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SagaBorn GM Tips: Traps as puzzles
We suggest running a trap in Sagaborn as a puzzle rather than a gotcha moment. No one likes a bunch of boulders just dropping on their head. Traps should make the experience fun and discourage players from slowing down gameplay with their constant fear of traps. A common occurance I have seen is that once a player encounters a trap, they spend the rest of the night tapping every stone with a 10’ pole. And that is decidedly not fun. So the best way to counter this is to treat the trap as a puzzle for the players to solve. We want to build a sense of wariness, mystery, and suspense, but we don’t want wariness devolving into tedium. The mechanical change we have made to trapfinding is that the GM instigates the search for the trap rather than the PC, which is different than most d20 systems.
When a trap is in an area, the GM should call for an Awareness check. If there is a rogue in the party, they should be the first to search (Rogues can also use their Thievery skill instead of Awareness). Otherwise the party picks one in their group to roll an Awareness check. If they match or surpass the trap’s Awareness DC, they are aware of the trap and given a clue to how it works. The party can now determine if they want to try to circumvent the trap or disable it.
Example: Succeeding at spotting the trap.
The adventurers are heading down a narrow hallway and Krimson the rogue is second from the lead. There is a poisoned dart trap in the hall. The GM calls for an Awareness check, and states that Krimson may use his Awareness or Thievery as he wishes. Krimson rolls a 23 Thievery check, which beats the trap’s DC. The GM tells Krimson he sees three small, round openings in the wall and that the floor looks different under those holes. Krimson inspects the trap and sees that it is a poison dart trap with a pressure plate. The problem is the pressure plate is as wide as the hall and six feet in length. Either he disables the trap, which then uses the traps disarm DC, or the party tries to jump over.
Example: Failing the Awareness check.
The adventurers are heading down a narrow hallway and Krimson the rogue is second from the lead. There is a poisoned dart trap in the hall. The GM calls for an Awareness check, and states that Krimson may use his Awareness or Thievery as he wishes. Krimson rolls a 15 Thievery check, failing to spot the trap. Milentus, who is in the lead, walks onto the pressure plate and the trap is sprung.
CR 1; (Type) mechanical; (Trigger) proximity trigger; (Reset) manual reset; (When activated) Atk +10 ranged (1d6/×3, arrow); (How to spot) Awareness DC 20; (How to Disable) Thievery DC 20. (Cost to Build) Market Price: 2,000 gp.
CR 1 Traps
Basic Arrow Trap
CR 1; mechanical; proximity trigger; manual reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d6/×3, arrow); Awareness DC 20; Thievery DC 20. Market Price: 1,000 gp.
Camouflaged Pit Trap
CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 10 ft. deep (1d6, fall); Awareness DC 24; Thievery DC 20. Market Price: 900 gp.
Deeper Pit Trap
CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; hidden switch bypass (Awareness DC 25); DC 15 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Awareness DC 20; Thievery DC 23. Market Price: 600 gp.
Fusillade of Darts
CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d4+1, dart); multiple targets (fires 1d4 darts at each target in two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Awareness DC 14; Thievery DC 20. Market Price: 500 gp.
Poison Dart Trap
CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +8 ranged (1d4 plus poison, dart); poison (bloodroot, DC 12 Fortitude save resists, 0/1d4 Con plus 1d3 Wis); Awareness DC 20; Thievery DC 18. Market Price: 700 gp.
What’s in the Works?
We are starting a new SagaBorn living campaign. Want to find out more? Check out the Shadows of the Swordspynes campaign page.