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Sample Traps
Designing a Trap
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  • PHYSICS 101
  • Party is going through a dungeon, and a barrier wall falls down on either side of a player (in my game, it happened to be the thief). A board slides out from the wall, crossing the corridor, and a magic mouth says "Can you break this board?". Buddy breaks board, and barriers retract. A little while later, same deal, except it's a stone beam, (and their fighter was the trapped one). Buddy breaks said beam, and the barriers retract. A bit later, the same thing, except it's a wooden pole, (and the mage is trapped). Buddy breaks the staff, and the DM looks up Retributive Strike... See Staff of Magi & Power, page 154, DM's Guide 2nd Ed.


    Party enters a 10x10 room, and stone doors seal the room at all entrances. Looking about, there is a button on the wall, beside a number dial (like on a gas pump) that counts down 10-9-8... Some bright soul presses the button, and the dial resets to 10. In my campaign, the party spent fully 45 minutes of real time searching the room for an escape, while one PC stayed near the button to continue resetting the dial. Finally, they said forget it, and let the dial count down to 0, at which point the doors slid open, and the DM was chased from the room.


    How about a 'trading' well, a large well where various swords & daggers hover above it in mid air, and don't budge at all if grasped and pulled, but one must place a sword or other weapon in exchange for one in the well. Note if a PC tries to put a normal weapon in the well in exchange for something magical, this is a good way to give a *cursed* weapon instead.


    When the party reaches 1, the thief should check for traps, there are none here so when the party enters the room and reaches 2, the door slams shut (one way door so they cannot get out). Written on the glass wall, in several languages, is a sign saying "In case of fire, break glass." If (eventually) the party approaches 4, napalm drops, igniting 1 or more characters. The party will probably break the glass. Upon doing this, water flows in from a small grate in the ceiling above 3, flooding the entire area. Any characters in armour are in @#it. The grate could be the escape (Or anything else ) - you decide ????

    You can work on this idea as much as you want, I just thought some sadistic DM might enjoy watching his/her players squirm for a while.


    The PC's enter a corridor where the side walls on the left & to the right are made of delicate green glass. Behind the glass is some type of liquid, and it looks like a giant fish tank(Acid Bath). Along both sides are grooves with holes every couple feet(drains). If the PCs ask the ceiling is pitted is spots, and the floor is also covered in glass. The corridor is very sensitive to sound and any noise is magnified tenfold through loud echoes, which will cause the walls to shatter or break, pouring sulfuric acid upon any unfortunate PC's, and then drain to be reused later. Even if they're, quiet a pressure plate on the floor is activated once stepped upon, then the PCs hear a large bell, that sounds like a churchbell, who's vibrations shatter the glass on the twelth ring. This bell is also an alarm signal for some nearby monsters, such as orcs or Hobgoblins, etc. The PC's will see the walls start to vibrate and begin to crack if they make a roll on 1d20 under half their Wis or Int whichever is better. An idea for damage due to the acid causes 5d8 HP of damage, save for half, and will cause 2d4 hp of dmg per round if they are wearing metal armour. Make appropriate item saving throws for the PC's possessions. Even if they cast silence and stop the walls from shattering, the monsters still attack. Then can you see the PCs trying to kill the monsters quietly, or a stray swipe taking out one of the walls(oops!).


    Addition by: (George E. Bajuscik) How about something simple like a long straight corridor that ends with a bend to one side (L shaped). The corridor is unlit or maybe very dimly lit. In the corner where the bend is you put a large mirror at a 45 degree angle so that you can see around the corner when you are in the long part of the corridor. Put one or more monsters "around the corner" and have the PC's coming down the long corridor. Give the monsters a little light (torches or whatever) so that the PC's can see them. The mirror will have to be heavy duty to withstand missile weapons and maybe spells but the PC's should waste time, spells and missile weapons trying to hit the monsters. You might even allow the mirror to break and put a door behind the mirror. This door will look identical to one that you put "around the corner" behind the monsters. When the mirror breaks it will look like the monsters suddenly disappear. The PC's move in closer and the monsters can then ambush them before the PC's realize there is a corner at the end of the corridor.

    Good, although here's a variation for the devious. One of the pc's in the party at one time made a mirror spell, which was 3rd lvl and made a mirror w. no substance, that can move with the character's concentration and was 5' sq for every level of the caster (great for fighting medusae). Anyhow have the enemy mage cast the mirror spell in a T section of the hall way. When the party starts throwing spells and weap, etc the mage laughs at the party as all the items pass are absorbed by him!! Then before the party gets too close the mage dispels the mirror and casts the illusion of the wall. Then when the characters eventually get the courage to approach where the invincible and now maybe invisible mage was, the mage and his group attack from behind.


    Here's a variation for that automaton. When the party enters, a magic mouth on the wall commands "Automaton: attack the party". The party can either fight to the death, or yell "Automaton: surrender". or whatever. Limited vocabulary, though.


    Here's a weak one: teeter-totter floor in 20x40 room. Door at both ends, but as you walk to the other end, the floor teeters down to a lower door/opening w monsters there. The party may slide to their clutches if they're not quick. If most of the party stays balanced between ends, they can hold up the teeter-totter until they figure out how to open the doors. A magic mouth laughs (on the floor) while the party is trying to figure out what to do. Have fun with them trying to keep the floor balanced. Also the monsters will try and pull their side of the see-saw down, so the PCs have to run to the other side to keep them from sliding to the monsters.

    You could use a pressure plate for a variant--the party has to put something heavy on the plate, then walk back to the door on the other side of this room, pressure on plate locks the see-saw.


    How about a 100' tall smooth shaft going upwards. There are some short ropes on the floor with nametags, like Zippy and Arrow. Residents know to tie themselves up with the rope as a harness, then speak the name of the rope-- the rope magically lifts the person swiftly to the top of the shaft-- you've got 5 seconds to push yourself along the roof into the open archway, when the time's up, the rope stops lifting and you drop. You'll need some other way to get down-- like a slide elsewhere in the dungeon, or bring your own 110' ropes.

    PHYSICS 101

    The party encounters a corridor that is coated with ice. Upon entering the corridor they discover a crack in the wall of the corridor. Blue liquid (or any other color you choose) flows from the crack and forms a small stream which flows over ice down the corridor away from the party. As the party procedes they encounter a room at the end of the corridor which is full of gas. The stream of liquid flows into the room. The gas is a powerful contact poison (save or take a good deal of damage). The gas forms a fog- like vapor in the room, making visability very difficult within the room. The gas does not enter the corridor. The key to the whole puzzle is that the room is heated slightly and no ice is present in the room, only in the corridor. When the liquid is warmed it vaporizes and forms a gas. To solve the puzzle you must cool the room so the gas returns to its liquid form.

    Our DM threw in a couple of twists to this basic design to spice things up a bit. The layout was a bit different first of all. Another corridor (with ice) ran next to the above mentioned corridor except there was no liquid in this corridor. The corridors met just before the gas room. At the other end was another room. In this room was an extreamely tough monster (basically unkillable by normal adventurer means - ie. magic etc.). The monster had total magic resistance (magic weapons also did not function as anything other than normal weapons) and had an increadible armor class so it was very hard to hit. The magic resistance was supplied by a special collar (more on that later). The monster was slow so it could be easily outrun and it was pretty stupid. This provided a sence of urgancy to the encounter since if you just sat around and tried to figure out the puzzle the monster would be all over you. If you haven't figured this out yet, the way to kill the monster is with the gas (there are a number of ways to do this but I won't go into all that detail here, it's not hard to figure out). It is necessary to kill the monster (rather than just run away) because you need the collar. In the gas room is a magical door that is unopenable except by using the antimagic collar (I guess there are other ways if you have the resources but our group didn't).

    A little more detail about the room might be in order here. In the room there was a small pool of liquid (fed by the stream). The liquid then flowed out of the room (although slowly). The pool formed around a central rock that was warm and the rest of the floor was sand. A good DM should be able to come up with many variations of this room to suit individual campaigns but the basics will remain the same. If you think this room is real easy to figure out after reading through this it is probably much harder (not probably - IT IS!!) when you have an unkillable monster chasing you around and it's 2 in the morning. This room was run with two different groups. Both groups solved it but it took both of them several hours each (we're talkin about 5 or 6 20 to 30 year olds with Ph.D. and master degrees - not stupid people). It was a lot of fun though - give it a try.


    How about a narrow corridor leading into a room. The party must walk in single file to get to the room. Once a person enters, they are randomly teleported to different locations in the room. This helps to separate the party which is very effective on groups who depend on support from one or two others to win their battles. The room should be about 100 square yds. and broken up into a nice 10x10 grid (varies). Each sector of 10 yds. has something in it, like a monster, magic weapon, or a curse to it or something. The players can walk out on any side of the square they want, but they can't see where it leads because it just teleports them to another square in the room. One square on each side of the room has an exit into another corridor.

    It's a lot of fun to see how bad off players come out of this room. Sometimes they have to re-enter to get back to the corridor their group is meeting at. One player came out of mine as a 400 pound plaid person. The beauty of the room is that its will always be different and you can select whatever you want each square to be.

    They'll probably want to stay together for a while too.

Open Gaming Lisence


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