Let me tell you, like any dungeon master I am a fan of traps. Overuse will make your players paranoid, but no dungeon is complete without at least a makeshift boobytrap. Here are my top five – feel free to correct me.
- Doorknob smeared with contact poison, CR5. There’s just something remarkably hilarious about opening an unassuming door and getting a handful of nitharit root. My players rightly fear doors more than any monster, but there’s another story to that.
- Razor wire across hallway, CR1. Walking along the hallway, and foop! Off with your head! What I like about this trap is that it’s decidedly lethal at level 1, where 2d6 damage can kill even an average fighter on a good roll.
- Perpendicular gravity trap, CR8. A variant on the reverse gravity trap, this has you fall along a corridor and hopefully onto that confusingly placed spiked wall.
- Portcullis trap, CR1. 3d6 damage is a lot at low levels, with the added benefit of splitting the party up in event of an ambush. Potentially very lethal for that reason.
- Mass baleful polymorph trap, CR10. Of my own devising, the entire party is struck with polymorph and turned into a creature chosen entirely at random. Save DC is as a ninth level spell; item DC is a little weak, but the hilarity of all the spellcasters turning into shocker lizards is worth the risk.
Among my least favourite traps are the CR1 scything blade (surely two orcs are more dangerous than one blade?), the green slime trap (instant-kill: not even remotely fair!), the CR3 extended bane trap (-1 to attack for four minutes) and the CR7 summon monster vi that merely creates a CR5-6 monster for one minute.
Have I missed any?