Content of the article: "Don’t think about it. – The perfect trap."
Level 6 group investigating an assassination. Discovers a group of assassins using magic items provided by a higher level wizard to kill his enemies. We find out the team is going on a mission to kill someone so we warn them but take the time to sneak into the assassin's base while they are out…
Me: Lizardfolk warrior.
Party: Human Wizard, Elf Rogue, Elf Sorc, Half-orc Barbarian.
Made it into the secret layer, past traps, past locked doors, past guard dogs, entered an elaborate main chamber with chandelier lighting and large desk on the far side of the room but the first-half the room was empty.
Rogue checks the floors and walls for traps. Good roll. Finds nothing. DM describes the room including a large map of the city in a portrait format behind the desk with small notes stuck to it in some coded language. Too hard to read at a distance, have to get closer.
The party crosses the room. A third of the way across, everyone is paralyzed. The floor glows under our feet. Trap runes? No one can move. Not even blink.
At this point, it becomes important you know the lore of Lizardfolk. They believe that their God was perfect and happy until they started thinking too much. They worried themselves into inaction and self-conflict because they thought too long and hard about every action.
Many Lizardfolk embrace a life of mindfulness where they live only in the now and care only about what is in front of them at the moment. My warrior was one of these people. Practical and always focused on survival. His often-repeated mantra was, "Thinking is bad."
When he became trapped, unable to move or speak because of the magic, he quickly realized this was a problem he could not solve so he started waiting for one of the magical people to fix it.
The rest of the party could not move or speak either but the wizard could communicate with his cat-familiar and it could move just fine.
DM spent a few rounds asking us what we were doing. The rogue was trying to decode the notes on the map thinking perhaps one of them was a clue to the trap. The wizard was having his cat knock over things and search the room for buttons or levers that might free everyone.
The sorcerer used Sorc points to silent cast a bolt of acid at the floor the Barbarian was standing on which left her slowly cooking alive in a hole in the floor, still unable to move or scream.
When the DM asked me what I was doing I simply replied. "Waiting. My character knows this isn't his job so he is waiting for someone else to solve the problem. This is a thinking problem and thinking is bad. "
Next round, my character fell over and was able to move freely.
DM asked me what I was doing. I said, "Well, I wasn't paralyzed before I came in the room so it stands to reason if I leave the room I won't get stuck again so I turn to leave." and the DM said that as soon as I stood back up, and started to turn, I was stuck again. The lights around me on the floor popped back on.
What followed was nine-teen, agonizing rounds of the wizard and his familiar trying to figure out the trap. The rogue giving us edgy, internal dialog about being trapped causing flashbacks to the time they were locked in a strong-box by their abusive father.
The Barbarian was slowly dying from acid burns and my lizard – simpleton that he was, waiting, unthinking until he could move, then taking a step towards the door, some times two before he would be stuck again.
Eventually, he made it out of the room and was free. The DM asked me what I wanted to do and I did the most Lizardfolk thing I could think of – tied a rope to my spear and threw it as hard as I could into the back of the wizard. I harpooned him like a whale then dragged his bleeding meat across the floor until he was outside of the room with me.
After he was finally able to move – and was done cussing me out for harpooning him, he figured out the trap. The desk, the map, the notes, all the strange gold miniature statues on the desk the cat had been trying to destroy were a distraction. The real danger was a crystal in the chandelier that cast paralyzing rays on anyone who triggered it. The trigger was a detect thoughts spell. Once I broke the crystal with a few spear tosses everyone was free.
To cross the room safely all you had to do was not think until you made it halfway across the room. It was the perfect trap for a paranoid wizard working with a group of deadly, invisible assassins.
Even if they tried to sneak up on him in his office, the paralysis ray would light up the floor around them, invisible or not and he could just blast the area.
The perfect, unbeatable trap, unless you have a Lizardfolk.
- A Wizard in the hand is confused
- DM’s suddenly vague narration is leaving players unsure of what to do next
- Players trigger several traps at once, DM is forced to reveal plot twists months early to avoid TPK
© Post "Don’t think about it. – The perfect trap." for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
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