Trapsmith: Surgical Traps

Posted In Articles, Front Page, Traps | 9 comments

Maybe I shouldn’t continue.

The thought surprised Gavin, and he stopped working on one of his more experimental designs. Pacing back and forth, Gavin considered his supplies: a neat row of surgeon’s tools, a stuffed weasel, a potion of healing, and a bedsheet. He knew what he considered to do with the potion of healing was “wrong,” but if he did it, the result would be legendary.

In the end, legendary won.

Trapsmiths do have a conscience—they know right from wrong. Sometimes, though, they take the tack that evil things are done to evil people for the sake of innovation, which makes what they do right. This particular worldview causes problems among some, but as with necromancy and the animation of dead flesh, the results are spectacular.

Sharp surgical tools are attached to the stuffed remains of a weasel. Inside the weasel, hide a potion of healing. As the weasel slams into the victim, the tools burrow deep into the victim. The slam also breaks the potion, causing the corpse to spasm wildly.

Surgical Spasm Strike Trap     CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect surgical strike (+20 melee, 1 damage plus 2 bleed damage)
Effect spasms (4d4 slashing damage)

Sharp blades are attached to a bedsheet. As the sheet drops on a target, it slices the skin and causes parts of the sheet to enter the wounds. Then the wounds close due to the potion of healing, but the sheet and flesh are fused together, hindering movement for a time.

Surgeon’s Sheet Trap     CR 3
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect slicing sheet (+10 melee, 2d4+5 damage)
Effect sticky sheet (cure light wounds and gain the grappled condition)

A bedsheet has hardness 1 and 10 hit points. Removing the sheet from the target’s flesh causes another 1d4+3 damage unless someone tending the victim succeeds on a DC 17 Heal check.

Next Installment

What can Gavin do with a varied selection of heavy books and scrolls, a crystal ball, a decanter of endless water, and a long metal cord?

The Challenge

Name four adventuring items and receive a murderous trap in return.

(This post is Product Identity.)


  1. Positively fiendish, Mr de Mare. I was going to suggest something to do with healer’s kits a few weeks back, but obviously someone beat me to it, and you have not disappointed…

    How about some oldskool items: iron rations, chalk, wine and a candle.

    P.S. Again, nice work on getting Top 32 in RPGSS…

    Morgan Boehringer

    January 23, 2013

  2. Morgan,

    Thanks for the items they are on the list and I hope I’ll make it another round in RPG SS.

    Iron rations, chalk, wine and a candle. I suspect I’ll be spending long hours on wikipedia to find a way to make that explode, I suspect I’ll end up with something ‘pasty’.


    January 23, 2013

  3. I just have a couple of things: where is it in the rules that a potion of healing will make dead flesh “spasm”? Also, while the sheet traps are delightfully fiendish, the abstract damage system of Pathfinder doesn’t allow for the sheets or the tools to be embedded in the flesh.

    Anyhooz, just some things that occurred to me.


    January 23, 2013

  4. @DMCal – It’s not in the rules man. It has never been done before and De Mare is using his imagination. I too was wondering what he was thinking, but I’m ready to accept it since its cool.

    James Thomas

    January 23, 2013

  5. I’m perfectly fine with the concepts myself. I was just wondering if there was something I’d missed. My group would kvetch and groan about the whole thing, but as their DM/Overlord it’s my prerogative (cue Bobby Brown music).



    January 23, 2013

  6. DMCal, that sounds like a tough crowd you GM.

    As James points out, we’re mostly dealing with rule 0.5 here: it works because its fun, cool and I say so.

    But, I did have some thoughts about the wonders of healing potions and dead flesh, which I didn’t add because I didn’t think it would ever come up….

    Anyway, going old skool here: if you add some iron particles to healing potions the positive energy dilutes somewhat and adds some negative energy to the mix. Negative energy, as we all know, work wonders on dead flesh.

    Maybe I should explore the above further in another article.


    January 24, 2013

  7. Todd,

    I know how you feel about the meatpuppet :-)


    January 26, 2013

  8. I love looking through a post that can make people think.
    Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    January 28, 2013

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