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Chapter 2: Tools / Building Hazards

Offense

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 76
Almost all hazards need an attack bonus or a save DC, and hazards that deal damage need to list a damage value. Simple hazards deal about twice as much damage as complex hazards and have an attack bonus even higher than the extreme attack bonus for a creature (abbreviated as S. Atk in Table 2–16: Offense). Complex hazards usually have attack bonuses akin to a high attack bonus for a creature (abbreviated as C. Atk in Table 2–16). You can adjust them further using Table 2–9: Attack Bonus on page 64 if your hazard needs it. Simple hazard DCs aren’t as high for their level as their attack bonuses are, since effects with DCs usually have some effect even on a successful saving throw; use the EDC and HDC columns for extreme and hard DCs on Table 2–16: Offense below.

The damage columns on the table give a damage expression you can use, followed by the average damage in parentheses. If you want to make your own damage expression, remember that average damage is 2.5 for a d4, 3.5 for a d6, 4.5 for a d8, 5.5 for a d10, and 6.5 for a d12.

Table 2–16: Offense

LevelS. AtkC. AtkSimple DmgComplex DmgEDCHDC
–1+10+82d4+1 (6)1d4+1 (3)1916
0+11+82d6+3 (10)1d6+2 (5)1916
1+13+92d6+5 (12)1d6+3 (6)2017
2+14+112d10+7 (18)1d10+4 (9)2218
3+16+122d10+13 (24)1d10+6 (12)2320
4+17+144d8+10 (28)2d8+5 (14)2521
5+19+154d8+14 (32)2d8+7 (16)2622
6+20+174d8+18 (36)2d8+9 (18)2724
7+22+184d10+18 (40)2d10+9 (20)2925
8+23+204d10+22 (44)2d10+11 (22)3026
9+25+214d10+26 (48)2d10+13 (24)3228
10+26+234d12+26 (52)2d12+13 (26)3329
11+28+244d12+30 (56)2d12+15 (28)3430
12+29+266d10+27 (60)3d10+14 (30)3632
13+31+276d10+31 (64)3d10+16 (32)3733
14+32+296d10+35 (68)3d10+18 (34)3934
15+34+306d12+33 (72)3d12+17 (36)4036
16+35+326d12+35 (74)3d12+18 (37)4137
17+37+336d12+37 (76)3d12+19 (38)4338
18+38+356d12+41 (80)3d12+20 (40)4440
19+40+368d10+40 (84)4d10+20 (42)4641
20+41+388d10+44 (88)4d10+22 (44)4742
21+43+398d10+48 (92)4d10+24 (46)4844
22+44+418d10+52 (96)4d10+26 (48)5045
23+46+428d12+48 (100)4d12+24 (50)5146
24+47+448d12+52 (104)4d12+26 (52)5248

Designing Simple Hazards

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 76
When designing a simple hazard, make sure to select an appropriate trigger and effect. Often, a simple hazard that merely damages its target is little more than a speed bump that slows down the game without much added value, so think about the purpose of your hazard carefully, both in the story and in the game world, especially when it’s a hazard that a creature intentionally built or placed in that location. A great simple hazard does something interesting, has a longer-lasting consequence, or integrates with the nearby inhabitants or even the encounters in some way (you can find more information on integrating hazards with encounters in Dynamic Encounters on page 48).

Designing Complex Hazards

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 76
Unlike a simple hazard, a complex hazard can play the part of a creature in a battle, or can be an encounter all its own. Many of the concerns with damaging effects when designing a simple hazard don’t apply when designing a complex hazard. A complex hazard can apply its damage over and over again, eventually killing its hapless victim, and isn’t intended to be a quick-to-overcome obstacle.

Complex hazards have a lot more in common with creatures than simple hazards do, and you’ll see that a complex hazard’s statistics are similar to those of a creature. A good complex hazard often requires disabling multiple components or otherwise interacting with the encounter in some way. For instance, while the Core Rulebook’s poisoned dart gallery requires only one Thievery check to disable, the control panel is on the far end of the gallery, so a PC would need to make their way across first.

Building Routines

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 76
A complex hazard has a routine each round, whether it stems from preprogrammed instructions built into a trap, instincts and residual emotions swirling around a complex haunt, or a force of nature like sinking in quicksand. Make sure to build a routine that makes sense for the hazard; an environmental lava chute that ejects lava into the area each round shouldn’t be able to seek out and precisely target only the PCs, but it might spatter random areas within range or everything within range, depending on how you describe the hazard. However, a complex haunt might be able to recognize life force and target living creatures.

If you create a hazard that can’t consistently attack the PCs (like the Core Rulebook’s blade pillar, which moves in a random direction), you can make it deadlier than normal in other ways.

The hazard should have as many actions as you feel it needs to perform its routine. If you split the routine out into several actions, you can also remove some of the hazard’s actions once partial progress is made in disabling or destroying it; this can give the PCs a feeling of progress, and it can encourage them to handle the hazard if it appears in a encounter alongside creatures.