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Does Detect Magic detect magic traps?


Rules Questions

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As the title states, I've been wondering this for sometime. It sounds like an easy way to let the rogue know there's a magic trap to search for and disarm.

Or is the magic aura not there until it is activated? Which doesn't make sense, especially for magic traps requiring an alarm spell or such. Wouldn't detect magic detect the sensor?


It would depend on the trap. If it is layered in lead for example... you might not find it -- or if specific spells are used to hide it from detection magics. However on a basic level yes detect magic should theoretically work on magic traps -- just don't believe that it is the ultimate solution though.

After all it does nothing for mechanical traps.

Also anyone can find traps of any time -- trapfinding simply gives a bonus and allows you to use the disable device skill to disarm magical traps... which can be disabled by anyone by other means.


Yes, detect magic works on magical traps and can be a very useful tool. That being said, magic aura and lead lining (both easily incorporated in the trap design) both prevent such detection, so it's not a big deal.


Also, you have spent 3 rounds, looking at a 60 foot cone. Looking for magic traps.

You find out what kind of magic was used, and the location.

You do not know what the actual trap is. You do not learn what sets it off, what the effect of setting it off is.

............

PC, I cast detect magic and spend three round saning down the hallway.
DM, Over to the right you detect two strong evocation aura in the upper left square 10 feet ahead, and 5 feet up.
PC, What kind of magic is it.
DM, Strong evocation magic
PC, I try to examine the area from 10 feet away.
DM, Make a Perception check, Spell-craft check, and Reflex check every round, while you are searching the area, if you have the ability to do so.


Oliver McShade wrote:

Also, you have spent 3 rounds, looking at a 60 foot cone. Looking for magic traps.

You find out what kind of magic was used, and the location.

You do not know what the actual trap is. You do not learn what sets it off, what the effect of setting it off is.

............

PC, I cast detect magic and spend three round saning down the hallway.
DM, Over to the right you detect two strong evocation aura in the upper left square 10 feet ahead, and 5 feet up.
PC, What kind of magic is it.
DM, Strong evocation magic
PC, I try to examine the area from 10 feet away.
DM, Make a Perception check, Spell-craft check, and Reflex check every round, while you are searching the area, if you have the ability to do so.

Or... our erstwhile mage, upon scanning a 60 foot cone for 18 seconds discovers a magic trap. He then uses a staff with Summon Monster I installed to drop a critter over yonder and observes the effects of the trap.

Alternately, he casts (Greater) Dispel Magic to suppress the trap (or dispel it in the case of Glyphs and the like) long enough for the party to pass through.

Alternately alternately, he casts Antimagic Field and walks by.

Or they just don't go that way.

Or they take a 3rd option and collapse the passageway/tunnel past it.

Or the stupid mage dies to a stupid trap that they could've avoided, no tales or songs are spun of our erstwhile non-heroes, and the party's bones lay in some dust filled corridor on the Elemental Plane of Fire because the planar juxtaposition commenced without their intervention and so the entire Material Plane is now merged with the aforementioned Elemental Plane. Oh yeah, and it's on fire.


Ryzoken wrote:


Or... our erstwhile mage, upon scanning a 60 foot cone for 18 seconds discovers a magic trap. He then uses a staff with Summon Monster I installed to drop a critter over yonder and observes the effects of the trap.

Yes, expend a charge from your magic staff, and use up your resource. Have the monster walk over to the magic trap... only to find out that it is not a magic trap. The monster walks over and nothing happens. Luckly, someone in your party, search the area. It is a ledge, with a cover stone, with a magic wand of fireballs.

Just because you assume it is a trap, does not mean it was one

Alternately, he casts (Greater) Dispel Magic to suppress the trap (or dispel it in the case of Glyphs and the like) long enough for the party to pass through.

Again you just expended a spell, another resource. Now the wand of fireballs is dysfunctional. And your party just walked on by, leaving the wand in its ledge, with the cover stone in-tacked.

Alternately alternately, he casts Antimagic Field and walks by. Again expending a spell and resource, And leaving behind the wand of fireballs

Or they just don't go that way. That is always an option.

Or they take a 3rd option and collapse the passageway/tunnel past it. True, but doing that will take time, resources, be very loud, might attack attention, and well if they are lucky... they might find a wand of fireballs.... if it was not destroyed in the collapse.

Or the stupid mage dies to a stupid trap that they could've avoided, no tales or songs are spun of our erstwhile non-heroes, and the party's bones lay in some dust filled corridor on the Elemental Plane of Fire because the planar juxtaposition commenced without their intervention and so the entire Material Plane is now merged with the aforementioned Elemental Plane. Oh yeah, and it's on fire. and stuff happens, you can not plan for everything, just as i have no clue were all this last part came about. oh well better luck next time


Yeah I thought there was a trap element that incorporated nondetection into it, but I can't find it anywhere. Looks like I'll be doing that more often now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

You can also go the other route.

Hide any magical traps in a see of magic mouths (which are so specific that they will never go off).

Or, render your players paranoid. Have hallways filled with magic mouths, but no magical traps.


Oliver McShade wrote:


Yes, expend a charge from your magic staff, and use up your resource. Have the monster walk over to the magic trap... only to find out that it is not a magic trap. The monster walks over and nothing happens. Luckly, someone in your party, search the area. It is a ledge, with a cover stone, with a magic wand of fireballs.

A cover stone, which would block the line of effect for the Detect Magic? And hey, fancy that, option #1 yielded the most preferable result: we found the (poorly) hidden item and avoided being stuck by a Schrodinger Trap. Hurrah. That evening, my mage burns a spell to add a charge back into his staff. Net result: 1 temporary resource expenditure for accrual of a wand of fireballs and no party death/dmg due to trap. Win/win.

Just because you assume it is a trap, does not mean it was one

Which is why we sent a totally expendable summoned critter to find out whether it was a trap or not. Side note: active magical effect emanating strong evocation? Probably a bloody trap.

Again you just expended a spell, another resource. Now the wand of fireballs is dysfunctional. And your party just walked on by, leaving the wand in its ledge, with the cover stone in-tacked.

Temporary resource expenditure, Secondary preference, wand is: charged item, low caster level, stone blocks line of effect, blah, blah, blah.

Again expending a spell and resource, And leaving behind the wand of fireballs

Temporary resource expenditure, Tertiary Preference, wand is: charged item, low caster level, stone blocks line of effect, blah, blah, blah.

That is always an option.

A pretty good one, if all I'm losing out on is a Schrodinger Trap/wand of Fireball. Sadly, not always available. Thus, preferences above

True, but doing that will take time, resources, be very loud, might attack attention, and well if they are lucky... they might find a wand of fireballs.... if it was not destroyed in the collapse.

Magic takes care of time, resources, loudness, and attracted monsters. In fact, it occurs to me that a well placed divination spell (Commune/Divination/etc.) would answer the question of "is that aura over there a trap?"

Seriously, the better thief is the better mage. Magic makes the world go round, or square, or cubist if that's your fancy. Initial detection gets handled by Detect Magic and use divination spells to ascertain whether it's a trap. If it is, fix with dispel, summoned monster, or general good sense.

Otherwise, Nondetection allows a caster level check to negate and Magic Aura allows a Will Save to negate. Guess what two things a (good) caster doesn't sacrifice.

Magic Mouth is illusion, not evocation/conjuration/necromancy which is what most nasty traps are made of. Illusion traps are dealt with by Will Saves or True Sight. Also, will totally note the evocation/conjuration/necromancy effect in the sea of illusion effects.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Ryzoken wrote:
Seriously, the better thief is the better mage. Magic makes the world go round, or square, or cubist if that's your fancy. Initial detection gets handled by Detect Magic and use divination spells to ascertain whether it's a trap. If it is, fix with dispel, summoned monster, or general good sense.

How many of those can you do in a day?

Detect Magic is a cantrip, so can be cast all day long.
What divination spell are you using? How many do you have memorized?
How many other spells do you have memorized to deal only with traps?

It seems to me that your mage is locked into dealing with the first few potential traps and not able to deal with much else that may pop up.

Ryzoken wrote:
Otherwise, Nondetection allows a caster level check to negate and Magic Aura allows a Will Save to negate. Guess what two things a (good) caster doesn't sacrifice.

What version of Magic Aura are you using? The one in the Core states Saving Throw: None; see text. The text states that if Identify is cast on the object, then the caster will know that there is a false aura.

Ryzoken wrote:
Magic Mouth is illusion, not evocation/conjuration/necromancy which is what most nasty traps are made of. Illusion traps are dealt with by Will Saves or True Sight. Also, will totally note the evocation/conjuration/necromancy effect in the sea of illusion effects

And those Magic Aura spells that make it look like there are a few of the nastier types of traps in the hallway?

Or if Magic Aura makes the nasty traps look like illusions (sort of like the Magic Mouths that are all around)?


Mistwalker wrote:


How many of those can you do in a day?

lots, but then, I play Sorcerers instead of Wizards. You'll note I at no time mentioned Wizards above, instead referencing "mages."

Detect Magic is a cantrip, so can be cast all day long.
What divination spell are you using? How many do you have memorized?
How many other spells do you have memorized to deal only with traps?

I'm thinking Contact Other Plane, which is 5th level, so I can (in theory if need be) use my 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th level spell slots, scrolls, and if need be other consumable magic items. Memorization isn't a concern to me as I don't play Wizards. Lucky me, the spells used to deal with traps tend to be decent choices the rest of the time too.

It seems to me that your mage is locked into dealing with the first few potential traps and not able to deal with much else that may pop up.

It seems to me I can field the first nine or so efficiently (the upper bound of the average number of spell slots my sorcerers tend to hit per spell level). Few times have I run into more than nine traps in a dungeon. The rare instance this happens, I have more spell slots of higher level that I can expend.

What version of Magic Aura are you using? The one in the Core states Saving Throw: None; see text. The text states that if Identify is cast on the object, then the caster will know that there is a false aura.

fair enough, first time we encounter such a trap either I'm dropping AMF or the party cleric is dropping Find Traps and we continue on. I would point out, though, that Magic Aura is only days/lvl in duration, not permanent, and is touch range. I really hope the guy casting Magic Aura is the trap builder. Otherwise, trap disarmed!

And those Magic Aura spells that make it look like there are a few of the nastier types of traps in the hallway?
Or if Magic Aura makes the nasty traps look like illusions (sort of like the Magic Mouths that are all around)?

Side note: Magic Aura is illusion [glamer] as well. Hmm... I thought I had a spell effect for that... oh right, I do. True Sight. Available as a permanent version in a gem.

Still confident in my Sorcerer's ability to totally obviate any need for a rogue while still providing useful spell effects.


Razz wrote:

As the title states, I've been wondering this for sometime. It sounds like an easy way to let the rogue know there's a magic trap to search for and disarm.

If magic traps were free forming in nature then this would be a way to greatly curtail them.

Alas people make these traps to actually catch people.

As such around any such trap you'll likely have both false positives and false negatives by design.

Magic mouth at 10gp a pop is an easy way to get a party to stop for a search... the mouth then yells out to the dungeon 'here they are come and eat them' and it's really served its purpose as a 'trap'.

-James

Shadow Lodge

Yes it works.

I don't think you could design a trap in such a way that the party was exposed to the magic but the magic was not detectable through detect magic. Line of sight works both ways: if the party can't see the trap then the trap can't see the party.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Yes it works.

I don't think you could design a trap in such a way that the party was exposed to the magic but the magic was not detectable through detect magic. Line of sight works both ways: if the party can't see the trap then the trap can't see the party.

Non-detection is a wonderful spell.

Likewise if the party has encountered a number of magic mouths ('Give us a kiss dwarf!' or the like) then they might not react as much to an aura coming up.

Finally a mechanical pressure plate that triggers a magical trap could very easily be invisible to detect magic.

There are lots that you can do with traps. It's an art unto itself.

-James


Ryzoken wrote:


Side note: Magic Aura is illusion [glamer] as well. Hmm... I thought I had a spell effect for that... oh right, I do. True Sight. Available as a permanent version in a gem.

Still confident in my Sorcerer's ability to totally obviate any need for a rogue while still providing useful spell effects.

If by "permanent" you mean "30 minutes per day in 5 minute increments", then, yes, a Gem of Seeing does grant "permanent" True Seeing. For a 75,000gp item.


Quantum Steve wrote:

If by "permanent" you mean "30 minutes per day in 5 minute increments", then, yes, a Gem of Seeing does grant "permanent" True Seeing. For a 75,000gp item.

Pretty much, yeah. Gem doesn't burn out or explode, so it's available for the most part each day, craftable using Craft Wondrous, can carry multiple around if you so chose, or you can craft a permanent permanent version. Or I can just cast the spell. Maybe extend it. If we're using 3.5 content, maybe even cheese and persist it. All kinds of options.

As far as mechanical triggers for magical effects, I'd argue that counts as a mechanical trap for purposes of detection, which is a perception check.

I see a lot of touch range spells with limited (albeit long) durations being flung around to protect a magical trap... I'm beginning to think it might be set off before our erstwhile mage gets there. Also, I referenced nondetection above, which allows a caster level check to surpass.

I might also mention that not even the best prepared mage can trump DM Fiat. Obviously, if it's been ordained that the mage will die to a trap, he's going to die to a trap.

Most traps in dungeons aren't packing Magic Aura, Nondetection, and multiple False Positive Magic Mouth spells to foil potential detection. Just saying.

Shadow Lodge

Quote:
Non-detection is a wonderful spell.

That works fine

Quote:
Likewise if the party has encountered a number of magic mouths ('Give us a kiss dwarf!' or the like) then they might not react as much to an aura coming up.

That will work once. If it works more often on your party they deserve the fireball to the face.

Quote:
Finally a mechanical pressure plate that triggers a magical trap could very easily be invisible to detect magic.

Nope. If the plate is blocking line of effect from the party to the trap then it is blocking line of effect from the trap to the party.


My favorite trap:

Magic Aura (to mask things) + Arcane Mark. DM rolls in secret to find out if it hits any of them. Now the person who's dungeon they're robbing can scry on them really easily.

Add Secret Page just in case they make the Magic Aura save, because it's more powerful than Arcane Mark and therefor more easily detectable. The party discovers the trap, but thinks it's some sort of special hidden text. They dispel or decipher the Secret Page and...

... it's Explosive Runes.

Boom.

Best part? Entirely reliant on Detect Magic (no mechanical or disable-able parts at all.

Moral? Sometimes Detect Magic *is* the trap.


Ryzoken wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:

If by "permanent" you mean "30 minutes per day in 5 minute increments", then, yes, a Gem of Seeing does grant "permanent" True Seeing. For a 75,000gp item.

Pretty much, yeah. Gem doesn't burn out or explode, so it's available for the most part each day,

6 times per day
craftable using Craft Wondrous,
2 and a half months for each.
can carry multiple around if you so chose,
not before lv 15, that being when you can afford 2 of them
or you can craft a permanent permanent version.
Well custom magic items are never easy to price, but a good starting point would be 313,000gp. So, about 10 months to craft. I hope your DM gives you plenty of down time.
Or I can just cast the spell.
At level 12. 3 times. And you won't even know if there's anything to detect until after you wasted the spell.
Maybe extend it.
So, at 2 min. per level it will last nearly half an hour. Yeah, that's most of an adventuring day.
If we're using 3.5 content, maybe even cheese and persist it. All kinds of options.
With a 12th level slot. Without DMM, it's take a lot of doing to get that down to 9th level. And even then, I could think of better ways to find traps than 4 feats and a 9th level spell.

As far as mechanical triggers for magical effects, I'd argue that counts as a mechanical trap for purposes of detection, which is a perception check.
FYI - Finding a magical trap is just a perception check. But the check isn't automatic, you have to use a move action, and that's the whole point.

I see a lot of touch range spells with limited (albeit long) durations being flung around to protect a magical trap... I'm beginning to think it might be set off before our erstwhile mage gets there. Also, I referenced nondetection above, which allows a caster level check to surpass.

I might also mention that not even the best prepared mage can trump DM Fiat. Obviously, if it's been ordained that the mage will die to a trap, he's going to die to a trap.

Most traps in dungeons aren't packing Magic Aura, Nondetection, and multiple False Positive Magic Mouth spells to foil potential detection. Just saying.
That's just because the designers aren't very intuitive. For only an extra 50gp, any magic trap that doesn't have a Magic Aura included in it might as well have a neon sign.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
Finally a mechanical pressure plate that triggers a magical trap could very easily be invisible to detect magic.

Nope. If the plate is blocking line of effect from the party to the trap then it is blocking line of effect from the trap to the party.

The pressure plate isn't blocking anything.

It's triggering a trap that removes whatever really blocked line of effect and hits the poor victims with the nasty spells.

What's wrong with this?

-James


Can not penetrate 1 foot of stone. A cover stone could be less than a foot, which might be why it is called a cover stone.

..............

The point is Detect Magic, does not detect Magic Traps.... It detects magic. Any Magic, so all you see is the area were the magic is at. How strong the magic is. And what type of magic it is.

The Magic can be anything tho
1) Magic item
2) magic trap
3) magic spell, like magic mouth or some other faults spell.
4) The after effects of a spell.... 3 hours ago, someone cast web, might be the resisdule magic effects.
5) Same as 4, but supernatural ability used by a creature.
6) Other.

.......................

If you want to spend 3 rounds scaning every 60 feet cone. Cool. As long as your willing to role-play that out every round, and so is everyone else willing to role-play out the round, every round, then i see nothing wrong with using the canstrip.

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
Finally a mechanical pressure plate that triggers a magical trap could very easily be invisible to detect magic.

Nope. If the plate is blocking line of effect from the party to the trap then it is blocking line of effect from the trap to the party.

The pressure plate isn't blocking anything.

It's triggering a trap that removes whatever really blocked line of effect and hits the poor victims with the nasty spells.

What's wrong with this?

-James

Because then you're effectively thrusting a traps sensor mechanism towards the party. Most magic traps are based around alarm or magic mouth's parameters. If you set up an alarm spell where there are already creatures inside it they don't set it off by moving around within it.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

My rule is that Detect Magic does not automatically detect magical traps. Rather, it grants a +10 bonus to Perception checks to find them.


One inch of common metal or one foot of stone blocks detect magic's ability to see auras. So a simple magical trap works like this:

The floor is made of flagstones, which are one foot thick. One of the flagstones is barely held in place above an opening that it can fall into. When someone steps on it, it falls into the hole, and the spell effect gets launched up out of the hole in response to the triggering effect of the flagstone falling out of the way.

Detect magic won't help you one bit with this set-up. Furthermore, a perception check isn't necessarily going to reveal much information, either. A good perception check might give this: "you notice that none of the flagstones in this corridor have grout between them."

To catch intruders who are flying, you string lots of cobwebs across the corridor, concealing a trip-wire within them. The trip-wire knocks the one-foot-thick stone out of the way (it was very carefully balanced) or the one-inch-thick metal plate on the wall, and again, the spell is triggered.

Or maybe the trap is as simple as a fireball that launches when a door is opened. A door that has one inch of common metal or a thin sheet of lead on the other side.


Abraham spalding wrote:
If it is layered in lead for example... you might not find it..

Why would lead stop magic? It's magic XD

(Not a real question, just kind of funny.)

EDIT: Nevermind. It's in the spell description...


I'd like to take a minute and insert the fact that if detect magic's trap-finding use really annoys your rogue in how it belittles him; or your GM in how lame it is to spam it for that reason; I would advocate changing detect magic's range to "touch" as per some awesome house rules I just read.

(Shoutouts to Kirth Gersen defending the rogues honor)

-Idle


BigNorseWolf wrote:


Because then you're effectively thrusting a traps sensor mechanism towards the party. Most magic traps are based around alarm or magic mouth's parameters. If you set up an alarm spell where there are already creatures inside it they don't set it off by moving around within it.

This magic trap is simply set off when the mechanical trigger is hit which gives it line of effect.

If its something that isn't targeted for example, again there's no rules issues here.

Most magic traps might be based off of an alarm spell, but they need not be. The parameters of magic mouth certainly allow for 'if this is depressed' or 'if the panel opens' or the like.

-James


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Ryzoken wrote:
Pretty much, yeah. Gem doesn't burn out or explode, so it's available for the most part each day, craftable using Craft Wondrous, can carry multiple around if you so chose, or you can craft a permanent permanent version. Or I can just cast the spell. Maybe extend it. If we're using 3.5 content, maybe even cheese and persist it. All kinds of options.

Well, I have been known to place various Symbols behind illusionary walls. So, your sorcerer using his gem, gets hit with a high fort save spell for 150 damage, 75 damage on the save.

If the trap maker is nasty, they have the illusionary wall, a symbol, a secret door behind the symbol, another symbol in the secret door. Have a few of those in their lair, some with loot, others not.

Ryzoken wrote:
Most traps in dungeons aren't packing Magic Aura, Nondetection, and multiple False Positive Magic Mouth spells to foil potential detection. Just saying.

Were those dungeons created with Pathfinder rules in mind? That is, were the creators used to having to deal with at will cantrips? To me, that would change the how and why the dungeons were set up in certain ways.


For our home game, Jess Door came up with the exceptionally elegant solution of simply changing the range of detect magic to "touch." That one change removed 99% of the potential abuse introduced by making this cantrip at-will.

Because it totally strained our credibility that every magic trap in the world requires an additional 1st level and a 5th level spell (magic aura and permanency) tacked onto it simply to defeat a cantrip. Or, barring that, for all traps to be neatly contained in lead-lined boxes that block their line of effect to the person setting them off.

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Because then you're effectively thrusting a traps sensor mechanism towards the party. Most magic traps are based around alarm or magic mouth's parameters. If you set up an alarm spell where there are already creatures inside it they don't set it off by moving around within it.

This magic trap is simply set off when the mechanical trigger is hit which gives it line of effect.

If its something that isn't targeted for example, again there's no rules issues here.

Most magic traps might be based off of an alarm spell, but they need not be. The parameters of magic mouth certainly allow for 'if this is depressed' or 'if the panel opens' or the like.

-James

Try drawing it. Thats all i can say without being able to draw you a picture. At most i can see setting off a fireball 10 feet away. The magic mouth has to be able to see the party because it has to be able to see the plate. If the magic mouth is under the plate then the plate is blocking line of effect: even glass blocks line of effect but not line of sight.

As for "you don't get perception checks to notice my fiendishly clever trap" bad DM, no doughnut. The entire point of the check is to allow someone to notice something out of place. The DM is the portal through which PC's perceive the world. Its cheap, cheesey, AND unrealistic to occlude the portions of the world that might give the trap away. There's a reason you won't find any trap in the book that doesn't have a perception DC.


Karui Kage wrote:
My rule is that Detect Magic does not automatically detect magical traps. Rather, it grants a +10 bonus to Perception checks to find them.

Excellent! Stolen!


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Try drawing it. Thats all i can say without being able to draw you a picture. At most i can see setting off a fireball 10 feet away. The magic mouth has to be able to see the party because it has to be able to see the plate. If the magic mouth is under the plate then the plate is blocking line of effect: even glass blocks line of effect but not line of sight.

As for "you don't get perception checks to notice my fiendishly clever trap" bad DM, no doughnut. The entire point of the check is to allow someone to notice something out of place. The DM is the portal through which PC's perceive the world. Its cheap, cheesey, AND unrealistic to occlude the portions of the world that might give the trap away. There's a reason you won't find any trap in the book that doesn't have a perception DC.

Here are a couple of examples :

A) Corridor that's 100 feet long. There's a magical trap on the opposite end that casts Chain Lightning down the corridor whenever a spike rises out of the floor in front of it. The spike is raised via a pressure plate 20 feet from the opposite end of the corridor. The mechanical trigger is findable via normal trap detection, however, Detect Magic won't do anything for you, as the magical trap is 80 feet away when you step on the trigger.

B) A continuous magical flame is set up in the wall, but blocked by a 1 foot thick stone. A mechanical trigger in the hallway causes the block to drop down and release the flame thrower across the area where the trigger is.

C) A trigger trap releases a ball upon which Anti-Magic Zone has been cast, the ball rolls down a tunnel and slams into place over the opening to a room the adventurers are in. The Anti-Magic zone assures they can't magic their way out of the room, and the stone's sheer size is too heavy to move (plus wedges slide down behind it).

All these are just traps I thought up on the spur of the moment where a mechanical trigger is used to kick off a magical trap, and Detect Magic would not work for any of them. Normal trap detection would work fine for the mechanical triggers.

Shadow Lodge

Here are a couple of examples :

A) Corridor that's 100 feet long. There's a magical trap on the opposite end that casts Chain Lightning down the corridor whenever a spike rises out of the floor in front of it. The spike is raised via a pressure plate 20 feet from the opposite end of the corridor. The mechanical trigger is findable via normal trap detection, however, Detect Magic won't do anything for you, as the magical trap is 80 feet away when you step on the trigger.

-The distance from the actual trap to the party is 100 feet. The trap has no sensing mechanism that will detect the party in order to target them because 100 feet is outside of the range of both alarm and magic mouth.

Chain lightning is not an AOE spell, it is targeted. Since the trap can't target the party it can't cast on them.

B) A continuous magical flame is set up in the wall, but blocked by a 1 foot thick stone. A mechanical trigger in the hallway causes the block to drop down and release the flame thrower across the area where the trigger is.

-Thats some sort of home brew spell fire so i'm not sure what to make of it.

C) A trigger trap releases a ball upon which Anti-Magic Zone has been cast, the ball rolls down a tunnel and slams into place over the opening to a room the adventurers are in. The Anti-Magic zone assures they can't magic their way out of the room, and the stone's sheer size is too heavy to move (plus wedges slide down behind it).

-The ball needs access to the party, which means the party can see it up there. The AMF won't cover much area, because it doesn't have the same radius at the ground that it does at the ceiling.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


As for "you don't get perception checks to notice my fiendishly clever trap" bad DM, no doughnut.

I'm sorry.. how was I ever claiming that there would be no search checks for this?

The pressure plate is indeed findable via perception checks when searching (or via trap spotter).

The pressure plate when stepped on removes the blocking line of effect and triggers the trap.

It's perfectly findable, it is able to be disabled or by a rogue bypassed, and the like. However the pressure plate is non-magical and there is nothing magical that detect magic can find until it is too late.

I'm not sure what you are objecting to here, and if it really is there be objected... You might just be knee-jerk reaction posting back here.

-James

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


As for "you don't get perception checks to notice my fiendishly clever trap" bad DM, no doughnut.
I'm sorry.. how was I ever claiming that there would be no search checks for this?

-Sorry, not you. Look up. I was combining responses and didn't differentiate between them very well. My bad.

Furthermore, a perception check isn't necessarily going to reveal much information, either. A good perception check might give this: "you notice that none of the flagstones in this corridor have grout between them." <----- thats what i was responding to


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


MDT wrote:


Here are a couple of examples :

A) Corridor that's 100 feet long. There's a magical trap on the opposite end that casts Chain Lightning down the corridor whenever a spike rises out of the floor in front of it. The spike is raised via a pressure plate 20 feet from the opposite end of the corridor. The mechanical trigger is findable via normal trap detection, however, Detect Magic won't do anything for you, as the magical trap is 80 feet away when you step on the trigger.

-The distance from the actual trap to the party is 100 feet. The trap has no sensing mechanism that will detect the party in order to target them because 100 feet is outside of the range of both alarm and magic mouth.

Chain lightning is not an AOE spell, it is targeted. Since the trap can't target the party it can't cast on them.

Jesus, I didn't realize you needed everything exactly correct. Change the trap to a fireball that's always targeted at the square the trigger is in. Or, if you don't like that one, pick any spell with a line of effect long enough to fill the corridor. The specific spell is irrelevant, as long as it can hit where they are. The point of the example was how a mechanical trap could trigger a spell outside detect magic range.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


MDT wrote:


B) A continuous magical flame is set up in the wall, but blocked by a 1 foot thick stone. A mechanical trigger in the hallway causes the block to drop down and release the flame thrower across the area where the trigger is.

-Thats some sort of home brew spell fire so i'm not sure what to make of it.

I have no idea what you're talking about. It's just a continuous enlarged flame blade (as one example).

BigNorseWolf wrote:


MDT wrote:


C) A trigger trap releases a ball upon which Anti-Magic Zone has been cast, the ball rolls down a tunnel and slams into place over the opening to a room the adventurers are in. The Anti-Magic zone assures they can't magic their way out of the room, and the stone's sheer size is too heavy to move (plus wedges slide down behind it).

-The ball needs access to the party, which means the party can see it up there. The AMF won't cover much area, because it doesn't have the same radius at the ground that it does at the ceiling.

Now you're just ignoring what I said.

Ever see Raiders of the Lost Arc? Right in the opening, where the big rolling ball came tumbling down the corridor? Imagine that slamming into the opening of a room after dropping down a tunnel from above. Take an L shapped tunnel (going up into the ceiling, inverted L). The ball is on the top leg of the L, completely unseeable from below. The rods holding it in place are released by the trigger in the room. When they are released, the ball rolls forward and drops down in the doorway. BOOM. Now, you do have a point about the antimagic field limited range. So, instead of the ball having it on it, there ceiling is 10 feet off the floor, and every 10 feet there is a small hole drilled in the ceiling that stops one inch from the top of the ceilng. A small ball with Anti-Magic falls into this hole once the big stone is dropped. This covers the entire room in anti-magic. However, since the balls were beyond 1 foot of stone before rolling into the tubes that lead to the ceiling, they were undetectable by magic.

If you really want to be nasty, have fire-ball traps on the big giant round stone that falls in, so that no matter which side faces the room, it fires off a fireball every round.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

I was combining responses and didn't differentiate between them very well. My bad.

No worries, I was wondering how you were leaping and bounding to conclusions!

Anyway, what is wrong with a trap that is based on the following:

1. A pressure plate than when stepped upon by someone weighing x lbs or more causes a section of wall to open up.

2. Once the wall has opened up, the object triggering the pressure plate is now the center of say a fireball that comes from this new opening.

Normally the wall blocks line of sight/effect to the source of the fireballs, but when the pressure plate triggers the trap that barrier is removed.

Seems a perfectly fine trap to me. It's a magical trap with a mechanical trigger. Detect magic does not locate it, but searching for traps certainly will (assuming it meets the DC of course).

If you recognize that traps are made by people at great expense, then you have to have some logic behind them.

1. What was the purpose for which the trap was placed here?
2. Is that still being served or has it been co-opted?
3. How are those that are aware of the trap dealing with its presence in their lives?

Honestly this last bit is about dungeon/world crafting that abhors the idea of monsters spawning in rooms then waiting patiently for PCs to come along to kill them for the treasure with which they were spawned.

-James

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Personally, I think designing traps so that the 'magic' bit of them is always far away from the trigger will just frustrate the players. I've found the best way to handle this kind of thing is to just allow it. Now, of course, allowing it comes with its own problems:

1. The person doing the detect magic needs to maintain concentration, which takes a move action every round. This means the party will always be moving half as fast. I've also ruled in my own games that maintaining concentration like this means you're distracted, so you take a -5 Perception check to notice things outside of magic you're focusing on.

2. Whoever is detecting magic needs to be at the front of the group. Every time they move, the detect magic resets, and the only thing it tells them in the first round is if there is magic present. Unless the rest of your group is devoid of magic items, then the detecting guy needs to be up front. Otherwise he's just going to get a series of "Is there magic? Yes. Is there magic? Yes. Is there magic? OHNOESTRAP". Either that, or they'd be stopping every 2-3 rounds to identify new auras, which would just be tedious.

3. This is a house rule, but I highly recommend the rule I mentioned above. Instead of giving them the aura and such automatically, make them roll Perception +10 to spot the 'hidden' aura. It might even be fun to tell them that they detect magic in the area, they just can't see it. Sure it'll give them some warning about the trap, but it just makes things even more fun if they can't spot it and the Rogue (if he fails the Perception check) doesn't spot it either. Yay tension!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Preassure plate causes part of the wall to drop, revealing one of the symbol spells, would also work well without having to have a more elaborate set up with tunnels and such.

The idea isn't to always have the traps set up this way, but to have it set up every now and then. This will keep PCs on their toes and likely make them less reliant on Detect Magic to find all of the magical traps.

It will likely also speed play, as they are not using the cantrip on every room, hallway, stairwell, etc.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Karui Kage wrote:

Personally, I think designing traps so that the 'magic' bit of them is always far away from the trigger will just frustrate the players. I've found the best way to handle this kind of thing is to just allow it. Now, of course, allowing it comes with its own problems:

I don't remember anyone saying always do so. I think traps, when used, should be mixed and varied, unless there is an overriding theme to a dungeon (usually due to someone's megolomania). You don't make all traps non-detectable by magic, nor do you make all of them detectable by magic. There should be a mix across the board, with the harder to find/detect/disarm ones put into specific places.

Edit : Ninja'd :)

Shadow Lodge

Quote:
Jesus, I didn't realize you needed everything exactly correct. Change the trap to a fireball that's always targeted at the square the trigger is in. Or, if you don't like that one, pick any spell with a line of effect long enough to fill the corridor. The specific spell is irrelevant, as long as it can hit where they are. The point of the example was how a mechanical trap could trigger a spell outside detect magic range.

The devil is in the details, so yes, i do need everything exactly right.

I don't think that traps can set the detonation point at anywhere but on the trap or at least within range of the magic mouth. There's no hard and fast rule that says so but it is a pattern followed by every trap i see.

Fireball was one possibility i mentioned. Going around corners makes it pretty handy.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


MDT wrote:


B) A continuous magical flame is set up in the wall, but blocked by a 1 foot thick stone. A mechanical trigger in the hallway causes the block to drop down and release the flame thrower across the area where the trigger is.

-Thats some sort of home brew spell fire so i'm not sure what to make of it.

Quote:
I have no idea what you're talking about. It's just a continuous enlarged flame blade (as one example).

The problem here is you have a spell that starts in place, is blocked by LOE, and then unblocked. WHile its not unreasonable to say it shoots out, i can't think of a precedent for it in the rules.

Quote:
Now you're just ignoring what I said.

Or i didn't get it, or you weren't as clear as you thought, or i shouldn't read technical descriptions while on percocet.

Ever see Raiders of the Lost Arc? Right in the opening, where the big rolling ball came tumbling down the corridor? Imagine that slamming into the opening of a room after dropping down a tunnel from above. Take an L shapped tunnel (going up into the ceiling, inverted L). The ball is on the top leg of the L, completely unseeable from below. The rods holding it in place are released by the trigger in the room. When they are released, the ball rolls forward and drops down in the doorway. BOOM. Now, you do have a point about the antimagic field limited range. So, instead of the ball having it on it, there ceiling is 10 feet off the floor, and every 10 feet there is a small hole drilled in the ceiling that stops one inch from the top of the ceilng. A small ball with Anti-Magic falls into this hole once the big stone is dropped. This covers the entire room in anti-magic. However, since the balls were beyond 1 foot of stone before rolling into the tubes that lead to the ceiling, they were undetectable by magic.

-Rube Goldbergh would be proud.

If you really want to be nasty, have fire-ball traps on the big giant round stone that falls in, so that no matter which side faces the room, it fires off a fireball every round.

-I don't know about putting a trap with a delay on a mobile object like that. Delayed blast fireball might make that work if the trap makers timed the time from the trap release to the drop.


This is just my opinion, but if the fact that detect magic is now at-will is making everyone frantically re-design all traps -- and get into arguments about the re-designs -- then maybe the problem isn't with the traps. Maybe the problem is with detect magic as written being a 0-level spell.

Shadow Lodge

Yup. And if you think that's bad, try sneaking into a kobold lair where they leave an acolyte on guard in front of a 55 foot long corridor spamming detect magic.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I just rule that detect magic doesn't work on magic traps and burp loudly in the face of any player who tries to convince me otherwise.

Just like it doesn't detect golems, for example.


Gorbacz wrote:

I just rule that detect magic doesn't work on magic traps and burp loudly in the face of any player who tries to convince me otherwise.

Just like it doesn't detect golems, for example.

I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like you can walk around with detect magic on all day. Well, you can, if you don't mind the penalties to Str and Dex. (That's a hustle, see? And hustling for more than an hour without 8 hours rest fatigues you)

Also, what percentage of magic auras in a typical dungeon are magic traps? For me, it's maybe 5-10%. It's usually magic items, after that is npcs with all buffs going. Heck, many dungeons don't even have a single magic trap. All Mechanical, All Night.
If the PC's spot and aura, chances are they're going to waste resources trying to trip that magic wand with a celestial monkey, or they're going to take a trap to the face while searching for loot.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gorbacz wrote:

I just rule that detect magic doesn't work on magic traps and burp loudly in the face of any player who tries to convince me otherwise.

Just like it doesn't detect golems, for example.

Ditto, except when the opponent just doesn't care if the trap can be noticed via detect magic. I've had one like that, which was effectively just a contingent spell. *shrugs*

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Quantum Steve wrote:
It's not like you can walk around with detect magic on all day.

Trust me - some day, somebody will try to.


Ryzoken wrote:
Still confident in my Sorcerer's ability to totally obviate any need for a rogue while still providing useful spell effects.

Just remember, your sorcerer's resources are limited--sure, you have at will detect magic but your other spells for finding, dispelling, or otherwise activating/removing traps are limited. It's your own fault if you find yourself in a fight immediately afterward and have run out of dispels to debuff the enemy casters or outsiders, or duration for true seeing to see the invisible assassin about to strike you dead--especially when a rogue could have taken care of it all and still have every resource he needs to contribute to combat effectively when it arises.

The rogue's resources for finding traps are nearly infinite--as often as he can make a Perception and/or Disable Device checks, and there's nothing lost if he searches for traps and doesn't find one, whereas you have wasted a spell. Even a sorcerer's considerable arsenal of spells will run out eventually, and few GMs are encouraged to allow the "15 minute adventure day." If the princess is about to be eaten by the dragon, you don't always have time to stop and rest.

Absolutely if your party is without a trapfinder and are in a trap-filled dungeon, your sorcerer's resources in this capacity may be very valuable. But even then, not necessarily to be valued over the other contributions your sorcerer can make to the group.

Please note that I am in no way saying the rogue is better than the sorcerer (or vice versa). I am noting each has a certain set of resources and niches they can fill, and each does some better than the other.

Of course, I need not convince you of any of this. I am sure your GM will do any convincing that is necessary by example.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
It's not like you can walk around with detect magic on all day.
Trust me - some day, somebody will try to.

I've actually had this in my game. The Paladin walked around with detect evil in a dungeon. His response when I mentioned how long it was taking? 'Well, we don't have to be anywhere any time soon, so what? We'll just walk really slow, it's not like it takes anymore game time to keep it up than if we didn't'.

Andoran

Kirth Gersen wrote:
This is just my opinion, but if the fact that detect magic is now at-will is making everyone frantically re-design all traps -- and get into arguments about the re-designs -- then maybe the problem isn't with the traps. Maybe the problem is with detect magic as written being a 0-level spell.

+ 1,534,693.

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