Please note that NONE of these things were created by myself. I only repost something from dead webpage. Credits go to their true creators.
How A Trap Should Really Be Put Into An Adventure
by Lloyd Majeau
Traps are supposed to be deadly and incredibly mean. Traps weren’t designed to be playthings, they were designed to kill. Just because a trap is supposed to be deadly, does not mean that it will have unlimited resources dumped into it. Cheap traps can be as effective as expensive traps. Here are some tips to consider when making new traps. Following the tips are some cheap, deadly traps.
The first thing to consider when designing a trap is, “Why does it exist?” Why would someone want to design this trap? The ‘Gold Null Magic’ room for example. This is the one with the glowing 5 lb. thing, the thick stone slab, the magical runes and the thin gold walls that the characters can beat through. Now ask yourself one question, Why was this room created? It is entirely made of gold so it must have cost a pretty penny, it is a one time event (considering the characters beat their way through the wall), and you can escape so simply! If any intelligent person spent so much money on a gold room, I think they would have made sure it did the job in killing the fools who walked into it.
Another thing you need to think of is, “How was the trap made?” Now there are multiple traps in there that would have taken years of work and toil to make. Like digging a 1/2 mile through earth (Chutes and Wedgies), or keeping any number of creatures alive while they are involved in the trap (any number of the traps had something with a monster chained to the wall. Doesn’t it need to eat?). Even that one trap with the rings of spell turning on the walls (don’t those rings have charges?). Most of these things would have had to have been built by gods in order to work, and if they were made by gods, then why are they so easy to escape? When designing a trap, one must think like the person that would be building the trap. First, the person would probably try to make the trap fatal or inescapable. Why would someone want to build a trap that can even POSSIBLY be escaped from the inside? It is pointless (now at this point, you’re probably saying so that it will save the PC’s lives. But now think to yourself on the intelligence of PCs: they usually head right into danger without a thought. Well, if they do that, then kill or imprison them). So, I worked up the following list of things that the trap builder would have to consider…
* Is it easily escapable? If it is, what’s the point?
* Is it fatal? If it isn’t, what’s the point?
* Is it publicly accessible? If it is open to the public, any local Joe can trigger it, maybe even a loved one of the uilder. Traps only belong in an area where it is culturally taboo, publicly known (and therefore a trap to outsiders), or strictly private (in one’s private study would be nice because he would know about it, but no one else and no one else is allowed in there).
* Are the materials required cheap or expensive? Available or not? Again, the gold room. How much did that thing cost? And availability, how much water is there in a desert? Very little, and what is, is greatly valued, so having some water weird trap in the only water hole for miles is stupid.
* Is it easily visible? An open pit. Hmm, I’ll walk onto it (although visibility is perfect for reverse psychology, and even reverse-reverse psychology).
* Is it believable? Try to follow the laws of physics, or at least the most basic principles since magic warps the laws of physics. Shooting an arrow into a teleporter that teleports the arrow behind the archer won’t work because the arrow will still fall while it is in motion.
* If an animal is involved, is it maintained? The many ‘chained to the wall’ monsters for example. Who feeds the beast? Why is it still alive if no one is in the dungeon to feed it?
The point? Think something through before using it. Now, my examples of traps to make adventures fun or educational.
(The examples were, along with other traps moved into the Small List of Traps)