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Old 05-15-2019, 01:35 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, 03:21 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, 03:54 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 05-15-2019, 04:09 PM   #4
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by escargo View Post
Straight down (depth to be determined). Damage strictly from the fall.
Yup, straight falling damage.

Don't forget to determine if it's hard or soft ground.

Quote:
Straight down onto a spike. Possible damage from hitting the spike (a lucky fall could miss the spike).
Falling damage turns impaling.

Quote:
Straight down onto a grid of small spikes. Likely damage from hitting multiple spikes.
See above, but if there were multiple dice, I'd split amongst different random hit locations.

Quote:
Straight down onto an angled blade. Damage would be like being slashed by a sword.
Falling damage, but half is crushing, half cutting.

Quote:
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.
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.

Quote:
These are just some examples. Is there a list of such simple traps somewhere?
DFRPG Traps.


And small bunch on this wiki: http://gurpswiki.wikidot.com/traps
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:58 PM   #5
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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*.

Quote:
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).

Quote:
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, 05:57 PM   #6
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, 06:16 PM   #7
Žorkell
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
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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Old 05-15-2019, 06:24 PM   #8
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Remember that like barbed wire and mine fields the real purpose of the traps isn't to kill them directly but to bog them down in a location that you can fire into.

For horses buried clay pots work. They are strong enough to stay intact if walked on by people but a horse, especially one charging, will break the pot and then it's leg in the hole.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:32 PM   #9
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by escargo View Post
These are just some examples.
I can think of a couple more:

-Pit trap where a net or boards of the floor is a trigger to bring down the side wall on top of the victim so he can't call for help and suffocates.

-Pit trap with water below and a breakaway net entangles the victim on the way down so he can't swim.

Last edited by Donny Brook; 05-15-2019 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:42 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Low-tech traps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Žorkell View Post
The rope only needs to be able to reach the surface of the water....
Only if you want to rope falling in. You need an extra three feet for the first person to pull and around 3 feet of rope per extra person pulling (around 20 feet for three people pulling up a fourth from a ten foot drop).
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