• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Make Deadlier Dungeons With This Book

Oul4Oz8DsbGk5c5AVBjvEsJfp3-HfRnoJ8BuyGc_6SknRfLmJbNBnCxoVu6vMmzxjQrWIaHuGY2cEiOHF16e6QfDkSmj80N3Sk90CegaeJ-QSyqlCjJRRYXhkzI5MW3MDZ7RJ7qF


Traps are an iconic part of the Dungeons & Dragons experience. Nearly every table has a story about a time when a trap took someone by surprise or how it was used to the group's benefit when dealing with a monster. Despite sections on traps in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and riddles in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, this element of the dungeon seems to be underserved in the current edition. Treacherous Traps from Nord Games looks to fill in the gaps with a book that not only offers several traps to drop into any dungeon but advice for Dungeon Masters to make their own.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to 250 traps built to test teams from levels 1-20. The traps are roughly organized into chapters covering a four level spread. Each trap has a basic layout covering the trigger, effect and countermeasures of each device. As expected, the traps tend to get more elaborate as the levels get higher, but one decision I liked was making sure each level has examples of traps that are entirely mechanical, entirely magical or a mixture of the two.

There are also sections on traps that go above and beyond a single encounter in an otherwise featureless room. Dungeon rooms feature traps working in concert with each other to confound and engender adventurers. The authors suggest using these sorts of rooms sparingly as a set piece protecting the McGuffin of the dungeon or as a background for a vital battle. There are also a few complex traps that are more akin to the old Mousetrap board game where one sets off another, which sets off another and the whole party will take it on the chin if it is not stopped.

The book’s trap design goes a little bit deeper into the hows and whys of traps. Lethality is expanded into five categories to show the Dungeon Master how bad it will hurt if the rogue whiffs their roll ranging from a setback that will do a little damage to a deadly trap likely to kill someone in one swoop. Then there are the purposes of the trap. Is it meant to alert someone to trespassers? Hold creatures there for someone to take them prisoner? Funnel them into a deadlier part of the dungeon? This was my favorite part of the book. Trap books rarely give thought to the narrative element of dungeoncraft and I wish there had been more discussion here. Traps and riddles are fun changes of pace to combat, but they can also reinforce the theme of a story or tell players about the villain from their design.

Puzzles also make an appearance in this book as they are often the cousins of traps and riddles. Much of the advice echoes that provided in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The book also offers a wide range of puzzles and riddles to drop in, but one piece of advice from this section stood out to me. The solution that the players come up with for any of these conundrums may not be the one the Dungeon Master envisions, but if the players are enthusiastic about it, the Dungeon Master should do their best to support it. I ran an Indiana Jones-style step on the right stone trap in one D&D that the players figured out, but they also had the character with the most hit points step on the stones first. There were one or two sequences they didn't puzzle out, so the paladin gladly took the hit to keep moving forward. It kept the story moving forward, showed the nobility of the paladin and surprised me with a clever solution.

Nord Games has also released a series of trap decks in support of Treacherous Traps. The majority of the decks feature the traps in the book in an easy to draw format for use when a DM is stuck for an idea either while running a game. I liked the random trap generator the most. This is included as a series of charts to roll on in the book, but the deck makes it fun to pull two cards - a trigger and an effect - and then come up with a trap that connects the two. Writing prompts are a useful tool in any Dungeon Master’s toolbox because they can be more fruitful than staring at a blank page.

For Dungeon Masters who want more detail on an essential element of Dungeons & Dragons, Treacherous Traps has a lot to offer.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland

EthanSental

Adventurer
Purchased the pdf as I had forgotten about the release so thanks for the reminder. 30% off coupon on the site for the holidays now helps too.
 

dwayne

Adventurer
I have my Grimtooths ultimate traps collection 460 pages of faces of death and destruction, this is a child's book but might be good to muse about the things with in though. Also i like making my own traps, and many of mine to this day players still have nightmares over. but might be useful to level a table or something
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
Purchased the pdf as I had forgotten about the release so thanks for the reminder. 30% off coupon on the site for the holidays now helps too.
I'd love to have your honest opinion once you had a bit of time to look over it. I'm interested by the book, but I've been pretty disappointed by collection of traps in the past.
 

Well, reading the title of this thread I said, "Who needs to make traps deadlier? That's a stupid product I have no interest in."

But, actually reading the write-up makes me interested. I mean who can't make a deadly trap? That's easy, save or die. But that's really of zero interest to me. Now, traps that are interesting and challenging, that have purpose other than to kill or just consume resources, that's interesting.
 

I have my Grimtooths ultimate traps collection 460 pages of faces of death and destruction, this is a child's book but might be good to muse about the things with in though. Also i like making my own traps, and many of mine to this day players still have nightmares over. but might be useful to level a table or something
You already own and have read the book?
 




MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I backed the Kickstarter for this book and am happy with the result. It is not only a collection of traps but also provides a system creating your own traps.

My main use for it so far is to help spruce up and give variety to standard pit traps, etc. I'm running Rappan Athuk, a massive mega-dungeon. While RA has a many interesting and flavorful traps, it also has a LOT of standard pit traps. While I can certainly improvise to make things more interesting, I find the tables in this book useful. I also got the card sets, which make it even easier to, literally, mix things up.

I also have several Grimstooth books, but most of those traps are more interesting to read than to use in play or are better to use as set-piece challenges. The Nord Games book is much more useful resource for me. While it has plenty of set-piece traps, the design of the traps and their organization are better suited for 5e play and it serves as a much better kit for prepping your dungeons or introducing some variety on the fly.
 

Teraptus

Explorer
Purchased yesterday! I will implement these in real life. I will grab feedback from the unfortunate fools who are in my dungeon aka house.
 

I also have several Grimstooth books, but most of those traps are more interesting to read than to use in play or are better to use as set-piece challenges.
I agree. I just bought the Grimtooth compilation book. Its big, but you are right the traps would take a bit of doing to use them in a 5E game. Thinking of buying Treacherous Taps now too.
 


Paintknight

Villager
I'm one of the co-authors of the book (Andrew), and I just wanted to say thanks for the write-up, Rob! :)

I certainly know that using traps in a game can be very hit-or-miss, depending on the table. Often, I've even found they can feel like just a huge waste of time. It was my ultimate hope that this book, while offering plenty of pregens, would get folks thinking more about the why of the traps (and the puzzles, and the riddles, for that matter). Traps, at their core, are simply obstacles. They're things that get in the player's way until they find a way to get by. It's times like that where I hate traps (and loathe when they're used in "gotcha" fashion just because the GM wants to take players down a peg or watch them squirm). In my humble opinion, a trap, puzzle, or riddle's main job is (like everything else), to serve the narrative. Reinforce the plot, bolster a theme, elaborate on something, illustrate an idea, etc. Use traps/puzzles/riddles as practical examples or tests of ideas previously presented in the adventure. Make their solutions things that tie into previously introduced information and reward players for paying attention.

As we say on our podcast, Inspiration Point (shameless plug: inspirationpoint.buzzsprout.com lol), the secret ingredient is love. If you love your players, don't waste their time. Don't stall them. Love them. Challenge them meaningfully. They'll thank you for it, and you'll feel more fulfilled as well. :)
 



robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I have the Grimtooth compilation book and found it utterly unfit for purpose. Great if you want ”funhouse” traps, but not much else. This looks like what I’m really looking for. Interesting traps that support the narrative.
 



dwayne

Adventurer
Anti-inclusive content
I look at the grims book as inspiration for my own ideas and take on things, but like i said this might be good for the new generation who needs these kinds of crutches to help them limp through their mediocrity.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top