Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Going Through the Spells: Find Traps

Yeah I went for the obvious, but still funny meme. The next spell up is Find Traps. I think it's a straight forward spell, but let's take a look.

Old School Essentials
Duration: 2 turns
Range: 30'
Trapped objects or areas within range of the caster glow with a magical blue light. 
Magical and mechanical traps: Are both detected.
No knowledge: About the nature of the trap or how to deactivate it is granted.

I like this spell. It's useful by letting the party know about a problem, but doesn't offer a solution. It's an abstract description so it doesn't so the trap itself, but the object or area. So it would show the hidden rope and pulley that releases the falling block. But a section of the ceiling glows blue. And for some reason I enjoy that it glows blue. Knowing me, I would have it glow blue for the first three times, bit on the fourth casting a trap glowed green. Watch the party speculate on why it's green. 

Duration: 3 turns
Range: 3"
Area of Effect: 1" path
All traps -- concealed normally or magically -- of magical or mechanical nature become visible. Note this spell is directional, and the caster must face the desired direction in order to determine if a trap is laid in that particular direction.

Sometime I wonder how I played AD&D for so many years. The spell is straight forward yet the need to put in the caveat about the 1" path just seems to give a dickhead GM a reason to mess with players. I'd just rule if its with 30' sight range of the cleric it's good to go. And where's the blue glow?

D&D 3ed.
Duration: no idea
Range: no idea
Notice traps as a rogue does.

...I should say I play 3rd edition once when it first came out. Once. I never played it to figure out how the casting works and the descriptions for the spells are all around one to two sentences. I'm sure somewhere there was a place that told you how long it lasted and what range it was, but I couldn't find it. But the description is about as succinct as it gets. It carries the spirit of the spell.

Find Traps is a tricky choice at 2nd level. I think it falls in the mid range of usability. The reason it's not higher if the duration. The cleric would need to already suspect a trap was in the area to cast it. It's not one to cast and start wandering around. The cleric casts it to confirm what is already suspected and it doesn't last that often.

But what if the trap isn't mechanical? Say you have coins in a chest coated with a contact poison? It is neither mechanical or magical. As a GM I would still have the coins glow blue, but give no further comment. Since it is a spell that will probably only detect one trap it doesn't threaten a trap laden dungeon. 

That's it. I'm out. Until next time we look into the nastiest of the 2nd level cleric spells in my opinion, Hold Person!


  1. From (Technically 3.5)


    Level: Clr 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 1 min./level
    You gain intuitive insight into the workings of traps. You can use the Search skill to detect traps just as a rogue can. In addition, you gain an insight bonus equal to one-half your caster level (maximum +10) on Search checks made to find traps while the spell is in effect.

    Note that find traps grants no ability to disable the traps that you may find.

  2. Also one problem with later edition Find Traps is that they are of short duration meant to deal with an immediate situation.

    In contrast the older edition versions last for 20 to 30 minutes. Making them considerably more useful.

  3. The 3 turn duration for find traps in 1E allows considerable ground to be covered if the party isn't mapping. I'd say it's a pretty useful spell, not just mid range.

  4. How do find what you have for sale?