Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Trap Tuesday

Hello all, Rocky here, trying to make good on my New Year's resolution to make at least one blog post a week. Today, I thought I would look at some trap tropes. These are rudimentary level ideas, with the goal to build upon them throughout the year. To build a house, you need the blocks, right?
Punji Stake Pit

The first trap trope that comes to mind is the pit trap. This trap shows up everywhere. B2, S1, G1 . . . the list goes on and on. Covered or uncovered, the pit trap pushes low level adventurers to find creative solutions to moving through dungeons. Add spikes at the bottom of the pit for more effect. This trap gets old, but never goes out of style.

The next trap that fledgling adventurers usually deal with is the needle trap. The needle is shot by a spring, when something disturbs it. It could be pushing a tumbler out of the way without the key, opening a chest (or door, or pretty much anything) or stepping on a pressure plate. In older editions of D&D, this trap generally meant Save or Die. In newer editions, it could be a Save or gain a status effect (exhaustion, stunned, or even poisoned).

Raiders of the Lost Arc
Pressure plates are part of a larger trap trope. Remember the boulder that chased Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Arc? That was a pressure plate trap. As a DM, this element of a trap may be the most useful of all trap parts. Need a trigger to shut a door? How about a ceiling collapse? Alerting monsters with a loud noise? Need to open a pit trap? The list of pressure plate uses is endless. They can be concealed in walls, floors, chests, doors, hinges or pretty much anywhere its needed.

The next type of trap is a tripwire. Tripwires are similar to pressure plates, because they can have a myriad of uses. Going back to Lucas, the net trap that captures the rebels on the Forest Moon of Endor is a tripwire trap. In D&D tripwires frequently are used to alert creatures of intruders. This may be a bell, or rocks falling or anything else that makes noise. Sometimes tripwires are used to immobilize creatures (like the net trap above.) Other tripwires may cause a cave-in, release rushing water, or another hazard that doesn't directly hit the characters.

When thinking of traps, don't forget monsters. I did a blog listing some monsters that double as traps a while ago. You can read (or re-read) it: Lurker Above.

Throughout the year, Ian and I will be revisiting this topic as we have material. We will look at combining these triggers with other effects (swinging blades for example.) Traps in fantasy gaming are limited only by your imagination.

I'll see you in the dungeon corridors.

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