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Traps to Facilitate Success

Sometimes, you use a trap to help your PC’s, giving them a taste of what is ahead.


Scorch Marks (CR 2)

Opposite the door are scorch marks on the wall.

Type: mechanical; Perception DC 18; Disable Device 17

Trigger location; Reset Repair


When a character gets within 15′ of the door, a timer starts. If they do not open the door within 2 rounds, a gout of flame shoots out from the door. Flame(DC 16 Reflex Save or take 1d4 fire damage); multiple targets(all targets in 15′ cone)

This is a good trap to have near the beginning of your adventure. Why? Most traps help set the tone of your adventure. In this case, the characters who take their time will get burned (literally). It won’t do much damage, but it will help you set up later encounters, especially if they are time critical. Having been burned once, PCs are less likely to dilly-dally. If you do have time critical encounters, this trap will also prepare your PCs, giving them a greater chance of success, which is, after all, much more fun for everyone.

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The oldest tricks in the book are there because they work! are some things that seem to always work, at least once. This is one of them.

Ceramic Jar of Acid (CR 1)

The door into the room is slightly ajar.

Type: mechanical; Perception DC 18; Disable Device 16

Trigger touch; Reset None


A ceramic jar of acid is balanced on top of the door. If opened, it falls on the character. Jar of Acid(1d6 damage plus 1d4 acid damage, DC 18 Reflex Save for 1d2 acid damage)

This one is so obvious that whichever PC gets hit by it just may earn a new nickname. They’ll all groan and won’t believe that they got hit by such an obvious trap. Of course, some time later, you should do it again, preferably after they disarm the trapped floor in front of the door, or are invited in by the room’s occupant. If the same person is hit again, he’ll definitely have a nickname.

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Don’t Forget the Simple Traps


As we end the year, I will take this post to remind everyone to not overlook simple traps. Overworked, deadly, complex and devious traps are fun, but they can’t be everywhere, and, in my opinion, should not be hard to find. Nothing takes the sails out of a game like a very deadly trap that the characters have no chance of detecting, and then, BOOM, somebody is dead.

Simple traps, however, can be used in a lot more places and can be better hidden, especially if they don’t really cause all that much damage on their own. They can also be used to set up PC behavior. Take the following simple trap:

Weak Floor (CR 1)

The floor looks worn and is covered in bits of debris in places.

Type: mechanical; Perception DC 17; Disable Device 16

Trigger touch; Reset None


A small section of the floor collapses when a character steps in it, exposing a 1 foot pit. Weak Floor(DC 17 Reflex Save or take 1d3 damage and be knocked prone)

This trap is perfect to place in an adventuring area such as an old house or warehouse. Put in one or two while the PC’s explore the area. It won’t really hurt them, but it will slow them down a bit, and they will search the floor as they move through the house. When the PC’s reach a boss or tough encounter, you can place it in an open space. You will artificially limit their mobility because whether or not the floor is weak here, the PC’s will expect it, and will likely change tactics a bit and plan on having to deal with a weak floor. If the opponent flies or is somehow immune to the floor effect, (such as being non-corporeal) so much the better. They may also just dive right in; in that case, make sure a few spots in the room are weak. Either way, you’ve introduced a new element to spice up what may otherwise be an ordinary encounter.