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[Common Traps]

Copyright © 2001 by Robert J. Hall

Return to Fantasy HERO®


Traps are devices designed to injure, hinder, or capture an unwanted intruder. They are usually located in little-used openings or corridors to guard a back entrance to a key location, such as a treasure room or headquarters. Normally, traps will have a by-pass mechanism that allows the owner to safely traverse the passage. Such safety switches are well concealed, or located well beyond the trap. However, tombs and other sacred sites can have traps that are left permanently activated after their maker has departed.

Most traps are cleverly concealed in order to foil the intruder.A careful search using the Security Systems skill is required in order to detect the trap. Failure to successfully detect and disarm the trap will usually result in the mechanism being triggered, with resulting consequences for the insufficiently skilled intruder.

The following list of traps is intended for use in Hero-level settings.


Acid Trap

When this trap is triggered, a bulb containing a powerful corrosive acid is smashed, splashing the contents on anybody in the immediate vicinity. The acid continues to burn for several phases, eating its way through most armor.

Abilities:

  • 2d6 Energy RKA, Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Armor Piercing (+1/2), Sticky (+1/2), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2), No Range (-1/2), No Knockback (-1/4), 3 Charges (-1-1/4), IIF Bulb, Fragile (-1/2), Independent (-2), Charges do not recover (-2), Acid removed by large quantities of water (-1/4).

Active Cost: 112; Real Cost: 14.

Alarm

Possibly the most common type of trap, when triggered this simple device creates a loud and steady noise that will draw the guard to the location of the intrusion. A variation of this device produces a silent alarm in the guards quarters, thus alerting the guards without making the intruder aware of his mistake.

Abilities:

  • Images to Sound, 256" Radius (+1+3/4), Trigger (Activate Trap) (+1/4), Invisible Power Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+1), 0 END Persistent (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2); Only to create alarm noise (-1), No Range (-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 55; Real Cost: 11.

Alien Runes

These twisting, intertwined lines form eerie patterns that inflict powerful psychological effects against humans and other intelligent species. Staring at the runes for a few moments will cause nightmare images to arise from the depths of the subconscious, paralyzing the victim with terror. The runes increase in effectiveness when viewed by more intelligent beings.

The runes are actually quite harmless to their creator(s), often being merely a psionic tool. In a Fantasy world, these runes could be created by demonic beings or evil wizards. In more advanced cultures, the runes could be created by an alien race, or as a information virus by a rogue scientist.

Abilities:

  • 12d6 Mental Illusion, Explosion (+1/2), Difficult to Dispel (+1/4), Personal Immunity (Can be entire race) (+1/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2), Limited to 1d6 per point of target INT (-1/2), Visible (-1/4), Always On (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), OIF Runes, Immobile (-1-1/2), Independent (-2), Only when runes are viewed for a full phase (-1/2), Only to produce subconscious terrors (-1/4).

Active Cost: 270; Real Cost: 39.

Bear Trap

When a victim steps onto this trap, the iron jaws of this spring-loaded trap snap shut, wounding the leg and pinning the target in place. The trap is usually attached to the ground or a nearby post by a length of metal chain.

The standard Bear Trap makes an attack at 0 OCV. (A failed attack means the target did not step on the trap.) When concealed underneath loose debris, the trap makes a surprise attack versus 0 DCV. The triggered trap can then be reset by applying suitable leverage with a metal bar and 15 STR, or by any being with 25 STR or more.

Abilities:

  • 3d6 Entangle, Takes no damage (+1/2), Only if trap does BODY damage (-1/2), Can be opened and reset by 25 STR or a metal rod with 15 STR (-1/4), Victim free to move within a 1" radius (-1/4).
  • 2d6 RKA, Reduced Penetration (-1/4), Linked to Entangle (-1/2).

Combined: Trigger (Step on Trap) (+1/4), No Range (-1/2), Single Renewable Charge (-1-1/4), OAF Metal Trap, Anchored (-1-1/4), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 89; Real Cost: 14.

Blocked Passage

When triggered, a massive block of stone slides down to block the passage, entombing the victims. This trap is usually employed against tomb robbers. Once activated, it is all but impossible to reset without reconstructing the entire tomb.

Abilities:

  • 8d6 Entangle, Blocks Sight Group, Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Until Activated) (+3/4), Single Charge (-2), Charge can not be recovered (-2), IAF Block, Immobile (-1-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 225; Real Cost: 25.

Bolt Trap

This simple, yet effective trap consists of a spring-loaded bolt that is fired through a small hole in a wall. The trigger consists of a specific physical action, such as stepping on a plate or pulling a fine wire. One expended, the trap can be reset by rearming the spring and loading a bolt back into the firing slot. Rearming the spring requires a special winch which must be wound for a full turn.

Abilities:

  • 2d6 RKA, Invisible Powers Effect (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4), Trigger (Physical Contact) (+1/4), Requires attack roll at +6 OCV w/ range modifiers (-1/2), IIF Bolt and Spring, Immobile (-1-1/4), Single Recoverable Charge (-1-1/4), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 60; Real Cost: 11.

Bomb

This alchemical concoction is triggered to explode when a flame ignites the fuse. After a short delay, the bomb explodes, inflicting damage on anybody standing nearby. The fuse can be lit by hand, or triggered to burn by a suitable mechanism.

Abilities:

  • 10d6 Energy EB, Explosion (lose 1d6 per 2", +3/4), Trigger (Ignite Fuse) (+1/4), Delayed Effect (+1/4), No Range (-1/2), OAF Explosive, Bulky (-1), Single Charge (-2), Charge does not recover (-2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase) (-1/2), Trigger deactivated by snuffing fuse (-1/2), Not underwater (-1/4).

Active Cost: 112; Real Cost: 11.

Caltrops

Also known as Crow's Feet, this small devices consist of four small spikes welded together to form a pyramid. Regardless of how they land, one of the spikes is pointing upward, forming a hazard to anybody stepping on the ground. The more caltrops that are scattered across the ground, the more likely the device is to pose a hazard to anybody rushing into the area. Caltrops can be built at any iron smithy for a small fee.

Abilities:

  • 2d6 Energy Blast versus PD, Linked to EB (-1/2).
  • 1d6 Running Drain, Recover 5 per month (+1+3/4), Only if EB does at least 1 BODY (-1/2).

Combined: Area Effect (Hex, Nonselective Target) (+1/4), Trigger (Step in hex) (+1/4), 6 Recoverable Charges (-1/4), Independent (-2), IAF Caltrops (-1), Can be avoided by successful PER roll and 1/2 normal movement (-1/4).

Active Cost: 47; Real Cost: 5.

Collapsing Ceiling

This trap is usually unintended, being caused by a growing weakness in the ceiling of an underground tunnel. The collapse is triggered by any type of physical disturbance, such as an earthquake or an explosion. Once the ceiling has collapsed, the trap can not be reset.

Abilities:

  • 6d6 Entangle, Stops Sight Group - Rubble
  • 4d6 Physical RKA, Reduced Penetration (-1/4), Linked (-1/2), No Range (-1/2) - Falling Rocks

Combined: Trigger (Violent Blow) (+1/4), Area Effect (Line) (+1), Single Charge (-2), Independent (-2), Charge does not recover (-2), Only in tunnel (-1/4), Trap detected by a KS/PS: Mining roll (-1/4).

Active Cost: 292; Real Cost: 36.

Crushing Walls

This trap is usually triggered by pulling a lever or activating a switch. Heavy stone slabs seal off the trap area and a massive ceiling block slides downward, crushing anybody caught within. Once the trap has been sprung, it requires considerable effort to reset the blocks.

Abilities:

  • 3d6 Entangle, Stops Sight, Allows free movement within area, Extra Time: Full Phase (-1/2).
  • 2d6 Physical EB, Penetrating (+1/2), 0 END Persistent (+1), Continuous (+1), Extra Time: Turn (-1), Linked to Entangle (-1/2).

Combined: Area Effect (Radius) (+1), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Independent (-2), OAF Ceiling Blocks, Immobile (-2), Single Recoverable Charge (-1-1/4), Charge is difficult to reset (-1).

Active Cost: 175; Real Cost: 21.

Deadfall Trap

A large weight, such as a log or a large rock, is suspended by a rope harness. A hidden tripwire on the ground releases the weight, allowing it to fall on the prey below. Depending on the design, the weight may be dropped vertically, or swung from the side. Variations of this trap use a wooden lattice with several sharpened stakes attached.

Abilities:

  • 4d6 KA, Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Trigger (Tripwire) (+1/4), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4); Single Renewable Charge (-1-1/4), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 105; Real Cost: 22.

Drowning Passage

This trap consists of a narrow passage that is suddenly blocked off at both ends by slabs of stone. The enclosed passage then floods with water, drowning those caught inside. This is a one-shot trap that can not be reset.

Abilities:

  • 6d6 Entangle, Free to move about inside, Stops Sight Group.
  • 1d6 Energy Blast, NND (Breathing self-contained, or no need to breathe) (+1), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2), No Knockback (-1/4), Linked (-1/2).

Combined: Area Effect (Line) (+1), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Until Triggered) (+3/4), Single Charge (-2), Charge does not recover (-2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 265; Real Cost: 35.

Electrified Floor

This metal floor is connected to a powerful source of electricity that is unleashed when the trap is triggered. The source is either Air Elemental magic or via capacitors connected to a modern power plant.

Abilities:

  • 6d6 Energy Blast, NND (Insulated) (+1), Area Effect (Any) (+1), Trigger (Switch) (+1/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), No Knockback (-1/4), OAF Metal Floor, Immobile (-2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Requires a minute to recharge after use (-1/2), Target must be in contact with the floor plate (-1/4).

Active Cost: 170; Real Cost: 26.

Elevator Room

This small room functions like an elevator when the only door is closed, depositing those caught inside on a lower floor, then returning to its proper station. The end point of the ride is usually a guard station, or an area equally dangerous for an intruder.

Abilities:

  • 10" Teleportation to fixed location, Trigger (Door closes) (+1/4), Useable against Another (+1), Area Effect (Room) (+1), Invisible Powers Effects (Sight) (+1/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Requires a full phase to recharge after use (-1/4), Only to specific location (-1/2), Extra Time - Full Phase (-1/2).

Active Cost: 90; Real Cost: 19.

Giant Webs

These enormous webs are created by giant spiders who have since moved on to fresh hunting grounds. The strong, sticky webs remain as a trap for the unwary. In a sci-fi setting, these webs could be high-tech nets coated with a contact-activated bonding agent.

Abilities:

  • 4d6 Entangle, Transparent to attacks (+1/2), Area Effect (Any) (+1), Sticky (+1/2), OIF Giant Webs, Immobile (-2), Independent (-2), x2 BODY from fire (-1/2).

Active Cost: 120; Real Cost: 22.

Illusionary Floor

This trap uses a masterful illusion to hide the opening to a pit in the floor. The hole is a single hex in diameter, and the bottom of the pit is lined with sharp rocks or metal spikes. The illusion can be created by a magical spell, or a holographic projection.

Abilities:

  • 3d6 RKA Falling Damage, Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Armor Piercing (+1/2); Only after falling into hole (-1).
  • Images to Sight Group, Only to hide opening in floor (-1/4), Always On (-1/2), Linked (-1/2).

Combined: 0 END Persistent (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2); No Range (-1/2), Independent (-2), Requires a pit (-1/4), Detected by touch (-1).

Active Cost: 182; Real Cost: 31

Natural Gas Vent

This trap is caused a natural vent that releases invisible, toxic gases into the surrounding air. The bane of many mines, this bad air is a good reason to carry a Canary when exploring caves.

  • 4d6 Energy Blast, NND (Life support or alien physiology) (+1), Explosion (+1/2), 0 END Persistent (+1), Continuous (+1), Invisible Powers Effects (All) (+3/4), No Knockback (-1/4), Always On (-1/2), IAF Open Vent(s), Immobile (-1-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Survival roll (-1/2), Only when breathing (-1), 1/2 normal effect when outdoors (-1/4).

Active Cost: 105; Real Cost: 15.

Pit Trap

This carefully concealed floor trap is usually triggered when a specific weight limit is exceeded within the area of the pit. The floor swings open, dropping the victims several meters onto a series of spikes securely mounted in the pit bottom. Unless propped open, the trap doors will automatically swing shut, trapping the victims within the pit where they usually die from their wounds.

Abilities:

  • 8d6 Physical EB, Reduced Penetration (-1/4), No Knockback (-1/4).
  • 2d6 Entangle, Stops Sight, Allows free movement within area, Only escape is through doors, which can be propped open from above (+0), Linked to EB (-1/2).

Combined: Area Effect (Radius) (+1), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4), Trigger (Weight limit exceeded) (+1/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), Activation Roll 14- (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Requires a prepared pit (-1/2), Only after fall into pit (-1/2).

Active Cost: 280; Real Cost: 44.

Poison Needle Trap

This trap is used as a deterent against thieves and untrustworthy employees. When a lock is improperly opened, usually as a result of a failed lock pick attempt, the needle fires out and injects the victim with a small, but potent dose of a lethal toxin. The poison takes effect rapidly, usually killing the victim within minutes.

The needle can be safely avoided by opening the lock from a safe distance, either by smashing it open or using Telekinetic abilities.

Abilities:

  • 1 pip RKA, Penetrating (+1/2), Single Charge (-1), No Range (-1/2), Linked to Drain (-1/2) - Needle
  • 2d6 BODY Drain, Recover every 1 hour (+3/4), Continuous Uncontrolled (+1+1/2), Only after needle does BODY (-1/2), Single Clip of 3 Charges (-1-1/4), Gradual Effect (1 Minute) (-1/2), Must be eaten or injected (-1/4) - Toxin

Combined: Invisible Powers Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4), Trigger (Opening lock improperly) (+1/4), IIF Needle (-1/4), Independent (-2), Charges do not recover (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 122; Real Cost: 15.

Rolling Boulder

After this trap is activated, a large boulder is released to roll downhill along a corridor, crushing those caught in its track. The 2" diameter boulder is slightly smaller than the width of the corridor and weighs roughly 5 tons. The boulder will roll for a distance of up to 32", but must begin on a ramp and will not extend uphill.

Abilities:

  • 8d6 Physical EB, Area Effect (32" Line) (+1), Invisible Power Effects (All, Hidden trigger) (+3/4), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Single Charge (-2), OAF Boulder, Massive (-1-3/4), Charge does not recover (-2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Extra Time: Full Phase (-1/2), Not uphill and requires a slope to start (-1/4), Damage reduced to 5d6 in corners (-1/4).

Active Cost: 120; Real Cost: 12.

Scything Blade

When triggered, a razor-sharp blade sweeps through the area where the character is standing, usually with fatal result. The blade must be physically reset before it will function again.

Abilities:

  • 5d6 Physical RKA, Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), Invisible Powers Effects (All, Hidden Trigger) (+3/4), No Range (-1/2), Single Renewable Charge (-1-1/4), IIF Blade, Immobile (-1-1/4), Difficult to reset (-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 187; Real Cost: 27.

Secret Door

This door has been built to blend into the wall or furniture. The door is usually opened by means of a disguised lever or button, such as a book or wall fixing, that appears to serve an entirely different purpose. A careful and persistent search will eventually reveal the door, assuming the character knows where to look.

Abilities:

  • Images (Sight Group), -4 PER, Invisible Power Effects (All) (+3/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), Always On (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), Only to hide a door (-1), Independent (-2), Door opened by switch (-1/4).

Active Cost: 88; Real Cost: 17.

Snare

This trap consists of a spring-loaded rope snare that, when triggered, will grab the target by the leg and hold him upside down above the ground. The snare is usually concealed beneath some brush or other debris. This trap can be readily reset with a bit of work.

Abilities:

  • 1d6 Entangle (Hung by leg in mid-air), Transparent to Attacks (+1/2), Brittle (1 BODY, -1/2), No Range (-1/2), Linked (-1/2).
  • 1" Flight, Persistent (+1/2), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (+1/2), Useable against another (+1), Only to lift target 4" (-1).

Combined: Trigger (Snare) (+1/4), Single Recoverable Charge (-1- 1/4), IAF Noose (-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 59; Real Cost: 8.

Spiked Walls

The walls of this chamber are pierced by many holes through which protrude iron spikes. When the trap is triggered, the spikes are extruded through the holes, piercing any creatures caught within. After a short interval of time, the spikes return to their normal position.

Typically this trap is used to guard a treasure horde of some type, and is triggered when the treasure container is improperly opened. This mechanism is usually powered by flowing water or a windmill.

Abilities:

  • 3d6 Physical RKA, Armor Piercing (+1/2), Area Effect (Any) (+1), Trigger (Mechanism) (+1/4), 0 END Persistent (+1), Reduced Penetration (-1/4), Extra Time - 1 Turn (-1), No Range (-1/2), Independent (-2), Only in hexes between opposing walls (-1/2), Trap mechanism detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2).

Active Cost: 169; Real Cost: 29.

Teleport Trap

This magical (or high-tech) trap will transport a victim into a holding cell for later interrogation or disposal by the owner. The Teleport is triggered when a target of a specific type steps onto the activation plate. The type of target must be selected when the trap is originally constructed, but can be as general or specific as required.

Abilities:

  • 20" Teleport to Fixed Location, Armor Piercing (+1/2), Useable Against Another (+1), Area Effect (Hex) (+1/2), Invisible Powers Effects (Sight and Sound) (+1/2), 0 END Persistent (+1), Always On (-1/2), Independent (-2), Trap detected by a Security Systems roll (-1/2), Requires a Turn to recharge after use (-1/2), Only to specific location (-1/2).

Active Cost: 180; Real Cost: 36.