Posts Tagged With: mechanical

Monkey fist mausoleum trap


This trap is a simple one, and works as a kind of psychological test for your PCs (and players).

The PCs adventure to a mausoleum filled with monsters, traps, and of course booty. Booty which is very specifically arranged. Upon defeating all the threats and obstacles, naturally they will want to leave with their loot… but the doors won’t open. (For high-level play, perhaps the entire tomb has been shifted sideways into a pocket dimension, so there’s nowhere to escape to. In this case, the tomb probably already has dimensional anchoring to prevent walls being bypassed, so a simple spell won’t suffice for escape.)

The only way to regain access to the outside world is to replace everything back where they got it, more or less precisely as you prefer. There’s no need to flag this fact – let the PCs sweat a while. You might lay some narrative pipe earlier in the piece by alluding to greed as a theme in the life of the person whose mausoleum it is, but that’s up to you.

Countermeasures depend on the nature of the trap. If it’s mechanical, a big block of stone in the doorway to jam the door open, or precisely-weighed bags of sand, might trick the mechanism into letting the PCs escape. If it’s magical, an anti-divination spell on each item to be stolen combined with a false magical aura spell on a substitute might do the trick. Conversely, an advanced portable hole capable of operating across planar gulfs might do the job if they’re prepared to leave one end behind… but maybe a magically isolated pocket plane could be a reward in itself, especially if you allow the PCs to customise it into their own personal domain. (Of course, this potentially means their home base might be haunted, which gives you some useful hanging plot threads.)

The name of this trap refers to an old method of trapping monkeys for eating – apparently, monkeys can work out how to get their hands into jars to get fruit, but aren’t quite smart enough to work out that they have to let go of the fruit to get their hand back out.

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Beware the cliche trap


This trap consists of a long bookshelf along one wall in a room that the PCs expect to have a secret passage. One book is particularly incongruous (Courtship rituals of the lesser Mozambican gerbil) and sticking out from the shelf slightly (Perception 13 to notice). If pulled, it causes the entire ten-foot-tall bookshelf to slam forwards onto the ground within 10′ of the wall on which the shelves are mounted. (Perception 23 to spot the hinges and possibly some very faded bloodstains on the carpet; DC 23 skill check to disable the trap or set it off slowly; in PFRPG, 6d6 bludgeoning damage with Reflex 23 to take no damage, or 20 for half damage; in M&M3E, a bludgeoning attack with a +13 bonus.)

The trap also covers the real secret exit – a trapdoor which is now under the bookshelves. (DC 28 to notice it before this, as it’s under a rug.) If through some incredible fluke a PC is standing on the trapdoor when the trap hits them, the trapdoor takes as half much damage as the PC, and if that exceeds its 15 hp, it collapses under them. It’s up to you how far they fall and what they find.

Categories: Generic, Mutants & Masterminds 3E, Pathfinder | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times trap


ExTRAPaganza, our Thursday over-the-top trap series, strikes again (and again and again)…

This is one for those of you with groups interested in playing with memory.

The trap consists of a long stretch of enchanted corridor. The first enchanted section acts as a kind of save point; the PCs are ensorcelled at this point, although the magic doesn’t trigger until an enchanted PC crosses the second section of the enchantment. When they do, or if they don’t after a set period has elapsed, they (a) teleport back to the “save point” where they entered the trap and (b) forget everything that has happened since they left it. These effects trigger simultaneously when every PC has succumbed.

The main challenge of this trap consists of working out what’s going on, because the subjective experience of the PCs is of course that time suddenly passes in the same spot. Rather than remembering the hundred times they’ve walked down the corridor, they only know that suddenly their legs are really tired, and they’re exhausted and hungry.

The trap will be more intriguing and memorable if the PCs are confronted with an anomaly which they must resolve. For this reason, we suggest that the trap automatically hit unless there is a compelling reason for it not to (such as immunity to teleportation or memory modification) until enough time has passed that a minor but noticeable inconvenience or mystery has arisen – the PCs are becoming fatigued, for instance, or they suddenly need to eat, or a just-lit torch is starting to gutter, or footprints (the party’s of course) have suddenly appeared in the dust in front of them. This inconvenience need not be an actual mechanical penalty – just something noticeable enough to warrant breaking the loop of walking down the corridor, being teleported back, forgetting that they’ve already walked down the corridor, and automatically starting out again. On the other end of the scale, they might even have unexplained injuries and damage to armour, from now-forgotten combats. Either way, if you are going to introduce such an element of GM fiat, you should not do so where the time lost to the trap will cost the PCs their objective – though heightening the sense of jeopardy is of course perfectly fine.

At this point, you might allow a standard mechanical resolution (such as a Will save to resist the magic, or treating the spell as an attack vs Will), or you might force the party to think it out and somehow arrange to leave themselves warning, or defeat the triggering of the “reset”, the next time through. Having some PCs succeed in resisting the trap and others fail is an interesting way to split the party – do those now free from the trap venture back in to try and bring out their friends? Or perhaps, if the PCs are questing for a particular small, valuable item, they now already have it in their possession – but have no memory of this fact, and set out to secure it a second time. Working out the trap reveals not only the cause of their predicament, but that they have already suceeded. This plot twist could bear considerable fruit down the track – possibly they now have a friend or a sworn enemy they don’t recall ever meeting.

If your group is amenable, you could turn this into a game in role-playing – they are given six seconds (or twenty, or however long) of their character’s thought process, which they must use to convince you that this time they will work it out. This might confer a bonus to rolls, or it might allow for outright solving the trap.

Interaction

 PFRPG:

D&D 4e:

Detecting   

 

 

 On first encounter Detect magic through a magic aura disguise
Arcana-based skill challenge
After given evidence suggestive of its existence (minor: a sudden sense of fatigue or pain in the legs; major: a candle is suddenly burned down) As above, or a hard Intelligence check, +2 for each minor piece of evidence and +5 for compelling evidence  As for PFRPG

Evading

 

 

Go around or teleport past (if possible)

Disarming

From outside the spell area, attempt to dispel it Targeted countermagic of the appropriate level for the party
Arcana-based skill challenge (probably a continuation of the above)
From inside the spell, work out what’s going on and make it obvious to oneself after the next memory loss Player ingenuity – might include such things as writing notes for oneself saying “if you don’t remember writing this, you’re in a trap”
As for PFRPG

Effects

 

 

At “save point”, enchantment is placed. Secretly-rolled very hard Will save; or GM fiat, followed by the above when the PCs work it out Secretly-rolled very hard attack vs. Will; or GM fiat followed by the above when the PCs work it out
At “trigger point”, or if sufficient time elapses, enchantment is triggered No ability to resist, but character is returned to the “save point” and has their memory wiped; you may decide that they may save against the effect again each time this reset happens No ability to resist, but character is returned to the “save point” and has their memory wiped; you may decide that they may save against the effect again each time this reset happens
Categories: 4E, exTRAPaganza, Generic, Pathfinder | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Better to Just Fall Trap


Here is another installment of exTRAPaganza, our Thursday over-the-top trap series. 

This trap layers illusion and deception to deadly effect.

The first part of the trap involves a door, which should open inwards towards the character. There is a deep, circular shaft on the other side of the door. However, this is hidden by an illusion of another room, a hallway or whatever is suitable for the location.

The illusion is dispelled if the plane of the doorway is broken. At this point, the vertical drop shaft is revealed, requiring a Reflex or equivalent check to avoid falling down the shaft. The shaft itself has a ladder constructed of several iron rungs embedded into the side of the shaft, all within easy reach of the falling character. However, the rungs are actually razor-sharp blades, painted to disguise their true property.

At the bottom of the shaft is a pile of bones and corpses. Scattered about the edges of the shaft are fingers, toes, and small bones; evidence of those that were quick enough to catch themselves on the rungs.

Interaction

 PFRPG:

D&D 4e:

Detecting   

 

 

To spot the doorway illusion

Moderate Perception

As for PFRPG

To spot the rung blades

Very Hard Perception


As for PFRPG


Evading

 

 

To avoid falling down the shaft

Hard Reflex save

Trap attacks, +(Level/2+5) vs Reflex: Hit the character suffers effects listed under falling; Miss the character does not fall.

To avoid damage from rungs

Very Hard Reflex save

+(Level/2 +10) vs. Reflex: Hit the rungs damage the character; Miss the character takes no damage from rungs

Effects   

 

 

Falling: forcible relocation to the area below

As described

As described

+ standard falling damage, plus optional extras depending on area below

1d6 per 10 ft.; see core rules or here for extras

1d6 per 10 ft.; see DMG and DMG2 for extras

Catching the rungs

4d6, plus additional 1d3 Dex and 1d2 Con damage

(Level/3+1)d6 damage, plus character is weakened and takes 5 ongoing damage per tier (save ends both). 

Categories: 4E, exTRAPaganza, Generic, Pathfinder | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Milling door trap


Here’s our first trial of a generic format that describes the trap first and then gives the rules information later. Both systemless and levelless, we’ll add guidelines for specific rules systems but not specific levels. We invite readers to add numbers for specific levels and/or new rules systems. 

This trap appears as – and to some extent actually is – a secret door in an apparently featureless wall, a hairline rectangular crack with a latch that can either be opened by finding and pressing a hidden pressure-pad in the centre of the “door”, slid open by a thin, rigid object passing through the crack like the old credit card trick, or pushed back by magical or psychic means.

However, the door is not hinged on the side. Instead, when the latch is released, it pivots around its bottom edge, as does the floor immediately in front of it and behind it, and a similar height of wall underneath the floor, like the blades of a river mill or a steamship’s paddle wheel. In cross-section, it is as though a + symbol rotates through 90 degrees, with the top arm of the + being the “door” and one of the horizontal arms being where the person opening the door is standing. In other words, the floor falls out from under the person opening the “door”, the “door” swings down and replaces the “floor”, and another section of “floor” on the far side of the door swings up to replace the “door”, latching firmly into place like the original “door”. This means the mechanism automatically and endlessly resets itself unless forcibly jammed while in action. Anyone who is not cleanly within or outside the trapped floor area (such as someone attempting to open the door while not standing on the loose “floor”) risks being struck by the door as it swings forwards, propelled by both the mechanism itself and the weight of whatever is on the trapped floor.

It’s up to you whether there actually is anything on the other side of the door, how deep the pit underneath the floor is, and what lies at the bottom – but note that the pit into which victims fall is sealed, and the trapdoor opens towards anyone trying to climb back up.

Interaction

 PFRPG:

D&D 4e:

Detecting   

 

 

To spot the secret “door”

Moderate Perception

As for PFRPG

To find the latch release

Hard Perception to spot both door and mechanism, or easy Perception once door found


As for PFRPG

Accurately detect the full mechanism

Very hard Perception, or hard Perception if specifically searching floor


As for PFRPG

   

 

Meddling

 

Release the latch

Easy Disable Device

Easy Thievery

Release the latch without triggering the door to pivot (leaving it loose to be triggered by the next person to stand on the trapped floor)

Hard Disable Device

Hard Thievery

Jamming the pivot

Any object used to jam the pivot takes 6d6 initial damage (for a Huge object) plus 1d6 per round. The initial damage can be split between two objects if the pivot is jammed from both sides.

Any object used to jam the pivot takes (Level/3)d6 initial damage, and is immobilized and takes 5 ongoing damage per tier (save ends both). The initial damage can be split between two objects if the pivot is jammed from both sides.

   

 

 

Evading

 

 

To avoid falling if fully within trapped area

Very hard Reflex save; failing by less than 5 gets you trapped

Trap attacks, +(Level/2+5) vs Reflex: Hit the character suffers effects listed under falling; Miss by 5 or less the character is caught instead

To avoid being caught between floor and panel if partly outside the trapped area

Hard Reflex save; failing by 5 or more means the character is hanging by their trapped limb and risks falling when freed unless they or an adjacent ally make a hard Reflex save, or an adjacent ally has a readied action to catch them.

+Level/2 vs. Reflex: Hit the target is caught (see below). If the attack hit by 5 or more, the target falls when freed unless they make a successful saving throw or an ally has an action readied to catch them.

Effects   

 

 

Falling: forcible relocation to the area below

As described

As described

+ standard falling damage, plus optional extras depending on area below

1d6 per 10 ft.; see core rules or here for extras

1d6 per 10 ft.; see DMG and DMG2 for extras

Caught between floor and descending pivot


6d6, plus additional moderate Reflex save or arm is trapped; character is immobilized and takes 1d6 damage per round until freed by a DC 20 Strength check.


(Level/3+1)d6 damage, plus character is immobilized and takes 5 ongoing damage per tier (save ends both). An ally may spend a full-round action to lend their Strength bonus to the next save.

Categories: 4E, Generic, Pathfinder | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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