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Sample Traps
Designing a Trap
Volume I
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Volume VI
Volume VII
Location type: Room
Context: A rusty lever protrudes from the far wall. Overhead, a tremendous block of iron hangs from a cable.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: pulling lever
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The DM should listen to the characters' debate about what to do. If they decide to pull the lever for reasons such as "To leave no stone unturned" then pulling the lever opens a secret door. If they decide to pull the lever "Just for the hell of it" then pulling the lever will drop the block, crushing all in the room.

Location type: Chest
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: failing to pick lock
Effect type: mechanical/magical
Effect: A blade chops off a piece of the player's finger, teleporting it to a high-level mage's tower, where the mage will create a duplicate (clone) of the character.

Location type: Door
Context: 20' x 20' room, with 4 kobolds (originally).
Trigger type: magical
Trigger: Any party member touches door to enter room.
Effect type: magical
Effect: A bright flash of light blinds the players and when their vision clears each player is in a room with many kobolds. Each player in the party is teleported to a different location in the room and an illusion spell is cast on each party member. Each party member sees the other members of his party as kobolds but none of his/her companions are anywhere in sight. Plus the extra four kobolds of course.

Location type: Chest
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: opening lock
Effect type: magical
Effect: Within the lock of the chest are poison needles. If the character fails to save against the poison, he/she loses 3 wisdom points, 4 strength points, and 5 intelligence points. The character will also turn into a juvenile (13 to 15 human years.) The "aging" poison can be cured with a Remove Curse by a high level mage.

Location type: Room
Context: Any large circular room. Thousands off glass shards (like broken window panes) lying about the entire room. A pillar in the center of the room, with some valuable object sitting upon it.
Warning: Touching the object causes a wind to blow through the room, causing the shards to jingle together.
Trigger type: magical
Trigger: taking the object
Effect type: magical
Effect: A constant wind storm causes all the crystal shards to fly about the room striking the party. Each party member in the room will take damage (3D6) per round until the object is put back or the party can leave the room.

Location type: Room
Context: Any room not on the lowest floor. A large hole is cut in the floor of this room. On the far side of the hole is a shelf on which is sitting a valuable object. Through the hole, the floor below can be seen. The hole is actually a pane of glass thick enough to hold up a person. A spell has been cast upon the window pane to give it the look and feel of stone. (Have characters find this out on their own, so they will hope the hole is an illusion).
Trigger type: mechanical or magical
Trigger: picking up the object
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The illusion on the object is disspelled; it's really a small rock. Large boulders fall from the ceiling directly onto the window pane, shattering it, and the person who took the object will fall through to the floor below taking damage (2D6) from the fall

Location type: Room
Context: There is a mound of earth surrounded by a moat of acid. A strong-looking rope is magically held so that anyone could take hold of the rope and swing across to the mound. Stuck in the mound is a quite beautiful sword.
Warning: The rope is really frail and decayed, but disguised by an illusion.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: Swinging on the rope breaks it.
Effect type: mechanical effect The character falls into the moat.

Location type: Room
Context: Machine with 24 levers next to a door and lots of pretty lights
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: pulling lever
Effect type: magical or electrical
Effect: The door cannot be broken through or opened; it's false. If any level is pulled, everyone in the room feels an electrical jolt, but suffers minimal damage (1 point). Lights change color. The purpose of this trick is to see how long the characters will pursue a completely irrelevant track.

Location type: Room
Context: Spherical room.
Trigger type: magical or mechanical
Trigger: entering room
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The room is actually a sphere within a sphere. The inner surface of the outer sphere and the outer surface of the inner sphere are lubricated with highly slippery slime (non-toxic.) When someone enters, the door will close. Due to Newton's Law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When the character tries to move one way, the inner sphere will rotate and the outer sphere will rotate in the opposite direction.

Location type: Pit
Context: Any pit big enough for one individual (human) is perfect. It contains a waist high pool of slime (non-toxic, no ill-effect) that acts as an extremely effective lubricant.
Trigger type: mechanical or magical
Trigger: 1-4 rounds after entering pit
Effect type: mechanical effect The floor will drop out from under the person in the pit, who will fall onto a slightly tilted slide. It would be best to use the Slime Ball trap as the destination of this slide.

Location type: Room
Context: Any large cave (at least 20 x 20'). Upon close examination of the floor and ceiling, many holes about the size of dimes and nickels (in the thousands on both) are clearly visible. A large amount of treasure on the opposite end of the room is piled against a wall.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: The first player to step over the holes will set off the trap.
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The holes on the floor will lift the character into the air with a constant blast of air (up to 350 pounds). The holes in the ceiling will also blast air of the same force downward, sending the character spinning and tumbling in mid-air. The character caught in the trap will get sick and suffer 1 point of damage after his constitution score divided by 4 (rounding down) number of rounds have past. If the character is in the trap more than 5 rounds, he will black out.
Disarm: Behind the holes are large fans run by magical means. If a staff of considerable strength (magical, etc.) are shoved into the holes, and a strength roll is successful, the fan is jammed; otherwise, the character attempting to disarm it will suffer d4 of damage. If the floor fan is stopped first the character in the trap will be forced to the floor, suffering damage and vice-versa for the floor fan.

Location type: Room
Context: A 40' circular chamber with exits on opposite sides. Contains a 30' circular pool with a 7' diameter base for a 20' high statue of a minotaur in the center of the pool. The statue looks loose. Moving the statue causes it to fall down and block the door through which the party entered; below it appears to be a tunnel down to a passage parallel to the line between this room's entrances. This is actually an illusion.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: Entering "tunnel"
Effect type: magical
Effect: The character who entered the tunnel will see that s/he is in a concave 6' deep pit. A force field goes up covering the top of the pit. When another character tries to poke at the force field, s/he will be pushed into the center of where the statue used to be by a rising wall of water. A Water Weird (see Monster Manual) will attack the party. As long as the water weird is alive, the force field covering the pit will drop 4 inches every round. When the Water Weird is dead, the force fields will be broken.

Location type: Hallway
Warning: The characters will begin to feel very disoriented and have a lack of energy. This may warn them that there is something afoot. Also, any character carefully studying the wall may notice that the patterns of stone are exactly the same every ten feet.
Trigger type: Magical
Trigger: By some magical enchantment not known to any, including the vile Gamemaster, the electrical impulses from a character's body striking the first teleportation field are channeled back and activate the second teleportation field. Any contact with the second teleportation field provides energy to it by the same use of human (or elven or dwarven...) vital energy.
Effect type: Magical
Effect: As a party of characters walks down a hallway, they contact a (permanent) teleportation field, instantaneously teleporting them back ten feet and creating a second teleportation field just behind them. The teleportation is of a such a nature that it is too fast to be noticed, except for a slight feeling of disorientation. Thus, the party would walk, contact the field, be teleported back, and continue walking without any stop. After about ten minutes of walking, the characters may begin to get worried. If, however, they turn and go back the other way down the hall, they will encounter the second field and be teleported just before the first field, and much the same thing will happen.
Disarm: The only way to disarm this trap that I can see, other then digging around it, is that the second teleportation field times out after twenty minutes of the characters not contacting either of the fields, thus not providing the field with any energy. The first field, as stated before, is permanent.

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