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Dungeons and Dragons Trap Ideas

by Bob · 6 comments

in Dungeons and Dragons,Game Mastering

its-a-trap.jpgI’m channeling the spirit of Grimtooth today.  That, and the old ‘Net Book of Traps.

Anyways, I offer, for your enjoyment, some of my favorite trap ideas.  I’ve used each of these in a game, with great results:

Trap Idea #1:  Fake Door

trap4.jpgFor this trap, the characters need to make a successful search check.  They will find a door, hidden behind a painting, curtain, or whatever is appropriate.  The door is bright orange in color, and has hundreds of lights and levers of all colors.  It cannot be forced open, and scrying or teleporting won’t work behind it.  When anyone pulls a lever, everyone in the room takes 1 hit point of electrical damage.  The lights then change color.  The door will open when the characters push a red lever to the “down” position and a green lever to the “up” position.

To make this one especially interesting, use it while the characters are running from an encounter that they couldn’t overcome.

Trap Idea #2:  Invisible Bridge

This is the old Indiana Jones trick.  The players encounter a chasm that they have to cross.  The characters have to cross the invisible bridge.  The bridge is not invisible, but there are magics that make it imperceptible to some people.  To do so, they need to first discover the bridge;  provide a will save for each party member, difficult enough that some will miss it and not believe the bridge is there.  It will be up to the remaining party members to convince the others that it is there.  Once the party decides to cross, they will, of course, have to devise a way to get across.  Make the bridge slippery, very narrow, place high winds, send in flying opponents, or whatever else you need to do to make it difficult.  If your party has access to fly or teleport, make it a dead magic zone.

trap3.jpgTrap Idea #3:  No Invisible Bridge

This really is probably best to do if you just hate your players.  The scenario is the same as #2, but there’s really no bridge.  Encourage characters that they need to all step onto the bridge together.  Hilarity ensues.

Trap Idea #4:  Exploding Coin

The characters enter into a room and see a single coin (or gem, or key, or whatever might entice them) laying on the floor.  It can either be obvious, or you might have them make a search roll.  When one of them picks it up, a delayed blast fireball of an appropriate strength for the party goes off.

Trap Idea #5:  Stackable Pit Traps 

This is your standard pit trap with a twist:  if characters search the pit trap, they find another trap door in the floor, with hidden treasures inside.  Alternatively, they  find another trap door leading into another pit, and take even more damage.  You pick.

Trap Idea #6:  Wounded Enemy

The characters encounter an enemy who seems to be wounded.  He is, of course, faking it, and will either lead the party to an ambush, or turn on them while they attempt to care for him.  A variation is for the party to find a wounded ally set on betrayal or good-seeming creature, such as a fiendish unicorn.

Trap Idea #7:  Alice in Wonderland

trap2.jpgThis is an oldie but a goodie.  The characters enter a room with a table.  On the table sits a potion that is labeled “drink me.”  In the room is a mouse hole.  Here’s where you make it interesting:  in one scenario, the mouse hole is the only way out of a dungeon, and the characters have to shrink to get out.  The problem will be undoing the effects of the shrinking potion.  Maybe the mouse hole is a red herring; there are plenty of ways out of the dungeon, and the mouse hole doesn’t lead them out.  In any case, once the characters are shrunken, they should have to fight the obligatory Giant Rat.

Trap Idea #8:  Anti-gravity Pit

The characters come to the end of a hallway, only to find a vertical tunnel.  The pit goes down as far as they can see, and 10′ up.  When they enter the pit (probably with a rope) they are sucked up to the ceiling, which has a trap door with spikes or whatever other evils you can think of on the other side.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimmie February 16, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. This gave me a ton of great ideas. Trap #6 will definitely be put into my next dungeon (mostly because it just fits so well in it!). I really should watch Indiana Jones again. While reading this, it occurred to me that there are probably tons of clever trap ideas. I also like your advice of giving the players a set amount of real time to come up with a solution. That would be really difficult for my party because they love to fight. That would definitely end some of the bickering. :-D

2 D.Morn July 20, 2008 at 4:12 am

8 was pretty good ill probaly use it in one of my dungeon .. thx for writtin this

3 zorpal August 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

this is for the late great gary. a hallway with a
disintagration booth at one end,and bigby’ forceful hand pushing them away from it. they’ll
think it’s a portal and it’s a gilt free trap your
pushing them away from it.

4 zorpal August 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm

hope you like this one I did so you will to.

5 Meems August 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Love the Indiana Jones idea – will definitely be using it in one of my dungeons!

6 Criss Angel Levitating Explained February 6, 2011 at 3:18 am

How about a fake corridor photos stretched all the way from top to bottom ! There possibilities of fake traps are endless, it all boils down to your imagination.

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