Been doing this for over a year and a half. No offense, but I hope a lot of people don't read this. It's not so much fun when everyone is on to you.
You bring me back in 2000! nostalgia! Sumptuously!"Tinker traps are worthless anyway. Who falls for that except newbies." - eppy
I realise that by writing this guide I am essentially shooting myself in the foot by raising awareness of some of these things, but it’s simply too fun not to share.
My idea for this playstyle and the name of my character come from Eldest Son, a MACV-SOG operation during the Vietnam War where boobytrapped exploding ammunition cartridges would be inserted into the VC supply lines by US special forces. An explosive was mixed in with the gunpowder in these cartridges that would destroy a rifle when fired, sending the bolt flying back into the shooter’s face with lethal results.
The idea here is the same: inserting tinker trapped boxes on fresh monster corpses by stealthing near a mob engaged in combat and dropping a trapped box on its corpse in the split second after it dies. It’s a simple concept, but still very effective even on a server full of UO veterans. I am not claiming to have invented anything here, and in UO’s near 19 year history there is nothing new under the sun, but all of these tips are based from my own experiences.
Theme song for inspiration:
The core skills required for this are simple:
- Hiding 100
- Stealth 80 (when wearing no armour)
You do not even need tinkering (though it is handy), as long as you have some way of obtaining trapped boxes. Some of these tips are thus valuable to any thief or stealth-based character.
For a dedicated PK tinker I would recommend the following skills:
- Hiding 100
- Stealth 80
- Tinkering 120
- Carpentry 70
- Tracking 50+
The other skills are up to you. As I spend a lot of time lurking in dungeons looking for prey my tinker also serves as a dungeon lockpicker, and thus has lockpicking and remove trap. Picking dungeon chests is also a useful source of stuffing for your trapped boxes (discussed later).
You can go down the bard route and invest in provo/peacemaking to distract any nearby mobs in order to loot a corpse after a kill, or pick up snoop/stealing or combat skills. Detect Hidden is a situation skill, but can be very useful to get hiding people killed by nearby monster/PK’s. You can use it to take out other scavengers or people returning to their corpse while you are still looting. The cooldown is short, there is no reagent cost or casting time, and you remain stealthed while using it.
Tracking is extremely effective and highly recommended. Most people in dungeons are mounted and move around often, and tracking makes it easy to follow them around while stealthed. With tracking you can also pick up any incoming PK’s, other stealthers, as well as ghosts. Tracking ghosts is valuable if you wish to remain anonymous - after killing someone with a box you can wait for their ghost to run offscreen and only then come out to loot them. If you see a ghost standing motionless after death they are likely bringing in backup. You will also know if a player any hidden alts nearby that can come out and kill you while you’re looting. Tracking combined with Detect Hidden allows you to follow around and constantly reveal any competing thieves, and hopefully get them killed by spawn if timed right.
Traps can only be applied to lockable containers that you possess the key to. When applying a trap to a container, the trap will be disabled by default and you must use the key in order to arm it. A trapped box can exist in two states:
- Locked and armed (using key on it once)
- Unlocked and armed to everyone except the player who applied the trap (using key on it twice)
This latter setting is ideal, as you will be able to open the box freely while it remains armed to everyone else. Anyone attempting to open an unlocked/armed box will be immediately fried, whereas a locked/armed box will give a “this appears to be locked” message. While a locked box can be effective as an anti-theft measure, this setting is not what we want when attempting to kill players.
The most effective trap, and the one to always use, is the explosive trap. Dart traps are useless. Poison traps, while potentially lethal, leave too many options for the target to escape. They may cure the poison, recall out, or run closer to friends or a healer before dying. Explosion traps are instant, (usually) lethal, and are more fun.
The strength of the trap is determined only by the skill of the tinker making it. The strength of the potion being used has no effect, so an NPC bought Lesser Explosion Potion will be the same as a Greater Explosion Potion made by a GM alchemist. Trap damage also scales with tinker skill after 100, so traps made by a legendary tinker are the most effective in the game, though the increase in damage may be very small. Anecdotally, I had many traps fail to kill at GM tinkering, but so far only 1 has failed at legendary. 110 or 115 skill may be the sweet spot, as the jump from 115 to 120 tinkering will cost you half a mil in gold for not very much (or any) gains in lethality.
Q: Does trap damage scale past 100 skill?
Wooden boxes and chests are the most effective trappable containers for the PK tinker. Wooden crates are unnatural loot to be found on monsters, and would thus arouse the suspicion of players. 70 carpentry is sufficient to make wooden boxes and crates with a 100% success rate, and wooden chests with a ~60% success rate. High-end carpentry containers such as gothic chests are also unnatural, and their high cost (1000 logs) make them a poor choice for anything other than house bombing or roadside IED’s. At current vendor prices, the materials to make a wooden trapped box cost about 60 gp (assuming a Lesser Explosion Potion bought from an NPC), and a wooden trapped chest about 85 gp. The average player carries about 2k in gold + regs, weapons, armour, etc, making trap boxes very cost-effective killing machines.
Boxes and crates may be painted with a furniture dye tub. When doing so it is best to use subtle, earthy colours or colours that match the type of monster you will be placing them on (e.g. blood red for blood elementals, light blue for arctic ogres, dark blue/grey for liches, etc). Do not use bright colours, they are immediately obvious.
Wooden chests cannot be painted, but they can be made from coloured woods. If you do not have a legendary carpenter you can usually find some coloured chests on player vendors. The cheapest ones (~300 gold) are usually very effective. Anything more than this is a waste of money considering the high risk of them being taken or destroyed.
After you’ve created your box you need to add the stuffing. This involves filling the box with assorted junk in order to show that there is something inside in case the target clicks on it - a box showing (0 items, 0 stones) when clicked is an obvious trap. You can fill it with any junk you find, but the most effective stuffing should consist of “natural” loot found in-game on creatures and in chests (e.g. spell scrolls, reagents, jewels, unidentified armour/weapons). The reason for this is if the target disarms the trap and checks the contents, they may believe it is some sort of natural drop akin to a paragon chest.
The Rapid Re-trap Macro
There are several ways of safely disarming a trapped box: laying it underneath a monster’s path to crush the box, using the Remove Trap skill (which almost no one uses) and the Telekinesis spell. Telekinesis is the most common method you’ll encounter. Luckily, there is a way around it: the rapid re-trap macro.
Double Click (tool kit)
Wait For Gump (Any)
Set Last Target
GumpResponse (Button 16) ←- Explosive trap
Wait for Target
Exec: Last Target
For (1 to 2)
Double Click (key ring)
Wait for Target
Exec: Last Target
If you see the target place the box on the ground, you will know they are about to cast Telekinesis on it. Press the macro hotkey and approach within 2 tiles of the box. Your cursor will change into a targeting crosshair (setting Last Target). As soon as the target casts Telekinesis on the box, click it. The macro will trap the box, then lock it and unlock it, putting it into the unlocked and armed configuration. As the target will have to be several tiles away in order to detonate the box safely (many do it from a great distance, just in case) you may have enough time to retrap and relock it before the target tries to open it. The trap detonating from Telekinesis will not damage or reveal you, and tinkering while stealthed makes no noise. The macro is slow (about 3-4 seconds) but when it works it is extremely satisfying.
This is an example of what I carry in the field:
It is important to always carry explosion potions, ingots, and a tinker tool in order for the re-trap macro to work. One keyring will control all of your boxes, so one macro will re-trap and re-lock every box. I also carry a carpenter tool (which you can make on the fly using the tinker tool if you need to) and logs so I can make more boxes. Carry logs instead of boards to save weight, as it’s critical to avoid being encumbered. Strength potions and Nightsight potions are valuable if you do not have Magery, and lockpicks are needed to pick dungeon chests (you can also make these using the ingots if you run out).
The carry kit is of course trapped, and it is also where I store any loot that I pick up. For the extra security-conscious, you can make a chain of multiple trapped boxes (one inside the other like a matryoshka doll) and use an organiser agent (I know Razor has one, I assume the other clients do too) to send specific items to the very last box in the chain. So if you pick up some gold, you can automatically send it to the last box with one hotkey. A thief attempting to get to it will need to disarm every box in the chain, which will take some time given Remove Trap’s long cooldown. If you stay mobile and alert you will remain safe.
Having a trapped safe storage container is also very useful if you are killed by a PK. In almost every time that I’ve been killed, the trapped container(s) on my body have taken out at least one of the killers. If you are being attacked by a solo red, run as close as possible to a healer before dying. If they trip the box, you can instantly res and take their items and head while they stand there and watch. Deliberate suicide runs can be an effective strategy to bait PK’s into blowing themselves up.
Boobytrapping monster corpses
This is your bread and butter. Find a monster engaged in combat, pull up its health bar, and drop the box on its corpse the instant that it dies. The most important part of playing a PK tinker is getting the timing right. With client features such as “auto open nearby corpses” it is absolutely critical to get the box on the corpse as soon as the monster drops. If the target sees the box appear a second or two after he’s killed the monster, you’re done. If there is even a second of hesitation or you’re unable to drop the box for whatever reason, it is best to abort and try again on the next kill. Being late with dropping the box is the worst mistake you can make, even worse than being outright revealed before you even have a chance (at least then you can pretend you are just a common thief). Some tips:
- Only approach the mobs when they are at low health. Keep your distance to avoid the target running into you.
- If the target runs into you, they will immediately know there is a stealther in the area and will be suspicious of any boxes they find. It’s best to abort and find another target (you can always kill them later).
- After dropping the box, walk a short distance away from the target in case they start casting reveal on the area.
- Most of the time there will be 2 or more mobs provoked together in a group and it is easy to approach them and wait for one to drop.
- In some cases the target will wait until all are killed before approaching to loot, so you have extra time to drop the box.
- The best approach is to drop the box on the last monster killed, so that when the target trips it you can loot the corpses freely without having to contend with any leftover mobs.
- Never stand between the target and the mobs. They will run into you when they go to loot.
- Watch out for fleeing mobs. You will have to walk slowly alongside them in order to drop the box as soon as they die. They may also sharply change direction, so if you mis-time it you may well walk into them and get revealed.
- Similarly, watch out for melee players as they tend to run around erratically and have a good chance of running into you. As they are a tile away from the mob they will also instantly open the corpse as soon as it drops, which means you have to be very quick. Fleeing mobs chased by a melee player are the hardest situations to time right, but usually also the most lucrative as they often carry good weapons and armour.
- Don’t wait too long to loot. Often a player will call in friends or bring in their alt to retrieve their stuff.
- If someone recalls out without taking the box, return to stealth and leave it sitting on the corpse for a few minutes. Sometimes players will come back and only then pick up or detonate the box.
- You can also boobytrap old monster corpses lying around if you know there is a scavenger in the area. Just don’t leave it there too long, or the corpse will despawn along with your box.
Boobytrapping player corpses
This comes in handy if the target’s corpse is close to a healer, if they have friends or an alt nearby, or if there are scavengers around. If the target had looted the box prior to trying to open it, it will be on their body when they die. You can retrap it (after making sure their ghost is offscreen) and likely kill them again with it when they or one of their alts come back to retrieve their stuff.
If the target had any friends with them when they tripped the box, they may try to retrieve the loot in order to keep it safe. Throw another box on the target’s body as soon as they drop and there is a good chance you can light up their friend as well. This also works for nearby scavengers, as most UO players would not hesitate to loot a fresh corpse.
Boobytrapping dungeon chests
If you are a lockpicker, you can pick open a dungeon chest and drop a box inside without triggering the chest trap. Another player may then attempt to open the chest, triggering the trap on the dungeon chest (unlikely to kill them), followed by the trap on your box inside if they decide to open it. This has a low chance of success, as most of the people who open dungeon chests are dedicated pickers with Remove Trap who will likely just disarm the box, but occasionally you may get lucky. It is important to use the “natural” stuffing in this case so as to not arouse suspicion if they disarm the trap.
Mysterious wooden boxes on the ground are a classic trick, and almost nobody falls for it. Throwing down boomboxes at the bank is fun, but you will only take out newbies or naked town thieves. In any case you will not be able to loot anyone since you will get instantly guardwhacked.
A more effective way of doing this is to set up a chest in an isolated spot and scatter some items around. This works well during events such as the Vesper giant event, where people were combing the forests looking for mobs. Seeing a chest in the middle of nowhere will instantly draw someone’s attention, and even if they are suspicious and Telekinesis it you have a good chance to take them out if you are quick with the retrap macro.
There is a variant of the roadside IED that I call the Harvey’s Lake Tahoe - an overloaded, immovable chest that I like to leave near popular vendor shops. If you load it up with a huge weight (ore works well here) it will be impossible to pick up and recall out with. Opening or axing it will detonate it, and if you are on standby to retrap it then Telekinesis may not work either. Someone can leap frog it away, but you can come back with a new one. During peak hours you can easily kill multiple people with the same box near popular vendor malls.
You can also leave boxes at IDOC’s, or simulate an IDOC if you find an open plot. Scatter some trapped chests around and someone will likely fall for it.
If you’re too lazy to do any of that, just put a box outside your house and someone will find it.
Blowing up people in their own homes is very satisfying, but requires a lot of patience (and preferably dual monitors). Either hop someone’s gate in a dungeon or else wander around clicking signs until you see a house that is “like new” then simply wait until the owner returns and opens the door so you can follow them in. You won’t be able to get into houses that use teleporters, but you can leave your gift on the front step and it will often be tripped.
Once you’re inside, wait for the owner to leave then figure out where to place the box(s). Many people use wooden boxes and chests as storage containers in their homes, so you can place your trapped version nearby and it will blend in. The trick is to make it subtle, but not so subtle that the target never notices it. Don’t be an idiot and dump a hot pink box in the middle of the room 5 seconds after following the owner in.
(PS: Yes, it was me. Sorry @Mango. I hope this clears up the mystery)
Players may take hours to return to their homes and notice the box, so you can watch a movie or something on the second monitor in the meantime. If you log out you will be kicked out of the house, so you may have to stay logged in for an extended period of time. You will also need to periodically refresh the box or it will disappear after a world save. I once camped inside a house for 22 hours, leaving my computer on all day and checking periodically to see if the owner was home. It’s not profitable, but it’s very fun when a plan comes together.
Be wary of home security systems like monster statuettes - they will make noise whenever you move near them. Similarly, the statues that throw nuts/snowballs at passersby see through stealth and can throw something at you, alerting the owner to your presence. Find a safe spot to hide where you won’t get trampled (preferably within 2 tiles of the box in order to re-trap it) and do not move unless you absolutely have to.
- Trap boxes do not give murder counts. You can kill hundreds of people and will remain blue forever.
- People expect rare drops during events, so you can use this to your advantage. If there are specially hued monsters, paint your boxes in that colour.
- Certain monsters can rummage through nearby corpses and pick up items. You can seed a corpse with traps and do a quick run and hide to draw nearby monsters to that corpse. They will pick up the traps and have them in their inventories when players kill them.
- People love killing pack animals. Load up a pack horse with boomboxes, go grey, then stealth nearby. Someone will run past, kill it and trip the chests when looting it. This has worked even when I named the horse “Trojan”.
- If over-encumbered in a dungeon after looting a kill and you have lockpicking, you can dump some stuff into a nearby dungeon chest then recall out. There is usually a chest near popular farming areas.
- You can prop open house doors and block recall spots with boxes.
You bring me back in 2000! nostalgia! Sumptuously!
knew about it
but not expected that someone is making so much effort for this, I believe for a second that the dragon actually ate crafter))
next second reminded me - trust but verify ... rus (doveryai no proveryai)
I love this game :
- it has such unique players
- the game gives you such opportunity
p.s eppy right, so many newbies )
buahaha ( мы хусские не обманываем друг друга )I left all your stuff behind and didn't loot (русские должны держаться вместе), but couldn't resist blowing you up
How do you drop the trap box on the corpse while being hidden? Don't you get revealed when you open the corpse?Yeah I debated writing this up for that reason. There's always new people coming in though, and they probably won't check every guide on the forums before playing. I've killed some people multiple times using the same methods so I doubt people will ever stop falling for it.