I saw a video recently of a group of bicyclists trying to extract one of their bikes from an electric fence. (I had linked to the video, which was hilarious, but it is no longer available.) There were many attempts to grab the metal bike which zapped the hapless bikers over and over, lots and lots of profanity, and eventual victory. There were quite a few amused passers by.
My mind sparked off this, because it's such a ridiculous and simultaneously slightly dangerous situation. Here are five ideas for PA gaming based on this amazing video:
1. A gear trap, that ensnares a valuable or essential bit of loot already in the PC's possesion, could be a fun or annoying challenge. The passersby, were they approaching hostiles, would ramp up the situation and turn it from comic to tense.
2. The "damage" from the fence is light, but intimidating. Single hit points wouldn't bother a hard character but minor conditions, or a -1 to all rolls per jolt, wearing off in time, could be interesting.
3. The "cool gear in a difficult to reach place" doesn't have to be a dungeon. It could be half a motorcycle sticking out of a rubble pile or the aftermath of a landslide...or wrapped up in a an electric fence. This type of thing could be a random encounter.
4. The damage/challenge could be ambient: radiation, a la Fallout, with treasure on top of a mound of radioactive waste barrels, or in the midst of a lair of a swarming pest or insects, could provide a fun and recurring challenge. (You got the motorcycle out, but it's still radioactive or infested with radioactive ants.)
5. There could already be a group trying to extract the gear or treasure from the obstacle, providing an opportunity to role-play, parlay, or have a fight over something that could be damaged in the dust-up, preferably with a huge explosion (again, a la Fallout.)