On The Thursday Trick, Falling Up

Reverse Gravity Pit (Spells/Pit)

Trigger: Magical: Proximity
or Magical: Visual 
Effects: Multiple Targets
Never Miss
Save:None Duration: Instant or Varies
Resets: Automatic or Manual Bypass: None (Avoid)

Description: The hallway ahead appears safe and secure. The floor seems solid, but when was the last time anyone looked up?

While walking along, the lead person activates a patch of reverse gravity, and falls, crashing through the false ceiling, smashing into the extended ceiling far above. At which point, the reverse gravity ends, and the character comes crashing back into the ground taking the damage again.

Variations: There could be a series of these, each heading in a different direction, causing a character to fall far from his origin. The reverse gravity could be constant instead of activated by a person tripping a magical trigger, forcing them to "climb" out from within the pit. The ceiling of the pit could be filled with loose debris, or possibly spikes, or some sort of fragile container filled with a dangerous substance.

Finally, once triggered the trap could automatically reverse gravity every round for an entire turn, making a difficult situation even harder.

Detection: The magical trigger on this trap makes it harder to detect (often relying on the thief abilities) but there are a couple of useful thoughts. This trap is unlikely to show up anywhere except places where the builder has access to a lot of magical energy. A trap of this power level is far beyond your local Hobgoblin tribe.

And although the cost and expense of having this trap is high, it is amazing how often few steps are taken to disguise the ceiling well. Most people don't look up, and it's often difficult to construct an automatic reset on the ceiling, so astute adventurers looking up (or brilliantly actually testing the ceiling) will do well.


  1. Source:

    Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps, p. 117: "When the handle is touched, a pair of magical plates
    “turns on.” One plate is at the delver’s feet and the other is overhead. The area in a 10-foot square in front of the door is transformed by a heavy reverse gravity field. Anyone standing in the area will fly up to the ceiling, and break on through the thin balsa shim that just looks like ceiling. His flight ends against the spikes in the real ceiling."

    1. Sadly the idea of reverse gravity is in the core rules, as a spell. This means the actual credit for this trap idea, goes to the Player's Handbook. Also, a quick perusal of the source list will indicate that this trap is exceptionally common. Reference Page 133 of Traps & Treachery, Inverted Gravity Pit. Or the actual source for this article, "Life is the Pits" Dragon Magazine #254

    2. Gravity varying traps & tricks go back to the birth of RPGs, even getting specific mention in the 1979 DMG.


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