T’was the night before Christmas and throughout the guildhouse, no thief was stirring, not even the king mouse….
In the second year urchins’ dormitory, the children gathered within a fortress of pillows and blankets and discussed the imminent heist. “He enslaves elves,” someone whispered. “I heard he’s an Eladrin,” claimed another, “that’s how he gets into everyone’s house.” Nervous whispers flew around the group until their leader called for quiet. “I don’t care what he is,” said Tiny Tim. “He’s a fat old man with a whole lot of toys, and this year our plan is foolproof!”
For many rogues, Father Christmas is something of an idol. After all, he can get anywhere in the world in a single night, break into the most secure house without leaving a trace, and best of all people love him for it. Sure he gives away presents each year, but most thieves believe that’s just to hide his real purpose. [More…]
He’s just casing the joint, they insist, ready for the 364 days of the year when nobody will suspect him.
Like everywhere else in the world, the thieves’ guild gets a visit from Santa Claus. Unlike most places however, the guildmasters allow their apprentices to leave him a special welcoming gift: A cavalcade of traps and hazards designed to bring down jolly old Saint Nicholas and leave his fabled Sack of Endless Toys in their greedy hands. Young thieves play the game very seriously, as do quite a few grown up rogues as well.
This year we’ve “persuaded” a number of rogues to share the secret of these (as yet unsuccessful) Santa-slaying devices. In this special edition of Tuesday Traps, we can bring you a selection of devious devices from the thieves’ guild vault marked THE XMAS FILES.
Happy holidays everyone!
Father Christmas is typically encountered as a fat and jolly Gaele of Winter (level 21 Artillery), putting him rightly beyond the abilities of most children. His traditional henchmen are elves, but recently the Red Tyrant of the North (as he is known among the elven folk) has shown a preference for gnome and eladrin workers, because of their excellent housebreaking skills in D&D 4th edition. Back at the North Pole his workshop is well tended by diligent kobolds, applying their expertise in all things small and mechanical to the production line.
Level 2 Encounter (600 XP)
Treacherous Ice Sheet (Level 5 Obstacle)
Elite Pit Trap (Level 1 Warder)
Grinding Chimney (Level 5 Obstacle)
Level 4 Encounter (776 XP)
3 Exploding Xmas Puddings (Level 1 Hazard)
1 string of Bad Fairy Lights (Level 4 Lurker)
2 Warforged Toy Soldiers hung with Slay Bells (Level 4 Soldier)
Level 6 Encounter (1227 XP)
4 Cursed Mistletoe (Level 6 Warder)
String of Bad Fairy Lights (Level 4 Lurker)
2 Succubus (Level 9 Controller)
Stalking Pudding Level 1 Hazard
Hazard XP 25
This small round object burns with a faint blue flame, giving off a strong smell of brandy and burnt marzipan. Beneath the eerie fire a cluster of raisins regard you with malicious intensity, like tiny black eyes.
A Stalking Pudding occupies 1 square and sheds light as a candle. When not being actively watched by a PC, they Fey Step (as an Eladrin) towards the nearest character and attempts to get stepped on. If touched the pudding explodes, covering those adjacent to it with red hot sticky cake.
Perception DC 10: You’d swear that pudding is watching you.
DC 15: The pudding seems to have moved a little closer somehow.
Trigger: A character moves within 5 squares of an unobserved pudding. If the attack hits the characters steps on the pudding and it explodes. Otherwise it remains in place until nobody is looking at it again.
Immediate Interrupt (fire) Close Burst 1
Target: All creatures in burst
Attack: +2 versus Ref.
Hit: 1d6+3 and ongoing 1 damage per round (save ends)
Countermeasures: A character can keep an eye on one pudding for every 5 points of Perception check (thus, a check of 21 means a character can watch 4 puddings). A pudding can be disarmed by carefully draping a damp towel over it (Thievery 15), which renders it both edible and inoperable.
Encounter Uses: Characters keeping an eye on one or more puddings cannot make an active Perception check to spot other traps. Adjacent puds go off if subjected to the burst of another pudding’s explosion, in a chain reaction of brandy-fuelled flame.
Bad Fairy Lights Level 4 Lurker
Trap XP 175
This string is hung with tiny crystals, each of which glimmers in a different alluring colour. Squinting closely at each chunk, you can just make out a miniscule fey face within in. pulling rude faces at you.
A string of Bad Fairy Lights occupies any 10 contiguous squares. Once passers-by have been hypnotised by its lights, they stand helplessly while the string constricts around their throats.
Perception DC 12: That string of magical lights is strangely alluring
Additional Skills: Arcana DC 17: Closing your eyes should prevent the lights from entrancing you.
Trigger: A creature enters or begins its turn adjacent to the lights.
Immediate Area (charm)
Target: Creature adjacent to the lights
Attack: +7 versus Will
Hit: Target is stunned (save ends)
Secondary Attack: +9 versus AC
Hit: 1d10+4 damage
Countermeasures: Closing their eyes renders a character immune to the trap’s charm effect, but they can still be throttled by its secondary attack. The lights are AC 4 and have 40 hit points.
Encounter Uses: Bad Fairy Lights are typically placed around or near a treasure. Combining Bad Fairy Lights with a group of Stalking Puddings is a particularly effective tactic.
Grinding Chimney Level 5 Obstacle
Trap XP 200
Spiked rollers emerge from the walls of the chimney, grinding whatever lies between them into mincemeat.
The Grinding Chimney occupies a 5 ft long section of vertical shaft. When activated, spiked rollers to emerge from the walls, tearing flesh and grasping anything caught between them.
Perception DC 12: Tripwires run across the chimney about 10 ft down
DC 17: A section of wall to either side slides back
Trigger: A creature enters the trapped area. Once activated the trap continues to grind away until reset, blocking the chimney.
Target: One creature
Attack: +10 versus AC
Secondary Attack: +8 versus Ref.
Hit: Target is immobilised, taking damage each round until they leave the area (save ends).
Countermeasures: Cutting a tripwire is only a DC 7 Thievery check, but any rolls made while dangling upside down in a narrow chimney suffer a -5 penalty.
Encounter Uses: Enterprising home owners sometimes fill the chimney below this trap with a gelatinous cube, which greatly reduces the mess left behind but prevents use of the fireplace.
Upgrading to Elite: The trap can be installed in a 10ft wide pit trap, allowing it to attack up to 4 characters at once. If more than one character is killed in the manner, they can only be Raised once all remains have been sorted into separate piles.
Cursed Mistletoe Level 6 Warder
Trap XP 63
A decorative bunch of leaves and berries hangs innocently above the door.
Enchanted by a druid with a wicked sense of humour, Cursed Mistletoe projects a powerful magical compulsion. It occupies 1 square (usually dangling from the ceiling or pinned over a doorway). Characters standing beneath it are overcome with a passionate desire to kiss someone.
Perception DC 7: You spot the mistletoe above you
Additional Skills: Nature DC 12: You recognise the plant as mistletoe
Trigger: A creature enters or begins its turn in the square beneath the mistletoe.
Immediate Reaction (charm)
Target: Creature on trapped square.
Attack: +9 versus Will
Hit: Target moves to nearest humanoid creature and attempts to kiss it (save ends, hopefully before you reach a half-orc with Charisma as their dump stat).
Countermeasures: Safely removing the mistletoe is a DC 17 Thievery check, but whenever holding the mistletoe, you’re attacked by it each round.
Encounter Uses: If the intended recipient of the kiss resists your attentions, resolve the issue as if it was a grapple attempt. For additional amusement, add a nearby succubus or mind flayer.
Slay Bells Level 8 Blaster
Elite Trap XP 88
A cluster of silver bells dangles from the treasure. The slightest jingle could set them off.
Slay Bells are typically found attached to presents valuable treasures. If the item is disturbed (such as shaking a parcel to guess what’s inside) the bells ring with a very loud and annoying but catchy tune, which goes round and round in the targets head until their brain explodes.
Perception DC 14: Those bells look like they could jingle all the way.
Trigger: A creature touches the trapped object. One-shot trap.
Standard Area (sonic) Close Blast 1
Target: All creatures in blast
Attack: +9 versus Fort
Hit: 3d8+5 and target is Deafened (save ends)
Secondary Attack (charm): +11 versus Will
Hit: The character hums, whistles, or sings the tune constantly for the rest of the encounter, effectively becoming ‘infected’ with a Slay Bells trap that triggers if they move adjacent to another living creature.
Countermeasures: Bells can be stuffed with cotton wool using a DC 19 Thievery check. A careful rogue can carry a trapped item without setting off the trap with a Thievery check each round, with a DC of 14, +1 per square moved.
Encounter Uses: Creatures without ears (or brains) can also be hung with Slay Bells.
To all a good Solstice/Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus! KQ will post intermittently until the New Year.