On the Thursday Trick, the Dangers of Comfort

Dangers of Comfort (Special)

Trigger: Mechanical: Interaction Effects:Onset Delay
Save: VariesDuration: Instant
Resets: VariesBypass: None (Avoid)

Description: Your players should really really know better. Somewhere in the dungeon they find a feature, such as a toilet, campsite, suspension bridge or other useful functional area or feature. Only the area is really a trap. The fire burns away until it explodes or perhaps there are well placed bolts to strike at a very uncomfortable place when the toilet seat is used.

Detection/Disarming: First of all, you should be aware that if you've been running a game for several weeks and the players run across something like this, nothing short of a million gold coins will cause them to fall for this trap. So it is important that you provide many areas like this and make them mostly harmless. Perhaps provide a temporary benefit either in mobility (Can carry more weight, is refreshed) or a small bonus to abilities (+1 to saving throws for 6 turns). You can even sometimes provide a large bonus for erratic reinforcement.

The idea is to train the party so that they look forward to these little amenities. Then when your delvers encounter one, they will not do the very simple and very basic detective work necessary to notice and disarm traps.

Most of the relevant agency for these has been covered in other articles ("Why yes, there does appear to be an extra hole in the toilet. Why yes when you examine it you discover that it does indeed contain a rusted iron bolt!") The key with a trap like this is training your players and using the idea of trap escalation to stymie their greedy attempts to empty out your Mega-Dungeon.

5 comments:

  1. As I recently began working on my Pathfinder Megadungeon (Castle Nalew) I have found these posts, and the Friday treasure posts, to be most useful.

    Nobody ever really comments on this kind of content post. But I want you to know that they are valuable to me.

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  2. I think you'd have a hard time getting savvy players to even take that first snooze in the feather bed or whatever. You'd almost have to make it weird, like a slab of green crystal or something, to move from the "trapped comfort" cliche into the "random effects trick" cliche in their minds. And then, if you lull them with a benefit and then zap them with a trap, you're just enacting another cliche, the trick where you can get a benefit one time and it burns you when you try for repeat uses - which is as old as Grimm's folktales.

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  3. The benefit of adventuring in a role-playing game instead of real life is that characters never actually have to go to the toilet or sleep in beds. You can lay an all-you-can-eat buffet of the most tempting morsels in the dungeon with feather beds and free concubines and players will say, "Plumbo the Dwarf will not partake of the exotic and delicious foods or sleep in the beds or allow himself to be tempted by the ladies! He will eat his iron rations, sleep on the floor and stare at the wall instead." whereas the players themselves will gorge on chips, pizza, beer, etc., and visit the toilet whenever they feel the need, etc., while poor Plumbo nibbles on rock-hard survival biscuit, sips stale water from a leather bottle and despite being 400 years old has never relieved himself, taken a bath, combed his beard, changed his socks or kissed a girl-dwarf.

    I've often wondered what the average group of D&D adventurers would smell like. 'Toothbrush' and 'deodorant' are not on the equipment list in my copy of Holmes D&D.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. That is why you give the universal +1 bonus to the characters who take advantage of the facilities. . .

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    2. For the past six months I've been pondering, off and on, whether it would be worthwhile to create a subsystem which rewarded players for living luxuriously, and punished them for living poorly.

      At the extreme ends of the spectrum it's not too difficult. Extravagant living gives you opportunities amongst the nobility which you wouldn't otherwise have, and living in filth would put the players at risk of disease.

      I'm not sure if it's actually something I want to pursue in my games, but it's something I'm interested in.

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