I read a review of Dwimmermount. The reviewer said, "Here's the thing--as a player, I want my character to kick some ass, be awesome, and have a tale to tell back at the tavern so he can get some action with the serving wenches." The key is having a tale to tell.
Role-playing is about having fun sharing and an adventure with others. That means the players must have interesting and memorable experiences. The line I quoted above implies characters need something to kill. I disagree. For me, nothing is more boring than a continual slog through a dungeon where the players kill monster after monster. In the Original Dungeons and Dragon's book "The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures" page 7 suggests only a third of rooms in a dungeon should have a monster. Monsters should have purpose and reason for being in the area.
Traps, like monsters, can be just another boring slog through the dungeon. Too many traps and the players may decide they want to leave that adventure. There should be a reason for the traps. Putting a trap on a major treasure room makes sense. Putting a trap on chest with eighty gold turns into another boring bookkeeping exercise. Your character cannot go back to the tavern and brag to the serving wench, "I survived the poison trap on the chest with a few gold pieces." Everyone remembers the rolling bolder trap in the movie Raider of the Lost Ark.
I am starting a series of blog posts about interesting areas. Areas that are interesting in their own right, not because the area contains monsters or traps.
I found the head shot of Jonathan Goldsmith here.