Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Traps Revisited

Actually an interesting article. I'm still scanning through it, though. I like the way they discuss the traps, their creation, and countermeasures (something that was missing, I think, from the DMG).

Poisoned Tempest is an absolutely inspired and devious trap! I love it!!!
 
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Saeviomagy

Adventurer
To briefly answer your question about Magical Wards as a trigger type...The truth is I think there are several types of triggers that D&D habitually tends to clump under the "it's magic" label. I haven't yet unpacked that and figured out what those typologies are yet, but it's something I felt intuitively as soon as I started getting into trap design. For me, I think the ideal number of trigger types is roughly about the same as the number of monster types in D&D 5e (i.e. 14). I'd settle for about 10-12 distinct trigger types.
Interestingly enough if you look back in previous editions they're a little better: things like magic mouth are specifically described to rely on sight and the like.

However what's really needed is a comprehensive breakdown of what the sensor can perceive. And that can't be too broad either:At present glyph of warding is one of the few ways in the game to detect someone's alignment. Technically it could be one of the most powerful divination spells in the entire game if you don't make up limits on what it can know ("This glyph triggers if bob the necromancer goes out and leaves his spellbook unguarded", "This glyph triggers if the artifact of whosit is within 10 miles")
EDIT: Triggers to me are the interesting part of the trap, since they speak to how the trap is noticed & how it might be countered. The actual deleterious effects of a trap are already pretty well covered in the DMG according to threat range...though I do think that poison in particular needs some re-thinking and there should be an onset time. One of the principles I'm working with is "something happens...now give players a chance to respond."

Agreed! The writers have been relatively thorough whenever combat is involved, which extends to a lot of things that happen in combat a lot, like being damaged, disabled, cursed and shoved around. But as soon as you step out of that, the rules are vague, muzzy and ill-written.

Unfortunately the game has been mostly constructed so that poison and disease are fairly irrelevant, with the possible exception of 1st level parties with no paladin.
 

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jedijon

Explorer
Too bad I cannot give XP to Quickleaf!

I've never been a fan of traps in D&D. This article does nothing to change that.
At least they didn't repeat one of their past mistakes to assign construction costs to traps...

Anyway, the way traps are apparently intended to be used in D&D makes no sense at all and doesn't contribute at all to improve gameplay. To the contrary they seem to be designed to annoy players and slow down gameplay for no good reason.

I get the impression the design team has run out of interesting topics, considering this and the last article on 'Mass Combat' - which was another thing that is completely useless for a good RPG session:
Mass combat should happen in the background while the pcs engage in key encounters that have the potential to shift the entire battle. What's the point of turning an RPG session into an exercise in flawed math?

Yup.

Saeviomagi has some great points too. I would play in your game--bear traps are disarmed with a STICK, not thieves tools.

I'll just add that it's great we're talking about HOW to trap here. Would've been nice for the article to give at least one good example of traps in play.

Sadly, using context clues, I'd hazard that the author allows their players to say "we move slow and check for traps", or even count out their movements on a GRID and search specific squares! Eep!

It may not seem like an evil game-breaker to some of you. But, to the enlightened folks who have experienced otherwise, roleplay is not quotidian.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Interestingly enough if you look back in previous editions they're a little better: things like magic mouth are specifically described to rely on sight and the like.

However what's really needed is a comprehensive breakdown of what the sensor can perceive. And that can't be too broad either:At present glyph of warding is one of the few ways in the game to detect someone's alignment. Technically it could be one of the most powerful divination spells in the entire game if you don't make up limits on what it can know ("This glyph triggers if bob the necromancer goes out and leaves his spellbook unguarded", "This glyph triggers if the artifact of whosit is within 10 miles")

Yeah, I was looking back to AD&D's glyph of warding recently, and I underlined everything that clarifies the trigger.

[SECTION]Glyph of Warding (AD&D)
A Glyph of Warding is a powerful inscription magically drawn to prevent unauthorized or hostile creatures from passing, entering, or opening. It can be used to guard a small bridge, ward an entry, or as a trap on a chest or box. When the spell is cast, the cleric weaves a tracery of faintly glowing lines around the warding sigil. For every square foot of area to be protected, 1 segment of time is required to trace the warding lines from the glyph, plus the initial segment during which the sigil itself is traced. A maximum of a 5' X 5' area per level can be warded. When the spell is completed, the glyph and tracery become invisible, but any creature touching the protected area without first speaking the name of the glyph the cleric has used to serve as a ward will be subject to the magic it stores. Saving throws apply, and will either reduce effects by one-half or negate them according to the glyph employed. The cleric must use incense to trace this spell, and then sprinkle the area with powdered diamond (at least 2,000 g.p. worth) if it exceeds 50 square feet. Typical glyphs shock for 2 points of electrical damage per level of the spell caster, explode for a like amount of fire damage, paralyze, blind, or even drain a life energy level (if the cleric is of high enough level to cast this glyph).[/SECTION]

Then 3e expanded that to include a host of other triggers, which I think in retrospect was a mistake because it muddies the waters of what is actually happening in the narrative.

[SECTION]Glyph of Warding (3e)
You set the conditions of the ward. Typically, any creature entering the warded area or opening the warded object without speaking a password (which you set when casting the spell) is subject to the magic it stores. Alternatively or in addition to a password trigger, glyphs can be set according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight) or creature type, subtype, or kind. Glyphs can also be set with respect to good, evil, law, or chaos, or to pass those of your religion. They cannot be set according to class, Hit Dice, or level. Glyphs respond to invisible creatures normally but are not triggered by those who travel past them ethereally. Multiple glyphs cannot be cast on the same area. However, if a cabinet has three drawers, each can be separately warded.[/SECTION]

5e continues with 3e's trend but only exacerbates the problem.

What's great about the AD&D version is there is little ambiguity for the DM about how to narrate it. The trap is invisible, but if detected appears as faint glowing lines, and a magic word allows one to move through the ward without triggering it. So the trap has a vulnerability that players can exploit – if they learn about the presence of a glyph (e.g. reading old manuscripts, talking to dungeon inhabitants, casting detect magic), then they have the option to try and learn its password. That might involve finding a certain dungeon inhabitant to interrogate or going through their notes/spellbook. It might involve casting a divination. Or, a really clever PC might be able to deduce the password from what they know about the caster and the warded object/area.

And maybe that should be how the magical inscription trigger works in D&D. Inscriptions are about the word, and so it makes sense that a password can overcome them.

What I like about this approach is that it opens up the door for more creative countermeasures. Maybe there can be a magic quill that in the hands of someone with fine motor skills and 5 minutes of time could actually change a magical inscription, so a successful Sleight of Hand check using such a magic quill could slightly change the password or slightly change the effect of the glyph.

Unfortunately the game has been mostly constructed so that poison and disease are fairly irrelevant, with the possible exception of 1st level parties with no paladin.
Yeah, it's not that poisons just got the shaft in 5e, but they also are designed to mostly be one-and-done. I agree they should be scarier, but even more than that I think it's a mistake to treat most poisons as an instantaneous damage vector. There really ought to be an onset time – even if it's just a round – because that gives the players a decision point. The problem with D&D's "gotcha" traps/poisons is that they are designed without interesting decision points in mind.

In fact, with glyph of warding, I'd consider making it a layered effect.

For example: When a creature first attempts to cross the threshold of the glyph of warding without speaking the password, they experience a strange pressure in the air or vague whispering (which might also be accompanied by a subtle environmental shift associated with the spell imbued into the glyph of warding, so a standard explosive glyph might involve a sudden flush of heat over that character's skin). Here, the DM pauses, and asks "what would you like to do?" If the PC proceeds moving through the glyph, then it triggers.

---------------------------

Inscription (magical trigger)
A magical inscription, like the glyph of warding spell, is a form of abjuration wherein runes are inscribed with glowing light that then fade to become invisible over time. A spoken password chosen by the creator of the inscription, allows a creature to safely bypass its magic.
Trap Examples: any use of glyph of warding, fire-breathing statues, sphere of annihilation
Notice: A magical inscription is almost invisible to the senses, though an Intelligence (Arcana or Investigation) check made as part of a thorough search – typically requiring at least 5 minutes – will discover barely perceptible glowing runes. If this check is made in pitch darkness it has advantage. Detect magic will always detect a magical inscription as abjuration magic.
Disarm: Because an inscription is born of the magical word, it can be disarmed with the right password. The password chosen by the creator of the inscription must be thematically linked to the warded area/object or the effect of the spell; for example, an inscription that triggers a spell dealing cold damage might require choosing a password related to “fire” or “heat.” The details are left up to the DM and his or her campaign world. Dispel magic cast at the appropriate level will also disarm the inscription. Finally, certain rare magical items (magical thieves' tools? magic quill?) may allow a character to subtly rewrite an inscription they are aware of with a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check and at least 5 minutes – on a success, the character can subtly change the password or the triggered trap at the DM’s discretion. Nonmagical thieves’ tools can’t disarm a magical inscription.
Encounter Design: It’s worthwhile to think of unique ways that characters can become aware of this trigger without detect magic and overcome it without dispel magic. Consider which creatures in the dungeon know the password. Additionally, when a character is initially entering an area warded by a magical inscription, the DM should give subtle clues about the presence of magic, such as an unnatural pressure in the air or a faint change in environmental conditions mirroring the type of trap about to be triggered; if the PC proceeds forward regardless, then the trap triggers.
Variations: An inscription may be reversed, its glowing writing appearing backwards to detect magic; such a reversed inscription doesn’t trigger initially when crossed, instead becoming active a round after creatures have entered the warded area. Now, it will trigger if any creature tries to leave the warded area without speaking the password. A reversed inscription will give away subtle clues as a creature is about to cross its threshold both before and after becoming active.

[SECTION]Age of Inscription – Level – Spell Level – Notice/Disarm DC
0-10 years – 1st-4th – 1st-2nd level – DC 15
11-100 years – 5th-10th – 3rd-5th level – DC 18
101-1,000 years – 11th-16th – 6th-8th level – DC 21
1,001+ years – 17th-20th – 9th level – DC 24[/SECTION]
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yeah, I was looking back to AD&D's glyph of warding recently, and I underlined everything that clarifies the trigger.

[SECTION]Glyph of Warding (AD&D)
A Glyph of Warding is a powerful inscription magically drawn to prevent unauthorized or hostile creatures from passing, entering, or opening. It can be used to guard a small bridge, ward an entry, or as a trap on a chest or box. When the spell is cast, the cleric weaves a tracery of faintly glowing lines around the warding sigil. For every square foot of area to be protected, 1 segment of time is required to trace the warding lines from the glyph, plus the initial segment during which the sigil itself is traced. A maximum of a 5' X 5' area per level can be warded. When the spell is completed, the glyph and tracery become invisible, but any creature touching the protected area without first speaking the name of the glyph the cleric has used to serve as a ward will be subject to the magic it stores. Saving throws apply, and will either reduce effects by one-half or negate them according to the glyph employed. The cleric must use incense to trace this spell, and then sprinkle the area with powdered diamond (at least 2,000 g.p. worth) if it exceeds 50 square feet. Typical glyphs shock for 2 points of electrical damage per level of the spell caster, explode for a like amount of fire damage, paralyze, blind, or even drain a life energy level (if the cleric is of high enough level to cast this glyph).[/SECTION]

Then 3e expanded that to include a host of other triggers, which I think in retrospect was a mistake because it muddies the waters of what is actually happening in the narrative.

[SECTION]Glyph of Warding (3e)
You set the conditions of the ward. Typically, any creature entering the warded area or opening the warded object without speaking a password (which you set when casting the spell) is subject to the magic it stores. Alternatively or in addition to a password trigger, glyphs can be set according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight) or creature type, subtype, or kind. Glyphs can also be set with respect to good, evil, law, or chaos, or to pass those of your religion. They cannot be set according to class, Hit Dice, or level. Glyphs respond to invisible creatures normally but are not triggered by those who travel past them ethereally. Multiple glyphs cannot be cast on the same area. However, if a cabinet has three drawers, each can be separately warded.[/SECTION]

5e continues with 3e's trend but only exacerbates the problem.

What's great about the AD&D version is there is little ambiguity for the DM about how to narrate it. The trap is invisible, but if detected appears as faint glowing lines, and a magic word allows one to move through the ward without triggering it. So the trap has a vulnerability that players can exploit – if they learn about the presence of a glyph (e.g. reading old manuscripts, talking to dungeon inhabitants, casting detect magic), then they have the option to try and learn its password. That might involve finding a certain dungeon inhabitant to interrogate or going through their notes/spellbook. It might involve casting a divination. Or, a really clever PC might be able to deduce the password from what they know about the caster and the warded object/area.

And maybe that should be how the magical inscription trigger works in D&D. Inscriptions are about the word, and so it makes sense that a password can overcome them.

What I like about this approach is that it opens up the door for more creative countermeasures. Maybe there can be a magic quill that in the hands of someone with fine motor skills and 5 minutes of time could actually change a magical inscription, so a successful Sleight of Hand check using such a magic quill could slightly change the password or slightly change the effect of the glyph.


Yeah, it's not that poisons just got the shaft in 5e, but they also are designed to mostly be one-and-done. I agree they should be scarier, but even more than that I think it's a mistake to treat most poisons as an instantaneous damage vector. There really ought to be an onset time – even if it's just a round – because that gives the players a decision point. The problem with D&D's "gotcha" traps/poisons is that they are designed without interesting decision points in mind.

In fact, with glyph of warding, I'd consider making it a layered effect.

For example: When a creature first attempts to cross the threshold of the glyph of warding without speaking the password, they experience a strange pressure in the air or vague whispering (which might also be accompanied by a subtle environmental shift associated with the spell imbued into the glyph of warding, so a standard explosive glyph might involve a sudden flush of heat over that character's skin). Here, the DM pauses, and asks "what would you like to do?" If the PC proceeds moving through the glyph, then it triggers.
That's similar to the idea of the pressure plate causing a "click".

I think we are overall all in consensus that the coolest way for traps (and also probably poisons and diseases) to work in the game is for some sort of subtle warning by the DM, then a decision by the player(s) and consequences from that.

For examples "There is something odd about the ground in front of you" "I stop and carefully brush at it with my hand" "There's a tarp under the top layer of dirt" OR "I tiptoe forward" "The ground begins to slide out under your feet. Roll a dex save."

Is better than "your passive perception of 15 tells you there is a pit trap in front of you" or "roll a dex save. You just walked on a pit trap."

Or the previous pressure plate click example.

Also, "You begin to feel light in the head and sick to the stomach" is better than "take 7 poison damage" and then weirdly, if you still have tons of HP you will never notice that poison dart that just hit you ever again.

It might take longer, though.

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obeytheFist

Villager
5th Editions poison and disease rules make me sad... It hasn't come up in play yet (as in I haven't thrown things at the characters that involve poison or disease) as most of my traps tend to use fire, sharp things, or falling to do their dirty work. Though I did make up one poison trap... Basically it was a room that filled with hallucinogenic gasses for three rounds (pretty much unescapable once trapped in the hall way). They had to make 3 constitution saves (I think I set the DC at like 10, which is pretty easy for my group). Each player that failed I took aside and described the horror going on around them (their skin catching fire, snakes coming from the walls, all their friends looking like zombies, ect...). After that it was a con save each round to remove the initial effects. Of course, the hallucinogen was still in their system, and I used it to mess with the characters for the remainder of the adventure (after which they finally recovered). They called it the "bad acid room".

Tl;Dr? I make up my own stuff for where the rules have fallen short of what I need for my adventure. Though, I REALLY like these new trap rules... Maybe they'll have new rules out soon on poisons and diseases?
 

Quickleaf

Legend
That's similar to the idea of the pressure plate causing a "click".

I think we are overall all in consensus that the coolest way for traps (and also probably poisons and diseases) to work in the game is for some sort of subtle warning by the DM, then a decision by the player(s) and consequences from that.

For examples "There is something odd about the ground in front of you" "I stop and carefully brush at it with my hand" "There's a tarp under the top layer of dirt" OR "I tiptoe forward" "The ground begins to slide out under your feet. Roll a dex save."

Is better than "your passive perception of 15 tells you there is a pit trap in front of you" or "roll a dex save. You just walked on a pit trap."

Or the previous pressure plate click example.

Also, "You begin to feel light in the head and sick to the stomach" is better than "take 7 poison damage" and then weirdly, if you still have tons of HP you will never notice that poison dart that just hit you ever again.

It might take longer, though.

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Yes, totally.

Actually, I think I've evolved that idea one step further...

I'm saying that the nature of the DM's subtle warning should be determined by and consistent with the trap's trigger. And further I'm recommending a focus on trigger types in this UA article (or whatever it evolves into).

My main concern is avoiding haphazard application of how traps are run, because the designer poorly understand traps /or DMs poorly understand traps (because the designers haven't communicated effectively).

For example, saying "There is something odd about the ground in front of you" is functionally the same as the DM saying "there's some kind of trap." It has no narrative meaning. 'Something odd' tells the players nothing. It's what I call the red flag approach to running traps. I see DMs do this because they don't have a reliable method for adjudicating traps so they want to take extra precaution not to be a jerk DM by springing traps without warning. Once players are made aware of the red flag, they know something is up with that section of floor – mostly likely it's trapped – and they're going to try to avoid it. You'll notice books like Grimtooth's Traps developed all kinds of shenanigans to exploit exactly this style of play, such as illusory pits where the side ledges are trapped.

There's an art to giving a description that doesn't become a red flag screaming "Trap! Trap!"

For example, the UA article's pit trap where a PC might notice "there's a tarp under the top layer of dirt." That's another example of a red flag. Almost all players are going to wonder what is under the tarp? And by making them wonder that, any threat of the trap in isolation is removed. Sure, it could become dangerous when paired with something else or if the ENTIRE dungeon floor is covered in old dirty burlap sacks, but most of the time a DM wants a trap to be dangerous on its own merits.

That's why I put some thought into creating the False Floor and the Pressure Plate triggers and especially what PCs can notice about them. PCs might notice weathering of the stone around the False Floor, where monsters skirt it or periodically replace the stone; a little less obvious than the tarp example. And in most cases PCs don't notice the Pressure Plate at all until that "click" and the trap becomes active but not yet triggered.

I think the best trap clues are things that DMs can say that flow with the rest of the dungeon's narrative without being glaringly obviously a trap reference. It's OK if they put some players on "yellow alert", but in most cases they shouldn't put players on "red alert" (unless that part of a special trap's premise, such as a room trap).

My personal litmus test is the False Appearance ability of a gargoyle, shrieker, or mimic (which I think should apply to most traps). I try to think of ways I can describe such a monster/trap with subtle clues that don't give it entirely away.
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yes, totally.

Actually, I think I've evolved that idea one step further...

I'm saying that the nature of the DM's subtle warning should be determined by and consistent with the trap's trigger. And further I'm recommending a focus on trigger types in this UA article (or whatever it evolves into).

My main concern is avoiding haphazard application of how traps are run, because the designer poorly understand traps /or DMs poorly understand traps (because the designers haven't communicated effectively).

For example, saying "There is something odd about the ground in front of you" is functionally the same as the DM saying "there's some kind of trap." It has no narrative meaning. 'Something odd' tells the players nothing. It's what I call the red flag approach to running traps. I see DMs do this because they don't have a reliable method for adjudicating traps so they want to take extra precaution not to be a jerk DM by springing traps without warning. Once players are made aware of the red flag, they know something is up with that section of floor – mostly likely it's trapped – and they're going to try to avoid it. You'll notice books like Grimtooth's Traps developed all kinds of shenanigans to exploit exactly this style of play, such as illusory pits where the side ledges are trapped.

There's an art to giving a description that doesn't become a red flag screaming "Trap! Trap!"

For example, the UA article's pit trap where a PC might notice "there's a tarp under the top layer of dirt." That's another example of a red flag. Almost all players are going to wonder what is under the tarp? And by making them wonder that, any threat of the trap in isolation is removed. Sure, it could become dangerous when paired with something else or if the ENTIRE dungeon floor is covered in old dirty burlap sacks, but most of the time a DM wants a trap to be dangerous on its own merits.

That's why I put some thought into creating the False Floor and the Pressure Plate triggers and especially what PCs can notice about them. PCs might notice weathering of the stone around the False Floor, where monsters skirt it or periodically replace the stone; a little less obvious than the tarp example. And in most cases PCs don't notice the Pressure Plate at all until that "click" and the trap becomes active but not yet triggered.

I think the best trap clues are things that DMs can say that flow with the rest of the dungeon's narrative without being glaringly obviously a trap reference. It's OK if they put some players on "yellow alert", but in most cases they shouldn't put players on "red alert" (unless that part of a special trap's premise, such as a room trap).

My personal litmus test is the False Appearance ability of a gargoyle, shrieker, or mimic (which I think should apply to most traps). I try to think of ways I can describe such a monster/trap with subtle clues that don't give it entirely away.
Right. I meant to put "something odd" in triangle brackets (as in fill-in as needed as to something actually odd about that particular ground (different and at least somewhat unique to the trapper)).

I don't think it HAS to be a false floor. A tarp covered in camouflage would sometimes do, especially when it makes sense to the traplayer. But the thing that stands out as odd to the character who sees it (passively or not) should, at least initially, seem only slightly out-of-place. Enough that (some of the time) the player has reason to decide to igore it and go forward anyway.

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jgsugden

Legend
I've used the same system for traps and hazzards for over thirty years. There are three steps to consider: detect, understand, and disable. Detection is based upon perception. a Understanding is based upon the nature of the trap, but is usually a knowledge based skill. Disabling is usually a dexterity (thieves picks) check. There is rarely more than one difficult checks amongst the three - in fact, most situations involve three pretty easy checks, or I rule that some of the checks can be passed passively. Sometimes, like int he case of a covered pit trap, the disable trap can be bypassed.

If you think of traps in terms of these three elements, it is rarely hard to figure out how to adjudicate them. It may take a while to understand the math that makes a reasonable challenge for the PCs in your group, but the rest is very intuitive.I'm not saying people won't look at it differently at times, but it is usually easy for a DMto decide how to put it together.
 
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Saeviomagy

Adventurer
I've used the same system for traps and hazzards for over thirty years. There are three steps to consider: detect, understand, and disable. Detection is based upon perception. a Understanding is based upon the nature of the trap, but is usually a knowledge based skill. Disabling is usually a dexterity (thieves picks) check. There is rarely more than one difficult checks amongst the three - in fact, most situations involve three pretty easy checks, or I rule that some of the checks can be passed passively. Sometimes, like int he case of a covered pit trap, the disable trap can be bypassed.

The problem with requiring 3 checks is that even if your PCs have a 75% chance to pass each check, they only end up with a 40% chance of defeating the trap.
 


jgsugden

Legend
The problem with requiring 3 checks is that even if your PCs have a 75% chance to pass each check, they only end up with a 40% chance of defeating the trap.
Let's not exagerate. Slightly over 42%, not 40%. . :)

That is a primary reason why I allow some checks to be passed passively (no roll required there) - and as noted some traps only really require 2 rolls as you bypass, not disarm, them in my system. You can also manage the difficulty with different options for some of these steps. However, PCs do find themselves having to make decisions when dealing with traps in my games.

DM: (After determining the passive perception of Gregor is enough to spot the trap) "As you're walking down the hallway Gregor notices that one of the stones in the ground is slightly raised. It looks like it might be part of a trap."
Gregor: "Probably a pressure plate. I check it out. What check do I make?"
DM: "You can try to use an investigate (int) check to logic it out with no chance of setting it off or a thieves tools (dex) check to try to manipulate it without setting it off to see how it works."
Gregor: "I have a lousy investigate - Marvolo - you're smart. Do you want to check it out? I can help - so you have advantage."
Marvolo: "Yeah, I'll take a look. I ponder this odd stone... 16 and 18."
DM: (Checking her notes on the trap - A DC20 was required to logic it out on investigate without manipulating, but only a DC13 for the thieves tools check): "Yeah - it is a pressure plate, but you're not sure if there are more, or if there is something else to the trap."
Gregor: "OK, I'll poke at it with my tools. Marvolo will assist me with a help action."
Marvolo: "Uhhhh, let's have Meepo do that. I'm going to go around the door and get cover."
Gregor: "..."
Meepo: "Uhhhh... ok."
DM: "OK, Meepo gets right up there and helps Gregor to manipulate the trap while Marvolo hides around the corner."
Marvolo: "...and nibbles on cheese."
DM: "...and nibbles on cheese."
Gregor: "17 and 8 on those checks."
DM: "You're able to lift the plate without setting it off and peak beneath it. There is a pair of vials that will break and mix their contents if you set off the trap. It looks like it'll release poison gas. That will be blown into the room through cracks in the floor. It'll go through the entire hallway."
Gregor: "Can I disable it?"
DM: "Maybe. It doesn't look too hard, but you could also just drop it back down into place and walk around it."
Gregor: "We'll go around. I put it back into place. Wait a second - do I see any evidence there are more of them?"
DM: "Nope. You don't see any others."
Gregor: "Here's hoping there are not any I missed. We go ahead."
 


Saeviomagy

Adventurer
Good. Defeating the trap means "nothing interesting happens".
If defeating a trap means "nothing interesting happens" and you don't like that, then don't make it an option. Don't make it an option that players sink 3 skills into and then tell them they didn't roll well enough.

That said, jgsugden's description shows that the 3 rolls are optional and each one gives an independent benefit (assuming he doesn't do something like trigger the trap on any one failure) which makes things a lot more palatable: decision points for players is what makes a scenario interesting.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
If defeating a trap means "nothing interesting happens" and you don't like that, then don't make it an option. Don't make it an option that players sink 3 skills into and then tell them they didn't roll well enough.

That said, jgsugden's description shows that the 3 rolls are optional and each one gives an independent benefit (assuming he doesn't do something like trigger the trap on any one failure) which makes things a lot more palatable: decision points for players is what makes a scenario interesting.
Huh? I never said people should "sink three skills into it". I just said that a 60% chance of the trap going off sounded "good" to me. I don't run it the way he does, I just understood how he ran it without needing further explanation, and it sounded fun to me.

You took my hyperbole about "nothing" happening too stongly. It's okay to beat traps. It's just IMO (both as a player and DM) USUALLY more fun when they go off.

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Weiley31

Legend
So I just learned of this UA recently and so far it looks to be very interesting. To the point where I feel like the standard trap rules and disarms from the DMG and what not is used for regular traps. And this UA is used for creating the "boss" encounter version of traps ala the Complex Traps.

The "Dynamic Element" aspect of the Complex traps for this is probably the most intriguing. Honestly I feel like using this alongside the regular version of the trap rules plus the way Monarchies of Mau handles traps and what not is, to me, the best method/combinations of implementing traps.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So I just learned of this UA recently and so far it looks to be very interesting. To the point where I feel like the standard trap rules and disarms from the DMG and what not is used for regular traps. And this UA is used for creating the "boss" encounter version of traps ala the Complex Traps.

The "Dynamic Element" aspect of the Complex traps for this is probably the most intriguing. Honestly I feel like using this alongside the regular version of the trap rules plus the way Monarchies of Mau handles traps and what not is, to me, the best method/combinations of implementing traps.
I mean, this made it into Xanathar's Guide to Everything?
 


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