On The Thursday Trick, Magic Trap Agency

Magic Snare (Spells)

Trigger:Magical: ProximityEffects:Never Miss
Resets: AutomaticBypass:Disarm

Description: A magic trap? These are literally magic spells that act and detect as traps. Some (non-comprehensive) examples include:
Fire Trap,
Explosive Runes,
Spike Stones,
Glyph of Warding,
Sepia Snake Sigil,
and others

Detection/Disarming: How does this even work?

None of the rules in none of the editions cover magic traps very well. Here is how I manage agency in my campaigns.

Only thieves can detect magic traps. Not assassins, rangers, random schlubs with the search skill, variant thief classes, thief classes with kits -- only your plain basic pure class thieves can detect magic traps. (I make exceptions for thieves who want to be burglars or trap experts of some sort).

This is a huge factor into what makes thieves special. If thieves can detect magic traps and no one else can, then they have another important function which is useful for a class who's class features basically consist of things most everyone can do.

I always allow thieves their base find traps percentage to notice magical traps. How do I use it beyond that to increase agency?
  • Magical traps are deliberate! Not random. A mage must prepare them, and then they must be set. This means the type of item protected is somewhat limited. When you're near an important area, it's time to detect magical traps.
  • Magical traps should produce an odd smell or sensation. The room should smell of ozone, or remind the thief of blackberries eaten on the warf, or should give him a chill of mountain snow.
  • When checking for magical traps, describe what the thief sees if the trap is found. In the Myth series by Robert Asprin, mages lose focus and see magic as lines of energy. In the Wheel of Time they are threads that can be pulled. Describe the physical manifestation of the magic! It could be motes in the air that float up or down, a glowing sphere, beams, rings, or holograms.
  • When interacting with magical energy describe memories, sensations, some improbable. E.g. "Your blood feels solid as if turned to gas and then tastes of sugar in your veins" or "When you touch the strand, you remember lying in your coffin a millennium in the future as your skeleton is finally destroyed." "You scream in pain as wood feels when it is chopped knowing it is destined for the fire of fleshy creatures." 
As far as disarming traps go, if you aren't going to use an abstract mini-game to disarm magic traps (Pull 5 jenga blocks, win 2 hands of war, solve this puzzle in 15 seconds etc.), then this would seem a wholly appropriate time to use their percentage based skill at removing traps. 

1 comment:

  1. For elementally themed traps, adding a portion of the opposing element to the mechanism might be one way to disarm it.


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