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How to handle traps?

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Hi all,

If I have missed this somewhere please feel free to direct me...

How do people handle traps in Genesys? I can’t find any guidance or suggestions on this in either the core book or Realms of Terrinoth. I never GMed Star Wars so if it’s in there I would never have seen it.

I have two thoughts on this:

  • The first is to rate the trap simply as a self-firing weapon and use the rules for a normal attack
  • The second is to effectively implement a ‘saving throw’ by giving a skill check to avoid the effect.

Both are similar and clearly the first is easiest to implement but makes it quite passive for the player as the GM is simply rolling an attack.

In terms of implementing a saving throw type mechanism it seemed to me that Vigilance might be appropriate, as may Athletics if we are talking about getting out of the way? Maybe allow the character to use the better of the two skills? For poisons it is clearly Resistance and for mental effects Discipline.

What do people think?

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I believe the majority of star wars traps were handled as skill checks on the part of the player that the GM calls for. Basically, saving throws.

I recall things like laser gates that you had to react quickly to used Vigilance.

Hidden things would probably be a Perception check.

 

If you wanted to develop a quick system for it, you could simply choose a skill the player has to roll, then define the difficulty of the trap as a rating of 1-5, corresponding to 1-5 difficulty dice. The difficulty should probably match the consequences of failure.

Additional things could add to the danger of it, upgrading the difficulty to challenge dice instead of just adding more difficulty dice. Again, try to match the consequences of failure up with how many upgrades the check receives.

 

Obviously this is at your discretion as GM as it's very subjective and malleable.

 

Example:

Start with a spike pit trap that's a hard (3) Athletics or Coordination check, then add poison onto the spikes and upgrade the difficulty once for a Hard (RPP) Athletics or Coordination check. Failure would normally mean the character suffers x wounds (we'll say 5) but because it's now poisoned, they need to make an Average (PP) Resilience check to resist the effects or suffer another 2 wounds.

Edited by GroggyGolem

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Keep it simple and go with standard combat checks by the trap. Sure, let them roll Vigilance to notice it, but even then that's no guarantee they can avoid it. A pit trap? Sure they can Athletics check to jump over it, otherwise suffer falling damage. But if it's scything blades? All the Vigilance check does it let them know they're there; they still have to traverse the trapped area! Any V.png or TR.png on the Vigilance check can be spent to add K.png or upgrading the difficulty of the combat check against the PC, but that's about it.

Remember that the dice are more weighed towards the positive side and thus if the player rolls to avoid it's less likely to hit their character. But secondary effects (poison-tipped darts, for example) would call for a resistance roll on the player's behalf. This is because they have already been affected by the primary effect, and thus the secondary effect isn't as "important" and thus the dice are weighed in the PCs favour. 

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From my WIP Dungeon Crawl doc:

Traps
Difficulty:  All traps are assigned a difficulty level of 1 -5, which indicate the difficulty of the Skulduggery check (a “disarm roll”) that must be succeeded at to disarm the trap, as well as the difficulty required to escape the effects of the trap (usually an Athletics or Coordination check (an “escape roll”), but other skills can be used if necessary).  Trap difficulty defaults to the difficulty level of the dungeon (1 - 5) but can and should be increased (or decreased) as the GM sees fit.  Traps should be noted as [Trap Type] [Difficulty] (for example, Arrow Trap 3).  If trap descriptions include special qualities that can be triggered, the trap difficulty rating is the rating for the quality (a Fire trap 2 would have the Burn 2 quality).
Disarming Traps:  If the disarm check fails, the trap is triggered unless the failure roll includes Advantages.  These Advantages may be spent to reduce the damage suffered from the trap (reduce damage by 1 point for each uncanceled Advantage), or if the damage suffered would be reduced to zero (before figuring in soak), then the trap was not triggered.  A Triumph result on a failed check can indicate that the group botched the disarm, but only narrowly avoided triggering the trap!
Trap Damage: (Note – Pit traps follow the rules for falling – see page 113 of the GENESYS Core Rulebook.) When a trap is triggered, and a player fails at their escape roll, the trap will inflict a base amount of damage plus 1 point of damage per uncanceled Failure.  Uncanceled Threat applies toward the trap Critical Injury rating or activating special qualities (such as Burn).  Apply soak as normal and any other indicated effects.
Triggers:  Traps can be triggered in many ways – pressure plates, tripwires, mysterious beams of light broken by a character, opening a chest drops a slide open, et cetera.  Some may have obvious triggers such a lever with an inscription next to it that says, “Pull Me”.  Try and be creative when coming up with trap descriptions and mechanisms.

Trap Types
1)    Pit Trap:  When a pit trap is triggered, all characters standing in the trap area (within Engaged range of the character that triggered the trap) will plummet into a pit, unless they succeed at an Athletics or Coordination check, and sustain falling damage as per page 113 of the GENESYS Core Rulebook.  Falling distance should default to Short range but can be more at GM discretion. (Damage [Fall]; Critical 4).
2)    Poison Dart Trap:  On a successful roll to detect this trap, the GM should inform the player that their character has found suspicious holes in the wall of the passage or in a room they have discovered.  If the trap is triggered all characters in the area of effect must succeed at an Athletics or Coordination check to avoid being hit by poison darts.  A character wounded by poison darts must make a Hard (3P) Resilience check as an out-of-turn incidental or suffer 4 additional wounds and must check again in their next turn if the check generates Despair.  (Damage 4; Critical 3) 
3)    Fire Trap:  When this sort of trap is detected, characters may notice small holes in the wall (or floor or ceiling), smell a faint odor of sulfur or a faint smell of something being burnt, notice scorch marks, et cetera.  Triggering the trap causes jets of flame to shoot out of the wall, floor, or ceiling and will affect all in Engaged range of the player triggering the trap.  (Damage 6; Critical 3; Burn X).

Edited by tafattel

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Based on Cunning Snare talent: the target's Vigilance vs the trapper's skill (Survival, Skullduggery, or Mechanics, or even a magic skill). If they fail (or of the trapper succeeds, depending on how the GM does it), the target suffers wounds equal to the trapper's characteristic + f/s. Spend other dice results to disorient/immobilize/stagger or inflict critical injuries.

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I have used traps a few times in my fantasy campaign. As suggested above, I called for a Vigilance check to notice the trap before the character triggers it (or Perception once they wised up and started searching for them). A failure meant the character was hit by the trap's effect, usually a base damage. Poisoned darts triggered a Resilience check as per the poison used. Pitfall traps triggered an Athletics or Coordination check to ameliorate falling damage as normal.

I had some fun in one session by using a summoning circle trap. I described a circle of bones and carved wooden plinths. Entering the circle triggered the trap, summoning a minion group that initiated combat. I gave the trap YYG and rolled against PP, summoning adversaries based on the result (2+1 per Advantage). This would continue to happen each round until the circle was destroyed (20 wound levels of damage, Simple difficulty for Melee or Brawl attacks, Easy for Ranged and Magic attacks). This served as a fun backdrop to a BBEG battle.

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For active traps (scythe blades, darts, falling blocks), I either use a normal attack roll against an Average or Easy difficulty, or an opposed attack roll vs. the target's Coordination or Resilience, depending on the nature of the trap. If the players are actively searching for traps, I usually use an Average or Hard Perception check. If there's a chance they may notice the trap without searching, that's usually a Hard Vigilance check. If they locate a trap, the difficulty to disarm it varies, but usually Average or Hard, rarely Daunting.

One problem I've run into, and am still trying to overcome, is the "mystery Vigilance check" that often spooks them into thinking a trap is present, even if they don't notice it. One way I avoid alerting them to the presence of a trap is to make the Vigilance roll myself, as a combined check (their highest Vigilance and Willpower scores to create the pool) against the difficulty of finding the trap. This reflects the whole group keeping alert, instead of relying on one person.

I also sometimes use "fake out" traps, where they find one easily detectable "trap", while overlooking the more dangerous trap the easy one conceals. One example of this was allowing them to notice an obviously different section of floor in the hallway ahead. That different section was actually the safe area: the trap was the floor sections on either side of the different area, each one a pressure plate that would fire darts from the walls. When the party scoundrel crept forward to investigate the different section, she triggered the darts.

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I don't require a check to set traps, unless you're trying to set one in the middle of combat or something along those lines. It's assumed you have the time and skill to set a trap as long as you have Skulduggery higher than the Complexity rating of the trap, which is a number I set for each trap entry in the Gear section. Certain traps also have a Concealment bonus which adds Disadvantage dice to the opposed check.

If a player or NPC does something to trigger the trap or they search for it, it's an opposed roll; Skulduggery of the "setter" VS Vigilance or Perception of the "triggerer", depending on the trap type and the circumstances surrounding the trap trigger. Skill in Athletics or Coordination can add advantage dice to a Vigilance check, and players with a skill specialization in an applicable skill can also provide aid to nearby allies on their checks if they're the unlucky ones who set it off.

As far as disarming, that's a Skulduggery check VS the Complexity rating.

Edited by Darrett

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19 hours ago, Direach said:

One problem I've run into, and am still trying to overcome, is the "mystery Vigilance check" that often spooks them into thinking a trap is present, even if they don't notice it.

With the Star Wars version of these rules, this is my house rule:

UNKNOWN CHECKS (HOUSE)

Sometimes the referee may not wish the players to know if they were successful or not. Using Perception to detect traps or Mechanics to look for any problems before buying a new ride are good examples.

If so, the player rolls the "good" dice as usual, but the referee rolls the "bad" dice behind a screen. The referee then announces the outcome of the roll.

Example: A character scans the path towards the pirate’s hideout for booby-traps. The referee knows whether there are traps or not, but doesn’t want the player to ascertain information the character wouldn’t know just from what dice the referee adds to the pool. The referee rolls any and behind a screen and announces the final results.

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4 hours ago, Sturn said:

With the Star Wars version of these rules, this is my house rule:

UNKNOWN CHECKS (HOUSE)

Sometimes the referee may not wish the players to know if they were successful or not. Using Perception to detect traps or Mechanics to look for any problems before buying a new ride are good examples.

If so, the player rolls the "good" dice as usual, but the referee rolls the "bad" dice behind a screen. The referee then announces the outcome of the roll.

Example: A character scans the path towards the pirate’s hideout for booby-traps. The referee knows whether there are traps or not, but doesn’t want the player to ascertain information the character wouldn’t know just from what dice the referee adds to the pool. The referee rolls any and behind a screen and announces the final results.

I've tried that too, just haven't settled on which method I prefer. Rolling it all myself mostly eliminates them knowing what I'm rolling, or that I'm rolling a check at all, since I often idly roll the dice outside encounters.

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I went with the fast and easy method with traps.  "Makes Sense" skill check.

Example:

The Dreaded Koala Musk Bomb.

Perception (1 to Notice) & Skulduggery (2 to Disable Trap) / Athletics (3 to Dodge Effect)

Koala Musk (Lingers for 5 rounds):  Anyone caught in or entering the 3x3 area of Koala Musk suffers 1 Downgrade and 1 Setback to all Social Skills until they can shower and change clothing.  (You smell something awful.... and then you realize that it's you.)

Anything like a dart trap or tripwire'd shotgun, I use combat as above folks have said.

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Here's how I'm going to try it in my next game (which is heavily Indiana Jones themed- so traps are a must).  Many thanks to the Angry DM as this was inspired by his article on traps.

They may actively search for traps with a Perception Check.  Typically I will give a description that indicates searching for traps might be a good idea (even if it's just to say you have a feeling).  If they succeed they may avoid the trap if they can go around it or attempt to disarm it either through a skill check (typically Skullduggery) or clever actions (putting a ladder across a pit to create a crude bridge, etc).

If they trigger a trap, I describe some form of warning they get before it is triggered (examples below).  They may then choose a Vigilance check to avoid it's effects (typically the same difficulty as the Perception check plus a Setback Die) or they may describe their reaction to the clues I have given.  If they respond well they avoid the effects of the trap entirely, if they respond in a way that wouldn't matter they still make the Vigilance check, if they respond in a way that's really bad for the situation they upgrade the difficulty of the Vigilance check.

Here's an important factor, try to familiarize the players with the traps before they trigger them. Either by showing them to them (already triggered by someone else), letting them make a knowledge check to have heard of them, or finding a less well hidden version of the same trap.

Here's some examples I'm going to use in the coming adventure:

Traps

Per Diff

Effect

Skul Diff

Catapult Snare

dd

Target lifted to short height and dropped (10/10)

NA

Impaling Swing Arm

cd

CCD attack, 8/2, delivers Hamstrung on Crit.

cd

Hail of Arrows

ddd

CCD attack, 7/3, Blast 6

cdb

Catapult Snare: feel the rock wobble and pull under your foot, Jump upwards with both feet as soon as you feel the stone wobble to avoid the effect.

Impaling Swing Arm: hear a woosh through the trees below your waist height, block with something strong vertically (rifle held vertically, a shield) at thigh level as soon as you hear the woosh.

Hail of Arrows: feel a trip wire pull and hear a click to your side, dive prone to avoid the arrows.

My players were already exposed to these traps in a previous adventure so hopefully they'll respond well.

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