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I was thinking of using a trap against magic users. The idea that I came up with was basically as follows:

The victim walks into the trap area (a hallway with a width of Silence's area of effect (about 28 feet across max))

Two quite sturdy walls fall from the ceiling (~28 feet apart max)

When the victim goes to cast a spell, they discover that they can not speak and thus cannot fulfill the verbal requirements that almost every spell has due to the fact that a rune/glyph (not sure which is the correct one) casts Silence and continues to maintain the Silence spell.

My main question is: How overpowered would this trap be against magic users?

The subordinate question:
Would it be fair to pit players against this (the setting would be in BBEG's lair) trap?
How would I implement a trap like this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it is about a homebrew. \$\endgroup\$ – Peregrine Lennert Mar 7 '18 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you have a homebrew trap, you need to give us the full mechanics for it so we can judge it. If you want to know how to build a trap like that, you should probably ask that specifically. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 7 '18 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ By "Zone of Silence" are you actually referring to the silence spell? Or a custom spell/effect? \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 7 '18 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think [gm-techniques] is an appropriate tag here. It is typically used for out-of-game concepts or story-telling aspects, not the development of homebrew. That's what the homebrew tag is for. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 7 '18 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wish I could accept all of the answers \$\endgroup\$ – Peregrine Lennert Mar 7 '18 at 19:44
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Not Overpowered (Inherently)

This is something a player can do fully within the rules, which means as a DM it's easy to do and justify should you feel the need to - Your Big Bad or his trap setting assistant needs to know Glyph of Warding and Silence creating your so called "Zone of Silence."

Creating a Glyph of Warding containing a Silence spell takes one hour and one 3rd level spell slot, per trigger of the trap. Silence covers a 20ft radius centered on the glyph, so the space the walls contain would have to be fully within that sphere, or the corners would be outside the spell (maybe this is a weakness of the trap for a clever spellcaster).

As to your question of balance, that is fully dependent on what is done with the trapped people. The trapped space could be filled with fire or poison gas, in which case the trap may be too deadly. This trap is merely containment, which is, depending on how paranoid your party is, likely to capture at least one party member. It is likely that if the entire party is held within the trap, they will be stuck there for the duration of the silence (10 minutes). Maybe this time is used to set up an ambush on the party, making the next fight more difficult.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I see, I was thinking of doing it where it would be permanent and try to separate the spellcaster from the rest of the party, needing to be rescued, but I see that it could be used for an early warning trap if I wanted to get the whole party. \$\endgroup\$ – Peregrine Lennert Mar 7 '18 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be reasonable to make it a permanent silence, but have a backup plan if the whole party gets stuck in there - if they cant cast spells or break the walls it would be easy to starve them to death. I would come up with a reason why the trap would have to be opened eventually \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Cinnamon Mar 7 '18 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had an idea for if the whole party ever gets trapped somewhere, which is to have them draw up new characters, maybe move back quite a ways in time if they're high level, then set a time limit for them to try and rescue their old characters (maybe not telling them of this fact and trying to guide them there) \$\endgroup\$ – Peregrine Lennert Mar 7 '18 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I am aware of that, I was saying that in the case of a homebrew solution that would make it permanent, I still don't believe the trap to be overpowered \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Cinnamon Mar 7 '18 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirCinnamon got it. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 7 '18 at 20:31
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A RAW option

It is possible to set up a trap like this using existing rules. You can create a Glyph of Warding(PHB 245-6) as a Spell Glyph that is storing Silence (PHB 275-6).

This seems to fulfill the effect you're looking for without needing to homebrew. If you have additional mechanical requirements that this doesn't fulfill, please add them to your question.

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