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Awesome Traps: Perpendicular Gravity Corridor

posted Thursday, March 5th 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering Advice

If your players are as paranoid as mine, they’ll defeat this trap. Otherwise, expect this to be quite deadly.

Perpendicular Gravity Trap

Room 1: The player characters enter from the single door to the north. The walls are lined with spikes. Suspicious players may search for traps, fearing a “crushing wall” trigger. There is none. The double doors in the southeast wall open inward, and beyond is a long corridor.

Room 2: The walls of this corridor are smooth, polished marble. At the end of this corridor is a floor plate marked on the map with a T. Stepping on the plate triggers a magical effect which rotates gravity ninety degrees, such that Room 1 is now “down”. The doors to Room 1 fall open and everyone in both rooms falls down along the corridor and onto the spikes in Room 1.

Comments

  1. Gennady

    March 5th, 2009

    Cool! Great idea, simple and nice.

  2. Toord

    March 5th, 2009

    Lulz. That is evil! :D Excellent idea Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

  3. Vulcan Stev

    March 5th, 2009

    The Enemy Gate is down, literally. My group would probably cry foul, unless I described dried blodd and gore on the spike directly under room 2

  4. Joshua

    March 5th, 2009

    @Vulcan Stev – because without the blood and gore, who’d know that spikes are dangerous? I’m not sure I’d use a trap like this (I sometimes let things like “who can cast a spell that changes gravity that way?” bother me more than it should), but if I did and the players offered that complaint I’d just laugh.

    It occurs to me that you could use the same trap without any magic if the whole section was on a pivot through area T…that’s just engineering that is. I think I’ve talked myself into placing it somewhere in my big mechanical dungeon…

  5. Vulcan Stev

    March 6th, 2009

    Oh definitely understood, I was just commenting on what would happen with my game group if I ran the trap as is.

  6. Kellandros

    March 6th, 2009

    These types of traps are cool in a vague “I want my players to die” way, but how useful are they?

    First, from a simulationist side somebody set this trap up for a reason. Did they make it where no one can go down the corridor ever again? Who would make an impassible trap? Why not just wall off the area and be done with it? The best I could come up with is something to defeat grave robbers like the ancient Egyptian pyramids; but probably some priests should still have access.

    Second, from a game balance perspective- D&D/d20 is not a very lethal game normally. Most traps are designed to hurt and weaken a group, not kill them outright. Higher level traps are designed for higher level groups. Even falling halfway done is 65 feet of falling damage onto spikes. One flubbed roll and half the party could die immediately. Would this force your players to test every closed door and blank wall for traps every time(chests, inns, latrines, dirt paths, major roads, etc) for fear of cheap death?

    I had seen some splat books before of traps like this. In a video game, this could easily be a die and memorize style game element. Using this as flavoring would depend a lot on implementation and your play style.

  7. Ron Bailey

    March 6th, 2009

    Nice. Simple, yet effective. ^_^

  8. Questing GM

    March 8th, 2009

    Diabolical! I like.

  9. Travis

    March 9th, 2009

    That’s a nasty trap, probably kill my guys, what if the hall turned slowly allowing them to try and grab things as they slide towards the spikes, at least give them a chance, liked the dried blood idea too!

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    March 9th, 2009

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  11. Boltgog

    June 5th, 2009

    @Travis
    I like the idea having something there for the PCs to grab while they fall. I would suggest adding some spikes on the walls of area 2 (with dried blood and guts put on the spikes with an illusion to make the characters fear that corridor as well) so that they can make a Reflex of DEX roll to grab onto on of the spikes. Then have the gravity go back to normal after a round or two.

  12. ErisianApathy

    October 2nd, 2009

    I might have to use this for a Star Wars campaign I’m running. Put it in a lab where somebody is making zombies (with nanomachines. They’re the futuristic magic), have it be the failsafe to keep them out of his main lab, since they wouldn’t be smart enough to check it

  13. Michael

    October 15th, 2009

    @Kellandros

    I agree with you.. perhaps small walls could be placed jutting out just before the pressure plate is reached. Or a couple of columns, etc could be used.

    For those who know of the trap, its an easy thing to step diagonally onto the pressure plate, putting their back to the wall or column until gravity rights itself again and then to continue through the door.

    If you don’t know about it and step onto it from the middle, the plummet awaits…

  14. ryan brodesser

    November 28th, 2011

    Nice! good one! but, is the corridor on a switch?

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