Arming and Disarming Traps

Arming a trap takes at least sixty seconds. If it takes you less than sixty seconds to arm the trap out-of-game, you must still keep both hands on the trap and roleplay arming the trap for the remainder of the sixty seconds. During those sixty seconds, if either hand is removed from the trap, or if you are hit by a physical blow or packet attack, the trap will be set off, affecting only the person setting the trap. This applies even if the physical blow or packet attack would not have caused damage or would have had no effect.

After the trap has been armed, it can be moved no more than five feet in any direction before detonating, even if the person carrying the trap has the Create Trap skill. Picking up a trapped box, moving it three feet, and then turning around and putting it back will set it off.

Any armed trap that is shattered, whether by a spell or by another trap within the radius, will always be set off. Shattering a box containing an armed trap will also detonate the trap. Shattering a disarmed trap still destroys the trap, but it is not set off.

A character needs Create Trap to attempt to arm and disarm traps and pick locks. You must have this skill in order to even attempt doing these things. Anyone without this skill who tries to disarm a trap or pick a lock will automatically fail. Different ranks of Create Trap allow arming different types of traps; see the Create Trap skill description for details.

If you do not have this skill, you must role-play ignorance in figuring out how to remove a trap. Your character can still detect the presence of the trap by noticing trip wires and such, but will be completely unable to figure out how to disarm it.

A trap may be disarmed by any means which does not permanently destroy the trap, so long as the chosen method prevents the trap from producing a noise or a light. For example, popping a battery clip off a battery or moving a mouse trap bar slowly so that it does not snap shut represents the disarming of the trap.

Permanent damage means treating the trap in such a way that a marshal cannot fix the damage within ten minutes or needs a tool. For instance, removing the top of a box by taking the screws out of the hinges is not allowed. It’s a nice lateral way of solving the problem, yes, but it requires the marshal to have to use tools to put the box back together and is not what this skill is all about. Conversely, a trap cannot require tool usage (such as requiring a screw driver to open a box) to disarm.

Note that, like weapons used by NPCs, traps found in modules cannot always be “harvested” as treasure. Just because you disarm a trap in a module doesn’t mean you will get a trap card.


All traps must have a real, physical trigger. This trigger could produce a light (such as from a flashbulb) or a sound (such as from a mouse trap). This trigger must always be detectable by an impartial observer. Every trap must be disarmable, even though it may be difficult to do so.

All traps must be approved by a marshal and, if not in a module where the documentation is held by the marshal, must contain a trap card.

A trigger can be something as simple as a mouse trap with a thread going across a hallway that, when tripped, sets off the mouse trap.

A better trap can be made with a springed clothespin, two tacks, some thread, two pieces of wire, a nine-volt battery, a cheap electric buzzer, and a small piece of cardboard. Attach wires to the base of each tack. Pull the clothespin apart and push a tack through each part of the clothespin so that when the clothespin is closed, the two tacks will touch each other and make a connection.

Attach the wires to the buzzer mechanism and a battery and you will hear the buzzer go off.

Next, take a small bit of cardboard and poke a hole in it. Tie the thread through the hole and then place the cardboard between the jaws of the clothespin, thus preventing the tacks from touching each other.

The other end of the string can be run as a tripwire or attached to the top of a box so that when the thread is pulled, the cardboard is removed and the tacks connect, causing a connection, which makes the buzzer go off.