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Sample Traps
Designing a Trap
Volume I
Volume II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V
Volume VI
Volume VII
This is the ASCII form of the net.traps book, last changed 4 Oct 1991. There are several new traps, plus a list (immediately following) that breaks traps down by location type. I maintain the basic trap descriptions in a simple database, so can break things down by other categories, too - I'd appreciate feedback on (a) whether this book is useful to you (b) what other organization of this book would help - e.g. a breakdown by trigger type or effect type.
Traps by Location Type
Type  Name
Any  The Ghostly Mother-In-Law
Chest  Double Vision
Door  Familiar Faces
Musical door
Hallway  A Different Kind of Spiked Door
Spiked Tunnel
The Infinite Hallway
Lock  The Pointless Trap
Pit  Slime Slide
Room  A Roleplaying Trap
Deadly Spikes
Floating Rug and Table
Glass Storm
Hole in Two
Pointless Trap (Part II)
Slime Ball
The Big Bag Bang
The Killer Maypole
Topsy Turvy
Water Water Everywhere
Stone floor Leg Trap

NAME: Roleplaying Trap
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.

NAME: The Big Bag Bang
CONTEXT: Circular room 20' in diameter and 15' high, with a catch on the ceiling with a leather bag, and a 2' diameter hole in the floor, directly below the bag.
TRIGGER: About 5 seconds after anyone enters the room, the bag starts falling toward the hole.
EFFECT TYPE: magical
EFFECT: Explosion when the Bag of Holding enters the Portable Hole.
VARIANTS: For low-level parties, the bag might be subject to Feather Fall to let people have more time to do something, or the ceiling might be higher.

NAMEDouble Vision
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.

NAMEFamiliar Faces
CONTEXT: 20' x 20' room, with 4 kobolds (originally).
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.

NAME: The "Juvenile" 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.

NAMEGlass Storm
CONTEXT: Any large circular room. Thousands of 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: 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.

NAMEHole in Two
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.

NAME: The "King Arthur" Syndrome
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 is disguised by an illusion.
TRIGGER TYPE: mechanical
TRIGGER: Swinging on the rope breaks it
EFFECT TYPE: mechanical effect; The character falls into the moat.

NAME: The Pointless Trap
TRIGGER TYPE: mechanical
TRIGGER: Early in the adventure, the characters will find a large (2') Crystal Key. After some time (hours?) of wandering, the characters will find a keyhole that the Crystal Key will fit perfectly into.
EFFECT TYPE: magical
EFFECT: Keyhole swallows Key as characters continue through maze, if place where Key was found originally is crossed again, Key will be there.

NAME: Pointless Trap (Part II)
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.

NAMESlime Ball
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.

NAMESlime Slide
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.

NAME:Topsy Turvy
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 1d4 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.

NAMEWater Water Everywhere
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.

NAME: The Infinite 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: By some magical enchantment not known to any, including the vile Dungeon Master, 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: 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.

NAME: Different Kind of Spiked Door
CONTEXT: A false door that looks important to the party. It should look like it opens inward and is locked (unpickable).
TRIGGER TYPE: mechanical
TRIGGER: Trying to force open the door
EFFECT TYPE: mechanical
EFFECT: The door is a thin panel of wood attached to springs. Behind the panel is a set of spikes. If the party tries to force the door open, the springs will compress and the panel will give way, which usually means that the person forcing the door open, will impale him/herself on the spikes. The damage done is adjustable by the number of spikes that were behind the panel and their depth, but should follow something like (for AD&D): 3d4 + strength damage bonus of the person trying to knock the door down (since the harder they push the door, the more forcefully the spikes go in).

NAMEDeadly Spikes
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.

NAMEThe Killer Maypole
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. Ouch?

NAMESpiked Tunnel
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.

NAMELeg Trap
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 it is pinned.
VARIANTS: The firing of the crossbow can a) ring the dinner bell in the room of the monster next door, b) can start flooding the room with burning oil, or sewage, or water, or whatever. Or c) 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.

NAME: The Ghostly Mother-In-Law
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.

NAME:Floating Rug and Table
CONTEXT: In the center of the room is a pit (spikes optional). 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.

NAMEMusical door
CONTEXT: A plain metal featureless door.
TRIGGER TYPE: Mechanical
TRIGGER: The locking mechanism 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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