This fine silken tapestry appears to depict some sort of prophecy, or at least very flattering image, involving the PCs. Tailor this to your campaign, but embroider your description to give them as much reason as possible to take the thing with them. However, PCs who touch the tapestry must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 for a brief touch, DC 18 if the tapestry is gripped fully, DC 20 if it is held for more than a few seconds, and DC 25 if it covers them). Those who fail find that they cannot put the tapestry down – their flesh has taken on a woven texture and merged into the threads of the tapestry.
The process is painless and the tapestry may be willing to relinquish its grasp at any particular point, so PCs can move their grips around freely – it’s only letting go altogether that it won’t allow. An immediate DC 20 Strength check allows victims who are only holding the tapestry to pull their hands free, but deals 1 hp of damage per HD/level and imposes a -4 penalty to Strength-, Dexterity- or Constitution-based checks involving the hands (for instance, Disable Device checks or Fortitude saves to resist a contact poison touched with the raw skin of the hands).
Over the next round the woven texture spreads up the PC’s arms; after 5 rounds it covers them completely, and after that they begin to be unwoven and absorbed into the tapestry. (For visual reference, think of knitting unravelling combined with a sort of textile version of Jeff Bridges being scanned and uploaded in Tron.) Thereafter the trapestry’s victims are visible in it – you never see them move, but when you blink they are in a different location.
The effects of this trap may be more narrative in nature – you might allow PCs to quest through the woven world for a way to unweave the enchantment that binds them. You may allow the setback to confer them benefits in the overall plot – for instance, perhaps they can travel between tapestries (through weft-space), allowing them to see out into the real world from the tapestries that show their current location, and even (once they’ve worked out how to escape) allowing them to exit into an otherwise impenetrable fortress.
Or you could simply treat it as a modified flesh to stone effect – flesh to thread – and allow a magical cure.
Slightly anachronistic, perhaps, but great for a spellcaster worried about other casters breaking into her tower.
This trap consists of a door that requires a password to be spoken into the ear of a nearby statue or non-critter gargoyle to open. The party (or at least the party scout) should have a chance to see it being used and to get the password, but should not have a reason to test the password themselves – leave the door open while the owner is inside so the rogue can see in. The room beyond should ideally be one that one of the casters will want to enter first – perhaps a wizardly lab or even a necromantic one, to give both arcane and divine types a reason to go first.
The catch is that if the password is spoken by someone other than the owner of the tower, not only does the lock fail to open but the person speaking the password into it feels a puff of air on their face from the statue’s ear. That character’s player must make a DC 21 Fortitude save – if they fail, pass them a note explaining that their character may not speak or make any vocal noise (humming, etc) – their voice has been locked. (See what we did there?) This effect lasts d6*10 minutes.
To be really cruel, you could make it a bardic library – or indicate that a successful DC 25 Performance (acting) or DC 30 Performance (any vocal skill) check to imitate the owner’s voice will successfully fool the lock.
This trap does the same thing two different ways – and must therefore be spotted and disarmed twice.
It consists of a 10′-square floor slab in a 10′-wide corridor, directly below a concealed hole in the ceiling with spikes at the top. When stepped upon, the slab slams upwards, bashing through the thin cover on the hole and impaling victims on the spikes.
Underneath the slab there is a spring mechanism which forces the slab upwards and is triggered by the addition of extra weight. There is also a triggered spell trap affecting the slab, which casts reverse gravity when the slab is stepped on, causing it (and anyone on it) to fall upwards onto the spikes.
Spotting either trap has a Perception DC of 28, and disarming either trap has a DC of 28. Both versions of the trap do 6d6 bludgeoning and 5d6 piercing damage – this isn’t doubled if neither version has been disarmed. The only complication of the trap is that it requires 2 successful checks to notice and to disarm.
A very simple trap, this one involves running a powerful electrical current through a (conductive, though possibly covered with a non-conductive veneer) metal lock that is unlocked with a (likewise conductive) metal key. Those who know about the trap will know to ensure that they are wearing protective gloves when using the key. Those who are not in the know will suffer the trap’s effects.
This trap can be circumvented accidentally, so it works best outside of environments where PCs might naturally be wearing insulative hand protection. Hot climates and places where the PCs do not expect the intrusion to be investigated (so aren’t worried about fingerprints) are the place for this trap – perhaps it is a locker where a captured villain has stashed some critical files. If PCs are using equipment that can detect electrical current (or naturally have such senses), give them an easy-to-automatic chance to notice the trap; if they have similar abilities to detect magnetic fields, give them a slightly harder shot.
Tags: door, modern, sci-fi
This trap is a simple one, and works as a kind of psychological test for your PCs (and players).
The PCs adventure to a mausoleum filled with monsters, traps, and of course booty. Booty which is very specifically arranged. Upon defeating all the threats and obstacles, naturally they will want to leave with their loot… but the doors won’t open. (For high-level play, perhaps the entire tomb has been shifted sideways into a pocket dimension, so there’s nowhere to escape to. In this case, the tomb probably already has dimensional anchoring to prevent walls being bypassed, so a simple spell won’t suffice for escape.)
The only way to regain access to the outside world is to replace everything back where they got it, more or less precisely as you prefer. There’s no need to flag this fact – let the PCs sweat a while. You might lay some narrative pipe earlier in the piece by alluding to greed as a theme in the life of the person whose mausoleum it is, but that’s up to you.
Countermeasures depend on the nature of the trap. If it’s mechanical, a big block of stone in the doorway to jam the door open, or precisely-weighed bags of sand, might trick the mechanism into letting the PCs escape. If it’s magical, an anti-divination spell on each item to be stolen combined with a false magical aura spell on a substitute might do the trick. Conversely, an advanced portable hole capable of operating across planar gulfs might do the job if they’re prepared to leave one end behind… but maybe a magically isolated pocket plane could be a reward in itself, especially if you allow the PCs to customise it into their own personal domain. (Of course, this potentially means their home base might be haunted, which gives you some useful hanging plot threads.)
The name of this trap refers to an old method of trapping monkeys for eating – apparently, monkeys can work out how to get their hands into jars to get fruit, but aren’t quite smart enough to work out that they have to let go of the fruit to get their hand back out.
We believe this trap was actually used by the IRA (the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist group dedicated to getting the British out of Northern Ireland) as a parting gift for British law enforcement. It works best as a modern trap, but with some adjustment of flavour could be used in a fantasy setting.
The PCs are given the location of a safe house belonging to an enemy group – a rival spy organisation, a demented cult, a supervillain’s gang, etc. When they arrive they discover that the safe house has been cleared out and completely scrubbed down. Whether enough forensic traces of their enemies remain is up to you – but also quite possibly academic.
As the PCs enter, you note that the only sound in the place is a steadily dripping tap, landing in an empty metal sink (there is no plug, so the water just drains away). Drip, drip, drip. As the PCs investigate, the dripping continues – either implicitly or explicitly driving home the complete emptiness of the safe house and thereby mocking their efforts. Play it low-key – you don’t want to give away that this piece of flavour is also bait – but make it mean something more than just scenery to the players. Eventually one of the PCs may get irritated enough by the incessant dripping that they go to turn off the tap – at which point contact is made in the detonation switch, and explosives in the walls and scattered through the building go off.
This trap was originally designed to be completely lethal, so while of course it’s up to you we recommend that the damage be extreme – especially around the trigger.
Whether the PCs have a chance to find the explosives is also up to you – again, in the original traps they were well hidden, often in the walls (set up as the safe house was originally established), or roofspace, or under the floor – or all three. Alternatively they may be hidden in plain sight as caches of (apparently inert) bomb materials.
Tragically, this trap originated as what was supposed to be a prank between two close friends. Or rather, former friends. Or rather one and a half former friends.
The trap is diabolically simple. On a cluttered alchemist’s bench, a flask sits, looking enticing in some way. However, a hairline seam runs around the base. If it is not twisted before being lifted, the top and sides simply lift free from the base, spilling the entire contents over anyone nearby. (Twisting the top screws it onto the base, allowing it to be lifted securely… If it’s turned enough and in the right direction.)
This trap consists of a long bookshelf along one wall in a room that the PCs expect to have a secret passage. One book is particularly incongruous (Courtship rituals of the lesser Mozambican gerbil) and sticking out from the shelf slightly (Perception 13 to notice). If pulled, it causes the entire ten-foot-tall bookshelf to slam forwards onto the ground within 10′ of the wall on which the shelves are mounted. (Perception 23 to spot the hinges and possibly some very faded bloodstains on the carpet; DC 23 skill check to disable the trap or set it off slowly; in PFRPG, 6d6 bludgeoning damage with Reflex 23 to take no damage, or 20 for half damage; in M&M3E, a bludgeoning attack with a +13 bonus.)
The trap also covers the real secret exit – a trapdoor which is now under the bookshelves. (DC 28 to notice it before this, as it’s under a rug.) If through some incredible fluke a PC is standing on the trapdoor when the trap hits them, the trapdoor takes as half much damage as the PC, and if that exceeds its 15 hp, it collapses under them. It’s up to you how far they fall and what they find.
The PCs are climbing down a high cliff on vines, when some of the vines attack them. Use a standard creature such as an assassin vine, or treat it as a Reflex save against DC 20 to avoid being immobilized and taking 2d6 constriction damage per round. The trap part comes from the fact that the PCs cannot be overzealous in destroying the vines, lest they fall – give a vine 15 hp and hardness 3, and if the vine is destroyed, any PC being held by it must make a Reflex save against a DC equal to the number of negative hp the vine now has or they fall.
On the plus side, if a PC falls past a patch of vine trap, the vines reflexively try to snare them – give the vines a raw d20 roll against a target number equal to half the number of feet fallen. If the vines hit, the PC takes quarter the normal falling damage and is immobilized as above. If the vines miss by less than 5, the PC can make a Reflex save against the same target number to grab the vines and halt their fall, taking the quarter falling damage, but not ending up immobilized. If the vines miss by more than 5, the PC simply continues falling.
Alternatively: the PCs are climbing a ladder and the ladder animates. (This is especially apt for places with a snake motif to their fixtures.) If you use this variant, give the ladder 20hp and hardness 8, and be ready for/with the Snakes & Ladders jokes.
Possibly a cursed item that is apparently enchanted to secure big wins, and indeed does so, but goes off immediately after helping its owner to a major haul; or possibly a nasty weapon to be used by a gambler who doesn’t like the way the game is going, the cardsharp’s reversal is a deck of cards where the aces of each suit are modified in such a way that the edges can become razor-sharp mid-shuffle, and the cards themselves a little larger and substantially heavier – perhaps they even transform into slightly-larger-than-card-sized razors.
In PFRPG terms, this transformation triggers a Reflex save vs DC 25. On a successful save, the victim takes 2d6 damage plus 1d6 bleed, and a -2 penalty on all Dexterity- based checks involving the hands until the previous damage is healed. On a failed save, the target loses 1d6 fingers: in addition to the above effects, for each finger lost there is a further permanent -1 penalty to the aforementioned checks and to checks pertaining to grip strength (eg disarm checks) until the fingers can be reattached, regrown or replaced, presumably with a regeneration spell or similar. This penalty reduces by 1 for each level gained, as the character learns to compensate, but never to less than half its original value, rounded up. A hand that has lost enough digits may lose the ability to grip altogether.