Adapted from Scott Murray’s “Spiked Pits, Poisoned Arrows, and Healing Words” from Kobold Quarterly #12.
As discussed the previous article, traps can impede a party in more ways that just a poison arrow or a snare. Boon traps are generally magical devices that provide bonuses rather than penalties. They may not target adventurers intruding on their lair, but the bonuses that boon traps provide to a party’s adversaries have a definite impact.
Boon traps were conceived by evil masterminds tired of their minions triggering traps prematurely, wasting two valuable resources with one blunder. Although a boon trap could be set up in the centre of a room, this would allow intruders too easy access to them. The best boon traps are designed around the strengths and abilities of specific monsters. A resounding proclamation (boon) in a room with a troll might be on a ledge 10 ft. high. A sigil of haste (boon) in a room with a fire elemental might be at the bottom of a shallow pool of lava…
Assuming it can be reached, a boon trap can be bypassed with a successful Disable Device skill check just like any other trap. Only characters with the trapfinding ability (like rogues) can bypass a magical boon trap. Even if a character disables a boon trap, they cannot bring it with them to install elsewhere and gain its benefits. Boon traps are not loot. They are typically massive, delicate, anchored, or all of the above.
Example Boon Traps
Listed below are sample boon traps to challenge characters of all levels. A party that defeats all threats in a room with a boon trap gains experience for overcoming an encounter of the boon trap’s CR even if they do not disable it.
Because boon traps need not be concealed to be effective, two Perception DCs are listed: a DC for the boon trap when hidden and a DC for the boon trap when visible. (An exception is the eye of searing shadow, which is hidden by its nature.) If the party has easy access to a boon trap that benefits them, lower the CR of the boon trap by half or more.
Resounding Proclamation Boon Trap (CR 3)
A thunderous edict resounds from a stone face, rousing nearby monsters to greater ferocity.
Type magic; Perception DC 28 (hidden), DC 13 (visible); Disable Device DC 28
Trigger touch, command word, special (wound); Duration 10 rounds Reset automatic
Effect spell effect (rage, +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a -2 penalty to AC)
Wound trigger (Sp) When a creature touches the resounding proclamation’s stone face and speaks the command word, the wound trigger is activated. The next time this creature is wounded within 30 ft. of the resounding proclamation (boon), it gains the effect of a rage spell. This effect lasts for 10 rounds minus the number of rounds that have passed since the wound that triggered the effect (minimum 0). A number of creatures equal to the resounding proclamation’s caster level (typically 5) can set this wound trigger. If the maximum number of creatures have set the wound trigger, the wound trigger cannot be set again for 10 rounds or until one of the creatures that set the wound trigger dies.
Icon of Fiendish Recovery Boon Trap (CR 7)
A menacing arcane symbol augments a dungeon guardian’s recovery from devastating wounds.
Type magic; Perception DC 32 (hidden), DC 17 (visible); Disable Device DC 32
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (regenerate, cures 4d8 +13 points of damage, rids the subject of exhaustion and fatigue, eliminates all nonlethal damage the subject has taken)
Eye of Searing Shadow Boon Trap (CR 13)
Wisps of shadow snake from the iris of a large painted eye, bathing nearby monsters in a cloud of corrosive gloom.
Type magic; Perception DC 33 (hidden); Disable Device DC 33
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (cloak of chaos, +4 deflection bonus to AC, +4 resistance bonus on saves, spell resistance 25 against lawful spells and spells cast by lawful creatures, protection from possession and mental influence as cloak of chaos, lawful creatures that attack are confused as cloak of chaos)
Sigil of Haste Boon Trap (CR 20)
Crimson energy flares from a twisted symbol above, transforming a lumbering beast into an ephemeral blur.
Type magic; Perception DC 34 (hidden), DC 19 (visible); Disable Device DC 34
Trigger proximity (alarm); Duration 18 rounds Reset automatic reset
Effect spell effect (heightened, haste, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +1 dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves, extra attack as haste), (quickened displacement, 50% miss chance)