Prestige Classes


"That, my friends, is what we in the trade call a blood melon. A nasty little trap designed to fire razor-tipped darts into your head when you bend down to look through the keyhole. Stand back - I'll take care of this."

-Kalder Phentley, trapsmith

Many adventurers view traps as nuisances - just more obstacles to be overcome - but some see traps as an art form. Similar to a rogue in many respects, a trapsmith hones her craft to a level of perfection that few can hope to emulate. Simple and crude traps offend her, and complicated death traps cause her to leap about (cautiously, of course) in wonderment and joy. More than just an expert at disarming devices, a trapsmith excels at rigging deadly surprises to harm her enemies, secure her camp, and confound pursuers.


A trapsmith needs a high number of skills and the trapfinding class feature, so many members of this prestige class begin their careers as rogues. Other classes can qualify, including ninjas, scouts, spellthieves, factotums, and rangers who have the trap expert alternative class feature. But rogues have the easiest time of it.

Because the trapsmith is a skill-based character, she must have a high Intelligence score. A high Dexterity score also proves to be of great value, adding to a number of her skills.


Traps are your profession, and even the most deadly of them fail to daunt you. Whenever a new contraption is encountered, you want to be the first to examine it, figure out how it works, and try to disarm it. Success shows that your knowledge and skill are superior to that of the trap's builder. Failure, while disappointing, teaches you a valuable lesson that should never be forgotten.

Traps of your own design are your pride and joy. Your home is littered with working traps and half-finished contraptions that you constantly tinker with. When exploring, you always carry a few components for booby traps because you never know when you might need one.


Combat is dirty business, not at all like the challenge of a well-designed trap. Any brute can swing an axe or pummel with a fist. While you do not shy away from battle, you are a thinking combatant, always looking for the best position or tactic. You frequently use combat maneuvers such as trip, disarm, and aid another to get the job done. Let the barbarian deliver the killing blow to foes that you set up for him.

If a fight occurs near a trap, try to entice your foes into activating it. When creating traps of your own design, place them in locations where they cannot be ignored or bypassed.


To build on the abilities granted by the trapsmith prestige class, take levels in other classes that enhance your role. The rogue, ninja, scout, and spellthief classes work well in this regard, giving you abilities that complement your trap expertise. Sneaking ahead of the party to set up a trip rope trap and then luring foes into it exemplifies this synergy.

The spellcasting classes are good choices, too, because many spells act as traps or help you deal with traps. Similarly, do not overlook the bard class, which allows you to bolster your companions in multiple ways.


Trapsmiths have no formal organization, but small groups of these specialists occasionally gather to show off their work. You can count on basic aid from your fellows if needed, but do not expect more than room and board for a few days and rudimentary supplies.


"So, you're interested in a trap, eh? Well, I'm sure I could build you the finest, most deadly trap in the world, if you have the coin."

-Jeris "Twitch" Twitolin, trapsmith

Whether they are romping through dungeons logging traps or running a thriving shop in a busy metropolis, trapsmiths make excellent NPCs for a group to encounter. They can provide the expertise needed to determine the builder of a devious trap, to disable an apparently unsolvable contraption, or to construct a new device. Trapsmiths make excellent hirelings or commissioned specialists for PCs who are willing to pay for their brilliance.

Not surprisingly, trapsmiths spend most of their time honing their craft. Many practice on harmless dummy traps, build new variations of classic devices, and sketch wild designs for experimental contraptions. These pursuits lead trapsmiths to every corner of the world as they search for rare parts and study new traps firsthand - sometimes in the middle of a monster-filled dungeon.

To make a living, many trapsmiths who have ranks in Craft (locksmith) quietly build intricate locks, which always seem to be in short supply. Others advertise their talents more actively, constructing all manner of traps for the wealthy and powerful.

However, not all trapsmiths are helpful. Some grow so obsessed with their work that they begin to lure innocent victims into their traps as test subjects. Evil trapsmiths might go so far as to build a whole dungeon of deadly traps and hide a fabulous treasure at the end just to draw adventurers into its halls.


Lacking their own guild or group, some trapsmiths join guilds of locksmiths, clockmakers, and other professionals with similar talents. Once a year, though, trapsmiths from across the world gather to show off their latest designs and try to best one another with the most foolproof trap. These fascinating competitions are open to the public and allow only nonlethal traps. Unfortunately, zealous contestants have been known to ignore the rules on occasion.

NPC Reactions

Most commoners respect trapsmiths for their skill but view them as eccentric or obsessed. When an NPC hires a trapsmith to build a contraption, she treats him with the utmost respect and tolerates his arrogance and bravado. But when the job is done, she regards him only with suspicion. After all, employers rarely trust someone who knows the secrets of their defenses.

In many towns, the locals talk in hushed tones about the local trapsmith, whose home emanates odd noises and receives even stranger deliveries.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (architecture and engineering) or Knowledge (local) can research 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: Traps are difficult and dangerous to handle. Experts in this field are known as trapsmiths.

DC 15: Trapsmiths are highly skilled at locating and disarming traps of all kinds. They are also said to be quite talented at creating such devices.

DC 20: Trapsmiths can set up quick, simple booby traps with ease. Some also cast spells that emulate the effects of traps.

DC 25: Experienced trapsmiths can avoid much of the danger posed by a trap, shrugging off effects that would kill others.


It is easy to introduce trapsmiths into nearly any campaign. For example, wherever a particularly trap-laden dungeon exists, the local trapsmith might be cataloging the devices with wonder, or cleaning them out before they claim more explorers' lives. On the other hand, if he was the one who trapped the dungeon in the first place, he might send a party of adventurers through its gate on a phony mission, just so he can test his work. Perhaps the PCs hire a rival trapsmith who is certain she can lead them safely through the dungeon. Or in a race to a prize between two groups of dungeoneers, the party that retains the services of a trapsmith will have a significant edge over its competition.

As a player option, a trapsmith makes a good PC in campaigns that feature plenty of traps. A party that spends all its time in the wilderness will have little use for such a specialist, but explorers who want to clear out a huge dungeon will find a trapsmith a vital ally.


As a fairly generic prestige class, the trapsmith should fit into any campaign setting with little or no adjustment.

Sample Encounter

Few trapsmiths seek direct confrontation, preferring to let their devices speak for them. As such, most encounters with a trapsmith do not involve combat.

EL 9: Jeris "Twitch" Twitolin (LN male gnome rogue 5/trapsmith 4) has a workshop in a major city, but he spends much of his time wandering about, seeking employment and ideas for new traps. When he hears that the PCs are preparing to explore a nearby dungeon, he offers his services as a hireling. In lieu of a hiring fee, Jeris requests an equal share of any treasure found, plus sole rights to any new trap designs encountered.

Hit Die: d6.


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

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) 8 ranks, Disable Device 8 ranks, Open Lock 5 ranks, Search 8 ranks.

Special: Trapfinding class feature.

Class Skills

The trapsmith's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Trapsmith

Level Base
Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Booby traps (simple), master disarmer, trap sense +1 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Arrow proof, quick fingers 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Booby traps (advanced), unweave, trap sense +2 2 1
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Dance through danger, spell proof 3 2
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Avoid disaster, trap sense +3 3 2 1
Class Features

As a trapsmith, your abilities revolve around using mundane traps and magic traps to your advantage. After attaining only a few levels, you are the most qualified member of your party at dealing with traps, and your abilities allow you to protect your fellows in a number of ways. Versatility is key when designing your character, because while traps are a common danger, they are not always present. Make sure to carry plenty of supplies so that you can make your own traps to use against enemies.

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

Booby Traps (Ex): You can quickly set up simple booby traps (see below) to harm and hinder your foes. When setting up a trap, make a Craft (trapmaking) check. The check result is the Difficulty Class of an attempt to find the trap by making a Search check. Half the check result is the DC of an attempt to disarm the trap by making a Disable Device check. The check result affects other variables, too; see the booby trap description for details. Setting up a booby trap is usually a full-round action, though some take longer, as noted below.

Starting at 3rd level, your skill improves such that you can create advanced versions of the simple booby traps you already know.

Master Disarmer (Ex): Your skill at finding and disarming traps is legendary. When dealing with a trap, add your trapsmith level to your Search checks, Disable Device checks, and Open Lock checks.

Trap Sense (Ex): You are adept at evading the effects of traps, gaining bonuses at 1st level, 3rd level, and 5th level. See the barbarian class feature. Trap sense gained from other sources (such as barbarian or rogue levels) stacks with this benefit.

Spells: If you are smart enough, you might gain the ability to cast arcane spells. To cast a particular spell, you must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell's level. Your bonus spells are based on your Intelligence. Saves to avoid the effects of your spells have a DC of 10 + the spell's level + your Int bonus (if any).

You cast spells as a bard does. Table: Trapsmith Spells Known details how many spells you can learn at each level. Choose your spells from the following list.

1st - arcane sight, cat's grace, clairaudience/clairvoyance, dispel magic, fox's cunning, gaseous form, haste, knock, protection from energy.

2nd - arcane eye, dimension door, lesser globe of invulnerability, Otiluke's resilient sphere, stoneskin, stone shape.

3rd - Bigby's interposing hand, break enchantment, fabricate, greater dispel magic, wall of stone.

Table: Trapsmith Spells Known

  Spells Known
Level 1st 2nd 3rd
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 3 2
4th 4 3
5th 4 3 2

Arrow Proof (Su): When a trap activates, you know how to lessen the impact and reduce the damage. Starting at 2nd level, you gain damage reduction 5/- against the effects of traps. The reduction applies only to damage from physical attacks, such as arrows, crushing blocks, or pits. Damage caused by spells or magical effects is not reduced.

Damage reduction gained from multiple sources stacks, but only for damage dealt by a trap.

Quick Fingers (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, you can disarm traps more quickly. When you attempt a Disable Device check, use the table below in place of the table on the Disable Devide skill description. If you have the quick fingers alternative class feature, reduce the time needed for checks on difficult and wicked traps to 1d3 rounds.

Device Time Disable Device DC
Simple 1 standard action 10
Tricky 1 full-round action 15
Difficult 1d4 rounds 20
Wicked 1d4 rounds 25+

Unweave (Su): At 3rd level, your understanding of magic traps allows you to unweave their magic, as if targeting the trap with dispel magic. Your caster level for this ability equals 5 + your trapsmith level. You can use this ability three times per day. It works only against magic traps, but spells such as alarm, glyph of warding, and the symbol spells are valid targets.

Dance through Danger (Ex): Starting at 4th level, when you make a Search check to find a trap and your result exceeds the DC by 5 or more, you can move past the trap without setting it off. This benefit applies only to you - the careful movements and balance needed cannot be taught to your fellow adventurers.

Spell Proof (Su): Starting at 4th level, you enjoy a measure of protection against magic traps. You gain spell resistance equal to 15 + your trapsmith level. This spell resistance applies only to magic traps, which include spells such as fire trap, explosive runes, glyph of warding, and the symbol spells.

Avoid Disaster (Su): At 5th level, you learn to negate the effects of a trap as they happen. Once per day, when a trap is sprung, you can make a Disable Device check as an immediate action. If the check succeeds, you quickly disable the trap and avoid its effects. If the check fails, the trap activates as normal.


A trapsmith can create a number of different traps to hinder and harm foes. Each trap described below includes information on its area, effects, base cost, and cost per use. The base cost covers the parts of the trap that are reusable if recovered. The cost per use covers the pieces that are destroyed or expended when the trap is set off. All traps below are mechanical traps with a touch trigger.

A trapsmith can disable and disassemble one of his own traps without making a check. This process takes approximately 1 minute.

Other booby traps are possible with your DM's approval.

Alarm Trap: This trap is little more than a series of bells attached to a thin trip wire. When the wire is breached, the bells ring, and those nearby can attempt a DC -5 Listen check to notice the noise. This trap takes 1 round to set up per 10 feet of trip wire used. Anyone who runs into the trap can attempt a Reflex save to avoid setting it off (DC equal to 1/2 your Craft [trapmaking] check result).

Base Cost: 1 gp/10 ft.

Cost/Use: - .

Advanced Version: The DC of the Reflex save to avoid setting off an advanced alarm trap is equal to your Craft (trapmaking) check result.

Bolt Trap: This trap fires a light or heavy crossbow at one target that breaks a trip wire. The crossbow makes a single attack with a bonus equal to 1/2 your Craft (trapmaking) check result. The bolt deals standard damage for its type, but you can use masterwork or magic crossbows and bolts to enhance the accuracy or damage. The trap must be reset after the crossbow fires. The trap can cover a line of up to 20 feet.

Base Cost: 35 gp (light crossbow) or 50 gp (heavy crossbow); add 300 gp for a masterwork crossbow.

Cost/Use: None, or the cost of the ammunition if it is masterwork or magic.

Advanced Version: An advanced bolt trap fires up to three bolts from three separate crossbows. Setting up an advanced trap takes 2 rounds and requires three crossbows (tripling the base cost as appropriate to the type).

Drop Trap: A heavy or dangerous item is rigged to fall on anyone who crosses a trip line. When the trip line is breached, the item drops, making a touch attack with a bonus equal to 1/2 your Craft (trapmaking) check result. You can rig an alchemical item (which deals damage appropriate to the item) or a heavy object such as a stone (which deals 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage). The trap can cover a single 5-foot-square area.

Base Cost: 1 sp.

Cost/Use: Varies depending upon the cost of the dropped item.

Advanced Version: An advanced drop trap can drop up to three alchemical items, a very heavy object (which deals 3d6 points of bludgeoning damage), or a net (which entangles the target, who can move freely but must make a successful DC 20 Escape Artist check to get out of the net).

Trip Rope Trap: This trap is made up of a strong rope attached tautly between two points. If anyone tries to cross the rope, it makes a trip attempt with a bonus equal to 1/2 your Craft (trapmaking) check result. The first creature to cross through the trap causes the rope to go slack, and it must be reset before the trap can be used again. The trap can cover a line of up to 20 feet.

Base Cost: 10 gp.

Cost/Use: - .

Advanced Version: An advanced trip rope trap makes the trip attempt using your Craft (trapmaking) check result for the opposed check. In addition, if the check succeeds, the trap can trip another creature that crosses through its space.