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Trapsmith: This is Your Friendly Poison Delivery System

Trapsmith: This is Your Friendly Poison Delivery System

treasure chestEvery trapsmith loves poison, and poison loves trespassers. Standard poison delivery systems—part of every trapsmith’s portfolio—are the poison dart and poison needle traps.

How can something this simple be improved? With careful attention to detail and with massive overkill.

Poison Dart Trap (CR 1)

Type mechanical; Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 18
Trigger location; Reset manual
Effect atk +8 ranged (1d4 plus bloodroot)
Market Price 700 gp…

Poison Needle Trap (CR 1)

Type mechanical; Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger touch; Reset manual
Effect atk +8 ranged (1 plus greenblood oil)
Market Price 1,300 gp

These two traps just don’t pack much punch. Sure, the poisons are weak, but it’s the delivery of that poison where real change can be made to make the traps more impressive. There are two choices: we can either increase the likelihood of successful delivery or increase the number of deliveries.

High-Powered Poison Dart Trap (CR 1)

Type mechanical; Search DC 21; Disable Device DC 15
Trigger location; Reset manual
Effect atk +14 ranged (1d4+4 plus bloodroot)
Market Price 2,000 gp

By making it slightly more difficult to detect the trap, we can surrender some of the trap’s durability to pay for the increase in delivery power and accuracy. The poison itself remains weak, but now, it is just an extra threat rather than the main threat.

Hail of Poison Needles Trap (CR 1)

Type mechanical; Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 15
Trigger touch; Reset automatic
Effect atk +9 ranged (1 plus greenblood oil); multiple targets (fires 4d3 needles at each target in two adjacent 5-ft. squares)
Market Price 1,800 gp

Quantity is its own quality. Good alternatives for level appropriate poisons include blue whinnis (to incapacitate), small centipede poison (which may result in paralysis with enough hits), and black adder poison (which becomes incredibly dangerous if used in the hail of poison needles trap).

DM Tip

Mechanically, the hail of poison needles trap is CR 1, but in any practical application, it isn’t a CR 1 trap! We are talking about, on average, eight attacks at +9, and every hit forces a Fortitude save to resist. Only exceedingly cruel GMs would use this trap against 1st level characters.

You have been warned.

(This post is Product Identity.)

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What’s this lever do…?

Leave your final gurgled words below.

8 thoughts on “Trapsmith: This is Your Friendly Poison Delivery System”

  1. Great traps, as usual! I did have a question about the pricing of the hail of poison needles trap: Is the pricing correct?

    I ask because this trap essentially turns one dose of poison into 4d3 doses times the number of targets).

    assuming a roll of 12 (max) against two targets (one in each square)…then at least 24 needles must be coated with poison to be able to potentially hit this often (in the actual trap proper).

    If greenblood oil costs 100 gp (didn’t get my books, found on a website)…then shouldn’t just the poison on this trap cost 2400 gp?

    I think that the “extra costs” part of the trap calculation would have to include the cost of poison, but I’m no expert. What do you think?

  2. OK with the right poison, the hail of needles trap may get a yes to the crucial, “Is this carnage worth moving forward?” question. but the I don’t think the high powered dart will get the appropriate response. :)

  3. That is a good question Aberzanzorax. When I wrote, I recall asking myself the same thing. Should I add the costs of the poison per needle to the cost?

    To get my answer I took a look at the SRD and found this gem:

    Poisoned Dart Trap
    CR 4; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +15 ranged (1d4+4 plus poison, dart); multiple targets (1 dart per target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); poison (Small monstrous centipede poison, DC 10 Fortitude save resists, 1d2 Dex/1d2 Dex); Search DC 21; Disable Device DC 22. Market Price: 12,090 gp.

    Note the 90 GP, the cost of one dose. This trap is valued at 3000 * 4 + cost of poison. And the trap shoots multiple darts. So I thought, if the designers of the SRD do it like this, I can too.

    So, yes the price is right ;-)

  4. I love the traps Darkjoy. They’re a high point of my tuesdays. Maybe we could see a classic snare trap, the kind that lifts the target into the air. I’ve tried my hand at designing one, but I’d like to see one done by a professional. If I can email you my trap, maybe you could fix it up some?

  5. I’d say: check out the hand of god trap from a few month’s back.

    Use the forum PM function to send me what you got, I’ll read it and give you feedback.

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