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Simple Trap System

Simple Trap System

Suggested Price $2.00

Traps can be fun. A great myth is that traps need to be carefully curated to be worth anything. While curated traps are wonderful, even simple traps can be great. Here's a simple system for running fun and impactful traps at your table

Elements of a Good Trap

For a good trap, you need flavor, interactivity, and suspense.

  • Flavor comes from having a variety of traps with different effects.
  • Interactivity comes from giving the players a choice that impacts the outcome of the trap.
  • Suspense comes from lasting consequences that make the rolls matter.

Flavor is easy to satisfy with a list of traps that target different saves and deal various damage types. This provides a spark to describe the trap how you want.

For interactivity, some DMs employ the "click" rule--a great concept that is ripe for mechanical development. More on that later.

Suspense is achieved by imposing lasting conditions that can affect the characters in the coming battles. When doing this, you need to be careful that the effect is impactful, but not crippling.

Simple Trap System

We start with the "click" rule:

The "Click" Rule

When the characters encounter a trap, the DM declares "CLICK!" Going around the table, the players have the opportunity to say how their character reacts. This decision can affect the outcome of the trap being triggered. The usual application is to confer a bonus or penalty to the saving throw.

While it's a great concept, it's not really a complete set of mechanics. It's perfectly fine in the hands of an experienced DM, but without a measured hand on the difficulty dial, trap results can feel unfair or inconsequential.

While fleshing out the "click" rule, we need to be mindful of what makes a good trap. So we develop varied traps with different damage types to target different saves (flavor). We sort player reactions into groups so we can give their results mechanical teeth (interactivity). Finally, we make sure the traps are more than just an HP tax--failure should come with the risk of a lasting effect (suspense). All these rules are crammed into a useful table

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July 13th, 2019
A brilliant system to scare players into having a rogue. [...]
June 24th, 2019
It should be called the "Very Simple Trap System". It's a single page. [...]
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File Last Updated:
June 21, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on June 21, 2019.