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Old 05-15-2019, 12:35 PM   #1
escargo
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Low-tech traps

I'm getting ready to start a GURPS campaign set in Britain in 410 C.E.

I anticipate wanting to use traps as obstacles. The Romans were pretty fond of pit traps, based on the fortifications of Hadrian's wall.

What I don't know is what kind of damage I should expect for the traps to do when a player character falls into one.

Some of the possible configurations for pit traps:

Straight down (depth to be determined). Damage strictly from the fall.
Straight down onto a spike. Possible damage from hitting the spike (a lucky fall could miss the spike).
Straight down onto a grid of small spikes. Likely damage from hitting multiple spikes.
Straight down onto an angled blade. Damage would be like being slashed by a sword.
Straight down into a greased cone cavity. The player character gets wedged into the constricted space and can't climb out unassisted because of the greased sides.

These are just some examples. Is there a list of such simple traps somewhere?
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
a humble lich
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

I don't know of a list of traps in GURPS (although you could get some good idea looking at Pathfinder or D&D). However, to forget the lethality of a pit to a 7 foot deep pool of water. Given how few PCs put points in swimming and the difficulty of swimming in armor, drowning can be really nasty.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Low Tech covers some TL0-2 traps, including deadfalls, nets, pits (with and without spikes), snares, tripwires, needles, and caltrops (pp. 122-123).

Dungeon Fantasy Traps includes a lot of additional variations, but many wouldn't fit in a realistic game (e.g., pits of acid or lava, magical effects, etc.). But it's fairly easy to extrapolate appropriate mechanics for a wide variety of mundane low-tech traps.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:25 AM   #4
escargo
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Low Tech covers some TL0-2 traps, including deadfalls, nets, pits (with and without spikes), snares, tripwires, needles, and caltrops (pp. 122-123).
My copy of GURPS Low-Tech has the glossary and bibliography on those pages.
Caltrops are not mentioned in the glossary or index.

Trapping is mentioned on the outer columns of pages 14 and 15. That does mention snares, deadfalls, box traps, and pit traps.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by escargo View Post
My copy of GURPS Low-Tech has the glossary and bibliography on those pages.
Caltrops are not mentioned in the glossary or index.

Trapping is mentioned on the outer columns of pages 14 and 15. That does mention snares, deadfalls, box traps, and pit traps.
Ahh, you're looking at the 3rd edition version. (Softcover, bearded dude with a conical hat on the cover.) My page references were for the hardcover version for GURPS 4th edition. By the barcode, it says: 1st Edition, 1st Printing, Published December 2010, ISBN 978-1-55634-802-0. The section on traps is in chapter 7, on Security and Covert Ops. Weighing in at 160 pages, this version is a significant expansion over the 3rd edition one.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:33 PM   #6
escargo
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Ahh, you're looking at the 3rd edition version. (Softcover, bearded dude with a conical hat on the cover.) My page references were for the hardcover version for GURPS 4th edition. By the barcode, it says: 1st Edition, 1st Printing, Published December 2010, ISBN 978-1-55634-802-0. The section on traps is in chapter 7, on Security and Covert Ops. Weighing in at 160 pages, this version is a significant expansion over the 3rd edition one.
The ISBN on my copy is ISBN 978-1-55634-343-4. The copyright date is 2001.

It isn't obviously for any version of GURPS.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:58 PM   #7
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by a humble lich View Post
I don't know of a list of traps in GURPS (although you could get some good idea looking at Pathfinder or D&D). However, to forget the lethality of a pit to a 7 foot deep pool of water. Given how few PCs put points in swimming and the difficulty of swimming in armor, drowning can be really nasty.
Only 7' deep would probably take a while to kill a human, since they can get air by jumping off the bottom (unless the fall was far enough their legs were crippled) and breathing in when their face breaches the surface. They'll still die once they become too exhausted to continue doing so, but the same is true of an unarmored character (which they'll probably become in relatively short order, taking off their armor between jumps) - eventually treading water tires you out, and down you go. A naked human - or one in a proper swimsuit - may be able (provided they know how) to float for a while on their back, but eventually they aren't going to be able to stay awake, and then *glub glub glub*.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Falling damage turns impaling.
And gets halved (B430). Of course, as a spike is a Hard object, you just use straight falling damage, rather than doubling it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
See above, but if there were multiple dice, I'd split amongst different random hit locations.
Personally, I'd figure out some way to work out how many spikes the character landed on (such as "1d spikes, multiply by 1.5 for SM+1, 0.7 for SM-1, etc"), assign hit locations to them randomly, then roll full damage and split it up evenly on a per-spike basis (or with an automated dice roller - or a player who just really likes rolling dice - roll for each hit, and divide damage by number of spikes). If not using hit locations, an armor multiplier equal to the number of spikes that hit would be appropriate (falling on more spikes can be better, as it spreads out the impact - this is how people are able to lay on beds of nails and the like without being skewered).

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Falling damage, but half is crushing, half cutting.
B430 suggests all cutting, but halved (as with the spike). It'll need to be a pretty hefty blade to avoid breaking, however!

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
I'd halve the falling damage. And give the PC a DX or Skill roll to wedge something sideways as they fall, like a staff, shield, or weapon to avoid the wedgie at the bottom.
Sounds about right. I assume this is primarily for being able to capture rather than kill the target, so you may want the "cone" to start fairly high up so they don't get too injured by the fall.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
How compatible would this be with "normal" GURPS, rather than the DFRPG product?
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
How compatible would this be with "normal" GURPS, rather than the DFRPG product?
Completely.

It uses all the rules of regular GURPS.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:57 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by a humble lich View Post
I don't know of a list of traps in GURPS (although you could get some good idea looking at Pathfinder or D&D). However, to forget the lethality of a pit to a 7 foot deep pool of water. Given how few PCs put points in swimming and the difficulty of swimming in armor, drowning can be really nasty.
I find it really odd that players do not put points into Swimming because I use water traps a lot. A ten foot drop into a ten feet deep of cold water is a very effective deathtrap, and it is a desperate emergency for the majority of parties. If one of the other members of the party has twenty feet of rope, they might be able to save their party member quickly.

One of my favorite death traps involves a forty foot hallway and two counterweight floors, 20' by 10', that meet in the middle. When the party approaches the middle of the hallway, their weight triggers the counterweight floor that they are on, causing them to slide down into a pool of 10' deep cold water. When their weight is off the counterweight floor, the counterweight floor returns to position, sealing its victims in darkness. Even if they jump to the other floor, they end up activating that counterweight floor with their weight, dropping them into the water and darkness. The pool is supplied with water from an underground stream with an entrance and exit eight feet below the surface of the water.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:16 PM   #10
Žorkell
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
I find it really odd that players do not put points into Swimming because I use water traps a lot. A ten foot drop into a ten feet deep of cold water is a very effective deathtrap, and it is a desperate emergency for the majority of parties. If one of the other members of the party has twenty feet of rope, they might be able to save their party member quickly.
The rope only needs to be able to reach the surface of the water....
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