November 2011 RPG Carnival: Tricks & Traps
Graciously hosted at Elthos RPG this month, the newest RPG Carnival is revealed! Here’s the challenge:
Setting up challenges for RPG Player Characters that make sense in terms of the story is a matter of thinking “What would the villain *really* do?” Learning to think like your villain is a bit tricky because if you think too well then your players may not survive very long, but if you don’t think enough …well, it is just too damn easy. What Tricks-n-Traps have your villains set for those who dare impinge on their turf, or interfer with their nepharious plots? Did the PCs live or die, …or something far far worse?!
- A long, slimy spiral staircase in a random dungeon. The door to the entrance of the staircase is blocked, letting the PC’s think there’s something worth guarding down there. A key point to this trap is there being NO monsters around it. Like, it looks like the dungeon’s inhabitants are purposefully avoiding it type of distance. So once the PC’s bust it down, they start to hear the sound of a young girl sobbing and saying things like “no…don’t leave me….help me, please…!” There is no girl, and the stair goes on for a good half mile straight down. Its just a red herring creepy waste of time.
- If you wanna spice up this spiral staircase a bit, have the weeping sound come from a face built into the wall at the bottom of the staircase, over the corpses of some long-decayed adventurers. The face’s mouth doesn’t move, but if anyone goes for the loot on the corpses, it screams, separates from the wall and chases them back up the stairs.
- A torch with different colored flame in a valuable looking brazier that, when disturbed, goes out and causes sudden pitch blackness inside the room even during the day with windows open. Perfect time for an ambush!
- A floor or wall of a crazy Gnomish Wizard’s lab, the entire thing is clicking and grinding gears and clockwork parts. Extra damage if bull rushed into it.
- If you are a masochist, have an electrical complete-the-circuit puzzle, the only thing that bridges the gap is a few PC’s holding hands.
- A laboratory with vials of potions marked ‘Potion of Strength/Invisibility/Speed that have effects the opposite of whats labeled or so potent they become dangerous (Strength = breathing out is like a hurricane, stepping is like an earthquake)
- A living, sentient tower or dungeon that rearranges stairs and floors (think Harry Potter Dormitory) to make the players double back, walk through the same room, etc.
Some of the traps I’ve run personally are:
- Mirror of hopeless narcissism. Anyone who looks into it is sooo infatuated that they essentially are incapacitated in combat and can’t perform basic tasks.
- Snow bank collapsing into a freezing river.
- A seemingly simple 1 story building opens into an impossibly huge mansion with physics defying hallways. I’m a bit fan of turns greater than 180 degrees to start making your players freak out a bit.
- This is probably a standard favorite of other DM’s: Have a spike pit, clumsily hidden. The party’s paranoia assuaged, they confidently leap over it….through the illusionary floor where they would have landed.
- Sepia Snake Sigil. No crazy thinking needed, that thing’s just mean.
- Walls of Force that bridge the gap over seemingly impossible chasms and over pits of captive monsters. Activated/deactivated with a command word.
- Anti-Magic grenades. (cast AMF on a rock, make your wizards cry and cry)
- Star Wars garbage compactor.
- The Test of Faith. A hallway is blocked with impossibly hot and raging flames with no apparent source. There’s a book in front of it espousing the protecting powers of a certain God, while denouncing the evil destruction of another. The flames are real, but the room bestows everyone with a temporary immunity to fire.
- A strong current in an underground cavern. About halfway down the length of the underground slip & slide, there are pikes under the water angled at 45 degrees towards the players.
- A potion that bestows fluency in 1 random language, but removes one the PC has for a day.
- A trapped metal door (big surprise) that triggers when opened. A huge battering ram comes out of the ceiling and smashes the door and anything in its path to smithereens.
I’ve got a few more, but at this point they’d be variations on a theme or just flat out unoriginal. I’ve loving the submissions so far, I can’t wait to see more!