Trick & Trap Index

The Thursday Trick & Trap Agency Series index

This series examines original and classic traps discussing how to present the traps while maintaining the agency of the players.

General Theory

Red Herring Agency I - What agency means in play
Red Herring Agency II - How to give agency without giving away the game
Detecting Triggers I - Agency involving mechanical pressure plates, latches, and switches
Detecting Triggers II - Agency involving mechanical tripwires and lids
Detecting Triggers III - Agency involving mechanical proximity triggers
Detecting Triggers IV - Agency involving mechanical triggers of light and timed
Bodies and Traps - Is their a body in the trap or not? How to determine that.

Special Dungeon Features

Elevators - Dungeon conveyances and the traps that love them
Underground Hazards - Accidents, rockfall, dehydration, exhaustion, and flooding
Mimics - Tricksy creatures that like to pretend to be harmless objects
Peepholes - Getting a look at somewhere nearby can be more risky than it appears
Doors & Chests - Taking a look at agency with doors and chests
Springboards - Helping players make that leap of faith
Natural Hazards - Real deadly materials and how to present them in game
White Phosphorus - More real world fun for your players
Magic Traps - What to do with a trap that isn't physical
Melee Traps - Providing agency with the old physical standby
Secret Doors - 10 basic kinds of secret doors
Vents & Sprays - Providing agency for a deadly effect
Detours - Agency for altering the passage of the players
Sliding Walls - Confounds mappers and traps players
Bear Traps - Although if these traps are actually catching bears you may have bigger problems
Trapdoor Loft - Death from above
Mirrors - Reflections in terror
Sands - Unstable grains spell doom for the unprepared adventurer
Arrow Traps - Providing agency for the classic arrow trap
Sliding Rooms and Teleporters - Providing agency for redirection traps
Rotating Chambers - For that classic mapping hell touch
Collapsing Floor - Providing agency for unstable floors
Signs - Messages left on walls to screw with players
Dividing Ladder - A ladder trap and other ladder fun
Props, Codes, and Hidden Messages Part I - Using real world props as puzzles

Trap Variations; General ideas with multiple implementations
Paranoid Party - Traps that do not harm the person taking the risk
Limb Snares - Ways to make players chew off their own leg
Ceiling Snares - A more classic type of snare
A Rolling Boulder - A classic trap
Rotating Intersections - Creating confusion and confounding your players
Falling Cage - A classic dungeon trap
Kissing Maiden - A deadly kiss
Falling Up - Mixing Reverse Gravity and pits for a recipe in fun
Pit of Infestation - Varieties of contents in a pit

Set-piece Traps


Vacuum Door - A trap that really sucks
Door of Subtle Demise - A door that brings you back from the dead. Mostly


Corridor of Illusory Death - A trap that punishes natural instinct
Swiveling Hallway of Doom - For when you really want your players to have the drop on your dungeon
A Corridor Separated - Trapping each player results in furious murder
The Hostile Enclosure - A key part of any self-respecting labyrinth
Mirror Teleporter - A unique way to guard a hallway
A Thorny Corridor - A trap that escalates as the players try to navigate it


A Deadly Ramp - Ramps, oil and drowning
Water Shock - It all seemed like such a good idea at the time.
Drum Guard and Don't Touch the Button - Like it says on the tin
Fireplace Scrutiny - An interesting trick
Acid Pool - The best kind of pool
Burning Hands Trap - A magical flame


Slaughtering Staircase - Sharpened stakes surprise staircase stooges
Sliding Staircase - A trap sprung on the Scooby gang, not by Fred


Punishing Presumption Pit - Where a mighty swing leads to a swift stop
Pit of Hate - For when you really want to murder every single last character. Unfair
Pit Down, Trap Up - For triggers that aren't in the place you look.
The Wrong Choice - A decoy tripwire leads to an entertaining fall
A Pit, Slick - The first pit escalation, the walls on this one are a little slippery.
Curtains - A unique trigger for a pit
Tricky Pit - A pair of tricksy pits, where avoidance leads to disaster
The Shallow and Sidelined Pit - A nefarious pair of classic pit traps
Poison Pit Surprise - A real shocker for those froggy party members
The Pit that Cried Wolf - A deadly lure


The Incorporeal Light - A treasure that is more trouble then it is worth
Monster Guts - Items, inside of my monsters? It's more common than you think!

A variety of sources are used in the discussion of agency of the above traps, but a special mention must be made of Grimtooth's traps, a trademark of Flying Buffalo Inc. games. Without that document's early work of collecting traps from readers, many ideas might have been lost in the intervening decades. If you like these traps, you should do yourself a favor and pick up some .pdf's or physical copies of the books! They are well worth the investment.


  1. nice work! This is really a very nice collection... consider yourself bookmarked.

  2. So fantastic that on Monday, I'll be posting a long history of traps in D&D, and referring readers right back here for detailed lessons on how to do it right!

    1. Here's the post. Will you consider putting it in your link list?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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