On The Thursday Trick, Punishing Presumption Pit

Punishing Presumption Pit (Pit)

Trigger:Mechanical: Interaction Effects:Never Miss
Save:None Duration: Instant
Resets: AutomaticBypass: None (Avoid)

Description: Do your players assume that they are in a super-heroic fantasy game? They won't after this pit!

There is a big open pit. It is filled with some unsavory substance (acid, magma, water with piranha, oozes, green slime, etc.)

Next to the pit is a little hook holding a rope or chain. The rope or chain is attached to the ceiling. It can easily be used to swing across the pit.

Of course once over 100 pounds of weight are applied to the rope, it disengaged from the ceiling, extending an extra 10' or so. The delver now won't clear the pit, and the thud from the smack into the opposing wall will certainly attract a wandering monster.

Detection/Disarming: Just, sometimes, it's nice to set them up.

Any player that actually examines the far side of the pit will see the impact on the far pit wall. They might also notice certain discoloration of the rope/chain from certain pit contents and rope/chain length combinations.

All in all, they deserve what they get.

As noted in the comments, credit for this idea is from  Grimtooth's traps, a trademark of Flying Buffalo Inc. games. 


  1. This one was in Grimtooth's Traps.

  2. Indeed.

    Many of the traps in this series originated from a variety of sources (Grimtooth's, Undermountain).

    The purpose of this series is to provide a way for DM's to use this traps in a way that avoids dice rolls and rewards player skill.

    The description of the trap is often the same.

    The description of how to detect and disarm this trap are new useful tools for the player-skill focused DM; as opposed to "I built my character the right way to roll dice to solve problems -- character skill" focused game.

  3. At what point do you reveal the discoloration of the other side of the pit or the "stuff" on the end of the chain?
    When you describe the room, or when questions are asked? What kinds of questions make the reveal?

  4. At the point they look at the chain or the pit.

    I describe the room, off the cuff (i.e. not reading from a boxed description). This is per the live play example from the 1e DMG. (You see several stones in the pool.)

    They don't have to guess the right word or read my mind. They see what is there (a pit filled with a hazard, and a chain hanging from the ceiling, looped around a hook.)

    All they have to do is look at the pit or at the rope. "I look at the pit" "What kind of chain?"

    I have a live play example where the players didn't fall into a pit trap and did trigger a yellow mold coming up soon. That should help elucidate this style of play.

  5. I guess the key is, it doesn't matter if they look. They don't know what's going to happen. Out of the infinite possibilities available, they sometimes pick the right one, and sometimes they pick the wrong one.

    I do know when they get popped with a trap, they are upset at themselves for failing to do something and not at me for being unfair.


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