Friday night also marked the second ever foray into the megadungeon. (Yet nameless, I'm still trying to figure out a balance between the ridiculous criteria I've come up with and keeping it from sounding like a 4e power.) Halfway through the Traveller session, two players had to leave, and rather than soldier on so shorthanded I suggested that we play this crazy dungeon I'd been working on. The idea was met with enthusiasm, and so we spent an hour making characters, and another two dungeoneering.
The party consisted of:
Din Aleboot, 1st-level Dwarf (Alice Dice in the Traveller game)
Fitz the Fantastic, 1st-level magic user (Shmiff)
Yui Fluorite, 1st-level Cleric (Nina Ka-Fai)
This party was significantly less cautious than Zane Archer was in his expedition. Still fairly cautious -- they listened at doors, looked up at the ceilings, and so on -- but they were much more willing to fiddle with things. Fitz smashed a glass gramaphone, Din dipped things into mysterious freezing pools, and Yui picked up tiny robots using acid to etch things onto the walls. ("There are robots in this dungeon?!")
They also mapped, which let them make some intelligent decisions ("this door probably just leads to that room we've already explored") and helpd them escape at the end of the night, when I declared that it was getting late, and that anyone who was still in the dungeon when I got too tired to run would be subject to a roll on "The Table of Probable Doom." That got their attention, because when I say "them," I mean "Fitz and Din," and shortly thereafter just Fitz.
See, they'd run afoul of a heat ray. You get zapped, you save vs. 3d6 damage and melting of your armor/other metal. (Which I neglected to mention at the time, but further expeditions will discover these corpses in the proper condition.) Yui got zapped and died, and then while trying to get back towards the entrance Din was also zapped, and promptly died.
They took it pretty well, since they'd been kind of expecting something like that to happen based on my brief descriptions of the enterprise, but I'm entirely happy with how it went. The triggering mechanism wasn't completely clear, even in my mind, and then once I did come up with a decent mechanism a few seconds later, it was still something that was going to be pretty close to undecipherable to the players, without some serious investigation and perhaps a stroke of luck.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. But this particular trap only gets set off some of the time, even when the triggering mechanism is met, and what I learned is that this actually can make a trap more deadly, not less. Because, for instance, you can end up with a character on the wrong side of potential death. And you can get PCs thinking they know something that doesn't trigger it, when really what's happened is they got lucky on a die roll.
So, learning experience. The players aren't bothered by it, and they've got a map so they know to avoid that room from now on. But I now I've got some things to do differently in the future.