Sunday, July 5, 2009

Traps. Old School? New School? Too Cool for School?

I've been reading some of the fine blogs on the RPG bloggers network and reading some of the views on traps. Old school traps were much more creative to find and disarm..but you were only ever as good at finding traps as you as a player were, worse actually since you can't see things until told them. With a "trap check" you can be a world class expert, but its a shallow victory. "Make a roll to avoid calamity, OK, you made it, moving on."

In Piecemeal, the system I use has the best of both. There is a thief ability known as "detect traps". It is not "search for traps" nor "disarm traps". So how does it work? Its basically a saving throw. The moment right before setting off the trap, the thief gets to make a check to "pause" and notice the trap. If he makes the check he pauses before stepping on the pressure plate and notes the irregular size and slightly raised nature of the brick he was about to step on (as well as the chest height hole in the wall).

If you wish to be proactive however you can still use the old tricks: Sending animals ahead of you, the 10 foot pole, pouring water on the floor etc.

Why is this good:

1.) Thieves aren't forced to announce "I search for traps" every time they enter a room or touch a door or pick a lock. This speeds up the game.
2.) Thieves are still able to avoid traps better than other classes.
3.) Old school trap puzzles are still perfectly valid and cannot be undone by a simple die roll.

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