Lich!Dear Osvaud,

This is Osvaud. So that you are aware, we routinely soak this diary in black lotus extract, dragon bile, and tears of death. I know that poison doesn’t matter to us, but I’m hoping some nosy breather managed to skim this far in roughly one minute. Oh, and those first couple of sentences have a sepia snake sigil. Now, any living snoop gets to have a fun debate with their god on whether the poisons still affect them. My vote says they do because it’s a “physical injury.” Good luck!

That brings us to today’s topic: traps.

Any idiot can dig a pit or drop a giant block on a bunch of clods. That’s lame, and we can do better.

The most important element to any trap is layers. Design elements should be complementary and flow into each other with each step being exponentially worse than the last. It should also start with a shocking revelation. If the burglars can outsmart you by poking the floor with a stick or spending four minutes in front of every door, you deserve to be foiled. And mocked.

For example, a pit is boring. Oh noes, I fell a bit and now have to climb out. Having a pit with poisoned spikes is a little better. Having a reverse gravity pit in the ceiling with poisoned spikes that are actually animated objects is awesome. The doofuses are just barely adjusted to the surprise of falling up into a bunch of spikes when they realize they’re too weak from poison to climb down, and the spikes are jumping out at them. For bonus points, maybe the reverse gravity turns on and off periodically. For double bonus points, maybe there is another animated poison spike pit on the floor too.

Placement is important. Please, do not put all the trap triggers on doors and chests. All that does is make paranoid mortals start checking every single door and chest for traps. Then, you have to wait for-freaking-ever for them to get to us for the climactic encounter, and they bypass everything, too. Instead, put trap triggers in places where they don’t necessarily think to look (and only do so once). Like, right in front of the door or chest. That way, even if it slows them down, their paranoia is absolute and entertaining to watch. Unseen servants are also a not-often-enough employed tool when it comes to traps. Why depend on the adventurers to stand in exactly the right spot when you can have some invisible shapeless force pull a lever for you?

Finally, try to avoid putting the things in actual (un)living areas. Do you really want to navigate a bunch of death traps to get to the library or risk taking a swan dive into a pit when you’re on your way to the bathroom? And yes, I know we don’t use the restroom. It’s hyperbole to make a point… don’t get so caught up in traps that you make it inconvenient to move around.

Also, wait, crap… apologies future-me if you ended up getting immobilized by the sigil. Ah well, we both know you totally deserve it.

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