Monday, September 16, 2013

Science Fictiony Traps

I like traps. Maybe that's a symptom of my antisocial streak. It's one of the few knocks I'd level against Barrowmaze, which we're currently playing with the D&D Next playtest rules -- terrific as it is, there aren't quite enough traps to suit me, so I plan to add a few more as the characters push deeper into the catacombs. Nothing makes a thief feel underappreciated quite like never getting to spot and disarm a trap.

As a followup to the posts I did some time back on 36 Trap Triggers and 36 Trap Effects, here are 18 triggers and 36 effects for traps in science-fictiony complexes and post-apocalyptic ruins.


1-2: Pressure Plates and Movement Detectors
  1. Mechanical pressure plate
  2. Gravity-wave pressure plate (works via proximity)
  3. Mechanical Tripwire
  4. Light beam (light-based tripwire)
  5. Motion sensor (scans an area instead of a line)
  6. Lattice of light beams (impossible to step over)
3-4: Actions and Errors
  1. Open a door
  2. Close a door
  3. Sound detector
  4. Light detector
  5. Use the wrong security card or no security card
  6. Enter the wrong security code or no security card
5-6: Targeted Detectors
  1. Energy weapon detector (weapon must have power)
  2. Pure strain human detector
  3. Mutated human detector
  4. Mutant detector
  5. Robot detector
  6. Animal / mutated animal detector


Most rays can also be floor pads, wall panels, or gases. Effects can be combined; e.g., a victim could be dropped into a pit and then hit by needles / darts from the pit walls. Effects can be stationary or in motion. Effects that are in fact harmless or even beneficial, such as ID scans and disinfectant light baths, can easily look like traps and cause significant alarm among intruders.

1. Simple Mechanical Effects
  1. Needles / darts from walls, floor, or ceiling
  2. Poison needles / darts from walls, floor, ceiling
  3. Pit
  4. Crusher (horizontal or vertical, or combined with pit)
  5. Possibly benevolent crusher (actually a ramp or lift platform)
  6. Net that pins to floor or lifts to ceiling
2. Gas, Acid, Flames
  1. Poison gas
  2. Knockout gas
  3. Bio-safety gas (meant to scour microbes from sealed suits; dangerous to unprotected organisms)
  4. Acid spray
  5. Fireball / flamethrower
  6. Blast of heat / heat ray
3. Wall-Mounted Weapons
  1. Rubber bullets
  2. Laser beam
  3. Blaster bolts
  4. Scything vibroblades
  5. Explosion (standard grenade)
  6. Explosion (disintegration / torq grenade)
4. Electro-Traps
  1. Electrical arc or electrified floor
  2. Microwaves
  3. X-rays
  4. Radiation
  5. Electromagnet
  6. Blinding light
5. More Fiendish Electro-Traps
  1. Thrashing robot tentacles (can smash, grapple, or electrocute)
  2. Mutagenic beam
  3. Gravity wave
  4. Dehydrator ray
  5. Sonic beam
  6. Teleporter to holding cell or dangerous area
6. What's Left Over
  1. Monomolecular wire
  2. Creature set loose
  3. Robot set loose
  4. Door behind closes and locks
  5. Door behind closes and locks, then area heats like an oven
  6. Passage ahead sealed, side door opens to jail cell, interrogation room, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Gives me some ideas for the adventure I'm working on...