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Bait & Switch: Well, I Didn’t See That Coming

Bait & Switch: Well, I Didn’t See That Coming

cat illusionSome trapsmiths believe in the tried and true “bigger is better” in trap design. However, some of the more offbeat trapsmiths prefer complexity in their designs.

Many of these traps comprise multiple smaller traps, and the CR of each is determined separately. Stages should be treated as separate traps (e.g. requiring separate Perception checks). If only a single DC is provided for a check, it applies to all such checks for the trap. These traps either have bait incorporated into them or produce their own when triggered…

Ceiling Snare Drop Trap (CR 1 and CR 5)

Type mechanical; Perception 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect snare (grappled; DC 20 avoids)
Effect atk +15 melee (6d6); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. square)
Cost 3,500 gp

This trap creates its own bait by ensnaring victims and hoisting them 10 ft. off the ground and upside down. If the rope used in the snare is pulled on or cut without first disabling the ceiling trap, it will trigger the ceiling to fall.

Self-Destructing Scroll Rack Trap (CR 1 and CR 2)

Type mechanical; Perception 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect atk +10 ranged (1d3 plus greenblood oil)
Effect alchemist’s fire (1d6 fire damage; DC 15 reflex save for half); multiple targets (all targets within 5 ft. of rack)
Cost
1,500 gp

A favorite of paranoid spellcasters protecting arsenals of scrolls, the self-destructing scroll rack trap seems like a standard trapped scroll rack with a poison dart trap. However, when one of the scrolls is pulled from the rack without first deactivating the secondary trap (either through Disable Device or Perception to find the hidden switch) it smashes a vial of alchemists fire over each scroll effectively destroying the scrolls and burning anyone near the rack.

Gelatinous Room Trap (CR 6 and CR 4)

Type mechanical; Perception 10 and 25; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger touch; Reset manual
Effect atk +20 ranged (6d6 damage); multiple targets (all targets in a 20-ft. line)
Effect gelatinous cube (reflex DC 14 avoids being engulfed)
Cost 10,000 gp

This trap is a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. door with a relatively easy to spot trap of flying debris . The idea is to lure intruders into thinking something important is behind the door. However, the only thing behind the door is a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room containing a gelatinous cube with a large spring-loaded mechanism behind it that forcefully launches it 10 ft. forward, directly into anyone unfortunate enough to be standing in its way.

The Double Pit Trap (CR 8 and CR 8 )

Type mechanical; Perception 25; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect 50-ft.-deep pit (5d6 falling damage); pit spikes (atk +15 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d6+5 damage each; DC 20 Reflex avoids); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. square)
Effect 50-ft.-deep pit (5d6 falling damage); pit spikes (atk +15 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d6+5 damage each; DC 20 Reflex avoids); multiple targets (all targets in a 20-ft. square)
Cost 8,000 gp

Pits are such a commonplace trap in dungeons that many adventurers carry implements solely for climbing out of them. This pit trap, however, has a secondary effect that is triggered when weight (equal to two Medium creatures) is within 5 ft. of the edge of the pit. This causes the hole to collapse wider and potentially spill even more victims into the pit.

Trap Springer’s Nightmare Trap (CR 1 and CR 16)

Type mechanical and magical; Perception 10 and 34; Disable Device DC 20 and 34
Trigger location and trap disable; Reset none
Effect atk +15 ranged (1d6+6 damage)
Effect spell effect (heightened symbol of death, DC 23 resists); multiple targets (all targets within 60 ft.)
Cost 12,000 gp

This trap wipes out novice adventurers and leaves experts waking up in cold sweat with the memories. A simple and almost-impossible-not-to-find javelin trap hides a devastating heightened symbol of death. A single Perception check (DC 34) is enough to find both traps and identify the danger of disabling the first trap.

The Kitten (CR 15)

Type magical; Perception 34; Disable Device DC 34
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (summon monster IX, summons 1 ice devil); spell effect (veil, disguises ice devil as kitten, +34 to Disguise check)
Cost 10,800 gp

The trouble with traps that summon creatures is the tendency for adventurers to simply flee until the spell ends, returning later when the danger has passed. What they don’t expect is for a fluffy white ball of fluffy cuteness to suddenly pop into existence and mew helplessly. Unaware of the disguised devil, many adventurers either ignore or try to help the poor kitten… until it spits out infernal epithets and casts ice spells against them.

(Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible)

9 thoughts on “Bait & Switch: Well, I Didn’t See That Coming”

  1. “Stages should be treated as separate traps (e.g. requiring separate Perception checks).”

    I do not agree with the above, one check should decide if one or more traps are detected. The perception check already deals with the secondary trap element (the character already checks for that), the player should not have to do it as well.

    I think the “Trap Springer’s Nightmare Trap” backs up my view as well.

    Regarding the traps: good stuff!

  2. My favorites are the double pit trap and the kitten. Very nice.

    Also, I’d somewhat agree with Darkjoy’s comment above. The checks COULD be separate, but the player certainly shouldn’t have to search an area more than once to determine if there is a trap there. (I’d be more concerned about that than about how many times the dice are rolled to determine the presence or absence of a trap.)

  3. I prefer the single Perception roll with two target numbers, which is what Jonathan provided here for the double traps. Makes it easy to spot the first one, harder to see the second — just as the trapsmith intended.

  4. I think it’s a matter of taste how you want to handle the two target numbers myself. A single roll does make things quicker but at the same time can create a bit of resentment when they find the first trap but fail to get the second one. Both work I just prefer giving them a second chance before they open that gelatinous room…

    Glad everyone liked it, I may have another part to this coming now that I’m out of the hospital. We’ll see. :)

  5. One Perception roll with two target numbers makes perfect sense to me. If a PC perceives the first trap and not the second, but thinks that was too easy and has the suspicious presence of mind to say she looks more closely, give her a second roll.

    Gloriously nasty traps! I’m not sure if my players would, on principal alone, automatically fireball a kitten that bursts into existence in the midst of a tense moment. (Probably. But that’s easy enough to test, isn’t it?) But a spring-loaded gelatinous cube? Perfect!

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