Epic Dungeon in the Playground
Various Traps and Puzzles
1) Greedy Gas Trap
The PC’s Enter large round room, maybe 60’ in diameter. Across the room is a stone door with a really tough lock. The Party’s Rogue will have to pick it for a long time, or the fighters will have to beat it for a while before it crumbles.
The ground is made of sand, and the ceiling appears to be made of glass, the topside of which is covered in gold coins. This is how you find out who the greedy guy in your party is. It only takes one projectile from a crossbow, sling, bow, etc. to completely shatter the glass. The weight of the coins causes it to break further, and all under the glass (everyone in the room) must make a Reflex save of whatever the DM deems fair or take 3d6 damage from the falling glass. About two rounds after, while everyone is buzzing around picking up gold pieces, they realize the glass was not only holding back coins. A poisonous gas begins seeping down towards the ground, and every round their in it, they have to make a Fort save or fall unconscious. That could put some pressure on the guy trying to get the door open. If they just run back the way they came, the DM could make it so that the room can’t be entered again, and now they have to take “the long way” around. (Ravenwood)
2) Treadmill Trap
The PC’s enter a long hallway at a T-junction. There is a small step down into the hall, which appears to be about 70’-90’ feet long and ten feet across. Down one end appears to be a dead in wall with a bunch of holes in it, down the other end appears to be a door. Once everyone is in the hallway, they here a grinding noise, and the floor starts to slowly move towards the dead end wall. They now notice the floor is made of rubber. The movement increases in speed until the PC’s find themselves running. This is pretty much a big treadmill, and the wall with the holes in it now has spike sticking through them. Anyone who is taken into that wall will be impaled on the spikes for 5d6 damage (or however much you like.) In any case, the trick is to run as fast as you can, which could be difficult for heavily burdened or armed folk, and remember, you’re only moving about 5-10 forward a turn. About ten feet in front of the door is a stone platform that the players can jump onto for safety. For every round a PC remains on the treadmill, they have to roll a balance check of about 10 to stay on their feet. If they fail, then they lose about ten feet, and are that much more closer to the spikes.
There is a switch in the wall on the platform by the door that many will mistake to be the ‘off’ switch. The trick is the machine starts when all feet hit the rubber, and stop when all of them are off. Whoever hits the switch only reverses the direction of the treadmill, knocking everone still on it down and catapulting them onto the platform, perhaps breaking throught the door. If you are the type of DM like I am, you will perhaps put some hulking bad guys on the other side of that door ready to hack & slash at the PC’s who are out of breath and fatigued. Have fun. (Ravenwood)
3) The Meat(shield) Fryer
The PC’s get to the end of a hall, and come upon a chain dangling from a hole in the ceiling and a smooth stone slab door. Written on the door is the message “A test of Strength Lies Beyond”. If your PC’s are smart, they will make it so their heavy hitters and fighters will be the first in the room for what lies ahead. The chain obviously opens the door, simply pulling down on it with a Strength Check of about 12 will open the door quite easily. Whoever grasps the chain will feel as though the metal links are wet.
When the chain is yoinked, the door is raised and the fighters rush in, ready for battle, but find a nearly empty room. The room is 100’ long, and about 50’ wide, and completely dark. There is a small step down through the threshold, leaving everyone standing in shin deep water. About thirty feet away, hanging from the ceiling, about five feet above the water, are two, fat, parallel metal bars, arcs of lightning bounce back and forth between them.
The PC’s will now hear a sickening, wooden crack. That was the ancient block and tackle system that allowed for such an easy Strength Check to lift a heavy stone door and two metal electrodes bursting into hundreds of pieces. The Strength Check to keep the door open and the electrodes in the air is now about 20 or higher. It should be noted that it is at about this point the PC holding the chain realizes his hands have been Sovereign Glued to the chain, and he cant let go. There are a few busted pillar pieces laying around inside the room the others could try to seek refuge on, but they would only allow one person to stay on. They could try to push these under the electrodes to keep them from breeching the water, but they weight about a ton a piece. Another PC may go back through the door and help the other keep the chain pulled so that the electrodes and the door don’t plunge, but they too, will become glued to the chain.
If all else fails, and the PC holding the chain cannot keep the chain pulled down, all in the room are now trapped and will be electrocuted for 5d6 damage (or more >D) for every round the electrodes are in the water.
The trick is that at the end of the room sits a small table, and on it sits a tube of Universal Solvent with enough for one application. If the person can make it back to the door in time, they can fix the PC right up, unless of course, there are now two holding on to it.
Rather than just being a jerk, it might be a good idea to put a vast treasure in the room, give the PC’s reason to continue risking the chance of going back inside time after time.
If another PC is glues to the chain, it might be an entire side quest in itself to find a way to get him unstuck. (Ravenwood)
4) Run for it, Bobby!, part two
The PC’s appear to step through a door in the middle of a very long hallway. There is a door to the left and a wall with spikes at the other end. If they venture out, they will note that the floor appears to made out of rubber. When the last person steps out onto the hallway, the party hears a low rumble then a whining noise. The floor suddenly begins to move towards the spiked wall. The PC’s are basically on a large treadmill that begins pulling them
—- —- —- —- —| -|- —- —- —- —| —| 200’ long
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —| Door
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —| —| 10’ wide
towards danger. If the PC’s make a run for it they will have to make a Balance check of 15 to ensure they stay on , their feet while running on the conveyer belt. If they fail, they fall and zoom towards the spiked wall at about 50 feet a round and must make a Balance check of 15 just to stand back up. They should also realize that though they maybe able to move at 4x their regular speed, they only move a few feet every round. The last ten feet of the hall towards the left is stone, and the PC’s must make a Jump check of 14 to make it onto the stone floor. Once there, there is a switch in the wall. If the players assume it is a stop switch, they are wrong.
Throwing the switch merely reverses the direction of the treadmill. If any are unfortunate enough to hit the spikes, they take 3d8 piercing damage, an evilly aligned DM might make them diseased or poisoned. They will remain on the spike and take an additional 1d8 damage every round until someone throws the switch. When that occurs, the PC’s remaining must make a Balance check of 30 or fall to the ground as they are suddenly pitched forward, and eventually shot off the treadmill. The conveyer will not actually stop until everyone is off. PC’s on the treadmill being hurled into the PC’s on the stone floor near the door will end up doing lots of bludgeoning damage to each other and probably break through the door too.(Ravenwood)
5) Chimney Sweep
The players come to a room with what looks like a chimney, which is in fact a tunnel leading up. It is about a 200 foot climb, but the chimney is studded with smooth stones for many foot and hand holds. The tunnel is narrow, so the players will have to go one at a time up the chimney. About halfway up, there is a trigger stone. Whoever trips the stone will afterwards be awarded a Concentration check of 20 to remember what the stone felt like. Rough, and sharp.
The trigger stone releases a spiked weight that is in place at the very top of the chimney, and causes it to fall at an alarming speed. Faster than the PC’s can climb down, and they will probably find that just letting go and falling is the fastest way down. If the players make a successful jump check, the first ten feet of the fall go by with no damage, otherwise, every other ten feet they fall is 1d6 worth of gravity damage. If they are hit by the weight, they take 4d8 piercing damage, and another 1d8 bludgeoning from the weight itself, not to mention they weight will knock them free from the tunnel, and they take whatever falling damage is left. If there are multiple people in the tunnel, it is likely that one falling will cause a chain reaction to cause a massive pile up at the bottom of the chimney.
The weight will stop with a jerk about 10 feet from the bottom of the tunnel, and then slowly crank back up to its usual position as the trap resets itself. Every player has about a 50% chance of triggering the trap, but if the person who tripped it can remember what the trigger stone felt like, and divulges this info to the rest of the party, that percentage drops to about 5%.
Even if the PC’s think they can scramble up the tunnel while the trap is resetting itself are sorely mistaken, for if the trigger is tripped, no matter where the weight is, it will fall, and then start back up. (Ravenwood)
6) The Invisible Wall of Pain
This is more of a comical trap than anything that will cause damage. In a relatively short, narrow hallway, the floor is suddenly split by a five foot wide, ten foot across, and five foot deep pit. No problem. The first person who jumps across should have detected magic. About halfway across is an invisible wall. When the PC takes that running jump, he’ll hit that thing like a fly hitting a windshield, and then slowly slide down. The trick is to just climb down into the pit, walk under the wall, and climb up the other side. Hitting the wall with that running jump might cause 2d6 or so damage, but make it low.
7) Shredded Wheats
This is a good sadistic trap to put in a fighting arena. The room should be relatively large, and have lots of levels for fighting, with lots of cauldrons of burning tar for light, and other stuff. Put some heavy hitting enemies in the room, like some ogres or trolls. Ever some-odd feet, there is a five by five foot shaft. Falling in, or getting knocked into, rather, is a new level of pain all together. After good forty foot drop, the tunnel takes a 45 degree slope, and has protrusions in the surface much like a cheese grater. After so many feet of this (5d6 or 5d8 worth of damage) the player takes another vertical spill and lands in a forty by forty by five foot deep vat of salt water. This should probably just deal subdual damage, but it is very sadistic non the less. The only way he’s getting out is climb back out the way he went.
8) Run for the – SPLAT!
The PCs are being pursued closely by multiple enemies (hopefully stronger than them or an illusion). The PCs come to a twisting hall (so they cannot charge away) with doors on either side. Inside every door the room immediately drops 20 ft onto spikes as they enter
Its true, this is a trap I just use for comic relief. The PC’s enter a room that appears to a have a rope dangling from the ceiling. upon further inspection, it appears to lead up through a hole in the ceiling into blackness. In a true case of curiosity killing the PC, if anyone attempts to climb the rope, their weight opens a trap door underneath them and snaps the rope
10) Stairway to heaven
About halfway up a flight of steps is a false step. Its cover is made of brittle material, like disguised glass, and when stepped on with a certain weight shatters, and the PC’s foot falls through. If he doesn’t remove his foot carefully, and just pulls it on out, he’ll relize his mistake, for there are spikes inside angled at about 45 degrees, so when his foot goes in, nothing happens, but when he tries to pull it out…have the PC take whatever damage you deem appropriate, but cut his base movement by half.
11) Rollin, Rollin, Rollin
In a 10’ wide halway, make it pretty long, there appear to be pressure plates all along the floor. It looks as though who ever built the place didn’t even go through the trouble of disguising them, and they are easily avoidable.
However, to tests ones greedy habits, ever so many feet down the hall is a platnum lever in the up position. They look really appealing, and a successful apraise check will show they are worth about 500 gp each.
They can break off with a strength check of 20, but if they miss the check there is a 50% chance they inadventantly threw the switch. Now it’s time to see which of the part is the best sprinter. A heavy thud echos through the hallway, and up the way they came, they can see three stone wheels, about the size of a modern day truck tire, rolling down the hallway, setting off all the pressure plates, sending up an array of traps from darts, arrows, gasses, acids, flames, etc.
12) Break me, and ye shall pass…
This is a good trap for the token meathead tank of the party. The party enters a long, wide hall that has no traps visable at first. After walking about thirty feet, a thick, wooden beam fires out from one wall of the corridor into the next, and a message carved on the wood states “Break me, and ye’ shall pass”. The Tank will take a wack at it, the beam has a harness of 12, and hp of 20. Once broken, the PCs will walk another 30’ down the hall, and a stone beam will shoot out the same size and dimension as the wooden one. The message now says “Is that all ye’ got?” The tank will take the challenge, and try to smash through again. Stone beam has a harness of 16, and an hp of 30.
Another 30’ down the hall, and a steel beam shoots out with the message, “C’mon ye’ bonnie lass, try an’ break this un’.” Steel beam has a hardness of 20, and an hp of 45.
After this one, the party gets about fifty feet down the corridor, almost to the end, when a thin wooden pole shoots across the corridor with the message, “Go ahead, laddy, make my day” The wooden pole has a harness of 8 and an hp of 5, but what the tank doesn’t know is that this is a staff of pain. When he (or she) breaks it, the tank is hit with ‘Inflict serious wounds’ (3d6+11 negative energy damage, will22/half) ‘Eyebite’ (target becomes becomes panicked, sickend and comotose for 8 hours, will22/negate) and ‘Wrack’ (Renders the victim helpless with pain for 24 hours, will22/negate)
13) Hobson’s Choice
The PC’s find a spot that looks promising for a search for traps (a door is best). When the rogue is done, he will have found that the trap is (flaming, acidic, gasious, etc.) and is tripped by motion detection as soon as the door is open, which means he has to open the door to disarm it, but everyone in a 10’ spread on either side of the door has to be really still. However, as soon as the rogue pops the door open, the party sees on the other side a really hungry, growling (owl-bear, dire bear, displacer beast, etc), and he lunges towards the party. If the party flees they’ll set off the trap, but the hungry beast will set it off anyway…
14)Go to the Ball…
The party has to walk up a very long, pretty steeply sloping corridor. At the bottom, they have to jump over a pit to continue up the corridor. At the top there’s a large door. When opened, the party sees a steel ball rumbling and rolling towards them, picking up speed.
The party I DM’d this for assumed that the ball would fall into the pit, so they had to make it there, jump it, and let the ball fall in. In matter of fact, there’s a one-way wall of force midway above the pit, triggered by the trap and lasting as long as it takes for the ball to get to the pit.
Going hell-for-leather down a sharp incline, your PC’s are moving at a fair old clip, and the leap into a wall kinda hurts the first guy there. The PCs coming behind him need to make Reflex saves, otherwise they are unable to stop themselves and rocket straight into the pit as well
15) I spy with my little- SPLAT!
Tired of PC’s who look through keyholes to see what lies ahead? Simple solution; there’s an invisible needle sticking out of This particular keyhole, and they just impaled their eye on it.
16) Kobold Kamikaze
This trap works best on low level henchman, like kobolds or goblins, or something of the like. They are all wearing these vibrant red medallions that the party will truly want ( because they’re greedy, duh) but what they do not realize that these kabolds are fanatics and will stop at nothing to prevent the party from taking another step in their dungeon. When the fight begins to sway in favor of the party, the kobolds will lead a charge into the party, all striking their medallions before they hit. The medallions explode, dealing 2d6 damage to everyone withing 5’ of the explosion, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you have a few dozen go off around the PC’s, that’s a lot of damage. Another thing, one explosion will trigger the others, so even the dead kobold’s charges go off too
This is a good trap for the meathead of the party (as so many of these traps seem to target) But a heavy door in the wall of the castle your PC’s are traveling through that leads to…nowhere. The door is set into the wall, and is un-openable When the hefty dude (or dudette) of the party tries to open it the old fashioned way, via a foot through the thing, the door gives way, and the PC needs to role a balance check, or fall out the side of the castle wall. Works particularly well on towers that are pretty darn high
Four PCs come across a cubic pedestal with a button on top labelled “Press to Open.” When all of the PCs are inside, the door shuts and four pressure plates rise at the four sides of the pedestal. If the PCs stand on the pressure plates and press the button, two metal rods bash each of them in the legs (deals damage as two Quarterstaff hits, Reflex to avoid, failure reduces their speed by 10 feet and gives them a -2 penalty on the upcoming Reflex Save) followed by larger metal rods to the groin (deals damage as a Club, Reflex to avoid damage, failure induces a Fortitude save to avoid being stunned, sickened, and becoming unconscious from the excruciating pain). If the PCs inspect the door, they find that it only shut, it didn’t lock.
19) I prepared Explosive Runes This Morning…
A book that holds some information that is important for the adventure, which must be read. ‘cept it’s written in EXPLOSIVE RUNES. How to read it you ask? trap yerself in otiluke’s res sphere or some such, and flip the pages with telekinesis.(there, and you thought raven was sadistic
20) Twist of The Knife… Er, Bridge
This can turn a wussy CR 5 ogre into a challenge that can slay a high-level character. Okay, the set up:
Ogre: Rogue 2, 8 ranks in balance, improved bull rush feat. Bridge: Suspended over lava/acid, a rope bridge [Literally-it is made out of ropes separated about 2 feet from each other.] Requires a DC 15 balance check to stay on while moving or if the bridge moves.
The Action: The ogre bull rushes the poor PCs into the lava, nailing them with 20D6 points of fire damage. The ogre could also shake the bridge from the end, forcing balance checks from the PCs.
21) Ants under a Magnifying Glass
A group of henchmen enter the room, and upon discovery of the party, initiate the engagment. The floor tiles are white, so the sun shining through lights up the whole room, but it also makes a consentrated beam of solar light invisble to the eye. Anybody who crosses over the beam in any way, whether it by through fighting, grappling, shoving, falling, whatever, they immediatly take 3d8 heat damage. It is amazing how long it takes for PC’s to figure out that the skylight is acting like a big magnifying glass, and I actually had a PC enter the beam to fight, and stood there fighting for a few rounds because he thought some spell caster was casting something on him so that he took 3d6 damage ever round with no save. What drove him insane was that a party of nothing but axe wielding orcs was attacking the party, so he thought the spellcaster was in cognito