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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Theory

Subject: Trap archetypes for dungeon crawlers rss

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James Arias
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Sanford
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There are lots of long trap lists "out there", but I've been trying to categorize the most common ones into types for use in a homebrew project (that is, "the obligatory noncommercial dungeon crawler homebrew project" which appears to be almost a rite of passage for Geeks here).

Curious on what folks think of the list below, which was built after looking at old RPG books, a few sites on the net and several dungeon crawler titles I either own or have researched. Disclaimer it omits the more outlandish examples (like that door from 80s Grimtooth's that cuts off the ear of anyone who listens at it cry ).

Bear/Jaw Trap (immobilizes/damages)
Falling Cage (immobilizes)
"Blades" (wounds via assorted scything blades or flying pointy things)
"Spray" (wounds via fire jets, acid sprays or explosions)
Pit (immobilizes+wounds via falling, spikes, poisoned spikes, full of acid / water / critters etc.)
Chute or Teleporter (sends you to different part of map)
Rolling Boulder (wounds after a terrifying chase, and then creates an obstacle)
"Splat" (wounds via falling blocks, rocks, weights and then creates an obstacle)
Porticullis (liftable non-bashable barrier you can shoot through)
Cave-in or Sliding wall (non-liftable bashable barrier blocking LOS)
Trapped door (wounds via falling on you, slamming open, exploding, zapping or fireballing everyone, etc.)
Flooding rooms or passages (drown)
Snare or Net (immobilizes)
Crushing Walls or Ceiling (wounds and compacts garbage)

Separate from these are what I think of as "terrain hazards" since they're not triggered/sprung like a trap.
Underground body of water (barrier, rapids could carry you away)
Foul air (hallucinatory, poisonous, stunning, debuffing)
Floor covered with critters that bite (bugs, snakes, etc.)
Debris-strewn floor (slows or trips)
Gust of wind (extinguishes light sources)
Acid pool (if no rope or can't jump, get ready to sizzle)
River of lava (barrier that wounds)
Slippery floor (trips or skids)
Webs (slows or stuck, but this usually comes with spider encounters)
Blind (fog, unnatural blackness)
Bottomless Pit or Chasm(like a Pit Trap except non-fliers effectively KO'd)
Turntable (like the one from Warhammer Quest)


Just curious if there are other canonical trap types that I'm missing.
To those of you thinking of making a dungeon crawler, hope this helps!




 
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Nathaniel Grisham

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Are you wanting input on the mechanism that triggers these traps, or just on what the trap does after it was triggered. These are some other things I might expect to see.

* Noisemaker Makes a loud ruckus, alerting enemies to your presence.
* Ambush Enemies lying in wait to spring a surprise attack.
* Magic I don't know if magic is included in your game, but magical traps can require a different skillset to identify/disarm. You can also make the trap do whatever you want. (Like Rich Burlew's delayed fireball that detonates after the victim reads the words "I prepared explosive runes this morning.")

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James Arias
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Grishhammer wrote:
Are you wanting input on the mechanism that triggers these traps, or just on what the trap does after it was triggered. These are some other things I might expect to see.

* Noisemaker Makes a loud ruckus, alerting enemies to your presence.
* Ambush Enemies lying in wait to spring a surprise attack.
* Magic I don't know if magic is included in your game, but magical traps can require a different skillset to identify/disarm. You can also make the trap do whatever you want. (Like Rich Burlew's delayed fireball that detonates after the victim reads the words "I prepared explosive runes this morning.")



More on what it does vs. "how", but I like the Noisemaker, hadn't seen that.

I've seen other systems use Ambush as a feature of a Trap (like "caught in a net, then roll a Monster Ambush"). WHQ had ambush as an event by itself.
 
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Ben Smith
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Perhaps these are variations on some of your existing themes, but my thoughts are:

- Cursed treasure, that when you grab it it tries to eat you (a mimic chest), turns YOU into gold or stone, sets off a rolling ball (Indiana Jones) or volcano (Aladdin).

-Statues that come to life and fight you (similar to Ambush trap in a way).

-Optical illusion barrier, that looks impassible but is not. Either a wall that seems to be there is you can pass through, or a chasm that is actually a tricky platform (as in Last Crusade).

-A door that will only open with a certain password or if you answer a riddle or give it the right gift or sacrifice.

Not sure what you mean by turntable, but what about a maze that is constantly shuffling and shifting so you get lost, or a room with many doors that keep changing which is open?

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Jason Roup
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I see another set of qualifiers needed… depending upon the campaign style you are applying these to, there may be a need to separate ‘physics’ and ‘magic’ based traps. Essentially, some of these can exist as natural hazards. Old buildings, collapsing tunnels, damaged ships… these could all contain just about everyone of your traps without there being a malevolent trap-setter involved. What about the ones that requires an intelligence or energy/magic to create? When it comes to story and why the trap exists, this could impact how players perceive why the trap exists. Also, the intelligent/magic/energy trap is typically more dangerous.
 
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wayne mathias
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One of my old favorites was the pit trap (illusion of floor) where the far side was an illusion of a continued hallway instead of the actual wall that was there. Usually got a party twice with that one.
 
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James Arias
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Thanks for all the input!

This is for a light dungeon crawler that will be just a step above games like Dungeon! or Dark World complexity-wise. So no campaign, one-shot adventure. The traps and hazards are just to provide variety vs. the monsters.
 
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David Cheng
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Swinging blade
 
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Simon Lindén
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Quicksand (since you mentioned "terrain hazards")
 
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