GM Workshop

A community-created and maintained place for Game Masters of all systems to bounce ideas around. It's a place for inspiration and sharing tips.



Hi I am looking for any tips to make traps to hurt unwary players. What I want to know is how do you make custom traps that do not break the game. I am interested in pitfalls more than anything.

I assume your looking for traps for 3.5 dungeons and dragons. If so there are any number of ways to place traps at key locations so that unsuspecting players could set the trap off. There is a few traps I use that may help you. Listed below is some of them. Now it will take a little creativity to process some of these traps. If your just looking to damage them and not really break the bank with hurting them, lessen the amount of hit dice the trap does damage. Instead of the trap doing 1d8 hp damage cut it in half on a sucessful reflex save and make it 1d4. Some of the traps can be rolls against saving throws such as fortitude and willpower. These test should be used for inhaled poisons or magical traps. Remember pitfall trap damage is something like 1d6 damage per 10 feet fallen. So lessen the amount of feet the trap is deep.

Whirling Blades
pendulum scythes
Warding Rune

Another thing to consider is the environment the traps are in, and the creatures that are setting the traps. For instance, it's unlikely (though certainly not impossible) that a kobold lair will contain a pendulum blade or other elaborate mechanism trap, or that a low-level goblin adept would cast a magic trap above their spell level capability or class availability (though they could have had an enslaved spellcaster of a higher level create such traps), these especially in the consideration of being in a cave/cavern.

These same creatures might build slightly more complex traps in a ruin or dungeon setting.

Don't forget that traps can be magic. A magic trap can be nothing more than a warded hallway set to unleash fire on any non-orcs that walk through.

Or an illusionary floor hiding a pitfall.

I personally enjoy traps in battle-zones.

Players walks in to a room, 3 melee monsters eating at a table jump up and rush them while 2 ranged monsters shoot. In the middle of the room, waiting for the first player to charge the ranged monster, a large pit trap.

A few friend and I were kicking around the idea of a dungeon designed by the spirit of a powerful Illusion caster. One of the best traps we came up with was an illusory floor with attacking tentacles, monsters, or claws over a fifty foot pit. If they disbelieve the illusion when they make contact with it they plummet to the bottom of the pit. If they fail the save they have to fight through the throng of illusory monsters.

Another fun option, once the party realizes you're screwing with them, is illusory doors over solid walls. The smarty pants that thinks he can just charge through the illusory door will smack straight into the very real wall behind.

I've always been fond of illusions, and multi-layered illusions are wonderful things. An illusion of a labyrinth (including floor) over a pit trap is very similar to the one above, but add another layer. The stairs out of the pit trap along with the monster at the end are the only way out - disbelieve at your peril. Okay, they're going to get out, but it'll make it harder. Then there's the old standbys, like casting an illusion of a hydra over a basilisk. Go, on, stare at the hydra and say you disbelieve...

If you're feeling particularly cruel, you could check out the Book of Challenges. I wouldn't do that unless the campaign was set up for frequent PC death, though, because the traps in that tome would make Gygax himself cackle with evil glee.

thanks I might look at that for the puzzles. Anyway just testing some rolling things.

Dice Roll: 1d20+3z
d20 Results: 17 (Total = 20)
These dice were omitted, altered, or moved: 1d20+3
Original Dice: 1d20+3


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Last Database Backup 2017-02-21 09:00:06am local time
Myth-Weavers Status