I was playing Star Frontiers with my kids last night and they dreamed up a trap far worse than what was actually there. They are in the last section of the SF-1: Volturnus, Planet of Mystery module (PDF).
Warning: spoilers for the adventure. If you’re a player in this module stop reading now!
In this part of the module, the characters have to assault a Sathar artifact. The module is designed such that the characters can easily find a false entrance that opens up into a small closed set of interconnected tunnels that were circular in cross section (see area labeled 4 in the image at right). The trap here being that once the characters pass a certain distance in either direction (the dashed lines in the image to the right) the entire tunnel complex flips 180 degrees tossing them about for some damage. That’s all this area does, continuously. There is absolutely nothing else here, just empty halls that flip over every time you cross one of those lines.
My kids were smart and were looking for traps but the technician looking barely made his skill roll, so I declared that he saw something at the positions of the dashed lines that looked like a triggering mechanism but didn’t know what it was. He carefully moved over and made another skill roll to try to figure it out, again barely making it. He was informed that it seemed that the tunnel system could pivot around a central axis but couldn’t figure out anything else.
At this point they all began speculating wildly about what could happen. Not being able to see the entire structure (it was dark, they only had flashlights, and couldn’t see around the corners), they came to the conclusion that the corridors were balanced and that if they went too far in any one direction, it would tip over, dropping them to the bottom. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they were also convinced that there were large 2 meter balls in the hidden portions of the tunnels that would roll down and squish them.
They immediately started looking at the weights of the different races (2 Dralasites, a Yazirian, a Vrusk, and 2 combat robots) and trying to send equally weighted characters in opposite directions. This obviously didn’t work and they got flipped over and there were (luckily) no balls to go rolling through the halls. After a couple of flips they decided this wasn’t working and found the correct (secret) entrance.
I’ll have to admit though, that the trap they dreamed up was much more interesting (and deadly) than the actual one. I may just have to use it in a future adventure.