Starstone Cathedral needs help with 20th level PC killing traps


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

I just finished doing a PFS legal campaign to 19th level and everyone thought it would it be fun to end it by doing the test of the Starstone Cathedral (I let them level to 20). I am having a bit of trouble with the traps however. One of the players is a skill monkey Rogue and I want to put in a lot of traps for his sake, but I want them to be clever and/or interesting. Not just "save or take a bunch of damage". The problem is that any ideas I can come up with or find online don't work for super high level PCs. They can all fly and have necklaces of adaptation (or another similar item). Does anyone have an good ideas for high level traps? Stuff that would really challenge them and maybe even kill a PC (since at this level death is a minor inconvenience).


From what I understand, the Test of the Starstone is supposedly different for each individual, possibly targeting their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths, but also potentially tailored to the type of deity that they would become if they are successful.

In order to answer this effectively, we'd need more information about the characters, in terms of mechanics, personality and goals. Are they all working together to find their way through? Is there any internal strife? What are the character's alignments?

To directly answer your question about traps, in the most general sense. Multiple traps stacked up, traps that make other traps or encounters worse, and traps in the middle of a standard combat are all good ways to make regular traps more interesting.


I'm assuming by "PFS Legal" you mean that you are using home campaign characters that you are using PFS rules for, rather than actual PFS campaign characters.

Random thoughts RE: 20th Level traps:
I would stack a few traps and haunts who have been killed by them. Have them trigger off of each other so that action economy is more an advantage of the room than the PCs. Examples of other fun things:

Impassable area - must actually trigger and take an effect to continue (which means those with Mindblank, non-detection, etc. get left behind).
Perpetual Aroden's Spellbanes - to deal with "I win" effects (spice with additional Mage's Disjunction for additional flavoring)
No Magic Demiplanes - so that the skill monkey characters are effectively the only solution (especially when combined with Impassable Areas)
Echoes of the Would-be Gods - multi-effect haunts which trigger if PCs attempt to bypass the necessary skill checks.
Shadows of the Stone - areas with planar weakness which function to limit line-of-sight in the manner of fog and can't be bypassed by things like Goz Masks or CLA which allow characters to ignore fog / mist / smoke / etc.
Oozes are not poison - traps which trigger oozes, molds, etc. may get around general poison immunity. Combine with other effects which may disperse / buff the oozes / spores etc. for maximum threat.


There was a 2nd or 3rd Edition spell (iirc) called Spell Engine that created a nasty effect. It would absorb spells cast while in its presence. I used to use it as traps and allowed the spell levels absorbed to empower the device causing it to explode when it reached a certain maximum level (typically 20 levels of spells).

You could use something like that effect that not only absorbs spells cast in its presence but absorbs magical effects that enter its area of effect. A high-level party full of magical buffs would probably overload it in a single round, forcing them to either take damage or react quickly before it goes off.

Just a thought. Good luck!


You may want to take a gander at Trapsmith.


Friendly Neighborhood Glabrezu wrote:

From what I understand, the Test of the Starstone is supposedly different for each individual, possibly targeting their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths, but also potentially tailored to the type of deity that they would become if they are successful.

In order to answer this effectively, we'd need more information about the characters, in terms of mechanics, personality and goals. Are they all working together to find their way through? Is there any internal strife? What are the character's alignments?

To directly answer your question about traps, in the most general sense. Multiple traps stacked up, traps that make other traps or encounters worse, and traps in the middle of a standard combat are all good ways to make regular traps more interesting.

The Test should split them up so that you do them as a set of one on one sessions.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Friendly Neighborhood Glabrezu wrote:

From what I understand, the Test of the Starstone is supposedly different for each individual, possibly targeting their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths, but also potentially tailored to the type of deity that they would become if they are successful.

In order to answer this effectively, we'd need more information about the characters, in terms of mechanics, personality and goals. Are they all working together to find their way through? Is there any internal strife? What are the character's alignments?

To directly answer your question about traps, in the most general sense. Multiple traps stacked up, traps that make other traps or encounters worse, and traps in the middle of a standard combat are all good ways to make regular traps more interesting.

The Test should split them up so that you do them as a set of one on one sessions.

... or maybe they end up getting crunched together into one divinity like Norgerberger if they don't split up :)

Liberty's Edge

Thanks Guys. This went off over the weekend and I used a couple of your guys ideas. Specifically I took TimD's idea of making them do impossible tasks in an anti-magic field which made some of the non-spellcasters feel more useful (they have been feeling less useful at higher levels) and made them think a lot. Also, since they usually go into any dungeon with 10 to 20 buff spells each, I took Dosgamer's idea about a monster that absorbs buff spells. Unlike Dosgamer's idea though it didn't explode, it just got the benefits of all of their buff spells and one way to defeat it was to cast bebuff spells on themselves and willingly fail the save, knowing the monster would take the debuff from them. Thanks again for your good ideas guys :-)


That sounds really cool. Should be something they remember for years to come. Well done!

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