Grimtooth's Traps was a series of supplements originally published in the 1980s by Flying Buffalo. They were generic and did not target any particular game system in  particular, although they did give the impression that they were aimed at the Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games. This supplement is a compilation of material from the earlier books that has been redone for the D&D 3.X - specifically the 3.5 - system bt Necromancer Games. The book was originally published under the d20 license but, after that license was revoked, it became covered by the Open Game License. As such, some of the content is considered to be Open Game Content.

The supplement is available from RPGNow as a watermarked PDF and as a print on demand softcover and hardcover book, and the original printed hardcover version can still be found on sites such as Amazon. The PDF version is the one reviewed, the regular price of which is $18.99, but it was bought at the reduced price of $9.49. The PDF has 226 pages, of which two pages are the colour front and back covers, one page front matter, two pages of in-character introduction from Necromancer Games, one page the Table of Contents, three pages are an alphabetical index, three pages are an index of traps by CR, one page the Legal Appendix (which incorporates the Open Game License) and two pages are adverts for Flying Buffalo and Necromancer Games.

The Wurst of Grimtooth's TrapsCredit: Necromancer GamesA Word From Grimtooth is a general introduction to the book from Grimtooth the Troll, both how it's organised and what the purpose of the traps is.

Trap Mechanics expands the trap rules from D&D 3.x which are, after all, simply search for a trap, disarm a trap, all done by die rolls. These traps are separated into multiple parts, each of which can have its own effect, and require dealing with separately. There is also an explanation of the trap stat blocks, which include such as Challenge Rating, a common component, and specific things like skulls which measure a trap's lethality on a scale of 1 to 5. The traps listed have much more complex stat blocks than is the case for normal 3.x traps, often including multiple effects, with how they reset and how much they cost also listed.

Section One: Room Traps is a collection of traps that fill entire rooms, many with illustrations showing how they function.

Section Two: Corridor Traps is similar to Section One, except this time it focuses on traps in corridors.

Section Three: Door Traps is similar to the previous two sections, but these time the traps are those found on doors.

Section Four: Traps Bazaar has a layout and description of Grimtooth's Traps Bazaar, where the troll sells his traps. There is also a collection of what are essentially cursed magic items at the end of it.

Section Five: Dungeon of Doom is a not-so-typical dungeon crawl. This isn't merely a simple tomb loot, but a collection of intertwined traps. Every single room has a trap of some type, and may contain multiple different ones, with some appearing many times throughout the complex, and in some cases those in one room also set up a trap in another room.

Last Trap is not really a trap; it's a note from Grimtooth saying that some of the books were poisoned.

The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps in Review

The PDF has bookmarks for the major and minor sections, including every trap in the Dungeon of Doom. There is also the Table of Contents and two indices, which make this one of the better supplements to navigate. Inside the book are various illustrations, up to full page in size. Some of these are simply decorative, such as those of Grimtooth and Grimtina, but others have a practical purpose. There are illustrations of many of the different traps, including both side and overhead views. Without these, it would be hard to picture just how some of the traps actually work, so these are useful. There are a number of in-character sections, primarily from Grimtooth and at the beginning of chapters, but they are in other places too, and from other characters.

There are quite a lot of spelling and grammatical errors in the book, especially in Section Five: Dungeon of Doom, which seems to have had a different proof-reader. Most of the spelling mistakes are in fact grammatical in nature - a correctly spelled, but incorrectly used, word - and there are more than would be expected.

The supplement was designed for D&D 3.x and should therefore be easily adaptable to the Pathfinder system. It may be possible to also adapt it to Old School Revival systems, although in such a case it might make more sense to buy one of the original supplements, which were released back during the early days anyway.

Sections One to Three are simply a collection of traps by a variety of different authors. These are often complex, frequently lethal traps. Unless a GameMaster definitely wants to kill their players, it might be advisable to tweak the traps to a degree to make them a bit less lethal (in A Word From Grimtooth it's stated that the point of the traps isn't simply to kill the players, but to terrify them, so even though Grimtooth frequently talks in the text about killing delvers, this isn't the entire aim).

The traps are the sort of complex traps that really have no place outside of the type of megadungeon (usually built by someone powerful and a bit mad) that tends to crop up in Dungeons & Dragons and related games, as there isn't really a logical reason for them to appear.

The part of Section Four that actually covers the Traps Bazaar seems a bit pointless; it seems highly unlikely that a GM would have a use for this in an actual game. Still, it's interesting. The Dungeon of Doom is an amazingly complex and lethal dungeon that has a good chance of killing any party who explores it.

This book is an entertaining read, but it's debateable as to just how useful much of it will be in actual game play, unless the GM is actively trying to exterminate all their players' characters, which is generally not conducive to mutual enjoyment. The cursed magical items in Section Four could definitely be useful (and there are more in Section Five), although some of the curses are a bit too final with absolutely no warning for many games. The Dungeon of Doom could be run as a one-shot adventure with disposable characters, just to see if it can be beaten.

Overall, The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps is entertaining, and does contain some useful new mechanics for making these dungeon staples a little more interesting than the standard search/disarm routine settled by dice rolls, but to actually use the traps themselves would probably require a bit of tinkering with them; they are often simply too potentially lethal to make for an enjoyable game.

The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps egdcltd 2016-12-31 3.5 0 5
3.5/5