Tuesday Traps: Mantraps

Tuesday Traps: Mantraps

Most traps aim to kill or maim, overlooking the importance of capturing victims intact. Fur traders use mantraps to protect their investments, but not many creatures intent on protecting their stronghold do the same. Typical traps and snares used for game must be modified to catch larger and more intelligent humanoid victims because — especially in a woodland or dungeon setting — victims frequently carry tools that make a normal leg snare useless.

The only trap listed in the SRD that makes use of non-lethal or less than lethal means is the net trap or a shallow pit trap. It’s certainly possible to improve on those with some simple modifications. [More…]Many standard traps could serve this role if poison is added that renders the victims unconscious. A tyrant wishing to interrogate his trespassers, a vile cult hoping to capture a creature for sacrifice, or man-eating monsters that prefer their food wiggling might set mantraps.

These mantraps can all be combined with rising water, an encroaching lava flow, or a dragon’s breath weapon to become very deadly indeed. Even better, such traps give a major villain a perfect opportunity to deliver a full-blown monologue while sneering at the hapless PCs.

Dropping Cage Trap

As the name suggests, this trap is a metal or strong wooden cage that falls from the ceiling onto unsuspecting victims. Depending on the material, the cage can be very difficult to break; most such traps have weights on top to prevent the captured creature from escaping by lifting the cage.

Dropping Cage Trap CR 1
Type mechanical; Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 21

Trigger location; Reset automatic
Effect multiple targets, all within a 10 ft. by 10 ft. square; DC 22 Reflex avoids; Special cage has Break DC 25, 10 hardness and 60 hp.
Cost 3,100 gp

Tanglefoot Cluster Trap

This trap makes use of a cluster of tanglefoot bags launched or dropped on PCs stepping into the wrong area. Each of these volleys uses up four bags and covers a 10-foot-by-10-foot area.

Tanglefoot Cluster Trap CR 2
Type mechanical; Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 20

Trigger location; Reset manual; Bypass hidden switch (DC 25 Search)
Effect Atk +10 (DC 15 Reflex or entangled); Special target freed with DC 17 Str check or dealing 15 points of damage to the goo.
Cost 2,200 gp

Pixie Arrow Trap

This modification of a common arrow trap incorporates a strong sleep arrow that does no lethal damage and gently puts down its victim.

Pixie Arrow Trap CR 3
Type mechanical; Search DC 26; Disable Device DC 24

Trigger location; Reset manual; Bypass hidden switch (DC 25 Search)
Effect Atk +10 (1d6+1/x3, +1 deep slumber arrow); Special target up to 10 HD must succeed on a DC 14 Will save or fall asleep for 5 minutes.
Cost 3,540 gp

Holdfast Trap

This magical trap utilizes the spell mass hold person. Like the spell, it affects one or more humanoid creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart.

Holdfast Trap CR 7

Type magic device; Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32

Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset automatic; Bypass hidden switch (DC 25 Search)
Effect spell effect (mass hold person, 11th level wizard, DC 20 Will save)
Cost 45,500 gp, 3640 XP

Got a favorite trap? Discuss it in the KQ Forum.

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