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Calamities & Catastrophes


Calamities & Catastrophes

20 New Traps for Fifth Edition Adventures


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Watch out! There might be traps. Carefully and gingerly make your way through an ancient, dusty ruin, lest your head be separated from your shoulders. Examine a treasure chest’s lock in the most minute detail, looking for a poisoned needle. Feel the pulse of magic in a glistening gem — is it because it’s a magical artifact or because there’s a magical ward on it that’ll turn you to ash if you touch it?

For generations of gamers, traps have been part and parcel of tabletop roleplaying games. However, traps receive mixed reviews in the modern gaming era. Some folks love them. Others hate them. The people who hate them really hate them.

The haters make a good point: traps are hard to use in a meaningful way. It’s hard to keep the game from bogging down, where the characters examine every tiny thing minutely before doing something like opening a door, all because Kevin’s fighter got killed by one a few sessions ago.

The trick is to make them interesting. Most traps, including the ones in the official Fifth Edition books, amount to "Make a save. On a failure, take X damage and gain Y condition. On a success, take Z damage and no condition."

That is boring. The trick is to realize that, when you distill a trap to its essence, it remains a resource drain that does precisely what the quote says. The art is ensuring it doesn’t feel like that in play.

This book is intended to help you present interesting traps that enhance your Fifth Edition game. Rather than “fall in a spiked pit”, these traps add complexity and interest. Enjoy!

An excellent supplement to Jarlaxle's Guide to Traps


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File Last Updated:
April 05, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on April 05, 2022.