Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Interesting Encounter: Divide and Conquer

Interesting encounters are short descriptions of encounters that GMs can use to build on.  They combine unique aspects of different types of foes, terrain, skill checks, weather, combat, etc in order to provide more unique challenges than hit monster; repeat.

It has been a while, but I've finally gotten back around to blogging. This week we're working through a divide and conquer trap scenario.

WARNING: We're going to use a bit of a qunatum ogre in this scenario. A "quantum ogre" is a case where the outcome doesn't depend on the choices that the player makes. The story goes that a PC reaches a tunnel where he can go either left or right. However, wherever the PC goes, he finds an ogre. The ogre is in both places (and not in both places) at once until the PC chooses, then it is placed. Thus the name... quantum ogre.

Start out with a room. In this room, there is a pressure plate in the center of the room. The plate is unremarkable and easily mistaken as part of the normal floor tile design. The second time the plate is activated by stepping on it, it triggers the trap.

The trap simply is 4 walls that fall from the ceiling and two doors that fall in the entrance and exit. They block off the room and divide it into quadrants.  With any luck and bad saves, the party is split apart.

Now comes the quantum ogre part. There is a single exit in each area that requires a specific skill, each belonging to a single member of the party. However, the party member that has the skill isn't in the quadrant. They are in another quadrant. The four quadrants each have a small 3" by 3" hole in the wall that allows adjacent quadrant PCs to talk back and forth. In order for everyone to get out, all 4 skill tests must be passed. The PCs will have to talk each other through the tests.

Now, the beauty of this challenge is that it is a complete roleplay test. The rogue has to try to explain to the wizard how to disable the trap. The wizard has to try to explain to the barbarian how to decipher the runes. The fighters has to explain to the cleric how to get enough leverage to force open the door. The cleric has to explain to the druid how to cast a blessing on the sacred altar. You get the idea. Get creative with the crossover to make it interesting. Give huge bonuses for good roleplay.

This encounter is short and simple to prep, but a great ice breaker for new parties. Use it as a warm up with a new campaign, or for just a change of pace in an old one.