New Traps for Pathfinder Beginner Box GMs
Traps in a Dungeon Hallway

776px-Traps There are 2 things that every Pathfinder GM seems to want: traps, and more traps.

You just don’t always have the time on hand to create your own. So, here are a handful of free traps that would be appropriate to throw against Pathfinder Beginner Box players.

But first, a quick tip or two on how/when to use traps in your game.

I’ve found that the best traps are similar to the best monsters. They’re the ones that are memorable.

What makes them memorable varies — it could be because they were so deadly or ingenious, or that they added great flavor to the game, or painted a vivid picture in the player’s minds. Or maybe your players will simply never forget how it was triggered at the worst/most surprising moment for them (this is how the Mimic became an iconic D&D monster, for example — “Look, it’s a treasure chest! … AAH! It just ate our rogue!!!”).

You should also pay attention to which traps you use in your game. They should make sense in the given environment, and “fit” with who most likely set the trap in the first place. For instance, a lich would probably set a much more devious/magic-imbued trap than a low-level goblin would be able to ever imagine.


Here are a few free traps that I’ve had fun throwing at my players, as we played a Pathfinder Beginner Box based adventure recently. I’ll also include some starting ideas on where/how you could use them:


Poison gas trap from AndrewDeFelice

Poison gas trap from AndrewDeFelice

1) Poisoned Gas Trap

This Level 3 (CR3) trap would be a great fit for environments like dungeons, ruins, buildings & other locales in civilized areas. The triggering mechanism could be a pressure plate on a dungeon floor, or a more elaborate mechanism triggered by a failed attempt to pick a locked door or chest, etc.

This would be a trap most likely laid by more intelligent humanoid adversaries — such as doppelgangers, evil clerics/fighters/wizards/rogues, etc. A poison gas trap would be perfect for a dungeon hallway, or to guard a door leading to a room with treasure, etc.



Poisoned Gas Trap  CR3  (XP 800)

Type Mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 27

Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset none


2d6 poison damage. Plus, target is blinded & takes an additional 1d4 poison damage for 2 rounds. Affects all living creatures in 10′ x 10′ square. DC 20 Reflex save avoids.


spiked-log-trap2) Spiked Log Trap

This Level 1 trap (CR1)  is a great fit for woodlands, swamps, ruins & other outdoor settings where trees are present. A spiked log trap consists of a trigger mechanism (usually a tripwire) & a large log, around which multiple spikes have been attached. This is intended to swing down from a tree (or other high perch) in a long arc which would affect multiple targets in a row, or to drop straight down onto a single target’s head.

Almost any semi-intelligent humanoid can set this type of trap (from orcs & goblins, to evil rogues).


Spiked Log Trap  CR1  (XP 400)

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Trigger touch; Reset manual


Attack +10 melee (1d8+2/x3); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. line).


3) Spike Trap (“Spiked Hammer”)

This type of trap is more complex to construct than the first two above. I’m calling this a CR3 trap, due to its deadliness as well. This trap was made most (in)famous in the original Conan the Barbarian movie. Remember the battle in the burial mounds, where Conan almost single handedly killed most of Thulsa Doom’s henchmen? (OK, the wizard got one and Subotai got a handful before he ran out of arrows…but it was mostly Conan.) There’s the one death that became a movie legend during that fight — when Thorgrim caught that spike full in the chest. (Check out the clip.) THAT is the “spiked hammer” trap I’m talking about here. In Thorgrim’s case, I’d call that a critical hit… 🙂



This type of trap is perfect for close-quarters areas — like dungeons, cluttered battlegrounds (like the burial mounds pictured in the movie), caves with lots of loose rocks & other areas where it would be easy to hide the triggering mechanism (which could be a pressure plate, or something closer to what you see in the movie scene).


Spiked  Hammer Trap  CR3  (XP 800)

Tpye Mechanical; Perception DC 20 Disable Device; DC 20

Trigger touch; Reset manual


Attack +20 melee (3d6/x2); single target


300px-Beartrap4) Bear Trap

Almost any humanoid could have access to mechanical traps like this. These are the touch-activated traps that fur trappers have used for centuries — two spiked half-circle jaws that clamp together (painfully), which trap a creature’s leg right where they stand.

They’re fairly simple to set & disguise. Just find a likely path for your prey to follow, and carefully lay a few handfuls of earth & leaves over the jaws, etc.

Goblins, orcs and other humanoids use traps like these to make short work of adventurers who think they can sneak up on their hideouts… These can also be easily used in dungeons & caves (anywhere with dim lighting & loose ground to hide them).

Bear Trap  CR2  (XP 600)

Tpye Mechanical; Perception DC 20 Disable Device; DC 20

Trigger touch; Reset manual


Attack +15 melee (1d6+6/x2); single target; target is Grabbed; Escape DC (Strength) 18




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