Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thoughts on Traps in DnD Next


I’ve been reworking Ch 2 of Reclaiming Blingdenstone, and since there are kobolds involved, there are obviously a lot of traps.

Actually (as my 3-year-old would say) there aren’t a lot of traps.  There are basically just nets that drop from the ceiling.  Over and over and over and C’MON PEOPLE.  TRY A BIT HARDER.  There is also a pit trap and some kobolds leaping out of holes in the walls!  Oh they are soooooo crafty.

But something is confusing me a bit with the checks involved in traps.  I also noticed this with the secret doors in Chapter 3. 

Let’s quote:
Falling Net Traps: Characters can attempt a DC 15 Wisdom check to spot either the net stretched above the passage or one of the tripwires near the floor. A character actively searching needs to make a DC 13 Intelligence check instead. If a character finds anything, the adventurers can search to find the three tripwires with three successful DC 13 Intelligence checks and avoid the trap entirely.

I’m sorta OK with the DC 15 Wisdom check.  It means that a rogue with find/remove traps will find it automatically (take 10 and +6 bonus from +3 default and +3 trained skill).  Is that good?  Less rolling means more streamlined play…  But that means that all these traps are basically no threat to a party that includes the pre-gens…  Which it’s assumed they will…  Sure a lot of text here for something that seems unlikely to ever threaten the party.  But anyways, forging on.

What I don’t get is "3 successful DC 13 Intelligence checks".  Why are we switching back and forth from Wis (useful for spotting things) to Int (useful for making you pretentious to talk to at parties)?    And why 3?  And why DC 13? 

If the party has a rogue, these are found automatically (Take 10 and +3 check default).  If they don’t have a rogue, they have to roll 3 times?  Why not just 1 roll with a DC of 15 to accommodate the fact that they have to find 3 tripwires?  More waste of rolling, and why would the mage (generally speaking) be theoretically better at finding tripwires than the rogue, who presumably does this in order to keep on living?  Makes no sense to me.

The whole thing is even worse in Chapter 3 with the secret doors and pit traps:
A successful DC 15 Intelligence is required to find this secret door. A successful DC 13 Intelligence check  made while searching the wall at the end of the long alcove to the north reveals a pressure plate. Pressing the plate causes the door to slide open. Otherwise, the door can be forced open with a DC 17 Strength check, which breaks its mechanism.

WHY INT?  Now the rogue doesn’t find it automatically at least, but Int?  I can see maybe the Int check to figure out how the door opens.  I like the idea of the wizard glancing over, then saying offhand “l expect that the pressure plate down at the end of the hall there opens the secret door.  That or the elvish word for ‘friend’”, then going back to doing whatever he was doing.   But spotting it using Int makes no sense to me. 

The pit traps are even WORSE:
Anyone searching for traps can find it with a DC 13 Intelligence check, and it can be jammed closed with two DC 15 Dexterity checks. Otherwise, the trap triggers when a character reaches the center of the hallway, dropping everyone in the hall into the pit. Those who are near the outer edge can attempt a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to leap to safety.

More INT checks.  Was this written by a different person?  Are they paying attention to their own rules?  Who can say?  It’s like they don’t even know about the find/remove traps skill.  And now we have moved to Dex checks to jam it?  2 of them?  Adding to the fun, on the map their appears to be a 10-foot walkway on either side of the pit that isn’t included in the description…  If you’re going to recycle maps, at least try to pay attention to them.

It doesn’t do any good to bitch about this stuff if you don’t try to fix it, so here are my alternative takes on traps and secret doors:

Pit Traps: This hall contains a covered pit trap. The pit will be noticed with a DC 17 Wisdom (or find/remote traps check).  Anyone specifically searching for traps can find it with a DC 13 Wisdom (or Find/Remove Traps) check, and it can be jammed closed with a DC 15 Dexterity (or Find/Remove traps) check. Otherwise, the trap triggers if 2 or more characters are standing  on trapped squares, dropping everyone in the hall into the pit. Those who are near the outer edge and are wearing light or medium armor can attempt a Dexterity saving throw (Light armor DC 12, Medium DC 15) to leap to safety.

Secret Doors: A successful DC 17 Wisdom check is required to notice this secret door.  Anyone specifically searching the hallway will find it with a DC 13 Wisdom check.  A successful DC 13 Wisdom or Int check identifies a pressure plate at the end of the hallway that opens the door. Pressing the plate causes the door to slide open. Otherwise, the door can be forced open with a DC 17 Strength check, which breaks its mechanism.

Net Traps: Characters notice either the net stretched above the passage or one of the tripwires near the floor with a DC 17 Wisdom (or Find/remove traps) check.  A character actively searching needs to make a DC 13 check instead.  If the trap is noticed, a DC 15 Wisdom (or Find/remove traps) disarms the trap.
If a net falls, characters in the twenty-foot diameter area of the net must make edge can attempt a Dexterity saving throw (Light armor DC 8, Medium DC 10, Heavy DC 15) to avoid being restrained beneath the net.  A restrained character can cut the net with a slashing weapon (2 rounds) or escape with a DC 13 Strength or Dexterity check (1 round).