Some people just do not need to be dungeon masters.
There, I said it.
When I attend, and usually win, the Iron Dungeon Masters competition at Gencon, I meet a variety of DMs. Most of the tournament entrants are top notch, among the best I have met. But there is always two or three whom should have never sat behind the screen. These types of DMs not only use, but need products like Tangent Game’s Trap Cards: Challenge Rating I.
Trap Cards, 46 pages, touts itself as a collection of over 200 traps printed on business cards with the stats of the traps for easy reference. The traps are described as unique. Unfortunately they are not that unique, a disappointment considering all of the excellent trap books on the market.
Every Dungeon Master at some point needs a trap. We crave something creative and challenging that will test the dungeon wits of a party. There are a lot of basic traps in the DMG that are kept as is or supped up for the purpose. It does not take a lot of effort for an average DM to replace the Scythe in a trap wit ha large axe.
Apparently the creators of Trap Cards thinks it does because the entire book is made up of typical traps you would find in the DMG with the weapon or type of damage changed. The description of the traps are pretty plain add little more than what you thought when you read it the first time. I printed out a couple pages of cards, and could find no real use for them. I obviously could not give them to the players, and it was quicker for me to jot down a traps stats on notepaper as opposed to fumbling for a card to figure out the arrow trap is dc 18.
For the DM
Trap Cards is not a bad product, just a bad concept. Many of the traps are good and usable, it just that we have seen them before. Early in the PDF, the non-magical traps seem very interesting and the slight changes to the normal explosion or compulsion make them practical.
The Iron Word
These traps are far too simple to require such cards and space for the average DM. If you do find that this is your weak spot, then Trap Cards would be quite useful to you, else you might want a little more meat in your pit trap.