|Trigger: Mechanical: Pressure Plate||Effects: None|
|Save: Wands||Duration: Instant|
|Resets: Automatic||Bypass: None (Avoid) or Disarm|
Description: Most commonly found with the venerable pressure plate trigger, this causes a projectile (dart, arrow, javelin etc.) to shoot out of a hidden panel, with a chance to strike the target that triggered the pressure plate. Variations include other types of triggers, triggers that cause ranged attacks to be made at other party members, and great variation in location and placement of the projectiles (ceiling, floor, etc.)
Detection: This trap is the most common 'gotcha' trap, causing a lack of player agency. It is often just used as a punisher - first through the door? Take an arrow to the chest. How do we go about returning player agency?
- These locations that the projectiles come from should be painfully obvious to anyone who simply notes they are looking at the surface of the wall. From my personal experience playing Oblivion, projectile traps are impossible to miss if you simply examine (i.e. glance) at the surface they project from. This should require no check on the part of the players - even if there was a cover for the hole at some point in time, it likely will have fallen off. Letting your players check the surfaces of rooms and corridors is a good way to focus on player skill versus character skill.
- Broken arrows (or whatever projectile the trap uses) should litter the floor at the terminal projection of the trap. Just noting "a few broken shafts of wood litter the south wall" or "small pieces of metal and fragments of wood are piled in the corner" or even "a single arrow lies in the floor of the corridor ahead" with no other comments should be enough to pique the interest and caution of the players.
- Dead bodies are another way to make this trap more than a gotcha. My players first though when seeing dead bodies is to check to make sure that they are not undead by shooting an arrow or two in them. Showing the dead target should make the players aware of the danger.
I've been writing these articles for several months now, is it worth my time to continue to do so? Has anyone used any of these in a campaign? Has anyone found any of the discussion of player agency useful? They get few hits and fewer comments, and if no one is interested in seeing various traps described, perhaps I could devote the time to something else. If someone has used them in a game, please let me know how that went in the comments below.