Prestige Classes


“Go on ahead. I’ve got a surprise for those guys.”

—Alexan, combat trapsmith

Combat trapsmiths can litter a battlefield or dungeon with devices of their own cunning design. They can put together a variety of traps, ranging from annoying to deadly, in mere seconds. With a bit of preparation, a combat trapsmith can turn a difficult battle into an easy exercise or vice versa.


Rogues and scouts make up the majority of combat trapsmiths, with ninjas and multiclass rangers forming the bulk of the rest. These four classes rely most often on traps and (except for the ranger) are also the best able to find and disarm them.


From an early age you were fascinated by all aspects of traps, from their elegant engineering to their ingenious lethality. Perhaps you fell victim to a particularly innovative device, or witnessed the effectiveness of one. You might have had a teacher, but just as likely you learned from studying the mechanisms of sprung or disabled traps. You have dedicated yourself to the ultimate expression of the trapmaker’s craft.

Preparation and care are the keys to your survival. You have great respect for traps and what they can do, so you never rush headlong into anyplace new and unfamiliar. Your role in the party depends on its needs: You might take point, searching for the handiwork of other trapmakers, or follow up the rear, rigging nasty surprises to cover the group’s withdrawal. In either case you take your responsibility, like everything else in life, very seriously.


You can hold your own in combat, thanks to the training you received before becoming a combat trapsmith, but you should stay out of melee as long as you can. Try not to draw attention to yourself while “enhancing” the battlefield with your special creations. Only after you’ve given yourself and your party the edge with your expert skills should you get involved in the fight.


Even though you have reached a high degree of proficiency, you must continue to hone your craft. Max out your ranks in Craft (trapmaking), as well as in Disable Device and Search. If you have the skill points to spare, consider investing in Knowledge (architecture and engineering) or Knowledge (dungeoneering), if your journeys take you into appropriate environments. Choose feats that help you keep out of enemies’ reach, or that let you move easily around the battlefield, such as Dodge (and related feats), Improved Initiative, and Dash (from Complete Warrior). Luck feats (page 72) are useful for those times when even your impressive skills fail you.

Taking a level in a spellcasting class (likely wizard, with your high Intelligence) can be a smart choice. Having even a few extra magical tricks up your sleeve gives you an edge against foes who think they know all your secrets.


Popular with thieves’ guilds, hunting lodges, and nobles looking for added protection, you never want for work or opportunity. Whether employed by an organization or an individual, you can name your own price—and only the wealthy can afford you.

You can expect to receive assistance from an employer to help you do what you do best, usually in the form of extra combat trapsmith’s kits. The amount of aid depends on your employer’s wealth and needs, as well as the project for which you were hired. When not employed or when plying your trade on the side, you expect and require no support—you can manage quite well on your own.


“We spent the day in town shopping. By the time we returned, he’d rigged our rooms top to bottom!”

—Elibor Gunter, battle trickster and friend of Alexan

Combat trapsmiths turn traps from elaborate set pieces into tactical battlefield additions, but otherwise don’t have much overall impact on the world. Thus, you can easily incorporate a combat trapsmith into a campaign. For example, if the party raids the headquarters of a thieves’ guild but cannot complete the mission, place a combat trapsmith among the surviving guild members. Even as the PCs try to make their escape, they might fall victim to devilish traps in previously cleared hallways and rooms.


Each combat trapsmith comes to his trade in his own way. No guild or organization links these staunch individualists, who freely join or leave an employer as their interests and values dictate. A combat trapsmith joins a larger group only if doing so makes sense to him; another might reject the same organization as offending his ideals or technical sensibilities. A group honored by the company of such an insidious and deadly specialist treats him with honor and respect.

NPC Reactions

The combat trapsmith’s trade is of questionable legality in some places, and highly illicit in others. Those who care about such things and who know a character to be a combat trapsmith treat him with scorn, usually having an initial reaction of indifferent at best. Dwarves, gnomes, and others who appreciate skilled craftsmanship look upon his abilities with a bit of awe, and are usually at least friendly to a combat trapsmith.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research combat trapsmiths to learn more about them. When a character succeeds on a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Combat trapsmiths are equally skilled at creating and disabling nasty traps.

DC 15: A skilled combat trapsmith can whip up a trap in a few moments that might take an ordinary person hours or days.

DC 20: Some combat trapsmiths can make traps seemingly out of almost nothing.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about specific combat trapsmiths in your campaign, including a notable individual, the area in which he operates, and the kinds of traps in which he specializes.

Members of a local thieves’ guild always know who the combat trapsmiths are within their city, even if none are currently working for the guild. PCs wishing to meet a specific combat trapsmith should contact his employer (if he has one) or the guildmaster. This information never comes cheap.


Combat trapsmiths work best in campaigns set within an urban environment, particularly if the PCs have a home base to protect. Some wilderness-based campaigns might also provide enough opportunities to keep combat trapsmiths busy. Players who enjoy establishing and protecting a home base for their characters, or who are looking for a new direction for their rogues, might enjoy playing combat trapsmiths. Engineering-focused dwarves and gnomes find the class especially appealing.

Even a single combat trapsmith NPC can make an interesting series of encounters, harassing the PCs with infuriating new traps in areas they thought were clear. The party faces a substantial challenge in tracking down and putting a stop to the interference, especially if the combat trapsmith has an influential employer.


The combat trapsmith prestige class requires no special rules sets and can fit into any campaign. Additional trap effects are easy to design, following the trapmaking guidelines in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the examples in the above list. For a stronger magical theme, consider adding a level of spellcaster to the prerequisite and expanding the range of traps to encompass low-level spell-like effects (such as hypnotism, daze monster, shatter, or cause fear).

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a combat trapsmith, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) 8 ranks, Disable Device 6 ranks, Search 6 ranks.

Special: Trapfinding.

Class Skills

The combat trapsmith's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Combat Trapsmith

Level Base
Special Combat Traps Known
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Combat trapping, trap sense +1 2
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Skill Focus (Craft [trapmaking]) 3
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Trap sense +2 4
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 Improvised materials 5
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Expert trapsetter, trap sense +3 6
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the combat trapsmith prestige class.

The combat trapsmith takes trapmaking to new heights, rapidly installing temporary devices for use on the battlefield.

Combat Trapping (Ex): You know how to create combat traps to aid your allies. At 1st level, you can learn two traps from the list in Table: Combat Traps, provided you meet the prerequisites. At each level thereafter, you add one additional trap to your repertoire, to a maximum of six traps known. Whenever you attain a new level in this class, you can choose to replace any one previously learned trap with a new trap.

A combat trap is triggered by any Tiny or larger creature entering the trapped square. Flying or incorporeal creatures don’t trigger combat traps. You can build a combat trap only on solid ground—you can’t place it on a wall or ceiling, in the air, or floating in the water. A combat trap functions only once. Once set, it lasts for 1 hour or until triggered, whichever comes first.

Crafting a combat trap requires a full-round action (which provokes attacks of opportunity) and a Craft (trapmaking) check. Each trap’s entry lists the required Craft check DC. If the check is successful, you can place the trap in any square adjacent to your space. A failed check means that the action and materials are wasted to no effect, but you can try to set the same trap again later.

Some combat traps allow a saving throw, as noted in a trap’s entry. The save DC is 10 + your combat trapsmith level + your Int modifier. Locating or disabling a combat trap requires a successful Search or Disable Device check with a DC equal to 20 + your combat trapsmith level + your Int modifier. You can automatically find and disable your own combat traps. Because a combat trap is built quickly and crudely, it is also possible to discern with a successful Spot check (using the same DC as given above), whether or not the observer has the trapfinding class feature. All combat traps produce extraordinary effects, so dispel magic or spell resistance cannot interfere with them.

Unless otherwise noted, an ongoing effect from a combat trap lasts for a number of rounds equal to your combat trapsmith level. Multiple effects from the same kind of combat trap don’t stack; use only the longer duration. Creating combat traps requires a special kit containing raw materials and tools. A combat trapsmith’s kit costs 100 gp, weighs 10 pounds, and provides components sufficient to create ten traps. A combat trap can’t be cannibalized for raw materials, nor can its materials be retrieved if the trap isn’t triggered.

Trap Sense (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, you become more adept at evading the effects of traps. See the barbarian class feature, PH 26. If you already have trap sense, this class feature provides no additional benefit.

Skill Focus: At 2nd level, you gain Skill Focus (Craft [trapmaking]) as a bonus feat. If you already have this feat, you can instead select any other feat for which you meet the prerequisite.

Improvised Materials (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, you can craft combat traps from raw materials at hand instead of relying on your combat trapsmith’s kit. Doing so increases the Craft (trapmaking) check DC by 5 but otherwise has no effect on the trap’s potency.

Expert Trapsetter (Ex): At 5th level, you can set a combat trap as a standard action without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Combat Trap Descriptions

Befuddler: A pungent spray applies a –2 penalty on Concentration checks, as well as ability checks and skill checks based on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (Will negates).

Enfeebler: A puff of acrid powder renders the target fatigued (Fortitude negates).

Entangler: A hidden cord loops around the target, holding it in place as a tanglefoot bag does. A successful Reflex save negates the effect; alternatively, a DC 20 Strength or Escape Artist check (made as a full-round action) allows the stuck creature to break free.

Equalizer: The first creature entering the trapped square must succeed on a Reflex save or fall prone. The trap reputedly gets its name from its gnome inventor, who used it to bring taller foes down to his level.

Flashbang: The trapped square emits a blinding burst of light accompanied by a loud thunderclap. Any creature in the trapped square or any adjacent square becomes blinded and deafened; a successful Fortitude save lessens the effect to dazzled.

Footspiker: This trap effectively fills the designated square with caltrops, potentially slowing the target’s movement (PH 126).

Glitterburst: A fine cloud of silver dust clings to any creature within the trapped square (no save). Any creature affected by a glitterburst trap takes a –20 penalty on Hide checks and, if invisible, is visibly outlined for the duration of the effect.

Scorcher: The trapped square releases a cloud of fine dust followed by a spark, setting off a small explosion that deals 2d6 points of fire damage to each creature in that square (Reflex half).

Scorcher, Great: This works like a scorcher trap (see above), except that it deals 5d6 points of fire damage to each creature in the trapped square and in all adjacent squares (Reflex half).

Sleeper: A slumber-inducing vapor makes the target fall asleep. A successful Fortitude save lessens the effect to fatigued.

Spiderweb: The trapped square releases a burst of sticky tendrils that toughen when they contact air. This trap duplicates the effect of a web spell, except that the strands fill only the trapped square and all adjacent squares.

Stinkburst: A cloud of noxious vapors duplicates the effect of a stinking cloud spell, except that the effect fills only the trapped square. A successful Fortitude save negates the effect, but a creature must make a new saving throw each round it remains within the cloud.