Pass me some more character sheets?
Original SA post
I love you, on the other hand.
Well, just for that, I had a few hours tonight... let's get this party started!
Grimtooth's Traps Too: Pass me some more character sheets?
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
A man named the Marquis de Sade
Had habits exceedingly odd.
When Grimtooth he met,
He broke out in a sweat,
For the troll was much crueler, by God!
- The Magic Rat
Earlier this year I did a
summary of the first book in the series
, and that should be enough to give the general historical overview here. In short, the first book was genuine Old School™ material from top to bottom... but not quite in the way some people expect. See, even back in 1981 the tropes of D&D fantasy and groggish high-lethality dungeon crawling were already pretty much burned into the hobby, and
was both a loving homage to and total parody of dangerous dungeon delving, presenting over a hundred traps of varying degrees of plausibility in a system-agnostic narrative method, allowing the reader to appreciate the ludicrous, Goldbergian lengths the hypothetical killer Dungeon Master (represented in the book by Grimtooth the Troll himself) would put his unwary delvers through. This proved successful enough that the sequel,
Grimtooth's Traps Too
, came out a year later, in 1982. The first game had a lot of input from industry newcomers who would later go on to be big names (well, as much as anyone in RPG writing can be), but
had a lot more proper submissions from actual players. The overall brutal tone of things hasn't changed much, mind you!
Before we get too much farther, I'll need to remind you of the unstated assumptions that the book works behind. The book's a contemporary of the first runs of
Call of Cthulhu
with its revolutionary point-based non-random chargen had only come out the year beforehand. So a lot of what are now ironic D&D loot-and-kill adventurer traits are played relatively straight. In particular, some of the traps begin to fall apart if you don't assume:
The adventurers are, in fact, greedy thieving bastards and
steal everything that isn't nailed down in order to line their pockets with filthy lucre.
The adventurers are not in fact idiots, and will be using some sensible degree of precaution in their dungeon crawling; searching for traps, carrying ten-foot poles around to poke things with, and taking the
safest and most conservative choices.
The Dungeon Master is a sadistic antagonist who is well aware of the above two facts, just as the players are well aware that the DM is trying to actively murder all of their characters. Both sides of this cold war will plan and act accordingly.
Still, even with this said the whole of it is taken a bit... tongue in cheek. Even back in the day, not every group was quite running convention-style kill-em-all campaigns, and our favorite troll was well aware of this.
So why am I writing this? Because a few of you numbskulls out there still haven't caught on to what it means to be a Game Master. A GM doesn't slavishly follow anything - books, manuals, or edicts from On High - except his own bloodshot instincts. For the true Game Master, any reference work such as this can only be a guideline.
But a few of you haven't learned this.
Some of you wrote to me and said that you thought my traps were too deadly.
What's going on here? How can a trap be too deadly? Most of these traps, having been designed by mere mortals,
aren't deadly enough.
All right, I'll accept the fact that some of you out there have twisted ideas about how to administrate a dungeon. Newfangled ideas about delvers escaping with their lives, and stuff like that. To each his own, I suppose. But if you're going to be a maverick, then you've got to blaze your own trails. Don't ask me to make my traps less deadly ... change them yourself.
Now isn't that a fresh idea? Bet you can't find a rule for that in your hardbacks.
Goodness, the dreaded rule zero, even in 1982!
Indeed, Grimtooth has exiled the editor of the first book for being too big of a wuss and wanting to lowball things, so is directly handling the presentation (and snark) himself, beginning the presentation of what passes for continuity in this series. Like the first book, every trap here is given a rating of one to five
, with a one-skull rating being "probably survivable", a three-skull rating is "likely needs reconstructive surgery", and a five-skull is "closed casket funeral". Got all that? Good. And like the first book, the traps are broken down into several categories which are fairly self explanatory;
(the longest category, no pun intended),
(various miscellany that doesn't fit into other categories).
And like before... we'll be doing voting! The book isn't very long, despite having over one hundred traps, only sixty-four pages, so it isn't fair to list everything. So instead I'll give a list of names, and people can PM me or post about which they'd like to see, and I'll try and cover them. I'll be describing a few of my favorites regardless, and know that the names can often be deceptive. We'll start with Room Traps like before, giving us the options of the
Beware of Low Ceiling
The Teeter-Totter Room
One Way or Another
Fire and Ice
The Hall of the Memorial Carpet
The Safe-Cracker's Nemesis
Cretin in the Circular Citadel
Death of 1000 Slices
The Ceiling Trap
Burial at Sea
Fruits of Misfortune
Let Me At'Em
Lodes of Fun
The Better Mousetrap
Kiss of Death
Another Brick Through the Wall
Sink or Swim
I'll get the next post up in... a day or two, so if you have any favorite's, now's the time to chime in!
In a 10'x10' room, nobody can hear you scream
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - In a 10'x10' room, nobody can hear you scream
Grimtooth's Traps too posted:
The traps in this booklet are designed for game purposes only.
Actual construction of these traps might prove harmful, and such construction is strongly discouraged.
Whoo, a pretty good selection of votes here. Let's say we
open the blood gates
As with the first book, room traps are generally various engines of doom that encompass an entire, well, room of a dungeon. While there's some overlap with corridor traps, this snippet well-summarizes the important differences:
Grimtooth's Traps too posted:
Room Traps tend towards the bizarre. Rare indeed is the subtle room trap - these things prefer to scream their presence to even the most dense of delvers, abandoning all surprise in favor of snaring the curious cat.
So... they're all about being really big and obvious and relying on the idiocy of the party. Hooray! Going down the requests, let's start with
, a one-skull trap. Aw. Well, better to work our way to the more lethal varieties, right? This one was made by a Cliff Baird, and is relatively simple, trapping dungeon delvers through pure complacency. See, half of the room is well-supported, but the
half is set right beyond the pivot-point, and "characters who enter this room may dance, jump up and down, or have a picnic between the door and the pivot point beneath the floor." Of course, since everything seems safe, our
adventurers may get complacent, and once enough of them - and enough weight - get onto the other side of the room, well...
Yep. This one only gets a one-skull rating since the room is designed only to trap the heroes in the room/floor below rather than directly causing harm. Of course, it wouldn't be Grimtooth's Traps if it didn't helpfully note that "as an especially savage variation, have the floor slide off its pivot and follow the delvers into the pit if they blow it."
Dedman Walkin asked what the difference is between that trap and the
, and... well, there's actually a pretty big one! This one for example is a four skull rating, letting you know things are going to be a bit more... interesting. Also it was written by a Larry DiTillio... and yes, I'm reasonably sure he's the same one who later went on to write several RPG supplements, such as the famous
Masks of Nyarlathotep
for Call of Cthulhu in 1984. Also, you know, as the main writer for both
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Transformers: Beast Wars
, and the executive story editor for
Yeah, there's some geek history here.
Anyway! This is another one of those traps that plays on curiosity and greed, as implied in the campaign expectations in the first post. The room itself is small and rectangular, and "identical stone statues are set in opposite ends of the room; a series of glass globes supported on iron racks rest along the other pair of walls. Behind each statue appears to be a poorly-concealed secret door." Like the teeter-totter, the room rests on a pivot, but in this case the statues actually hold the floor in place with small bolts. Naturally, as soon as one of the statues is moved to gain access to one of those secret doors... well, it's a lot like the prior trap, where the contents of the room pivot and spill. "That doesn't sound so bad," I hear you say. "Why does it earn four skulls?"
Well... remember those glass globes? They'll pretty easily smash open on the floor, "spilling their deadly contents (poison gas/flaming oil/scorpions/whatever you choose)." Also, the stone statues will probably topple onto the delvers, in case being bathed in poison gas or whatever
just isn't enough
This brings us to the
Hall of the Memorial Carpet
, a four-skull trap by a Peter Yearsley. I personally think this one should have rated the full five skulls, not only for its horrendous lethality but also because trying to escape it- ... well, we'll get to that in a moment. The room itself is fairly standard; there's a niche in one wall with a lantern, a niche in the opposite wall with a treasure chest, doors on the remaining walls, and the floor itself is... well, the memorial carpet. An "abstract melange of metal, cloth, leather, and perhaps a bone fragment or two." If you're beginning to realize where this is going...
... you're completely correct.
But it's not
getting smashed into a literal thin red paste that makes this earn its rating. This is
, they can't just leave it there. See, the trap triggers on a delay, two minutes after a door is opened... after which the ceiling begins to fall, and the doors slam shut. Ears likely pop as air pressure increases, which is the only warning... as that's the only thing holding the ceiling up. If either door is opened, well, it drops like a rock and... splat.
If either the chest or the lamp is moved, there's a slow leak that lets the ceiling fall and crush you... slower. But see, that's not the most devious part. Remember, there's an alcove, juuust big enough for a single person to stand in, with a hidden door allowing exit... which in turn will release the pressure and allow a sudden drop, squishing everyone
. Surely, there's absolutely no way the party would get in a fight over who lives and who dies, right...?
Well, if the dungeon master's feeling generous, there might be an airlocked passageway on the alcove secret door, allowing for safe exit. But only one at a time, and if anyone forgets to close a door behind them...
Next up is something less, uh, horrifying.
The Safe-Cracker's Nemesis
, a much more relaxed three-skull trap by a Scott Rhoads. A fairly simple setup, if an obviously suspicious one; a long open room with a safe at the far end. Indeed, it's pretty much exactly what it looks like, except for the safe being incredibly difficult to crack. Which presents a problem... since every mistake means the floor quietly slides a bit towards the wall with the safe, with a bottomless pit looming below. A mistake or two can probably be recovered if the safecracking delver's willing to jump, but if they have their ear to the tumbler and don't pay attention, or if they keep on messing up, it quickly gets to the point where they become stranded on one side of the pit. Whoops!
Of course, if the dungeon master wants to be nice, the "treasure" in the safe could simply be a door leading to a "safe" escape from the room...
And from there, we come to
Burial at Sea
! A comparatively gentle one-skull trap by Matt Nadelhaft, who may possibly be the person behind several obscure
. Regardless, this particular trap is a small room that smells faintly of brine, likely setting off a few warning bells in a wiser delver's head. Still, there appears to be a secret door in the floor... and who can resist that? The only problem is, once the trapdoor is opened...
, water "literally explodes through the trapdoor with the force of a tidal wave", the pressure slamming the doors shut and trapping our delvers within. The reason this is a one-skull trap though is that the ceiling is domed, allowing just enough breathing room for a floating adventurer. Of course, if they're laden down with heavy armor, sacks of stolen riches, or other such weight items they'll doubtlessly need to cut them free to float properly, bringing us to the
purpose of the trap...
... stripping your characters of their stuff! "A minute after the room has flooded, two smaller trapdoors will open at the base of the walls. One will pump in cold water while the other provides an outlet for the cold water." This current will stay near the bottom, last for several minutes, and of course wash away that happened to be dropped to the floor in the panic, with the brine flowing out afterwards. Since this is Grimtooth's Traps though, it helpfully notes that you should "remind [the players] how much brine itches as it dries ..."
As predicted by PurpleXVI,
Fruits of Misfortune
is one of those... quirkier traps, even if it's only another one-skull trap by a Stephen McAllister. Within a room in the dungeon, our delvers encounter a silver tree bearing golden fruit, something that
isn't suspicious at all
, no sir. But remember our cardinal rule: the delvers are filthy greedy thieves who will seize anything shiny at the first opportunity! And indeed, there's no magic or anything at all that can be detected, and they can go ahead and pluck the solid-gold fruit as they like.
See... the trick is the
, not the fruit. The branches are hollow, and pumped with knockout gas of some suitably potent type. It will take some time to affect people in the room of course, but the more fruits plucked the faster it's pumped in, and the faster they all hit the floor. It doesn't say what happens afterwards, but presumably it involves the inhabitants of the dungeon throwing them into some other, more lethal trap.
Which brings us to our last trap for today,
, which sadly does not involve lasers in any capacity... though once you've ruled that out, you can probably narrow it down a bit, considering what else he was famous for.
! This one's by Liz Danforth and Mike Stackpole, who you might recognize from the prior book... and more likely their extensive resumes in RPGs, fantasy art, and fantasy and sci-fi novels (Battletech, Star Wars, etc) with multiple companies over the past few decades. Stackpole himself also did an extensive research on the Satanic Panic and D&D craze during the 80's, eventually releasing a study that showed how tenuous the connections between gaming and violence/suicide were, and even if every last case on trial were true, that gamers still apparently had a far
rate of violence than the general population. The research study's
still available online
in a few places, for those curious about gaming history.
But! Anyway! There's a trap to discuss. This is a three-skull, and earns it. Within the room, there's a ten-foot diameter well sunk into the floor, literally filled right to the brim with water. Around it is a one-foot deep depression perfectly level with the water line, giving an appearance of a step with a few small drains to catch any overflow. If you clicked the link above... well, you can figure out where this is going already. The well itself is fairly deep, twenty-five feet, and of
the bottom is filled with treasure. The water itself is harmless, but that's not the trap, it's the trigger. See, once someone dives in to go fetch the treasure, a certain volume of water is displaced, enough to flow over the depression, into the drains...
... triggering the trap doors that
unleash the piranha
Just in case this isn't bad enough, our writers in question suggested molten lava as a more immediately lethal option, flash-boiling anything in the water when it's released. Grimtooth himself of course prefers this option...
Whooph, that was longer than I expected. But next time, we'll move on to Corridor Traps... and holy crap there's a lot of these. As before, votes will happily be accepted in thread or by PM, but there's a lot here so I'll probably break it into two parts. The listed options are:
Shower of Gold
Now You See It, Now You're Dead!
Step This Way, Please
Beware Flash Flood
We All Fall Down
Beer Barrel Stairwell
Hit'Im Where He Ain't
I'll Take A Stab At That
Oil's Well That Ends Well
Russian Roulette Stairway
The Double Scythe
There And Back Again
Only Time Will Tile
Meet The Pit
In Case Of Fire
Too Many Tentacles
Chute The Loop
Amazing Ginsu Chute
A Chuting Gallery
. As before, the update will be up when I get some time, hopefully in a day or two!
Hallway to the Danger Zone
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - H
allway to the Danger Zone
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
A hallway is no place to rest - and it's time the delvers of the world realized it.
Unlike the Room traps last chapter, corridor traps tend to be more like... well, traps. Not necessarily
since remember which book we're reading here, but tending towards things you'd stumble onto rather than actively get yourself in trouble in due to your own
unwariness. Of course, I say this, but then the first trap we cover today is horribly blatant!
Shower of Gold
, a four-skull trap by J. E. Todd. Off to a good start! And it's almost too obvious... in the wall of a corridor is a lever marked with, "treasure vault release". Presumably you'd place it later in a dungeon, to entice the adventurers with hidden riches! And in fact it is completely honest, opening the treasure vault... as a pit opens below, the vault opens from the ceiling, and the contents, a good "4620 cubic feet of gold coins (...) we're talking about 4,620,000 pounds of gold here" proceeds to crush the party.
The narrator helpfully notes that anything that survives the trip later returns to the vault by the dungeon's monsters, making this one of the few times where the treasure kills the heroes and takes their stuff.
Up next... the indignity of the
trap, another four-skull rater by Mark Bassett! It's almost fiendishly simple really, your plain old pit trap of whatever make... except instead of being filled with spikes or scorpions or what you'd usually suspect, it's filled with
. Which seems comical... until the book mentions that it's too thick to breathe, "too airy to float on, too thick to paddle in, and too slippery to allow anyone caught within to grab a rope easily." Being Grimtooth's Traps, the book also points out that the dungeon master can then proceed to needle the player indefinitely for the inglorious manner (
smothered in whipped cream
!) in which their poor character died.
And from there, the
, a fairly gentle one-skull trap and another one by Liz Danforth. This is one of those traps that involves a bit of heavy and unsubtle magic, as anyone walking down the path - be it a corridor, a bridge, an open path - will always have their feet upon it, and not notice that the path twists about beneath them like, well, a Moebius strip. Which means the adventurers can walk and walk and walk
... or at least until they figure out what's going on. The reason it's only a one-skull is that it can be easily escaped by just stepping off the path... but the book helpfully notes that gravity may not be in the same orientation depending on where they leave, leading to anything from undignified bruises to toppling into whatever may have lay beneath and open path.
If you've noticed there hasn't been any illustrations so far, well, it's not my fault you folks picked traps without any! Fortunately, this is about to change thanks to
, another two-skull trap by Mike Stackpole. This one's a bit complex in setup, so I'll just quote the book directly here...
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
The set-up for the trap begins in a high-ceilinged corridor. There is a thick center beam running the length of the corridor. In the center of the stone-floored corridor there is a perfectly round boulder of granite resting upon a thin, granite pedestal that looks much like a golf tee. To the north, the corridor narrows, and the ceiling drops to the height of fifteen feet. Once the corridor gets smaller, the floor becomes made of wooden planks.
Naturally, this is probably sending up all sorts of warning bells, so I wouldn't describe it myself quite that way to players. And there's a trigger, a pressure plate, that triggers a large heavy mallet... that swings down from the ceiling... that smashes into the granite boulder.
Of course, the granite boulder is big and heavy and probably bowls its way through anyone in front of it, finally impacting the wooden flooring and smashing through it, where it will helpfully roll downhill back towards where it started... also smashing its way through the floor supports, toppling anyone who didn't get smashed into the room below. And even better...
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
To add insult to injury, and to reset the trap, Mike has suggested the addition of a pipe for the ball that will magically accelerate its rate of speed and curve around to launch the boulder back down the corridor towards the mallet that propelled it. If all goes well, the ball will hit the mallet and smash it back into the ceiling while coming to rest back on its tee. If, however, adventurers get in the way ...
And from there-
I vote for whichever trap has the most fire.
... Okay, we'll move on to
Oil's Well than Ends Well
, a combustion-heavy four-skull trap by Peter Yearsley. Our hapless adventurers come across a corridor, long and narrow, running east to west, and importantly, with a large firepit occupying the center of the corridor. There's similar doors on both ends, so presumably one only has to get to the other door and out to safety. It seems pretty simple, so... what's the Grimtooth Catch?
It's simple: everything in the room is a lie and wants to kill you. Leaping across the pit is impossible, as there's an short invisible wall midway across the corridor that will catch up anyone trying to jump it and topple them into the pit. Trying to damage the doors to make an opening is futile, since they're actually hollow and filled with oil, setting the whole room ablaze. The walls are filled with oil as well if the delvers try and get "creative" and smash their way through or use pitons to try and cross over the coals.
you get across? Well, you can cheat, flying or teleporting across, you caster supremacist you. Or... you can walk.
Simply taking your time and going directly across "will trigger the magical formation of an invisible walkway that will allow passage without harm." Oh, Grimtooth...
Moving down the requests, next up is the
Russian Roulette Stairway
, a two-skull trap by Brandon Corey. I'm... okay, honestly I'm not too big a fan of this one, it's way too wordy and over explained for what it actually does. To simplify the initial explanation, take a look at the image here:
The trap looks like an elevated stairway inside a narrow corridor, but it can actually rotate, with each face having trigger steps that activate some sort of horrible result while also making the stairs rotate, presenting a different set of traps each time the stairs are crossed. And what do the traps do? Well...
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
The first set trap is to have the stairs flatten to a slide. When all weight is removed from the slide, the steps will reset and be prepared to trigger set two.
Set two will cause the steps to heat up and toast the toes of characters on the stairs.
Set three will freeze, a nasty effect if the feet have been roasted on set two.
The fourth set will swing around and present the characters with a pit. The bottom of the pit is the trigger for the fourth set; anyone landing on the pit bottom will cause the stairs to whirl again. The people in the pit will then be trapped.
The fifth step is probably the most cruel. The trigger step for it will collapse, sinking a character knee-deep in the floor. As the stair turns the character becomes much shorter.
The sixth and last set has a amusing magical effect. All characters over six feet tall will have their height cut in half and anyone shorter than six-feet will be doubled in size. Two trips on this set should be enough to get everyone back to normal, but it can be fun.
So! There you go!
Which brings us to what's probably the most requested trap so far, the
! Made by Fred Meyer, it's four skulls and it earns them all. In contrast to the prior trap, this one's quite lethally simple, and rather obvious. See, at one end of the corridor there's a steel bee hive, something quite obviously out of place... and the oddity itself is the trap, as delvers approach in curious investigation. (My personal suggestion: make it gold instead of steel, triggering that good ol'
). As with many traps, there's a hidden pressure plate right in front of it that sets off the trap itself. But what does it do...?
EDIT: Betting that the bee hive isn't actually full of bees.
No fair spoiling!
But yeah, this is a case where a picture's worth a thousand words, but even so the book helpfully explains that the trigger "causes the hive to fire over one hundred half-inch steel darts down the corridor at a dismaying speed. The darts will bounce off stone but will rip through flesh and most armor, resulting in total chaos in the section of corridor about five feet away from the hive." And if that somehow isn't enough? Well, Grimtooth cheerfully notes that you can make the darts rusty or poisoned to ensure the slow and painful death of anyone not lucky enough to be shredded outright!
And... that's it for this post! Next time, yet more
! No need for voting this time, unless you
want to see something in specific...
Let's Get Kraken
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - Let's Get Kraken
Where last we left off, our
adventurers were wandering through the assorted corridor traps that Grimtooth has presented! In both books so far this has been the longest category, and it makes a certain degree of sense; in any dungeon there's going to be a lot of passageways, and they provide a guaranteed direction of access for things like pressure plates and other triggers. But even with most of the chapter down, there's still some fun to go! But do me a favor, and try not to scroll too fast. Getting to the images right away might spoil some of the surprise...
Up first this time is the
, a two-skull trap by James Walker. It starts off fairly simple, your average long, dark corridor... and quite a scenic one too, as torchlight reveals sparkling glass and gems in the floor, giving an appearance of a starry backdrop. However, the far end of the corridor ends in a solid wall, even if this isn't immediately visible from the entrance... and as the delvers move deeper, a wall will slide up behind them, sealing them in the corridor. Both the original and new walls have small holes cut into them, right at the very top where they meet the ceiling, and the rising wall also has small apertures to allow the room to corridor with natural gas! As it's odorless when untreated and heavier than air, it tends to stay low to the floor, safely out of torch reach... although Grimtooth helpfully notes that particularly short characters may succumb to suffocation. But that seems relatively harmless by Grimtooth's standards! Well...
Remember those holes in the ceiling? They're so flaming arrows or - more dramatically - a spark-throwing rocket can be fired through. If left alone, they'll probably just sail past harmlessly. Of course adventurers will doubtlessly try block the projectiles, knocking them down into the gas...
And if that fails? Well, the holes can still be used by local monsters to pepper the delvers with arrows.
Moving on, we hit the next request, Larry DiTillio's two-skull
There and Back Again
. It's one of those traps that's blatantly obvious, even if
it works may well be a mystery! It seems like "a veritable cornfield of 5' high wooden stakes poking up out of the floor," though beyond a similarly broad expanse of normal blank floor. It's another one of those pivot traps... when the adventurers step on the open stretch of floor, it spins around on a hinge, sending them toppling into the pit below and reorienting it so that the spikes are now facing downwards! But, you might say, how does that hurt the witless fools who fell in the pit?
Because there's a trampoline at the bottom that sends them flying upwards back into the spikes, that's why!
From there we come to
, another two-skull trap by Larry DiTillio, and another trap that probably deserves to be bumped up the rankings. The trap itself is quite simple, the usual "step on pressure plate, horrible thing happens". The trick here is just
horrible, since the name is quite accurate. Triggering the trap causes tempered steel spikes to jab out of the wall at different heights; around head level, at the small of the back, and at the knees.
If such treatment doesn't kill the character outright, it should certainly cause some severe changes to his or her "alignment" ...
... Right. Well. Moving on!
The next trap sort of branches a bit between room and corridor traps, and it's David Steven Moskowitz's
Only Time Will Tile
. Like many traps, it's baited with some valuable trinket at the far end of a suspicious-looking corridor, set with marble tiles a regular interval apart, and patches of plaster in between, for sort of a tiled effect. The marble tiles are of course trapped, and stepping foot on them will send poison darts shooting out from the wall! They'll almost certainly miss a quick-witted delver though, driving them to leap for safety elsewhere. Like, say, the plaster floor between the tiles.
... Which is only a thin facade, readily collapsing under the weight of a person and sending them toppling into the pit below! Obviously, getting to the end of the corridor and back
Ken St. Andre (the man who wrote Tunnels & Trolls, the world's
tabletop RPG, as well as the
and a certain computer game called
...), brings us the four-skull
as well as all the following of the traps in this post too, just so you know who to blame. This one is such a blatant honeypot, yet if placed deep enough and after dangerous enough encounters... well, it might be tempting still, right? It's a chute, with a sign above it stating simply, "Emergency Exit - this chute is guaranteed to get you out of the dungeon alive." And it is completely, one hundred percent true. There is absolutely nothing dangerous in the chute at all, and no harm will befall the adventurer while riding it!
It's just that the exit happens to be on a cliff face, several hundred feet high. Hey, technically they're out of the dungeon once they splatter like a watermelon, right?
But we're coming near the end of the chapter now, and all the rest of these are going to be doozies. We've been lucky so far, running into weak and merciful traps! But that ends now, as we move onto our first
of this review. Abandon all hope of survival, as shit is about to get
. Take, for example, the
. I'm really very hesitant to simply link an image, but the description for the trap is short, and perhaps it's best to let your imagination do the work for me. Just take a look at this picture, and ponder for yourself the results.
But... no. No! That's just the start here. There's two more traps to explain! The next is the murderous
In Case of Fire
, and it is set within a long corridor. One wall is stone, and the other plate glass, curious and suspicious... especially since beyond the glass lies only darkness, and the occasional flicker of odd lights and hints of motion in the distance. Worrying. Worse, the floor is paved with rough hunks of stone, hot and leaking noxious fumes... and that's because the whole of the floor is actually
, soaked with kerosene[/i]. Any sort of fire will unsurprisingly send the whole corridor aflame!
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
Painted in huge red letters on the stone wall is the message: "In case of fire, break glass."
Obviously, anyone with sense will have turned tail and fled long beforehand. But we know adventurers are a foolhardy bunch, and no doubt they'll only start to get worried once they're a good way through the corridor. They've been careful, not touching the glass, keeping all forms of fire away from the floor. But that doesn't matter. Since at the other end of the hall is a monster who will cheerfully toss a lantern onto the coals, turning the whole corridor into a furnace. Death will be swift and excruciating!
But... maybe our adventurers think quickly. They remember the sign, and smash the glass! This will in fact put out the flame... because beyond the other side of the wall is the abyssal depths of the ocean. Water will rush in with great force, not quite extinguishing the fire, but turning the whole of the corridor into a scalding steam bath. Only
will the corridor be properly flooded, trapping the delvers in an enclosed underwater chamber.
"But", you say, "What if our party is well prepared? What if they're immune to fire, or can breathe underwater, and can survive the worst this trap has to offer?" Well, I'll tell you, this is
the worst this trap has to offer. I want you to think about what else may happen here, considering what you know of the trap. No scrolling down, that would be cheating! But just think, think of what else might befall our doomed delvers. Only once you have a guess should you scroll down.
Have one yet?
There's a motherfucking KRAKEN!
And Grimtooth goes to great pains to specifically note, "Whatever gaming system is being used, the kraken should be about as tough as monsters can get."
But... okay. Okay, we're down to our last trap this time. It's another five-skull one, but it can't really top that, right? But we must proceed regardless with
Too Many Tentacles
, and no, please do not make any sort of joke about Japan. Got it? Okay. This one is a pure abattoir, and clearly so, so it's important that our adventurers have some damned good reason to head towards the other end. Like the prior corridor, this one has walls of two different materials; on one side, beaten and cracked iron, and on the other, a curious wall of possibly magical gelatinous slimy substance. Definitely strange, but this probably goes ignored considering the more immediate difficulty.
Suspended from the ceiling are hundreds, maybe thousands of whip-like writing tentacles, reaching nearly to the floor and obscuring the view down the corridor. While adventurers may cut through them, it's a grueling and dangerous process, as each tentacle has poisonous, jellyfish-like stingers that can cripple or kill whoever they manage to hit. A careful party can manage it, taking their time, but this is only part of the problem.
See, the tentacles are only a
. The corridor is lined with pressure plates, almost certainly easily missed among the writhing threat.
Grimtooth's Trraps Too posted:
Some of the plates release clouds of poisoned needles. Some activate trap doors which drop characters into pits filled with spikes fouled with gorilla dung. Others set off mechanical chakram-throwers that fog the clear part of the corridor with whirling disks of death.
But even this is only the prelude. These traps can potentially be survived, or avoided. But no, once they get far enough, only one last trap is left to trigger. Remember how one wall is steel? That's because the
is a piston, that activates and shoves the delvers into - and through - that gelatinous wall.
And out into the depths of the sea. The
depths, where they're likely to be crushed like a grape at the hostile pressure. And if that isn't enough...
... Whooph. Like I said, this was a big chapter... and honestly, probably the high point there. There's not a whole lot that can top
string of bitter lethality, but don't worry, there will be plenty of things that try! Coming up next are
, and since it's the shortest chapter - there's only eight of them - I'll just pick what seem the most photogenic for last time. But hey, if you own the book and want to see one in particular, let me know!
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - Knock Knock
I've put several of the following traps to their best use at the front door of my cave. I change the door every once in a while; so far, I've bagged three salesmen, fifteen religious fanatics, a politician, two mailmen, and the paper boy.
As mentioned last post, the Door Trap section is fairly short, so this post isn't going to be much to write home about. It's fairly self explanatory as well; unlike Room and Corridor traps which have a fair bit of leeway in terms of potential setups and layouts, door traps are pretty much always going to involve a doorway.
First up is the
, a three-skull offering by Mark Bassett. It's really, really blatant... but like most of Grimtooth's offerings, it doesn't work quite how you'd expect. See, there's the usual elaborate and heavy door, and directly opposite it is an iron wall studded in deadly spikes, looking like it's just waiting to smash down on our delvers and turn them into pulp. Naturally, the delvers will likely take it careful, searching carefully and using all their best lockpicking skills before opening the door to make sure the trap doesn't trigger... which reveals the
, that the spikes are immobile and it's the
that's a complete facade, spring-loaded to smash them into their jagged doom!
Of course, there's the usual Grimtooth stinger too. The
exit? A hidden behind the spiked wall...
From there, we come to
The Catastrophic Keyhole
, a four-skull trap by a Bruce Woodcock (who is apparently
). This is yet another case of the trap being the door itself, or rather, hidden within it, and in doing so becoming a lot subtler than the common fare here. The door of course is locked, and it's the lock that's the central focus to the trap... since it won't actually open, however expertly picked. Indeed, the lever of the lock is a striker which slides along a flint plate, potentially setting off sparks; it isn't guaranteed, but the more it's jiggered with, the more likely it is that it'll set the hidden fuse within alight. And the fuse travels down, to the reservoir of gunpowder hidden within the door. Considering our foolhardy lockpicker is standing right next to the bomb, this will likely end... poorly for them. And depending how close the rest of the party's standing, it might not go well for everyone else too!
Finally today (hey, I said this would be short) we come to
, a three-skull rater by Greg Day. In this elaborate and Goldbergian contraption, we come across a mechanism of such complexity and ingenuity that-
... Okay, fine. It's just a 2x4' that swings down and clonks you in the head. With
. Completely inglorious, but still at least marginally more dignified than drowning in whipped cream? And something the party halfling can feel smug about if anyone brings up short jokes later. It goes to show that not everything in these books are completely implausible... and sometimes all it takes is an amusing picture to completely sell a trap.
Next time we have a slightly more substantive chapter, in
! One of these is my personal favorite in this book, but I'm not going to tell you which... try and guess! You can win a prize*! The traps to choose from are
They Cried With Their Boots On
For Someone Special
Swiss Army Sword
Funny Money Trap
The Heavy Coins Trap
The "Don't Sweat It" Polearm
The End of Your Rope
. Cast your votes now!
*There is no prize.
Killing things, taking their stuff, stuff kills you
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Two - Killing things, taking their stuff, stuff kills you
It pains me to say this - but go easy with these traps. As much as I enjoy watching delvers perish, it isn't as much fun when everything the party touches is a bomb waiting to explode. If you use too many item traps, your delvers will become paranoid nervous wrecks - and your dungeon trips will slow to a crawl.
Grimtooth... encouraging restraint?!
Really though, even for Grimtooth's Traps it makes for sensible advice; you want to have the adventurers delving into dungeons for loot, and if you make the loot painful, it just sort of... defeats the point of the exercise! And makes it harder for them to fall for the assorted "baited" traps we've seen so far... In any case, item traps are pretty self-explanatory, although for the most part they tend to exploit various mundane-style traps and tricks rather than the "cursed sword" magic items. It gives it a bit of a different flavor from the usual D&D style cursed loot that way, thankfully. A lot of these also tend to be fairly low-key by Grimtooth standards, mostly intended to inconvenience rather than maim or kill. ...
First up we have the
, a relatively gentle one-skull trap by Pat Mueller. Grimtooth specifically notes he's always hated the metal-armbands look on barbarian heroes, just due to how useless they are... and naturally, this drives the point home. You can probably guess what happens from the name alone, but it's slightly more subtle than that... the armbands are magnetic, but only get so after being worn for several minutes. Then... clunk! The wearer suddenly finds their wrists locked together. Not very immediately dangerous, but potentially crippling in the middle of a dungeon when one can't effectively fight or cast spells. And Grimtooth being Grimtooth, he helpfully notes that if someone who
a mighty-thewed barbarian hero puts them on, there's a good chance their shoulders might get dislocated when the magnetism clicks on...
, also from pat, is a completely harmless but incredibly annoying one-skull item. It's an enchanted gauntlet, but it doesn't do anything to the wearer... but if they happen to touch any gemstones while wearing it, the stones melt into useless, worthless colored sludge. Considering gems tended to represent the big expensive treasure rewards in old D&D...
, Larry DiTillio's one-skull trap, initially appear to be strange and brightly colored gemstones, invariably found in sealed chests or other enclosed boxes. The trick is, when exposed to air, they slowly melt into a tacky, incredibly sticky super-glue once exposed to air, which means when a bunch of them are dumped into the party's treasure pouch, they're probably going to need a chisel to chip their loot free of it all. And if they're dumped into a backpack or belt pouch, the delvers could quickly find scrolls or spellbooks rendered useless.
James Brazier's two-skull
is a trap I slightly dislike, but mostly because it preeeettty clearly probably came from some unhealthy party interaction. In any case, the item appears to be valuable, heavily-jeweled crown fit for a king (and probably worth a king's ransom...), and presumably the pushiest or most arrogant member of the party will grab it for themselves, probably try it on. Once worn though, it shrinks to an uncomfortably tight fit and can't be removed. And... well,
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
Every time the crowned character attempts to unfairly boss the party around, the crown will tighten slightly. Eventually it will crush his skull, but should cause blackouts and brain damage first. And perhaps the rest of the party will take the opportunity presented by the loudmouth's condition to remove his head for the crown atop it ...
Yeah, unlike the rest of the book this is really one of those bits that shows its age, that peak sort of early-era RPG design, where you punish troublemakers in-game rather than trying to deal with it around the table. Luckily, GM advice has evolved a lot since then, leaving this a bit of a relic... even so, having it here isn't totally useless. I can see it being played for comedy in a modern RP-heavy game where the players involved OOCly know what they're getting into.
Anyway, we move on to the first and only
trap of this section, the
For Somebody Special
by Caroline J. Maher. Grimtooth warns this trap is "sure to be a killer", and he isn't kidding. Indeed, it's completely innocuous, if somewhat strange... a parrot cage draped in an opaque silk cover, possibly ornamented or decorated. The adventurers may have to investigate out of curiosity, since really, what sort of monsters keep pet parrots? (Okay, maybe pirate monsters). Of course, it isn't a parrot under there at all, but a-
Come on, guess.
... What? No! Not a Kraken! How would a Kraken even
in there!? Sheesh. No, instead it's a
, pretty much guaranteed to petrify whoever pulls the cover off, and possibly everyone else in the room as well. That's stone cold, Grimtooth.
From there, we come to the two-skull
by Steve Crompton (one of the artists for this book, and he's done stuff through a wide assortment of companies later on, like FASA, GDW, and SJG), and it pretty deviously exemplifies the "non-magic gotcha" half of the traps here. In a particularly chilly sort of dungeon, the heroes come across a seemingly insurmountable wall, but prove to be in luck - at the base of the cliff there's an old and forgotten grappling hook, attached to a length of rope. And if used, it works perfectly fine as advertised, giving them a way up! There's just one slight problem...
I absolutely have to know about the Gallium Grapple in particular, something tells me it's going to rely on some sort of unusual physics/chemistry trivia. I've been trying to figure out exactly
about Gallium they'll make use of, but I suspect it's going to make me groan.
It's got to be the melting point.
Oh come on,
... But yes, it involves the melting point, and the fact that the melting point of Gallium is specifically a bit under 86°F. While the grapple itself is perfectly mundane, there's an enchantment at the top of the cliff that slowly warms everything there to, oh, 100°F or so... which means the delver's previously solid anchor quickly becomes a
. Not quickly enough to keep them from getting, oh, halfway up the cliff before it gives way though...
From there we come to my personal favorite of the book, silly as it is, the
, a two-skull trap by Liz Danforth and Mike Stackpole. This also means that
Alien Rope Burn
wins the (lack of) prize for suggesting it.
And as can be expected from the name, our adventurers come across a mysterious sword thrust into a large stone (yes yes, I know the sword in the stone wasn't Excalibur), and it's quite difficult - though not impossible - for a strong enough character to wrench free. Indeed, once our hapless delver does so, he finds himself in the possession of a magnificent broadsword, glowing blue in the light with what must be powerful magic, and engraved with curiously strange runes. In addition to several difficult to translate words, there's a peculiar symbol on the blade, consisting of three megaphones within a circle, the smaller end of each pointing towards a central dot- ... wait, that sounds familiar.
... Oh. Well, it appears the sword isn't glowing due to magic, it's glowing due to
. Needless to say, our delvers won't be having a very fun time in a few hours, and they really should have left the sword in the lead-lined boulder they found it in. (For the record, the runes - if the delvers ever translate them - read "Property of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency".) I think this
should be rated three or four skulls...
Swiss Army Sword
is refreshingly mundane in contrast, ranking a nice two skulls. The sword itself is perfectly fine you see, it's the
that has a particular problem, since it's split so that the sword can fold downwards through it. While initially weakly supported, it's likely those supports will snap after a good hit in combat, sending the sword swinging downward... and probably through the wielder's fingers.
I'll do these two at once, since they're both one-skull traps on a related (if opposing) coin theme. Liz Danforth's
Funny Money Trap
are seemingly mundane coins, except they're enchanted so that if they ever come in contact with another mundane coin, both simply poof into thin air... antigold, if you will. Obviously, delvers are likely to just dump it into their treasure sacks without paying attention. On the other hand, John Strain's
Heavy Coin Trap
than it appears... as every coin is adulterated so that it's half again as heavy as a normal coin. Individually this is nearly imperceptible, but once hundreds of them are mixed in with other treasure it can render the haul nearly impossible to move. Well, at least if you use encumbrance rules, and it's 1982, so you probably were.
Larry DiTillio's one-skull
"Don't Sweat it" Polearm
is oddly-named, but has a bit in common with the magnetic armbands earlier. It seems like a mundane spear or polearm, except that the haft has been coated in a glue that's activated by moisture. Unless the delver wears gloves, they'll quickly find one or both hands stuck to it! At least they stay armed, but it's still a bit awkward in the interim...
And our final trap today is the devious three-skull
The End of your Rope
by Bucky Hernandez. On the surface, it appears to be... well, a rope! Perfectly mundane woven hemp, like any others the delvers might come across, and much like the Gallium Grapple it comes with a grappling hook already tied to it, probably need some sort of obstacle that demands its use. The trick here though is that at the center of the rope is a long fuse... and at the middle, a vial of volatile chemicals. If the rope is given a sharp stretch, say used to climb or move/lift someone, the fuse snaps the vial, the chemical is released, and shortly thereafter the whole thing goes ablaze... ideally while the heroes are climbing it.
Sadly, we're getting near the end of the book now, as the only chapter left is
, the broadly-named category of everything that didn't neatly fit into one of the other chapters. Due to this there's a bit of overlap, especially with the Items category, but it's hard to predict what things might do from the names alone. Still, here's your last chance to make your votes known! The choices this time are the
Spiderweb Fuse Trap
Miss Moffat Engine of Destruction
Black Widow Pinata
The Trojan Dragon
Water That Glimmers, Shimmers, and Kills
The Eyes Have It
Fibber McGee's Closet of Caltrops
The First Sign of Danger
The Accordion Throne
The Blotomoto Trap
, and the
Of course, after all that, there's still the mysterious
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - Fatal Miscellanea
Things can come in almost any form - but when you get right down to it, "deadly" is the shape of the things to come...
We're almost at the end here! Think of all the characters that have met their untimely end, the number of 3d6's that needed to have been rolled to replace them. We're looking back into dungeon crawling history here! As mentioned at the end of the last update, today is the "Things" chapter, which is... well, everything else. They tend to be closer to Item traps, but are often things like furniture or decor or environmental hazards that don't really fit into the other categories. This also means they're perhaps the most unpredictable...
for example, a one-skull thing by Jonathan Bernick. If you remember the coin traps from the last chapter, this might seem familiar... they superficially appear like any other gold coin, just with a curious feature, as "instead of having
a face or profile stamped upon them, they bear a representation of a brain." This is because the gold is
, and more to the point, a hive mind... so the more the delver gathers from the dungeon, the smarter it gets, and the more control its able to exert over them. It acts with subtle mind tricks, making dangerous paths look safe, or faking phantom sounds to distract or draw attention, and if the delver survives, it pushes them to finally spend it all on something to travel to a new "owner". The book doesn't give any hints about its origin or ultimate goals, but they certainly can't be good...
Which brings us to Michael Austin's very... unusual trap, the four-skull
Miss Moffat Engine of Destruction
. It's another one of those traps that appears to be something else, but instead of riches or some mundane item, it initially appears to be a large but dormant spider, covered in cobwebs! In actuality, it's made of metal, and is actually somewhat similar to Hero of Alexandria's
, something like a steam engine. Except instead of being powered by steam, it'd be powered by burning kerosene within... which is easily ignited if, say, the delvers try to burn the web away with a torch, or pre-emptively fling a fireball at the "monster" who they've caught unawares. Which sends it spinning, combining razor-sharp leg blades and spewing gouts of burning kerosene for a nasty finale.
Larry DiTillio and Paul O'Connor's three-skull
Black Widow Pinata
wasn't requested, but I am including it anyway because it amuses me. It has a superficial similarity to the prior trap, in that a trap door opens, releasing what appears to be a giant spider descending down a line. The delvers will naturally leap to the attack... only to discover that it's a thin wooden or paper mache facade, and is actually hollow. And filled with thousands of live, tiny, perfectly normal and poisonous and now
From there we come upon
Water That Glimmers, Shimmers, and Kills
, David Steven Moskowitz's four-skull hazard. It's an environmental hazard sort of deal, a curious waterfall that seems extremely turbulent, glittering clearly in the dungeon light. Beautiful! Except that it's not actually water, but tiny shards of razor-sharp falling diamonds which readily strip the flesh from whatever's inserted into the flow. Sticking a hand in might just be crippling, but if someone leans in to take a drink...
by William Toivainen is another one of those "fix player behavior" traps I'm not fond of... but this one's a bit funnier, and probably more necessary in a Grimtooth-stocked dungeon. See, it's an enchantment placed on a treasure chest or similar sort of delver bait, out in the open and quite obviously a trap by dungeon-logic. So the adventurers will be careful, examining it from afar, maybe prodding it with one of those ten-foot poles that competent dungeon crawlers always carry. And there's the trick; it's not really a trap at all, but a beneficial spell, that grants great health or beauty or perfection to the first thing that touches it, meaning they now have the
greatest 10' pole
in the world and wasted the chance on that instead of on boosting their ability scores. Ideally this will encourage delvers to get more hands-on with later objects in the dungeon, which may well have similarly beneficial boons.
... The real trap of course isn't the items, but the expectations. Because this is Grimtooth, and they'll eventually get complacent and come upon something that actually
trapped, and happily throw themselves upon it like lambs to the slaughter.
The First Sign of Danger
meanwhile is Rick Loomis' two-skull offering, and is... well, a sign. Reading "DANGER", placed on a wall or somewhere else solid. There's some smaller print on it that's difficult to make out from a distance though, and delvers will certainly want to get closer to get what little warning they can find here. At which point it will be proved conclusively that the sign was warning of danger... because the sign
is the trap, and the powerful spring behind it causes it (and the slab it's bolted to) to smash into the face of whoever was reading it. Can't say it wasn't honest?
Next we come to
by Ken St. Andre, who himself was the original designer of Tunnels & Trolls and the cRPG Wasteland, and basically has been doing RPG stuff since approximately the stone ages. It's one of the sillier sorts of traps, as it appears to be... well, a swimming pool! Modern style, brick or concrete, complete with diving board. Scattered across the bottom of the pool is loose coins and gems and other treasure that's quite valuable but nearly impossible to scoop up... even if the water wasn't briny and filled with
carnivorous fish and other aquatic hazards. Fortunately, there's a notice board put up by the diving board: "Whoso diveth from this board is safe from the Dangers of the Pool." As with other such messages in the book it is completely truthful.
... Because anyone who leaps off the diving board doesn't come back
afterward, at least until the magic of the board is somehow negated. If the pool is underground, they slam into and find themselves walking on the ceiling. If it's outdoors... well, they're now astronauts.
Pat Mueller's three-skull
appears to be like any other throne, opulent and decorated and comfortable, fit for a king! While the delvers would probably like to pry the jewels off or otherwise plunder it even if they couldn't carry it out, it's probably hard to resist taking a seat. At which point the arms of the throne fold and squeeze together, crushing the seater's midsection...
The BIotomoto Trap
by Larry DiTillio is a one-skull item, and one of those designed to damage dignity rather than hit points. It's a large vase with an incredibly valuable gem in it, with an opening just barely large enough to fit a hand in. Neither of these are actually the trap per se... rather it's the poison the gem's been dusted with which causes a hand touching it to rapidly swell up to the point there's no hope of removing it from the vase. It'll wear off... eventually, but will be quite troublesome in the meanwhile, especially since the vase itself is indestructible...
Which brings us to Matt Scholl's three-skull
, which perhaps is fairly explanatory as such traps go. See, any dungeon delver worth their salt will have some experience with the undead, and damned if they won't leave any bodies they discover undefiled or unburned,
just in case
. If you've played Skyrim, you probably understand this urge perfectly.
A mummy is a doubly-tempting target, one of the classical undead and often found with great riches. The trick is that the mummy isn't one of the undead... but the priests who preserved it did want to punish anyone who tried to defile the pharaoh. See, the wrappings are soaked in incredibly inflammatory chemicals, and any attempt to burn the body turns it into a raging inferno, likely setting whoever torched it alight as well.
Our last trap today, and the last we'll see that isn't the grand finale, is another one that hasn't been requested... but I figure it's the perfect end. Stefan Jones'
is a particularly cruel three-skull trap, and it's... well, it's a
. A perfectly mundane privy in the bowels of the dungeon, and any sort of prodding or poking won't set off any apparent traps. Eventually someone's going to use it though, sitting on it for whatever reason, and it's at that point that the thing... tips backwards, through the illusionary wall behind it, sending the hapless victim into the pit behind and whatever other dooms lie within. If they were
it, they even get the indignity of dying with their pants down.
And that's all for now... and almost all for the book. All that remains is the mysterious and doubtlessly deadly
. If the last book was anything to go by, Grimtooth certainly won't be pleased with humans reading his tomes... but keep in mind, he's not one to repeat a trap. Far too predictable, you see...
The Final Challenge
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - The Final Challenge
Again, again I find that my task here has drawn to an end. Wearisome as is the work of reading and evaluating the offerings from pitifully human minds, I take a small delight in finding some humans truly do have the talents to live up to the evil reputations passed on by my smaller kith and kin - the orcs, gremlins, ogres and the rest. They speak of such terrors inflicted at the hands of humans, one would imagine a species more troll-like - how droll!
I do take pride in the tales I have heard of the malevolent gigglings caused by reading my first book of traps. And I anticipate much more of the same with this collection of cretin crushers. I also anticipate the reaction of many of you who read my first primer of peasant pacifiers. Even now I can feel your gloved fingers fumbling with the pages. You seek to take any precaution, no matter how feeble or futile, to protect yourselves against my destructive abilities. Come now, you flatter yourselves. I have killed kings, maimed maharajahs, eviscerated emperors and diced druids. Do you honestly, in your heart of hearts, believe you could stop me?
I thought not. Relax; remove the gloves. I need not stoop to repetition. I have other ways.
You see, my task was once again to visit a suitable form of retribution upon those who ransack my libraries. Now that it is known that I protect my books, they are stolen unread; others destroy my precious volumes in an attempt to rob me of information. (Indeed, an attempt of that sort interrupted my studies, though it was dealt with effectively enough). Also, I found a large number of individuals using my books while wearing gloves, or developing baths to wash away my "fixative."
What I sought was a bit more ... active. They would travel to the inquisitive louts, arriving when they least expect it. They would attack the bumpkins at their own leisure, slowly, carefully, and quite thoroughly. Before the vile blackguards even knew what happened, it would be too late.
Encoded in the cypher below I offer you my 101st trap. Break the code and you'll have the trap - but not before the trap has you! (Besides, it'll be good practice for later - if you survive long enough.)
But... what does it say? Well... I'm not telling.
Honestly I've owned this book for decades now, and even then it was a later printing with some additional bonus content (crossword puzzles and similar games) I don't want to reproduce here since I've already transcribed enough. But it was only when I started doing this write-up that I realized in all that time I never actually found out what the cipher here meant. So... I'm putting it here for folks to puzzle over today, and I'll post the translation tomorrow. Either there's someone here who's into cryptology, or you can muse over Grimtooth's particular brand of evil and take guesses. (No prizes will be awarded, beyond the ability to feel smug.)
Since I had to do some research, I
give a few hints for anyone who does want to tackle a translation. First: it is a fairly simple substitution cipher, but
a direct one, as there's (I believe) 30 characters used. Second, these extra characters represent common double-letter combinations, including "th" and "oo". If you do tackle it, try and show your work too... because I sure have no idea how to translate it and I want to check if my source is correct.
Of course, you
just google the answer up, but that would be lame and dumb.
The End! ... Or is it?
Original SA post
Grimtooth's Traps Too - The End! ... Or is it?
Here's my solution
, with mistakes kept in to preserve the authentic experience of writing in pen in the book.
Not much more difficult than a straight substition cipher, and made easier by some symbols resembling their associated letter. That let me start off with "and" and most of "sound", which gave me a lot of clues for other words. My biggest problem was misremembering the symbol for "a" as having a closed bottom, which made me think that all the two-symbol words were him trying to disguise the word "a" as the faux-archaic "ae". Other than that, the only annoyance was him not being able to keep the symbols for "m" and "n" straight.
I'm glad I'm safe, though - I thought it might have been a memetic virus, or a spell that would cause a slow death when read and understood, or something. I guess Grimtooth hadn't anticipated the digital age.
Whoo, someone got it.
And in fairness, the book was printed in 1982, a bit before the internet was really a thing. Certainly a troll couldn't predict the digital age, right? While somewhat similar to the final trap of the first book, it's a bit different, circumventing all those gloves and poison resistance and all that. Oh Grimtooth, it was only time that defeated your revenge.
But sadly, that was the final trap, and brings us to the end of... wait. What's that in the table of contents?
Grimtooth's Traps Too posted:
The 102nd Trap...................................................... begins page 1
... Wait. 102nd trap? All... throughout the book? Oh dear. In fact this trap ties into the previous trap, since it actually involves the same cipher. On every chapter heading, there's some sigils and stuff at the top, looking decorative... like this:
But as you can see, they're actually the same cipher script as in the 101st chapter, and a different pair of words on every chapter heading. It's a message! But now that we know how to translate it all, what does it say?
Translation (I think) posted:
There is an extra trap. Find it if you can.
I knew it wasn't going to be that easy. I'm... going to be honest with you all, again. I really, genuinely had no idea what the 102nd trap actually was. I didn't even realize this hint was there until I went looking up information on the 101st trap, and even googling it hasn't shown up any answers. But... I wasn't giving up yet. I flipped through the book, trying to find any obvious clues, like the first words of paragraphs spelling out messages, but nope. And then... then I
THERE. There, hidden in the art. Numbers! Tiny and handwritten, usually in a sequence of three, in almost every picture!
So perfectly small and inoccuous that you gloss right over them, but once you realize they're there they scream out their presence. They're often fairly clear, below or beside the image, but are sometimes hidden within it or worked into some other bit of text. Look at
from the chapter 1 title page linked above, where it's a tiny little inset. And go back through my prior posts, and you can see them in many of the pictures I linked! So I went through the book, looking for every set of numbers I could fine, placing them in rough start-to-end, top-to-bottom order. Some of these may be off due to the tiny size of the text, and I may just have missed a few due to how well hidden they are.
(The 5 may be a 3)
(That's clearly a +)
(The 55 may be a 33)
(A line I can't quite read, is it part of the code?)
(48 may be a 45)
8 1 82
(Arranged vertically in subsequent bricks in an image, no -'s)
"No. 58-4-6 & 38-7-4"
(Written like that in a picture, 5's may be 3's and vice versa)
62 1 5
(15 may be 13)
(Last number mostly illegible, best guess)
29 3 9
(In separate panels of a sequential comic)
(Somewhat illegible; may be "38" and "34")
42 2 4
(In same image, no separation, but no dashes)
(Last number illegible, best guess)
(34 may be 54)
(Last number may be 85)
35 4 70; 5 6 14
(Two in one image, in bricks again)
(Clearly a + again)
52 6 46
36-1-7 14-4-22 36-3-30
(All in one image, others present but illegible, likely as distractions)
(In same image, also kraken)
62 4 4
(In bubbles in second kraken image)
21 3 6; 36 3 22; 33 3 53; 40 1 18; 22 2 8; 22 2 8; 21 9 54; 46 3 4
(On a "shooting gallery" scoreboard, but fits the pattern. Semicolons for clarity.)
24 3 59
34 3 7
20-6-89; 6-3-87; 35-5-67
(Written with slashes)
39 4 47
(Not sure of first number)
31 3 1
54 1 39
(Mostly illegible, best guess)
38-3-53; 55 3 11
(In same image)
46-4-21; 5-8-77 11-7-65; 13/1/13
(All in same image, written as crate descriptions, but match pattern)
(Written with commas)
38 3 4
It's obviously some sort of code. There's no reason to insert all these numbers everywhere. But what does it
? The dashes seem superfluous, as some of the number arrays don't have them, or use other symbols... but then there's the ones that clearly include mathematic notation, so that probably can't be ignored. And it doesn't seem like they're pointing to the alphabet, at least not the individual arrays, since they often fall outside the 1-26 spread once you "add them up"... but that may just mean there's another layer to the math I'm missing. Unfortunately, despite all this, I am now... completely lost. Grimtooth has won.
... Unless someone here can make sense of this puzzle, that is! If all else fails there's some other last resorts, checking through usenet archives or just giving Flying Buffalo an e-mail, but hopefully a goon cleverer than me can see this through to the end. We're so close!
Whatever the result, whether it's solved or not, this is genuinely the most effort I've put into a single specific RPG supplement... and it's a silly book of parody traps. Grimtooth's Traps Too isn't just a fun book, there's an insane amount of thought and effort put into it, and mind games I haven't seen duplicated ever. The folks at Flying Buffalo have made me love a decades-old book once again, and it proves that for all its age and silliness, Grimtooth's Traps is one of the best supplements in RPG history.
Transcription of Trap 102
Original SA post
Transcribed it all and ran into problems. It's pretty clear I either 1) missed several numbers, 2) misread several numbers (or put them out of order), 3) miscounted the paragraph/word, or 4) all of the above, multiple times. It's obvious this is on the way the correct solution, but see for yourself.
34-1-7 24-2-6 the a
13 6 12 character
15-3-5 20-2-5+6 really quite simple
53-4-9 (or 5?) apparently(/form)
49-6-195 [i](paragraph's too short, but numbers are clear)[/i]
? [i](not sure if there's a word here)[/i]
24-3-7 62-1-1 23-2-9; 2 19 not daunted by an
8 1 82 (52?) well(/I'd)
"No. 58-4-6 & 38-7-4" trouble within
62 1 5 defeated
29 3 9 to
42 2 4 will
15-5-6 2-2-78 nasty beast
10-7-65 hopelessly (?)
35 4 70; 5 6 14 this trap/uses
44-5-33+34 pitifully small
52 6 46 brain
36-1-7 14-4-22 36-3-30 to ferret out
36-1-33 7-6-44 in macabre(?)
62 4 4 cypher
21 3 6; 36 3 22; 33 3 53; 40 1 18; 22 2 8; 21 9 54; 46 3 4 you exit time/delvers(?) to Mike(?) up a
24 3 59 hit
34 3 7 that
20-6-89; 6-3-87; 35-5-67 the/unfortunate(?) shatter when/he/reaches
39 4 47 blossoming/into
31 3 1 the
54 1 39 [i](Can't read last number, less than 39 words in paragraph_
38-3-53; 55 3 11 will/be work
21-9-1; 26-1-3 this corridor
46-4-21; 5-8-77 11-7-65; 13/1/13 second you have dispatched
38 3 4 don't
Probably at least half these words are wrong or out of order, and that's not counting any I may have missed entirely. Words separated by slashes are in paragraphs with hyphenated words; I'm pretty sure the first option is correct, but I included the possible ones just in case. Question marked words are... I'm not even sure are close to accurate, but it matches the number listed. I literally had to count these out by hand, so there's plenty of room for human error to.
While it's some small consolation after all that work, this
sound faintly familiar. Does this ring any bells for folks who've read this before? All well, I'll poke at it a while in my spare time, and try and refine it.
Honestly, I'm amazed I got
EDIT: Found and corrected a few more numbers, added them in. The hardcopy's clearer than the PDF, I'll try and re-go through the chapters.