On Early Tropes, The Pit Trap

"Those orcs were Robilars servitors, his guards in a manner of speaking. Although he forced them into service, they were paid and so generally were wiling troops. Of course in the Tomb of Horrors they were less than willing, and Robilar prodded them at swordpoint along the entry corridor. I got one in every single pit trap, I knew Rob's thinking so well Robilar bodily tossed the last of his orcish force through the demon mouth at the end of the corridor, drew the correct conclusion about that little device, and went on alone from there to find the tomb chamber and snatch away the loot in haste." - Gary Gygax Wed Feb 26, 2003

Famous pit traps include

  • The deep pit in the entry corridor of the Tomb of Horrors
  • The pit trap in the entry hall of the kobold lair in the Caves of Chaos
  • The thief killer near the entrance of the Haunted Keep in the Moldvay basic set
  • The pit trap in the temple of Desert of Desolation, with a teleport at the bottom
  • The pit trap in the Oasis of the White Palm, dropping you into quicksand with 20 skeletons
"Gary described how the first group had fared. Walking down the first staircase into the dungeon, the first rank of fighters suddenly disappeared through a black wall. There was a quiet whoosh, and a quiet thud. The players conferred, and then they sent the second rank forward, who disappeared too. The rest of the players followed.

The same thing happened to the next tournament team, and the next. Players filed into the unknown, one after another. And they were all killed. The wall was an illusion, and behind it was a pit. Eight out of the nine groups had thrown themselves like lemmings over a cliff; only one group had thought to tap around with a ten foot pole. That group passed the first obstacle, so they won the tournament." - Paul, relating a story from Mike Monard


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