Posts Tagged With: memory

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.



D&D 4e:




 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




Go around or teleport past (if possible)


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




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

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