It’s a Trap!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Hazards are some of the most common challenges in Pathfinder, apart from monsters, and the most common hazards are traps. Most of the hazards in the Pathfinder Playtest are traps, but there are also environmental hazards like mold and quicksand, or even haunts. Rather than have different rules for each type of hazard, in the playtest, hazards all have a unified format, though how you might find them and deal with them can be quite different.

Noticing a Hazard

Most hazards can be noticed using Perception, although simple or obvious magical hazards are easily noticeable via detect magic and similar magic. Some hazards are so easy to locate that you might notice them even if you aren't even searching. Other hazards might be created or hidden in a particularly devious way and require a certain proficiency rank to notice them before it's too late, even if you're searching. (The rogue's Trap Finder feat improves this even further in the case of traps, but any character with legendary Perception can find any Perception-based hazard—not just rogues!) These harder-to-locate hazards don't appear until higher levels, since it's incredibly unlikely to encounter a level 1 trap created by a legendary crafter, though that doesn't mean all high-level hazards are hard to notice. For instance, the most dangerous example hazard below, the Armageddon Orb, is trivial for almost anyone to notice.

Disabling a Hazard

The skill needed to disable a hazard varies. Traps are usually disabled via Thievery, environmental hazards via Nature or Survival, and haunts via Occultism or Religion, though there are exceptions in every category. Many hazards require a certain number of successes before they are fully disabled, and a critical success typically counts as two successes. A critical failure means you've accidentally triggered the hazard! Many physical hazards can also be destroyed by brute force. In many cases, breaking the trigger mechanism might set the trap off prematurely, which you might be able to do from a safe distance. We felt it was really important to make dealing with hazards a more narrative experience without taking lots of extra time or requiring the GM to make up details on the spot, and so every skill that can be used to disable a hazard is listed in the stat block, along with a description of the how a PC would use that skill to do so.

Simple or Complex?

Out of everything in the playtest, hazards may be the one component for which you can get the best preview right now. How? Starfinder. We had already created an early framework for hazards by the time Starfinder came around, so when I was asked to create a framework for Starfinder's traps, I adapted what we had for the Pathfinder Playtest, and the rest of the Starfinder Core Rulebook team liked what they saw. We've refined the playtest's system since then, which means that we have two main types of hazards: simple hazards that trigger, take their reaction, and are then done, and complex hazards that roll into initiative and shift the game into encounter mode until the PCs deal with them (or at least escape).

For Example…

Let's take a look at several sample hazards!

Hidden Pit Hazard 0

Mechanical, Trap

Stealth DC 16

Description A trapdoor covers a 10-foot-square pit that is 20 feet deep.

Disable Thievery DC 12 to remove the trapdoor, making the trap no longer hidden (Perception DC 0 to notice)

AC 10, TAC 7; Fort +1, Ref +1

Hardness 4 (trapdoor); Immunities critical hits, object immunities, precision damage

[[R]] Pitfall

Trigger A creature walks onto the trapdoor.

Effect The triggering creature falls in and takes falling damage (typically 10 bludgeoning damage). That creature can use the Grab Edge reaction to avoid falling.

Reset The trap still causes falling damage if anyone falls in, but the trapdoor must be reset manually for the trap to become hidden again.

Ah, the pit, the most basic of all simple traps. Anybody can find a hidden pit, even if they aren't searching for it, because the Stealth DC doesn't require a proficiency rank. If someone walks onto the trapdoor, the pit uses its reaction to open up, and the triggering creature might fall. The Disable entry explains how a character can pop the trapdoor off and make the pit obvious to all. Still might want to be careful crossing, though!

Armageddon Orb Hazard 23

Magical, Trap

Stealth DC 10 or detect magic

Description A roiling red orb, forged from a drop of Rovagug's blood, rains fire from the sky when a specified condition is met.

Disable Thievery DC 51 (legendary) to imbue thieves' tools with aspects representing Asmodeus and Sarenrae and use them to drain away the orb's power over 10 minutes, taking 5 fire damage each round during that time

[[R]] Burn It All (divine, evocation, fire)

Trigger A special condition set by the trap's creator, typically on the event of her death.

Effect Fire rains from the sky in a 100-mile radius, dealing 10d6 fire damage to creatures and objects in the area (Reflex DC 46 for half damage, or no damage on a critical success). Any creature reduced to 0 Hit Points in this way dies instantly. This is not enough damage to completely burn away a forest or level a mountain or city, but it typically kills most creatures in the area.

This one was pure, over-the-top fun to write. What would a level 23 hazard even look like? This one is really obvious but incredibly difficult to disable. The effect's damage is not even remotely a threat to high-level PCs—but if they care about any NPCs in the region, chances are they're not going to want to set this thing off!

Bloodthirsty Urge Hazard 10

Haunt

Stealth DC 29 (trained)

Description An object imbued with echoes of a vicious mind tries to kill someone who comes near.

Disable Religion DC 27 (master) to exorcise the spirit or Diplomacy DC 29 (expert) to talk it down

[[R]] Quietus (emotion, fear, illusion, mental, occult)

Trigger A creature moves within 10 feet of the haunted object.

Effect The haunt takes control of the triggering creature, forcing it to attack itself. The creature is affected by phantasmal killer (DC 25), except that instead of mental damage, the damage type is based on a weapon the creature has drawn, an object it holds, or its unarmed attack damage if it's holding nothing.

Here's an example of a haunt. As you can see, it uses the same basic framework as the other hazards, so once you learn the rules, you can use them flexibly for almost any hazard you can dream up! In this case, a PC could use Religion to exorcise the haunt, but a character could also potentially use Diplomacy to talk it down. Still, the master of Religion has the advantage with an easier DC. You could even imagine an adventure where it matters how the PCs deal with a hazard. Perhaps exorcising a haunt using Religion helps sanctify the area, while using Diplomacy might persuade the spirit to impart some hints to the PCs about what happened before it departs.

Spinning Blade Pillar Hazard 4

Complex, Mechanical, Trap

Stealth +10 (trained) or DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel

Description A metal pole with three razor-sharp spinning blades is hidden in the floor, connected to trigger plates in up to eight floor tiles and a hidden control panel within 30 feet.

Disable Thievery DC 18 (trained) twice on the pillar, or Thievery DC 16 (expert) once on the control panel deactivates the entire trap

AC 19, TAC 15; Fort +6, Ref +10

Hardness 11 (2 dents) on the pillar, denting the panel causes the trap to stay constantly active and prevents disabling the panel; Immunities critical hits, object immunities, precision damage

[[R]] Rising Pillar (attack)

Trigger A creature steps on one of the floor tiles.

Effect The trap pops up in a grid intersection and makes a spinning blade attack against one adjacent creature (if any), then rolls initiative.

Routine (3 actions) On its initiative, the trap spends its first action making a spinning blade attack against each adjacent creature, its second action to move straight in a random direction (roll 1d4 to determine the direction), and its third action to attack each adjacent creature. This trap doesn't take a multiple attack penalty.

Speed 10 ft.

[[A]] Melee spinning blade +12, Damage 2d10+5 slashing

Reset The trap deactivates and resets after 1 minute.

This is the first complex trap ever created for the game. It was also responsible for the first death in the game, as Logan kept rolling randomly for the blade's movement, which just happened to be wherever Stephen's rogue had moved while trying to avoid it—and then it rolled right back over him after he fell unconscious. Note that the complex trap has a Stealth bonus, rather than just a DC, since it actually rolls for initiative in encounter mode (using Stealth). If your party has an expert in Thievery who can find the hidden panel (we didn't; our expert lay bleeding on the ground), this hazard is actually a breeze to disable, but even a trained character can disable it with patience, and a not-so-patient character can always smash it apart with enough big hits to deal 11 or more damage.

So what do you think? Care to hazard an opinion?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Merisiel Pathfinder Playtest Rogues Wayne Reynolds
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Liberty's Edge

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Fiendish Warlord wrote:
Magus Black wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Magus Black wrote:

Just saying but only an idiot would purchase, or create, an Armageddon Orb without its trigger being.

Trigger: Attempt to disarm Armageddon Orb.

So then you're giving your enemies a way to trigger it when they want instead of when you want?
What do the hero's gain from triggering the Doomsday Device? Payback against the ungrateful Population? Increased Real Estate sales? Getting back at Bob for overcharging you at the Bar?

Why assume that only the "good guys" are your enemies?

This is Evil Overlord 101, here: there are always rivals and underlings looking to take your place.

You don't need to be a good guy to not want to rule over a burned wasteland peopled only by the dead. Most wannabe Evil Overlords don't want to kill everyone (or nearly everyone) in their prospective kingdom. There are exceptions, but they're a rarity and usually give signs of their omnicidal tendencies.


Roswynn wrote:

Now that I re-read this part, it's interesting.

Not "requiring" the GM to make up details on the spot.

So I presume the GM will be required, instead, to constantly check charts of difficulty numbers.

Because let's face it, either you give a DC to *everything* or I'll always have to make up details on the spot. Skill & ability DCs, appropriate status effects, Hardness... it's just in the job description.

I'd *very much* rather use my common sense and handle a situation with a few good suggestions and no hard rules than having to constantly worry about following the right rule at the right time and having to check, again and again, the right DC, the right modifier...

I agree only partially.

Sure, for trap creation guidelines there should be the numbers and a few suggestions.
But in a printed adventure I like having a more detailed description also for traps and hazards. Because those details, even if they are just rules on how to disable and interact with this trap, tell me something about it and help to make up more details. It also helps the narrative.

When the hazards are magical whatevers there is a limit to use common sense to guess what they'll do.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

The Armageddon Orb is essentially a MAD device and I think more entities employing it will use it as such. You likely don't want it to actually go off, it is there for insurance purposes.

If you make the trigger "someone attempts to disarm it" you've not done anything useful with it really, and made it really hard for you to deal with if you want to turn it off.

Most of the times it will be things like "If you cut me down my Orb will rain fire upon this land" type stuff.

MAD device?
Mutually Assured Destruction. I.E, you mess me up, my auto country destroying bomb goes off, so you better not mess me up.
In the Paizo forums MAD generally is Multiple Abilities Dependancy. You Americans love your acronyms so much a single abbreviation can mean twenty different things. Something the contest clarify what you are saying, something it doesn't.

If something comes up enough, it's helpful to have a term for it. Acronyms are an easy way of doing that if you're unsure how to go about constructing a word that most people would understand. I think of it as a gaming thing more than anything else: plenty of things come up a lot in gaming that have little to no relevance outside of it e.g. I need to SR to get both SR and the right HP IV for the HP type I want.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

The Armageddon Orb is essentially a MAD device and I think more entities employing it will use it as such. You likely don't want it to actually go off, it is there for insurance purposes.

If you make the trigger "someone attempts to disarm it" you've not done anything useful with it really, and made it really hard for you to deal with if you want to turn it off.

Most of the times it will be things like "If you cut me down my Orb will rain fire upon this land" type stuff.

MAD device?
Mutually Assured Destruction. I.E, you mess me up, my auto country destroying bomb goes off, so you better not mess me up.
In the Paizo forums MAD generally is Multiple Abilities Dependancy. You Americans love your acronyms so much a single abbreviation can mean twenty different things. Something the contest clarify what you are saying, something it doesn't.

I'm not American. I have however studied modern history and MAD is a term used frequently since the Cold War. It is the entire point behind ridiculous stock piles of nuclear warheads among Super Powers.


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Pathfinder 2e seems to be full of trap options...


jasin wrote:

I'm becoming skeptical of largely divorcing training from skill check odds, and requiring both for success. There's some interesting nuance there, but it seems little gain a a lot more work: setting difficulty is now picking a point on a two-dimensional scale.

If picking this lock seems like it should be somewhat harder than breaking it, does that mean I want a higher DC? Or the same DC, but more proficiency? Or more proficiency, but a lower DC, since only a seasoned locksmith would even know what to do, but it's then it's fairly easy for them to actually do it?

Setting difficulty, ad hoc, fairly, quickly, consistently, is something a DM has to do all the time. It seems this approach makes it a lot more demanding, of only a small increase in texture.

Maybe it's just because it's new. Anyone who actually played a bit: have you found this to be an issue?

Yeah this is my worry as well. Particularly in a d20 system, the difference in chances of success between the various trained levels is extremely small. While this works for things like combat, where you're doing these things repeatedly, they work poorly as gates to success outside of combat.

PF1e had a larger disparity in skill bonuses, and that actually *helped* to solve this problem. Having to gauge things along two axes is going to make design harder... and going to make training either super meaningful, or not meaningful at all.

I'm not sure the right solution here, but it *is* a problem...


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

After retreading the Starfinder Hazard rules, I’m not certain these will make for a good fit for Haunts. I’ll reserve final judgment for the play test, but I wasn’t easily able to puzzle through the hazard rules to make a haunt in Starfinder, and if the rules are equally bare I’ll have the same issue in PF2. To be clear, I can make a hazard easily enough, but haunts are specific kinds of hazards with some interesting rules and characteristics. I would hate to lose that between edition changes.


What happens if a player tries to stuff an active armageddon orb into a bag of holding or similar extradimensional space?


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masda_gib wrote:

I agree only partially.

Sure, for trap creation guidelines there should be the numbers and a few suggestions.
But in a printed adventure I like having a more detailed description also for traps and hazards. Because those details, even if they are just rules on how to disable and interact with this trap, tell me something about it and help to make up more details. It also helps the narrative.

When the hazards are magical whatevers there is a limit to use common sense to guess what they'll do.

In a printed adventure I want a detailed description of the trap or hazard as well, be it natural, mechanical or magical, doesn't matter.

But if the adventure has these stat blocks, some elements are missing or left to the GM (size and position of Orb, weight tolerance of pit trapdoor, zone of activity of spinning blades...), which I'd prefer they just told me outright. At the same time, the stat block format promotes homogenization (using lockpicks on a supernatural orb of flames... how does that make sense, even for a legendary rogue? Or treating a haunt like a trap with no roleplaying involved even when you can apparently use diplomacy to calm it down) - and a plain English description could tell you all the details needed and leave you to determine fringe cases and unconventional approaches.

Imo these look more like 4e skill challenges than hazards. I... didn't much care for 4e skill challenges, let's say.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
What happens if a player tries to stuff an active armageddon orb into a bag of holding or similar extradimensional space?

I'd say it triggers. Other than that... is it even movable? Does one need magic to move it? Does it even fit in a bag? Where is it, by the way?


Roswynn wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
What happens if a player tries to stuff an active armageddon orb into a bag of holding or similar extradimensional space?
I'd say it triggers. Other than that... is it even movable? Does one need magic to move it? Does it even fit in a bag? Where is it, by the way?

I was thinking more "the player throws the sack over the floating death orb, whisking it away to an interdimensional space". Of course, if it's bigger than the mouth of the bag this isn't doable, but I'm assuming that this is the sort of thing an evil person could carry as a "If you kill me, it'll go badly for everything you care about" gambit.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
What happens if a player tries to stuff an active armageddon orb into a bag of holding or similar extradimensional space?
I'd say it triggers. Other than that... is it even movable? Does one need magic to move it? Does it even fit in a bag? Where is it, by the way?
I was thinking more "the player throws the sack over the floating death orb, whisking it away to an interdimensional space". Of course, if it's bigger than the mouth of the bag this isn't doable, but I'm assuming that this is the sort of thing an evil person could carry as a "If you kill me, it'll go badly for everything you care about" gambit.

Who knows! The stat blocks are very exhaustive (and exhausting) and still we barely know what it looks like.


It is a magical item so you could always dispel magic to suppress it and then shatter spell it.


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Imo you get to imagine the Armaggedon Orb however you like it. It could be the size of a room, floating in mid-air... or it could be like a marble, and being carried as a necklace.

The way I personally picture it, is not an orb that rains fire... is an orb that triggers the fire rain, if you understand what I mean. I imagine it as a seer's crystal ball in size, inamovible placed on an altar, and if you look inside of it (maybe with the need of some kind of true-sight) you can see insid the 100 miles of countryside that are going to be affected, as if inside the orb was the exterior world...

If it gets triggered, I would give some seconds/minutes of activation visuals (the sky tuning red and what not) and you could see inside the ball the fire raining down. Imagine the ball itself as a 3D projection of what's happening, but not really, it IS what's happening (magic and such).

As someone mentioned, this is a world-affecting item. Your DM is supposed to get the details he wants/needs for it, like size, activation, de-activation time... Not sure why they felt like they needed to list 10 minutes in there.


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Please consider decoupling trap finding from rogues. Make the feat universal. Of all of the things that make a rogue a rogue, "largely mandatory to party composition because of traps" was never a good one.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DFAnton wrote:
Please consider decoupling trap finding from rogues. Make the feat universal. Of all of the things that make a rogue a rogue, "largely mandatory to party composition because of traps" was never a good one.

Hard agree.


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I remember having the trapfinder be a sack of flour with "Rogue" written on it.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't mind it if "Trapfinding" is just better at that niche some how, but not mandatory. I mean a lot of it seems to be based on your Perception proficiency, which we know Fighters get a buff to for example.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DFAnton wrote:
Please consider decoupling trap finding from rogues. Make the feat universal. Of all of the things that make a rogue a rogue, "largely mandatory to party composition because of traps" was never a good one.

Take Thievery and train it up spending feats probably will allow anyone to disarm traps. How bad will be the cost when compared to the cost that a Rogue will pay is another thing.

Same thing to get the need level of perception proficiency (and some trap require a different skill).

Essentially being able to disarm high-level traps require you to be a skill monkey, Not all the classes/races can do that easily. Probably some background options or some archetype will open up that possibility.


Malk_Content wrote:
I don't mind it if "Trapfinding" is just better at that niche some how, but not mandatory. I mean a lot of it seems to be based on your Perception proficiency, which we know Fighters get a buff to for example.

The problem I have, is not the part of Trapfinding that makes rogues better at perception to notice traps, or disable device to disarm them, because the proficiency system makes it so everyone is at least serviceable, but what I worry about is the part that makes it so only a rogue can disable magical traps. Now, in the case of that, I suspect that it will no longer be "only a rogue can disable magical traps" but that magical traps will require master or legendary proficiency to be countered. And that's effectively the same as saying "only a rogue can disable magical traps" unless other classes get Thievery as a signature skill.

Now granted, there are other ways to get Thievery as a signature skill, but that's still a feat and proficiency increases that someone, whether it's a rogue or someone else, must take. I think the Haunt displayed is a good way of doing things, giving two options, one of which doesn't even require signature skills, but at least for me, traps are kind of dull in pathfinder, because unless they're a part of combat it often comes down to "Well, I took a fireball to the face from that trap. Hey cleric, can you patch me up?" but if you want to do more interesting things with them, as they seem to, then requiring there to be a dedicated trap person just feels not great.


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Kaemy wrote:
Imo you get to imagine the Armaggedon Orb however you like it. It could be the size of a room, floating in mid-air... or it could be like a marble, and being carried as a necklace.

I just wanted to ask the bag of holding question since there's like a 99% chance that, when faced with an activated armageddon orb, someone in my group's first thought would be "throw a bag of holding over it, or slam dunk it in a portable hole (or possibly do both so as to wink it out of existence)" and I don't, right now, know how to respond to that.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Kaemy wrote:
Imo you get to imagine the Armaggedon Orb however you like it. It could be the size of a room, floating in mid-air... or it could be like a marble, and being carried as a necklace.
I just wanted to ask the bag of holding question since there's like a 99% chance that, when faced with an activated armageddon orb, someone in my group's first thought would be "throw a bag of holding over it, or slam dunk it in a portable hole (or possibly do both so as to wink it out of existence)" and I don't, right now, know how to respond to that.

Well, if you want them to be able to do that, make it small. Otherwise, make it big? Can see GMs on both side of the argument so at least both can be pleased if it's ambiguous.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I just wanted to ask the bag of holding question since there's like a 99% chance that, when faced with an activated armageddon orb, someone in my group's first thought would be "throw a bag of holding over it, or slam dunk it in a portable hole (or possibly do both so as to wink it out of existence)" and I don't, right now, know how to respond to that.

My personal take on it: you can contact stuff within a Bag of Holding or a Portable Hole (using message-style spells), so the trigger could also reach, and in my version it would still trigger and rain fire down it's designated area (since, in my mind, is an area designated upon creation, not something centered around the sphere).

As for destroying it entirely... Depends of what you want to do with it a GM. If you think of it as the catalyst that makes the fire rain down from the sky, then it can't work no longer with the sphere gone... but if you think of it as a triggering device and the rain being already "casted" and waiting for the "start" instruction, and the sphere is more of a "don't start" on repeat, it would start the rain of fire soon enough after the sphere being destroyed.

As others mentioned, many villains are probably interested in the sphere NOT raining fire by mistake (on destruction or when fiddled around by adventurers), so if your villain is one of those, the sphere only acts upon it's selected trigger (like the villains death, or the black moon that can bring back the Lord of the Death if enough people are sacrificed), and destroying it wouldn't activate the firestorm.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Chest Rockwell wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Chest Rockwell wrote:
I also wonder why the pit has a Fort and Ref save.
It's an object, so that's its resistance to spells that affect objects and allow a save, like shatter or fireball in PF1.
Of course, right on, though I was hoping they would handle objects a bit differently. I do not think objects should have Ref saves, as that is something reactive (dodging out of the way).

Could always flavor it as the object bending/flexing/absorbing the impact or effect instead of it dodging.


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I think one of the issues is that the Pit Trap isn't really about the pit, it's about the camouflage over the pit.
The pit itself isn't being disabled in any way, just the tricky device on top. I doubt the pit itself will see any use of its Fort or Ref saves.
I think the language of the trap could better address that.


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So this seems to be our first real taste of proficiency gating. This brings up some interesting points:


  • As a GM, how am I supposed to present a trap-that-requires-Master to the table. Is there any way other than "This looks like a sophisticated trap that only a Master would be able to disarm"?
  • ...and with the haunt, how does one present the "needs an expert to succeed at diplomacy" aspect?
  • Other than varying skills, does this really allay the "makes people who haven't heavily invested in a skill useless" angle?
  • Is there a standard "distance" to recognise a trap? Do we still deal with distance penalties to perception (with the "increased importance" of bonuses and penalties, is this going to be lessened that is presented in Pathfinder)?
  • Are these statblocks standalone? Or do we get descriptive text? Is it up the the GM to come up with this?

From a more encounter design perspective, how do we see traps being used?

A pit trap in a deserted corridor isn't going to be very effective, other than a small drain on character resources. Is this intended to be used as part of an ambush?

Should we consider traps in one of the following four situations:


  • A trap as part of an ambush: party falls down a pit, and kobolds get the jump on them
  • A trap as part of a combat: the BBEG moves to one side of a swinging scythe, as the PCs charge at him, triggering it
  • A trap intended to deny an area: must be extremely debilitating (or entirely lethal) to be effective
  • A plot point, like the Armageddon Orb?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mekkis wrote:

So this seems to be our first real taste of proficiency gating. This brings up some interesting points:


  • As a GM, how am I supposed to present a trap-that-requires-Master to the table. Is there any way other than "This looks like a sophisticated trap that only a Master would be able to disarm"?
  • ...and with the haunt, how does one present the "needs an expert to succeed at diplomacy" aspect?
  • Other than varying skills, does this really allay the "makes people who haven't heavily invested in a skill useless" angle?
  • Is there a standard "distance" to recognise a trap? Do we still deal with distance penalties to perception (with the "increased importance" of bonuses and penalties, is this going to be lessened that is presented in Pathfinder)?
  • Are these statblocks standalone? Or do we get descriptive text? Is it up the the GM to come up with this?

I wouldn't inform the players when they spot the traps, I would inform them after they have examined the trap:

- for a mechanical trap, I would use some variation of "It is easy/complex/very complex, any member of the group feel confident that he can disable it/only Mark has an idea of how it works/none of you has an idea on how the mechanism work, so none feel confident about disabling it, maybe it is better to avoid it or destroy it";
- for magical traps I would say something similar, probably using terms like "it is the work of an apprentice" or "it was done by an archmage".
- haunts: haunts are undead, more or less, so creatures. You can convene their initial attitude. How you go informing if the initial attitude of a creature is hostile, indifferent or helpful in PF1? You should use the same method.
- generally, I don't think it is needed to inform the players of the specific level of proficiency needed, you only need to give a clear idea of who has a chance to do it and who don't.
- why characters that haven't trained the needed skills should always feel needed? Isn't that one of the classical problem with the Schroedinger wizard? "He has always something to do, while the poor fighter can only kill things in combat."
Now the skill difference between a fighter or a mage seem to be small, probably 3-4 trained skills at first level and 4-5 at the end of the career (unless the fighter work very hard at dumping his intelligence). Everything above trained require feats or class abilities.
So, the only matter is "I want to train off combat feats and skills or not". All in the hand of the character.
- trap detection distance: we have no information so far. I think it will depend from the trap and the skills used.
- The statblocks (beside the orb) seem to have the level of descriptive text I will expect from a statblock. If they are placed in an adventure I will expect a bit more descriptive text in the descriptive part of the adventure.


Hmmm it should probably be possible to 'jam' the lid of the pit trap if it's meant to be reusable though there are naturally other hazards that can't really be disarmed per se, only marked (Quicksand, for example) so both mechanics may be needed.


The quote system on these boards really needs to get to at least the last decade

Kaemy wrote:

AC is an abstraction that includes not only a creature trying to dodge your attacks, but also you sometimes missing (ever missed hitting a nail with a hammer while you weren't even in combat?) and also hitting places where the damage gets absorved/neutralized (this is why armors give AC in the first place).

The 10 AC reflects that sometimes you hit a little wrong or get unlucky and hit it somewhere without damaging it because of bad "luck". And even if its negible on most cases (and doesn't even matter if you miss it 10 times out of combat), sometimes you may want to break it during combat for a particular reason, and using your third attack (at -10) against it, your chances of missing start getting real.

A nail yes, something the size of 10x5ft no. And yes I am aware of it not always being missing, my bad for not spesifying that I ment the game term missing an attack. But allright let's compare this to armor and it's absorb ability. As this is immobile thing, we can assume equilevant dex of 0 or -5 AC. So essentially the claim is +5 Armor. Yeah a trap door that isn't structrully sound enough to support the weight of a person, not buying it. Not to mention that totally does not take into account the fact that it has TAC of 7. In short the numbers do not make sense.

Kaemy wrote:

The Fall Damage has been adjusted for PF2. I don't remember the exact numbers: I thought it was 1 Feet = 1 Damage after the first 10 feet, but the poster bellows says it was 2 Feet = 1 Damage. In either case, the 20 Feet fall turns into 10 Damage, and Fall damage ends being more deadly in PF2, with imo is a good call, and is not even unrealistic. A real human can kill himself on a 5 feet fall (their own height) if they fall in the wrong way.

Nothing wrong with having easier maths and with Fall Damage being deadlier (it should, it was too often too little in PF1).

And for the Reflex save, same as the AC. In my opinion it reflects it getting "lucky" (or the guy that throw the fireball "unlucky" if he wanted to destroy the trapdoor).
You know when in a book or movie an explosion happens and somehow it didn't affect the door/whatever? Something like that. Is not that the Trapdoor "uses" reflexes to get out of the way or anything, it just reflects that sometimes, for many reasons, things go a way or another.

Sometimes you shoot a bullet clean through a piece of wood, and sometimes, the same bullet, from the same pistol, at the same distance, against the same piece of wood, doesn't get throught and gets stucked midway. That is kinda what AC and Reflex attempt to convey, on a trapdoor.

Well your numbers got corrected but that is not really relevant here. And yes you can die from 5ft fall, also the average 5 year old has enough strenght to kill an adult with a strike to certain areas. Are either of these likely? Like 20ft is a height that I regularly jump down from to just avoid the hassle of climbing, granted with somewhat favorable ground to land on.

Now let's look at those numbers 20ft=10 damage. A greatsword wielded by one in peak condition does average damage of 10.5. If you had to choose one or the other IRL which one would you choose?

Absorbing damage is function of hardness not reflex save.

And no that is not what happens with bullets. If it is the same excat situation it will have the same excat results, that is how physics work. It might appear not to have the same results, because wood is not homogeneous substance and how the grain goes effects results a good bit. 2 different cartriges have slight differences in the presure produced, the bullet themselves will have even slighter differences. The air pressure can change between the shots to go even smaller difference. Point being if the results are not the same, something changed it is just a question if that difference can be identified and measured.

As for the luck part, that is already covered by the actual damage roll.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

So this seems to be our first real taste of proficiency gating. This brings up some interesting points:


  • As a GM, how am I supposed to present a trap-that-requires-Master to the table. Is there any way other than "This looks like a sophisticated trap that only a Master would be able to disarm"?
  • ...and with the haunt, how does one present the "needs an expert to succeed at diplomacy" aspect?
    [...]

I wouldn't inform the players when they spot the traps, I would inform them after they have examined the trap:

[...]
- haunts: haunts are undead, more or less, so creatures. You can convene their initial attitude. How you go informing if the initial attitude of a creature is hostile, indifferent or helpful in PF1? You should use the same method.
- generally, I don't think it is needed to inform the players of the specific level of proficiency needed, you only need to give a clear idea of who has a chance to do it and who don't.

So, with diplomacy in Pathfinder, the initial attitude affects the required DC. Anyone is able to attempt it. However, in PF2, meeting the DCs is achievable by almost any level-appropriate character. I would need to convey to Bob that his character has no chance of success (either that, or trigger the haunt on him if he tried).


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Wultram wrote:

Well your numbers got corrected but that is not really relevant here. And yes you can die from 5ft fall, also the average 5 year old has enough strenght to kill an adult with a strike to certain areas. Are either of these likely? Like 20ft is a height that I regularly jump down from to just avoid the hassle of climbing, granted with somewhat favorable ground to land on.

Now let's look at those numbers 20ft=10 damage. A greatsword wielded by one in peak condition does average damage of 10.5. If you had to choose one or the other IRL which one would you choose?

So... you as a human being commonly jump off the roof a 2 story building to avoid going down two flights of stairs? Right... And yes, a hit from a greatsword is should probably cause about the same amount of damage as a jump off a 2 story house.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
Wultram wrote:

Well your numbers got corrected but that is not really relevant here. And yes you can die from 5ft fall, also the average 5 year old has enough strenght to kill an adult with a strike to certain areas. Are either of these likely? Like 20ft is a height that I regularly jump down from to just avoid the hassle of climbing, granted with somewhat favorable ground to land on.

Now let's look at those numbers 20ft=10 damage. A greatsword wielded by one in peak condition does average damage of 10.5. If you had to choose one or the other IRL which one would you choose?

So... you as a human being commonly jump off the roof a 2 story building to avoid going down two flights of stairs? Right... And yes, a hit from a greatsword is should probably cause about the same amount of damage as a jump off a 2 story house.

In fairness, it's possible he does do that. There are certainly people who do that kind of thing.

They're not typical, however. Not remotely. And are people doing so intentionally, not falling suddenly or being pushed off of high things. They're what the Catfall Skill Feat and (if they follow PF1's lead) using Acrobatics to reduce falling damage by 10 feet on a jump (as opposed to a fall) are for. They are people who are good at jumping off of things and being fine.

The unrealistic thing here isn't really the fall so much as the Greatsword, which would do more damage by strict realism. Of course, strict realism isn't really what Pathfinder seems to be aiming for...


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Not happy about Grab Edge reaction, another example of action taxing. Why couldn't this be handled as a simple Ref saving throw?

+1 for stat block being a bit convoluted and not that clear.

Traps themselves look fun otherwise.


Didn't say I was jumping off buildings to avoid the stairs. But from top of a hay load yes. And I did mention slightly favored falling surface, meaning it ain't concreate, but considering a pit trap probably has a dirt bottom I would say about equal. And yes it is indeed intentional fall, but my point is that I take 0 damage from those falls not just some reduced amount. And outside of martial arts training(where falls most certainly aren't from 20ft), I have no special skills on this front.

I consider myself slightly fitter than average person. But I am no where the level of athlethism and robustness that plenty of 1st level characters show.

20ft drop should at tops do 5 damage. This sort of sillyness reminds me of the WH40k games where the best way to kill a space marine is to drop them from a slight height.


Wultram wrote:

Didn't say I was jumping off buildings to avoid the stairs. But from top of a hay load yes. And I did mention slightly favored falling surface, meaning it ain't concreate, but considering a pit trap probably has a dirt bottom I would say about equal. And yes it is indeed intentional fall, but my point is that I take 0 damage from those falls not just some reduced amount. And outside of martial arts training(where falls most certainly aren't from 20ft), I have no special skills on this front.

I consider myself slightly fitter than average person. But I am no where the level of athlethism and robustness that plenty of 1st level characters show.

20ft drop should at tops do 5 damage. This sort of sillyness reminds me of the WH40k games where the best way to kill a space marine is to drop them from a slight height.

Even just being prepared for a fall can mitigate a lot of the harm - especially with ukemi training, but yes even a short tumble of 5 feet can easily put someone in the hospital (or morgue)


So, the Armageddon Orb is basically an active/radioactive nuke that has to be disarmed.

As for the pit trap, shouldn't the damage be 20? Maybe Jason misspoke in the second Glasscannon podcast, but he said that falling damage was one point of damage per foot you fall. Or maybe it's only after the first 10 feet? Things can obviously have changed since then.
EDIT: I haven't heard the last two podcasts yet, so maybe they go over it again and it's one point of damage per two feet, as has been mentioned above.

As for the terminology, lots of people complain about it being more confusing and not easier. It's actually not because it's more complex, it's just different than what we're used to. Interpreting something you're not used to that governs things you've been doing for a while can seem counterintuitive and thus more difficult/complex. It isn't necessarily, it's just different.

Dark Archive

Oh man, even the Spinning Blade Pillar seems weird to me... what does this line mean: "Stealth +10 (trained) or DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"

I mean, that 'Stealth +10 (trained)' likely refers to the trap's stealth score, which is opposed by the PCs' Perception, right? What about that "DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"... that means your own Perception?

Then that Hidden pit has TAC and saves listed, but for some reason it does fixed (10 bludgeoning) damage?

The design goal is lofty, but the formatting and terminology has not become easier to grasp; IMO it's become more obscure and convoluted than it has ever been in D&D.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:
Wultram wrote:

Well your numbers got corrected but that is not really relevant here. And yes you can die from 5ft fall, also the average 5 year old has enough strenght to kill an adult with a strike to certain areas. Are either of these likely? Like 20ft is a height that I regularly jump down from to just avoid the hassle of climbing, granted with somewhat favorable ground to land on.

Now let's look at those numbers 20ft=10 damage. A greatsword wielded by one in peak condition does average damage of 10.5. If you had to choose one or the other IRL which one would you choose?

So... you as a human being commonly jump off the roof a 2 story building to avoid going down two flights of stairs? Right... And yes, a hit from a greatsword is should probably cause about the same amount of damage as a jump off a 2 story house.

Given parkour is a thing I can actually believe people jumping 20ft to avoid stairs, not. Understand mind, but believe that people do it.


Asgetrion wrote:

Oh man, even the Spinning Blade Pillar seems weird to me... what does this line mean: "Stealth +10 (trained) or DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"

I mean, that 'Stealth +10 (trained)' likely refers to the trap's stealth score, which is opposed by the PCs' Perception, right? What about that "DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"... that means your own Perception?

Then that Hidden pit has TAC and saves listed, but for some reason it does fixed (10 bludgeoning) damage?

The design goal is lofty, but the formatting and terminology has not become easier to grasp; IMO it's become more obscure and convoluted than it has ever been in D&D.

The "Stealth +10" is relevant because it's a Complex trap. As a Complex trap, when it activates it rolls into Initiative and an Encounter commences. With a +10 Stealth bonus it rolls a 1d20+10 for it's Initiative.

The Party's perception roll needs to beat the passive Stealth DC (24) to notice the hidden controls before the trap is triggered, but only an Expert in perception is allowed to make the roll.

The Trap door does indeed have TAC and Saves, for if the wizard decides to shoot rays at it, and it always does 10 bludgeoning if you fall in it because it's a 20' deep hole, and you take 1/2 the number of feet you fell in damage. The damage type for smashing into the ground is bludgeoning.

Liberty's Edge

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GentleGiant wrote:
EDIT: I haven't heard the last two podcasts yet, so maybe they go over it again and it's one point of damage per two feet, as has been mentioned above.

This is correct. They do precisely this.

Dark Archive

Remy P Gilbeau wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Oh man, even the Spinning Blade Pillar seems weird to me... what does this line mean: "Stealth +10 (trained) or DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"

I mean, that 'Stealth +10 (trained)' likely refers to the trap's stealth score, which is opposed by the PCs' Perception, right? What about that "DC 24 (expert) to notice the control panel"... that means your own Perception?

Then that Hidden pit has TAC and saves listed, but for some reason it does fixed (10 bludgeoning) damage?

The design goal is lofty, but the formatting and terminology has not become easier to grasp; IMO it's become more obscure and convoluted than it has ever been in D&D.

The "Stealth +10" is relevant because it's a Complex trap. As a Complex trap, when it activates it rolls into Initiative and an Encounter commences. With a +10 Stealth bonus it rolls a 1d20+10 for it's Initiative.

The Party's perception roll needs to beat the passive Stealth DC (24) to notice the hidden controls before the trap is triggered, but only an Expert in perception is allowed to make the roll.

The Trap door does indeed have TAC and Saves, for if the wizard decides to shoot rays at it, and it always does 10 bludgeoning if you fall in it because it's a 20' deep hole, and you take 1/2 the number of feet you fell in damage. The damage type for smashing into the ground is bludgeoning.

Okay, thanks! I mean, I really get what the team is trying to accomplish with the new format, and I truly hope they succeed. IMO one of the best features of 4E was how the mechanics handled traps and hazards almost as monsters, with initiative, HP and defenses. Which reminds me... why use 'dents' for traps when HPs would IMO work better?

I'm not sure if I like fixed falling damage when everything else is rolled; there are real life examples of people surviving falls from airplanes, why not in Pathfinder as well?


Sorry but I'm out of PF2. I cancelled my orders for anything Playtest.
I think it has some good ideas but I'm not willing to thrash all my old stuff and start learning a completely new system.


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Christopk-K wrote:

Sorry but I'm out of PF2. I cancelled my orders for anything Playtest.

I think it has some good ideas but I'm not willing to thrash all my old stuff and start learning a completely new system.

Later man your not the first nor the last to not update with a new edition. My first DM still plays 1st edition D&D because he hates change too.


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Christopk-K wrote:

Sorry but I'm out of PF2. I cancelled my orders for anything Playtest.

I think it has some good ideas but I'm not willing to thrash all my old stuff and start learning a completely new system.

But that's not an issue with traps, right? You're having an issue with the fact that PF2 is a whole new ruleset. It's not just traps, it's *everything*. Because PF2 changes *everything*. Classes work differently, checks work differently, combat works differently, spells work differently, it's all different. It's not traps that are the problem. Maybe they triggered this reaction in you, "Oh, okay, enough with this", but if it weren't for them it would have been something else, right? I think it would have. Maybe later on, maybe after tomorrow's blog post, but you were already near your "breaking point", this is the drop that spills the glass.

What I can tell you, anyways - don't stop playing what you really like. Not for a reason like, "Oh, there's a new edition". If you like PF1, and are comfortable with it, and have a lot of fun, don't drop it just because there's a new edition. If you've seen what some changes are, and they're not motivating you to put aside all your old PF1 books, then don't. Really don't. If there are things you don't like in PF1, just hack them. Do some game design yourself. Homebrew. There's a wealth of material in PF1 you can play with to create better rules, rules that will enhance your games. You don't need a new edition.

And if PF1 is already perfect in your opinion? Then you don't change anything. Play what you *really want to play*, what's the most fun for you.

Brief anecdote: I tried *for years* to make the Exalted 3rd edition system work for me and my group. *Years*. Because I love Exalted, and 3rd edition is, imo, a worthy project, creating a lot of new, better fluff, a lot of interesting, wonderful content. And my players, god bless them, they created some amazing characters. Amazing. And they were so good at roleplaying them. It was such a treat.

But the rules? The charm rules? The combat rules? Even just checks? Spells? Social interaction? The very slow pace of publication meaning a GM needs to guess at most of the fluff and use old books to get vague ideas about how things might be? I gave up. That's not the game for me. I could go back if I find the right rules somehow (god knows I looked for alternatives for a looong time) but as it is? I'm not running that, forget it. I wanna run D&D. Or! PF2, if it proves amenable. Or other stuff, but that level of complexity, and having to invent *so much stuff* - no, thanks.

So I totally understand you for wanting to stick to the books you have. You *might* perhaps want to download the playtest document anyways in August, see if there's something interesting, perhaps some of your books could be salvaged for PF2 (setting for sure, actual rules, well, you might be able to blend something, homebrew some classes and archetypes taking cue from PF1 stuff, etc) BUT, if you read the playtest document and it's just not worth changing edition, hell, keep playing PF1, and sincerely, keep having fun and enjoy yourself, and that counts for your whole group of course.

Change for change's sake? Thanks but no thanks.

Do what's best for yourself and your group. Cheers!


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Thanks. I definitly won't stopp playing. I've been playing since ADnD second edtion on and off. Still play with the same friends from 25 years ago.
We just won't migrate to 2.0 now. The currently published APs will keep us busy another 20 years and them there's 3rd party stuff...
Guess we'll just skip an edition or two ;-)


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Adding a size or bulk specification to the Pit Trap's Trigger would be helpful. Will the wizard's cat familiar trigger it? Probably not. What about a halfling that only weighs 45 lbs with gear? Probably. Specifically, something like "Trigger: a small or larger creature steps on the trap."


Christopk-K wrote:

Thanks. I definitly won't stopp playing. I've been playing since ADnD second edtion on and off. Still play with the same friends from 25 years ago.

We just won't migrate to 2.0 now. The currently published APs will keep us busy another 20 years and them there's 3rd party stuff...
Guess we'll just skip an edition or two ;-)

Oooh man, don't mention the currently published APs, they're one of my weak points! If I had 2 more players and were comfortable with PF 1st edition I would play them all. That's how cool they are imo.

Right now I'm hoping Paizo will publish some awesome APs for 2e as well, maybe re-publish some old favorites...

... Anyways, good gaming, mate ;)


Slamron wrote:
Adding a size or bulk specification to the Pit Trap's Trigger would be helpful. Will the wizard's cat familiar trigger it? Probably not. What about a halfling that only weighs 45 lbs with gear? Probably.

Mmm, personal opinion, we (GMs) can decide for ourselves. Unless no ulterior details are given, the trap is probably meant for small and medium humanoids and other creatures of similar size/bulk/mass/weight.

What I see as more problematic is that we don't know how big an area the spinning blades can cover. But I think that too would be specified in the adventure.

Then there's the Orb. We really know very little about it. It could be any size, anywhere... maybe it's dangling from a chain around the villain's neck, maybe it's on a pedestal, maybe it's a tiny drop of blood hanging in the air at eye level, maybe it's a room-sized angry red gem floating 30ft in the air... I also am not a fan that even a legendary rogue can do what essentially should be a ritual (investing lockpicks with aspects of Asmodeus and Sarenrae, even temporarily) and then use, again, *lockpicks*, to disable what's essentially an utterly magical artefact.

I dunno man.


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Roswynn wrote:
Slamron wrote:
Adding a size or bulk specification to the Pit Trap's Trigger would be helpful. Will the wizard's cat familiar trigger it? Probably not. What about a halfling that only weighs 45 lbs with gear? Probably.

Mmm, personal opinion, we (GMs) can decide for ourselves. Unless no ulterior details are given, the trap is probably meant for small and medium humanoids and other creatures of similar size/bulk/mass/weight.

What I see as more problematic is that we don't know how big an area the spinning blades can cover. But I think that too would be specified in the adventure.

Then there's the Orb. We really know very little about it. It could be any size, anywhere... maybe it's dangling from a chain around the villain's neck, maybe it's on a pedestal, maybe it's a tiny drop of blood hanging in the air at eye level, maybe it's a room-sized angry red gem floating 30ft in the air... I also am not a fan that even a legendary rogue can do what essentially should be a ritual (investing lockpicks with aspects of Asmodeus and Sarenrae, even temporarily) and then use, again, *lockpicks*, to disable what's essentially an utterly magical artefact.

I dunno man.

I do agree that the GM can figure the trap trigger weight thing out easily, but it would be an easy addition especially if the designer has something specific in mind. For example, perhaps some lizardfolk built the trap to catch swarms of rats for food, not as a defensive measure. Anyway, just a minor thought.

And I totally agree with your thoughts on the Orb. It sounds awesome, epic, etc. But I have more questions after reading it than I should.

The spinning trap range is described in it's actions, where it says it attacks adjacent creatures. So, 5' reach. I do wonder if attacks while it moves though, or if it spins, moves without spinning, then spins again. To me it makes sense for it to just be constantly spinning.


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I do have a question regarding the spinning pillar's stealth. I understand the +10 is there for rolling it's initiative, and to see the control panel the DC is 24. But what is the DC to notice the trap itself when you first enter the room? Is it 10?

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