Xanathar’s Bear Trap

Bear Trap
Traps all day and traps all night, me love traps with all my might! – Bear Trap Song, Tenacious D

I’ve been reading through the traps section in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and the bear trap really jumps out at me. I’d really like to incorporate it into an encounter. I want somebody in that trap, and it doesn’t have to be the PCs, although I would prefer it.

Xanathar’s Bear Trap, Plan 1

Ok so, it’s simple. I’ve gotta get an PC to walk into the trap without checking for it’s presence. I lull them into complacency by having almost no traps in the rest of the area. Then they get sloppy and just walk into it.

…And they get hurt and they get out of it and that’s boring.

Plan the Second

This plan is a lot like plan 1, but we incorporate the trap into a defensive position set up by the baddies. I’m thinking a fortification with arrow slits. The enemies are something stealthy, and stay out of sight waiting for the clank of the trap. When they hear the clank and the accompanying screams (constitution check?) of an adventurer, they open fire. They have straight shots at the trapped PC, who is prone (disadvantage), but also restrained (advantage). They don’t really care about that unlucky fool. That adventurer is the bait in their (bear) trap, drawing the other PCs to their doom.


I’m imagining the adventurers on the run, chased by the city guards through catacombs. Unfortunately for our heroes, some local miscreants have set up shop here. They’ve laid out some traps to protect their territory. The PCs are trying to move quickly and quietly (and hopefully not too carefully) away from the guards while they methodically search the tunnels. The loud snap of the trap and the muffled cries of its victim echo from the stone walls. I sure hope those guards don’t roll well on perception and rush right to the source of the noise…

What’s next? Maybe you’re looking for some irritating monsters to pester your players with? Or maybe you’d like to get in the games I run?

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