Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Trap Tuesday - Outside the Dungeon

So far we have been talking about dungeon traps. But, traps are a wide and varied subject. Today, we're going to talk about a different kind: the political trap. They don't play at all like a dungeon trap, but they are some of the most important when weaving a story.

Political traps take time, and subtlety. They start small, usually with someone taking an oath: to protect a kingdom, ruler, lover or object.

From there, things slowly push on that oath. A trusted adviser to the ruler tells the oath-taker that something is needed. A magic ring or a flag can protect what was sworn to be protected.

The oath-taker leaves to retrieve the item. Meanwhile, the "trusted" adviser whispers that the oath-taker forsook their oath. And with that, the trap is sprung.

It works much the same way with a lover. A scream in the night pulls the hero to protect an innocent. This leads a seed of doubt in the lover. They begin to wonder why the oath-taker must protect others? They promised to protect me! And again, the trap is sprung.

When the hero(es) return, they are confronted by whoever they swore the oath to. The ruler (or lover) demands to know why they were left unprotected? They may play this part in different way. A lover may show weakness: crying, trembling, yelling or cursing. All of this leads to an ultimatum: do not leave the protected's side.
Meanwhile, the ruler may show strength: calmness, brashness, or accusations. These lead to several options; banishment, imprisonment, or giving a task to prove the oath.

Now, the oath-taker feels the barbs of the trap. They must do what they swore to do. But, how to do that while imprisoned, or banished? The hero should know the adviser is the problem. How to solve it without a head on the chopping block? That is a great trap.

What of being forced to staying near their charge, unable to recover the item needed to stop the inevitable? This trap lends even more storytelling to the game. The group still must adventure, but now they have an albatross around their necks. Do they take an irregular step and Charm an ally? Wrap the protected one in armor and spells and carry them across the wilderness and dungeons?

Where they go from that point is up to the players. And that's why these are great traps.

No comments:

Post a Comment