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Preparing a dungeon for my party I have read about the falling ceiling trap in different places. Even in official sources like the Dungeons of Golarion (page 42), they write about the decending ceiling trap. But I cannot find any description of this trap. I have checked the official sources and not even google gives me a description of how to set up this trap. Maybe I have overlooked something...

Could anyone give me a description of this trap so I can use it in my dungeon?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How deadly you want it and how much? A falling piece of ceiling? The stereotypical waste crusher upside down? a full cave in? \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 17 '17 at 12:35
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There is no official description of a Falling Ceiling Trap, but there are several ways that this could work. The Emerald Spire Superdungeon module has a trap like that, here is how the text goes:

Crushing Stone Slab Trap

CR 2 (XP 600)

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Trigger touch; Reset manual

Effect Crushing ceiling (2d10 damage, Reflex DC 15 save avoids); multiple targets (all targets in room)

And the full description of the encounter, with omitted spoilers:

The entire ceiling is one huge stone slab, pierced in its corners by massive bolts. The four medallions, which are the ends of these bolts, are fastened to oiled chains on pulleys in the space between the suspended ceiling and the real ceiling. If either (...) or (...), the falling ceiling is released.

Once the trap is triggered, the slab smashes down quickly, but it stops 2 feet above the floor where it meets the plinth; characters who succeed at their saves manage to throw themselves flat and avoid damage. (...)

Now, this is merely an example. There are several ways to do a ceiling trap. It could be a block of stone that falls into the PCs, a spiked block of wood, a fake ceiling that drops on them like the one from Emerald Spire, a spiked door that drops on them and will block their path, etc. The trap building rules make it possible to build a trap like that.

Even a very slow descending falling ceiling trap would work, like the one from resident evil, or the one from indiana jones, which is probably the most iconic trap like this. Also, check the TvTropes for more examples on other media.

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Something similar, though not exactly a trap, that Pathfinder has rules for is a Cave-In or Collapse hazard. From the description, it can be triggered:

A weakened ceiling might collapse when subjected to a major impact or concussion. A character can cause a cave-in by destroying half the pillars holding up the ceiling.

And spotted

A weakened ceiling can be spotted with a DC 20 Knowledge (engineering) or DC 20 Craft (stonemasonry) check. Remember that Craft checks can be made untrained as Intelligence checks. A dwarf can make such a check if he simply passes within 10 feet of a weakened ceiling.

Along with a Save to reduce damage

Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.

and additional effects:

Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.

Characters who aren’t buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

So it could be seen as very trap-like, though is actually called a Hazard, not a Trap. Ways you could use this are maybe some weak, wooden pillars holding up a weakened ceiling, and the bad guys shoot out the pillars as the PCs approach, causing the collapse. You could "trick" or otherwise leave PCs to taking the pillars out themselves. Or maybe if they use certain spells in the area it's enough of a concussion to knock loose the ceiling. Just a couple ideas of using this.

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