|A little forward planning can create a trap for any occasion.|
Oh, the area around the fortification is cleared to allow a clear line of sight for the sentries on the walls? Well that would be massive penalties that would render any stealth check impossible without the aid of magic or helpful weather. Say a -10 to any die rolls and must roll every few turns. They’re on a chance die but might get lucky if the distance isn’t too great with each successful roll representing a sentry taking a break to urinate or something similar.
Ah, so the portcullis is down and the player characters want to break them down? Durability 8. Structure 40. They’ll need to deal more than 8 damage to it in a single hit to damage it’s structure at all. Possible – but difficult.
Hmm, so there’s a swinging scythe set to come at their heads while they were walking down the corridor? Give it 8 dice and an attack roll or, alternatively, put the onus on the PCs to make a Dexterity + Athletics check to get out of the way with each success reducing the damage by 1.
Well, the fortifications are designed to give a clear field of fire for the archers while still protecting them? Those behind the walls gain almost total cover and concealment while taking a minimal penalty to their attack rolls to use a bow through those holes.
So that’s the traps and benefits of fortifications out of the way, how about designing a fortification in and of itself? Well your best bet here is to do a little research. Grab a floorplan of a castle. Pick up a book on castles and forts made by the most similar Earth culture. Primary school books are often best as they’re loaded with pictures and are packed full of quick tidbits and succinct detail. Perfect for when you want some quick and easy reference guides.
And don’t forget you can always magic it up. What if there are four square forts that link together magically and so each fort technically holds one quarter of the castle but those strolling around inside it can move so freely from one fort to the other that it might as well all be connected to them? Why not have a castle floating above a bed of lava which functions as a moat? Rather than pour boiling oil through a murder hole set above the gate house they could unleash little violent fairies or even pour through a potent acid?
Statues can come to life while the characters move along and webs of magic might block off certain corridors that can only be bypassed by certain keys (normally objects) or passcodes?
Try to come up with at least one unexpected element to every fort you design in order to keep things interesting and keep your players guessing. That one element doesn’t have to be mindblowing but it does have to feel unique.
So what kind of forts and traps have you built? And do you have any advice to give our other readers?