Since I’ve talked about talked about Boxey before, I’ll talk about traps. Oh, how i hate traps. Well, as a player I hate traps. I’ve had several characters die as a result of traps over the years. The most memorable was my monk, Chojen Morg. He died within Nightfang Spire. A trap door opened, he slid down over several blades and was flung out into open space halfway up the tower. He didn’t have feather fall ring… or even feathers. And so he died. He had a rather short life. Not even a few months.
As a DM, i’m neither hot nor cold about traps. I guess they serve a purpose, like killing off characters. But I don’t really like to use them. When I am the DM, I use them rather sparingly. They seem to be more annoyance to keep track of and work through.
It’s the mechanics of traps that I think annoys me the most. When traps are randomly placed, the adventurers must spend endless amounts of time searching. Move 10′, search, move 10′ search, move 10′ search. And it goes on and on and on. It gets very tiresome. But if you only make them search when a trap is nearby, then it gives away that the trap is there.
There are times when traps are useful and acceptable. Protecting specific items, rooms, and so forth have great uses. But it is offset, in my mind, by all the other times of random and fruitless trap searching.
There is one other time when traps come in handy: when it’s amusing. When I was running the Speaker in Dreams campaign, there was a bell tower in the center of town. It was square in shape and had a staircase that ran around the interior of the walls. At each landing I put a trap, not on the landing, but on the step just below it. It didn’t take long for the party to figure it out, but it was rather amusing nonetheless.
In short, well thought out traps have their place, but random traps don’t. At least, that’s how I see it.