Kobold Press

Trapsmith: Rolling Fear and Fire Trap

Gavin’s back ached from pulling the cart up the hill. The cart was stacked high with assorted curious and sundry items. A sign proclaimed that “Gavin’s Traveling Store” was open for business.

“Where were they?” Gavin wondered to himself. “I should have been hit hours ago.”

Gavin sighed. He had underestimated the paranoia of bandits. Here he was, a lone traveling merchant, and they wouldn’t strike. Gods, how he hated the craven bastards.

He leaned against the cart and tried to relieve the pain in his back. Of course, that sign of weakness triggered the bandits to reveal themselves. Shaggy men positioned themselves uphill and downhill of the cart, sealing off any avenue of escape. Gavin smiled wickedly as he reached for a certain latch.

With a thud, a large cask of ale dropped on the ground. On the hill’s uneven surface, it immediately started rolling downward. Attached to the cask was a wineskin, and with each revolution, it ejected an oily liquid in every direction. After a couple of revolutions, a tindertwig was lit, and the oily squirts ignited into great gouts of fire. Screams of pain and fear filled the air. Gavin turned to the men who had stood uphill. As his hands reached for another latch, his smile grew even more wicked.

Momentum is greatly appreciated by trapsmiths. If it moves, it can kill. Heavy boulders are always a favorite dungeon staple, but in a pinch any rounded surface, such as a cask, will do.

The cask is filled with ale, wine, oil, and a will-o’-wisp in a jar. The liquids can be burned and the caged will-o’-wisp spreads fear.

Rolling Fear and Fire Trap    CR 4
Type mechanical and magical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect battering barrel (anyone caught in the barrel’s path must succeed on a DC 15 Reflex save or be struck by it for 3d6 damage); multiple targets
Effect fiery volley (attack +10 touch, 2d4 fire damage); multiple targets (anyone within 10 ft. of the barrel’s path)
Effect barrel of fear (anyone within 20 ft. of the barrel must succeed on a DC 15 Will save or become shaken for 2d4 rounds)

The barrel has a speed of 40 ft. per round. During its move, it can affect all targets in its path and range.

Next Installment

What can Gavin do with a 10-ft. pole, a glass cutter, a parasol, and a leeching kit?

The Challenge

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

(This post is Product Identity.)

7 Replies to "Trapsmith: Rolling Fear and Fire Trap"

Frank Tedeschi

September 26, 2012 at 7:09am

Hey nice trap there! Thanks for using my suggestions, I will be throwing this into my game just in your honor. Coincidentally, the PCs just happen to be travelling with an alchemist/merchant with a cart.


September 26, 2012 at 8:25am

Thanks again for posting the items and let us (me) know how that encounter played out.

James Thomas

September 26, 2012 at 11:55am

“Roll out the barrel!
We’ll have a barrel of fun!
Roll out the barrel!
We’ve got the blues on the run!”

John The Philosopher

September 26, 2012 at 11:40pm

Have you ever considered the evil one can commit with broken or powdered glass ?

What about the explosive nature of grain dust ?

I’m also a big fan of traps that drown the unwary.

You sir are a mad genius. I am glad to see someone making traps a genuine threat and not a simple hinderence.


I would like to share some of my own trap ideas. Any suggestions ?


September 27, 2012 at 2:19am

@ John

powdered glass, grain dust, name two extra items and I’ll get started.

Water is one of my favorite elements: http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page2939.php

If you want to share your own traps I would suggest clicking on the submit link at the top of the screen, there you’ll find everything you need.

John The Philosopher

September 27, 2012 at 6:22pm


Graindust, Powdered or shattered glass, porceline doll, parchment paper, quill & ink. String, fire, or sources of spark are optional.

NO idea how any of that could fit together. But I’m sure there is tons of fun you could have with the individual components.


AS for submissions:
I’m not really interested in money (honest). I just wanted to share some ideas. Take it if you want in the spirit of gaming:

Drowning Tendril Trap CR ?
Type Magical, Trigger Proximity, Reset None

This trap is a pit of water with metal (rustproof) chains at the bottom. When the victim comes in contact with the water, the chains animate (animate rope spell) and grapple the victim, pulling him down to drown.

Demon Jar CR variable
Type Magical / Monster, Triger Variable, Reset None

Made by a wizard with trust issues, he sealed his contracts with blood, a demon, and a glass jar. The contract seals the demon in its jar. If the contract is broken, the jar breaks releasing the demon to punish the guilty party.

Echo Jar (Magic item)
Echo jars use prestidigitation to capture sound (among other things).
A jar containing siren song or a banshee scream (or even a lightening bolt) can be used for trap purposed.


September 28, 2012 at 2:20am

@ John

Your items have been noted.

Take that first step, develop your idea’s and submit them to KQ as a webarticle. Seeing your name in ink or photons is quite the rush.