Roguish Archetype: Trapper

by SubjectiveSloth

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Roguish Archetype: Trapper

A trapper is one who uses their quick wit and a little magic to create maniacal traps and tricks to capture, kill, or just puzzle their enemies.

Mechanical Mind

When inspecting a machine, you instinctively disassemble it with your eyes and are able to intuitively understand its inner workings. At 3rd level when you choose this archetype, you have advantage on any investigation check to inspect a machine or trap.


You craft traps with skill, and have become adept at making them out of anything you can find.

Small Traps

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level you learn to create 2 small traps, detailed in the list at the end of this section. You can prepare up to 3 small traps when you complete a short or long rest by constructing them with bits and bobs you have on your person and any materials you can find nearby.

Small Traps can be deployed as an action on your turn or disarmed as a bonus action. When you disarm one of your traps, you can choose to automatically succeed on any checks associated with doing so.

Some traps can be deployed from a distance, which is noted in each trap's description. All small traps take up one 5-foot by 5-foot space.

You learn to create 1 additional small trap when you reach 9th, 13th, and 17th level. Each time you learn to create a new trap, you can replace one trap you know with a different one.

Large Traps

Large traps are those that require time to create, and cannot be prepared in advance. At 3rd level you learn to create 1 large trap. Each large trap requires some time to set up, and some can benefit from additional time as well.

You learn to create one additional large trap when you reach 9th level, and another at 17th level. Each time you learn to create a new trap, you can replace one trap you know with a different one.

Trapmaking Skills

Your skills grow as you do, and your traps grow more potent as well. Most of your traps deal damage equal to your sneak attack dice + your Intelligence modifier. For example, a trap set by a 5th level trapper with a +3 to Intelligence would deal 3d6 + 3 damage.

Additionally, most traps require your targets to make a saving throw to resist their effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Trap Save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier


Dastardly Shove

By 9th level, you have learned that redirecting your enemies into your traps makes them useful even when they cannot take others by surprise. Whenever you make an attack that would apply sneak attack damage, you can instead choose to forgo the extra damage and use that gap in their defenses to push your target up to 10 feet in any direction.


Your skill for hiding traps in clever ways grows to new heights. When you reach 13th level, any creature who did not see you place a trap makes all checks to detect that trap, and any saves to resist its initial effect, at disadvantage.

Arcane Traps

When you reach 17th level, you master a limited few magical techniques to enhance your trapmaking profession. As an action on your turn, you can create a magical facsimile of one of your known small traps. This trap functions as if it was prepared normally, is visibly magical, and exists for up to 8 hours. You can only have two arcane traps in existence at any given time.

A Note on Specificity

Several of these trap descriptions include very specific or minute details which, if used verbatim, have the potential to bog down gameplay or limit possibilities. These details are included simply to provide a quick answer to a situational question if one is needed, and should be ignored if it would be more convenient to do so.

For example, many of the trap mechanisms are described in detail. These descriptions can be ignored if you wish to create a trap more suited to your character. The effect must remain the same, but the mechanisms involved can be of any design you can imagine.

A Note on Possibilities

A problem that could arise with the inclusion of this subclass is the limiting of possibilities for characters other than the Trapper. The inclusion of large traps in this subclass can imply that this subclass is the only kind of character who can set a tripwire or pressure plate. This is of course not the intended effect, as any character can theoretically do those things. The advantage this subclass gains over others when creating large traps is this: they can create large traps in less time than another character might need, and without the need for extraneous materials. It is assumed that this subclass can find things to use for their traps in their environment and in their pouches, and as such they can create their known traps with little but time required.

A Trapper in the party should not inhibit the other players' abilities to use traps, but rather empower those abilities in the trapper without interfering with others.

Small Traps

Adhesive Weight

This trap consists of an abnormally heavy metal plate, coated with a very sticky substance. Normally it would be carried in a container slick enough to resist sticking.

  • Deployment. This heavy trap can be removed from its casing and thrown up to 10 feet away.
  • Trigger. When the adhesive side of this plate comes into contact with anything, such as a foot, it sticks.
  • Effect. Once this weight is stuck to the leg of a creature, its awkward weight and size reduce their movement speed by half. If the weight becomes stuck to a creature's arm, it hinders their movements and causes them to make attack rolls at disadvantage. To remove this weight, the creature must spend an action to make a Strength saving throw, removing it and ending its effects on a success. On a failure, the creature fumbles in its attempt to remove the sticky weight and falls prone.
  • Countermeasures. Any form of alcohol dissolves the adhesive, rendering the trap essentially useless.


This thin bag is filled with a seemingly harmless liquid, however, when the right ingredient is added, it becomes a volatile concoction.

  • Deployment. You add the catalyst ingredient and safely toss or slide the bag up to 20 feet before the components fully mix.
  • Trigger. When the bag is impacted by a rapid force, such as that of being stepped on or hit by an arrow, the volatile mixture bursts into a ball of sticky burning liquid.
  • Effect. A 5-foot sphere erupts in flaming liquid centered on the blastbag. Each creature within the sphere must make a Dexterity saving throw , taking fire damage equal to your Sneak Attack bonus + your Intelligence modifier on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Creatures who fail this saving throw are covered in a sticky burning compound, and take an additional 1d4 fire damage at the beginning of their next turn.
  • Countermeasures. On a successful Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check versus your trap save DC, the bag can be disarmed by carefully opening it with a blade and allowing the fluid to drain slowly. On a failed check the bag explodes as if it were triggered normally.

Clamping Jaws

This tried and true trap is simply a spring-loaded set of jaws attached to a pressure plate

  • Deployment. You lock the trap open and toss it up to 20 feet away.
  • Trigger. When the pressure plate is stepped on or has any weight greater than 1 pound placed upon it, the trap snaps shut.
  • Effect. If a medium or smaller creature's limb is caught in the trap, it receives piercing damage equal to your Sneak Attack bonus + your Intelligence modifier and has its speed reduced to 0. The creature can make a Strength saving throw at the beginning of each of its turns, breaking out of the trap and ending the effect on a success.
  • Countermeasures. The trap can be triggered by any force other than a creature's limb in order to disable it. If this trap is disabled without capturing a creature, it can be collected and re-used.


This flat cylindrical plate is staggeringly simple in its operation. A shallow pan filled with powder and a primer in the center that, when activated, bursts the dust outward and burns it in a dazzlingly bright flash of light and sound.

  • Deployment. A pin on the side can be pulled to arm the trap before it is thrown or slid across the floor up to 15 feet away.
  • Trigger. When the plate is pressed down with more than 1 pound of force, the pin impacts the primer and tosses flashing dust outward.
  • Effect. The dust burns and flashes a bright white, creating a loud crack that can be heard from up to 100 feet away. All creatures within a 30-foot sphere who can see or hear the blast at its center must make a Constitution saving throw, becoming blinded and deafened for up to 1 minute on a failed save. An affected creature can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success.
  • Countermeasures. On a successful Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check versus your trap save DC, the pressure plate can be carefully removed along with the primer, disarming the trap.

Poison Sphere

This trap is simply a small, rubbery sphere with several pointy protrusions. When it is squeezed, each protrusion releases a needle filled with poison.

  • Deployment. This small and durable trap can be gripped carefully and thrown up to 40 feet away.
  • Trigger. When the ball is squeezed by any force greater than 5 pounds, such as the footstep of a creature, it releases its poisoned barbs.
  • Effect. When the ball releases its poison barbs, a creature who is stabbed by at least one receives poison damage equal to your Sneak Attack bonus + your Intelligence modifier and must make a Constitution saving throw, becoming poisoned for up to 1 minute on a failed save. The creature can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
  • Countermeasures. If the sphere is ruptured in any way, its store of poison seeps out, rendering the trap useless.

Distracting Dummy

This trap consists of a rubbery film and a base filled with flammable material. A spark and a small amount of time cause this trap to grow into a vaguely humanoid shape, potentially startling nearby attackers.

  • Deployment. You can strike the lighter of this trap and toss it up to 20 feet away.
  • Trigger. This trap remains dormant for a moment until it has gained enough heat and flame in its base to inflate. It inflates instantly at the beginning of your next turn.
  • Effect. The rapid inflation of this humanoid dummy can startle enemies and cause their guards to drop. All creatures within 5 feet of the trap must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become startled until the beginning of their next turn. Attacks on startled enemies are made at advantage.
  • Countermeasures. If the dummy is punctured in any way, the trap cannot inflate and is rendered useless.

Large Traps

Frustrating Flight

This complex pressure plate trap is rigged to a large spring-like device. The large plate has a smaller pressure plate in its center, which acts as the trigger. When depressed it severs a rope that allows the spring to extend and launch the plate.

  • Deployment. This trap takes 30 minutes to set up and consists of a plate that can be up to 15 feet by 15 feet large. When you set the trap, you can choose the distance and direction of the throw. The trap can throw large or smaller creatures up to a distance equal to half your rogue level x 5 feet.
  • Trigger. The pressure plate is triggered when a force of more than 10 pounds acts upon it.
  • Effect. The pressure plate clicks just before the spring takes effect and attempts to toss its targets. All targets on top of the plate must make a Dexterity saving throw, being launched its full distance and direction on a failed save.
  • Countermeasures. On a successful Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check versus your trap save DC, the pressure plate can be carefully removed and the trap can be prematurely triggered, disarming it. Additionally, any huge or bigger creature that would trigger this trap instead crushes it and renders it useless.

Projectile Trap

This simple tripwire is attached to the trigger or release of a crossbow, sling, or other launching device, bombarding intruding parties with projectiles.

  • Deployment. The simplest form of this trap requires 15 minutes to set up, which includes the tripwire itself and the projectile launcher it triggers. The tripwire can be up to 15 feet long, and must be uninterrupted for its full length. With additional setup time, you can add extra projectile launchers to the trap. Each projectile launcher takes an additional 5 minutes to set up. You can have a maximum number of launchers equal to half your rogue level.
  • Trigger. The tripwire is triggered when any force pulls it more than 1 inch in any direction.
  • Effect. The tripwire pulls and activates the projectile launchers. Any creature adjacent to the tripwire must make a Dexterity saving throw or take bludgeoning damage equal to your sneak attack bonus + your Intelligence modifier + an additional 1d8 per extra launcher. The target takes no damage on a successful save.
  • Countermeasures. If the tripwire is cut, the trap is rendered useless.

Pitfall Trap

A classic of trapmakers everywhere, sometimes a simple hole in the ground is all that's needed.

  • Deployment. This trap must be deployed upon an already existing hole, or on ground that can be easily dug up. The hole can be up to 15 feet in diameter, and it takes two minutes to dig each foot of depth. To create the facade atop the hole takes an additional 10 minutes. The hole can be filled with any number of things such as spikes, water, or creatures, but the availability and speed of these options is up to the DM.
  • Trigger. The facade atop the hole is meant to hold some weight to appear as solid ground from a distance. The trap activates when a force greater than 10 pounds is placed on top of the facade.
  • Effect. The facade gives way dropping all creatures on top of the hole into it. All affected creatures must make a Dexterity saving throw, falling into the hole on a failed save, or catching themselves on the edge on a success.
  • Countermeasures. While a hole cannot be 'disarmed', this trap is rendered useless if it is bridged or simply noticed and avoided.

Slip Knot

This classic trap is simply a trick of knot-tying. A loop of rope laid on the ground and rigged to a pressure plate, the rope tightens around the leg of a creature and restrains it upside down.

  • Deployment. This trap takes 10 minutes to set up. To set this trap, there must be a position to hang the rope from above its trigger, which can be a tree, the side of a building, the roof of a tunnel, or otherwise. The pressure plate for this trap can be up to 5 feet in diameter.
  • Trigger. The pressure plate is triggered when a force of more than 10 pounds acts upon it.
  • Effect. The trap is sprung, causing the rope to tighten around the leg of the target and hoist it upward. The target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw, becoming restrained on a failed save. A creature restrained by this trap can use an action on its turn to make a Strength saving throw, escaping and ending the effect on a success. Alternatively, cutting the rope will release the target. The rope has an AC of 10 and 1 hit point.
  • Countermeasures. If the rope is cut prematurely, the knot will unravel before grabbing a target, rendering the trap useless.
Trap Table

Trumpeting Tripwire

This trap connects a tripwire to a variety of loud objects, dropping them or otherwise rattling them when triggered and alerting those nearby. The simplicity of this trap makes it quite quick to set up.

  • Deployment. This tripwire requires 2 minutes to set up in its most simple form. The tripwire can be up to 15 feet long, and must be uninterrupted for its full length. You can add extra objects to the trap to increase the distance its sound will carry. Each object takes an additional 2 minutes to set up.
  • Trigger. The tripwire is triggered when any force pulls it more than 1 inch in any direction.
  • Effect. The tripwire releases the objects, creating a loud clatter that can be heard up to 50 feet away. This distance increases by 50 feet for each additional object added, up to a maximum of 500 feet.
  • Countermeasures. If the tripwire is cut, the trap is rendered useless.
  • Combination Trap. If you have a Dazzle-Dust small trap prepared, you can spend 10 minutes to add it to this trap as an object, causing it to trigger then the tripwire is pulled.
Trap Name Damage Area of Effect Other Effect Effect Duration
Small Trap
Adhesive Weight No Single Target Slowed movement, or disadvantage on attacks Until save, prone on fail
Blastbag Yes 5-foot Sphere 1d4 fire on next turn None
Clamping Jaws Yes Single Target Speed to 0, reusable if disarmed Until save
Dazzle Dust No 30-foot Sphere Blind/Deaf 1 minute
Distracting Dummy No 5-foot Sphere distract, adv on attack rolls, sneak atk 1 round
Sickly Sphere Yes Single Target Poison 1 minute
Large Trap
Frustrating Flight No 15-foot Square Throw up to 50 feet N/A
Projectile Trap Yes Adjacent to Trip Can increase damage with additional time None
Pitfall Trap Fall 15-foot Circle Falling damage, trapped in hole N/A
Slip Knot No 5-foot circle Restrained Until Save
Trumpeting Tripwire No N/A Makes loud sound, Dazzle Dust combination N/A

Trapper Rogue v1.0

Changes from v0.5

  • Changed Trap save to be INT-based only in "Trapcraft"
  • Clarified the definition of "Damage equal to your Sneak Attack Bonus" in "Trapcraft"
  • Added INT mod to trap damage
  • Reworded "Mechanical Mind"
  • Reworded and renamed "Dastardly Shove"


The inspiration for this subclass began with the chapter on traps in the new Xanathar's Guide to Everything book. I had planned on making some subclasses with some of the new ideas brought on in Xanathar's, and a rogue with trap-making skills stood out to me as an interesting idea. I'm a mechanical engineer in the real world, and as such mechanical, nonmagical contraptions interest me. This made brainstorming these traps a treat, and I even went so far as to model one out in Solidworks for the diagram shown in this document.

As I was writing this option, which took quite a while after I got burned out thinking of new traps, it began to become more complicated than I would've liked. I had to do a lot of rewriting of abilities, trap mechanics, and formatting just to make it reasonable, and it still may be too much. Personally I adore mechanically complex subclasses as long as that complexity helps the class to be unique and thematic, but I know that 5e hates mechanical complexity. However, I've had some of my works called pathfinder-esque, which indicated to me that I might've gone a bit too far without intending to do so. From that experience, this subclass worries me as it may simply be too much.

Regardless, I love it and will be offering it up to my players once its revised and balanced. I hope you enjoy this tricky, trappy rogue!

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