Making pit traps more interesting

I’m currently running the Barrowmaze campaign, which has many 10x10x10 ft³ pits. When reading the campaign, I thought they would be quite interesting, and serve as obstacles the characters would need to come up with creative ways to get over, or go around.

After encountering a few pits, I see they are mostly just a minor annoyance to the players. They are only really a danger when unrevealed, when a character can accidently stumble into them. Once they are revealed, they can simply jump across them. Jumping with a 10 ft running start allows characters to jump up to their strength score in feet. Most characters have a strength score of more than 10, so they clear it with ease. Then they throw a rope back across for the one character with a strength of 8.

Is there a way to make such pit traps more interesting?

Passive Perception and Traps [duplicate]

My question is this: should passive or active perception be used for spotting traps? If you use passive, then the DM knows ahead of time whether or not a PC will spot a trap as no die roll is involved (eg. if the highest passive perception is 13, and the DM makes the spot trap DC 14, the PCs will not see it). I would like to avoid railroading PCs by knowing ahead of time which traps they will see and which they will or won’t see. Another problem with passive perception is that you have a 50% chance of getting lower than your passive perception every time you make an active perception check, so you are actually better off never looking for things, and just hoping you notice them.

In summary, when should I use passive perception and when should I use active perception?

Does Detect Magic allow players to find magical traps without a perception check?

Consider the following scenario: The party enters a room that appears to be a dead end, but in fact has a secret door with a magical trap on it. While standing in the room, a member of the party casts Detect Magic to see if there’s anything magical in the room.

Does the glow of the trap’s magical aura allow them to automatically locate it, without the need for a perception check? If not, does it grant a bonus of any kind on the perception check?

Should a DM award XP for avoiding or surviving traps?

I just was reading the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure when I noticed that page 21, section “3. Trapped Hall” says:

Awarding Experience Points

Divide 100 XP equally among the characters if the party avoids or survives the pit trap.

Does that mean that in normal encounters/dungeons/whatever characters earn XP for avoiding or surviving traps? My DM never rewarded me with XP for that stuff!

In the case it’s yes, how much XP is awarded? As far as I know, neither the DMG nor XGtE (which has guidelines about traps) explain how to calculate the XP of a trap.

Additionally, I found this answer to “How should I award XP for traps?” on RPG.SE – but if that answer says you shouldn’t do this, why does the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure (which, as far as I know, is an official campaign) do it?

How does the Tinker fair against traps?

Similar to this question, I am curious about what the tinker tools can do, and how it interacts specifically with Theives’ tools.

In XGE, P. 84, there is this image, of which I think of a Tinker’s tool: Wind up Dragon

However, in the description on the same page it says (emphasis not my own):

A set of tinker’s tools is designed to enable you to repair many mundane objects. Though you can’t manufacture much with tinker’s tools, you can mend torn clothes, sharpen a worn sword, and patch a tattered suit of chain mail.

Components. Tinker’s tools include a variety of hand tools, thread, needles, a whetstone, scraps of cloth and leather, and a small pot of glue.

History. You can determine the age and origin of objects, even if you have only a few pieces remaining from the original.

Investigation. When you inspect a damaged object, you gain knowledge of how it was damaged and how long ago.

Repair. You can restore 10 hit points to a damaged object for each hour of work. For any object, you need access to the raw materials required to repair it. For metal objects, you need access to an open flame hot enough to make the metal pliable.

Tinker’s Tools Activity DC

Temporarily repair a disabled device 10

Repair an item in half the time 15

Improvise a temporary item using scraps 20

So with that, I am confused on two aspects:

  1. Is the tinkerer someone who can make wind-up dragons? or someone who is a jack-of-all-trades on a small scale? (a smith and weaver who can only do minor repairs) Or both?

    1.2. If not, who would make the dragon in the picture?


  1. How does this interact with the ability to disarm traps? Given the tinkerer SHOULD be able to figure out how to repair things (and they can Investigate how something was broken) then shouldn’t they be able to figure out how to disarm the trap? If so, do they also have mastery over Theive’s Tools which ARE for disarming the traps?

I realize this might seem like a whole bunch of questions at once, but I think it all fit in as they are all based on my not understanding why the definition of tinker’s tools doesn’t allow you to make the dragon.

How does Great Old One Warlock’s Thought Shield interact with traps or other second-hand psychic damage?

While it can be easy to see how the Great Old One Warlock’s Thought Shield interacts with spells that deal psychic damage or special attacks from psionic creatures, I’m not sure how to rule “second-hand” damage.

The relevant Warlock feature reads as:

You also have resistance to psychic damage, and whenever a creature deals psychic damage to you, that creature takes the same amount of damage that you do.

Here, my question lies in what the phrase

…creature deals…

is meant to be interpreted as. In my mind I’m thinking it should read closer to Undying Warlock’s, saying something such as

If a creature targets you directly with an attack or a harmful spell, or if it includes you in an area effect, and deals psychic damage to you, that creature takes the same amount of damage that you do.

Is it just that the latter is too wordy / rules lawyer-y? Or should premeditated attacks like traps, Symbol, Glyph of Warding, summoned creatures, or spells cast through dummies (such as Trickery Cleric’s Invoke Duplicity) be halved as well?

My group is running a multi-character Player vs Player storyline that I’m helping DM, and I’m trying to get ahead before issues with our GOO-Locks crop up.

(EDIT: Clarified which Trickery Cleric feature I was referring to)

Where is the rule for moving slowly when searching for traps that’s referenced by Dungeon Delver?

I’m having trouble finding the rule for one of the bulleted items for the Dungeon Delver feat:

  • You can search for traps while traveling at a normal pace, instead of only at a slow pace.

I can’t find anything that talks about searching at a slow pace. In which book is this referenced?