Traps Drawn from Real Life – Inconvenient Torch Mounts

Mould_sconceLook around you. The world is full of traps, and you can use these to inspire traps in-game. Just the other day I was leaving an office, and as I rounded the corner I almost whacked my head against a plasma TV mounted a little too close to the door and just a little too low. Thus, I thought of the following:



Inconvenient Torch Mounts

A lit torch is mounted closely on each side of the door.

Type: mechanical; Perception DC 17; Disable Device 16

Trigger touch; Reset Auto or None


When a character enters the room from the non torch side, they run into the torches with their head, if they are over 5′ tall. Torch(DC 17 Reflex Save or take 1 damage and becomes staggered for one round. If they fail the save by 5 or more, the torch falls out, setting the curtains on the wall on fire. In the case of fire, the trap is counted as not reset)

This is another example of a trap that isn’t deliberate. Characters can face all kinds of hazardous situations, especially given that most settings don’t have OSHA. You can have warehouses full of unstable boxes, crumbling furnaces, leaky water towers, you name it. Look around you everyday, and imagine that same type of setting set in the middle ages made from substandard parts and imagine what it would look like. The average town or wizard tower may just be full of dangers – and most of them could be completely accidental.

If used in the correct way, these types of traps will also lend another layer of detail to your campaign. It can turn a static, orderly, well-designed location into the chaotic, unpredictable location that will keep your players entertained and on their toes.

2 thoughts on “Traps Drawn from Real Life – Inconvenient Torch Mounts”

  1. I enjoy this sort of “trap of opportunity.” Once, I began a campaign with an adventure in a run down country house. A wealthy merchant was renovating it as a wedding present for his daughter and her betrothed, but workers had abandoned their posts, believing the old house to be haunted (due to some minor, nuisance monsters). None of the traps in the house were of the kind that were intentionally set, rather they were products of its run down condition (a rotted step, carelessly placed/dropped tools left by frightened workers, poorly propped supports, loose masonry, and so on). The traps/hazards were more of a threat and thrill to the players than the creatures were! It turned out to be one of the best opening adventures I ever came up with. Kudos to you for the torch, especially for the chance to ignite the curtains!

  2. Dangur the Druid

    A lot of people seem to forget about things like this. The torch is a good one. 🙂 Another good thing to remember, is like you said with a wizards tower.

    When the party enters the wizards lair for battle, they better pay good attention to the potions, powders and oils that could be around. You can cause some serious explosions or poison gasses if your not careful.

    And what happens if you accidentally release the caged abomination he had trapped? 😉

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