Page 77 - Check For Traps

2nd Feb 2012, 6:00 AM
Check For Traps
Average Rating: 5 (5 votes)
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Newbiespud 2nd Feb 2012, 6:09 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
As promised, here's my write-up on the My Unknown Ponies: Failure is Awesome game I played last weekend. I avoid most of the specifics and try not to talk about things Erin already did in her write-up, so you should probably read that too.
Notice: I've moved and am now between jobs, so any donation via PayPal at the top or my Patreon page would be greatly appreciated.

68 Comments:

Sean Mirrsen 2nd Feb 2012, 6:34 AM edit delete reply
I always find it funny how the animators in the show accidentally put SIX orbs on that pedestal. I was wondering whether or not you'd try to address it somehow.
Guest 2nd Feb 2012, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
Well aren't there six elements? Unless your assuming the very large one in the center was magic but didn't they leave that one there?
MirrorImage 2nd Feb 2012, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Look at the first panel and count the number of smaller orbs - disregarding the large one in the center, there are six surrounding it, which are later implied to be the Elements of Harmony. After that, however, they only ever interact with five of them.
Digo 2nd Feb 2012, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
Maybe the exta is the lost friendship element of "Moving the Bodies"? :3

"A friend helps you move. A TRUE friend helps you move bodies."
Torg 2nd Feb 2012, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
Nah, that'd fall under Loyalty.
Guest 2nd Feb 2012, 10:59 AM edit delete reply
Ok, it's been a while since I watched the first episode and didn't remember that all later shots had only five orbs.
Bronymous 2nd Feb 2012, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
I noticed that the first time, too, and thought I was the only one since I had to point it out to EVERYONE.
Somepony 3rd Feb 2012, 2:27 PM edit delete reply
Maybe the big sixth orb represents the moon Luna got locked up in?
Disloyal Subject 16th Oct 2013, 11:50 PM edit delete reply
Central orb could be harmony.
Speaking of which, I always admired Celestia's knack for keeping order and chaos balanced - pranks, creativity, and zany fun to prevent stagnation, with laws, duty, and... something else that starts with 'L' holding discord (not Discord, but maybe him too) at bay.
Ranubis 2nd Feb 2012, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Ranubis
And now for the party to spend hours just a few feet from their goal as they search for traps that may or may not be there. And then spend twice that much time searching again for the traps they had to have missed the first time.
Grrys 2nd Feb 2012, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
Then they spend double THAT time searching for invisible traps!
Kaleopolitus 2nd Feb 2012, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
Kaleopolitus
Only to double back to town because they realize they cannot find a specific kind of magical trap and have to get someone who can.
Ranubis 2nd Feb 2012, 11:44 AM edit delete reply
Ranubis
And then they double back again when they figure out they left their money to pay the trap-remover back at the inn.
Kaleopolitus 2nd Feb 2012, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
Kaleopolitus
When suddenly the cleric notices the side quest on the quest board that they had ignored earlier and decides to do that instead.
kriss1989 4th Feb 2012, 2:30 AM edit delete reply
"And so our heroes set out to find a magical herb to heal Schmoopie's dieing grandmother."

"She's not dieing, she's right over there."

"Search for INVISIBLE traps pookie!"

"Great idea Grandma. Thanks!"
Rugsrat 3rd Feb 2012, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
I actually have a funny story about overly-paranoid players. In my very first campaign that I ran, a super-hero game. I had a player with a scientist character following a computer trail lead in Mexico. He got himself kidnapped by the villain pretty easily (That's what he gets for going off on his own, literally a country away from any help).

So the rest of the group was scrambling to get him back, to find him, or to at least find the villain. And one of my characters had the ability to control chaos magic, and so was instructed to create a portal that would bring the group to their captured teammate.

So the chaos character does so. And puts the portal's entrance inside a car. Well, they can't see the other side of the portal. They can't sense anything from the other side. Electronics tossed through short out.

Well, now they're freaked out. The nature of chaos magic being what it is, they don't want to jump through, because they have no idea if the portal is a failure, if it'll take them to somewhere on the moon, or it'll kill them outright.

So they take the car back to their base. And there it sits. For two sessions.

And by now I'm giggling madly from behind my screen.

So, after 2 sessions of ignoring the portal-car completely, my brother's character (Who was certifiably insane) got bored and jumped through.

He ended up inside the scientist character's lab. Safe and sound and surrounded by various busted electronics. Inside the same building they were in.

Because of course the portal would bring you to where the character spends most of their time, in this case a scientist's lab.

Groans were had.

Chaos magic is fun sometimes.

The scientist was returned safe and sound, and in short order. The portal was actually resolved AFTER they got their teammate back.

Two lessons were learned: Do not use chaos magic to try to get something reliably done. And do not let a character run around the world alone chasing a lead.
GreyDuck 2nd Feb 2012, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
I totally lost it at "WHAT IF WE AREN'T REALLY PONIES!?!?" Well played, sir.
MirrorImage 2nd Feb 2012, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
WE HAVE A BREACH! CLOSE THAT 4TH WALL NOW!
Big Mac! 2nd Feb 2012, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
Big Mac!
This is hilarious :)
Azureink 2nd Feb 2012, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
Azureink
@Newbiespud: I am disappointed that you did not spend a lot of time earning points on the Friendship Track. Especially since your pony, Lockheart, was friends with Scarlet Shimmer. That would be a gold mine to work with, having a rational friend to a psycho.
Kaleopolitus 2nd Feb 2012, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Kaleopolitus
@Newbiespud I laughed so hard when I saw the "Dear princess Celestia". I love how you took the first comment from LurkingRhyth-something to heart like that.
Erin Palette 2nd Feb 2012, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
I have a name, you know.
Lurker 2nd Feb 2012, 11:09 PM edit delete reply
No you don't. It's just an illusion.
CharginChuck 2nd Feb 2012, 11:42 AM edit delete reply
Or maybe it's just an animation error.
gindranis 2nd Feb 2012, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
It was the element of derp, and it broke, while the ponies weren't paying attention to it.
Akouma 2nd Feb 2012, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
I like the Element of Derp. Let's go with that.
leafia6 2nd Feb 2012, 12:28 PM edit delete reply
Wonder how the Rainbow of Light will work in this setting?
Guest 2nd Feb 2012, 2:48 PM edit delete reply
Rainbow of Light? Isn't that kind of redundant?
terrycloth 2nd Feb 2012, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
The rainbow of light was created to counteract the rainbow of darkness, which came first.
James 2nd Feb 2012, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
...I honestly can't tell if that's a joke or not. I know just enough about the Gen One pony stuff to know it was WEIRD.
Sir Robin the Not Bold 2nd Feb 2012, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
Iiit's not a joke. Tirek, this badass centaur world conqueror dude, used the Rainbow of Darkness to corrupt the land and its inhabitants, as he did with every world before it. He was then defeated (read: blown up) by the newly discovered Rainbow of Light.
Kiana 2nd Feb 2012, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Rainbow of Darkness: For when just 'Darkness' isn't FABULOUS enough. Or cliche enough.

I mean, sure, using the power of darkness has been done to death, but if you're trying to do something different, "Rainbow of Darkness" is a rather half-assed job.
Guest 2nd Feb 2012, 6:34 PM edit delete reply
What would a "Rainbow of Darkness" <i>be</i> anyways? Six (seven) different shades of black?
Guest 2nd Feb 2012, 7:31 PM edit delete reply
Raxon 15th Jun 2012, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
TV Tropes is one thing. I don't mind Bay12, in fact, I rather like that forum, but I draw the line at urban dictionary.

This is coming from a guy who likes commanding hundreds of alcoholic, bearded, sociopaths to harvest mermaid bones and throw kids in a pit with rabid cats. Urban dictionary is going too far, man.
kriss1989 4th Feb 2012, 2:23 AM edit delete reply
No, it was just black rolling energy, mixed with red sparks throughout and streaked with grey eddies. It looked pretty bad-ass actually.
Guest 2nd Jul 2013, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
Someone figured it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFxYdFJH52A&t=3m40s
Akouma 2nd Feb 2012, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
I just love making a simple, straightforward challenge for once, then the players decide that it must not be as simple as it seems and spends twelve times as much time figuring out how to avoid it as it would take to do it.

My favorite example doesn't come from a game I was in, unfortunately. The guys who write a web series parodying D&D made a homebrew Minecraft RPG (designed to be played while on a Minecraft server together with heavy modding and a texture pack) also recorded their play experience. At one point, they come across the top of a ladder that leads into a room too dark to see at the bottom. They spent the entire 25-minute video figuring out how they could safely get down to the next room without using a ladder, because they assumed there was no way this could possibly NOT be a trap. The title of that episode was "It Was Just a Ladder... THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE HARD."

At the start of the next episode, he put a square of lava that would burn the ladder if they didn't move quick enough, just so they could find the "trap" he'd been "planning" and move the hell on.

Best example I ever had in my own campaign was my players were in the rarely-used war room of a besieged monastery to make battle plans for lifting the siege. A few of the players get it in their heads that since I mentioned this room is almost never used, there must be ALL KINDS of secrets lying around. They spent the first ten minutes or so looking for secret doors and the like. Eventually I gave them one just so they'd stop looking.
Ranubis 2nd Feb 2012, 8:20 PM edit delete reply
Ranubis
A Minecraft RPG? Could we get some links?

Also, there's nothing like a magic artifact that the DM makes up on the spot to keep things moving.
Akouma 3rd Feb 2012, 2:02 AM edit delete reply
It was really basic stuff, since only one the guy who was DMing the game played any tabletop RPGs. I could probably dig up a link somewhere, but the only thing I've personally seen is what the character sheets look like. It was a fairly watered-down fantasy roleplay, it's just the guy DMing got some fans together to make a Minecraft server that would serve as their world instead of doing it on pen & paper.

The basic gist of what I could glean from watching the series is that there are three classes (he literally just asked what class they'd like to be, then made writeups for those and nothing else), and no race options since everyone but dwarves in that universe are all evil or something. The classes are Paladin, Bard, and Cleric. Paladin gets the best armor and weapons, medium speed, but weak or situational centered around bullying the guys in front of you. Bard gets decent armor and weapons, high speed, and decent utility spells centered around buffing your allies. Cleric gets terrible armor, low speed, and really strong offensive spells centered around basically just dealing boatloads of damage as well as healing spells. All spells cost mana to cast, with how much depending on what spell. (For mana, they used a texture pack to make red, green, and blue dyes look like vials of liquid with the same color. They would throw the relevant mana out of their inventory whenever they would cast a spell, then the DM would pick it up.) Paladins use Red and Blue, Bards use Blue and Green, Clerics use Green and Red. At character creation, each character gets 10 mana of each type they can use. Mana could be restored by finding it in the environment or buying it, since in that universe mana was a physical thing.

Basically it was a simple (but actually surprisingly elegant for introducing new players) system made by a guy on his own over the course of a couple days, and it plays like it. I'd only really play it if I wanted to get a friend's feet wet with RPGs for the first time without overwhelming them, and that's about it. Don't get me wrong, it looks fun to play, but this is one case where MORE complexity was needed for it to be a really good RPG.
Kaleopolitus 3rd Feb 2012, 3:09 AM edit delete reply
Kaleopolitus
I second the link request, I've looked and haven't been able to turn anything up :/

Also, I totally remembered that 'secret room with the ressurecting armor that gave the group an OP ghost paladin to travel with them' story xD
Akouma 3rd Feb 2012, 11:49 PM edit delete reply
Alright, I'll see if I can dig up an official writeup for it.

And honestly the ghost paladin armor is one of my favorite things I've ever come up with on the spot. And see, there was GOING to be the problem that he couldn't speak, but I had forgotten that the most socially-oriented character in the party also dropped a feat on telepathy. Couldn't think of any justifiable reason that WOULDN'T work, so I gave it to her. In the long run it made the situation easier since the PCs didn't have to go on a big runaround that would've taken unnecessary time to communicate with him.

Also, I learned an important lesson from that session. If you're going to have the PCs digging through history books for info on famous figures an artifact might belong to, have some dummy names and backstories ready to make it actually challenging, because saying "uh, I need a name" basically says "this guy isn't important focus on something else."
Akouma 3rd Feb 2012, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
While I'm still looking, here's a much better summary of the game from the guy that made it, including the character sheets for all three players.

http://www.urealms.com/content.php?263-Roleplay-Trying-to-DM-a-group-of-Monkeys

As far as I'm aware, the video talking about the making of never got made, because they dropped the series a while back. They do, however, have a video in which the maker is teaching the players to play, and you can pick up most of the rules by watching the series.
kriss1989 4th Feb 2012, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
I love Unforgotten Realms. "Let's get this train wreck started."
"OK, I get off the train."
Akouma 4th Feb 2012, 4:16 AM edit delete reply
I still say the funniest thing I've ever heard is:

"God damn it, Gaary, on a scale of one to ten, I wanna' punch you in the face."
Bronymous 2nd Feb 2012, 7:03 PM edit delete reply
My Party is notorious for doing the complete opposite. We never, ever, EVER look for traps. the thought that a place might be trapped never even occurs to us most of the time, and luckily, our DM doesn't throw many at us anyway.

One time, though, we entered a large cavern filled with a pool of shin deep water, and an island in the middle with a cave on it (our intended destination). Upon seeing the pool, I became supremely paranoid. The rest of the party trudged through to the island, but I decided to Spider Climb up the wall, and onto the ceiling. Long Story short, by stirring up the sediment in the water, the rest of the party became cemented in place as they were set upon by a basilisk hiding in the cave, and guess who had to save the day.
Kiana 2nd Feb 2012, 8:18 PM edit delete reply
I was rather bad at implementing traps, so for a long time I never used them... So I EXPLICITLY STATED I would be using traps in an upcoming dungeon, just so no one would call foul on me bringing them out of nowhere.

That being said, I try to be logical about it. It's the first time they ran into traps because it's the first time they've attacked a fortress that would NEED traps to be properly defended AND had a reasonable reason to be able to put them in.

I'm still getting better at it. But one notable room in the dungeon: The training room, which they were warned, in character, was heavily trapped. I honestly expected it to be a pretty significant challenge, with spinning floor tiles and swinging blades and teleporter floor tiles.

However, not wanting to butcher the entire party, I only had minions in the room. They were supposed to lure the party into the blade traps... Except the party wound up wiping them out in two turns, barely took any damage and the teleporters wound up being used for the minions to try to RETREAT. (Which they didn't even managed to do, due to range limitations.)

I plan on having more variety as time goes on. ^^
Shikome Kido mi 2nd Feb 2012, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
At least when we started, my current group of players' idea of "search for traps" is "throw the barbarian in first, he's got the most hitpoints, damage reduction, and a bonus to save vs traps", back in 3.0. They've gotten a little more cautious over the years but they still usually forget unless something looks especially ominous. Of course, when I do implement traps, they rarely look ominous, as that defeats the point, so people end up having to do things like climb out of pits while enemies at the top chuck spears at them.
Kiana 3rd Feb 2012, 3:15 AM edit delete reply
NO ONE in my current group is trained in Thievery. In fact, most have pretty terrible Dexterity. I had to actually stat up a hireling who had as his entire point in existing, opening locks. (Well, not the ONLY one, but the only reason he has to join up with the party.)

Bones the unicorn colt, who is a level 1 NPC Rogue. He's all INT and DEX, really. And his mentor (another hireling) is an earth pony ranger, level 2. And I do like to point out that the kid is far better at opening doors than the entire team combined.

I'm terrible at being a killer DM, because I hate just killing off PCs without giving them a CHANCE at success... That being said, they'll be losing the archeologist NPC duo soon. Incidentally, right when the party hits level 4 and can spare a feat for skill training...
Guest 3rd Feb 2012, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
On a general note. Any fighter can tell you that a hammer is just a really heavy set of lock-picks.
Dragonflight 3rd Feb 2012, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
The thing to remember about traps, especially if you don't want to really kill off the party, is you drop things on them that they could fix, if they were only willing to burn some of the ridiculously powerful treasure they've been getting all along. Like the object of Restoration which undoes negative-energy damage.

I mention that on in particular, because when the party gets one, it tends to be stuck in the dimensional "junk closet" with no idea when or how to use it. I fixed that one after reading an article Ed Greenwood once wrote about particularly inventive traps.

My favorites were the trapped walls, where the person standing on the doorsill is perfectly safe, but he walls behind them slam shut if the door is opened a certain way. This was ostensibly created in a hidden shrine to a dark power, so that the captured cleric forced to lead the heroes inside would have the means to deal with the enemy forces and bolt for safety.

Or (one of my favorites), the metal door and handle which looks totally harmless. It's just got a *wight* trapped inside the door, and when you touch the handle, you save or lose a full experience level. *That's* when the party whips out that Restoration device I mentioned earlier, by the way. :)

Properly added, a trap in the right place can be scary and make people feel a little less sure of their success, but if you know they have the keys to surviving the trap encounter, it doesn't have to be permanent or fatal. Just shake them up a bit. :)
terrycloth 3rd Feb 2012, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
The party I recently stopped running for (someone else took over GMing because I got sick of it) used to abuse the hell out of my traps. They'd always find them, but they wouldn't just disarm them, noooo. They'd find a way to use them against the monsters.
Dragonflight 3rd Feb 2012, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
The ultimate example of that may take some searching on the Net, but there's an old story about something called the "Head of Vecna".

The idea here is that there were two separate gaming groups, run by the same GM on different days. And one time, the two groups got into a spat about which one of them was better.

So, when one of the groups found a dungeon, they completely cleared it out, then decided to painstakingly restock it with fresh traps, fresh monsters and fresh treasure.

The penultimate achievement was a powerful magical Artifact. Not just any artifact, but a capital "A" Artifact which was utterly unique. The Head of the evil archwizard Vecna, who according to legend, made portions of his own body into Artifacts, and scattered them around the world.

Well, the other party adventured through the dungeon, and eventually after besting the really angry dragon that had found itself ensorcelled and left in the depths of the dungeon for no reason it could understand, they finally got their hands on the Head of Vecna.

Thing is, with a Vecna artifact, they only work when you replace your own body part with the Vecna component. It's the ultimate in evil organic limb replacement, with all sorts of weird side effects and curses if you do. But you *always* get fantastic power if you do so. So that party started arguing over who'd get the head. And since obviously you had to attach it, the only solution was for the lucky recipient to have their own head *cut off* so the Head of Vecna could be attached in its place.

Apparently the group lost half its party as people kept insisting *they* knew the correct method of attaching the Head of Vecna before someone finally realized it was just a random head with a handful of things missing (the teeth, an eye... all the legitimate Vecna artifacts you could find.)

That party was really ticked at the first one after that. After they spent a small fortune resurrecting their party members, of course.
Guest 2nd Jul 2013, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
Using traps against the monsters is legit. They should be dismantling them for XP crystals to use for creating wondrous items by the wizard.
Ranubis 2nd Feb 2012, 8:18 PM edit delete reply
Ranubis
Our last encounter sorta had a trap. Our DM let me try running a session so I could act as a backup, but I needed to find some way to set aside my character so I could focus on the monsters. When our group was in a cave, we came across a seemingly shallow pool with a small island in the middle. I volunteered to have my character wade out to the island to see if it had anything valuable, so he took a few steps into the pool... and then fell down a sinkhole. Then the mud men started attacking...
Kiana 3rd Feb 2012, 3:24 AM edit delete reply
Ah, I love taking NPCs out of the action. M&M campaign, had an NPC that basically got promoted to GM PC (outside of my control, if you can believe that. Party wanted to keep the girl and didn't leave her with another NPC or anything. Generally, her rival would show up and insist on a 1-on-1 fight, so they teleport off some place while the party handles the bulk of the forces.

D&D, the hirelings politely inform the party "We're here to disarm traps, you're the soldiers." Which is completely justified, since the hirelings were just released from a prison cell and only have a set of lockpicks on them.

I still prefer the method that lets the NPCs do something productive... without muscling in on the PCs' action.
Dragonflight 3rd Feb 2012, 1:07 PM edit delete reply
Oh, agreed. Usually I'll introduce random NPC's over the course of the game, and if any of the PC's take a shine to them, they can acquire them as DNPC's. If so, those NPC's suddenly become both social characters, and a never-ending source of kidnap victims, and people who can be menaced by the big bad at the right moment that the jaded player characters would just attack on sight.
Kiana 3rd Feb 2012, 2:57 PM edit delete reply
As an aside, I even though of why Bones couldn't pick his way out of his 'cell'. Each cell is only large enough for one pony... and it's basically just a closet with a REALLY HEAVY metal door. He couldn't pick the lock because he wasn't sure where it WAS on the door, having no way to see it.

My traps tend to fall into two categories, I've noticed: "Inconvenient annoyances" (the teleporter and spinning floor tiles) and "Replaces a monster" (swinging blades, dart launchers, et cetera.) Alone, they're nothing. When mixed together, well. The sword mage learned first hand that being knocked Prone under a swinging blade did not protect you from the swinging blade.

And for extra fun: Early in the dungeon, I gave them some low level treasure. A magic item that gives +1 Thievery. Which was my way of giving them a fighting chance (again, they CHOSE not to take Thievery...) AND as my way of warning them "Why yes, there WILL be traps!" one last time.


I still want to make a skill challenge where they have to outrun a rolling boulder, while the hireling NPCs snark about the 'good old days'.
Ranubis 3rd Feb 2012, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
Ranubis
The most amusing part was that the group almost derailed my plan. Before my paladin could try getting to the island, the others insisted that a rope be tied to him. Thankfully, when my paladin fell into the sinkhole I had him roll to swim, and rolled a 1 right in front of the group. Cue the rope catching a sharp rock under the water and leaving the party holding a severed rope with several mud monsters rising out of the water.

I had a lot of fun messing with the characters, punctuating the fight with references to air bubbles rising form where Davven went down. In reality, I had the sinkhole deposit Davven into a tunnel a ways behind the party. As soon as the last mud man falls, a dripping wet dwarf charges into the room, waving his war hammer and shouting "In Moradin's name I shall... Oh, come on! You lot beat them already?"
Cain 4th Feb 2012, 6:50 PM edit delete reply
Correction, you didn't have your hammer at the time, Gorgon did. And charged you for holding onto it.
Cain 4th Feb 2012, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
Also he tried to kill the satyr for his eye patch.
Aegis Steadfast 3rd Feb 2012, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
Wasn't fun at all being cut up like that.

Don't worry... I got better.
Kiana 4th Feb 2012, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
'Course, Aegis always goes on about how she's only good for getting hit, but that's fine because she's durable.

And that gets proven true. Quite often.
Dragonflight 3rd Feb 2012, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
I hate to say it, really I do. Especially since I can't stand them most of the time.

But from the illustration provided, there's really only one name you should give that pony:

Ponychu
leafia6 3rd Feb 2012, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
So would the Elements of Harmony need to have 6 consecutive 20-rolls to work in this setting?
legomaster00156 3rd Feb 2012, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
I doubt it. That would require insane luck to defeat any of the bosses.
Akouma 4th Feb 2012, 4:22 AM edit delete reply
The odds of getting 6 consecutive natural 20s on d20 rolls is ~1.6% assuming the dice are weighted evenly. If your DM does this to you, he/she's a jerk. That and if defeating the bad guy hinges solely on your capacity to use a super-duper magic artifact o' awesome, you should probably make it user-friendly lest the players strangle you.
Guest 2nd Jul 2013, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
How the hay is (1/20)^6 equal to 1.6%?