Collection of Environmental Hazards and Challenges


Advice


I'm trying to assemble a thick list of Hazards and non-combat challenges to run my PC's against. I try to balance out a mix of about 1/3 Combat, 1/3 RP, and 1/3 Other Challenges, but have been coming up short in the last regard recently.

Any ideas are appreciated, I can always retool them for my needs. Feel free to be as detailed as possible, what with DC's and such, as it saves me a bunch of prep time. My group of six players are currently level 8, and traveling through the former Silver Marshes (now the Kingdom of Many-Arrows). It is a frozen wilderness getting ready for the spring thaw.

Some ideas I was going to use:
-Wandering through a tunnel, there is an earthquake, and they need to perform a series of Reflex saves, Acrobatics checks, Climb checks, etc in order to avoid falling rocks and to get across to the more beneficial side.
-Boiling Hot Springs that will impair movement through a large field. They'll be in combat for this one, against an opponent with ranged abilities. They can dive into a hot spring to try to close distance faster, but will take damage (they're that hot) both before and after, as they'll be weighed down and soaking in the cold.
-Convincing Guards to let them into a restricted/barricaded city. This will be similar to a 4E Skill Challenge, only using a chart provided by a Reddit user I followed. May go any number of ways, but the chart provides a physical supplement for them to gauge their successes and failures.

Thanks again for the helpful ideas! Again, any and all are appreciated!

-Jhaosmire


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Try some of these Mundane Hazards or these Special Hazards.

As far as what you call "skill challenges", there's no need to look afield to 4e or any other game system. There are existing flowchart-like skill challenges in PF like Chases or Social Conflict or (buggers, what was that other one called where PCs need to infliltrate a place or organization, IIRC in Ultimate Intrigue).

The key is making it a robust system that will give players a lot of leeway to come up with unconventional solutions to move towards their goal. The more player-driven it can be, the better.


-Quicksand, but during an encounter. Otherwise it is so easy to spot and avoid as to be almost laughable. However, if used by in an ambush as they're attacked by will-o-wisps or pixies or anyone else, they don't get to automatically spot it and you can have patches and spaces filled with it that they might actually blunder into during battle.

-Green slime. Always with the green slime (not so great outside in sunlight though).


I've been holding off on both Chase and some Social conflicts until I get the deck of cards associated with both of them, but those are definitely along the lines of what I was thinking. I've also been using those Mundane and Special Hazards, but glad someone referenced them to have them included in this post.

I like the battle-quicksand idea. Nothing like disabling the PowerHouse-adin and the Sneak Attogue to give the other players a chance to get some kills.


Jhaosmire wrote:


-Convincing Guards to let them into a restricted/barricaded city. This will be similar to a 4E Skill Challenge, only using a chart provided by a Reddit user I followed. May go any number of ways, but the chart provides a physical supplement for them to gauge their successes and failures.

Thanks again for the helpful ideas! Again, any and all are appreciated!

-Jhaosmire

Could you share that chart? That could help me and my other friend who's DMing a different campaign.

As the ground is thawing, you could run an encounter over a particularly uneven piece of ground. Certain squares have deeper mud than others, so weak mud just counts as entangled, but the deeper ones are entrapped like the mud elemental special ability. Enemies are generally lighter in weight than the party, and have fire-based weapons.


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Here's the link to the Skill Chart, created by Reddit user u/Kesselya. I love how he built it, though admittedly it won't get it's first use until tonight, me thinks.


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There is an index of netbooks here.
Some of note for traps:
Book of Tricks and Traps
Almost 50 imaginative tricks (and traps) to challenge your players.
Net Traps Book
An extensive collection of traps, this compilation has enough trouble for your characters to keep them occupied for a long time (if they live).
Trap Collection
An extensive collection of traps, this compilation has enough trouble for your characters to keep them occupied for a long time (if they live).
Traps, Traps, Traps
An extensive collection of traps, this compilation has enough trouble for your characters to keep them occupied for a long time (if they live).

You can also use movies to inspire your traps.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Dr. Phibes Rises Again
The Mummy (1999 film)
Cube (film)
and of course the Indiana Jones (franchise)

Just remember, once FLY comes online, many hazards can be easily overcome.

/cevah


Our group had two wizards, one with Fly one without, and because the one with Fly turned evil and is now the antagonist for this story arc, I don't have to worry about that spell bypassing my set ups.

Thanks for all the links though, I'll run through them and post back.


Heh, most of those traps are great! I'm just about to run a game were a former party-member-turned-antagonist will Mass Hold Person the party, give his bad guy speech, steal a big item from each Player, and teleport out. There are so many good traps based on trying to get a reward, I'll be running a Tomb of Horrors-esque follow up where the Player's recover their stolen gear. Thanks for pointing those out to me Cevah.


In mountainous terrain there is the avalanche trap and the "catch the party with flying critters halfway up a cliff face" situation (flat-footed from climbing and no bows or two handed melee weapons) and the "giant(s) trying to bull rush PCs off the trail and over a cliff" situation (I ran that once where the giants jumped from the cliff above and a giant adept cast Feather Fall just before they landed on the trail. Instant brawl from nowhere and fun times.


Heck ya. That'll be a good throwback for me: I recall when 3E was new running a level with a Minotaur Barbarian trying to Bull Rush players into a 60' pit. Succeeded in getting two players in, which was worth it. I'll definitely run that Feathered Giants concept.

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