When possible building a trap section for a dungeon, we like to use a design that forces the character to notice the trap, not the player. Thus, the undiscovered state should blend with the existing terrain only revealing the trap when sprung. We wanted to do something with spikes and floor tiles, but pits require a bit of suspension of disbelief in a 3D environment when dealing with terrain one level deep sitting on a solid table. For the time being, we steered clear of that hurdle and built on the concept of a floor tile that would protrude spring-loaded spikes upward when triggered and not rely upon gravity.
We wanted something versatile but visually appealing, so we decided on a 2×2 footprint for the trap. This would allow it to fit in our standard hallways as well as replace a section of room floor, as needed. Knowing that our sprung state would utilizing multiple of the triple-hole 1×1/2 tiles from Hirst Arts #44 that have a gothic stone texture, I glued together four 1×1 floor tiles from Hirst Arts Mold #201 into a 2×2 section. I did this four times so we could have a section of continuous hallway or a small room. The goal was to have a lot of “safe” floor tiles that look normal. Again, if the players see tiles they “know” are trapped, characters start suddenly searching for traps!
Once the regular floor tiles were assembled, I took eight of the triple-hole 1×1/2 tiles from Hirst Arts #44 so I could assemble a 2×2 section of floor. We wanted the spikes to be jutting out at seemingly random angles, so I first glued the tiles side-by-side in pairs into 1×1 squares. I glued these squares into a 2×2 section by rotating them 90 degrees so that the hole patterns were not all in straight rows.
Again, we wanted an appearance of randomness as well as viciousness to the sprung trap, so I cut 24 tips off of bamboo skewers in three sets of 8 different lengths. I blunted the ends by cutting about a 1/8 inch off the sharp tip and hitting it with some sandpaper. We often play with children, so we don’t want the trap actually dangerous! Since each 1×1/2 tile has three holes, I glued in one spike of each of the three lengths cut in random order and tilted at a random angle.
After it all dried, I sent it to Kaewee for painting. She put the same color scheme on all the floor tiles and did a dark wood look to the spikes. After all that dried, she added a crimson to look like fresh blood. We were quite pleased with the result!
After the assembly and painting, we could build out a dungeon section using the four normal 2×2 floor tiles. Some games that is all they are; however, when a trap is sprung, we replace one 2×2 with the protruding spikes! This keeps the players guessing. You can make it even less obvious by using more and more of the gothic pattern floor tiles so no one gets suspicious.