Doors and treasure chests. That’s what the kids like to trap these days. Skeletons go inside the treasure chest, poison needles go in the keyhole, and the PCs get a nice double whammy. Except players aren’t stupid. They know where the traps are supposed to go, and nine times out of ten they’ll find them. Mention a door and they’ll examine it. Introduce a chest and they’ll assume it’s a mimic. Animated statues? We all know what happens to animated statues.

That’s why I’m careful to use more unconventional hiding places. Hollow stalactites and bas reliefs have been successful lately, but even there it’s a matter of luck. It’s un-freaking-canny how players manage to stumble onto my cleverly hidden secrets. I remember one encounter with a concealed treasure vault. I didn’t get through the room description before one of my players pulled on the correct sconce. Another time my players were just dicking around in a random room, rolling to find secret doors. There was zero reason for them to suspect secret doors.

Player: “Nineteen.”

Me: “You find nothing.”

Same Player: “Seventeen.”

Me: “Nope.”

Same Player: “Fourteen, sixteen, eleven, nat twenty!”

Me: “Nothing. Nothing. Dude, you don’t find… Nat twenty? Sigh. A trap door pops open at your feet.”

All: *much rejoicing*

Of course, that same group managed to trip across a clothesline with some cans tied to it. Twice. The goblins were summarily alerted.

How about you guys though? Have you ever stumbled across a ridiculously hard-to-find secret? And on the other side of the screen, have you ever managed to find the perfect hiding spot for your latest deathtrap? Let’s hear it in the comments!


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