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Trap Workshop

There are five steps to adding traps to your encounters with this system.

  1. Identify the cost of the trap you’d like to create based on the Trap Budget table.
  2. Determine how hard to mitigate (detect and disarm) the trap is.
  3. Choose one or more triggers for the trap, and consider their location.
  4. Choose one or more targets or target areas for the trap.
  5. Add one or more components to the trap.

Mitigating Traps

Detection: A character must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Perception) check to locate a trap. The DC starts at 15 and can be increased from there. When characters detect a trap, they typically find the trigger first, such as a pressure plate or tripwire; however, depending on where they are searching, they might find the components without knowing how they are triggered, or they might locate the entire trap—triggers, components, and anything else related to it—all at once. Use your best judgment to determine what the party finds, as you don’t want them to spend thirty minutes rolling dice every time they enter a new room. If the party doesn’t find a trap before they walk into it, everyone becomes aware of its location once the trap activates. It’s hard to keep hidden dart launchers a secret once they’re shooting several volleys of darts.

Disarming: Each trigger and component of a trap must be disarmed separately; however, disabling the triggers or all the components is usually enough to keep the trap from being a threat. Like detecting a trap, the base DC for a Thieves’ Tools check starts at 15. Disarming one piece of a trap requires an action, and characters making the attempt must be able to reach whatever they are trying to disarm.

What is a “Trigger”?

Every trap begins with a trigger. An adventurer steps on a pressure plate, a thief walks into a magical sensor, or a cunning kobold pulls a lever and something happens. By default, each trap activates only once, even if it has multiple triggers. You can upgrade them to be rearming (like spikes or arrows etc.)

Trap Budget
Party Level Tier Total Cost XP Formula Estimated XP Range
1–2 1 1–6 50 x cost 50–300
3–4 2 7–13 75 x cost 525–975
5–7 3 14–21 100 x cost 1,400–2,100
8–10 4 22–30 120 x cost 2,640–3,600
11–13 5 31–40 140 x cost 4,340–5,600
14–16 6 41–51 160 x cost 6,560–8,160
17–20 7 52+ 180 x cost 9,360+

Attacking Traps

In general, any trap component can be attacked as long as the attacker can see the trap and is within range to attack it. Unless otherwise specified, assume any attacks made against trap components hit automatically. Trap components have immunity to poison and psychic damage.

Trap components fail Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws automatically and are immune to any effects that require an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw. Assume a trap component has 15 hit points per tier of the trap, unless otherwise specified. A destroyed component no longer functions. At your discretion, it might be repaired by the trap’s owners if the party leaves them alone long enough. Generally, a short rest—or 1 hour—should be sufficient to fully repair a trap, but if the area is poorly maintained or the owners are absent, the traps might remain disabled until the party finishes a long rest, or they might even be permanently out of action, allowing the players to gradually disarm the entire dungeon.

Triggers can be attacked and destroyed in a similar fashion but only have 20 hit points. If a trigger takes damage, the trap to which it is attached activates. This should be ample punishment for the reckless and direct approach. Once destroyed, a trigger no longer functions, no matter how much further damage it takes or what prodding with Thieves’ Tools it endures. Destroyed triggers might be repaired in the same manner as components but should generally take less time to fix, as they tend to be simpler mechanisms. that shoot up each time someone steps on the trigger) or continuous (like swinging pendulum blades that, once activated, are a constant threat to anyone who enters the area). Multiple traps can share a trigger, but you must pay the cost for all of them. This means that if you use a magical trigger (Cost 4) to activate two different traps, both traps must pay the cost of 4 to use the magical trigger.

The triggers provided are sorted by type, and the details of many of them are intentionally left vague. For example, if you select a physical trigger, the only mechanical constraint is that it occupies a 5-foot square in the dungeon and is triggered whenever a creature enters the area. It’s up to you whether that represents a pressure plate, a tripwire, a false floor panel that breaks open, or something else. You can upgrade the area of the trigger, add additional triggers (allowing the trap to activate in multiple places or in different ways), or use the more advanced triggers available. Then you must place the trigger somewhere in your game. Once you’ve decided how the trap is activated, it’s time to decide how the trap picks its targets.

What is a “Target”?

By default, each trap targets the location of the trigger that activates it. This is called “basic” targeting. For example, a character steps on a pressure plate and arrows fly out of the walls toward the character. If the same trap has multiple triggers, it will aim at whichever one was triggered. So, if three adventurers stepped on three different pressure plates, each one would be shot at by arrows once—they wouldn’t all be targeted three times.

There are several options available to upgrade how your traps pick targets: you can increase the area that the trap can target, give it a fixed target—such as a pit that opens at the same spot regardless of how it’s triggered—or make its targeting selective such that certain creatures are never affected even if they are in the target area.

Determining how the trap picks targets can be a little confusing at first, but some examples are provided that should help you on your way. If you’re not comfortable with it, you can also safely ignore the more advanced options and stick with basic traps that target whoever triggers them.

What is a “Component”?

Finally, you must select one to three components for your trap. Triggers cover how a trap is activated, and targets determine who should be worried when they hear that “click.” Components are what a trap actually does.

All components are ranked in tiers from 1 to 7, with higher-tier components being more powerful and costlier. Components can do damage, apply effects, or even simulate spells. Some make attack rolls, others require their targets to attempt saving throws, and some have automatic effects. A simple trap with one powerful component can be just as dangerous as a complicated one, but often adding a cheap secondary component for movement, difficult terrain, or a debilitating condition can really make the trap an interesting addition to your encounter. The limit of three components isn’t absolute, but going beyond that often slows the game down, requiring multiple attack rolls and saving throws every time the trap activates. Use with caution.

Balance and Gameplay

When designing traps, you should consider the monsters these traps are paired with. If you place several rearming fireball traps in a room with a red dragon, fire elementals, or other creatures that are immune to fire damage, those traps are going to be much more dangerous than they would normally be if the monsters had to worry about taking damage from their own devices. On the other extreme, mummies or other creatures that are vulnerable to fire damage would have to be even more cautious than the players, making the traps a potential asset to the party instead of purely a hazard.

As a rough guideline, if the traps and monsters complement each other, award double the XP for the trap. If the traps are more dangerous to the monsters than they are to the players, cut the trap’s XP value in half. If you’re following the encounter building guidelines to factor the increased or decreased XP value into the encounter’s difficulty calculation.

As always, if you want to kill your players, you can. You can easily make traps that will be downright lethal, brutally destroying those poor adventures with no chance of survival. But that’s like sending an ancient red dragon at a party of 3rd-level characters; it’s not interesting or fun. The guidelines introduced here are designed and intended to create balanced traps that are challenging to overcome and make your dungeons more interesting, but they aren’t perfect.

Focus on unusual ideas, mechanics that interact well with monsters, and traps that force your players to make hard or dramatically compelling choices rather than simply throwing damage at them until their hit points run out.

Trap Mitigation

Mitigation upgrades increase the DC for finding or disarming a trap.

Mitigation Universal Upgrades

Hard to Disable (+2 Cost): Increase the Thieves’ Tools DC to disarm this trap by 3. This upgrade can be applied up to five times.

Hard to Find (+2 Cost): Increase the Perception DC to detect this trap by 3. This upgrade can be applied up to five times.

Trap Triggers

All traps, by default, are single use. They can be triggered once, and then they are disabled. The trap’s owners or maintainers can reactivate the trap given time, but they aren’t likely to activate again during a single encounter. Each trap can be upgraded to be repairing or rearming.

Trigger Universal Upgrades

Repairing (+2 Cost): When this trigger is disarmed or destroyed, it magically repairs after 1 minute, returning to full function. This does not rearm the trap if it has already activated.

Rearming (+5 Cost): This trap can now activate once per round, resetting automatically at the end of each round and awaiting the next creature to activate one of its triggers.

Magical Traps

Some triggers and components are described as being “magical” and, as such, are vulnerable to many of the standard methods adventurers use to deal with magical obstacles. No magical traps can function in an antimagic field, and if a magical trigger or component has been detected, it can be targeted with dispel magic. This doesn’t destroy the trigger or the trap, but it does prevent it from functioning for 1d4 rounds. Make this roll in secret, because dispel magic is a blunt instrument compared to an experienced rogue’s delicate touch. Dispel magic can only affect one component or trigger each time it is cast.

Any creatures that have special defenses against magical effects—such as advantage on saving throws—also gain those benefits against magical traps, but creatures that have special protection from spells only (and not “magical effects”) do not benefit from those bonuses, as none of the magical traps cast spells.

Trigger Type: Physical

Size: 5-foot square

Cost: 0

This trap trigger covers pressure plates, tripwires, and other methods that require physical interaction. It occupies a 5-foot square and activates when a creature enters its space. At your discretion, it might not be activated by creatures that are flying or using other nontraditional movement modes.

Upgrades

Trapped Room (+2 Cost): This trigger traps an entire room, up to a 60-foot cube. You can place any number of physical triggers within that room, including making the entirety of the floor, walls, and ceiling a series of pressure plates.

Trigger Type: Manual

Size: 5-foot square

Cost: 0

This is a variation on the physical trigger; it will only activate if a creature uses its action to interact with it, making it perfect for defensive traps. A creature must be within reach of the manual trigger to activate it. It is highly recommended you combine this trigger type with the fixed target upgrade in the “Trap Targets” section, otherwise whoever pulls the lever will get hit by the trap. On the other hand, you could include a trick lever that intentionally targets whoever pulls it to punish the kind of intruders that pull every lever in sight.

Upgrades

Magical Lock (+2 Cost): This trigger can only be activated by creatures that meet specific criteria set by you. Good examples include: using a specific key; being a member of a certain class, race, or alignment; or saying a command word.

Trigger Type: Magical

Size: Up to a 60-foot cube

Cost: 4

Passive Perception: 18

A magical trigger is activated when a creature the trigger can see or hear passes through its area of effect. Creatures attempting to sneak by must succeed on a Dexterity (Stealth) check against the trap’s passive Perception of 18. They have advantage on their checks if they can’t be seen or if they can’t be heard. Creatures that are both invisible and silent (an invisible ghost, perhaps, or someone cleverly combining silence and invisibility) can safely pass without triggering the trap unless the trigger is upgraded with truesight. This trigger doesn’t function in an antimagic field but is otherwise not vulnerable to dispel magic, counterspell, or similar effects.

Upgrades

Keen Senses (+2 Cost): Increase this trigger’s passive Perception by 5. This upgrade can be applied up to three times.

Truesight (+4 Cost): This trigger gains truesight, allowing it to see clearly in darkness and detect invisible or ethereal creatures, as well as gaining all other benefits of truesight.

Example Triggers

Since this system can be a little confusing, here are some examples to help you navigate your way to expert trapsmithing.

Let’s take a room trapped with arrows for example.

One way to build the trap’s trigger would be to select a physical trigger with the Trapped Room upgrade and the Rearming upgrade. This trigger would have a cost of 7: 0 (physical trigger) + 2 (Trapped Room upgrade) + 5 (Rearming upgrade) = 7.Alternately, you could select a magical trigger and the Rearming upgrade, costing 9: 4 (magical trigger) + 5 (Rearming upgrade) = 9. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Because the Trapped Room upgrade creates separate physical triggers, the trap is much more difficult to disarm, and characters might think they’re safe after dealing with just one of the triggers. The magical trigger is harder to avoid and will target the first creature to enter the area even if it is flying.

Additional Trigger

Cost: Same as trigger added + 1

You can add multiple triggers to the same trap, allowing it to be activated in multiple ways or in multiple locations. You can use this to add a secondary trigger that will fool adventurers into thinking the trap is disarmed, or you can be especially devious and add a magical trigger that activates when the first trigger is disabled. Additional triggers do not have to be the same type as a trap’s base trigger, and they do not have to be adjacent to existing triggers. You must pay the cost for each additional trigger plus 1. For example, adding an additional magical trigger would have a cost of 5 (4 + 1 = 5), while adding an additional physical trigger would have a cost of 1 (0 + 1 = 1).

Trap Targets

Traps start with basic targeting but have several alternate options available.

Target Universal Upgrades

Precise Expansion (+1 Cost): This upgrade adds three additional 5-foot cubes to the trap’s area, each adjacent to the trap’s previous area. This upgrade cannot be selected in conjunction with the Bigger Area upgrade but can be applied multiple times.

Bigger Area (+5 Cost): This increases the area the trap can target by 5 feet in every direction each time it is purchased. This means a 5-foot cube becomes a 15-foot cube; if the upgrade is applied again, it becomes a 25-foot cube. You can also think of this as increasing the radius by 5 feet, or, if you’re playing with a grid and miniatures, visualize it as a single square becoming a 3 x 3 grid of squares, which then becomes a 5 x 5 grid. This upgrade cannot be selected in conjunction with the Precise Expansion upgrade but can be applied multiple times.

Magical Protection (+8 Cost): You can choose certain creatures to protect from this trap’s effects. You can specify individuals, creatures of a certain type, or any other restriction. Protected creatures are never targeted by the trap’s attacks and are immune to any damage and any effects created by this trap’s components.

Targeting Type: Basic

Cost: 0

This target affects a 5-foot area centered on the point where the trap was triggered. All creatures in the target’s area are affected by the trap.

Targeting Type: Fixed

Cost: 0

This target affects a 5-foot area centered on a fixed point. All creatures in the target’s area are affected by the trap.

Targeting Type: Magical

Cost: 2

This target selects the nearest creature within 30 feet as the target of the trap. The trap targets a 5-foot cube centered on that point. All creatures in the target’s area are affected by the trap.

Upgrades

Longer Range (+1 Cost): This upgrade increases the range of the target by 30 feet each time it is added.

Additional Target

Cost: Same as target added + 1

You can add multiple targets to the same trap, allowing it to target additional creatures or areas. When a trigger activates the trap, all targets associated with the trap will be targeted by the trap’s effects.

You must pay the cost for each additional target plus 1. For example, adding an additional magical target would have a cost of 3 (2 + 1 = 3), while an additional fixed target would have a cost of 1 (0 + 1 = 1).

Trap Components

Select up to three of the following components—each with its own unique possible upgrades—for your trap, applying any universal upgrades you like.

Component Universal Upgrades

Magical Mechanisms (+2 Cost): All attacks made or effects caused by this trap are considered magical. This upgrade is suppressed in an antimagic field, but if the trap would normally function in such a field, it continues to do so.

Continuous (+15 Cost): This trap, once activated, is on continuously, applying the effects of its components to any creatures that enter its area for the first time on a turn, or start their turn within it. A creature can only suffer a trap’s effects once per turn. Continuous traps typically run for 1 minute then reset; they can be triggered again on the same turn on which they reset. At your discretion, the trap can run for longer (or indefinitely). If you choose to make the trap indefinite, you can have it already active when the party arrives.

Component: Antimagic

Designed to stymie spellcasters, an antimagic trap targets triggering creatures with an effect similar to dispel magic. Spells of the level indicated by the trap’s tier or lower are automatically ended, and the trap attempts an ability check with the bonus listed in the next column when attempting to dispel higher-level effects, rolling against a DC of 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, it ends the spell.

Example Targets

Setting up the targeting for your trap can be a little tricky, so here are several examples to make the process more intuitive. First, remember that the standard behavior for a trap is to target whoever triggered it. Most of these tweaks and upgrades build on that basic model, so we’ll start by reviewing the one upgrade that doesn’t. Using a fixed target is how you create pit traps, terrain hazards, and other effects that happen in a specific location, regardless of how they are triggered. You can use this to create a hallway with a barrage of arrows flying across it by adding the Bigger Area upgrade one or more times until the targeted area covers the whole hallway. Assuming you add it three times, this gives you a total cost of 15: 5 (Bigger Area upgrade) x 3 = 15; 0 (fixed target) + 15 (total cost for Bigger Area upgrade) = 15.If you wanted to create a complex target—like a maze with walls of fire—you could do it, but it’s not going to be cheap. Something this intricate is more appropriate for high-level parties; for example, a party level between 8 and 10 would give you 22 to 30 points to spend on a trap. If you combine a fixed target with many Precise Expansion upgrades, you can build out the target area as much as you like. For that proper wall of fire effect, add in a Continuous upgrade (see the “Trap Components” section) and some fire damage, and you have your maze! If you made thirty squares of walls, it would cost a total of 25 points: 10 for the walls (1 per 3 squares) and 15 for the Continuous upgrade, leaving up to 5 points to spend on the fire damage. On the other hand, you could drop the Continuous upgrade down to Rearming, then spend 10 points on the walls, for a total cost of 15. This would allow you up to 15 points to pump up the fire damage, making it a nightmare for anyone who runs carelessly across the room. Add a few monsters with longbows to the mix, and you have a nasty encounter.

On a failure, it has no effect and the spell continues as normal. An antimagic trap is immune to dispel magic and other effects that target spells or magical effects. This is a magical component.

Tier Automatic Dispel Bonus Cost
1 1st level +2 +4
2 2nd level +2 +6
3 3rd level +3 +8
4 4th level +3 +10
5 5th level +5 +15
6 6th level +4 +21
7 7th level +5 +28

Upgrades

Reactive Counterspell (+4 Cost): This trap now attempts to counterspell any spells cast by creatures within its range. This replaces the dispel magic effect. It automatically counters spells of the listed level or lower and attempts a check against higher-level spells as though it were attempting to dispel the effect, against a DC of 10 + the spell’s level. If the trap is single use, this only happens once. If the trap has the Rearming upgrade, this can happen once per round. If the trap has the Continuous upgrade, this happens each time a creature casts a spell within the trap’s range.

Antimagic Zone (+8 Cost): This trap now creates a zone of partial antimagic. This replaces the dispel magic effect. It doesn’t block all magic, just spells of the indicated level or lower. This zone also suppresses magical items and other ongoing magical effects not created by spells. It has no effect on spells of a higher level than it can automatically block—they function normally in the trap’s area. In a single-use trap, this lasts for 1 minute. Traps with the Rearming upgrade refresh the duration each time they are triggered, and traps with the Continuous upgrade keep the zone up until the trap is disabled.

Component: Bludgeoning

This trap component hits hard, but it has poor accuracy. It deals bludgeoning damage to creatures in the trap’s area via objects like hammers, mauls, or even big rocks.

Tier Attack Bonus Damage Cost
1 +3 +5 (1d10) +1
2 +4 +11 (2d10) +4
3 +5 +22 (4d10) +8
4 +6 +33 (6d10) +13
5 +8 +55 (10d10) +19
6 +10 +77 (14d10) +26
7 +12 +99 (18d10) +34

Component: Darkness

The darkness trap is designed to make it harder to see things such as other traps, monsters, or anything else you want to keep hidden. The obscuring effect lasts for the specified duration when the trap is triggered. The Rearming upgrade will reset the duration each time the trap is triggered, and, with the Continuous upgrade, the effect can be made permanent. Removing this effect with dispel magic requires a spellcasting ability check against the DC listed in the component’s table. Countering it with magical light requires a similar check, but with an additional bonus to the roll equal to the level of the light-generating spell used. For example, a wizard with an Intelligence bonus of +4 casting daylight (3rd-level spell) rolls 1d20 + 7 against the darkness component’s DC. On a success, the darkness is removed; on a failure, the wizard’s spell is snuffed out. This is a magical component.

Tier Duration DC Cost
1 +1 minute 11 3
2 +1 minute 12 4
3 +5 minutes 14 6
4 +5 minutes 16 7
5 +10 minutes 18 9
6 +10 minutes 20 11
7 +10 minutes 22 13

Upgrades

Swirling Fog (+4 Cost): The darkness is filled with sight-obscuring fog which distorts everything within. Creatures with truesight, with the Devil’s Sight class feature, or who can otherwise see through magical darkness can only see the fog within. (If your players object, tell them the fog seems specifically designed to foil truesight.)

Component: Disabling

This trap attempts to disable creatures in its area; targets must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become incapacitated for 1 minute. Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. This component can be upgraded to improve the severity of the effect. This is a magical component.

Tier Save DC Cost
1 11 +3
2 12 +5
3 14 +8
4 16 +12
5 18 +16
6 20 +20
7 22 +25

Upgrades

Insidious Magic (+2 Cost): Instead of attempting a Wisdom saving throw to resist the effects of this trap, targets must succeed on a Charisma saving throw instead.

Stunning (+4 Cost): Instead of becoming incapacitated, creatures that fail their saving throws against this component are stunned for 1 minute. They may still repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, as normal.

Paralysis (+8 Cost): Instead of becoming incapacitated, creatures that fail their saving throws against this component are paralyzed for 1 minute. They may still repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, as normal.

Component: Energy Damage

This component deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage to creatures in the trap’s area. This is not a magical component—the damage is caused by burning fuel, a vial of acid, or some other nonmagical substance or effect.

Tier Attack Bonus Damage Cost
1 +5 3 (1d6) +2
2 +6 7 (2d6) +5
3 +8 14 (4d6) +10
4 +10 21 (6d6) +16
5 +12 35 (10d6) +23
6 +14 49 (14d6) +31
7 +16 63 (18d6) +39

Upgrades

Saving Throw (+3 Cost): This trap no longer makes an attack roll; instead, all creatures in the trap’s area must attempt a Dexterity or Constitution saving throw (DM’s choice) against a DC of 8 + the component’s attack bonus, taking the listed damage on a failure, or half as much on a success.

Lingering Burn (+6 Cost): Creatures hit by this trap (or who fail their saving throws against it) take an additional 1d6 damage per tier of this component at the start of their next turn (for example, a tier 3 energy damage component would deal 3d6 additional damage). Targets can attempt a Dexterity or Constitution saving throw (DM’s choice) at the end of each of their turns against a DC of 8 + the component’s attack bonus to end this effect.

Component: Gas

This trap releases a cloud of gas in the area. Without upgrades, this cloud merely obscures vision in and through the affected area, but it can be upgraded to add several different negative effects.

Dispersing the cloud with a spell like gust of wind requires a spellcasting ability check, similar to using dispel magic on a higher-level spell, against the gas cloud’s DC. If natural wind is present, a weak wind has no effect, moderate wind makes an unmodified d20 roll, and strong wind makes the check with a +2 bonus. The gas cloud lasts for the specified duration after the trap is triggered then disperses naturally.

A trap with the Rearming upgrade can release another cloud of gas (which resets the duration) each time it is triggered, and upgrading the trap with Continuous will make the gas cloud persist until the trap is deactivated or disabled. This is not a magical component by default.

Tier DC Duration Cost
1 +11 1 minute +2
2 +12 1 minute +3
3 +13 1 minute +6
4 +14 1 minute +9
5 +16 5 minutes +12
6 +18 5 minutes +15
7 +20 5 minutes +20

Upgrades

Poisonous Gas (Special): Add a poison component to this trap (see “Component: Poison”). You must pay the cost of the poison component as outlined in its component table.

Flammable Gas (+2 Cost): If a creature within the gas or the gas cloud itself takes fire damage, the cloud of gas ignites, dealing 7 (2d6) fire damage per tier of the gas component to all creatures within the gas cloud. There is no saving throw to reduce this damage, and the gas cloud is destroyed if it explodes in this way.

Translucent (+3 Cost): The gas can’t be seen, smelled, or otherwise detected unless a creature succeeds on a DC 25 Wisdom (Perception) check or has truesight.

Choking Gas (+5 Cost): Creatures within the gas are silenced and can’t speak or cast spells with verbal components. Creatures in the area must hold their breath or begin suffocating.

Component: Healing

Healing may seem like a strange choice for a trap, but it’s an excellent defensive option that can keep a small force in fighting shape during a long battle. The healing trap heals all creatures it targets—unless you upgrade the trigger or targeting of the trap to be more selective—so it must be used with caution, or it will help intruders just as much as defenders. This is a magical component.

Tier Healing Cost
1 +4 (1d8) +1
2 +9 (2d8) +2
3 +18 (4d8) +4
4 +27 (6d8) +6
5 +36 (8d8) +9
6 +45 (10d8) +12
7 +63 (14d8) +16

Upgrades

Lesser Restoration (+5 Cost): This trap can also cure a single disease or remove the blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned condition from any creatures it targets, functioning like the spell lesser restoration.

Greater Restoration (+20 Cost): This trap can also reduce exhaustion by one level or end one of the following negative effects: the charmed or petrified condition, a curse, a reduction to the target’s ability scores, or a reduction to the target’s hit point maximum. This functions like the spell greater restoration.

Component: Immobilizing

This trap creates difficult terrain. The area that the trap targets determines how much difficult terrain is created. It can be used on floors, walls, or even ceilings and is best coupled with a forced movement effect that pushes creatures into the affected areas. The Save DC column of the component table reflects the difficulty of avoiding applied upgrade effects. This is not a magical component by default.

Tier Save DC Cost
1 +11 +1
2 +12 +2
3 +14 +4
4 +16 +6
5 +18 +9
6 +20 +12
7 +22 +16

Upgrades

Knockdown (+1 Cost): Creatures that enter the area or start their turn in it must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against the trap’s DC or be knocked prone.

Adhesive (+3 Cost): Creatures that enter the area or start their turn in it must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against the trap’s DC or become restrained. They can use their action to attempt a Strength (Athletics) check against the save DC, ending the effect on a success.

Traps On Traps

Can you put a trap on top of another trap? Sure! Can you put another trap in the bottom of a pit trap? Absolutely! Can you put a pit trap at the bottom of a pit trap? Why not? Pit traps all the way down! You should feel free to combine triggers and components in unusual ways, and trust your instincts about what seems fun, cool, or just plain bizarre.

These creative traps are the ones that make the best stories.

All you need to do is keep in mind the total cost of all the traps you’re using, and make sure you aren’t overdoing it for your party. Stick to that rule, and you’ll be fine.

Component: Magical Damage

This trap component deals force, necrotic, or radiant damage to creatures in the area, allowing the affected creature a Constitution saving throw against the listed save DC. This is a magical component.

Tier Save DC Damage Cost
1 +11 3 (1d6) +6
2 +12 7 (2d6) +10
3 +14 14 (4d6) +15
4 +16 21 (6d6) +23
5 +18 35 (10d6) +31
6 +20 49 (14d6) +40
7 +22 63 (18d6) +49

Upgrades

Psychic Effect (+3 Cost): This trap deals psychic damage instead of the other damage types. The trap requires an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw (DM’s choice), dealing half damage on a success.

Lingering Magic (+8 Cost): Creatures that fail their saving throws against this trap take an additional 1d6 damage of the selected type per tier of this component at the start of their next turn. Targets can attempt a Constitution saving throw (if the trap’s saving throw type changes, this saving throw changes to match) at the end of each of their turns against the component’s save DC.

Component: Movement

When activated, this trap pushes or pulls its targets up to a certain distance in a straight line. This can be represented by a moving floor, a rope snare that retracts, or some other nonmagical method of moving a creature against its will. It can be used aggressively, like pushing intruders off cliffs, or defensively, like helping reinforcements arrive more quickly. It can even be used to launch creatures vertically, either knocking them into something dangerous above them, dealing falling damage, or both. You as the DM must set a movement direction— unless the trap has the Telekinetic Slide upgrade, all movement must be in a straight line. This is not a magical component by default.

Tier Save DC Movement Cost
1 +11 15 ft. +1
2 +12 25 ft. +3
3 +14 35 ft. +5
4 +16 45 ft. +7
5 +18 60 ft. +10
6 +20 75 ft. +13
7 +22 90 ft. +17

Upgrades

Random Movement (+0 Cost): This trap now moves creatures in a random direction. Each time a creature is targeted by this trap, roll 1d8 to determine the direction in which it is moved (1 represents north, 2 represents northeast, 3 represents east, and so on).

Telekinetic Slide (+5 Cost): This trap can slide characters in any direction, including turns, instead of just a straight line. This trap is now magical.

Component: Piercing

This trap component is the most accurate but the least damaging. It deals piercing damage to creatures in the trap’s area, utilizing objects like arrows, darts, or a ballista bolt.

Tier Attack Bonus Damage Cost
1 +5 3 (1d6) +1
2 +6 7 (2d6) +4
3 +8 14 (4d6) +8
4 +10 21 (6d6) +13
5 +12 35 (10d6) +19
6 +14 49 (14d6) +26
7 +16 63 (18d6) +34

Component: Pit

A pit trap drops creatures into its waiting embrace, usually dealing a bit of damage in the process. Pits make great places to add additional components. The area that a pit targets determines its size, so the basic target will only create a pit the size of a 5-foot square.

If you want a larger pit, upgrade the target size for your trap using the Bigger Area upgrade in the “Trap Targets” section. Creatures standing in the pit’s area when it activates must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against the component’s save DC to avoid falling in. Creatures that succeed on the saving throw move to the nearest unoccupied safe space adjacent to the pit. If there are no unoccupied spaces adjacent to the pit, creatures fall in, even if they succeeded on the saving throw.

Attempting to climb out of the pit requires a Strength (Athletics) check against the component’s save DC. A pit trap with the Rearming upgrade can close and reopen once per round, while a pit trap with the Continuous upgrade will always open and immediately close again every time it is triggered. In both cases, the pit door doesn’t lock unless you add the Relocking Door upgrade.

Tier Depth Save DC Cost
1 +10 ft. +10 +1
2 +20 ft. +12 +2
3 +30 ft. +14 +4
4 +40 ft. +16 +6
5 +50 ft. +18 +8
6 +60 ft. +20 +11
7 +70 ft. +22 +14

Upgrades

Greased Walls (+1 Cost): All ability checks made to climb out of the pit are made with disadvantage.

Relocking Door (+2 Cost): When a creature triggers the pit trap, the pit closes again after it opens, trapping the creature until someone successfully disarms the trap or breaks it open.

Component: Poison

This trap poisons creatures in the area; all creatures targeted by the trap take poison damage and must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute. A successful saving throw prevents the target from becoming poisoned and reduces the damage by half. Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. This is not a magical component by default.

Tier Save DC Damage Cost
1 +11 3 (1d6) +2
2 +12 7 (2d6) +3
3 +14 10 (3d6) +6
4 +16 14 (4d6) +9
5 +18 21 (6d6) +12
6 +20 28 (8d6) +15
7 +22 35 (10d6) +20

Upgrades

Blinding Poison (+3 Cost): While a creature is poisoned by this trap, it is also blinded.

Knightsbane Poison (+6 Cost): While a creature is poisoned by this trap, it is vulnerable to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Stone Toxin (+8 Cost): Instead of becoming poisoned, creatures that fail the Constitution saving throw against this trap begin turning to stone. They are immediately restrained and must continue to repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns. If they succeed three times, this effect ends. If they fail three times, they become petrified. The successes and failures do not need to be consecutive.

Component: Slashing

This trap component is a balance of accuracy and damage. It deals slashing damage to creatures in the trap’s area utilizing objects like scythes, sawblades, or even a guillotine.

Tier Attack Bonus Damage Cost
1 +4 4 (1d8) +1
2 +5 9 (2d8) +4
3 +7 18 (4d8) +8
4 +9 27 (6d8) +13
5 +10 45 (10d8) +19
6 +12 63 (14d8) +26
7 +14 81 (18d8) +34

Example Traps

Variant: Spellcasting Component

Due to the diversity of spells available in 5E, an extensive spellcasting component is likely to cause problems, be imbalanced, and generally be a pain to use.

However, we’ve included it here as a variant. If you’re feeling brave, give it a try.

Component: Spellcasting

This trap component casts a spell when triggered; the stats of the spell and the cost of the trap increase with the level of the spell cast, according to the component’s table. It does not follow the normal progression of 7 tiers—instead, the cost of this trap is entirely based on the level of the spell used. This component is restricted by the targeting and range of the trap in which it is used, meaning a fireball spell used with a basic target will only affect creatures in a 5-foot cube, centered on the trigger.

Spell Level Attack Bonus Save DC Cost
1 +3 +11 +3
2 +4 +12 +7
3 +5 +13 +12
4 +6 +14 +20
5 +7 +15 +28
6 +8 +16 +37
7 +9 +17 +46
8 +10 +18 +54
9 +11 +19 +60

Notes: If this trap component casts a spell that requires concentration, the trap component is considered to be concentrating on it. If the trap component takes damage, it must attempt a saving throw to maintain concentration on the spell. Roll 1d20 and use the trap’s attack bonus as its saving throw bonus for this roll. If any other spell effect requires a roll that uses the spellcaster’s casting stat (such as a trap that casts dispel magic), add the same bonus to that roll.

This trap can cast cantrips using the same cost and stats as though it were casting a 1st-level spell. You can also use this component to cast lower-level spells at higher levels, but you must pay for the higher level.

Spear-ited Intrusion

Tier 1; Cost 4; XP 200

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Piercing—Tier 2 (Cost 4)

DESCRIPTION

This trap may be simple, but it gets the job done. The pressure plate, when stepped on, drives a spear from underneath the pressure plate into the triggering creature, destroying the plate in the process. The triggering creature is attacked by the spear with a +6 to hit, taking 7 (2d6) piercing damage.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

Add a second spear to the ceiling in this space with an additional, magical trigger with the Rearming upgrade. When the trap first goes off, tell the players that the pressure plate has been destroyed. If someone moves through the area again, the magical trigger activates, spearing the creature who tries its luck.

Get Thee Back

Tier 2; Cost 10; XP 750

Mitigation Perception DC 18, Disarm DC 15

Upgrades: Hard to Find x1 (+2 Cost)

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Rearming (+5 Cost)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Movement—Tier 2 (Cost 3)

DESCRIPTION

This trap makes for a particularly challenging passage, and multiple instances of this trap pair particularly well with ranged monsters. A creature triggering this trap must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be bodily thrown 25 feet backward. The trap rearms at the beginning of each round.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

Increase the tier of the movement component and alter its angle such that it throws creatures both backward and into the air, dealing falling damage. Changing the upgrade from Rearming to Continuous prevents characters from getting by the trap by sending someone through it before themselves.

Reduce the danger from the trap by removing the Rearming upgrade. Reducing the cost of the trigger allows you to increase the tier of the movement component.

Halfway to Heaven

Tier 3; Cost 14; XP 1,400

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 18

Upgrades: Hard to Disable x1 (+2 Cost)

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Rearming (+5 Cost)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Movement—Tier 4 (Cost 7)

DESCRIPTION

Twin rune-covered plates on opposite sides of a 60-foot-wide chasm make up this trap, launching anyone who steps on them 45 feet across the chasm. This can help creatures with a flying speed make good time as they jump between cliffs, but it can be deadly for those who can’t fly. Creatures triggering the trap must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be pushed 45 feet in a straight line over the chasm toward the other side.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

How dangerous the chasm is will determine the deadliness of the trap, as will the number and type of flying monsters you use.

For maximum threat, consider adding another trap to the chasm floor. You can also improve this trap by adding additional trigger areas or making the trigger areas harder to spot. For a milder threat, make the chasm an inconvenience, like a shallow drop into deep water, that will delay its victims but won’t kill anyone.

Stairwell to Hell

Tier 3; Cost 19; XP 1,900

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Targets Fixed (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Pit—Tier 1 (Cost 1)

Upgrades: Relocking Door (+2 Cost)

Pit—Tier 1 (Cost 1)

Upgrades: Relocking Door (+2 Cost)

Pit—Tier 1 (Cost 1)

Upgrades: Relocking Door (+2 Cost)

Energy Damage (Fire)—Tier 2 (Cost 5)

DESCRIPTION

The setup here is a little tricky—basically it’s three pit traps stacked on top of each other. A creature that falls into one triggers the next, and the next, until it lands in the third and final pit, which is filled with flame jets. All three of the pit doors close and lock behind their victim, which can give the impression of a vanished character and potentially lead the party in the wrong direction. Each 10-foot fall deals 1d6 falling damage. The trap doors shut and re-lock once the creature has fallen through. In the bottommost pit, flame jets roast the creature, attacking with a +6 bonus and dealing 7 (2d6) fire damage on a hit.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

If you want to make this trap extra nasty, add a disabling component to the bottom pit, which will prevent most communication and make it far harder for the trapped creature to free itself. To make the trap easier, consider reducing the number of pits to 2. This change makes it more likely the party will realize what’s happened and makes it much easier to rescue their trapped comrade.

Wizard’s Woe

Tier 3; Cost 18; XP 1,800

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Discerning Trigger (+4 Cost)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Antimagic—Tier 2 (Cost 6)

Upgrades: Reactive Counterspell (+4 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

Placed in a room with a climactic battle, this trap counters the first offensive spell of level 2 or lower cast at the boss. It works well paired with a specific creature—like the owner of the dungeon or a character’s nemesis—or in circumstances in which the creature expects some spellcasting resistance.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

A simple improvement would be to add the Rearming upgrade to the trigger or to increase the tier of the antimagic component. A more robust upgrade might be to adjust the target type to a 15-foot cube, and add the Antimagic Zone upgrade. In the latter instance, the trap both counters the spell and places an antimagic zone atop the offender. To make this trap less potent, decrease the tier of the antimagic component, or change the trap so it attacks the caster with a damage-dealing component instead.

Selective Scythe

Tier 3; Cost 21; XP 2,100

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Discerning Trigger (+4 Cost)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Slashing—Tier 4 (Cost 13)

DESCRIPTION

The trap’s magical trigger waits to activate until a second creature passes the trap within a 1-minute interval. The trap then attacks with +9 bonus, dealing 27 (6d8) slashing damage on a hit.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

Scale this up by upgrading the trigger with Rearming. The trap now activates every other time a creature enters its area (starting with the second creature as outlined in the “Description”). A reduction in component tier coupled with an adjustment down from slashing to piercing or bludgeoning damage adds some variation to the trap while reducing its danger.

No Escape

Tier 4; Cost 30; XP 3,600

Mitigation Perception DC 18, Disarm DC 15

Upgrades: Hard to Find x1 (+2 Cost)

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Energy Damage (Fire)—Tier 3 (Cost 10)

Upgrades: Saving Throw (+3 Cost)

Continuous (+15 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

This trap works best on a doorway, activating when the door is opened to fill it with a continuous wall of flame. Creatures that pass through the active trap must attempt a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 14 (4d6) fire damage on a failure, or half as much on a success.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

Upgrading the energy damage component is a good way to make this trap more dangerous, increasing both the damage it does and the DC of the saving throw. You could also add an immobilizing component to trap unwary adventurers in the fire. To make it less dangerous, change the upgrade from Continuous to merely Rearming, which will only harm the An Ice Day to Die first creature to the pass through the trap each round.

Tier 4; Cost 22; XP 3,000

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Energy Damage (Cold)—Tier 3 (Cost 10)

Immobilizing—Tier 3 (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Adhesive (+3 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

Creatures within 15 feet of the trap trigger must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or take 14 (4d6) cold damage and become restrained. Creatures can use their action to attempt a DC 16 Strength (Athletics) check to end this effect.

If you describe them as being partially frozen in ice, don’t be surprised if the party’s wizard asks if fireball will help them get out faster. Be ready to improvise.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

In addition to scaling up the damage of the trap or increasing the DC of the restraining effect, you can also add a third component that deals additional damage or further disables affected creatures. The Lingering Burn upgrade will deal cold damage to the restrained creatures until freed. To make this trap less dangerous, remove the immobilization component or lower the damage. No fancy tricks necessary.

Dark Inferno

Tier 5; Cost 31; XP 4,480

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Rearming (+5 Cost)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Pit—Tier 5 (Cost 8)

Darkness—Tier 1 (Cost 3)

Energy Damage (Fire)—Tier 3 (Cost 10)

DESCRIPTION

This trap takes a pit trap to the extreme. Creatures that fall in find themselves trapped in a swirling cloud of darkness and flame. It’s not particularly complex, but it is unpleasant. The darkness makes staging a rescue tricky, and the fire component makes all attacks against a blinded character with advantage. The trap triggers when a creature steps within its 15-foot-square area, and the creature must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw to avoid falling into the 50-foot-deep pit. When a creature lands at the bottom, the darkness and fire components activate, filling the bottom 15 feet of the pit with inky blackness and attacking the targeted creature with fire at a +8 bonus, dealing 14 (4d6) fire damage on hit.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

If the characters have lots of fire resistance, you can change the type of damage the trap deals. You can also upgrade the damage type by changing it to force, psychic, or radiant damage, which are much harder to resist.

Stone Maiden

Tier 5; Cost 33; XP 4,620

Mitigation Perception DC 18, Disarm DC 18

Upgrades: Hard to Find x1 (+2 Cost)

Upgrades: Hard to Disable x1 (+2 Cost)

Triggers: Physical (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Rearming (+5 Cost)

Targets Fixed (Cost 0)

COMPONENTS

Movement—Tier 4 (Cost 7)

Poison—Tier 4 (Cost 9)

Upgrades: Stone Toxin (+8 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

This trap has two parts: the trigger, where the movement effect originates, and a stone sarcophagus up to 45 feet away, where the poison component activates. Creatures triggering the trap must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be pushed 45 feet in a straight line toward the sarcophagus, which opens to receive them. When they enter the sarcophagus, it closes but does not lock, and the poison component activates. Trapped creatures must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 14 (4d6) damage and become poisoned and restrained. Success on the first saving throw halves the damage and negates the effect. Affected creatures must repeat the saving throw at the end of each turn. Three successes ends the poisoned and restrained conditions; three failures petrifies the creature until cured.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

To make this trap even deadlier, add an energy damage component with the Lingering Burn upgrade. Once a creature is petrified, it fails Dexterity saving throws automatically, so it takes this damage every turn until it dies.

You can make it easier for lower-level characters by replacing the poison component with an immobilization component (upgraded with Adhesive)—getting stuck 45 feet away from the rest of the party is still quite dangerous, but it won’t outright kill anyone.

Bring Down the House

Tier 5; Cost 35; XP 4,900

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Discerning (+4 Cost)

Targets Magical (Cost 2)

Upgrades: Additional Target, Fixed (+1 Cost)

Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

Additional Target, Magical x2 (+6 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Movement—Tier 3 (Cost 5)

Bludgeoning—Tier 3 (Cost 8)

DESCRIPTION

The trap triggers when three creatures are within 35 feet of a central 15-foot area. Each of the three creatures must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be pushed toward the center of the 15-foot area, where the secondary effect takes place. Boulders fall from the ceiling here, attacking all creatures in the area with +5 bonus, dealing 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage on a hit.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

To make this more challenging, add a pit trap to the fixed area where the boulders strike. This drops the creatures, then buries them. To reduce the challenge slightly, reduce the number of targeted creatures.

Pincushion

Tier 5; Cost 36; XP 5,040

Mitigation Perception DC 21, Disarm DC 15

Upgrades: Hard to Find x2 (+4 Cost)

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Discerning (+4 Cost)

Targets Magical (Cost 2)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Immobilizing—Tier 4 (Cost 6)

Upgrades: Adhesive (+3 Cost)

Piercing—Tier 3 (Cost 8)

DESCRIPTION

When three or more creatures in the magical trigger area are within a 15-foot cube, this trap activates, attempting to restrain them with thick webbing. The area is treated as difficult terrain and creatures in it must immediately succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or become restrained.

The trap then fires arrows at all creatures in the targeted area, attacking with +8 (and advantage against restrained targets).

Struck targets take 14 (4d6) piercing damage.

Creatures restrained by this trap can use their action to attempt a DC 16 Strength saving throw, escaping on a success.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

You can increase the immobilizing component’s tier to make the trap harder to resist, and, of course, making the arrows more dangerous is always a good option. To make this trap milder, remove the Adhesive upgrade and leave it as a difficult terrain trap. You can also eliminate or severely reduce the power of the arrows, as just being restrained may be complication enough to make an easy encounter quite challenging, especially if there are lots of enemies with ranged attacks.

First Aid Station

Tier 6; Cost 37; XP 6,560

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 21

Upgrades: Hard to Disable x2 (+4 Cost)

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Rearming (+5 Cost)

Targets Magical (Cost 2)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

Magical Protection (+8 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Healing—Tier 3 (Cost 4)

Upgrades: Lesser restoration (+5 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

This trap heals all members of a group you specify within the trap’s area. At your discretion, this can be handled through the use of a bracer, ring, or other key item rather than a subtler magical screening. Creatures of the selected group regain 18 (4d8) hit points and are cured of one disease, poison, blindness, or deafness as though affected by the spell lesser restoration. Other creatures get nothing.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

You can easily increase the area of the trap or the potency of the healing effect to make this a more dangerous addition to any fortress. Alternately, you can shrink the area to reduce the level of the trap. Dropping the healing down or removing the lesser restoration upgrade are both good choices as well. Finally, you could add a negative effect (like damage) that only targets non-members of the group you choose, making the trap heal allies and harm foes.

Last Gas-p

Tier 6; Cost 45; XP 7,200

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 27

Upgrades: Hard to Disable x4 (+8 Cost)

Triggers: Fixed (Cost 0)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Bigger Area x2 (+10 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Gas—Tier 1 (Cost 2)

Upgrades: Choking Gas (+5 Cost)

Disabling—Tier 4 (Cost 12)

Upgrades: Paralysis (+8 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

When the trap is activated, opaque gas fills a 25-foot cube centered on the trapped object. Creatures within the gas are silenced and must hold their breath to avoid suffocation.

Additionally, when the trap first activates, creatures in the area must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 minute. Creatures so paralyzed immediately begin to suffocate while within the gas. Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

Change the target from basic to magical using a fixed, expanded area. Add several additional targets. This creates several 15-to-25-foot cubes of the deadly gas centered on creatures within range of the magical targeting.

To make the trap less deadly and change the flavor, remove the paralysis, replacing it with blinding poison. Afflicted creatures in the gas won’t be able to see or speak, making combat here a definite challenge.

Brainmelter

Tier 7; Cost 60; XP 10,800

Mitigation Perception DC 15, Disarm DC 15

Triggers: Magical (Cost 4)

Targets Basic (Cost 0)

Upgrades: Bigger Area (+5 Cost)

COMPONENTS

Magical Damage—Tier 6 (Cost 40)

Upgrades: Psychic Effect (Intelligence saving throw) (+3 Cost)

Lingering Magic (+8 Cost)

DESCRIPTION

Adding this trap to an encounter is sure to make a haughty, high-level party think twice before charging ahead recklessly. This trap shouldn’t be used on any characters below 17th level as it’s incredibly dangerous. Creatures in the area must succeed on a DC 20 Intelligence saving throw or take 49 (14d6) psychic damage, and an additional 21 (6d6) psychic damage at the start of each of their turns. Affected creatures must repeat the saving throw at the end of each turn, ending the ongoing damage on a success.

Success on the initial saving throw reduces the initial damage by half and prevents the ongoing damage.

SCALING SUGGESTIONS

For a small increase to the cost of the trap, you can add the Rearming upgrade, which will make this trap an appropriate challenge for 19th- and 20th-level characters. If you really want to make this trap hellish, add the Magical Protection upgrade to the targeting of the trap, which will stop it from targeting creatures you select. Add a few dangerous monsters, and this could easily wipe out a group (assuming, of course, they stand around and fight instead of being clever). By 20th level they should know better.

To make it a better fit for lower-level groups, remove the Lingering Magic upgrade. This will help prevent characters who fail their saving throws from being taken out in a single hit. You can also reduce the tier of the magical component, which will lower the saving throw DC and decrease the damage the trap deals.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Total Party Kill Handbook – Volume 2 2019 © 2CGaming, LLC. Author Steven Gordon

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