Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Pikeman's Hallway Trap

Also known as the Forest of Stakes.

This trap requires a delineated walkway and a floor with seams (or other "roughage"). It could work in a dense forest with narrow paths, an interior hallway with hardwood floors, or a tiled walkway through a garden. The example will use a hardwood floor.

For the intended effect, the planks that make up the floor travel lengthwise down the hallway, not across. Through a hidden trigger, the planks swivel at some point along their length to raise 6-10 sharpened stakes into the air. The angle and length of the stakes put all the points in a solid vertical column facing one way or the other down the hall. Since every other plank across the width swivels open, they form an effective wall of sharp points. Because they angle up from the floor, chopping at the points just makes the wall shorter at each swipe.

This trap works well when someone is fleeing around blind corners. Activate the trap and they duck right into a self-made shish kebab. Activating several in a row (three or four such 'walls' in a single hallway) effectively halts any fast progress without necessarily killing the interloper. On the other hand, adding a trip wire (or allowing a few of the boards directly before the trap to raise just a couple inches as a trip aid) would increase the change of a damaging or lethal encounter.

I view the trap as operating via a counterweight mechanism. Usually the weight (suspended by the far end of the plank) is supported, leaving the floor in the normal, flat, down position. Activating the trap releases the weight, causing the floorboards to swivel violently up, trailing the suspended bamboo stakes beneath them. The stakes could be rigidly fixed in their vertical pattern (requiring a lot of room beneath the floor to house them) or they could be collapsible while stowed underneath the floor and locking into place as the floor rises up. I much prefer the latter as it prevents the hollow sounds and space requirements of the former.

Also, as I mentioned above, only every other plank rises. Why? So the remaining planks can have the same trap facing the opposite direction.

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