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Sample Traps
Designing a Trap
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Location type: Room
Context: The floor is covered with 2 inches of dust; there is miscellaneous broken furniture around the room.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: tripwire or pressure plate
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: 1D12 spikes, doing 1D10+10 damage each, strike and impale the character automatically (no dodge or parry). An impaled character can't get off the spikes unless helped by another character, or unless s/he can fly or levitate off. Variants: If there are other characters, skeletons in the furniture come to life and attack them.
 

Location type: Room
Context: The party walks into a room with stone walls. In the center of the room is a metal pole with arms extending from it, near the top. The floor is shiny and slick with some liquid.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: Pressure plates in floor inside and outside room detect when the whole party is inside room (that is, pressure plate outside has nothing on it, and the one inside has something on it).
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The door swings closed. The metal pole begins turning, and the arms extending from it rub against the wall. More of the liquid is pumped out of the top of the pole. The pole is made of steel, the walls are flint. The liquid is oil.... you can guess what happens next.

Location type: Hallway
Context: A dead-end hallway, with spikes on the wall at the end of the hall.
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: Party crosses fulcrum point of hallway.
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: The "hallway" pivots 90 degrees, becoming a pit trap with spikes at the bottom.

Location type: Any
Trigger type: Magical
Trigger: Stepping on a certain location by any sentient non-undead creature.
Effect: The victim is beset by a Ghost that is a Mother-In-Law with a vengeance. No attacks, no damage, but life will be a misery. You can't turn her with anything but a court order.

Location type: Stone floor
Trigger type: mechanical
Trigger: Stepping on a pivoted stone
Effect type: mechanical
Effect: When stepped on, one of the flagstones pivots on edge and drops the leg into a hole, breaking the knee on the pivoted stone and piercing the foot with the spike down in the hole. Then the spike, when stepped on, triggers a crossbow firing into the leg *under the floor*. The bolt is barbed along its length, with flange for feathers that stops its progress. It is also longer than the hole is wide, trapping the pierced leg. This is a bitch to remove, it takes a bolt cutter, hacksaw, or clever magic to remove the leg from the hole now that is is pinned.
Variants: The firing of the crossbow can ring the dinner bell in the room of the monster next door, can start flooding the room with burning oil, or sewage, or water, or whatever. It can trigger a Magic Mouth that growls like something hungry down in the hole. Good for panic. Or simply a springblade that leaves a stump looking for a pegleg.

Location type: Room
Context: In the center of the room is a pit (spikes optinal). Covering the pit is a rug or tapestry with a levitation spell on it. In the center of the rug is a small table, also levitated, on which is a small object of the DM's choice.
Trigger type: Mechanical
Trigger: Stepping on the rug
Effect type: Mechanical
Effect: Falling into the pit, taking damage.

Location type: Door
Context: A plain metal featureless door.
Trigger type: Mechanical
Trigger: The locking mechinism is a chime. It magically or mechanically listens for the ringing sound made when two metal objects clang together (such as hitting a sword against the door). This sets up the proper vibrations in the door to create the proper pitch to automatically unlock and open the door.

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