Monday, June 22, 2015

Trapfinding Surprise

It occurs to me that trapfinding mechanics are a bit unnecessary.  We already have a perfectly good system for resolving who is surprised during an ambush or chance encounter: it is called surprise.  Alert characters already get bonuses to it.  Why not reuse this mechanic for trapfinding?

There are basically four possible outcomes to an encounter with a trap:
  • It goes off without being detected first
  • It is detected and disarmed or circumvented
  • It is detected, but someone cocks up and accidentally sets it off anyway
  • It is undetected, but does not trigger.
Four outcomes map nicely to two independent d6 rolls with mods, don't they?

If the trap surprised the party, it was undetected.  If the party surprised the trap, they avoided triggering it.  Most traps will have modifiers to the party's surprise roll for their construction; thieves receive a bonus to their surprise rolls against traps.  In the event that the trap is triggered, only characters in front of the first character to detect it may be threatened (ie, if you have a character with a +2 surprise modifier in the middle of the party and you stumble over a trap that he detects, the front half of the party is in jeopardy if the party fails its surprise roll to avoid triggering the trap).  Resolve who gets got in a manner consistent with the nature of the trap and trigger.

1 comment:

  1. That's quite a neat solution.

    I wrote a whole series of posts trying to make traps more interesting mechanically and narratively. It's written with some mechanics assumptions from later editions (like skills rather than thief abilities), but you might still find something in there: