spring traps

Spring Traps

Today for Trap Tuesday we’ll be looking at spring traps, simple mechanical traps with a lot of versatility.

Anatomy of Spring Traps

This trap only has three main parts: the trigger, the spring, and the launch pad. The way the trap works is by housing coiled springs under tension. When activated, they launch whatever is on the launch pad into the air. Typically the trigger for the trap is a pressure plate, but it can be triggered in a number of other ways just as easily. For our examples, we will be looking at the pressure plate trigger, but a trip wire, arcane eye, magic seal, or any other triggering mechanism would work just fine since they don’t change the trap’s effect.

Rules and Examples

When triggered, a spring trap deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and launches the victim 20 feet in the direction the launch pad is facing. If the player collides with anything before the moving the full 20 feet they then take an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If the victim is launched into a surface or object that would deal non-bludgeoning damage, apply damage of that type instead. If the victim collides with another creature, both creatures then take 1d6 bludgeoning damage.


Spring Trap Example 1:

Gilbert fails his perception check and steps directly onto the pressure plate, triggering a spring trap in a large open room. Gilbert takes 1d6 damage immediately and is thrown 20 feet straight up. Upon reaching maximum height, gravity takes over and Gilbert falls 20 feet, taking an additional 1d6 damage per 10 feet of falling, so 2d6.

Spring Trap Example 2:

Alvy, while laughing at Gilbert’s misfortune, excuses himself into a nearby hallway and immediately steps on a pressure plate that springs him up 5ft into the ceiling. Alvy takes 1d6 damage from the spring force, then an additional 1d6 damage for colliding with the ceiling. He then falls 5ft to the floor taking no additional damage, as fall is less than 10 ft.

Spring Trap Example 3:

Erin, seeing her friends get hurt and in no hurry to copy them, immediately takes a step back from the room and steps directly onto a pressure plate that was missed on entrance. She takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage as she is launched into the air, stopping after traveling 10 feet upward into spikes on the ceiling. She then takes 2d10 piercing damage (the same damage taken from a spiked pit trap). Upon being dislodged from the spikes, Erin falls 10 feet and takes an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage from the fall.

Versatile and Simple

Spring traps can be simple, fun, and punishing. You can easily injure your players so it’s critical that you think about exactly how much damage you can be dealing to them. If you’re looking to change things up and take these traps a step further, put them on walls, angle the floor, and throw your players all over the room. If you’re particularly cruel, you can even string several of these traps together and bounce your players around.

No matter how you use spring traps, it’s sure to be a surprise to your players. Try launching a few of your players and see if you can shake any of their loot loose.

For more walkthroughs and trap examples, check out our Complete Guide to DnD Traps article.

Happy DMing!


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