... now with 35% more arrogance!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pit Traps

Here's a question, not about something I'm necessarily planning, but just a topic for discussion. If you're using "all weapons do 1d6 damage, regardless of size", should all pits do 1d6 damage, regardless of depth? With maybe a Con save with penalties for different depths to avoid instant death?


  1. If pit traps are going to have a fixed damage I'd go for 2d6 or 3d6 myself. Enough to be noticeable and certainly woeful as it is certain if one falls into a pit (no weapon damage is certain if one bumps into an armed foe).

    A save vs instant death would be a bit much for me but one vs broken limbs would be in place an not too distracting from heroic action.

    Here is a falling trick I used years ago:
    After a fall (which did 1d6 per 10') one lies there incapacitated for a certain number of rounds. 1d20 rounds + 1 per 20' feet fallen could do the trick.

    Sure the 100 hp high level fighter can survive a 50' fall but it's a dangerous way to avoid an encounter if one is helpless for a goodly number of round after a plummet. Players who don't mind a dead PC hate being helpless even if for a short amount of time.

  2. I do have a version of falling rules that focuses on injury rather than instant death. But I'm more interested here in what arguments against a flat 1d6 damage exist.

  3. If you allow the PC a saving throw, you could deliver 1d6 for each point by which the save was missed, capped at the standard 1d6 per ten feet.

    At any rate, I think a flat 1d6 is fine... finding a method of escaping a very deep pit is the interesting part of the game, not the risk of death for higher level characters. One way to look at it is that with abstract hit points a PC doesn't necessarily fall into the pit, even if she loses hit points.

    Whose destiny is going to be thwarted by tumbling down a hole?

  4. Dragon Warriors uses a height/damage relationship, which, given the issue not being the distance fallen, but the deceleration caused by hitting an object (and velocity increasing as you fall), seems appropriate.

    Fingers McNab, the inept thief, should survive all the 6m pit traps he falls into, but probably not the 50m fall from the flying carpet.

    The rather elegant way they work it is going up a dice size every 2m - d2, d4, d6...d20s start accumulating past 14m falls.

    Easier way to work this is making all pits a certain depth, or having the deep ones with piles of trash, refuse or accumulations of sludge at the bottom.

    By the way, I like the temporary incapacitation idea, and will try it next available opportunity.