D&D (2024) Searching and Safely Triggering Traps and Secret Doors

Stalker0

Legend
Worrying about time in most non-combat D&D situations to me seems rather pointless and I don't feel as though the game needs to add it in.
I agree that worrying about "nitpicking" X action vs Y action in terms of time isn't that productive, but I do think a more general "time to complete a room" can be useful in scenarios where time is actually a factor.

Aka already a standard size room takes 10 minutes to go through normally. That's looking for traps, searching for stuff, being on high alert. So the players go through about 6 rooms an hour as a ballpark. So if the players know a ritual is going to go off "any time now", maybe they go at high speed, 1 minute per room..... but now don't get any trap detection check, would be surprised on an ambush, etc etc.

That kind of time choice I do think can be good for the good, again nothing too detailed, but a general "time consumption baseline" I think would be good.
 

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Rolling against the environment is my go-to for any sort of thing like this, including stealth itself.

But the thing about traps and secrets specifically, regardless of the specific mechanics one uses, is that they (at least most of them) really need to be set up with indicators; prompts that lead players to intuitively start pursuing them when they're actually there.

Doing this is not only valuable mechanically to avoid the 10 foot pole and spending an hour on every cranny, but also helps just embellish the scene.

A skeleton impaled on the wall by a javelin is not only good set dressing, but telegraphs that theres a trap.

And when you do this, you can then include traps and such without indicators, as the players will already be seeking them out and so barring bad luck or negligence, theyll be a reasonable obstacle to include.

In a way its just an extension of the Three Clue rule for mysteries. I don't think traps and secret doors necessarily need three clues or more, but especially for secrets it wouldn't be a bad idea.
 

I agree that worrying about "nitpicking" X action vs Y action in terms of time isn't that productive, but I do think a more general "time to complete a room" can be useful in scenarios where time is actually a factor.

Aka already a standard size room takes 10 minutes to go through normally. That's looking for traps, searching for stuff, being on high alert. So the players go through about 6 rooms an hour as a ballpark. So if the players know a ritual is going to go off "any time now", maybe they go at high speed, 1 minute per room..... but now don't get any trap detection check, would be surprised on an ambush, etc etc.

That kind of time choice I do think can be good for the good, again nothing too detailed, but a general "time consumption baseline" I think would be good.

The importance of time is like the centerpiece of my entire philosophy on DMing.

Its also why I fell in love with the Tension Pool and am now making babies with it.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
As far as the time required to disable traps goes, it can't really take all that much time, I don't think, given how the Thief's Fast Hands works:

"Starting at 3rd level, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, use your thieves' tools to disarm a trap or open a lock, or take the Use an Object action."

Something that would take ten minutes probably couldn't be compressed down to a bonus action.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'm now thinking about all those movie/game climaxes where the heroes have to Do A Thing to escape/win while the bad guys are bearing down on them and the other heroes are trying to hold them of.

Lex reactivating park security in Jurassic Park, Natalia disabling the Goldeneye in Goldeneye, Keanu's buddies spoofing the video in Speed, me searching for 90's movies on Hulu... that's how a good 'trap' should be like.
 

As far as the time required to disable traps goes, it can't really take all that much time, I don't think, given how the Thief's Fast Hands works:

"Starting at 3rd level, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, use your thieves' tools to disarm a trap or open a lock, or take the Use an Object action."

Something that would take ten minutes probably couldn't be compressed down to a bonus action.

Not necessarily, but thats also just a problem of inconsistent design. A Rogue/Thief should be getting quicker checks across the board, and that ability should just be about the bonus action.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I'm now thinking about all those movie/game climaxes where the heroes have to Do A Thing to escape/win while the bad guys are bearing down on them and the other heroes are trying to hold them of.

Lex reactivating park security in Jurassic Park, Natalia disabling the Goldeneye in Goldeneye, Keanu's buddies spoofing the video in Speed, me searching for 90's movies on Hulu... that's how a good 'trap' should be like.
Absolutely. But in my opinion I suspect the most useful place for some rules on this front is the adventure or specialized book that actually needs it (and thus can get more specific and more detailed on what the mechanics are as applicable to the specific scenario). Because otherwise if you try and put something of this sort in the DMG... it's going to end up still being rather generic and wishy-washy because they won't have the space. So for instance (putting aside whether the actual specific rules in question were good or not and I know most people say they weren't)... I think that what we saw with 'ship combat' being highlighted in Ghosts of Saltmarsh where they could have the page count and space to be more complete, plus have a specific adventure within which to use them was more preferable than trying to cram a smaller version of them in the DMG. But again, that's just my preference-- no more right or wrong than anyone else's.

Now as you and @Stalker0 have been suggesting... it seems like you feel even a wishy-washy but still more complete ruleset would be preferable to what we have now. And I can't disagree with your opinions on the matter. I might lean more on the side of "less is easier to grasp and less likely to go down a path that annoys more players"... but getting more detailed certainly will make some things easier for at least some players. It's all a matter of preference of levels I suspect.
 

Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
As far as the time factor goes, I typically go by degree of success. If you beat the DC to discover the trap/secret door by 5 or more, you succeed in half the time.
 

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