Nothing is more tempting than a treasure chest just sitting out in a room. Unfortunately for adventures, kobolds, goblins, and other cave dwellers don’t always keep their valuables in chests. Instead, they might fill chests with traps. In a world full of adventurers, they would make traps specifically aimed at their biggest threat. And there’s no easier trap to set up than weaponized bugs.
Bugs in a Chest
This trap is way easier to set up and incorporate into a game than most other traps you would see. The concept is that monsters in the cave have filled a chest with bugs. These can be any type of creepy crawler, but a good trap of this design would be filled with aggressive, venomous horrors. Think centipedes, spiders, scorpions, or any swarm of insects.
The trap trigger is easy too. Open the chest, angry bugs fly out of it. When the trap is triggered you have two options: a Dex save or a combat encounter.
The Effect: Dex Save
If you end up going the Dex save route, your player will treat this like any normal threat. Take some amount of poison damage on a failed save or half as much on a success. If you want to buff this up add some effects to the poison or increase the damage, we’ve got a whole article on poisons if you’re looking for a refresher.
The damage you deal here should be relative to the danger of what’s in the box. Some creatures are more dangerous than others and you can scale damage for your players levels very easily, but I would recommend keeping this damage on the low side. It’s fun to surprise your players, but at the same time they shouldn’t necessarily die because they opened a box.
The Effect: Combat Encounter
Never has there been such a good time to use a swarm enemy as there is with this trap. Box pops open, combat starts with the player standing in a swarm of venomous bugs. While this kind of encounter isn’t too dangerous on its own, it poses risks for players who rush straight for chests after a fight or long journey.
Variations of Weaponized Bugs
If you like this idea, you don’t need to stop here. Lots of things players interact with can be made into traps by filling them with bugs. You can put bugs in a jar and have enemies drop them on the adventurers from above. This would trigger bludgeoning damage and then either poison damage or combat. This can even be adapted to be a much grosser version of the exploding corpse trap we talked about earlier in this series.
Like all the traps we talk about and consider, this concept should be looked at as another tool in your toolbox. Bugs can be a trap component, and now that you’re thinking about it you can add them into other traps you know about. How about a dart trap, but instead of darts angry bees fly out of the holes in the walls? Pit traps don’t need spikes if they’re full of giant centipedes. While it would be less fall damage, it is still somehow much, much worse than spikes.
I hope this episode of DnD Trap Tuesday has given you a bit of inspiration for your next game. If you like what you’re reading and don’t want to miss future updates, consider signing up for our newsletter in the right hand sidebar, following us on social media, or simply bookmarking our blog.
As always, Happy DMing!