Posts Tagged With: furniture trap

Beware the cliche trap


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.

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Itchy and scratchy trap


This trap works in two parts.

The first part involves coating the victims-to-be in a deadly injury poison (a poison which needs to break the skin to do damage). Perhaps they have to climb through an abandoned silo filled with toxic spores, or wade through a poisonous planar swamp, or pose as cultists and be baptised in  a pool of venom. (This last option works well, as it gives players a chance to know exactly what’s going on and to feel clever about not worrying about taking a bath in the stuff.) If you’d rather use disease than poison, it could even be as simple as sewer-crawling. In any case, the characters (and players) should have a moment of apprehension, but the scene should feel more like a memorable piece of narrative colour rather than Phase One of your latest dastardly scheme.

Some time later, when players and characters have had a chance to forget the setup above but before they’ve had a chance to wash, they get exposed to itching powder. Really strong itching powder. It makes the PCs soooo itchy

If characters decide not to scratch on general principle, they may make a hard roll (in PFRPG, a DC 18 Will save) to resist the urge – this is seriously itchy stuff. They get a substantial bonus (PFRPG: +10) to this roll if they recall the stakes, i.e. that they are coated in injury poison. If you’re feeling generous, and none of the players recall the danger, you might like to make a hidden roll for their characters to give them a chance to remember.

Bonus Manipulative GM points if you can get the party prankster to administer the itching powder without catching on to the consequences.

(Death by bedbug option: Rather than itching powder, use insect bites as the trigger.)

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Desk verminarium


This is simply a drawer full of spiders, scorpions, or other vermin. (This might be a nest rather than an intentional trap if the structure which houses it is derelict.) If it is intentional, the drawer is presumably secure enough that the creatures can’t escape, so warning signs might include the mechanism by which food is delivered into the drawer to keep the vermin alive, or even a cover which can be removed to reveal a window into the desk to watch the vermin inside the drawer.

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Bung handle


A bung handle is a door handle that, when pulled, simply pops out of the door, releasing a gas or liquid stored either inside the door or on the other side of the door (or “door”; there’s no need to attach this trap to an actual working door, after all, when a facsimile thereof will often do just as well). The most effective way to use this trap is with an invisible gas, and to ensure that the bung looks like an actual broken door handle, so that victims stand around laughing about not knowing their own strength or trying to find another way to open the door (or, again, “door”), breathing nice and deeply all the while.

Resetting the trap is usually as simple as replacing the bung in the hole. However, you might create a version of this trap by installing the handle into rotten wood or rusty metal. This would have the advantage of disguising the trap as the simple effects of the ravages of time, but would mean it could not easily be reset.

Some more advanced versions of this trap will have a handle that works normally if turned one way (usually the counter-intuitive way), but if turned the other way, releases the bung to pop out of the hole. These traps must be carefully designed in order to appear as though the mechanism is not intentional, though even if PCs realise this to be the case, they may assume that the object is simply to delay them in opening the door.

You can also use this trap with handles on chests, drawers, and so on, but the spaces inside tend to be smaller and therefore to contain less of whatever hazard you wish to impose upon PC.

No specific rules information is supplied as the trap is extremely difficult – or downright impossible – to see before activating, and the attack derives from whichever gas or liquid you decide to include in the trap.

Whichever version you use, be sure to tell players the name of this trap after it’s all over to inflict additional pun damage.

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Edged clasp


An edged clasp is simply a clasp, such as one might find on a book or a chest, that has been filed down to a razor edge on the underside, where it is not visible until open; if the clasp really opens at all, it is stiff, to ensure that the victim has to really exert force to move it. Naturally, attempting to open the clasp with unprotected hands is similar to grasping the edge of a dagger, and like a dagger the edge may or may not have been poisoned.

Rather than give specific rules information, simply treat noticing the trap as a difficult task; if the character fails to notice it and attempts to open the clasp, treat this as a successful dagger (or other small edged weapon) attack to the hand.

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Trap-bottomed drawers


These drawers must be opened in a particular way – perhaps by holding down a button on the inside of the handle as it is pulled open, or simply by supporting the bottom of the drawer as it slides out.

If opened incorrectly, the front part of the bottom of the drawer detaches from the other part and, as it is attached to the front of the drawer by hinges and not attached to the sides at all, swings down, dropping the contents of the first part of the drawer to the floor. Such contents usually include a thrown weapon with splash damage such as acid, an explosive, or a vial of poison gas – apply damage as for the object which is triggered when it hits the ground. Other options include indelible inks or dyes to mark thieves, highly potent perfumes or nauseating scents to make them easy to track, holy water, et cetera.

If you are feeling merciful, you may allow PCs a chance to catch the bottom of the drawer before it falls fully open, especially since this trap is almost impossible to detect without having already pulled the drawer out; but bear in mind that it is otherwise nearly impossible to catch the item before it breaks – the drawer itself gets in the way. Otherwise simply resolve the trap as an attack by the appropriate weapon.

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