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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Why this DM hates monkeys

    Ok, I've basically lost all respect for traps seeing as how they are so easily rendered useless. Normal scenario for my group; *looking down a corridor* (Rogue) I wonder if there are any traps? (Druid/Wizard/Archivist) Let's find out *summon monster* BOOOM! (Druid/Wizard/Archivist) I guess there were. (Rogue) *Sits in the corner and cries.* Is there anything I can do to change this?
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Antimagic fields?
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Might not be able to help you with the wizard or archivist, but there's an easy answer to a druid who's using animals as cannon fodder... They're an ex-druid. Sending animals to the slaughter in order to discover traps which your rogue companion could have disabled without unnecessary bloodshed sounds to me like an action which would clash badly with the whole nature-loving druidic ethic.

    With the wizard or archivist you have to get more pragmatic, remind them what other things those summoned creatures could be used for. Still won't help with high-level guys, but it might work at low levels when there aren't so many spell slots to burn.

    Alternatively, just start building your dungeons with traps that automatically reset, and reset quickly. Sure you know they're there because you sent a few animals to the slaughter, but unless the rogue disables them, you're still going to fry.
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Make the ocasional trap that targets a caster trying to do that. Sure, it's mean and nasty when that's the primary form of trapfinding, but if there's a rogue and he isn't getting a chance to shine, nuke the caster once or twice to remind him that there's a reason rogues exist. Also, try putting traps in that have instant reset times. The players will learn.

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    In 3rd edition, traps are mostly stupid and arbitrary anyway. It's an entire section of the game that can only be handled by a single class. What's the fun in bringing the entire game to a screeching halt so you can all watch one guy roll a couple dice. He doesn't even make decisions- success or failure is based on nothing. You roll a die. If you succeed, the game continues on and the trap meant absolutely nothing but wasted time. If you fail, the rogue takes some minor damage (which he still might avoid via Evasion), you heal him, and you continue on.

    If someone wants to waste a couple spells to expedite this monotonous and largely futile mechanic of the game, then I say there's nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2008-03-08 at 11:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    The thing about Traps, is that if the players bypass them it's just a few unexiteing dice rolls. If the players don't, its a glaive to the face. Either way is not that fun and generally not worth it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Have you run the Tomb of Horrors for your players lately? That adventure definately teaches proper respect for traps. Traps will always be boring if they're standard die roll deals. If you're afraid to touch the ground, ceiling, or walls in a certain area, or the trap causes the druid's monster to simply vanish without giving a clue as to what happened to it, traps can become a much more suspenseful element in dungeons.

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Or, if you don't want to do the Tomb of Horrors to them, at least take a look through Dungeonscape. I can't wait to implement some of the stuff from that book. Someday I'm going to DM, and someday I'm going to build a dungeon to be feared. FEARED, I say!
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    I tend to agree with others that traps are mostly tedious, and not value add to the game.

    They should be rare, and very significant when found. They aren't one shot traps that you can trigger with a level one summon monster. The trap resets and will just keep destroying your monsters.

    Spot and search should have other functions besides trap finding. Your party is sure there is a secret compartment in here. Only the rogue can find it and so forth (for those types of rolls, I suggest not rolling, but just giving it as a "gimme" to the rogue if he asks about it. You don't want significant plot events possibly bypassed by a failed roll.)

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Two ways to make this option not work as well:

    1) Create magical traps that only target humanoids. I'm not completely sure of any explicitly stated way of doing this in the rules, but, as the DM, it should be completely within your power. Don't do this with all your traps, but a few here and there should be enough to make it so that a summoned creature isn't the only method of checking for traps.

    2) Traps that either summon or release monsters. If the trap summons or releases a level-appropriate monster, then having a summoned creature trigger it won't really do very much. They'll still have to fight the creature(s) just as if they had triggered the trap themselves. If, however, a rogue located and disabled the trap, they would be able to continue unhindered. This also works for other traps that hinder the party regardless of how they get trigered. The entire corridor could collapse, making it far harder to get to their destination. One particularly nasty (but probably highly effective solution, is to have the trap destroy some particularly valuable treasure the players would otherwise get. Nothing hits the PCs harder than their treasure.
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Have the traps reset automatically at random intervals. That way they don't really know when the trap is actually inert.


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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Delay the release of the trap until 1 or two rounds past triggering. So the trap actually triggers when the PC walk behind the monster. Have a trap that is complex to trigger like turning opening or manipulating objects which a summoned monster may have problems with.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Offset trap.

    Have the trap trigger down the hall where the animal goes, and the effect in the area of the PCs.

    If they complain, point out that whoever set the traps knew full well that sending summoned creatures to set them off was a possibility.

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Then the Rogue points out that had he or she been alone, the trap would've done nothing to deter him or her from plundering the riches of the place. No fun is had by anyone.

    Really, the best traps are those really obvious, overblown ones. Like giant bladed pendulums swinging across a hallway, or a huge boulder rolling at the heroes, or any other encounter trap from Dungeonscape. That way no-one gets blindsided by something only the rogue was supposed to prevent, and everyone gets to participate in the staying alive game.

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    Rachel Lorelei's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Might not be able to help you with the wizard or archivist, but there's an easy answer to a druid who's using animals as cannon fodder... They're an ex-druid. Sending animals to the slaughter in order to discover traps which your rogue companion could have disabled without unnecessary bloodshed sounds to me like an action which would clash badly with the whole nature-loving druidic ethic.
    There's some problems here.

    Druids have to "revere nature", not love animals. This can include concepts like, oh, survival of the fittest. Remember, nature has insects that plant their eggs inside other, still-living creatures, and their babies hatch from inside those living creatures and burrow out.

    Summoned animals don't actually die! They suffer no permanent harm at all. They are sent back to Arborea, which is basically Animal Heaven.

    With the wizard or archivist you have to get more pragmatic, remind them what other things those summoned creatures could be used for. Still won't help with high-level guys, but it might work at low levels when there aren't so many spell slots to burn.

    Alternatively, just start building your dungeons with traps that automatically reset, and reset quickly. Sure you know they're there because you sent a few animals to the slaughter, but unless the rogue disables them, you're still going to fry.[/QUOTE]

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Don't forget the trap that destroys the treasure!

    Do this a couple times. Then have the treasure be potions, and drag out one of your older DMGs for the Potion Miscibility Tables. Roll multiple times, since you're mixing multiple potions. Enjoy when the floor explodes, or billows massive amounts of toxic gas.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2008-03-09 at 07:12 AM.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Be creepy, and have traps that steal control of your summoned monsters - when your celestial badger returns down the corridor, you may think 'oh, all's well then', but what happens when it stops obeying your commands to stop, and goes for your throat?

    It might not completely solve the problem, but it will freak the players out.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Wait...

    There are traps that don't have instant resets?

    A DM I know filled the dungeon for his level 5 party with insta-reset fireball traps. Usually triggered by thermal detection, and arranged in such a way that one trap going off could start a chain reaction with areas overlapping slightly.

    As I recall, the rogue in that group rolled a 1 eventually on his reflex save.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Heh. I like the fireballs...

    The other way to do it is to make the traps a bit... Well, a bit Zelda, really- when you enter the room the door shuts and locks behind you, and you have to do something complicated (preferably involving everyone's abilities- for example, press a rune high up the wall immediately after a magical shield is dispelled from it, then fight off a golem) to get out.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Automatic reset mechanical traps. Make sure the casters are in front after the trap has been 'disarmed' by the summons.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    I prefer traps & trapbreaking to be a more creative endeavor. PCs with the detect/use traps skill get the advantage to spot things that don't match up, then the trap is something of a puzzle.

    Punishing abuse of the strategy:
    • The animal inadvertently sets off a mechanical trap, something along the lines of Indiana Jones' rolling boulder.
      .
    • The 'trap' is akin to a see-saw - when someone stands on the far end, the ground falls, and the path behind them flips up, locking and blocking the path.
      .
    • Well suited for an insanely intelligent enemy who's able to accurately guess the strategies employed against him - the trap corrupts extraplanar energies. Summoned monsters/animals that pass through are corrupted and turn against their master. Apply 1 or 2 of your favorite templates to the summoned creature & give the party an encounter that makes the party reconsider abusing this particular tactic.
      .
    • The trap is a dispelling effect. Right behind it is your favorite mean trap.


    Traps that don't give a darn who sets them off, or can't be set off by a beast:
    • Locked door. About 5 feet away, at eye level, is a narrow hole in the wall, through which PCs can see a chain, crystal, doorknob, whatever.
      Said object is covered in sovereign glue. Any PC to reach through and grab it is summarily stuck with his arm in a hole.
      .
    • PC's encounter a massive wheel/winch that seems to have no use. Right past it is a long uphill corridor which has a permanent grease effect cast on the walls, floor and ceiling. Pits have to be avoided as PCs make climb/balance checks to ascend. The door at the top isn't a door, but is, for lack of a better term, 'painted on'. Pulling on it brings the entire wall sliding down the greased corridor. The cinch retracts it, and one of the first pits is actually a tunnel that the intelligent dungeon residents use to advance in the dungeon.
      .
    • The stones on the floor are triggers that inspire a hail of arrows... not from the sides of the corridor, but from the back. Group members standing and watching are liable to get shot in the back. More often, too, because the animal may keep walking if not commanded to stop.
      .
    • The dungeon includes a large room with a series of pedestals. Above the pedestals are chains. Standing on a pedestal requires a balance check - success means the pedestal stays upright. Failure or getting off a pedestal means it falls over, possibly doing damage to those beneath or even knocking down some other pedestals in a domino effect. Crossing requires a PC to get on the pedestal and use the chain to help stay balanced, and allow other PCs to cross in a bizarre game of leapfrog (other inventive ideas are encouraged). Failure (or relying on an animal) means the pedestals fall and have to be restacked in the appropriate positions.
      .
    • The dungeon includes a floor with a series of chambers - twenty-five 10' x 10' rooms. Each room has 4 doors (N, E, S, W) that require someone to turn a wheel, lift the door and crawl through. (The door's weight causes it to close automatically). A creature without opposable thumbs or appropriate joints won't be able to open the doors. Sending a monkey through 'the grid' should quickly be met by a 'the wizard/druid/artificer feels the energies of his/her spell disrupt. The creature is likely dead.'

      'The Grid' is patrolled by a group of blink dogs that hound and harass PCs attempting to navigate it. Perforations in the wall allow the blink dogs to track by scent, and their ability lets them bypass the walls & doors. The lingering smell of decaying victims let the blink dogs know which rooms are trapped and worth avoiding.

      This is a fun, open ended trap to stick the PCs in & keeps them on their toes. There should be a fair bit of nervous energy when PCs can see 'something four legged pacing back and forth in two of the four surrounding rooms' - only to find nothing there when the door is opened. If they take too much time, nip at their heels some. Lone or lingering PCs are swarmed and dragged down.
      .
    • The Sinking Mines - Good way to get a change of pace & keep PCs from delaying too much. The expedition is a common low-level trip into a mine to exterminate some monsters. Traps are common but easily bypassed. When the PCs reach the final stage, they find themselves outdoors, on a ledge on the side of the mountain. To their left is a dam, and a rival/evil adventuring party, who summarily break the dam. The ~real~ adventure is navigating the mine as it quickly floods with water. Some traps become much more deadly, some corridors are impassable, and as PCs wade through waist deep water, they have to remember the way & where the now submerged traps were as they rush through.

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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    After the wizard has killed a dozen or so small elementals by ordering them to run into traps, have a BIG elemental appear and demand an explanation
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Konig View Post
    [snip snip various traps snip snip]
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    I can think of two things right off the bat:

    Remember that traps are very specific in purpose. Corridor traps are ususally there to slow down or stop people penetrating areas the owners don't want them to go. In which case these traps will have alarms of some kind to signal the owner that the trap has been triggered. Any intelligent creatures inhabiting the dungeon/castle/whatever, will have discovered this and set up shop wherever the alarms terminate. Setting off traps indiscriminately will either lead to the entire population of the dungeon converging on the party, or them discovering that the entire population has bugged out with all the loot.

    Remember that summoned creatures are not robots under complete mental control. Pretty much the only things that summoned animals can trigger are weight-based or tripline-based traps, even if they are monkeys. While you can instruct a summoned animal to go specific directions, any creature with an animal intelligence will not be able to operate doorknobs or locks without a *lot* of coaching, using the Animal Handling rules for training tricks. Which will take longer than the spell durations, so that's a non-starter. And every time you call a summoned animal, it's a new animal starting fresh. It's not like you always get the same monkey. All this means that if summoning creatures is a reasonably common trick, it will be reasonably common to trap things that only intelligent, purposeful creatures will operate.
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    When the PCs reach the final stage, they find themselves outdoors, on a ledge on the side of the mountain. To their left is a dam, and a rival/evil adventuring party, who summarily break the dam.
    Why do I get the impression that the dam in question is Flood Control Dam #3?
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    Remember that traps are very specific in purpose. Corridor traps are ususally there to slow down or stop people penetrating areas the owners don't want them to go. In which case these traps will have alarms of some kind to signal the owner that the trap has been triggered. Any intelligent creatures inhabiting the dungeon/castle/whatever, will have discovered this and set up shop wherever the alarms terminate. Setting off traps indiscriminately will either lead to the entire population of the dungeon converging on the party, or them discovering that the entire population has bugged out with all the loot.
    This. Also remember that if the monsters are intelligent enough they may have set up the trap themselves and have procedures to follow if the trap is set off. Alarm traps could also set off defenses like dropping gates, closing doors, or setting off a non-lethal but confusing/marking spell like glitterdust.

    You can also use the rogue's skills to bypass the trap in more than one way. Perhaps the obvious way is alarmed, but there's a hidden way that the rogue can find or there's a deactivating switch past it that the rogue can use acrobatic skill to reach without setting off the trap.

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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    AMF traps would be interesting, especially if that triggered a chain reaction- for example, the following setup...

    Code:
    _____________________________________________________
       F        C           B        A
    _____________________________________________________
    A, B and C are all anti-magic field traps- A is set to a pressure trap, while the others all have a magical trigger of some kind- possibly a heat sensor measuring the temperature of a piece of metal with a permanent Heat or Chill Metal on it. B is in the area of A for the metal but the trap goes off just outside; same for C. F is set off the same way as B and C, but isn't an AMF- it's something hitty like Fireball, Prismatic Sphere, or (if you're feeling evil) it's an AMF trap- beneath a permanently Polymorph Objected stone ceiling that was originally made of sand. Above the ceiling? Maybe a Gelatinous Cube or seven, or just a load of spikes, or some acid, or...

    You get the idea.
    Last edited by MorkaisChosen; 2008-03-09 at 04:13 PM.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Without using any homebrew material at all you could do the following...

    Use a detect spell (eg. detect good) as a trigger. The summoned beasty might not be of the right type to set it off.

    Use a trap which affects the whole room/corridor (eg. crushing wall, falling ceiling, water-filled room). If they send a summoned beasty to set it off, not only are they still in danger but they are at the opposite end of the room to the trap mechanism, increasing the time it takes to disable the trap.

    Or with homebrew traps...

    Give the trap a % chance of not going off even if the conditions to trigger it are met. The summoned beasty might not set it off but the PCs still could.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Superhero in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Have the entire area be under a "Protection from Good" spell. Won't do a whole lot to the party... certainly not to the level of an AMF... but it does prevent people from summoning in extraplanar creatures.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why this DM hates monkeys

    Circle of Protection Against Good and Circle of Protection Against Evil can be thwarted by neutral-aligned creatures.

    However, if you have a trap with Detect Good and Detect Evil as triggers, inside the circles of protection, only non-summoned, aligned creatures can trigger them.

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