Deathtrap Dungeon World: Moves from the Tomb

TombOfHorrorsMouth

Last month, I wrote about how you might design and run deathtrap dungeons using the Dungeon World roleplaying game. To aid GMs further, I’ve created several custom moves based on some of the most iconic and infamous traps lurking in the Tomb of Horrors. Use them as they appear in your own adventures, or modify them to create custom moves for traps of your own devising.

False Entrance Sliding Wall Trap

When this trap is triggered, a sliding block of stone grinds away from the wall, threatening to trap slow victims in the far end of the hallway. Each character in the hallway should roll+DEX, one at a time. *On a 10+, they pick 3. *On a 7-9, they pick 1.

  • You don’t get wedged between the sliding stone for 2d10 damage.
  • You don’t accidentally drop something useful in the sealed hallway.
  • You don’t inadvertently hinder another character’s escape.

Mouth of the Great Green Devil (Sphere of Annihilation)

When you investigate the mouth of the great green devil face in the wall, roll+DEX or roll+WIS. *On a 10+, pick 3. *On a 7-9, pick 1.

  • You don’t lose a limb to the sphere of annihilation.
  • You don’t drop something you’re holding into the sphere.
  • You aren’t put in a compromising position while extracting yourself from the jaws of the mouth.
  • You don’t draw the ire of the talisman-holder elsewhere in the dungeon.

*On a 12+, pick all 4, and you happen upon an additional secret hidden in the face. *On a 6-, you’re reduced to dust by the sphere of annihilation.

Misty Archways

The Tomb of Horrors is filled with several misty archways inlaid with a trio of fist-sized glowing gems. When you fiddle with the gems and step through the mist, roll+INT. *On a 10+, pick 3. *On a 7-9, pick 1.

  • You are teleported somewhere you can return from easily.
  • You are teleported somewhere safe.
  • You are teleported somewhere useful.
  • Your gear isn’t teleported to the dungeon lord’s lair.
  • Your race and sex aren’t changed by the teleportation.

*On a 12+, pick 4. *On a 6-, there is a teleportation mishap.

Magic Altar

When you touch the magic altar in the Chapel of Good, roll+WIS or roll+CHA. *On a 10+, pick 3. *On a 7-9, pick 1.

  • You and all nearby the altar aren’t incinerated for 6d6 damage by a fireball.
  • A far away ally isn’t blasted by a lightning bolt for 4d8 damage.
  • You receive a revelation that aids you in a challenge later in the dungeon.
  • A curse or disease is lifted from you or one ally.
  • The hidden ring slot is revealed in a nearby wall.

*On a 12+, pick 4.

Clay Vats

When you investigate this cluster of large clay vats filled with strange fluids, roll+INT or roll+WIS. *On a 10+, pick 3. *On a 7-9, pick 1.

  • You find the first half of a golden key.
  • You find the second half of a golden key.
  • You don’t get scalded by acid for 6d4 damage.
  • You don’t awaken a gray ooze lurking in one of the vats.
  • You don’t agitate an ochre jelly hiding in another of the vats.

*On a 12+, pick 4.

Gem of Cursed Wishing

When you make a wish using the gem, roll+CHA. *On a 10+, pick 3. *On a 7-9, pick 1.

  • The gem doesn’t explode, dealing 8d6 damage to all nearby.
  • The gem doesn’t pervert your wish.
  • The gem doesn’t raise nearby skeleton warriors to attack you.
  • The wish doesn’t raise the ire of a powerful demon.
  • The wish doesn’t call the attention of a powerful undead.

*On a 12+, pick 4, and the wish is partially granted.

Comments

  1. Hi!

    These are pretty cool conceptually and work okay.
    One thing I’ve been trying to be mindful of is the MC / player divide, with picking options… like from these traps.

    John Harper wrote about it over here: http://mightyatom.blogspot.com/2010/10/apocalypse-world-crossing-line.html

    One cool trick, as an alternative, is the nice “pick which you hope doesn’t happen”. As an example, for the first trap…

    When you trigger the false wall, a sliding block of stone grinds away from it, threatening to trap slow victims in the far end of the hallway. Each character in the hallway should pick which one they’re trying their hardest to avoid:

    - You don’t get squished by the sliding stone for 2d10 damage
    - You don’t accidentally drop something useful in the sealed hallway, or break something in the escape
    - You don’t inadvertently hinder another character’s escape (giving them -1 to their roll, if they haven’t made it yet)

    Then, have each roll+dex (starting with the lowest dexterity). On a 10+, they’re just fine. On a 7-9, the MC will pick one, but not the one the character was trying to avoid. On a 4-6, it’s that one. On a 3 or less, it’s the one they tried to avoid, plus either one more of the above or they’re sealed off, MC’s choice.

    Just an example of a slightly different framework that preserves the player “feel”. Here, as a player, I’m not picking arbitrary things I do or don’t like, I say what my character is *doing* (trying hardest to avoid), and it flows from there.

    Food for thought. :)

    - Alex

  2. Thanks for a really cool quick idea that expands on the “Moves”. I am readying for my maiden voyage as a GM (and playing altogether) in about a week and a tip of the cap of ToH would be a welcome addition to my group of novice DWers (they are all well-versed in the classics).

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