Friday, October 22, 2021
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Review: Treacherous Traps

Treacherous Traps is a Kickstarter funded book from Nord Games.

Traps in Dungeons and Dragons and all other role playing games are probably the hardest element to implement well. Web DM notes early on in their excellent video on traps – that most traps in role-playing games are little more than a tax on hit points and resources with little enjoyment factor for either Player or DM. As a result abandoning traps all together is a better option than doing traps poorly.

Web DM Episode: Traps & Dungeon Design

Given traps are recognised as hard to do, how did the Nord Games to do with possibly the hardest topic available and is the product useful?

Firstly this book is aimed squarely at Dungeon Masters. If you are a player and don’t aspire to Dungeon Mastering then this book isn’t for you. The text does contain a new background called Trapsmith – but it isn’t sufficient to a player purchase the text.

If you are playing another system to 5e Dungeons and Dragons, don’t automatically discount this book as much is system agnostic being knowledge.

The notable sections within the book are:

  • How to use traps
  • Premade traps for various party level ranges 1-4,5-8,9-12,13-16-17-20.
  • Complex Traps
  • Designing Traps
  • Random Trap Generator
  • Puzzles Section
  • Riddles
  • Trapsmith Background

The majority of the book comprises pre-made traps. Each of which comprises of the following elements: Trigger, Effect, Countermeasures.

Most traps are interesting but far too many fall into the category of:

  • party didn’t think to look for traps – effect happens – damage result or party things to look for trap, or
  • party did thing to look for traps – rolls – you found it – roll again to disarms – result: traps turned off / trap goes off, and
  • rinse repeat.

That said, don’t discount this book, as all the pre-made traps are ripe for kit bashing and moulding into a better trap experience and I think a person purchasing this book who expects to do this will be much happier than someone thinking I just follow the text in the book to do this and everyone will have a good time.

The Designing Traps and Random Trap Generator sections are extremely useful if you plan to construct your own traps. These sections are a solid design springboard from which you can create things that will really appeal to your gaming groups and personal tastes.

Combining these list and charts with the premade traps in the book and Dungeon Masters have a fabulous set of tools and ideas.

This book is very much one that you flip through when you are creating a campaign and not for cover to cover consumption. 

Kobolds are ultimate trap artisans

The Puzzles and Riddles sections of the book are highly subjective given that success rests entirely on the personalities and interests of your gaming group. If your group does like puzzles and riddles this is a suitable source for you (as your players possibly read those in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything which is a player orientated book).

Who is this book for?

As indicted earlier this is a text purely aimed at Dungeon Masters who wish to build their own creations and want a toolbox upon which they can drawn from. The majority of the pre-made traps will require work to ensure that your gaming group has a good time. If you are happy with this then the book is a worthy addition to your collection.

If you are on the fence about a traps book. I suggest you watch both the Web DM video (above) and the Matthew Colville video (below) on traps. If at the end you have feel enthusiastic about approaching traps creatively and with thought out design for your gaming groups then this title is one that you will likely use and value.

 

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Content
8
Artwork
9
Value for Money
7

REVIEW SUMMARY

Treacherous Traps is a book written for a particular type of Dungeon Master - the creative and world builder. For this type of Dungeon Master this book provides a wealth of information and is springboard for design. The value increase to 9. A good text from Nord Games for possibly the most difficult game element to get right - we are lucky to have brave publishers and Kickstarter backers to write and fund this product.