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Sample Traps
Designing a Trap
Volume I
Volume II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V
Volume VI
Volume VII

The Official T$R Book of Adventure Suggestions

(ie, the book of tricks and traps)

The content of this book should be pretty much self-explanatory. Most of the ideas will need fleshing out for your own RPGs - by leaving out all specific detail I keep T$R at bay and ensure that it's compatible with any game system, killing two lawyers with one shotgun shell :-).

Almost none of the ideas here are my own. I've collected them from ADND-L, books, movies, other people, and my own RPGs. I hope no one minds, but the spirit of ADND-L - and AD&D itself - is the sharing of ideas and information. Most of the stuff here is so generic it's hard to copyright it anyway. Still, if anyone doesn't like it, mail me and I'll stop distributing the book.

Like the rest of the AD&D files on the net, this book is free. You can mangle it, copy it, share it, and use it in any way you like. _But not sell it_. However, there is one charge :-) : If you think of any ideas that could appear here, you have to send them to me at for inclusion in the next version of TGNBODI (what an acronym!). Put TGNBODI in the subject line to make sure I see your message. Thanks..

I'll post this to ADND-L every time I produce another version, and will place it on the ADND-L archiveserver if it still exists and someone can tell me how. If there are any RPG FTP sites still alive, mail me the address and I'll upload it there. But _DON'T_ post the address to the list! T$R has eyes everywhere..

I suggest you don't allow your players to read this book, for obvious reasons :-). Some of the ideas here will still work if the players know about them, but not many. On the other hand, ask your entire RPG group for dungeon ideas and send them to me.

This book was originally compiled into the Tome of Vast Knowledge, but after the Builder program crashed and murdered my database for the second time, I lost faith and it's now kept in 70 column .TXT format. Yeah, I know, it was all my fault. I should have kept a backup. But this program's as safe as houses, isn't it? Isn't it? If anyone wants to convert it to TOVK, go ahead, and good luck. You'll need it :-).

*Dud Door I*
The players find a hidden door. It's painted bright pink and has hundreds of coloured lights and levers. Nothing can force it open, and clairvoyance, teleport etc don't work beyond it. If anyone pulls a lever, everyone within 10' gets a 1hp electric shock and all the lights change colour.

Afterthought: The characters are being chased by a powerful monster and they wind up in a dead end with this door as the only way out. See how desperate they get to figure it out with the monster 15 seconds behind them..

*Dud Door II*
Somewhere in the dungeon the players find a locked door they can't force, pick, or whatever. Later the come across a large crystal key. If the key is placed in the lock, it is ripped from the character's grasp and swallowed by the door.

Afterthought: The key then reappears wherever it was before.

*Invisible Bridge*
An invisible bridge 1' wide and 50' long spans a deep chasm. The players have to
    1) work out that it's there.
    2) convince themselves that it's there.
    3) work out a system of ropes etc to make sure no one falls.

Use dex checks to determine chances of falling. Strong winds, hostile flying creatures, and a fear of heights could make this harder.

Afterthought: There is a 3' long gap in the centre of the bridge, and if the players assume that it's solid all the way and walk over... The gap can be jumped easily once they know it's there.

*Appearing Bridge*

Scenario similar to 'Invisible Bridge', except that the bridge isn't even there until someone tries to step on it. Then it appears, one foot at a time, and everyone can see it.

Afterthought: The characters are being chased, and anyone running along the bridge will move faster than the blocks can appear, and fall. The blocks may disappear again behind the characters to stop the monster pursuing.

*Guard route*
Guards patrol an area the characters must gain entry to. The guards are too nasty to fight and the party cannot risk raising the alarm.
    Sleep or charm spells
    Impersonate guard
    Impersonate high official and bluff
    Kill a guard and take uniform
    Invisibility or fly

*Object on high hook*
A valuable object (keys?) sits on a small hook 80' up an unclimbable wall. An anti-magic field surrounds the room. Solution: fire an arrow or throw something to knock the object off the hook.

Afterthought: Object is fragile and someone must be standing ready to catch it.

*Sleeping guards*
The characters gain entry to a guardroom full of sleeping guards. They must kill the guards or sneak past them to gain an object.

Afterthought: If any of the PLAYERS speaks to another player (simulating character-character conversation) during this encounter, the guards wake.

*Pit trap with trapdoor*

The first character falls into a pit trap for low damage. It's easy to get out again, but if they stop to search, they find a trapdoor to another area in the bottom of the pit.

*Archer attack at point-blank*

The party engages in combat with a few archers, who eventually scatter and run for it. The characters don't pursue, and later open a door to find one of the archers 2' behind it pointing a crossbow at his head for /lots/ of damage.

Afterthought: The archers are in fact scattered in ambush positions right through the dungeon. Hear noise will detect them on the other side of doors.

*Flammable slime*

Gooey green slime drips onto a character's head. It does no damage (the player doesn't know that), but tell the player that it's itching and stinging. The slime can be scraped off easily with a weapon. However, it is highly flammable and attempts to burn it off are likely to end in disaster.

Afterthought: The players then collect the slime, put it in the thumbscrews they found in a torture chamber a while back, and make molotov cocktails!

*Wounded monster seen escaping*

The party turns a corner to see a wounded monster slinking off. They can capture it and interrogate it, but it may try to escape later.

*Glory device*

The players find a statue of a fighter desperately trying to press the button in the centre of an amulet he's wearing. The amulet is not petrified and can be taken from the fighter (whose ghost later haunts them?). Pressing the button obliterates everything within 15' - the fighter knew he was going to die and was trying to take the monster with him.

Afterthought: To be fair, you should give the players some kind of warning about the amulet rather than just killing them all off for experimenting. Perhaps a loud siren sounds the first time they press the button, and it explodes on the second?

*Statues abound; medusa?*

The players find serval statues scattered around a room. The door is closed, and they should get the hint from the statues that the have to open it with eyes shut and mirrors ready. If not, well, it's their own fault.

*Stone block & trapdoor*

A 5' x 5' x 5' stone block in the corner of a room with an 11' ceiling. Stand on block, poke ceiling and find a trapdoor to another area. (This is a really old trick, so expect the players to find it). Afterthought: The block rises up after the characters, blocking the trapdoor and trapping them.

*Alice in Wonderland I*

The characters enter a room containing a potion labelled 'drink me'. Searching the room will reveal a mousehole about 4” high. Solution: drink potion. But how is the character going to get back to full size?

*Alice in Wonderland II*

The party finds that they are being followed around by a grin. They can't hurt it in any way, or get rid of it, or escape it. It goes away by itself after thoroughly terrifying them. Just a good interlude..

*Riddling Statue*

A room containing a statue of a sage and no doors (the door the party entered by has disappeared). Teleport etc won't get them out of the room. The statue will answer any question with 'what' in it (such as “What is the easiest way to get out of here?”), even if the party did not intend it as a question. One in four answers are false, and the statue will answer a maximum of six questions.

The easiest way out is to ask the statue. If the characters waste their questions, they'll have to find another way..

*Bottomless Hole*

For some reason (a bet? a spell?), the party has to find out whether a hole is bottomless or not. Easy. Drop something down and listen.

Afterthought: If they watch it carefully, the party will find that the hole is slowly but steadily moving towards them. Anyone who falls in will probably never be recovered. The hole will chase them throughout the entire dungeon, which raises an interesting question: how do you kill a hole? You fill it in..

*Spiky Mat With Object*

A 3' x 3' mat covered in long poisonous spikes. Stuck to the underside is a valuable object. Solution: Flip the mat over with a polearm.

Afterthought: The mat wakes up and starts chasing the characters.

*Timebomb About to Explode*

A room containing a 3' black sphere (a bomb), and a complicated timing device. It will explode and destroy some valuable treasure if the characters run. If they try to disarm it, either make an INT check or use this puzzle:

The number needed to disarm the bomb is 330 (it will change each time the bomb is disarmed, but is always 1-999). A guess may be used to try a number, or find out if the answer is divisible by a number. They have 10 guesses and 60 seconds. If they run out of either the bomb explodes.

Afterthought: The players take the bomb with them (by rolling it along the ground), and later reactivate it to destroy something.

*Equipment Must be Destroyed Quickly*

For some reason (about to summon a monster?), equipment in a room must be destroyed quickly and completely. Solution: use the bomb from 'Timebomb About to Explode'.

*Capture Enemy Mage*

The party enters a mage's sleeping quarters to find him asleep on a bunk. They can capture him and interrogate, but must beware of verbal-only spells and sudden escape attempts.

*Glass Ceiling*

Stuck for a way to get out of the dungeon, the party enters a room with a glass dome 50' up for a ceiling. Through the glass they can see the sky. Solution: Smash glass and climb or fly up.

Afterthought: Shards of falling glass do some damage if they didn't get out of the way in time.

*Dead Rat With Gem*
Inside a treasure chest the characters find: a dead rat. Inside the rat is a 1000GP gem - and if they don't cut it open they'll never know.

*Killer Veggies*

A good trap to use if the group isn't cooperating. The first character in line opens a door to be grabbed by some strange vegetation. The victim will be digested in 30 seconds, and the only way to free them is for EVERY member of the group to assist in pulling them out.

*Scratches on Walls Near Lair*

Observant characters will spot long scratches on the walls. They should thus be prepared for a surprise attack by a wererat, or equivalent. If nobody commented on the scratches or what they could signify, the monsters automatically get surprise.

*Invisible Force Field*

A valuable item sits in the centre of the floor. If anyone tries to get near, they'll feel bars pushing against their chest and legs. Note that tall characters will NOT feel bars against their head, but you don't have to tell them this unless they ask. The bars are only 5' high, but it will take some experimenting to figure this out. Once they know, magic or a good jump should get them over.

Afterthought: It could also be set up so that the bars are 8' tall, but only surround three sides of the item.

*Greed Trap I*

A 20'x10' room with a door at each end. The floor is covered with gold pieces. The party can take as many as they can carry.

The problem is, the gold is what's holding the floor down. The moment more than 150gp leaves the room (like when the first character leaves, and the others are still there), the floor will shoot up and slam them against the ceiling.

*Greed Trap II*

A gently sloping corridor 5' wide and 100' long. Darkened. Every 10 feet there is a valuable item of some sort. The slope gradually steepens and becomes slippery. After 60', the characters cannot get back up, and will slide into a deep pit at the end of the corridor.

Afterthought: Roping the characters together will fix this problem. They could also try descending into the pit and finding the treasure left behind when previous people fell for this.


One of the adventurers (better make it an NPC, to be fair) is silently killed and their place taken by a doppleganger. The doppleganger has all the powers of the person it killed and will betray the group at a suitable moment.

*Backstab Enemy Mage*

A powerful mage steps out in front of the party and threatens them. They can't attack without getting roasted. Solution: a thief sneaks around and backstabs the mage. Could also use invisibility, distractions etc.

*Humungous Fungus*

A 6'x6'x6' soft green lump in the centre of the room. Can climb over it - carefully - with no trouble. If it's punctured, spores do LOTS of damage.

Afterthought: Several other, smaller, green lumps are seen throughout the dungeon. They gradually grow and multiply..

*Another Adventuring Party*

The characters come across another adventuring party, of similar power to themselves. Role-play the meeting: attack? merge groups?

*Trapped Demon*

A demon trapped in a magic pentagram tries to persuade the characters to release it (promises gold etc, actually just kills them).

*Fill Room With Water*

A very small room with a trapdoor in the ceiling. An auto-refilling bucket of water sits in the corner. The walls cannot be climbed and it's an anti- magic zone. Solution: Fill the room with water and swim up.

*Player Controlled*

One of the characters picks up a sword (or whatever), and is immediately controlled. The rest of the party must use unarmed combat to remove the weapon, without killing the controlled character.

*Rescue Prisoners*

The party enters a jail of some sort. After killing the jailor, they rescue the prisoners. Some may be reliable, some could try to betray the characters.

Afterthought: One of them is a lycanthrope. Or a vampire. Or a polymorphed evil mage.

*Scroll Hidden in Picture*

A room lined with large, heavy tapestries. A scroll is either hidden behind one, or WRITTEN ON THE BACK. The tapestry will be awkward to carry around but the scroll cannot be removed..

*Dud Money*

Treasure chest full of copper coins. An illusion has been cast on the coins to make them look like gold coins; it will fade within a few hours.

*Catch 22 pit trap:*

The player falls in, taking standard falling damage, then the roof closes, sealing them in. Before them are two levers. The first lever throws the player out of the traps with a minor fireball 3d6 dmg from the fire plus 3d6 dmg from the force of landing or hitting the ceiling. The other lever will let off a full fireball above the trapped player, getting his comrades.

*Teleporting Pit Trap:*

When the player falls in he is teleported to a random location. If his companions follow, they might go to a different location.

*The Egg Beater Pit Trap:*

There are three animated stone fists in the pit that grab the player once he's down, attempt to strip him of everything he is wearing, and give him a few good licks. The stone fists have a strength of 19 and 20 hitpoints. They are immune to fire and lightening. There is usually a lot of bones and treasure in the trap for those who are strong enough to take it.

*The delay trap*

Hit the third character or wait one round before going off.

*The offset trap.*

What happens if you open the door and a pit opens on either side of the door? Those characters standing off to the side would get it! One version of this had an entire hallway errupt into flame when a door around the corner was opened. I thought it might get one character, but it got all but the brave fool who opened the door. (He was met by three drow).

*The infinite loop!:*

Being a CSCI major, I was enlightened to the possibility of this trap by a bad program. The character enters a teleporter that teleports him to another teleport that teleports him back. The loop continues until acondition is met (usually a dispel magic is cast or a lever somewhere down the corridor is pulled. This will frazzle most players.

*Yellow Mold Death.*

Picture a room with Yellow Mold covering the floor. The room is 50x50 and 30 feet high. On the ceiling are Stalagmites(or stalagtites, I get them mixed up). In reality they are piercers. In the back of the room is a chest that id bolted to the floor, it is not covered by the mold. If the characters walk on the floor then the mold will go off. So most of the time they will choose to fly(They think it is so simple!!) That is when the fun starts. When they get half way across the room the piercers start dropping. If they hit the fool who is flying then so be it. They will probably fall into the mold causing it to go off. But if the piercers miss, then they hit the mold. Very bad for the characters indeed..

*Trapped Door*

First off, one of my own modification. When a character goes to open a door, have him make a saving throw(you can decide against what.) If he makes it, he takes half damage, if he doesn't, full. When the door opens, have a large glowing fist slam into the lead character. Of course, even if he makes the roll, he's going to go flying through the air. You can even make him roll a Dex check to see if he does additional damage. But, in order for your characters to truly appreciate this trap, you must explain that then the hand grasps the door knob and pulls the door shut behind it. My players get a kick out of it. They don't even feel bad for taking the damage(I usually make it about 2d20, half if they make the saving throw.) Now, assuming they have brains, they should realize the trap just reset itself. So, what's the trick? You have two options. You could just make it susceptible to dispel magic, but I prefer a little something different. Have them knock. They'll get a kick out of it if they ever figure it out. If you want to make it more difficult, have them have to then tell the hand a password, although if they figure out that they have to knock, I'd let them go.

*The Pedestal*

Next, one I played in a Ravenloft module. Place some item of value on a pedestal(sp?) in the middle of the room. Make sure the room is pretty large, but otherwise featureless. Then tell them that there appears to be a chimney-like hole in the ceiling above, but that you can't see where it leads. Then, when they touch the item, have them make a saving throw vs. Death. If they make it they notice that the ceiling just collapsed and were able to jump back where the item was and stand under the chimney. If they don't make it, then they don't realize there only chance is the chimney and get flattened by the ceiling. They're most assuredly dead. Oh, and about that escape. Now that they are so much closer to the chimney, they realize it is only about eight feet tall...and air tight! They only have about an hour max worth of air. So, unless that character is traveling with a mage that can teleport, transmute rock or pass through it, they are pretty much dead.

This comes from a time when TSR hunted those of us who created our own works with a vengeance.  Oddly, when Wizards gained the D&D setting, that changed.  D20 rules and open gaming license now allow us to function without worry.  Happy gaming all!

Open Gaming Lisence


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