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Pits and Pendulums and Other Means to Retire an Adventurer: OED Traps Digest

Searching for traps? Find them in the OED Traps Digest from OED Games.

After using it in his games for eight years, Dan “Delta” Collins of Delta’s D&D Hotspot and Wandering DMs finally, in this Hotspot post, opened the cover on the pit where he cached this six-page booklet chock-full of traps.

Search for Traps at OED Games

One Table, Myriad Dooms

On the first page, Dan explains in one paragraph how to generate a trap for your dungeon stocking needs. He tells you how often a trap is present, your chance to find it, and failing that, your chance to trigger it.

If you’re old school, you might consult the Monster Determination and Level of Monster Matrix from OD&D’s Underworld and Wilderness Adventures to determine the trap’s level. I adore the “Lost Matrix,”1 and I’m excited to have another reason to use it. On the matrix, you might find a 3rd-level trap anywhere from dungeon level one through five.

Let’s take pit traps, for example. On upper levels, you got your standard covered-pit traps for neophyte adventurers. For more experienced delvers, you got pits with spikes, pits with monsters, locking pits, and pits that crush you in your plate mail like a tin can.

The rest of the digest-sized page is a single table of d12 traps for each level, one through six. That’s 72 traps at the end of a dice roll.

Table entries are brief and descriptive. Dan suggests the text may be copied straight into your digital dungeon room notes.

Five Pages of Descriptions

Dan doesn’t leave you gazing at the approaching edge of the swinging pendulum. In remaining pages, he describes each trap, divided by type. There are eight types, including crushing, confining, and magic/energy traps, plus my favorite pit traps. Some have variations, like a poison’s strength or a missile’s accuracy. Each description provides how much damage, what save if any applies, and how to escape the trap should you survive its immediate effects.

Furthering our pit-trap example: At the deepest levels, you might find, if you’re lucky, a covered pit. Lifting the cover, you see spikes poking up from the bottom. The points are covered in poison. When you don’t find the cover, you fall through it, it locks, and the pit floods. Don’t worry. Dan tells you how to get out of it. Spoiler: It’s a job for friends topside. They should have an axe. Hold your breath while they work.

The OED Traps Digest is a free download for the Original Edition Delta fantasy rules system. Go to OED Games and search for Traps.

Working Traps on Wandering DMs, Sunday

For a live trap-stocking demonstration from the author of the OED Traps Digest, catch up with the Wandering DMs on YouTube today at 1 p.m. Eastern US. In “Dungeon Design Dash 2,” Dan and fellow DM Paul Siegel continue their work from a previous episode. Earlier, they stocked monsters and treasures in a one-page dungeon. They intend to finish this week with puzzles, tricks, and traps.

Don’t forget your ten-foot pole. I’ll bring the axe.


1 I call it the “Lost Matrix,” because, after an abbreviated appearance in the Holmes Bluebook and a more extensive rendition in the 1979 AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, it isn’t reproduced in later editions—the beginning of the end of the old school, so saith the grognard.


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