What is your favorite trap?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

What is your favorite trap? The most fun--not necessarily the most deadly.


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Vanilla rogue and monk.

Paizo Employee Software Test Engineer

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*Looks at a foot high stack of trap books sitting to his side*

*Looks back at post.*

I - I only get one?

... I'll get back to you in a bit.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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As many as demi-humanly possible. :-D


Wonderstell wrote:
Vanilla rogue and monk.

You forgot the vanilla Fighter


Saithor wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
Vanilla rogue and monk.
You forgot the vanilla Fighter

Vanilla Fighter is a non optimal choice, he is not a true trap like the walmart brand-vanilla rogue and monk.


Spinning wall traps a la Scooby Do. Nothing makes pcs say 'oh crap' like reflex or be separated while in hostile territory.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Spinning wall traps a la Scooby Do. Nothing makes pcs say 'oh crap' like reflex or be separated while in hostile territory.

Ooh! What about a room with 4 spinning walls???

I have a party of 6. Maybe a room with 3 spinning walls to make three groups of 2?


The rules have anything to do with Simulation fallacy.

You can be caught in this trap and never even know it.


My question is how did the vanilla rogue even exist? They do get trap finding so they should have realized it was a trap and taken another class.


Teleport trap.

Not really a traditional trap, but I love sending pesky wizards to their death.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The famous trap in Curse of a Lady's Light (which I'll leave undescribed so as not to spoil it for those who haven't played it).

A fantastically interesting trap which opens up oodles of role playing opportunities.

Scarab Sages

Any thread that starts with... "If a <alignment x> character does <aligned action y> what happens?"


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I dislike traps which separate the party, as a DM. It makes running the subsequent groups very very difficult.

My favorite traps are where the group gets locked into a room with a slow-moving hazard, like filling with water, a dropping spiked ceiling and the like (was that in Indiana Jones 2?) and they have to figure out something really quickly before disarming it. Secondary traps protecting the disarming mechanism are a bonus.

Shifting rooms, huge blocks of stone that prevent leaving the way you came and the like are close second... as long as you engineer them so as not to split the party.

The more cinematic a trap is, the better. A dangerous and risky escape path from a certain death trap is another good trope.

Lastly, don't forget that detecting a trap doesn't necessarily reveal exactly what's going to happen. Maybe the party rogue (or archaeologist bard or whatever roguelike substitute you have) detects a pressure plate. That doesn't necessarily tell him that activating that pressure plate will cause a block of stone 100 feet back the way he came is going to block the exit from the dungeon.

Sovereign Court

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The best one told to me by LG players.

In one scenario there is a pit trap, 20' deep. At the bottom of the trap sits a Gelatinous cube.
At high tier, after the character falls onto the first cube, a hole in the ceiling opens and another Gelatinous Cube falls on top the first.

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Admiral Ackbar

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Wheldrake wrote:

I dislike traps which separate the party, as a DM. It makes running the subsequent groups very very difficult.

My favorite traps are where the group gets locked into a room with a slow-moving hazard, like filling with water, a dropping spiked ceiling and the like (was that in Indiana Jones 2?) and they have to figure out something really quickly before disarming it. Secondary traps protecting the disarming mechanism are a bonus.

Shifting rooms, huge blocks of stone that prevent leaving the way you came and the like are close second... as long as you engineer them so as not to split the party.

The more cinematic a trap is, the better. A dangerous and risky escape path from a certain death trap is another good trope.

Lastly, don't forget that detecting a trap doesn't necessarily reveal exactly what's going to happen. Maybe the party rogue (or archaeologist bard or whatever roguelike substitute you have) detects a pressure plate. That doesn't necessarily tell him that activating that pressure plate will cause a block of stone 100 feet back the way he came is going to block the exit from the dungeon.

For pretty much the same group, I once accidentally split them into 3 groups. I found that focusing on each group for just 1 or 2 minutes--or less--kept things fun and interesting for everyone involved. They got to focus on their own tribulations and not get bored watching everyone else's group. But still got to enjoy watching everyone else.


In the old AD+D module Dragon Mountain there was a trap that was basically a greased chute with a cheese grater for a ceiling that permanently peeled AC off your armor if you got hit with it, or did ridiculous damage to any non small creature.

That whole module is entirely about kicking a party of 15th level characters in the dick with kobolds though.


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The chute where at the bottom there was a portal that teleported you to the top of the chute.

I forget what module that was from, but that's stuck with me.


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When my wife says, "Of course you can go gaming tonight. We can have date night another day..."


One of my favorite traps involves combining traps with a start-up time with Fungal Stun Vials, which force a really nasty DC20 willsave or be stunned/confused for a round (up to 2 for the stun) if you are within the radius.

I combined them with a bunch of pellet grenades once, fun times. If the PCs are lucky, even if they fail their will save they might be able to escape...or not.

Otherwise, feel free to add a Fungal Stun Vial to any given trap that deals damage over time. Such as an acid pit trap.


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A big red button with a sign that says "Do NOT Press This Button" on it.


tonyz wrote:
A big red button with a sign that says "Do NOT Press This Button" on it.

I put a steel door wrapped in chains, the hinges fused shut, and put a "Disposal Area, do not enter" sign infront of my PCs.

Naturally they spent 20 minutes sundering open the door. Funny though, they didn't go check out the gold-decorated chest sitting in the middle of the web filled room. Instead they just shut the door and walked away.

I may have taught them the terror of spiders one too many times. Even telling them not to do something didn't make them do it.


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Indiana Jones style traps work pretty well for me. In fact, those and Star Wars are a great source of encounter designs that don't necessarily involve killing everyone. Arrows shooting out of the wall, or a slowing falling spiked ceiling, or a planned get-away not working out the way you thought it would.

I like them because it's more about dealing with the situation than just getting smacked because you failed a perception check. I guess it's more encounter design, but that's what I think of when making 'traps'.

The Exchange

Party of adventurers trailing a group of goblins down a forest path, come to a rope hanging down from a high branch over the trail. A picture/note on the rope shows a red circle with a slash thru it (universal symbol for NO!) over a stick figure pulling the rope.

Yeah - every group of adventurers is going to have one guy who pulls that rope. At the other end is a bucket full of ...ah... goblin poop. Chamber Pot fillings?

Continuing down the path the party hears someone digging. They stop and listen - then see a bunch of dirt fly (left-to-right) across the path. A few seconds later more dirt - this time right-to-left. Yep, there are two goblins digging pit traps beside the trail ahead, one on each side of the trail (they have been digging these pits for a while and are very behind schedule). If the party rushes ahead to attack, they trigger a spiked log, swinging trap that would sweep across the trail... if it weren't for the tree in the middle of it. On end of the log is tied to a branch on the right side of the tree, the other end to a branch on the left side of the tree...

Etc.

Great fun!


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Why not all of the above?

The area in which this trap is found can only be accessed by means of a spinning wall. After traveling down a long corridor, the party comes across a giant "do not press this button" button. When pressed, an obnoxious voice shouts out "It's a trap!". The unfortunate victim is instantly subjected to a mind-altering effect that makes him believe he is a vanilla Monk, temporarily altering all his class features as if he were a single-class Monk. At the same moment, a spiked pit trap opens beneath the victim's feat while simultaneously every poison/venom/toxin ever published is released from chutes above the character's head. A massive boulder is released, crashing down the hallway. The boulder is small enough to fall into the pit trap that opener earlier, which is why a second and larger boulder is also released right behind it, big enough to pass right over the open pit trap.

However, the escape route has been blocked by a second pit trap. This pit trap doesn't have a bottom, and instead a looping portal opens to the ceiling causing any creature unfortunate enough to fall inside to simply fall indefinitely. Several Gelatinous Cubes are released into this pit trap, creating a never ending "waterfall" of corrosive goo. After bypassing this second pit trap, the party reaches the original spinning wall that was used to enter this area. The wall does not return the party back to where they came from. Instead, they find themselves in an empty room that begins to flood with water. In this room there is a single large and prominent button that says "do not press this button".


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

There's a great one in Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps.

Errr, actually, there's this other aweseom one in Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps.

Hmmm. Now that I think about it... all several hundred of my favorites are in Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps.

But seriously, I'd recommend folks grab this book just to peruse. It's fun to just read, let alone use.

*Disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer, but no other involvement or relationship to the creators.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, by traps, I guess I meant "non-NPC/monster encounters involving wits vs. damage..." ;-)

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Removed a post. Usage of "trap" to refer to individuals (fictional and not) is not acceptable on our forums.

The Exchange

ShroudedInLight wrote:
tonyz wrote:
A big red button with a sign that says "Do NOT Press This Button" on it.

I put a steel door wrapped in chains, the hinges fused shut, and put a "Disposal Area, do not enter" sign infront of my PCs.

Naturally they spent 20 minutes sundering open the door. Funny though, they didn't go check out the gold-decorated chest sitting in the middle of the web filled room. Instead they just shut the door and walked away.

I may have taught them the terror of spiders one too many times. Even telling them not to do something didn't make them do it.

yeah - I think I may have "taught them the terror..." also...

I can recall an old home game where I felt bad about the amount of treasure (or lack thereof) that I had given out in an earlier game. So I placed a large gem (a ruby) in the hall for the players to find. I reasoned to myself that another adventuring party had dropped it as they left - and had not noticed it.

So as the players approached the intersection they caught sight of a "red twinkle" on the floor ahead. Out came the detect spells, the rogue checking for traps, the works. Ultimately, even discovering that it was a gem, they elected to bypass that section of tunnel to avoid approaching it, as they could come up with NO REASON FOR IT TO BE THERE. It HAD to be a trap, and one they couldn't figure out, so best to bust a hole in a couple room walls to bypass the intersection entirely...

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...played in a game once where we slipped into an Evil Temple that had fancy columns that looked like a mass of skeletons holding up a dark cloud. We moved up to examine the alter, and were attacked by pair of Specters that came out of the back wall. The (Good) Cleric Channeled and the GM commented that the columns WERE actual skeletons holding up the stone ceiling... and they only had 4 HP each...

Dark Archive

Door Mimics and Marriage in no particular order!

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Level 7 Harsk.


Tweedle-Dum wrote:
...played in a game once where we slipped into an Evil Temple that had fancy columns that looked like a mass of skeletons holding up a dark cloud. We moved up to examine the alter, and were attacked by pair of Specters that came out of the back wall. The (Good) Cleric Channeled and the GM commented that the columns WERE actual skeletons holding up the stone ceiling... and they only had 4 HP each...

Damn, thats nice. I had a dungeon with the skeletons crawling out of the walls with their limbs grabbing you if you were adjacent to a wall (the whole place was desecrated)...but thats clever. I like it.


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My wife asking me, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

Wait... that's my least favorite trap...


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a 10 foot pit, it's a classic.

it don't eat, just waits there, and itz super easy and cheap ta build.

yeah, they can make it fancy by addin spikes or diggin it deeper, but even at mid level it evokes curses like nuthin else. Shoot, fancy folks laugh about usin their snapleaf, HA, I just drained their pocket sevenhundred un fifty gold, GOLD! Yep, that paid ALL my unskilled laborers fer a year.

Now if ya wanna kill sumthin above first level and it's over 3 feet tall... swingin axe trap. Just go on and put it right after tha pit. That way if they jump tha pit - get axed or dodge it - they prolly fall back into the pit (again)! ha ha ahaa, talk about recyclin...


A trap that forces the party to act as a team, or one that participates in a combat.

Simply putting up a turret trap, behind it a low wall with kobold archers, and behind that the trigger plate to disarm. The rogue cannot do that by themselves.

Even a pit trap in the middle of a combat encounter is fun. Somebody is going to need to be rescued, right when the party needs them most. A pit trap in a hallway by itself is just a waste of a Wand of Cure Light Wounds charge.


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As a GM, I pride myself on pretty much always being able to get PCs to fall into a pit trap, if I really want them to!


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I once made a trap so deadly a whole group walked out on the game. I'd forgotten this story until now.

Back in the 2e days, a friend and fellow party member told me of some friends of his who boasted that no DM could defeat their party. None. They were 7th level and had never lost a battle, never fell victim to a trap, etc.

So I invited them over and the very first thing I did was tell them through a grate in the dungeon floor they could see a dagger with a jeweled hilt. The Wizard immediately claimed it and as soon as he tried to pick it up a blade scythed through his arm, nearly removing it. They pried him loose, healed him up, and he TRIED AGAIN, this time losing the arm entirely. We ruled that all his spells suffered a 50% failure chance because he couldn't use both arms to cast spells. He was PISSED. So they moved on.

The next trap they found was the typical "you see on stone that looks different than the others" trick. It was a stone that when removed revealed a passage just high enough and wide enough for a character's shoulders to fit through. The thief crawled right in without checking for traps. Ten feet in I told him he could see glittering red gems. He crawled another 5 feet, triggering a pressure plate that dropped a stone behind him, too far for his cohorts to reach and lift and trapping him from going backwards. The pressure plate also revealed that a screen in front lifted upward, released the glittering red gems, the red eyes of hundreds of white rats that had been starving for days. He was overwhelmed and eaten alive.

With a lot of cursing the entire party got up and left. Had I had a table to flip, they would've done so. I was very proud of that little bit of nastiness.


Monk. Useless but thematically awesome


I like trap in combat situations. Traps where people have to decide between dealing with the monsters or the traps. for example, a room where the kobolds are on the far side shooting at the PC's. The charging fighter falls into a pit trap. A couple of kobolds throw oil flasks at the walls while the rest keep sniping at the party.


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The Head of Vecna

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