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Traps & Tricks

A collection of traps and tricks that puzzle adventurers - useful in role playing games. Each trap or trick below introduces some sort of problem that the player must face. Some traps require some ingenuity to escape, and several have multiple solutions or outcomes. The traps below are ideas for game leaders (i.e. Dungeon Masters) to enhance campaigns.

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1. Dud Door I

The players find a hidden door. It's painted bright pink and has hundreds of coloured lights and levers. Nothing can force it open, and clairvoyance, teleport etc don't work beyond it. If anyone pulls a lever, everyone within 10' gets a 1d8 electric shock and all the lights change color.
Afterthought: The characters are being chased by a powerful monster and they wind up in a dead end with this door as the only way out. See how desperate they get to figure it out with the monster 15 seconds behind them.
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2. Dud Door II

Somewhere in the dungeon the players find a locked door they can't force, pick, or whatever. Later the come across a large crystal key. If the key is placed in the lock, it is ripped from the character's grasp and swallowed by the door.
Afterthought: The key then reappears wherever it was before.
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3. Invisible Bridge

An invisible bridge 1' wide and 50' long spans a deep chasm. The players have to:
1) work out that it's there.
2) convince themselves that it's there.
3) work out a system of ropes etc to make sure no one falls.
Use dex checks to determine chances of falling. Strong winds, hostile flying creatures, and a fear of heights could make this harder.
Afterthought: There is a 3' long gap in the centre of the bridge, and if the players assume that it's solid all the way and walk over... The gap can be jumped easily once they know it's there.
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4. Appearing Bridge

Scenario similar to 'Invisible Bridge', except that the bridge isn't even there until someone tries to step on it. Then it appears, one foot at a time, and everyone can see it.
Afterthought: The characters are being chased, and anyone running along the bridge will move faster than the blocks can appear, and fall. The blocks may disappear again behind the characters to stop the monster pursuing.
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5. Guard Route

Guards patrol an area the characters must gain entry to. The guards are too nasty to fight and the party cannot risk raising the alarm.
Solution: Sleep or charm spells
Impersonate guard
Impersonate high official and bluff
Kill a guard and take uniform
Invisibility or fly
Distraction
etc.
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6. Object on High Hook

A valuable object (keys?) sits on a small hook 80' up an unclimbable wall. An anti-magic field surrounds the room. Solution: fire an arrow or throw something to knock the object off the hook.
Afterthought: Object is fragile and someone must be standing ready to catch it.
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7. Sleeping Guards

The characters gain entry to a guardroom full of sleeping guards. They must kill the guards or sneak past them to gain an object.
Afterthought: If any of the players speaks to another player (simulating character-character conversation) during this encounter, the guards wake.
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8. Pit with Trap Door

The first character falls into a pit trap for low damage. It's easy to get out again, but if they stop to search, they find a trapdoor to another area in the bottom of the pit.
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9. Archer Attack at Point-Blank

The party engages in combat with a few archers, who eventually scatter and run for it. The characters don't pursue, and later open a door to find one of the archers 2' behind it pointing a crossbow at his head for LOTS of damage.
Afterthought: The archers are in fact scattered in ambush positions right through the dungeon. Hear noise will detect them on the other side of doors.
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10. Flammable Slime

Gooey green slime drips onto a character's head. It does no damage (the player doesn't know that), but tell the player that it's itching and stinging. The slime can be scraped off easily with a weapon. However, it is highly flammable and attempts to burn it off are likely to end in disaster.
Afterthought: The players can collect the slime and make molotov cocktails (if acceptable recepticals can be found).
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11. Wounded Monster Seen Escaping

The party turns a corner to see a wounded monster slinking off. If the players follow, they lead into an ambush.
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12. Glory Device

The players find a statue of a fighter desperately trying to press the button in the centre of an amulet he's wearing. The amulet is not petrified and can be taken from the fighter (whose ghost later haunts them?). Pressing the button obliterates everything within 15' - the fighter knew he was going to die and was trying to take the monster with him.
Afterthought: To be fair, you should give the players some kind of warning about the amulet rather than just killing them all off for experimenting. Perhaps a loud siren sounds the first time they press the button, and it explodes on the second?
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13. Statues Abound ... Medusa?

The players find serval statues scattered around a room. The door is closed, and they should get the hint from the statues that the have to open it with eyes shut and mirrors ready. If not, well, it's their own fault.
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14. Stone Block & Trap Door

A 5' x 5' x 5' stone block in the corner of a room with an 11' ceiling. Stand on block, poke ceiling and find a trapdoor to another area. (This is a really old trick, so expect the players to find it).
Afterthought: The block rises up after the characters, blocking the trapdoor and trapping them.
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15. Drink Me!

The characters enter a room containing a potion labelled 'drink me'. Searching the room will reveal a mousehole about 4" high. Solution: drink potion. But how is the character going to get back to full size?
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16. Riddling Statue

A room containing a statue of a sage and no doors (the door the party entered by has disappeared). Teleport etc won't get them out of the room. The statue will answer any question with 'what' in it (such as "What is the easiest way to get out of here?"), even if the party did not intend it as a question. One in four answers are false, and the statue will answer a maximum of six questions.

The easiest way out is to ask the statue. If the characters waste their questions, they'll have to find another way.
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17. Bottomless Hole

For some reason (a bet? a spell?), the party has to find out whether a hole is bottomless or not. Easy. Drop something down and listen.
Afterthought: If they watch it carefully, the party will find that the hole is slowly but steadily moving towards them. Anyone who falls in will probably never be recovered. The hole will chase them throughout the entire dungeon, which raises an interesting question: how do you kill a hole? You fill it in.
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18. Spkiy Mat with Object

A 3' x 3' mat covered in long poisonous spikes. Stuck to the underside is a valuable object.
Afterthought: The mat wakes up and starts chasing the characters.
Solution: Flip the mat over with a polearm.
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19. Timebomb

A room containing a 3' black sphere (a bomb), and a complicated timing device. It will explode and destroy some valuable treasure if the characters run. If they try to disarm it, either make an INT check or use this puzzle:

The number needed to disarm the bomb is 330 (it will change each time the bomb is disarmed, but is always 1-999). A guess may be used to try a number, or find out if the answer is divisible by a number. They have 10 guesses and 60 seconds. If they run out of either the bomb explodes.
Afterthought: The players take the bomb with them (by rolling it along the ground), and later reactivate it to destroy something.
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20. Equipment Must be Destroyed

For some reason (about to summon a monster?), equipment in a room must be destroyed quickly and completely.
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