taut. Everybody in the area gets tripped, and then they're entangled until they chop their way out.

A panel in the floor, that when triggered, springs a hammer that swings from underneath and smashes on their foot. Use the called shot rules. You might want to use something with a higher critical rating to make the effects more debilitating.


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I made another post earlier but it appears it got eaten on the way to the board....
One thing I mentioned was you can combine a trap with some kind of reward, such as:
-A gem that, when held, shoots spikes out that do some damage and bind the gem to your hand, so you cant use that hand until you surgically remove the gem (heal check) but the gem still ends up being valuable.
-A chest that includes actual treasure, but also a slow-acting poison..
-A pair of what are obviously magical goggles on an otherwise normal-looking statue... but if you take them off you discover that they were put on to prevent the dangerous eye beams that start blasting out of the statues eyes..


The first thing I thought when seeing Trap Builder:

"Someone is going to try to build on Vital Strike"


@ saturn: great ideas but when I read rope-a-dope I cringed. A variation was played on me in the ancient days of 1e. Over lava. It was one of the shortest lived characters ever.

Worst part was since the lava pool was pretty far across the first couple ropes were fine and each carried you from one "island" to the next. But right in the middle..."snap!" ...And you're swallowed by lava.

But to all the good advice on this thread I thank you. The resounding theme seems to be 1. make traps blend with their surroundings in some way, and 2. give them a purpose other than just tenderizing the PCs.

I think number 2 is really important. Think about how physical traps are used in our modern world by hunters. Deadfalls, snares, or cages/bear traps are put out into the wilds in order to end the threat of an animal or provide sustenance to the hunter. Either way they are then a tool OF the hunter which is checked and maintained by them.

In my recent adventure there were custom fey called Muddlers trying to keep things away from their "special mud". The area used to be frequented by nosy rangers and druids stealing the mud for it's superior quality for gardening so they built traps to work as deterrents to these people. These fey are some of the few that can't fly, but they are very small while their enemies are bigger, so they based most of their traps on weight. Finally they actively patrol their traps, using disturbances in local flora or fauna as an indicator that they need to check one out.

The first trap was obvious to the party: there was a hedgerow pierced by a Small sized tunnel coated with mud. Some of the party went over the hedge while others squeezed through the tunnel. At the top of the hedge and looking down they easily made out the outline of a covered pit beneath them. They continued over the top and simply avoided the pit, the whole party now into the Muddler's wood with ease.

But then they spied a "dancing sprite" among the trees (dancing lights spell) and moved forward to investigate. This triggered the muddler to hurl a mud pie (ranged touch attack with effects like a tanglefoot bag) and start running through the trees. The party gave chase and WHAM! Snare trap. Beneath the snare trap...another pit that no one noticed.

So now the party is realizing that the woods are thoroughly trapped. After dealing with their prey they grabbed a long branch and began probing ahead. They triggered 2 more snares and one of them they failed a save and lost the branch. The resulting noise rustled the canopy, putting the other muddlers on alert, so they dispatched a bunch of dire moles to the next area where battle ensued.

All of these make logical and thematic sense. The traps individually weren't well camouflaged (DC 15 Perception) but under the threat of being pelted with mud or informed upon to others the group missed a bit and therefore got caught.


I still think a trap that reversed gravity inside its area and "dropped" the PCs straight up into stalactites or summat would be cool. An interesting twist on your standard "pit with spikes oh noes" trap.

Sczarni

It's too late for me to edit my post, but under "Blast Runes", I made a mistake. Those runes DO have a duration, measured in rounds, so it's actually quite unlikely that there'd still be one left over unless the PCs just missed running into the cleric that cast it.

That said, if a group of enemies has a cleric amongst them, Blast Runes could be a fairly effective means of flanking denial as well as a way to keep the PCs guessing-- if they fail the Spellcraft check, they could easily assume they tripped a pre-existing trap and who knows what the caster is doing.

Qadira

Try having a character with the False Focus Feat from Inner Sea Magic (page 10), and the ability to cast the phantom trap spell (CRB page 320). That way every lock or small mechanical device at least fifty feet from another casting of the spell can be set-up (for no cost, thanks to False Focus) to register as 'trapped'. Mix in a few real traps, of course... ;)


johnlocke90 wrote:
One trap i like is to dig a pit, then use Shadow Conjuration to create a wall to cover the pit. If the party makes their will save, they fall into the pit.

HAHAHA! I love this! Definitely going to use it!

One of my ideas:

Players are chasing kobolds (or any small-sized creatures) through their lair. The little buggers dash down a 5x5 hallway that opens into a 10x10x10 room with another 5x5 hall (or a smaller one) leading out of it in a straight line with the first. There is a pressure plate in the room that, when activated, casts Enlarge Person on whoever has set it off. That person fills the space, and the small critters are free to attack the PC's feet while they can't maneuver very well to get to the monsters in the second hallway. The two halls could be a little smaller to bar the enlarged character from squeezing out of the room.

When the big fella finally gets back to normal size, and progresses, they will encounter another trap in the second hallway that triggers both a Reduce Person spell and a Gust of Wind spell (or something similar) that blasts them back down the hall, through the bigger room, and into the first hallway...and resets the Enlarge Person trap...

Another:
A little simpler...
A chest is placed in a semi-hidden location (to throw off suspicion), and has some tantalizing loot around it. Unless a successful Perception check is made, the players fail to notice that the chest's lid is covered in glue. The chest is set upon a tilt-able section of floor attached to a series of levers that, when activated (such as by someone trying to pull their hand off of the chest), trigger dart traps, or spike traps, or scything blade traps, etc... Each direction triggers a different trap (forward, back, left, right). The chest is fastened to the floor, but the mechanisms are also pressure sensitive, triggering ANOTHER trap if you manage to reduce the amount of weight on the tile (such as by lifting the chest partially while not standing on the tile).


If you look at the elven racial feats, they would be pretty good on a character you want more heavily focused in a particular wilderness setting...a guide, a local explorer, an exceptional ranger...but grant too small a benefit and require too many feats invested to be very attractive unless you somehow magically just have an excess of feats available.


Cross-posted the above to the wrong thread, but can't delete it.


Simple alarm trap I have used:

Entrance to the BBEG's lair leads down a bit to a 30' wall. At the top of the wall, the PC's can see a tunnel leading deeper into the dungeon.

In the center of the wall is a rope ladder to allow dungeon denizens to proceed, and is a convenient assist to the PC's..or is it?

Tugging on the rope ladder shows the PC's that it's sturdy..but that is because it takes at least 30 lbs to cause the weak twine holding the rope to break, and attached to the end of the rope ladder is a bunch of small bells. Or maybe a basket of poisonous snakes. Or maybe a tin of green slime. Or a bag of sneezing powder. Or maybe all of the above.

The true rope ladder is to one side with a permanent invisibility spell cast on it. The denizens know about it, the PC's do not. Maybe it's rolled up and out of their sight. Or maybe it doesn't even exist.

The benefit of a trap like this is the PC's don't get Perception checks to avoid it. They can't dice roll their way out of a trap like this. Since they cannot see any of the bad stuff, and the trigger just looks and feels like an ordinary rope ladder they cannot detect the trap. The PC's would need to bypass the rope ladder and climb up to see the trap mechanism.

Lantern Lodge

100ft pit trap bottom full of acid walls smooth and slick from acid corrosion. Acid will do a point of damage every round until targets are dead or mage runs out of resist acid spells.

Underground reverse pyramid with a large room at the very bottom with only 1 entrance that is also the exit. In said room have it be dissected by a wall of force with fake pillars and the treasure behind said wall. Mage disintegrates or dispels wall and entire pyramid collapses since the wall of force is the supporting beam of building.

Slot machine that takes copper, silver, gold, and plat. Place single copper in machine, pull lever, entire room except machine and the guy at it get hit with 1d6 electrical, 10 copper coins apear in trey. Same for all other coins but damage increases as coin value increases. So silver does 2d6, gold 3d6, and plat 4d6. Test the players greed and how much he values the other players.

Any of u are free to use those traps in ur dungeons mwahahahaha.


Dotting.

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Lantern Lodge

bump


Dot.


How do you disarm a magic trap? What have other GMs left in place after an adept kobold uses their Craft: trapsmith skill combined with a burning hands to make a flame-throwing face on a wall singe some trespassers? Is there magical writing they can smudge or otherwise hinder; a mechanical component w/in the larger magical trap that can be influenced like a mouth that opens and closes; do you force the party's spellcaster to make a bunch of fancy rolls and try a counterspell effect?

I need this as my party gets higher in level and encounters more magic traps than mechanical. Any advice would be helpful.


A magic trap could be a rune or some form of device.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
A magic trap could be a rune or some form of device.

I concur AF; now how would you describe disarming to your players? I want my traps to live, to breathe; I want them to Jazzercise. For that reason I like to give logical and engaging disarm or bypass strategies and descriptions.

4 party members round a corner in a dungeon and spot a face on the opposite end of the hall, glaring at them. Upon second glance the face is that of a huge monster, it's glowering visage sculpted in bas relief in the stone. It marks another turn in this meandering path and to follow the hallway is to round another corner just under it's nose.

At this point I show them a picture of a hideous face on a wall, its mouth wide open. If they approach and begin their detections and such the face will not radiate magic unless a save is rolled (obscured aura). Baseline perception detects the ambient odor of brimstone and alchemist's fire in the area while a good Perception can discern faint traces of ash in the cracks of the floor all around it; a GREAT perception spots the scorch marks on the wall which have faded and been obscured by lichen and grime.

Now the spell is verbal and somatic, so there could be some runes to represent the verbal. However just to be mean I'm going to put them INSIDE the open mouth. If you get close enough to read them, you're on fire. The 4 players are generic 1e ripoffs: a cleric of light, a rogue, a basic fighter and a blaster wizard, all first level. How would you, as a player, deal w/this or how, as a GM would you allow your players to disarm or bypass?


As a player, the Mage would either Dispel it in some manner or the Rogue would figure out some manner of disarming it.

As a GM, If the Mage dispelled it they probably used Erase if the runes where seen either by the Rogue sneaking up to the trap or something or some other spell. The Rogue might have used Disable Device in which case I might make it to where he discovered a small mechanism that serves as the Somatic Component and broke that or he found the runes and either removed sections of the runes or figured out a way to rewrite the runes to produce a harmless effect.

Sort of like what happened in one of the bonus chapters of Full Metal Alchemist where Edward added a single small accent to a rune on the outside of the BBEG's Circle. Instead of draining the life from the surrounding area it just generated a large amount of harmless light.

Heck, you could give the party a major advantage through it if the Rogue beats the DC for Disable Device enough. I had a Rogue roll well enough to Triple DC and then some so I made the trap switch from casting Shocking Grasp to casting Cure Light Wounds on everyone who stepped on the trapped square.


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Rogue: "I check for traps in the wole corridor, for 20 rounds every square"
DM: "OK, you notice some kind of blur in the air. It's like a faint red light that forms a moving repetitive pattern, once you look at it for some seconds".
Rogue: "What the . is that? Can the wizard see it?"
Wizard: "And I want to detect magic on it. And can I check for spellcraft? "
DM: "You almost couldn't see it, but with the detect magic spell you can see the patterns clearly. The spellcraft check tells you that it's not properly a spell, but a subtle method of detection that is created by a magic device. Please roll for Knowledge Arcana." ... "You remember to have seen this pattern before. It was used by the wizard xyz to sign in some of their writings. He had a
great knowledge of the human mind. Rogue, you are sure this is the trigger of some kind of magical trap".
Rogue: "Well, then i try to disable it"
DM: "Have you got any idea of how to do that?"
Rogue: "No, just want to use Disable device, my character should know".
DM: "Sad, it could have granted you a bonus to the check. As you begin to use some little pieces of mirrors from your thieves tools to do some kind of interruption in the light, you begin to notice a strange fear and to exhude a cold sweat. The patterns are whirling around you. If someone attracted enough time the attention of those patterns (passing a will check against fear), you could disable them easier (this is it would lower the trap DC, but if you fail that person would be subject to the trap effect too). "
Fighter: "I will help him, I've got a good will bonus to fear".
Cleric: "I'll bless the fighter".


Also see this thread
The Dungeonscape manual from 3.5 was great for designing traps as encounters.

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