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Checking for traps?
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Averjoe
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Checking for traps? Reply with quote

How do you other GMs handle this? I know notice is used to find them and lockpicking to disarm(assuming a more applicable skill isn't used), but how often do you make your thiefy types check?

In the game I ran recently I made the thief roll a check every ten feet, but the dungeon had loooong corridors and it made for slow going. I considered letting her make one roll for the entire length of a corridor to speed thing up, but I'm not sure whether that's a good idea or not.

Anybody using any creative house rules on this?

All thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
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DerFinsterling
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many traps are there in the corridor??

I mean, why let her check every ten feet when there really is only one?
So let the thief roll once and if he makes it good, if not... the guys coming behind him will have an easier way of noticing it.

Not that I use traps that extensively, but I let them roll only once for the general area. (Ie, corridor, room, is the chest trapped, that sort of thing.)
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DaRealJudas
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DerFinsterling wrote:
Not that I use traps that extensively, but I let them roll only once for the general area. (Ie, corridor, room, is the chest trapped, that sort of thing.)


Every other method of dealing with this would end up in an orgy of rolling... and that's like a bad kind of orgy. Surprised
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Noshrok Grimskull
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also attach difficulties to the traps. Like this:

- covered pit: 4
- arrow holes in wall: 5
- trigger plate that drops acid on character: 7

etc.

Then have the PC roll once for the entire room / corridor and compare his result with your assigned difficulties. The PC can spot any trap that has a difficulty equal or lower than his roll.
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Averjoe
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, there were no traps in the corridors, only at the corridor junctions. Laughing Of course I didn't want the players to know this.
Making the thief check every ten feet was more to engender some sense of apprehension. Ultimately it just slowed down the game. That's why I was asking how others handle it, since I really want to keep it F!F!F!
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Keltheos
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's nothing like an overcautious rogue checking traps every 10' to suck the fun out of a scenario (I've had it in my games).

I'd do an area search, like Grimskull mentioned. Simply assign difficulties to each trap in a 'zone' and have them make 1 test for the zone.

Detect whatever is passed, don't see the TNs missed.

Of course, if everything's a TN 4 pit trap, you'd want to mix it up a bit. Either modify for 'overlooking' the 5th one, or go the other way and make it easier to spot them.
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jamused
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only roll if there's anything to notice, or if the players specifically announce they're searching something. My notes will often specify whether you have to deliberately be searching to find something; if I don't specifically note it, I just use common sense: anything that you could spot if you were just standing there gets a chance, even if you'd have to be really lucky (there is a tiny crack where the secret door is); anything where you'd have to move something or lift it up (there is a key taped underneath the drawer) there's no chance unless you say you're searching.

If you actually describe your search, you automatically find anything it would reveal, no matter what your Notice skill is. E.g. if there is a key taped underneath the drawer, and you say you take the drawers out an look underneath and behind them, I'm not going to make you roll. If you just say "I search the desk" then I will. It pays to be specific, because I'll grant a roll to cover anything you didn't say but might have spotted anyway. I'm not the kind of GM who'd rule that if you say you look behind and underneath each drawer, that means you didn't actually look in the drawer.

If they announce they're searching, I'll roll even if there's nothing to find so they can't infer whether there was anything they failed to find just because of whether I rolled. On the other hand, I'll almost never just throw in a roll to "keep them on their toes"; I think it slows the game down, and there's usually enough reason for me to be rolling, either Notice checks, encounters, weather, or what-have-you that I don't feel I need to worry about what they infer from my activity. Plus my group tends to be mature enough that they won't tend to act on meta-game reasoning anyway, if I should reveal something.
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UmbraLux
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Checking for traps? Reply with quote

Averjoe wrote:
How do you other GMs handle this? I know notice is used to find them and lockpicking to disarm(assuming a more applicable skill isn't used), but how often do you make your thiefy types check?
I get a list of pre-rolled Notice checks and check them off as they're used. Typically when they're within 15-20 feet of the trap. That way they don't know a trap is there unless they succeeded on the check.

All you really need to do is ask everyone for one or two meaningless Notice checks early. Write them down and check them off when used. After it's been used, ask for another check... You'll have a consistent list of Notice checks usable for everything from ambushes to traps.

Quote:
In the game I ran recently I made the thief roll a check every ten feet, but the dungeon had loooong corridors and it made for slow going. I considered letting her make one roll for the entire length of a corridor to speed thing up, but I'm not sure whether that's a good idea or not.
I'd recommend rolling one which lasts till its used, or at least until they enter a new area or scene.

Of course I still prefer some sort of list...prevents metagaming to "look extra hard" when they know they've failed a check and avoids the d20 oddness of spending 2 minutes taking 20 on every 5' of room / corridor.
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Keltheos
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got tired of the 'look really hard' metagame my Rogue would play, so I rolled up about 150 random d20 checks and had them on a grid. I'd simply tick the next roll whenever he needed to check for traps. It got him to stop telling me the sequence of events his character would take at EVERY door and EVERY 10' patch of hallway they encountered.

We talked about it after the fact, but it was hard to get him to change his ways - metagaming was in his DNA.
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Averjoe
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the ideas guys. Lots of good stuff there. I believe the approach I'll take will likely be a hybrid of all-of-the-above.

I'll allow them to specify if they are looking for something specific and if that would find the trap then they find it, no roll needed. If they don't specify, then each trap will have a TN and I will use a grid of random rolls to check against to see if they notice anything.

Hopefully that will keep everything moving smoothly and discourage any metagaming. (I should be so lucky.) Laughing
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figure that most professional adventurers are doing their level best to look out for traps. If it's a hazard common to one's occupation, be it an actor upstaging himself, a carpenter mislaying a tool, or a computer programmer writing inelegant code, one is always on the lookout for it. It's fair to call for Notice rolls only when the PCs have good reason to suspect a trap, and it's equally fair to say that a blanket roll covers an entire room/hallway.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's how I've done it (more or less) on a few trap-filled occasions:

1) The roguish-type person in the party declares that he's going to be searching for traps until further notice. For all intents and purposes, I can assume that this is his action is to "search for traps" in addition to movement, so he wouldn't be able to run, but basically this sort of thing happens during "non-combat rounds," so I generally don't micromanage it down to that level - but the PCs are going slowly and not running into new, unexplored, unchecked-for-traps areas.

2) I happen to know that there is a trap coming up, and the PCs are about to set it off if they don't notice it. I have the trap-searching rogue roll a Notice check. If it's a situation where multiple people could be searching, then there could be multiple Notice rolls - though probably at a penalty to anyone who's not at "point."

If the trap-searcher succeeds - he noticed the trap, and (presumably) warns the party. It's up to them (based on the description I give, and other factors) how they proceed. If he fails - well, then I still give anybody with Danger Sense a roll as well (at -2).

I basically just assume that the PCs, unless they really try hard to persuade me otherwise, are cautious sorts who would take every precaution that isn't likely to cost them anything. (As in, when exploring a dungeon, with no particular time limit on their exploration, checking for traps regularly.)

At last year's Necronomicon, I ran a couple of scenarios that featured some trap-laden treasure-filled areas, and did the "roll once per area" type of searching, but even with a fairly small "dungeon" it seemed like an unnecessarily tedious way of going about it. I'd rather keep the rolls to a minimum.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd handle it situationally. There will be a Notice roll to detect the trap; it will just depend on the players' decisions as to any modifiers. For instance...

Standard care - They move their normal speed and get a normal roll.
Very careful - Half move or less, but +2 to Notice traps.
Fast - They are running; -2 to Notice traps.

The character in front is the one who rolls (if two or more can be "in front," then choose a primary and make a Cooperative roll).

Of course modifiers for the hiding of the trap itself apply. A covered pit that might only require a normal Notice roll would be easy to miss if running (-2) and almost surely found if going very carefully (+2) without other penalties.

Another option would be to handle it similar to Stealth where outside of combat each Stealth roll applies to 5x their normal movement, so Notice could apply to checking the same distance (a Fleet Footed character could therefore cover more distance and perhaps more traps with a single roll).
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ferret
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the start of the dungeon, ask your rogue for three notice checks. The player can spend bennies as he wishes. He is told up front that they apply to traps, so he doesn't have to bother announcing a roll. When the character encounters the trap, he either spots it or he doesn't.
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Snate56
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep a couple dozen "harmless" dungeon dressings available so I can always keep them on their toes by asking for rolls when there doesn't happen to be a trap in a room. If they succeed I just describe a fresh blood stain in the corner or airflow comming from a crack or something. I try to make the dungeon seem alive, and who knows, they may pick up a "clue" and run with it!


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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ferret wrote:
At the start of the dungeon, ask your rogue for three notice checks. The player can spend bennies as he wishes. He is told up front that they apply to traps, so he doesn't have to bother announcing a roll. When the character encounters the trap, he either spots it or he doesn't.

This is a nice idea... #1eek1 I never thought for pre-rolled notice...
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ferret wrote:
At the start of the dungeon, ask your rogue for three notice checks. The player can spend bennies as he wishes. He is told up front that they apply to traps, so he doesn't have to bother announcing a roll. When the character encounters the trap, he either spots it or he doesn't.


Heh. Very interesting mechanic! I'm not sure what the dynamics would be compared to doing it on the fly, but it definitely disconnects those rolls from the trap itself (so as to minimize metagaming).
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jamused
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd worry that it would take away a relevant decision from the player, particularly about whether to spend the Bennie. Not all situations where you might care about spotting a trap are created equal. Looking for traps on the altar where the golden idol sits is a much more likely place to want to spend a Bennie than on an ordinary door.
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Bill
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it is worth I have the front player (or players) roll notice when they are going into a trapped area. If they make it they spotted the trap before they went into it. If not they triggered it. I assume the players are taking basic cautions much like Clint. Unless they say otherwise they are average. If they say they move cautiously then they are slow but get a bonus to their Notice checks. If running they get a penalty (usually a -4 since they really can't take time to look around)!

While rolling every time they move a certain amount sometimes seems like a good idea, it rarely is. To me it is more of a way to soak up a leader's bennies with a serries of non-event rolls trying to hide the real thing. Since I am stingy with bennies it works out fine to just have them roll when they need to and move the adventure along.
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Aramus Daimorgul
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another way to do this is give the characters a set notice roll which is equal to half their notice die (d4 = 2 d12 = 6). Then, if they are walking cautious they get +2, if they are running, not in the lead rank, or otherwise not being careful at all they get -2. Roll against their set notice number by assigning a "stealth" die to the trap. The GM rolls against the players notice, if successful the players notice the trap.
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