Skill Encounters: Deadly Challenges—Traps (PFRPG) PDF

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Tired of the same old pit trap? This is the cure!

Five devious and deadly traps—your PCs will need skill, tenacity, teamwork and a little luck to survive. Life-threatening, nail-biting, fully imagined trap encounters with all the excitement and deadly consequences of combat… without the monsters! Challenge your PCs with a trap that hits hard and won’t be bypassed with a single check. Make your traps an encounter to be remembered!

Skill Encounters: Deadly Challenges—Traps continues to evolve the Skill Encounter format. Inside this 24-page PDF you'll find the basic rules for running and creating your own Skill Encounters and 5 fully detailed Skill Encounter traps including:

  • Vicious Spiked Pit
  • Poisonous Gas Chamber
  • Sucking Vortex
  • Flooding Room
  • Collapsing Dungeon

Also don't forget to check out Skill Encounters: Non-Combat Challenges.

Level up your game tonight with a trap that will test your PCs talent, guile and skill. Your PCs will never forget it.

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The way traps should have been


The product is 24 pages long and opens with the cover, credits and table of contents in the first two pages.

We get into the meat of the matter on page three with "What Is A Skill Encounter." To quote the product itself, "Skill encounters are a way to challenge your PCs without resorting to combat. They let skills and abilities shine while letting the swords, shields and staves take the night off." Combat alone gets pretty old. Skill rolls in the basic game system is pretty boring, and checking for traps is usually just a hiccup often not worth the time to run it. 4th Dimension Games fixes these problems.

The next section is "Running a Skill Encounter". This contains all of the information you need to run a skill encounter. While there is a side bar that says this is a reprint from their previous product, it bears reviewing as it does in fact add some new material. Much needed was a CR rating system for awarding XP. This has now been added.

"How to Read a Skill Encounter" is the next section and details the "stat block" for a skill encounter.

Then we get into the good stuff. The traps themselves.

Vicious Spiked Pit is first. I liked that it offered options for every man for themselves (Escape) as well as teamwork (Disable) options. My favorite line in the trap? Failures: Failure ultimately results in death. YES! Someone is NOT afraid to kill PCs!

The complications are well worth the read and makes the evil GM in me giggle with glee. Seriously any complication that includes Tetanus is just AWESOME!

Next up, Poisonous Gas Chamber. We get a nice map usable for the trap. Options available are to smash holes in the doors and walls to vent the gases, and to disable the gas trap. So the Barbarian FINALLY gets to do something besides set the trap off!

Possible complications include a Stubbed Toe, which is just genius, to an Exploding Vent. Useful spells are listed, a few of which I would never have thought of, such as Rope Trick.

Sucking Vortex follows. This is a 2 part trap as well, with an individual option to get away from the Vortex, and a teamwork option to shut down the trap.

Some of the complications include Empty Your Pockets, in which a PC's gear comes loose and is sucked into the Vortex. Very nasty. The Vortex Explosion shoots lightning bolts out at the PCs. Useful spells for this trap includes Summon Monster! Seriously who uses Summon Monster to disable traps, but it works here!

The classic Flooding Room is next and possible complications include electric eels (again an evil GM laugh), and getting so angry you forget to hold your breath! The failure for this trap is "The PCs drown." Gotta love traps that actually KILL.

Last we have the Collapsing Dungeon. I have to quote the flavor text at the beginning of this one. "As you savor your hard won victory, everything goes silent. You hear a grinding noise followed by a rumbling that slowly intensifies. The floor below you begins to shake as dust and pebbles of stone rain down. Your shock subsides as you abruptly realize the complex is falling in on itself AND YOU’RE STILL INSIDE!"

The last two pages include the OGL and back cover.

The horrible yellow background in the previous Skill Encounters book has been toned down and looks just fine now.

One question for you. Do you want your traps to challenge your players and bore them to sleep? If you want to challenge your players you MUST have this product.

Eagerly awaiting the next product in the series.

Traps that challenge the whole party, not just the rogue


Skill Encounters: Deadly Challenges – Traps
This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and one page advertisement. That leaves 20 pages of content.

The pdf starts with a short chapter explaining skill encounters and how to run them. (5 pages)

After that, we get the first encounter/trap. Before I get into reviewing this product, I have to admit something: I love traps and I hate how they are treated most of the time: The rogue goes ahead, tries to disarm it and there we go – one roll while the rest of the PCs waits for the rogue to do his job or die trying. This little pdf introduces traps that have something for the whole group to do and can’t be overcome with one single roll.

That being said, let’s delve into the first encounter, the classic vicious spike pit. (3 pages) The skill-encounter features two complex sets of checks to deal with the trap: Escape & Disable. Both are fractured in the encounter, spells are dealt with, etc. However, one of the complications e.g. mentioned churning blades, which aren’t factored into the stats of the trap, somewhat rendering them a bit strange. The same goes for exploding spikes. I know that the DM is supposed to scale them, but I nevertheless would have liked that being done for me.

The next trap is the poisonous gas chamber. (4 pages) This encounter features a sample map of the room, including grids and the like. Once again, two ways to solve this are presented, “smash it” and “plug it” – both are interesting, but I personally preferred the complications for plugging it.

The next trap is the sucking vortex. (3 pages) This skill encounter is interesting due to being both individual skill encounters and a group encounter to shut down the vortex as well as a sample map with a grid for the corridor with the vortex. While being an iconic and simple idea, I really loved the presentations and complications of this one. Nothing to gripe about here.

The next challenge is the flooding room. (3 pages) I really did like the encounter, the complications and so on. However, I’d have loved to see a twofold variation here: One mechanical trap and one magical flooding room – they also would have made a great combination trap.

The final trap derived from a tried and true statement in gaming, the classic “Rocks fall, all die.” – The last skill encounter is the collapsing dungeon! (3 pages) This skill encounter is by far my favorite among the ones presented – not only because it is iconic and cool, but also because it is lethal, it’s mechanics are simple, yet interesting and due to an added “Buried!”-mini skill encounter.

As I’ve already admitted in my first skill encounters review, I’m a sucker for them: I e.g. immensely enjoyed the collapsing dungeon and the vortex. However, there are still some minor problems with this pdf: While the artwork is ok and the whole file is full color, I would have loved to see a printer-friendly version without the yellow background and with less pictures and more mechanics – both with the poisonous gas chamber and the flood chamber, I think that we could have had more complications/ideas instead of pieces of artwork. Editing and formatting is concise and makes running the encounters easy. I’d really like to give this a full five stars, but some of the skill encounters made me want more out of them or just didn’t strike me as too interesting. Combine that with the lack of a printer-friendly version and I’ll settle for a good 4 stars rating. I really hope to one day see a massive tome of skill encounter traps, with more exotic and far-out traps intermixed with the new take on classics. If you’re a DM who is sick and tired of the one-die-roll-trap, be sure to give this a try, you probably won’t regret it.

4th Dimension Games second offering for Pathfinder and the 3.5 OGL system; Skill Encounters: Deadly Challenges - Traps is now available. Test your PCs against complete trap encounters that require more than a single check to survive. Skill Encounters: Deadly Challenges - Traps offers 5 brutal traps complete with challenging situations, dastardly complications and deadly consequences for failure.

What is a skill encounter you say? Want a sample of what to expect? Check out the downloads section on our website.
For Gamers By Gamers. Level up your game!

Check out the free downloadable PDF maps for the Sucking Vortex and Poisonous Gas Chamber traps. Useful for any game. Follow the link above to the downloads section of our website.
For Gamers By Gamers. Level up your game!

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For those interested, I've posted my review of this book over on EN World.

Grand Lodge

Downloaded last night and skimmed it. Looks VERY good. I'll have a review in a couple of days.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

sounds interesting.

Basically the idea is that each player gets to do a skill-check to overcome the challenge each round and that the group accumulates successes. It makes for a nice diversion from the "Rogue rolls skill-check, rogue rolls another skill-check, trap does damage or is disarmed while the rest of the group is bored"-routine.

Grand Lodge

Endzeitgeist wrote:

Basically the idea is that each player gets to do a skill-check to overcome the challenge each round and that the group accumulates successes. It makes for a nice diversion from the "Rogue rolls skill-check, rogue rolls another skill-check, trap does damage or is disarmed while the rest of the group is bored"-routine.

actually the traps are much more dynamic and fluid than just a series of skill checks for the entire party. The traps become characters themselves, evolving and complicating the PCs' efforts.

These kinds of traps make for MEMORABLE encounters that will be talked about for decades to come. The players will call the GM a sadistic b@st@rd/b!tch and shudder when they recall the horrors of these traps! lol

Well...depends on the perspective. Yes, everything does get more dynamic. However, personally, I wouldn't go so far as to call the traps themselves characters.
I'm glad you enjoyed the book, though - I have high hopes for the next parts of the series and (hopefully) more far-out unusual skill-encounters/traps.

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