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Traps can be found almost anywhere. One wrong step in an ancient tomb might trigger a series of scything blades, which cleave through armor and bone. The seemingly innocuous vines that hang over a cave entrance might grasp and choke anyone who pushes through them. A net hidden among the trees might drop on travelers who pass underneath. In a fantasy game, unwary adventurers can fall to their deaths, be burned alive, or fall under a fusillade of poisoned darts.

A trap can be either mechanical or magical in nature. Mechanical traps include pits, arrow traps, falling blocks, water-filled rooms, whirling blades, and anything else that depends on a mechanism to operate. Magic traps are either magical device traps or spell traps. Magical device traps initiate spell effects when activated. Spell traps are spells such as glyph of warding and symbol that function as traps.

Traps in Play

When adventurers come across a trap, you need to know how the trap is triggered and what it does, as well as the possibility for the characters to detect the trap and to disable or avoid it.

Triggering a Trap

Most traps are triggered when a creature goes somewhere or touches something that the trap’s creator wanted to protect. Common triggers include stepping on a pressure plate or a false section of floor, pulling a trip wire, turning a doorknob, and using the wrong key in a lock. Magic traps are often set to go off when a creature enters an area or touches an object. Some magic traps (such as the glyph of warding spell) have more complicated trigger conditions, including a password that prevents the trap from activating.

Detecting and Disabling a Trap

Usually, some element of a trap is visible to careful inspection. Characters might notice an uneven flagstone that conceals a pressure plate, spot the gleam of light off a trip wire, notice small holes in the walls from which jets of flame will erupt, or otherwise detect something that points to a trap’s presence.

A trap’s description specifies the checks and DCs needed to detect it, disable it, or both. A character actively looking for a trap can attempt a Wisdom (Perception) check against the trap’s DC. You can also compare the DC to detect the trap with each character’s passive Wisdom (Perception) score to determine whether anyone in the party notices the trap in passing. If the adventurers detect a trap before triggering it, they might be able to disarm it, either permanently or long enough to move past it. You might call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check for a character to deduce what needs to be done, followed by a Dexterity check using thieves’ tools to perform the necessary sabotage.

Any character can attempt an Intelligence (Arcana) check to detect or disarm a magic trap, in addition to any other checks noted in the trap’s description. The DCs are the same regardless of the check used. In addition, dispel magic has a chance of disabling most magic traps. A magic trap’s description provides the DC for the ability check made when you use dispel magic.

In most cases, a trap’s description is clear enough that you can adjudicate whether a character’s actions locate or foil the trap. As with many situations, you shouldn’t allow die rolling to override clever play and good planning. Use your common sense, drawing on the trap’s description to determine what happens. No trap’s design can anticipate every possible action that the characters might attempt.

You should allow a character to discover a trap without making an ability check if an action would clearly reveal the trap’s presence. For example, if a character lifts a rug that conceals a pressure plate, the character has found the trigger and no check is required.

Foiling traps can be a little more complicated. Consider a trapped treasure chest. If the chest is opened without first pulling on the two handles set in its sides, a mechanism inside fires a hail of poison needles toward anyone in front of it. After inspecting the chest and making a few checks, the characters are still unsure if it’s trapped. Rather than simply open the chest, they prop a shield in front of it and push the chest open at a distance with an iron rod. In this case, the trap still triggers, but the hail of needles fires harmlessly into the shield.

Traps are often designed with mechanisms that allow them to be disarmed or bypassed. Intelligent monsters that place traps in or around their lairs need ways to get past those traps without harming themselves. Such traps might have hidden levers that disable their triggers, or a secret door might conceal a passage that goes around the trap.

Trap Effects

The effects of traps can range from inconvenient to deadly, making use of elements such as arrows, spikes, blades, poison, toxic gas, blasts of fire, and deep pits. The deadliest traps combine multiple elements to kill, injure, contain, or drive off any creature unfortunate enough to trigger them. A trap’s description specifies what happens when it is triggered.

The attack bonus of a trap, the save DC to resist its effects, and the damage it deals can vary depending on the trap’s severity. Use the Trap Save DCs and Attack Bonuses table and the Damage Severity by Level table for suggestions based on three levels of trap severity.

A trap intended to be a setback is unlikely to kill or seriously harm characters of the indicated levels, whereas a dangerous trap is likely to seriously injure (and potentially kill) characters of the indicated levels. A deadly trap is likely to kill characters of the indicated levels.

Table: Trap Save DCs and Attack Bonuses
Trap Danger Save DC Attack Bonus
Setback 10–11 +3 to +5
Dangerous 12–15 +6 to +8
Deadly 16–20 +9 to +12
Table: Damage Severity by Level
Character Level Setback Dangerous Deadly
1st–4th 1d10 2d10 4d10
5th–10th 2d10 4d10 10d10
11th–16th 4d10 10d10 18d10
17th–20th 10d10 18d10 24d10

Complex Traps

Complex traps work like standard traps, except once activated they execute a series of actions each round. A complex trap turns the process of dealing with a trap into something more like a combat encounter.

When a complex trap activates, it rolls initiative. The trap’s description includes an initiative bonus. On its turn, the trap activates again, often taking an action. It might make successive attacks against intruders, create an effect that changes over time, or otherwise produce a dynamic challenge. Otherwise, the complex trap can be detected and disabled or bypassed in the usual ways.

For example, a trap that causes a room to slowly flood works best as a complex trap. On the trap’s turn, the water level rises. After several rounds, the room is completely flooded.

Sample Traps

The magical and mechanical traps presented here vary in deadliness and are presented in alphabetical order.

Animated Fresco (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

A horrible fresco animates, causing all who can see it to make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw. Those who fail drop whatever they are holding and become frightened for up to one minute. While frightened, a creature must take the dash action and move away from the fresco by the safest available route, unless there is nowhere to move. A creature who ends its turn in a location where it does not have line of sight to the fresco may make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw, ending the effect on a success. After animating, the fresco cannot animate again for 24 hours.

Animate Objects Trap (3pp)

Source TM

Magical trap

When one or more creatures enter the trapped region, up to 11 small or 5 medium weapons animate and attack them. On initiative 10, each weapon moves up to 30 feet towards a target and makes a melee weapon attack against a target within 5 feet at +6 to hit. Small weapons do 5 (1d6 + 2) slashing or piercing (as appropriate) damage on a hit while medium ones do 8 (1d10 + 3). Each weapon has AC 14 and is destroyed if it takes 18 hit points of damage. They are immune to necrotic, poison, and psychic damage. Casting dispel magic on a weapon causes it to revert to an inanimate state for one hour.

Camouflaged Pit Trap (3pp)

Source DiFP

This pit has a cover constructed to resemble the floor around it. When a creature steps on the cover, it swings open causing the intruder to spill into the pit below, a ten foot fall that inflicts 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check discerns the strange lack of foot traffic over the section of the floor and discovers the trap. Once discovered, it can only be disarmed by using something to wedge the trapdoor in such a way that prevents it from opening, whether a simple iron spike hammered between door and floor, or the use of arcane lock or similar magics.

Collapsing Roof

Mechanical trap

This trap uses a trip wire to collapse the supports keeping an unstable section of a ceiling in place.

The trip wire is 3 inches off the ground and stretches between two support beams. The DC to spot the trip wire is 10. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disables the trip wire harmlessly. A character without thieves’ tools can attempt this check with disadvantage using any edged weapon or edged tool. On a failed check, the trap triggers.

Anyone who inspects the beams can easily determine that they are merely wedged in place. As an action, a character can knock over a beam, causing the trap to trigger.

The ceiling above the trip wire is in bad repair, and anyone who can see it can tell that it’s in danger of collapse.

When the trap is triggered, the unstable ceiling collapses. Any creature in the area beneath the unstable section must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Once the trap is triggered, the floor of the area is filled with rubble and becomes difficult terrain.

Commanding Visage (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

When a creature approaches within 10 feet of this large stone visage, it commands the creature to drink a potion of poison lying on the pedestal. The target of the command must make a successful DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or attempt to comply with it. A creature that succeeds on the saving throw is immune from further commands from this face.

There is a 50% probability that the stone face has 100 gp gems for eyes.

Crossbow Trap (3pp)

Source TM

Mechanical trap

When a creature steps on a pressure plate with more than 20 lbs. of force, or trips another type of proximity trigger, 1d6 crossbows make a ranged attack at +8 to hit at random creatures within a 10 foot by foot area around the trigger. A target that is hit takes 4 (1d8) piercing damage per hit.

The crossbows are hidden in the walls and usually concealed by wooden paneling. The DC to spot them is 16. Locating the trigger requires a DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check. The trap can be disabled by wedging the pressure plate or blocking the bolt holes.

Disembodied Hands with Chilling Touch (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

When a creature enters a room being guarded by this trap, a pair of spectral hands appear and target it. Up to six pairs of hands may appear, one per creature in the area. On initiative 20, the hands move up to 50 feet to follow their target as long as the target is within the room, and make a spell attack against their target if they are within 10 feet of the target.

The attack is made at +7 to hit. On a successful hit, the target takes 3 (1d6) cold damage and, on a failed DC 15 Constitution saving throw, loses 1 point of Strength until completing a long rest.

Disembodied Hands with Vampiric Touch (3pp)

Source TM

Magical trap

When a creature enters a room being guarded by this trap, a pair of spectral hands appear and target it. Up to six pairs of hands may appear, one per creature in the area. On initiative 20, the hands move up to 50 feet to follow their target as long as the target is within the room, and make a spell attack against their target if they are within 10 feet of the target. The attack is made at +7 to hit. On a successful hit, the target takes 14 (4d6) necrotic damage and cannot regain hit points until the start of the next round.

Falling Net

Mechanical trap

This trap uses a trip wire to release a net suspended from the ceiling.

The trip wire is 3 inches off the ground and stretches between two columns or trees. The net is hidden by cobwebs or foliage. The DC to spot the trip wire and net is 10. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools breaks the trip wire harmlessly. A character without thieves’ tools can attempt this check with disadvantage using any edged weapon or edged tool. On a failed check, the trap triggers.

When the trap is triggered, the net is released, covering a 10-foot-square area. Those in the area are trapped under the net and restrained, and those that fail a DC 10 Strength saving throw are also knocked prone. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. The net has AC 10 and 20 hit points. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) destroys a 5-foot-square section of it, freeing any creature trapped in that section.

Falling Stone Blocks (3pp)

Source TM

Mechanical trap

When a creature steps on a pressure plate with more than 20 lbs of force (or, in the case of weak construction, causes a large vibration by, for example, casting thunder wave), several stone blocks fall from the ceiling in a 10-foot radius around the creature. Each creature within the circle must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Those who fail the saving throw take 18 (4d8) bludgeoning damage while those who succeed take half this amount. The unstable state of the ceiling can be identified with a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check.

Finding the pressure plate requires a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check.

Fire-Breathing Statue

Magic trap

This trap is activated when an intruder steps on a hidden pressure plate, releasing a magical gout of flame from a nearby statue. The statue can be of anything, including a dragon or a wizard casting a spell.

The DC is 15 to spot the pressure plate, as well as faint scorch marks on the floor and walls. A spell or other effect that can sense the presence of magic, such as detect magic, reveals an aura of evocation magic around the statue.

The trap activates when more than 20 pounds of weight is placed on the pressure plate, causing the statue to release a 30-foot cone of fire. Each creature in the fire must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating. A successful dispel magic (DC 13) cast on the statue destroys the trap.

Fire Breathing Suit of Armor (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

When a creature comes within fifteen feet of the armor, the armor releases a 15-foot cone of fire. Each creature within the cone must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw. Those that fail take 17 (4d6) damage while those that succeed take half as much.

The trap recharges on a 5 or 6 on 1d6. A variant of this trap is a fireplace breathing sparks instead.

Hypnotic Brazier (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

This brazier may stand in something resembling an elaborate ritual chamber – with candles, diagrams, tapestries and idols. Its magical flames create a hypnotic pattern. Any creature that looks upon it must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be hypnotized by the brazier. A hypnotized creature may attempt a new saving throw at the end of each its turns. Once it has succeeded on a saving throw, the creature is immune to the brazier’s hypnosis for 24 hours. A hypnotized creature makes every effort to get amidst the brazier’s flames as quickly as possible. Each round that a creature spends in the fire it takes 27 (6d8) fire damage. Dispel magic cast with a level 4 spell slot dampens the hypnotic pattern for 1 round, giving any creatures needing to make a saving throw advantage.

Magic Mouth (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

When a creature comes within 30 feet of the magic mouth, it cries loudly for help. Make three random monster checks. The magic mouth then becomes inactive for one hour. A variant of this trap also casts arcane lock on all exits, increasing the DC to break them down or unlock them by 10.

Malevolent Mirage (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

A wondrous hypnotic illusion appears. Any creature seeing the illusion must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or use its movement and make the dash action to enter its area. Within the area covered by the illusion may be spiked pits, fire, or any other form of dangerous area. The illusion can be seen through with a successful DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check.

The mirage could originate from an idol, fresco, statue, gemstone (1d3 x 100 gp), etc.

Moving Executioner Statue (3pp)

Source TM

Mechanical trap

If a creature comes within 5 feet of the statue without depressing the bypass switch to disarm it, the statue makes a melee attack at +10 to hit against it. On a hit, the target takes 15 (2d6 + 8) slashing damage. The statue continues to make attacks as long as a target is within range and the statue has not been destroyed or disarmed. The bypass switch can be located with a successful DC 18 Wisdom (Perception) check. The statue is destroyed if it takes 25 points of damage. It has an AC of 15. The statue may guard a pedestal with small gemstones of little value, or stand in a room resembling a shrine or temple.

Pits

Mechanical trap

Four basic pit traps are presented here.

Simple Pit. A simple pit trap is a hole dug in the ground. The hole is covered by a large cloth anchored on the pit’s edge and camouflaged with dirt and debris. The DC to spot the pit is 10. Anyone stepping on the cloth falls through and pulls the cloth down into the pit, taking damage based on the pit’s depth (usually 10 feet, but some pits are deeper).

Hidden Pit. This pit has a cover constructed from material identical to the floor around it. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check discerns an absence of foot traffic over the section of floor that forms the pit’s cover. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check is necessary to confirm that the trapped section of floor is actually the cover of a pit. When a creature steps on the cover, it swings open like a trapdoor, causing the intruder to spill into the pit below. The pit is usually 10 or 20 feet deep but can be deeper. Once the pit trap is detected, an iron spike or similar object can be wedged between the pit’s cover and the surrounding floor in such a way as to prevent the cover from opening, thereby making it safe to cross. The cover can also be magically held shut using the arcane lock spell or similar magic.

Locking Pit. This pit trap is identical to a hidden pit trap, with one key exception: the trap door that covers the pit is spring-loaded. After a creature falls into the pit, the cover snaps shut to trap its victim inside. A successful DC 20 Strength check is necessary to pry the cover open. The cover can also be smashed open. A character in the pit can also attempt to disable the spring mechanism from the inside with a DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools, provided that the mechanism can be reached and the character can see. In some cases, a mechanism (usually hidden behind a secret door nearby) opens the pit.

Spiked Pit. This pit trap is a simple, hidden, or locking pit trap with sharpened wooden or iron spikes at the bottom. A creature falling into the pit takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage from the spikes, in addition to any falling damage. Even nastier versions have poison smeared on the spikes. In that case, anyone taking piercing damage from the spikes must also make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking an 22 (4d10) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Poison Darts

Mechanical trap

When a creature steps on a hidden pressure plate, poison-tipped darts shoot from spring-loaded or pressurized tubes cleverly embedded in the surrounding walls. An area might include multiple pressure plates, each one rigged to its own set of darts.

The tiny holes in the walls are obscured by dust and cobwebs, or cleverly hidden amid bas-reliefs, murals, or frescoes that adorn the walls. The DC to spot them is 15. With a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check, a character can deduce the presence of the pressure plate from variations in the mortar and stone used to create it, compared to the surrounding floor. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating. Stuffing the holes with cloth or wax prevents the darts contained within from launching.

The trap activates when more than 20 pounds of weight is placed on the pressure plate, releasing four darts. Each dart makes a ranged attack with a +8 bonus against a random target within 10 feet of the pressure plate (vision is irrelevant to this attack roll). (If there are no targets in the area, the darts don’t hit anything.) A target that is hit takes 2 (1d4) piercing damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 11 (2d10) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Poison Needle

Mechanical trap

A poisoned needle is hidden within a treasure chest’s lock, or in something else that a creature might open. Opening the chest without the proper key causes the needle to spring out, delivering a dose of poison.

When the trap is triggered, the needle extends 3 inches straight out from the lock. A creature within range takes 1 piercing damage and 11 (2d10) poison damage, and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour.

A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap’s presence from alterations made to the lock to accommodate the needle. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms the trap, removing the needle from the lock. Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the lock triggers the trap.

Poison Needle Trap (3pp)

Source DiFP

A poisoned needle is hidden in the locking mechanisms of the chest. A successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check allows a character to detect the presence of the trap, and a successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms it. Attempting to pick the lock without first disarming the trap triggers the trap, whether the picking attempt is successful or not.

When the trap is triggered, the needle springs out, extending several inches out of the lock. A creature picking the lock takes 1 piercing damage and 11 (2d10) poison damage, and then must succeed at a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour.

Rapid Rot (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

A creature who touches the object protected by this trap must make a successful DC 14 Charisma saving throw or it and all objects it is wearing or carrying instantly age 1000 years. For most creatures, this means instant death, leaving only grey, moldy dust remaining. Detecting the trap requires a successful DC 18 Intelligence (Arcana) check. Once the trap has triggered, it cannot do so again for 24 hours.

Note: This trap is always linked to an item of great worth (1d6 x 500 gp), usually prominently displayed and surrounded by grim reminders of death and decay. E.g. a solid gold bowl in a room full of graven stone skulls, dust and moldy cobwebs, held by the statue of Death personified.

Rolling Sphere

Mechanical trap

When 20 or more pounds of pressure are placed on this trap’s pressure plate, a hidden trapdoor in the ceiling opens, releasing a 10-foot-diameter rolling sphere of solid stone.

With a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check, a character can spot the trapdoor and pressure plate. A search of the floor accompanied by a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals variations in the mortar and stone that betray the pressure plate’s presence. The same check made while inspecting the ceiling notes variations in the stonework that reveal the trapdoor. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating.

Activation of the sphere requires all creatures present to roll initiative. The sphere rolls initiative with a +8 bonus. On its turn, it moves 60 feet in a straight line. The sphere can move through creatures’ spaces, and creatures can move through its space, treating it as difficult terrain. Whenever the sphere enters a creature’s space or a creature enters its space while it’s rolling, that creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 55 (10d10) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone.

The sphere stops when it hits a wall or similar barrier. It can’t go around corners, but smart dungeon builders incorporate gentle, curving turns into nearby passages that allow the sphere to keep moving.

As an action, a creature within 5 feet of the sphere can attempt to slow it down with a DC 20 Strength check. On a successful check, the sphere’s speed is reduced by 15 feet. If the sphere’s speed drops to 0, it stops moving and is no longer a threat.

Room Full of Diseased Corpses (3pp)

Source TM

Magic trap

The corpses all have slimy doom. The disease can be recognized with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check. The corpses may be just piled up, or placed elaborately in wooden thrones, hung on hooks, sitting in plush chairs or any other arrangement. They are usually moldy and putrid, but some (25% probability) possess 1d3 pieces of jewelry, value 2d8 x 10 gp. Finding any treasure requires a DC 14 Wisdom (perception) check (and probably touching the corpses).

Scything Blade (3pp)

Source TM

Mechanical trap

Typically released by a trip wire, the scything blade can also be swung by a suit of armor. When the trigger is released, the scythe makes a melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet at +6 to hit. On a successful hit, it does 6 (1d8 + 2) slashing damage.

The trip wire can be noted with a DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check and the trap can be disarmed by carefully cutting the wire. This requires a DC 12 Dexterity check and failing the check by five or more triggers the trap.

Sphere of Annihilation

Magic trap

Magical, impenetrable darkness fills the gaping mouth of a stone face carved into a wall. The mouth is 2 feet in diameter and roughly circular. No sound issues from it, no light can illuminate the inside of it, and any matter that enters it is instantly obliterated.

A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals that the mouth contains a sphere of annihilation that can’t be controlled or moved. It is otherwise identical to a normal sphere of annihilation.

Some versions of the trap include an enchantment placed on the stone face, such that specified creatures feel an overwhelming urge to approach it and crawl inside its mouth. This effect is otherwise like the sympathy aspect of the antipathy/sympathy spell. A successful dispel magic (DC 18) removes this enchantment.

Swinging Block (3pp)

Source TM

Mechanical trap

When, after placing more than 20 lbs of force on a pressure plate, a creature removes its weight from the plate, a large stone block swings across on metal chains. Any creature within 5 feet of the trigger must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the creature takes 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage. A creature that is moving normally feels the plate shift with a DC 18 Wisdom (Perception) check. If a creature is dashing when it steps on the plate, it has disadvantage on the check.

Disarming the trap once the trigger is detected requires a DC 18 Dexterity check with thieves’ tools.

The Drop and Plop

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A pitfall trap that has a perfectly fitting gelatinous cube inside it. The pit is 10 feet by 10 feet and has a trap door at the top.

Trigger. One hundred pounds of pressure applied to the trap door (for instance, someone stepping on it), causes the trap door to open. Victims must make DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or fall in. The gelatinous cube immediately attacks anyone who falls in and automatically gains surprise.

Countermeasures. A DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the presence of the trap door on the floor. Jumping over the trap door bypasses it, or a DC 14 Dexterity (Thieves Tools) check disables the trap door.

The Jelly Jamb

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. There is a glass pot of ooze above a door that triggers when the door is opened. The pot falls and shatters, releasing 1d4+1 ochre jellies that then attack the PCs!

Trigger. When the door is opened, the pot falls and breaks.

Countermeasures. The character that opens the door sees the pot falling. If they succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, they can catch the pot if they want. The pot weighs 200 pounds and a character who catches it must make a DC 17 Strength (Athletics) check to not drop it and cause it to shatter.

Rusty Stuffings

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, dangerous)

Description. In the corridor is a small, pink toy bear.

It’s actually a rust monster that has been polymorphed into a toy bear and is incapacitated while in that form.

The polymorph wears off five minutes after the toy bear has been placed into a container of any kind, such as a backpack. The rust monster then promptly begins to devour all metal items it can.

Countermeasures. Casting detect magic reveals a transmutation aura around the bear. The identify spell reveals the exact nature of the trap.

Golden Eye

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A solid gold sphere sits in the middle of the room. When the sphere is touched, it opens, revealing a Death Kiss which promptly attacks.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals fine seams along the exterior of the sphere, indicating that it can be opened. Detect magic reveals an aura of abjuration about the sphere. A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the sphere is not made of gold, but iron painted over with gold.

Gold Dust Shroom Boom

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, dangerous)

Description. Golden mushrooms are growing along the bottom of a chest, stretching about halfway up.

Below the mushrooms a large pile gold sparkles and beckons to the characters.

Trigger. Touching the mushrooms causes them to release a cloud of poisonous spores in a 10-foot radius. Everyone caught in the effect takes 2d6 poison damage or half as much if they succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw. Once the spore cloud has been triggered, it takes 1d4 hours for the mushrooms to create more spores.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Nature) check reveals that the poisonous nature of the mushrooms, including that it takes time to regenerate more spores once triggered.

The DoppelDoor

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, dangerous)

Purpose. There is a magical doorway that teleports the first character to step through it into a pocket dimension (per the banishment spell) and replaces them with a doppelganger that looks exactly like them.

This effect lasts until the doppelganger dies, at which point the character is teleported to where the doppelganger perishes, taking the place of its body.

When this happens, the game master should take the player whose character was replaced away from the group, explain what has happened, and let them play the doppelganger. The GM should give the player some basic information to inform their roleplaying, such as the doppelganger’s motivations.

Countermeasures. A character who is suspicious of the doppelganger can make a Wisdom (Insight) check contested by the doppelganger’s Charisma (Deception) check. If the character wins, he notices small imperfections with the doppelganger’s disguise or acting, cluing him in that it is not actually the character.

The BrainWasher

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (any level, not really dangerous)

Description. In a room is a sink full of dirty dishes. A character who comes within 10 feet of the dishes feels magically compelled to clean them. They must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be compelled to clean the dishes, a task that takes the next 15 minutes. If the character takes damage, they may repeat the saving throw, breaking out of the enchantment on a success.

At the end of 15 minutes, when the dishes have been cleaned, more dirty dishes magically fill the sink, and the character, and any others within range must make a new saving throw or be compelled to clean the dishes.

Countermeasures. Detect magic reveals an aura of enchantment magic around the dishes. Breaking all of the dishes causes the magic to fail, releasing anyone caught in its thrall.

Mimic Madness (Not a Trap)

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, setback)

Description. A hallway contains three mimics that are concealing themselves as parts of the walls, floors, and doors. When the party is in the middle of the hallway, they attack.

Pleased to Meet You

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A pair of large disembodied hands float in front of and block a passage. To get past, the characters must shake hands with them. If the hands are attacked or someone tries to push them out of the way, the hands slap the offenders. They have a +8 to hit and deal 4d10 bludgeoning damage.

Countermeasures. The characters notice an inscription on the wall near the hands that reads, “Foes don’t proceed; only friends shall we be.” This a clue that they need to shake the hands.

Fool’s Gold

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A pot of gold coins sits on a table in a room. A character that removes gold from the pot must make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or suffer a hallucination that leprechauns are attacking them.

Countermeasures. Detect magic reveals an aura of enchantment magic around the pot. Placing the gold back into the pot releases the character from the hallucination. The hallucinations also wear off after 1d4+1 minutes.

The Baynard Curtain

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, dangerous)

Purpose. Mark the characters so that they are easier for enemies to hit in combat.

Trigger. Vines over the mouth of the cave are tripwires that release buckets of phosphorescent powder.

Effect. Characters within 15 feet are covered in a phosphorescent powder that gives monsters using darkvision advantage on their Attack rolls against the characters for the next 1d4 hours if they fail a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw.

Countermeasures. The vine tripwires can be detected with a successful DC 13 Wisdom (Perception) check.

The tripwires can be disabled with a DC 12 Dexterity (Thieves Tools) check. Characters proficient in Nature have advantage on all interactions with the vines.

The powder can be removed from a character using a gallon of alcohol, such as ale, to clean it off.

GM Note. Combine this trap with guardians in the entrance of the cave that use darkvision. Thus, the trap makes the PCs more vulnerable to the guardians.

The Yeeter Totter

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Complex trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Purpose. To throw PCs off the bridge and prevent them from passing.

Trigger. In the middle of the bridge on the railing is a small sign that reads “None Shall Pass.” These are magical letters, that when read causes the trap to spring.

Effect. When triggered, violent waves travel down the bridge for one round (6 seconds), causing the bridge to bounce up and down, similar to a trampoline. Players must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be bounced off the edge of the bridge and be dangling from the side while grabbing the ropes. On the next round, dangling players must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or fall. Players who succeed on this saving throw are able to pull themselves back onto the bridge. Players who are not bucked off the bridge can help dangling players get back up, granting them advantage on their Strength saving throw.

Countermeasures. Detect magic will indicate that the entire bridge is covered in transmutation magic. Casting Dispel Magic will suppress the trap for 1d4+2 minutes. Casting Dispel Magic at level 5 or above, permanently dispels the trap.

Not Silent, Just Deadly

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 11-16, deadly)

Purpose. This is an ornate throne, designed to kill people.

Trigger. When someone sits on the throne, there is a squish as a sticky substance on the throne immediately bonds to the pants of the person sitting on the throne. Standing up from the throne pulls a pressure plate upwards, triggering the trap.

Effect. When triggered, a loud farting noise is emitted from the bottom of the throne as a large bladder full of poisonous gas is released into the room. Characters within 15 feet of the throne must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking 99 (18d10) poison damage on a failed save or half that damage on a successful save.

Countermeasures. Someone sitting on the throne can remove their pants to then get out of the throne without triggering it.

GM Note. Make there be an enticing reason that a character would want to sit in this throne. For instance, a sign reading “Don’t Sit Here” or “Free Gold” hanging above the throne might entice them to sit on it. Or you might make sitting on the throne seem necessary to advance in the dungeon, such as implying that it opens a secret door or something.

Scabaited

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

The sword itself is not magical. However, the scabbard emanates evocation magic when detect magic is used. Characters handling the scabbard can tell that it is magical, too. (This will probably make the character think the sword is magical.)

Purpose. Punish thieves who take the sword.

Trigger. Pulling the sword from the scabbard without first whispering the command phrase “Here I go killing again” triggers the trap.

Effect. Magical runes on the scabbard detonate, causing the scabbard to explode into a cloud of shrapnel, dealing 4d10 slashing damage to all creatures within 10 feet. Creatures who succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw take half damage.

Countermeasures. Casting detect magic reveals evocation magic on the scabbard. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check while studying the runes on the scabbard reveals that it explodes when the sword is drawn. Casting identify on the scabbard or sword (before drawn) reveals the command phrase.

The Bunny Blunder

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, dangerous)

There is a rope hanging from the ceiling with a golden carrot worth 50 gp tied to the end of it.

Purpose. To reward players with pain and suffering for being foolish enough to pull on a rope and carrot hanging from the ceiling.

Trigger. Pulling on the rope or removing the carrot from the rope.

Effect. A trap door opens on the ceiling, raining down 2d6 Killer Bunnies!

Countermeasures. A character searching the ceiling and succeeding on a DC 13 Wisdom (Perception) check notices that there is the outline of a trap door on the ceiling. Characters can bypass the trap by not pulling on the rope.

GM Note. Use the stat block for giant rat for the Killer Bunnies.

Octonote

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A brass flute rests on a pedestal before a locked door. Playing any eight notes on the flute unlocks the door. Playing any other number of notes magically causes the hallway to fill with water and 1d4+2 giant octopuses that attack. Carved into the side of the pedestal are depictions of underwater scenes and aquatic creatures. Characters who succeed on a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check while examining the pedestal discover that there are eight musical notes hidden among the carvings on the pedestal. Character proficient with a musical instrument gain advantage on the check.

Bark or Bite

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, setback)

Description. There is a door with beautiful forest scenery carved into it, but it has no doorknob. Carved in the doorframe above the door in elven is “Be polite or I bite.”

Trigger. The door must be verbally asked to open in elven, and when someone does so, it swings open. However, anyone trying to open the door by physical means causes one swarm of insects (beetles) to burrow out from within the door and attack.

Bee-ware

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, setback)

Description. This is a locked puzzle box always accompanied by a pot of honey that players might find among other loot. Every so often a BEEping sound emanates from a small hole on one side of the box. If characters look into the hole, they can see some treasure inside (see below). Touching the puzzle box leaves a sticky feeling on your hands. Smelling or tasting the substance reveals it is sweet like honey.

The game master should place level-appropriate loot in the puzzle box for players to be rewarded with.

Trigger. The puzzle box opens when honey from the pot is poured into a small hole on one side. When opened, a swarm of bees (use the stat block for swarm of insects (wasps)) emerges and attacks the character who has the pot of honey. If no one took the pot of honey, the wasps fly away.

Countermeasures. A character who inspects the box and the hole on its side spots the swarm of bees inside the box on a successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check. Characters might use various methods to avoid being attacked by the bees. However, blowing smoke into the hole placates the bees, making them docile when the box is opened.

Double Vision

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, setback)

Description. There is a mirror on the ceiling.

Trigger. When a character’s reflection is shown in the mirror by stepping below it, the character must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, the character is instantly teleported inside the mirror, and a doppelganger appearing exactly like the character takes their place. The character is trapped in the mirror in a sort of magical demi-plane until the doppelganger dies. Only one character at a time can be affected by this.

GM Note: When a character is swapped with the doppelganger, take the player aside and explain what happened in secret. Then have that player roleplay the doppelganger. That way the player isn’t just sitting out and doing nothing.

Countermeasure. Breaking the mirror nullifies the trap. If the mirror is broken while a PC is trapped within, they are released from within.

Over the Rainbow

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. There is a hallway with a floor painted with stripes of all the different colors of the rainbow.

Trigger. Walking on an incorrect stripe (any except red) at the midpoint of the hallway causes multicolored bolts of energy to shoot from the ceiling above at all characters in the hallway. The characters must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 4d10 poison damage on a failed save, or half that much on a successful save.

GM Note: If desired, make the type of damage correspond to the color of the stripe the PC is walking on. Blue is electric, green poison, purple force, etc.

Countermeasures. Written in Draconic along the edge of the floor just before the hallway begins is “It’s Red or you’re Dead.” Characters succeeding on a DC 13 Wisdom (Perception) check notice this writing. If the characters only walk on the red stripe, the bolts of energy do not trigger.

e-MACE-iation

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 1-4, setback)

Description. This appears to be a +1 mace when identified. However, it is a trap!

Trigger. Every time the mace is used in combat and successfully hits its target, roll a d12. On a 10, 11, or 12, the head of the mace explodes throwing shrapnel all about. Every creature in a 15-foot radius must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 piercing on a failed save, and half as much on a successful save. The wielder of the mace has disadvantage on the saving throw.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the head of the mace is not stable and designed to break apart.

Piggy Bank

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (any level, setback)

Description. There is a hog on a spit roasting over a fire. The fire is illusory, as is the smell of beautiful bacon that fills the room. Characters interacting with the roasting hog recognize it for an illusion. The hog is actually a treasure chest filled with loot of the game master’s choice.

Trigger. When a character reaches through the hog’s mouth to extract the treasure, they must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be polymorphed (per the spell) into a pig for 1d4 hours.

Countermeasures. A player who succeeds on a DC 14 Intelligence (Arcana) check notices magical runes carved into the flesh of the roasting hog, indicating the presence of some sort of polymorph effect. Casting dispel magic on the hog disables the trap for 1 hour.

Also, the loot can be successfully extracted from the piggy bank by reaching not through the mouth, but the other end. A successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the presence of a small tag on one of the hog’s ears that reads, “Try the other end.”

Red Hots

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Simple trap (level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. A small jar contains 2d6 jellybeans.

Trigger. The beans are actually fireball pellets, albeit delicious ones. If a bean is eaten, a fireball immediately explodes in the consumer’s mouth. A fireball (per the spell, DC 16) goes off, centered on the person eating the bean. The person eating the bean automatically fails the saving throw. If the entire jar of beans is dumped out, all of them immediately detonate. (TPK baby! Lol)

Effect. The fireball jellybeans can be thrown up to thirty feet and explode per the fireball spell (save DC 16).

Countermeasures. Stop being dumb and eating weird food you find in dungeons!

Boots of Sticking and Snaring

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Mechanical trap (Simple trap, level 11-16, dangerous)

Description. There is a finely made pair of boots with magical aura cast on them, making them appear to be boots of striding and springing.

Trigger. There are small pressure plates in the heels of the boots. When someone puts the boots on and walks in them, the trap is triggered.

Effect. When triggered, sovereign glue oozes from the soles of the boots, on both the inside and the outside. It adheres fast to the PC’s foot and the floor, rooting them in place. The sovereign glue used in this trap sets in six seconds instead of one minute. (Once the glue has been used, it’s gone.) When triggered, the character feels something wet inside the boot and the boots seem to stick a little to the ground. If the character tries to remove the boots immediately, they must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw in order to do so before the glue sets.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals that the soles of the boots are abnormally thick. Upon examining the thick soles, a successful DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the presence of a hidden compartment in the soles and how to open it. Inside the compartment on each boot is a bottle of sovereign glue for the taking, as long as the trap isn’t triggered first, which deploys the glue.

Mace-in-a-Box

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Mechanical trap (Simple, level 1-4, dangerous)

Description. A non-descript chest with no visible lock.

Trigger. Opening the lid triggers the trap.

Effect. When triggered, a spring-loaded mace inside the lid swipes in an arc at anyone standing in front of the chest. The mace has an attack bonus of +5 and on hit deals 4 (1d8) bludgeoning damage and the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 7 (2d6) poison damage and is poisoned for one minute. On a successful save, the target takes half damage and is not poisoned.

Countermeasures. Opening the chest from the side or at range (such as with a ten-foot pole) bypasses the swinging mace. A successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the presence of buckling wood on the backside of the lid as though something inside were pulling on the wood. A successful DC 13 Dexterity (Thieves’ Tools) check can disarm the trap.

Helm of the Catfolk

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Magical trap (Simple trap, level 5-10, setback)

Description. There is a finely made helmet shaped like the head of a jaguar with eyes of emerald on a pedestal worth roughly 200 gp.

Trigger. Removing the helmet from the pedestal trips a pressure plate which triggers the trap.

Effect. The character who moved the helmet is targeted by a polymorph spell. The character must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the character is polymorphed into a tiny cat for 1d4 hours. If as a cat the character is reduced to 0 hit points, they just turn into a different breed of cat. This can happen up to nine times, and on the tenth time of being reduced to 0 hit points, the character reverts to their normal self. Otherwise, this condition lasts until the spell ends or dispel magic is cast on the character.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the presence of the pressure plate on the pedestal. The pressure plate can be neutralized, and the helmet removed if a character quickly swaps an item of equal weight with the helmet, placing that item on the pressure plate. The character must make a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check to determine the weight of the helmet (twelve pounds). Then the character must make a successful DC 13 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check to swap the helmet with the item without tripping the pressure plate. If either of these checks fail, the trap is triggered.

Stairway to Slime

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Mechanical trap (Simple trap, level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. There is a ladder that must be climbed to get to the next level up.

Trigger. The sixth rung on the ladder pulls loose when climbed on and triggers the trap.

Effect. Triggering the trap causes a trap door in the floor to slide open, revealing a ten-foot-deep pit whose floor and walls are covered with green slime (see the game master’s core rulebook). The character who pulled the rung loose on the ladder must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or fall into the pit. The character takes 1d6 falling damage and is covered with green slime, taking 5 (1d10 acid damage). The creature takes the damage again at the start of each of its turns until the slime is scraped off or destroyed. Against wood or metal, green slime deals 11 (2d10) acid damage each round, and any nonmagical wood or metal weapon or tool used to scrape off the slime is effectively destroyed.

Countermeasures. A successful DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals that one of the ladder rungs is loose.

The Boy Who Cried Cat

Source Trap Collection by TheDMLair. Author Luke Hart

Magical trap (Simple trap, level 5-10, dangerous)

Description. There is an illusory small boy in the corner clutching two dolls to his chest and sobbing.

Trigger. Approaching within five feet of the illusion triggers the trap.

Effect. When triggered, all creatures within twenty feet of the illusory boy must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save the creature’s size category is reduced to tiny; however, none of their equipment is shrunk with them. Creatures so reduced have disadvantage on strength checks and saving throws; their movement is reduced to one third; and they deal only 1 point of damage with any attacks. This condition lasts for 1d4 minutes. Furthermore, triggering the trap opens a secret door that releases 2d4 hungry cats into the room that immediately attack any shrunk creatures.

Countermeasures. Examining the boy and succeeding on a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the illusion for what it is. Casting detect magic reveals the presence of the magical trap linked to the illusory boy. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals the nature of the trap. Casting dispel magic on the illusory boy suppresses the magical trap for ten???