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Trap Themes (Part 1 of 5): Wilderness Snares

jungleTrap themes are templates that can be applied to one or more existing traps to give them a distinct shared flavor.

Each theme presented introduces new powers that can be applied to a trap—adding one does not affect a trap’s XP value, but consider upgrading a trap to an elite or solo if two or more are applied.
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When one speaks of tricks and traps—often in hushed tones punctuated by the muted clanging of ale mugs—images of the dungeon come to mind, complete with its musty corridors, pressure plates, and sneering reliefs. However, traps are not merely the purview of underground denizens and nefarious dungeon lords. Deadly snares are also among the wild places of the realm, defending sacred groves and primeval shrines from those who seek to upset the balance of nature so carefully preserved…

The wilderness snares trap theme allows you to flavor classic traps so that they might blend in with wild, primal, or fey adventure sites. Dart-firing statues might be reskinned as totem poles launching wooden spears, pendulum scythes become heavy logs suspended by vines, and pit traps become holes lined with sharpened branches and covered in leaves.

Traps with the wilderness snares trap theme are intended to both befuddle their victims and attract the attention of nearby primal guardians. They work best when included in encounters with brute and skirmisher monsters of the beast, fey, or plant types.

Skill Modifications: Increase Perception DCs by 4. Additionally, a character can detect a wilderness snare trap with Nature (hard DC).

Animus of the Ancient Stewards

Spirits borne of an ancient, more verdant age surge into your body from the whipping branches. Their presence inside you beckons to nearby predators, riling them and unleashing buried instincts.

This power increases the threat posed by primal mounts and their riders.

Animus of the Ancient Stewards • Recharge 5, 6
Trigger—The associated trap hits with an attack.
Attack (No Action)—The target gains vulnerable 5 mounts/tier and is considered marked by all mounts and enemies riding mounts (save ends both).

Beguiling Displacement

The sting of a dart gives way to a dizzying sensation of floating. When your senses clear, the fey witch—her eyes radiant, her smile enchanting—stands much closer.

Place a lurker or warder trap with this power alongside a beast brute or fey controller. Be careful not to pair this power with artillery fey creatures, which prefer their often more-durable targets to be at a safe distance.

Beguiling Displacement (charm, teleport) • Recharge 4, 5, 6
Trigger—The associated trap hits with an attack.
Attack (No Action)—The target is teleported 3 squares closer to the nearest fey or beast creature and takes a −2 penalty to saving throws versus charm (save ends).

Bestial Lure

A concoction of blood, floral paste, and primal essence spills from the missile onto your armor. The scent draws nearby predators from the trees, their eyes and maws glistening with hunger.

This versatile power works best when applied to a blaster or lurker trap and shines when combined with beasts that fight in packs.

Bestial Lure (poison) • At-Will
Trigger—The associated trap hits with a melee or ranged attack.
Attack (No Action)—Beasts gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls against the target and deal an additional 1d6 damage/tier to the target while it is granting combat advantage (save ends both). Third Failed Save—As previous, and beasts gain a +5 bonus to Perception checks made to detect the target until the target takes a short rest and bathes in hot water.

Defensive Glamour

With a flash of magic and the rustle of leaves, the trapped monolith vanishes, only to re-appear moments later across the rapids.

This power gives traps, especially lurkers, an opportunity to continue threatening the PCs after it would have otherwise been disabled.

Defensive Glamour (illusion) • Encounter
Trigger—A creature makes a successful skill check or attack roll against the associated trap.
Attack (Immediate Interrupt)—The trap teleports 5 squares and is invisible until the end of its next turn.

Entangling Vines

Thick vines lash out from the haft of the swinging wooden log, tangling your legs and snagging on the roots and debris that jut from the underbrush.

This at-will power is ideal for blaster or lurker traps situated in areas of difficult terrain, such as thick underbrush or sloughing mud. Beasts and other primal guardians, particularly those who can move through difficult terrain unimpeded, benefit the most from the trap’s effect.

Entangling Vines • At-Will
Trigger—The associated trap hits with a melee attack.
Attack (No Action)—The target must spend an additional square of movement while moving through difficult terrain and takes a −2 penalty/tier to checks made to cross challenging terrain (save ends both).

Whisperwhistle

Air courses through intricate patterns carved into the wooden crossbow bolt, filling the grove with a sound not unlike a raspy bird call or dog whistle.

This power is best applied to mechanical blaster traps that supplement groups of brutes and skirmishers in an encounter.

Whisperwhistle (charm) • At-Will (1/round)
Trigger—The associated trap hits with a ranged attack.
Attack (No Action)—Beast, fey, or plant creatures within 5 squares of the target may shift 2 squares toward the target and regain the use of their immediate action if they’ve used it already this round.

Sample Trap: Primal Crossbow Turret

This trap was made by applying the bestial lure and whisperwhistle powers to the magic crossbow turret trap (see Dungeon Master’s Guide).

Level 3 Elite Blaster (XP 300)

An exquisitely carved oak arrow issues forth from a nearby totem, air whistling through intricate primal grooves.

Trap: A pair of hidden crossbows attacks each round on their initiative after they are triggered.

Perception
DC 22—You notice the trigger plates and the hidden crossbows set into the stone face.
DC 26—You notice the location of the hidden control mechanism.

Additional Skill (Nature)
DC 18—You notice the trigger plates and the hidden crossbows.

Initiative: +5.
Trigger: The trap activates and rolls initiative when a character steps on 1 of the 4 trigger squares in the area.

Attack
Standard Action          Ranged
10
Targets
: Each crossbow attacks one intruder. It instinctively distinguishes intruders from natives.
Attack:
+10 vs. AC.
Damage:
1d8+3 damage.

Bestial Lure (poison) • At-Will
Trigger—The associated trap hits with a melee or ranged attack.
Attack (No Action)—Beasts gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls against the target and deal an additional 1d6 damage/tier to the target while it is granting combat advantage (save ends both). Third Failed Save—As previous, and beasts gain a +5 bonus to Perception checks made to detect the target until the target takes a short rest and bathes in hot water.

Whisperwhistle (charm) • At-Will (1/round)
Trigger—The associated trap hits with a ranged attack.
Attack (No Action)—Beast, fey, or plant creatures within 5 squares of the target may shift 2 squares toward the target and regain the use of their immediate action if they’ve used it already this round.

Countermeasures

  • You can disable an adjacent trigger plate (Thievery DC 18).
  • You can attack one of the turrets (AC 16, other defenses 13; hp 38). Destroying a turret stops its attacks.
  • You (2 character maximum) can engage in a skill challenge to deactivate the control mechanism (Nature or Thievery DC 18): complexity 2, 6 successes before 3 failures. Success disables the trap; failure causes the control mechanism to explode (close blast 3, 2d6+3 damage to all creatures in blast), and the trap remains active.

Level 5 Encounter Group (XP 950)

A pair of elf archers watches over a sacred grove with their dire wolf companions. A primal crossbow turret trap hidden inside a vine-shrouded totem pole wards off intruders and alerts the elves.

  • 2 dire wolves (level 5 skirmisher; see Monster Manual)
  • 2 elf archers (level 2 artillery; see Monster Manual)
  • primal crossbow turret (level 3 elite blaster)

4 Replies to "Trap Themes (Part 1 of 5): Wilderness Snares"

Mike Furlanetto

September 14, 2010 at 4:40pm

Cool idea, nicely executed!

Using one of these as a common element of several traps within an adventure would really tie the whole thing together in the players’ minds.

Rob Gruber

September 14, 2010 at 11:59pm

Very nicely put together and can be dropped into any wilderness setting. I am going to use the primal crossbow as an encounter in my next few adventures.

Sersa V

September 15, 2010 at 12:08am

@Mike: Right on! You’ve hit the nail on the head – like monster themes, these trap themes are meant to be applied to most if not all of the traps in a given adventure site to give them a common flavor. I’m really happy you like it so far! :)

@Rob: I love to hear that! Nothing’s better for a designer, I think, than knowing that you’re creating things that people are actually picking up and using. I hope you find the rest of the series as useful. :)

Carter

September 15, 2010 at 2:17pm

Love this article & I plan on adapting it for my own use this weekend! Thanks! :)

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