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Abelard
Orc
(11/7/02 5:35:20 pm)
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Traps in the CRM
I am finding that if the party rogue (7th soon to be 8th level, Search bonus +13) takes 20 when searching for a trap, there is really no trap in the CRM he cannot find.

Obviously, he has to be clued in that he's in a spot where searching would be smart. I realize also that taking 20 requires him to spend 2 minutes per 5 foot square searched.

But still... take the chamber where Tulian's Eye is located. IMC, the group just found and took it last session. There's a nifty pit trap with a locking door and that also releases gas in the entry way. Search DC (IIRC) is 21 or so.

Let's see, very difficult to find secret door, arcane locked, leading to a room with a fist-sized diamond clearly visible from the door way. What rogue will not take 20 to search the first step past the door?

So, I'm not really upset about this happening or anything like that... I'm not even saying it's some problem with the module, just rather how the take 20 rule works. I'm just curious if other DM's have had similar experiences.

Andy Collins
Vexander Sangreal
(11/7/02 6:02:47 pm)
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Re: Traps in the CRM
Abelard, that's a very interesting point.

Off the top of my head, I'd solve it by adding an element of risk to searching a trapped area.

Specifically, you could say that, just as with Disable Device, any Search check that fails by a certain amount automatically sets off any trap in the area.

Penalty for a 5-point failure is the same as DD, making it easy to remember, but it's probably too harsh--rogues would be more likely to set off a nasty trap than find it. (This might be an example of a situation where "fair" trumps "easy.")

What about only penalizing failure by 10 or more? That would mean that any rogue who could find a trap by taking 20 is safe from danger when taking 10 (unless the trap required a roll of 20 to find it, in which case taking 10 represents failure by 10 and BOOM).

Similarly, any rogue who could find the trap by taking 10 is safe from danger when taking 20 (since the worst result of taking 20 is failure by 9, which isn't enough to trigger it).

This rule discourages rogues from taking 20 everywhere; instead, they're more likely to start searching by taking 10, and then moving either to individual rolls or simply taking 20 (if they're confident enough in their Search skill).

It's potentially counterintuitive--players might wonder, "How can I accidentally set off the 'if you open this locked door it explodes' trap if the door's still locked?" Of course, to that I'd say, "Hey, it's a sensitive trap--you must have jiggled the door too hard" or something.

It also slows down the game, by encouraging multiple rolls when otherwise you'd just tell the DM a take 20 result and move on.

Andy Collins
RPG Designer/Developer
Wizards of the Coast R&D

benhamtroll
Pie
(11/7/02 6:18:53 pm)
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Re: Traps in the CRM
Personally, I would rule that taking 20 often would make the party more vulnerable to attack by wandering monsters. If the rogue has put that many points into his Find Traps, I'd say let him find things if he uses it sparingly, but give him the incentive to save it. Perhaps if you really let people know that the 50 foot corridor that he's taking 20 to search delays them for 2 hours and 40 minutes, they might put some pressure on him. OR, you could reduce or eliminate XP for traps found while taking 20. since he's pretty much guaranteed to find it at that level.

"Just because it's weird doesn't make it art."

Abelard
Orc
(11/7/02 7:42:13 pm)
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Re: Traps in the CRM
"Perhaps if you really let people know that the 50 foot corridor that he's taking 20 to search delays them for 2 hours and 40 minutes, they might put some pressure on him."

Say, Benham, could you show your work on that math? I'm not doubting you but just want to know how you figured out that number.

(Yes, I am feeling intellectually lazy at the moment. But hey, I just solved a tough bug that has been vexing me for days, so I feel entitled! ;) )

Anyway, I do agree that taking 20 to search an entire corridor is not practical. The problem is that the rogue rarely needs to do that to find a trap. The single 5 foot square in front of the door (like in the Tulian's Eye chamber), or the chest/door/lock, are often all that need to be searched.

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/8/02 1:37:27 am)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
Hmm.... 50' corridor. Let's assume it's 20' wide. Floor space alone is therefore 40 5'-squares. Taking 20 means 2 minutes per square. By my (faulty) math that's 80 minutes or 1 hr. 20 minutes.

Personally, I'd let the rogue take twenty and remember to sometimes use a random encounter, just to keep the players' blood pressure up.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Thrommel
The DM
(11/8/02 6:58:37 am)
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Re: Traps in the CRM
Also keep in mind that this sort of activity is burning off the duration of long-term buff spells.

Sure, most long term buffs are up for 6-10 hours by the time the players get to the CRM, but by Siobharek's math it takes over 13 hours just to go 500 feet.

And remember, a random encounter doesn't always have to be combat - you can have strange noises, breezes, a sudden cold chill, etc.

Which brings up an interesting question -- if a rogue is taking 20 and gets interrupted (or stops working) halfway through, can they resume their Search/Disable/whatever from where they left off or do they have to restart?

-Thrommel, who would post more, but goes off to investigate this strange noise he heard...

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/8/02 7:03:26 am)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
That's a good point. If someone gets distracted while taking 20, he'd be forced to start all over again. Wait, what was that?
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That's a good point. If someone gets distracted while taking 20, he'd be forced to start all over again.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Infiniti2000
Pie
(11/8/02 7:06:52 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Traps in the CRM
Then you double it because the corridor is 10 feet high? 2 * 1:20 = 2:40. Voila!

Although the rogue can take 20 on search all he wants, on disable device he can only try his best, once at a time!

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/8/02 7:15:05 am)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
Ah no, because the figures I gave were only for the floor, not the walls and ceilings (provided our rogue in question could reach the latter). The CRM hallways are 20' wide and 15' high, so a 5' long stretch of a 20' wide, 15' tall hallway would take 28 minutes to search. The 50' stretch referred to earlier would therefore take 280 minutes, or 4 hours, 40 minutes.

And here I think we find the solution to the pesky trap problems. Who says all the triggers have to be on the floor...?

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Trithereon
Pie
(11/8/02 8:26:51 am)
Reply
Traps in the CRM
The player has invested many ranks for the Search skill and he should reap the rewards for it. You need only be within 10 feet of the object or surface to be searched to be allowed a skill check. If you Take 20, finding traps is easy for someone with a Search skill of +10 or better, and plenty of time. However, since you can't Take 20 with the Disable Device skill, knowing about your problem is only half the battle.

With an environment as large as the CRM, a player must be selective when he decides to Take 20 and can't be assumed to be doing it at every intersection, doorway or staircase. I think time is the best limiting factor for over cautious behavior. My players must specify the exact 5-foot square he intends to search. After several minutes of pointing to a square and asking if its trapped they get the idea that its tedious and 99% futile. Therefore, they tend to only ask for Search checks, and to take 20 on the Search, when they become particular suspicous. Heavily trafficked, general-use areas are only rarely trapped. Low traffic, abandoned and out of the way areas are particularly trap-prone, as are the personal chambers, chests and spellbooks of enemy spellcasters - and sometimes even that of their non-spellcasting cronies.

That's how I take care of it.

benhamtroll
Pie
(11/8/02 9:07:32 am)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
Well, considering that I haven't taken a math class since 1988, I'm not surprised my numbers were off. I was only thinking of the floor . . .

I'm actually surprised that my figure was a multiple of the actual number . . .

Now, if D&D used more stoichiometry . . .

"Just because it's weird doesn't make it art."

Abelard
Orc
(12/12/02 1:40:15 pm)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
Well, in our session last night, the party commenced looting after finally defeating D'Gran and his forces... they searched the giant's chest for traps. They searched the food storeroom for secret doors. They searched D'Gran's bed of bones for traps and treasure...

But the rogue did not search the only thing that was actually trapped: the troll's chest with the poison arrow trap, and he got hit and poisoned. Descritad (and me, too!) found this very amusing...

So anyhow, I thought about this thread. He would have found that crude trap close to automatically even without taking 20... but if he doesn't search, he doesn't find it!

madfox
Orc
(12/13/02 1:17:48 am)
Reply
Re: Traps in the CRM
A proper trap is placed in an area that intruders do not expact a trap to be and local residents can easily avoid it ;) Of course, making such a trap is not easy.

Personally, I never have had a problem with rogues taking 20 on their search checks when they expact traps. They realize it takes a lot of time, which is not something they are willing to spend when they are in the middle of a dungeon.

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