On the Thursday Trick, Peephole

Peephole (Melee Attacks)

Trigger: Mechanical:  Pressure PlateEffectsNever Miss
Save: DexterityDuration: Instant
Resets: AutomaticBypass: None (Avoid)

Description: Temptation that leads to misfortune is the best way to create entertaining misfortune.

Peepholes create interesting encounters. Players will be tempted to take advantage of the information that can be acquired through the peepholes.

You should let them! The majority of the time this is exactly how peepholes should work because the players having this information enhances play, the additional information empowers agency.

And as an added bonus, you can occasionally use traps to cause disastrous misfortune! What kind of misfortune can result from a peephole?

A mirror can be placed so that the victim sees his own eyes staring back. Stabbing at the eyes can cause blades to break the weapon (or the arm) or puncturing the mirror can release poison gas.

Needles or blades can spring forward, doing actual damage (not just hit point damage) directly to a victim's eyes. This can cause blindness, usually permanent. It is trivial to replace this with an acid, chemical, or fire spray.

Another weakness is how close the delver must get to the wall. Once against the wall to peer through the hole, blades striking out at his midsection can cause severe damage.

Do not forget the mythic quality of these. Peepholes can show other things besides the area next door (thought that is very useful). If they look through and see a burlesque show, the future, the past, or home, or perhaps even dungeon levels further down, mirrors reflecting rooms far away, or even find that they are gazing upon themselves, looking into a peephole, peepholes can be a trick in themselves.

Detection/Disarming: The key here is to make sure you describe the untrapped peepholes with the same type of flavor and atmosphere as the trapped ones. Perhaps their are red or black stains near the peephole. After all at some point a person was likely caught unawares while gazing at a show.

At that, naturalistic descriptions of whatever results from the trap should provide enough clues. Do not neglect this as a method of control or manipulation either. A smart monster would put a blinded wounded corpse near a safe peephole after it had been killed near the trapped one.


  1. Source:

    Grimtooth's Traps, p. 48: "A one-way mirror has been installed behind the standard hole-in-the-wall. Behind this mirror stands a bloodthirsty and fearsome troll, his hands held ready upon twin triggers. Poised within the wall, set so as to be able to spring powerfully into the middle of the hole, sit two sharpened iron wedges.

    When a delver looks through the whole, he sees the reflection of his own eyes looking back at him... Seing "eyes" staring back at him, the delver will porbably move quikly for his sword, then stab it dep into the hole in an effort to blind the creature beyond. When this happens, the troll releases the wedges, and crack! - the sword is broken.

    If the delver uses his dagger instead, note that his elvow will probably pass into the wall at the point where the steel wedges usually meet. More's the pity."

    Grimtooth's Traps, p. 48: "Set in a wall, perhaps partly hidden by intricate stonework, are two eyeholes... If the character moves in to get a better look, the pressure of his forehead against the stone wall will cause a section of the wall to move slightly, dislodging the spike on the other side of the hole to swing freely. The whole assembly will swing down into the eyes of the delver, with predictable results."

    1. Is it pointless to mention that peepholes are real and that being stabbed through one probably happened to more than one nosey diplomat in ancient days?

  2. As Robert Points out, peepholes with mirrors are indeed mentioned in Grimtooth (a trademark of Flying Buffalo Games), but given they are contained in over a dozen refrences of my source list - most importantly in broad conceptual design documents such as Alex Schroders Quality Dungeons and books on dungeon design, the idea is broad enough that refrencing the source list, as well as Robert Parkers comment will suffice for a citation.


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