Kobold Press

Trapsmith: Religious Fear Trap


“If it wasn’t for the fact that we are the target of their zealousness, I would have found them very commendable people. What do you think, Gavin?”

Gavin just looked at Stephan, amazed at how the wise could be so stupid. The fool prattled on while they made their escape from the cultists’ den.

“They are catching up to us,” Gavin noted during one of Stephan’s few silences. “Give me your spare holy symbol and that everburning torch you are so fond of.”

Stephan handed the items over, and Gavin started working on them as they jogged farther.

“What are you doing?” Stephan asked.

“Shut up and have a little faith. And grab that pole while you are at it.”

In a world where gods walk the earth, belief is replaced by knowing. Although trapsmiths usually try to hide their efforts, they acknowledge that sometimes the certainty of a trap can paralyze the mind.

The religious fear trap exploits those certainties. A thick, circular layer of chalk demarcates the beginning of the trap. Stepping close sets it off. The trapsmith ties an everburning torch to one end of the pole and a sack of chalk to the other. Triggering the trap cuts the sack open and, as it loses weight, the everburning torch will shift position due to a leveraging effect. The light of the torch will strike the holy symbol at differing angles as it moves. The shadow of the holy symbol will creep toward the circle of chalk. When the sack of chalk is empty, the shadow of the holy symbol will rest inside the circle. While the mechanical aspect of the trap is pretty straightforward, its effect on the target’s morale can be devastating as fear and doubt lead to inaction.

Religious Fear Trap     CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect fearful fascination (succeed on a DC 15 Will save or become fascinated for 4d4 rounds); multiple targets (all who can see the circle of chalk and the creeping shadow of the holy symbol)
Effect unsafe passage (trying to cross the circle of chalk and its shadowy holy symbol requires strength of will; succeeding on a DC 15 Will save allows a target to cross the circle; a target receives a +4 bonus to this saving throw if he or she has seen a crossing of the circle); multiple targets

Temples of benign gods employ a more advanced version of the religious fear trap. This version has multicolored lights, and the circle of chalk is replaced by a silvery circle laid into the temple’s floor. It also features a bell to alert the guards.

Advanced Religious Fear Trap     CR 6
Type mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger location; Reset manual
Effect fearful fascination (succeed on a DC 17 Will save or become fascinated for 4d4 rounds); multiple targets (all who can see the silvery circle and the creeping shadow of the holy symbol)
Effect unsafe passage (trying to cross the silvery circle and its shadowy holy symbol requires strength of will; succeeding on a DC 17 Will save allows a target to cross the circle; a target receives a +4 bonus to this saving throw if he or she has seen a crossing of the circle); multiple targets
Effect ringing bell (succeeding on a DC 0 Perception check allows anyone to hear the bell [modify for range])

Next Installment

What can Gavin do with a sledgehammer, 10 feet of chain, a bag of sand, and a folding chair?

The Challenge

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

(This post is Product Identity.)

5 Replies to "Trapsmith: Religious Fear Trap"

DMCal

August 22, 2012 at 6:25pm

I love it! May use it in my next session!

Newcomer

August 23, 2012 at 2:37pm

Wonderful installment! And now the challenge:

A kobold corpse, bag of cornmeal, a set of thieves picks and a block and tackle.

Darkjoy

August 24, 2012 at 12:23am

@DMCal: always curious to know how it played out.

@Newcomer: the challenges are becoming more exotic with every installment it seems, I like it :-)

UrsaformJude

August 26, 2012 at 9:54pm

Interested in seeing what you do with Newcomer’s challenge, been enjoying reading all of these.

A smokestick
A vial of blue dye
A set of manacles
An empty barrel

Darkjoy

August 27, 2012 at 5:51am

@UrsaformJude

Your items have been added to the list.