Magical Traps and PC Use

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Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby Maia » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:02 pm

Exalted has an intriguing and little-used system of Traps found in the Scroll of Kings pgs. 153-157. On Pg. 154, it explores the intriguing prospect of summoning Elementals and Demons and binding them into an existing trap for improved functionality. Given the text mentions least gods and very minor demons, one assumes this could be accomplished via Thaumuturgy but sadly the text gives no mechanics on how one would do this.

It also mentions other types of magical traps that rely on Sorcery or enchantments to create ammunition, summon blades, last forever and avoid maintenance cost. They also provide no mechanic on how a PC would go about this.

My Night Caste (who has a Survival of 4 and a Craft Fire 4 as well as a specialty in making traps) has Summon Elemental and Demon of the First Circle. My basic question is this:
Can I use this to create traps that are self-arming? I'd like to be able to:
  • Magically bind a demon into a fire mine, toss it and have it bury itself until blowing itself up on the first person wearing the uniform of a particular army that walks over it.
  • Stick an Earth Elemental into a boulder and make it roll over people who trigger it via Swinging Log trap style, resetting itself when done.
  • Meld a poisonous amphelisia Demon into a Dropfall trap, dumping poison automatically refilled whenever triggered.
  • I'd especially like to be able to bind demons into ropes that I can toss and have themselves set up the trap, perhaps requiring a Survival roll from me to arm but bypassing the 20-45 minute setup time it'd otherwise take.

All of that seems reasonable and possible to me. If it's a bit more punch than a 'mere' +2 difficulty detection plus demon stats for attack per the box on pg. 154, so is using full on Sorcery to bind the real deal instead of using nonexistent Thaumuturgical rituals that presumably most people use. Especially since summoning automatically tacks on an extra 4+ hours in addition to the 20 minutes to up to a day of construction time.

Player opinion is welcome but a ST ruling would be very nice if that's possible. :)
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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby akashic_monk » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:14 am

There are Thaumaturgical rituals that summon demons and elementals. They are not as safe as Sorcery, as said summoned entities are not bound to obey. However, I am sure a clever, charismatic, intelligent thaumaturge can deal with such in a way that would be benefitial for the summoned.

The matter of the mechanical benefit to said traps would most likely depend on the trap in question. While this is not an official ruling, I would say that it would be treated as a hazard equal to the hazard level of the entity. The craft roll would determine that the mundane aspects of the trap can be made. However, if the trap is triggered, I would treat it as an attack from the entity, with whatever negative applies to the situation of an unexpected strike. Other magical enhancements, such as Ritual of Elemental Empowerment, would add the elemental effect to the trap, for example.
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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby Virtueboy » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:21 am

I remember somewhere that demons can be tied to creation via permanent summons, but elementals stay at most a month or a year... but my memory is not what it used to be. :(
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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby Jinxy13 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:06 am

Demons can be bound for, at most, a year and a day. But they CAN be bound to a specific task which can be for any length of time, so long as it is possible to END it. Elementals can only be bound for 1 month, and constantly 'kidnapping' them from their Courts is a great way to get a court on your ass.
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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby Virtueboy » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:14 pm

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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby Maia » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:19 pm

Oh right, Thaumuturgy. I keep forgetting that's a thing. >.> Given I've already invested xp into the full on Exalted summoning spells, I think I'll pass but it's nice to remember there are low-power options (which cost just as much...).

Interesting, to use Hazards as a way of adjudicating extra-strong traps (i.e. full on First Circle Demons bound to a trap instead of the default 'very minor' Demons). This mostly confirms my suspicions that how my traps work will probably depend on the ST running a given scene, which is a bit of unfortunate uncertainty but not really unexpected.

My main goal in this thread is to find a way to make/bind traps in advance that I can drop-and-deploy within a scene rather than having to spend a scene making. My view is that binding a full First Circle Demon like a decanthrope or a marottes (hopping puppeteer) to a rope is exactly how one might go about creating a snare line that hangs itself rather than you having to spend 20 full minutes setting it up while monsters are breathing down your neck. Traps not only have the up-front 'cost' of needing their components made in advance (and binding in a demon is going to add another 4 hours to that) but also additional time required to set them up. If I can't use a First Circle Demon for example to shortcut that time, I'm interested in any ideas people have on how I might solve this particular problem.

Yes, I'm running on the assumption that if you bind a Firmin Needlemaker into a set of caltrops for the purpose of 'stab anyone who steps on you', that's an indefinite task. I'm not sure where the escape clause in that is but given this seems to be how permanent traps are canonically made, I'm assuming it's not much of an issue. And yes, were I to use an Elemental, a year and a day is as long as I could legally get away with using them in a trap (short of making a deal with a Court so they don't mind).

Great thoughts! Any others? :)
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Re: Magical Traps and PC Use

Postby hotaruchan » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:32 pm

yeah there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules on traps in general they are usually treated as hazards of various degrees stuff with sorcerous aspects to it will typically be at the high end of the spectrum. a particularly ingenious use of it may be granted bonuses by an st. but usually fall in line with super deadly traps like the high lvl manse option in ordenal's codex
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