Posts Tagged With: room

April Fool’s Week – final trap: the trap gallery


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.

This trap bridges the more arbitrary, metagamey material of earlier in the week and our regular trap content. It takes place in a kobold warren, thieves’ guild, spy organisation’s base, or other suitable den of sneakiness.

The PCs’ goals require them to explore a section of the complex which is dedicated to showcasing traps. Laid out in a linear sequence are a series of rooms, and in each, the PCs find a different mechanical trap – all with clear instructions for how it works and how to bypass it printed on the door leading in, and all deactivated by some master switch. Careful examination of the traps indicates that they do indeed function as advertised, but are genuinely disarmed, and that the master switch for each trap is further into the complex – a cable in the walls and floor can be traced running further in, but it is on a hair trigger and interfering with it in any way will set off all the traps. (This cable should only be found through displays of truly extraordinary skill.) Further, once active, the traps can only be deactivated manually and individually – the override switch removes a series of chocks stopping the mechanisms from moving, but there’s no way to replace them all automatically.

Finally the PCs reach the end of the gauntlet of traps, and come across a door labelled “Trap Gallery Master Control Switch”. Opening the door reveals a room with periscopic (or magical) views into each trap chamber, and a big lever labelled “Trap Activation”. If the PCs are tracing the master control cable it does indeed lead directlyunder this door, and if the door is open they can see that it leadsĀ  towards the lever… but then loops around a pulley and heads back to the door frame.

The label “Trap Gallery Master Control Switch” is not saying what’s behind the door – it’s explaining that that the door is the Trap Gallery Master Control Switch – and opening the door causes all the traps to become active.

To get back out, the PCs will have to disarm all the traps they have just passed. The fact that the mechanisms include provision for a master override allows you to give them a small bonus on their rolls… and if they can successfully remember the instructions for how each trap worked, which were on the outside of the doors which are now at the opposite end of each room, you can give them a larger bonus. (This might be an occasion for the use of our upcoming supplement on memory in RPGs.)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our April Fool’s Week traps! Let us know in the comments.

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April Fool’s Week penultimate trap: The fake-out trap


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.

The fake-out trap

The PCs turn the corner and see a skeleton about thirty feet away, pinned to the wall by a spear. They also see several other broken spears on the ground nearby, all opposite a collection of fairly-well-concealed holes in the wall. As they look, they realise that the corridor ahead has these holes along a massive stretch of its length – just ducking through or long-jumping won’t save them, and doesn’t seem to have saved the skeleton, who is about ten feet into the trap.

Searching for the trap mechanism doesn’t reveal the trap… because there isn’t one. They’re just holes and spears.

Optionally, the last square of the corridor does include a genuine spear trap.

For extra pressure, ensure the PCs are being chased, with a lead of only 20 seconds or so.

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IRA dripping tap trap


We believe this trap was actually used by the IRA (the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist group dedicated to getting the British out of Northern Ireland) as a parting gift for British law enforcement. It works best as a modern trap, but with some adjustment of flavour could be used in a fantasy setting.

The PCs are given the location of a safe house belonging to an enemy group – a rival spy organisation, a demented cult, a supervillain’s gang, etc. When they arrive they discover that the safe house has been cleared out and completely scrubbed down. Whether enough forensic traces of their enemies remain is up to you – but also quite possibly academic.

As the PCs enter, you note that the only sound in the place is a steadily dripping tap, landing in an empty metal sink (there is no plug, so the water just drains away). Drip, drip, drip. As the PCs investigate, the dripping continues – either implicitly or explicitly driving home the complete emptiness of the safe house and thereby mocking their efforts. Play it low-key – you don’t want to give away that this piece of flavour is also bait – but make it mean something more than just scenery to the players. Eventually one of the PCs may get irritated enough by the incessant dripping that they go to turn off the tap – at which point contact is made in the detonation switch, and explosives in the walls and scattered through the building go off.

This trap was originally designed to be completely lethal, so while of course it’s up to you we recommend that the damage be extreme – especially around the trigger.

Whether the PCs have a chance to find the explosives is also up to you – again, in the original traps they were well hidden, often in the walls (set up as the safe house was originally established), or roofspace, or under the floor – or all three. Alternatively they may be hidden in plain sight as caches of (apparently inert) bomb materials.

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