Traps

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When implemented judiciously, traps can be an excellent way to keep adventurers on their toes. Traps come in many forms, and not all traps will deal damage. Some might ensnare the heroes or alert the denizens of a dungeon to the heroes’ presence, for example. Traps that do deal damage should typically deal about as much damage as a hero might suffer in a combat encounter. This is not a hard and fast rule, however; some very well hidden traps might be very difficult to spot, and their damage might be lethal.

Party Average Level Perceiving DC Overcoming DC Single Target Damage
2 13 14 1d6
3 13 14 1d8
4 13 14 1d10
5 14 15 1d12
6 14 15 2d6
7 14 15 2d8
8 15 16 2d10
9 15 16 2d12
10 15 16 3d6
11 16 16 3d8
12 16 17 3d10
13 16 17 3d12
14 16 17 4d6
15 17 18 4d8
16 17 18 4d10
17 17 18 4d12
18 18 19 5d6
19 18 19 5d8
20 18 20 5d10
21 19 20 5d12
22 19 20 6d6
23 20 21 6d8
24 20 21 6d10
25 20 21 6d12
26 21 22 7d6
27 21 22 7d8
28 21 23 7d10
29 22 23 7d12
30 22 23 7d20

The Overcoming DC does not necessarily represent you disarming the trap. It might represent a hero jumping over a gap, discovering a secret door, finding the correct lever or keyhole, or figuring out the correct password to bypass the danger.

Traps might be triggered in many ways if the Perceiving DC is not met. Displacing a door or object might set off a trap mechanism. A pressure-sensitive floor plate might have light objects resting on it, giving the illusion of safety, but when an average adult humanoid steps on it, their weight triggers the trap. Hidden trapdoors and tripwires are common traps that are low-effort but highly effective. A false keyhole or misguiding lever might look like it will help you progress through the dungeon only to spring a trap on you instead. Your imagination is the only limit for designing how traps are concealed and how they might be overcome.

In addition to traditional traps that drop heroes into pits or hit them with blades or darts of some kind, consider more unique traps. Poisonous gas, explosions, a magical rune that teleports a hero into some kind of prison, falling rocks, and a magical monster spawning portal are all unique ideas that can make for memorable traps.