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 Post subject: Handling traps
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:13 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:39 pm
Posts: 17
Just wondering how others handle detecting and disabling traps? I never liked the idea of a skill check as it seems to defeat the purpose of building a cool trap, but it also seems a little unfair for the thief that has that skill to not be able to use it. How do you handle balancing that?


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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
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Depends on the trap, and your gaming group.

If it's a technical trap, like a needle trap in a chest, or a magic trap on a door, then I allow them to use the skill check. But only a thief can do it, no one else can even try. Think of it as a kind of a Thief's "Power", they can short-cut through a trap. Kind of like Clerics can short-cut healing & eliminating undead with the wave of a hand.

While some traps are more "party" traps, essentially puzzles. And then the whole party has to figure it out through trail & error and maybe some Luck & Reflex saves. There was a fun one in the entrance of Tomb of Ulfheonar. No thief skills needed, just reflex saves and deliberately declared actions.

I think it's best to have a little bit of both. If you don't have a thief, or don't allow them, then you can skip or ignore the technical traps by making them puzzles. But if someone plays a thief, trap disabling is one of their spot-light moments. I wouldn't deny them that. It'd be like denying Cleric's healing or turning abilities, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:27 pm
Posts: 275
I think puzzles are just as dangerous. When you throw a puzzle at your group, they don't think like their characters, but like themselves. Unless some obvious clues are present, the quickest way to frustrate a group is by giving them a puzzle they are unable to solve.

I kind of wing it with traps. Depending on how complex it is, it may be obvious that something is trapped, but the trick disarming it is hidden. I think that's my favorite kind of trap, honestly. It gives the players opportunity to plan for it in case it goes off and doesn't penalize the party without a Thief.

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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:29 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:53 am
Posts: 379
Small mechanical traps (ie. spring loaded traps) on doors and chests can be found with the use of probes (I consider these part of the the thieves tools) and disabled through the use of skill checks. Any class can attempt to do this but thieves are the most skilled. My players know that any lock to a door or chest could be trapped and they are always wary of them.

For all other traps the thief Find and Disable skills are ignored. I always have a way to find them or give some sense that something isn't right and you will have to use your wits to "disable" them or get around them. Usually I start really obvious in a campaign and as the player skill increases I up the ante and become a bit more deceptive and creative.

Examples:
Pit trap - To find them use a 10' pole, send a goat in ahead of the party, pour water on the floor, or simply tie the halfling to the warrior on a short rope and have him walk first. Sometimes I give warning signs of these (ie. footprints that go around the room) but these are one of the few traps I often don't as they are easy to plan for.

Gas trap - Why does the statue in the room have an open mouth? Should I pull this lever? etc.

Dart trap - Why is the room littered with skeletons? Why are the walls marked with finger sized holes? etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
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Location: Montreal
I've evolved my skill use over time, in different systems, to opt out of rolling dice as much as the player wants, essentially. If the players says "I probe the floor for a pit trap HERE" and there's a pit trap there, it's an auto-success.

However, if the player says "I search the room for traps" I'll have him roll one or more skill checks (depending on the room).

I tell this to my players, to promote role-play (according to my personal definition of role-play). They know that chances of success are higher with a precise description, but they don't overdo it, they'll likely search specific spots when they suspect something, otherwise they'll just roll when they don't know what to look for.

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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:14 am
Posts: 7
I would (and will be when my campaign gets going) use the Thief Find Traps in the manner Thieves in Swords & Wizardry find traps with their Delicate Tasks skill. Basically, it's a chance for you to notice a particularly complex and well-hidden mechanical trap. It doesn't, to quote their example of play, but I ALMOST thought of the exact wording first "light up the place with 'find traps radar.'" You have to state where you're looking and what you're doing. You get the skill roll for tiny unobtrusive things if you are looking in the right place, something no one else even has the skill to find. Everybody can look for pit traps and big obvious things.


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 Post subject: Re: Handling traps
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:54 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:14 am
Posts: 7
By the same token I'm keeping the guidelines for Mighty Deeds of Arms in the back of my head -- way in the back. I prefer to wing it a little more. The guidelines are more important for people used to doing things in 3.5 and Pathfinder. While I have been playing those, I also have a healthy dose of experience with AD&D2e and BECMI D&D, and absolutely love Swords & Wizardry. Wanna do some cool combat move that's not in the rules, make it up! So that's the way I run with Deeds.
Starting my campaign tonight, in theory, btw. There's a group of friends we don't see very often whose GM got to go to GenCon and who all didn't for various reasons, mostly money and kids, like us. They are thinking of doing a board game night tonight, while my significant other really wants to roleplay, so she's rolled up SIX 0-Level PCs and is chomping at the bit, hoping to convince everyone else. As for Demi-human languages, I will be going with the book on this after all, as I've decided all the 0-Level characters are from the same village, and there's not exactly a bilingual educational system in place, so their parents have been bringing them up speaking Common so they can interact with the other villagers. The bright ones learn their racial language. If the characters were from more wide-spread backgrounds, they might speak their racial tongue instead, and only know Common if they were intelligent enough.
Guess I went a little off-topic here, but I'm illustrating how I handle the system as a whole -- fast and loose, subject to Judge interpretation as fits the needs of the story.


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