UPDATE: If you’d like the traps originally offered in this post you can now grab them in an edited, better formatted, art included PDF over at the DMs Guild as a Pay What You Want product.

If it hasn’t been made clear by yet, I love fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. It’s really wonderful in all of its streamlined, versatile storytelling glory. So don’t think me harsh when I say the latest Dungeon Master’s Guide is lacking in the number sample traps to drop into your campaign. I totally understand why. This amazing tome is jam-packed with so many subjects, it’s difficult to give a lot of attention to one area without cheating another (though I could have used less detailed description Forgotten Realms coinage and more traps, but that’s me).

Anyway rather than sitting around and complaining about the lack of traps in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I decided maybe I should provide some traps of my own. Take a gander at the traps below and feel free to steal ’em for your game. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a PDF and if you feel so inclined, please share it around.

Traps

Many of these traps are found in older editions of the Dungeon Master’s Guide and were updated by me, a few are of my own creation, and one was stolen from Ewoks. Don’t tell me Ewoks aren’t scary. They eat people. Enjoy!

Abyssal Gate

Magic trap

This trap requires a spellcaster to carve a specific sequence of Abyssal runes into a doorframe using demon blood and diamond dust. The person who carves the runes chooses a passphrase in Abyssal. When the passphrase is spoken aloud (whispering counts) within 15 feet of the door, the trap is rendered inert for 1 minute. When the final rune is carved, the sequence fades into the woodwork, metal, or stone. The runes can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check, but a character can feel the runes if it runs its hand along the frame and succeeds on a DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check. A character who knows Abyssal can determine the passphrase with a DC 15 Intelligence check, though sometimes the passphrase is more difficult to discover and a clever carver may hide it in a riddle within the runes. Dealing 50 damage to the door’s frame renders the trap inert until it is repaired. The AC for the doorframe depends on the material of which it is made (wood AC 15, stone AC 17, metal AC 19).

Any non-fiend creature who walks through the door triggers the trap. The creature is transported into a random area of the Abyss and witnesses unspeakable horror. That creature must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save it takes 55 (10d10) psychic damage. On a success it takes half damage. The creature returns on the side of the doorframe from which it entered at the end of its next turn.

Acidic Fall

Mechanical trap

Suspended above a 10-foot-square of thin stone ceiling is an acid-filled container. Any weight of more than 20 pounds placed on a hidden pressure plate in the floor beneath this area triggers the trap. The pressure plate can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character studying the area can determine the pressure plate is a slightly different color than the rest of the floor with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating.

When the trap is triggered the container holding the acid opens, pouring it onto the ceiling. Immediately stone and acid rain down upon any creatures standing beneath. Creatures in the area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 11 (2d10) acid and 11 (2d10) bludgeoning damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage.

Crushing Room

Mechanical trap

Stone walls at opposite ends of the room are rigged to move toward one another, crushing and compacting anything in the room until they touch. Any weight of more than 20 pounds placed on a hidden pressure plate at the center of the room triggers the trap. The pressure plate can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character studying the area can determine the pressure plate is a slightly different color than the rest of the floor with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating. A character can notice that the floor, ceiling, and walls have many scrapes on their surfaces with a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check.

When the trap is triggered, all doors to the room immediately close and lock. The doors are iron (AC 19, 27 hit points) and any character with thieves’ tools can pick the lock with a DC 20 Dexterity check. A character without thieves tools’ can attempt this check with disadvantage using a hair pin, wire, or other thin, metal tool.

The traps acts at the start of every round, each wall moving toward the center of the room at a pace of 5 feet per round. Characters can attempted to slow the walls by bracing a sturdy object (such as an iron pole) between the two walls. If characters do this these objects break at the start of the round, but the walls do not move that round.

A character who is adjacent to a wall can try to delay one wall from moving by making a DC 20 Strength check. The creature must remain adjacent to the wall until the start of the next round. On a successful check the wall does not move forward at the start of the next round.

As the walls move toward one another, the room shrinks pushing creatures and objects toward the center. At the start of the round when the room becomes too narrow for a creature (once the walls are touching for Medium and smaller creatures) that creature is restrained and it must make a DC 17 Strength saving throw. Creatures who fail take 55 (10d10) bludgeoning damage and creatures who succeed take half damage. Once the walls touch they grind against each other for two rounds and the walls slide back to their original position at the start of a round at a rate of 5 feet per round.

Sometimes the designer of this trip will put a hidden kill switch somewhere within the room in case the trap is triggered by accident. Such a kill switch is usually well hidden beneath a stone in the floor or wall and requires a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check to find. Pressing the switch causes the walls to slide back into their original position at a rate of 5 feet per round on the start of the round. Once the walls are back into their original position, the doors unlock.

Need MORE Traps?

If you want even more traps, check out my man David Gibson‘s designs. Devious! His entire website is awesome.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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Comments
  1. Chris Perkins, the crew from Penny Arcade and Wil Wheaton have ruined anything “Acid Trap Based” for me. So immediately after seeing Acidic Fall, I immediately thought of poor Aeofel and Acquisitions Incorporated. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Still not enough traps? Check out some at James Introcaso’s blog. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] of traps in the DMG,” you’re absolutely right. I recommend James Introcaso’s 20 Traps in a PDF, over on World Builder Blog. We definitely need more traps, otherwise the “dungeons” […]

    Liked by 1 person

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