The Virgin DM Monologues: TrapMaster? No, try TrapBastard!

I’m getting more comfortable with this whole DMing thing.  Thankfully, I have good players (when they’re behaving!) and Hybban is basically a walking talking reference for all RPG rules, EVER.  Did I mention he knows the math for everybody’s characters better than they know their own?  Yeah, it’s helpful.  Mildly disturbing, but  helpful.

Either way, for those just joining us, I’m running Dungeon Crawl Classics 54: Forges Of The Mountain King, one of the new 4e adventure modules by Goodman Games.   My PCs are:

  • Babs the Barbarian
  • Egon the Rogue
  • Orsik the Cleric

Prep

I have to admit that I threw this one together.  We decided to switch the normally Saturday game to every other Wednesday, opposite Anubis’ game (the one with Joelle & Andric!).   I was out of town on a work conference from Friday through Tuesday, so I didn’t have a lot of time.

I visited the Goodman Games forum and read the errata post for the module and discovered that a lot of the problems with the module were related to the fact that it was rather hastily converted to 4e.   Another tiny thing?  The squares in the map really should be 10 feet, not 5, which makes so much more sense.  I had been tweaking the maps anyway (mostly due to my poor drawing skills), but it’s good to know they should be twice as big.

No fear, though!  I read through the next few encounters, gathered up my minis, and headed to Anubis’ house.  It’s all good!

Dammit, PCs.  Why’d You Go THAT Way?

From the room the PCs last cleared, there were two options – go up the big staircase on one side of the room or climb the ladder on the other side.  I figured they’d go for the stairs, but noooooo, the rogue goes up the ladder.

The hallway has traps everywhere, some defunct, some still deadly.  Finding the traps is tricky business because you have to roll high to notice all of them.  Egon’s 1337 rogue skills only find the traps that were already triggered or defunct and when he walks another five feet down the hall, he gets crushed and trapped by the sliding wall traps.

Meanwhile, Orsik and Babs are still downstairs.  Hearing the rogue cry out, Orsik climbs up to see what happened and tries to smash the wall with his hammer.  Egon searches in his tiny cell and finds a way to disable the walls, sliding them back into their original position.  Babs comes up just in time to hear the click of the trapdoor in the ceiling opening, raining fire beetles from above.

Cool move of the game

Babs pushes a fire beetle off the 40 foot ledge, nearly killing it.  It makes angry noises at the bottom of the ladder.  Orsik climbs down the ladder a bit to finish it off with a Lance of Faith.

TrapBastard

The next room holds Yrgut the Trapmaster.  He hides in a niche in the wall behind some tapestries and shoots whoever enters the room with his bladebow (combo crossbow/shortsword, unique weapon).  The TrapMaster fights from his niche because he is the trigger for the final trap – when he dies and falls forward, the rope around his waist pulls taut and causes the ceiling to collapse on the PCs.  I was curious to see how this would play out.

The Trapmaster has four ravens that swoop in and pecked the heck out of the rogue.  The PCs pulled the ravens back into the hallway and Babs lands an amazing smack that takes one bird from full health to a pile of feathers.

Babs decides to throw her vial of poison to the corner of the room where they suspect the mystery shooter is hiding.  Thing is, Trapmaster has +7 save against poison, so he laughs at them.  “You think you can hurt the Trapmaster with such petty poisons?”   Mwah ha ha.

Trapmaster is renamed TrapBastard by the PCs.  Even with his AC nerfed and not using all of his attacks, he still manages to nearly kill the rogue.  Egon tried to do a power that allows him to slide the target.  Because you can’t slide into an occupied square, he was unable to pull TrapBastard from his niche.   I decided to let Egon see the rope tied around TrapBastard’s waist as a result of his slide attempt.  The PCs realize that he must be a trigger for something and are pretty freaked out.  When Egon is on his last breath and Orsik is out of healing power, they decide to retreat, rest, and regroup.

At this point, I was wondering whether the TrapBastard should do.  Should he kamikaze and set off the ceiling trap, attempting to kill the PCs as they retreat?  Should he untie his rope and chase them down?  Should he just wait in the corner for them to come back?

I went with option 3, mainly because I felt like being nice.  If I had triggered the ceiling trap, it could have caused up to 40 damage per PC.   Yeah.  TPK wouldn’t be good.  I didn’t think TrapMaster would feel comfortable running around the dungeon without his ravens, so I left him in the corner, waiting on them to return.

The second round of TrapBastard finally allowed the PCs to finish him off and luckily, Babs and Egon work together to catch him as he falls, preventing the last trap from triggering.  Egon greedily snatches up the bladebow and rolls up the room’s tapestries, stuffing them in his bag.  He was nice enough to give the TrapBastard’s money pouch to the cleric to hold for the party.  TrapMaster’s belt has a cool silver skull that opens up, but after all the traps of the day, Egon decided it would be best not to open it.

Enough for Now!

Having enough of traps and orcs and goblins and beetles, the PCs hike back to town to get some rest at the local inn.   This is a pretty good plan, since I want to try to run the mini-adventure I am writing on them.  We’re not sure when our next session will be since the holiday season is pretty crazy for all of us.  I’ll keep you posted!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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