A System for Creating Obstacles, Hazards, Wards, and Traps

The following tables help to generate four types of threats that regularly face adventurers.

Note: my apologies for the ugly formatting of some of these tables!  Things got uglier in the transition to  WordPress.  Luckily they’re still readable – just not as pretty as they used to be.  Sigh.  I’m hoping to sort this out at some stage.  

  • Obstacles are barriers to movement: steep cliffs, narrow ledges, deep chasms filled with lava, raging rivers, and so on. They are big and obvious, so PCs notice them automatically. They can’t be “disarmed”: they must either be avoided entirely or passed through. Passing through often requires rolls against DX, Acrobatics, Climbing, or similar.
  • Hazards are dangerous features of the environment that might go unnoticed by the unwary – until it’s too late! Examples include rotten rope bridges, crumbling columns ready to fall, and flooring that will give way at the slightest pressure. PCs do not notice these automatically – indeed, doing so requires Per-based rolls against skills like Architecture, Geology, Mining, Survival, or similar. They can sometimes be “disarmed” – or rather stabilized – by those with the right skills.
  • Wards are magical, divine, or infernal forces intended block or damage interlopers: think exploding Runes, divine barriers, and the like. Noticing them requires Per-based rolls against skills like Thaumatology, Occultism, Theology, Religious Ritual, or similar; “disarming” or dispelling them required IQ-based rolls against the same.
  • Traps are mechanisms constructed specifically for the purpose of harming intruders. They are usually concealed, requiring a Per-based Traps roll to notice; they can also usually be disarmed using Traps.

If you don’t yet know which of the four you’re facing, roll below!

In Dungeons: Are We Dealing with an Obstacle, a Hazard, a Ward, or a Trap?

If you’re in a Dungeon, roll 1d (need a die roller?) to determine whether the threat is derived from the Dungeon Type, the Dungeon Theme, or the Monster Type.  Alternatively, simply decide based on whatever seems most appropriate.

Then roll 1d (need a die roller?) and refer to the appropriate line of the table to determine whether you’re facing an obstacle, hazard, ward, or trap.

1-2 Dungeon Type 3-4 Dungeon Theme —————5-6 Monster Type————–
1-3 Cavern Hazard Ancient Hazard Aberrations Ward Insect-Kin Obstacle
4-5 Obstacle Ward Obstacle Hazard
6 Obstacle Trap Hazard Trap
1-3 Castle Trap Base Trap Beast-Kin Trap Rat-Kin Trap
4-5 Ward Obstacle (misc) Obstacle Trap
6 Obstacle Ward Hazard Obstacle
1-3 Labyrinth Obstacle Bewildering Obstacle Demon-Kin Ward Serpent-Kin Ward
4-5 Trap Trap Hazard Trap
6 Ward Ward Trap Hazard
1-3 Mine Hazard Haunted Ward Dragon-Kin Ward Spider-Kin Obstacle
4-5 Obstacle Hazard Trap Trap
6 Trap Obstacle Hazard Hazard
1-3 Prison Trap Infested Hazard Dwarf-Kin Trap Troll-Kin Obstacle
4-5 Ward Obstacle Trap Trap
6 Obstacle Ward Obstacle Hazard
1-3 Ruin Hazard Testing Trap Elementals Hazard Undead Ward
4-5 Obstacle Ground Obstacle (Any) Ward Hazard
6 Ward Ward Obstacle Obstacle
1-3 Rift Hazard Mad Trap Elf-Kin Ward Wolf-Kin Obstacle
4-5 Obstacle Menagerie Ward Trap Obstacle
6 Ward Obstacle Obstacle Hazard
1-3 Sewer Obstacle Place of Ward Extra-Planars Ward
4-5 Hazard Power Ward Trap
6 Trap Trap Hazard
1-3 Tomb Ward Planar Hazard Faerie-Kin Trap
4-5 Trap Intrusion Ward Ward
6 Hazard Obstacle Hazard
1-3 Temple Hazard Possessed Hazard Goblin-Kin Trap
4-5 Ward Ward Hazard
6 Trap Trap Obstacle
1-3 Warren Obstacle Unsealed Ward Goo Hazard
4-5 Hazard Hazard Hazard
6 Trap Obstacle Hazard

 

Elsewhere: Are We Dealing with an Obstacle, a Hazard, a Ward, or a Trap?

If you’re not in a Dungeon, and you’re trying to work out what kind of threat you’re facing,  roll 3d6 and refer to the following table.  (Need a die roller?)  Research re-rolls may be used.

Note that in many cases, the system will already have decided this for you – for instance, if you’re encountering an Obstacle or Hazard during a Journey.

3-8 Obstacle
9-10 Hazard
11-12 Ward
13-18 Trap

 

Difficulty and Damage

If you don’t yet know how difficult the Obstacle, Hazard, Ward, or Trap is to detect or bypass – or how much damage it does if those efforts fail – then roll 1d (need a die roller?)

Difficulty Damage
1-2 Trivial 1d+Peril
3-5 Standard [Peril] dice -Peril
6 Deadly [Peril] dice +Peril

Damage type depends greatly – see the tables below!

Obstacles

Roll 3d6 (need a die roller?), then 1d6 (need a die roller?). Research re-rolls may be used. If you’re stuck, don’t forget workarounds, below!

In Generic Outdoor Areas In Generic Indoor Areas In Mountains or at Heights  In Watery Areas In Mazes and Labyrinths To pass through this obstacle, roll against… (penalized by Peril)  

Damage Type

 

To avoid or resist damage, roll against….

3-8 3-8 3-10 3-7 3-7 DX or Climbing 1-4 Crushing DX-Peril
5 Leads to Swimming obstacle.
6 Random DX-Peril
9-10 9-10 11-12 8-9 8-9 DX, Acrobatics, or Jumping 1-4 Crushing DX-Peril
5 Leads to Swimming obstacle.
6 Random DX-Peril
11 11-13 13 10 10 ST, Forced Entry, or Lockpicking (if apprt.) 1-4 No damage.

Impassable.

5 Crushing. Dodge
6 Random Dodge
12 14 14 11 11-14 IQ Random IQ or Dodge
13-18 15-18 15-18 12-18 15-18 Swimming Drowning, as per p. B354.  Once you inhale water, you must succeed on a number of Swimming rolls equal to Peril.

Hazards

Roll 3d6 (need a die roller?), then 1d6 (need a die roller?). Research re-rolls may be used. If you’re stuck, don’t forget workarounds, below!

 

 In Generic Indoor Areas  In Generic Outdoor Areas  

In Caves and Mines

 

In Ruins

 

In Magic Areas

 

In Leafy Areas

To notice the hazard, and then again to stabilize it, roll against… (Notice roll is based on Per, Stabilize roll is based on IQ.  Both rolls are penalized by Peril.)  

 

Damage Type

 

To avoid or resist damage, roll against…

3-7 3-6 3-5 3-6 3-10 3-5 Alchemy, Chemistry, or HazMat (Magical) 1-3 Toxic Dodge or Block, followed by HT-Peril.
4-6 Corrosion Dodge or Block
8-10 7-8 7-9 7-11 11 6-7 Architecture, Masonry, or Engineer 1-5 Crushing DX-Peril, or Dodge
6 Random DX-Peril, or Dodge
11-13 9-11 10-15 12-13 12 8-9 Geology or Prospecting 1-5 Crushing DX-Peril, or Dodge
6 Random DX-Peril, or Dodge
14-18 12-18 16-18 14-18 13-18 10-18 Gardening, Herb Lore, Naturalist, or 1-5 Toxic HT-Peril
Survival (appropriate type) 6 Random IQ-Peril

Wards

Roll 3d6 (need a die roller?), then 1d6 (need a die roller?). Research re-rolls may be used. If you’re stuck, don’t forget workarounds, below!

 

 

 

In Generic areas

 

 

 

In Magic Areas

 

 

In Divine/ Infernal Areas

In Special Areas (10-11: choose aprprt.) To notice the Ward, and then again to dispel it, roll against… (Notice roll is based on Per, Dispel roll is based on IQ)

Both rolls are penalized by Peril.

 

 

 

Damage Type

 

 

 

To avoid or resist damage, roll against…

3-7 3-8 3-6 3-7 Alchemy, Chemistry, or HazMat (Magical) 1-3 Toxic Dodge or Block, followed by HT-Peril.
4-5 Corrosion Dodge or Block
6 Random Dodge or Block
8-10 9-12 7-8 8-9 Occultism or Thaumatology 1-3 Random Will-Peril
4-6 Random Dodge
11-13 13 9-12 12-13 Theology or Religious Ritual 1-3 Random Will-Peril
4-6 Random Dodge
14-18 14-18 13-18 14-18 Exorcism or Hidden Lore 1-3 Random Will-Peril
(appropriate type) 4-6 Random Dodge

 

Traps

Roll 1d6 (need a die roller?).  Research re-rolls may be used.  If you’re stuck, don’t forget workarounds, below!

To notice the Trap, and then again to disarm it, roll against… (Notice roll is based on Per, Disarm roll is based on IQ)

Both rolls are penalized by Peril.

 

 

 

Damage Type

 

 

To avoid or resist damage, roll against…

Traps 1-2 Pi- and Toxic Dodge or Block, followed by HT-Peril
3-6 Random Dodge or Block

 

Random Damage Type

Roll  1d6 (need a die roller?).  Research re-rolls may be used.

1 Burning
2 Corrosion
3 Crushing
4 Cutting
5 Impaling
6 Toxic

 

Workarounds

There are times when none of the PCs have the necessary skills to disarm a trap or dispel a ward – or even to notice them. If so, hope is not lost! It’s time to look for workarounds. The table below provides sets of substitute skills that can be used instead. When necessary, roll for one set, only. Half the joy here lies in coming up with a justification for why this particular skill works! As always, the rule should be “if it leads to more fun, allow it.”

Rolls against all these skills take a penalty equal to Peril, as normal – but because they’re workarounds, they also take an an additional -1 penalty. That’s the price of doing things in an unexpected manner!

Workaround Skills

Roll 3d6 (need a die roller?).  Research re-rolls may be used.

Obstacles Hazards Wards Traps
3-8 3-5 Herb Lore or Gardening
3-6 3-8 Mechanics
7-9 9 8-10 Sleight of Hand or Throwing
10 11 6-8 11 Hidden Lore (appropriate type)
11 12 9-10 12-14 Architecture, Heraldry, or History
12 13 11-12 15 Literature or Poetry
13-16 15-16 13-14 Philosophy or Meditation
15-17 Musical Instrument or Singing
17-18 17-18 18 16-18 Jeweler or Connoisseur (appropriate type)

 

 

 

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