Traps and Deathtraps

So I was planning on running a Western style Fantasy campaign usinf the FS2 system, sort of inspired by Record of the Lodoss War, insofar as the inclysion of Eastern stle storytelling action and Western fantasy conventions are like chocolate covered Bacon... but there is one huge staple of the western Fantasy genre that is missing... traps.

How should one approach the ide of a trapped corridor or chest? Just a resistance check? That seems somewhat ... weaksauce? Perhaps the trap or location could be run as though it was itself a named foe?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I think the way I might do it, it'd be Notice checks to spot the existence of traps, and maybe Fix-It checks or stunts to disarm, disable or bypass them?

I was running my players through a jungle last night where they were sneaking to avoid a terrible monster, and I had the idea of doing a "Stealth Chase". Similar to the Vehicle Chase system, you and the enemy might try applying "Stealth Chase Points" to the other party, and whoever reaches 35 points first succeeds, either sneaking successfully or discovering the ones doing the sneaking.

Maybe there's something similar you could do with traps.

If you want it to be similar to D&D, then this is a good start. Feng Shui 2 skills are broad and have lots of overlap, so there are several things that can work in many cases:

  • Intrusion specifically covers finding and bypassing security systems including magical ones. It's basically "Thief" in skill form.
  • Notice could also be used to locate traps, but not to disable them.
  • Sabotage is an obvious skill for disabling traps, but not finding them.
  • Fix-it could also be used to disable traps, but again not for finding them.

Avoiding traps that are activated, ranging from needle throwing traps through to falling rocks, is explicitly covered by rolling Defense See page 12. Much like D&D, the nature of the trap determines which attribute is rolled to avoid it's effects. A magic trap that attempts to mind control you when you look on it involves a Will roll. Poison gas filled rooms are Constitution. Avoiding things or getting out of the way is Defense.

The effects of being hit by the trap would of course vary the nature of the trap. Falling in a pit inflicts damage, as per page 109. Falling in a pit with spikes at the bottom inflicts more damage. If the spikes are poisoned, the character may need to make a new Constitution roll to avoid the poison effects too. You can also have traps mimic the effects any number of schticks, both player ones and foe ones. Magic traps might mimic the sorcery schticks, dart traps might mimic gun schticks, etc.

Much like D&D, complicated trap filled environments might have multiple different traps, and should be tackled in initiative order by the involved characters. This makes it possible to use traps that require some timing, based on the Flying Guillotine of page 203 for example, forcing players to react in a hostile environment to free their friend within X shots, or that character takes a lot of damage or other effect. That limited time becomes a bigger issue if getting to your friend involves braving a hallway full of dart traps or fire jets. Other timing traps might involve rooms filling with water, slowly crushing (spiked) walls, etc.

This could also be mixed with proper foes, like awakened or summoned guardians. Think animated statues, ghostly guardians, or bound demons that seek to defeat the players in a trapped room.

Using these tricks it should be possible to generally recreate any of the D&D style traps you favor.

A simple chest trap with poisoned needle:
9 Difficulty to spot (intrusion or notice)
7 Difficulty to disable (Intrusion, sabotage, Fix-it)
8 Difficulty to avoid needle if triggered (Defense)
7 Damage from needle (reduced by Toughness)
10 Difficulty to resist mild poison
12 Damage from mild poison (p. 109)
Anyone just opening the chest, or screwing up while bypassing a lock (if locked) or trap itself, must roll defense vs the needle. Failure means the needle hits and inflicts a minor amount of damage, but also now requires a Constitution roll to avoid a poison which is not resisted by toughness.)

Overly Complicated Clamp & Cut Corridor Trap
This long hallway has a decorative rail running at about shoulder/neck height along the hallway. If a tripwire about 2/3rd down the hallway is triggered, the railing rapidly expand inward crushing & pinning the occupants of the hallway. Afterwords a spinning serrated blade slowly pops out from the wall and slowly travels down the corridor attempting to behead the pinned foes.
9 Difficulty to spot the tripwire, 13 Difficulty to spot the rails as clamps and the small gap where the blade slides down the corridor.
10 Difficulty to disable the trap if spotted, although it's easier to just step over the wire.
11 Difficulty vs Defense to avoid the clamp part of the trap, Damage 10 and targets are pinned in place.
The spinning blade then pops out and begins moving down the corridor. After 3 shots it hits the person in the front of the group, and then a next person every 1 shot thereafter. It inflicts 20 damage, and pinned targets can not avoid it, while free targets are able to avoid it at will (they'd have to actively put a limb up to have it cut by the slow moving blade). A stunt must be rolled to escape or free a target.
If the players can't agree who's in front vs in back (marching order), have them roll current Fortune and put the lowest roll in front, and proceed in order from there.

For simpler traps, you can just pick a number to represent it's overall difficulty. A trap might be as little as a rating and a damage value or effect, like this:

Magical Teleport Trap
An alcove in the side of this room has a decorative gold goblet, encrusted with jewels. This is the focus of a magical trap. Anyone looking at the cup for more than a few seconds triggers a magical compulsion designed to make the viewer desire the cup. Anyone touching the cup is subject to a magical teleport into a prison cell elsewhere in the dungeon.
10 difficulty to detect the magic trap (intrusion or sorcery)
10 difficulty to disable the magic trap by altering the inscribed runes worked into it's gilding. Easier to just toss a blanket over it.
10 difficulty vs Will to resist the compulsion. Failure and you will slowly walk over to examine the cup in 3 shots. (that's 3 shots for others to stop you.)
10 difficulty vs defense to avoid pulse of magic, failure and you are teleported into a dungeon cell near by.
Note: The cup is actually bolted to the pedestal.

That is a phenomenal run-down, thanks!