3 Free RPG Traps | Perils of the Planes
By Sebastian Duesing
Blinded by the Light
Magical trap (Simple trap, level 5-10, dangerous)
Description. There is an ornately decorated door featuring a carved relief of an angel holding a banner overhead. The banner is inscribed with calligraphy glittering with gold leaf. A character that knows Celestial can read this calligraphy: it says, “O, covetous souls, turn thine eyes upon the light.” There is nothing more than a wall hidden behind this false door.
Trigger. Opening the door triggers the trap.
Effect. When a character opens the door, a searing blast of divine radiance flares within the doorway. The character must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, they take 16 (3d10) radiant damage and are blinded for 1 minute. On a successful saving throw, they take half damage and are not blinded.
Countermeasures. A character that succeeds on a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check can detect a thin line of golden runes surrounding the door. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check can confirm that the runes invoke radiance and evocation magic. Casting dispel magic on the door disables the trap for one hour. If a character averts or covers their eyes before opening the door, they have advantage on the Dexterity saving throw against this trap.
The Curse of Mirth
Magical trap (Simple trap, level 1-4, setback)
Description. The Curse of Mirth is an enchantment often used by fey to draw attention to intruders. This magical trap can be applied to any object, but fey are particularly likely to apply it to something small and expensive looking (though usually worthless), like an ostentatious ring or a shining golden coin.
Trigger. Touching the object to which this trap is applied triggers it.
Effect. A character that triggers the trap must make a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw. If the character is immune to being charmed, they succeed automatically. If they fail, they perceive everything as outrageously funny, and they are struck by an uncontrollable fit of raucous laughter that lasts for one hour. While they are affected by this laughing fit, the character’s speed is reduced by 10 feet, and they have disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide from creatures that can hear, as their howling laughter makes their presence exceedingly obvious.
Countermeasures. Casting detect magic in the area reveals enchantment magic originating from the object used as the trap’s trigger. Casting dispel magic on the trap disables it for one hour. Casting calm emotions on the affected character ends the laughing fit. The silence spell or a similar effect can alleviate the Dexterity (Stealth) disadvantage caused by the sound of their laughter.
The Great Maw
Magical trap (Complex trap, level 17-20, dangerous)
Description. This demonic trap is within a room at least 60 feet square. The desiccated corpse of a long-dead demon lord hangs from sturdy iron chains in the center of the room. Beneath it, the floor’s surface ripples with stony protrusions that resemble a sealed-together set of teeth within a snarling maw, and a foul smell, like that of rotting meat, emanates from below. When this trap activates, the floor contorts as the mouth magically opens, revealing a terrible gullet beneath and unleashing abyssal fury upon those that trigger the trap.
Trigger. The trap activates whenever a creature that is not a demon touches or interacts with the demon lord’s corpse.
Initiative. The trap acts on initiative count 20 and initiative count 10.
Active Elements. When the trap is triggered, the maw opens, creating a 20-foot-radius hole in the floor that descends into a 100-foot-deep pit below. The trap begins to spew flame, roar, and attempt to sweep creatures into its maw with a giant tongue.
Sealed Doors (Initiative 20). This effect activates only once, the first time the trap acts. Any doors that lead to this room slam shut and are secured as if by the arcane lock spell cast at 5th level.
Sweeping Tongue (Initiative 20). A massive tongue protrudes from the maw and attempts to ensnare one character within 10 feet of the maw. The targeted character must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be swept into the maw. A character caught in by the tongue falls 100 feet into the gullet (see Constant Elements below).
Belch Flame (Initiative 10). The maw belches a gout of abyssal fire in a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on the opening of the maw. Creatures in the area must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 44 (8d10) fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much on a success. The demonic flame clings to those it scorches; a creature that fails its saving throw takes an additional 22 (4d10) fire damage at the start of its next turn.
Earth-Shaking Roar (Initiative 10). The maw unleashes a thunderous roar. All creatures in the room must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Dynamic Elements. The trap is empowered by “consuming” creatures. If the trap successfully pulls a character into the maw with its Sweeping Tongue action, the damage of its next Belch Flame action increases to 55 (10d10) fire damage.
Constant Elements. The gullet deep beneath the maw is a 100-foot-deep, 20-foot-radius cavern that contains a 5-foot-deep pool of digestive juices. A dizzyingly foul smell permeates the space within the gullet. A creature that starts its turn in the maw takes 22 (4d10) acid damage and must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned by the stench until the start of its next turn.
Countermeasures. While in the room before the trap activates, characters with a Passive Perception score of 17 or higher notice a low, rumbly sound emanating from beneath the floor, suggesting the breathing of something truly massive. A detect magic spell cast in the area reveals powerful conjuration and transmutation magic emanating from the demon lord’s corpse, indicating it might be the source of the magic powering the maw trap. If the corpse is within an antimagic area like that produced by the antimagic field spell, the trap is immobilized as long as the antimagic area is present: if it is active, it cannot take actions, and if it is inactive, it cannot activate.