A single day of devious trickery – er, that is to say, creative subversion of player assumptions – was never going to be enough for this blog. This week, a series of traps that will really mess with your players. Most are in fact so ridiculously rotten that their best use is to spring them, howl with laughter at the ensuing shrieks of outrage, and then retcon the traps out of existence once you’ve had your fun, lest your players mount an open revolt.
Chain Mail of the Guardian
The PCs have heard about this magical armor – and there it is in front of them: a suit of enchanted chain mail hangs from the ceiling just inside the legendary vault into which they have just broken. This armor is fabled throughout the realm; it renders the wearer almost impervious to weapons, but there is a ritual required to attune it that involves stepping into it where it hangs. It’s exactly what the PCs need to defeat some great threat.
Once it’s on, it’s definitely highly protective to the parts of the body it covers; it’s practically impossible to damage. And so are the chains that stretch from it to the floor and ceiling, which on closer inspection are part of the weave of the armor and can’t be detached, and so are the floor and ceiling… all of which prevents the wearer from moving more than ten feet away from where they first donned it.
Which would be fine – sort of – for someone guarding the room, or even if the PC had time to take it off… but they’re being attacked, or the room is flooding, and they don’t have that time.
If you’re feeling kind, and not wanting to use this trap for April Fool’s-type purposes, successfully surviving this trial is the last stage of attunement and the chains drop away. If you’re feeling less kind, the PC has to wait some time before they can discharge this part of the ritual, and their allies may have to lure other intruders into the room for them to defeat. If you’re feeling mean, the armor is intelligent, considers the other PCs as intruders, and attempts to force its wearer to attack the rest of the group. And if you’re feeling outright cruel, the chains never drop away; after all, the mail is intended for the guardian of the vault…
Ingenious PCs who think to use portable holes and such to allow their friends to wear the mail elsewhere could be allowed to do so, but closing such dimensional apertures on the chains always teleports the armor and its wearer back to the vault. The magic in the armor is a property of the vault, not the mail itself. Successfully severing the chains (through epic magic or perhaps something like a sphere of annihilation) causes the chain mail to unravel and the vault to grow a new set over a year.