Hack: Defusing Bombs/Traps

An RPG mechanic for solving short codes such as defusing sequences for bombs or traps.

1.) Roll five 6-sided dice on the table in front of the player. Tell them each die represents a wire, gear, powerstone or other mechanism found in the device.

2.) The DM secretly notes on a hidden card on the following sequences. (The player should be told what the four options could be.)

* ONLY EVEN (remove all odd-numbered dice)
* ONLY ODD (remove all even-numbered dice)
* LOW-TO-HIGH (arrange dice from smallest to largest numbers)
* HIGH-TO-LOW (arrange dice from largest to smallest numbers)

3.) Allow the character an appropriate skill roll. (Arcana, thieves tools, etc.)

* 9 or less … no clue
* 10 to 14 … player may ask what rolled number belongs in the first position
* 15 to 19 … player may ask about what two positions
* 20 to 24 … player may ask about three positions
* 25 or more … player may ask about four positions

4.) The player may then arrange and remove dice as needed to match the solution. Guess right, bomb/trap defused. Guess wrong, boom.

EXAMPLE #1:
1.) Dice roll comes up 1, 3, 3, 4 and 6.
2.) DM picks LOW-TO-HIGH.
3.) Player’s thief has a +4 bonus with thieves tools and 1d20 rolls a 13, for a total of 17.
4.) Player asks to know what number appears in the first and fifth position.
5.) DM answers “1” and “6” which should make the sequence clear.

EXAMPLE #2:
1.) Dice roll comes up 1, 3, 3, 4 and 6.
2.) DM picks ONLY EVEN.
3.) Player’s thief has a +4 bonus with thieves tools and 1d20 rolls a 13, for a total of 17.
4.) Player asks to know what number appears in the first and fifth position.
5.) DM answers “4” and “empty” which should make the sequence clear.

VARIANTS: Use d4s instead of d6s to make it a bit easier, d8s or d12s to make it more difficult.