The thief has two basic moves Trap Expert and Tricks of the Trade which involve finding traps and preventing them from causing harm. Classic DW doesn't provide GMs with any suggestions of how to build or use traps.
- 1 From Deathtrap Dungeon World by Sersa Victory
- 2 Assume Your Traps Will Be Found
- 3 Limit Trap Expert to Once Per Room
- 4 Assume Your Traps Will Be Disabled
- 5 Spawn New Traps as a Hard Move
- 6 Enhance or Advance the Fiction
- 7 Increased Damage, Multiple Hard Moves, Narrative Effects, Front Relationships
From Deathtrap Dungeon World by Sersa Victory
Traps and Tricks
Traps are the dreaded namesake of the deathtrap dungeon genre. By heeding the advice below, you’ll be better able to demonstrate to players why that’s the case.
Assume Your Traps Will Be Found
The truth is, in Dungeon World, it’s very easy for thieves to find hidden traps – with certain advanced moves, it’s often a sure thing. Other classes can also unearth traps with little trouble. There’s no harm in hiding your traps, but be sure to design them so that they remain interesting and threatening even after being discovered. Traps that attack alongside monsters in combat or strike as punishment for incorrectly solving a puzzle are great examples of such traps.
Limit Trap Expert to Once Per Room
If you’re finding that the thief is steamrolling through your traps and tricks by spamming the trap expert move, try limiting the use of this move to once per room (the first attempt representing the thief’s ‘best effort’). If you’re feeling generous as a GM, you might allow the thief to use the move again if circumstances in the area change or if enough time has passed.
Assume Your Traps Will Be Disabled
Just as you should assume your traps will be found, assume in Dungeon World that your traps will be disabled as well. Like monsters, find ways in the fiction to prevent characters from being able to neutralize traps directly. Instead, force them to defy a danger or accomplish some other task before being allowed to make a disabling move against a trap itself.
Spawn New Traps as a Hard Move
Just because a trap isn’t in your notes doesn’t mean it isn’t waiting for the characters to happen upon it. When you have an opportunity to make a hard move, reveal new traps or hint at their existence. Doing so keeps the players tense and reinforces the treacherous, unpredictable nature of your deathtrap dungeon that, with a malign intelligence, will alter itself in order to slay intruders. Be careful, though: if the thief feels like you’re circumventing the trap expert move too much, use this tactic less often.
Enhance or Advance the Fiction
Be on the lookout for ways you can promote your deathtrap dungeon’s story through traps. Maybe the remains and diary of the dungeon lord’s former lover lay at the bottom of the pit the fighter just tumbled into. Perhaps the rolling boulder trap smashes open the wall to reveal a hidden chamber depicting the dungeon’s original, covered-up purpose.
Increased Damage, Multiple Hard Moves, Narrative Effects, Front Relationships
Like monsters, you can elevate your traps by increasing their damage, making multiple hard moves, layering on narrative effects, and tying them to the deathtrap dungeon’s fronts.
- good forum discussion on trap philosophy in DW
- good forum discussion on trap mechanics in DW
- Hack & Slash Trick & Trap Index
- Random Trap Generator by Mike Shea