The great outdoors is a perfect place to place traps. Whether you place the trap just outside your dungeon or somewhere on the road, wilderness traps will often take the party by surprise. Consider the following:
Goblin Rocket Snare (CR 4)
Description: When the trap is triggered, a snare tightens around the character’s ankle as a small rocket fires. The rocket drags the character for 100 feet across the countryside.
Player Description: Piles of fallen leaves obscure patches of the ground.
Trap Description: A wisp of smoke curls up from the leaves as a rope ensnares your foot.
Type mechanical; Perception 22; Disable Device 18
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect: Rocket Snare Attack
(6d6 damage + target is dragged 100ft, DC 21 Reflex Save Negates)
This type of trap can serve several purposes. It can be a wake up call, smack in the face kind of trap that will keep the adventurers on their toes, especially if they aren’t being cautious enough while exploring the wilderness. If anything, their characters will probably set a double watch next time!
You can also use it to set up an encounter or lead the party to the next section of an adventure. Having this trap go off just before a goblin attack can make what would otherwise be an ordinary run-of-the-mill encounter into something very exciting; a member of the party is now injured and separated from the group, with enemy combatants between her and her comrades!
After the character is dragged 100 feet, she could find a cave, a hidden temple entrance, treasure, or even a clue. Using it in this way removes the drudgery of having the characters search and miss perception checks, etc. Since it was sudden and violent, it probably won’t even feel contrived, especially if you combine it with an encounter.
In the coming weeks, there will be more wilderness traps posted. In the meantime, open up the outdoors. Turn those otherwise boring treks into memorable events.
This module is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 25 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
This being an adventure-module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion. Oh. The module is called “Goblin Cave”. Guess what you’ll get? Goblins. In a cave? Perhaps. Yeah that might be it. Seriously, though. The title is lame as hell.
Still here? All right! The village of Svor has recently suffered from incursions of goblins that are oddly well trained and since the isolated village is rather small, it falls to the PCs to put an end to the threat. After a round of investigation gathering (if desired), the PCs can track their way to the cavernous hideout of the goblins and it’s all old-schoolish dungeon crawl from here on out: In order to enter the cave situated at the edge of the murky lake, the PCs will have to wade through stagnant water and then best goblin sentries and make their way through a complex, in which they’ll be challenged by slippery cooking oil, worg-riding goblin cavalry and even make an uncommon ally: Grog the former chief of the tribe of greenskins is now a ghost that has been supplanted by the wizard Taraxian.
In an ironic twist, neither filth fever, nor poisonous spores make for the most deadly hazard in this place, but rather an overstocked storage area that might have the PCs buried in an avalanche of goods. Have I mentioned the rust monster that will add both to the chaos and frighten the players fearing for their precious goods…
Both the stolen goods and Taraxian’s library are rather detailed and the finale is also rather neat, offering not only a classic tactic, but also a circle which is a representation of the Circulus Sanguinus-spell the wizard employed to take command of the goblins. Whether with or without the help of the goblin ghost, the PCs will have to face down the wizard and hopefully manage to avoid slaying a controlled acolyte. If they have helped the ghost, he may even point them towards his hidden treasure stash, which is a neat mini-puzzle to end the module.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to AaW’s two-column standard with a white background, following the standard of the C-series. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks and will get herolab support, though the files have not gone online as I write these lines. The cartography provides us with an awesome full-color map of both the dungeon and the overworld, with the latter coming in two versions, one of which is player-friendly – kudos!
I expected to hate this module. It’s rather short and has one of the most boring titles imaginable. But, here’s the catch: It’s actually rather good and has some memorable moments: If worg-riding goblins flinging disgusting, hot goblin soup at PCs doesn’t sound like fun, what is? The option to unearth a hidden treasure (even one as paltry as a goblin’s) is also rather iconic and a cool idea and the complex storage encounter is neat as well. All in all, this is definitely a solid, well-written module, but also one that sports a distinct lack of je-ne-sais-quoi. The spark. The additional environmental challenge. The encounter that will have the players talk about it for days to come. While it won’t win any prices for ingenuity and lacks the vast iconicity of C1, it is still a low-level adventure that has its moments. I’d also consider it a good introduction to old-school play-styles since it can be difficult, but not nearly as deadly as comparable modules like C1 or the offerings of Frog God Games. Also, the module is rather on the short side and in the light of all of this, I can settle for a (at least for me) surprising verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform – for a module named “Goblin Cave”. Yeah. I still can’t get over the title.