This is mostly for the sake of blade ward, and other effects, that state:

You have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by weapons.

However, traps may include things like arrows, spears, maces, flails, and other such things. Does the fact that they are made into traps mean that blade ward is only effective when a person is wielding the weapon?

Are things that could be weapons, but are normally not, considered in the same way (like stones)?

Or is the answer specific to each trap, like if blade ward can work against a flail trap, but can't work against fall damage (which both do non-magical bludgeoning damage)?


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The quote you give for the effect of blade ward lacks the most important word in answering this question:

Until the end of your next turn, you have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by weapon attacks.

"Weapon attacks" is a well defined phrase in D&D 5e, and refers to all things which are attacks and not spells, approximately. The important thing here is that some thing cannot be a weapon attack if it is not an attack; "weapon attack" is a special type of "attack".

Whether or not a trap makes an attack is covered by a previous question. Short version: if it makes an attack roll, then it's an attack. If the description states that it is an attack, using the exact word "attack", then it's an attack.

As mentioned earlier, some spells also require attacks, and those are "spell attacks". Other attacks are "weapon attacks". I haven't found a perfect explanation for how to distinguish 100% of the time, but I would say that if a spell calls for an attack roll, or an ability uses the exact phrase "spell attack", then it's a spell attack. Note that attacks with magic weapons are still weapon attacks even if they deal magical damage.

If a trap meets both requirements, i.e. it is an attack and it is not a spell attack, then blade ward would provide resistance against its bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

For example, here is the first trap I could find on dndbeyond, the Hunting Trap:

A creature that steps on the plate must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take 1d4 piercing damage and stop moving.

The Hunting Trap requires a saving throw in order to avoid the effect. It does not make an attack roll, so it is not an attack and blade ward will not grant resistance against its damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This does not answer the question completely. What about dart or arrow traps, which commonly make an attack roll against the player when triggered? (ToA has one we recently triggered, which is why I know the example) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlakeSteel If a trap makes an attack roll then it is an attack, and if the spell is not magical then it is a weapon attack, and if the trap deals Bludgeoning, Piercing, or Slashing damage then Blade Ward gives you resistance against it. As I said, I'm not going to go find a list of every single trap and enumerate exactly which ones count as an attack and which don't. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 19:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Enumeration isn't necessary, but even what you just commented would improve your answer because as is, you only give an example of a trap that does not deal weapon damage, without even saying that there are traps that blade ward would protect against. The answer might differ depending on the exact trap says that you're being too specific. There is a general rule. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 19:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil no worries I understood what you were getting at. To be clear: "If it doesn't target AC, it's not a weapon attack." Is (mostly) correct. "If it does target AC, it is." Is not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've reworked the answer to better highlight the parts about determining whether a trap makes a weapon attack, rather than focusing on my assumption that traps do not make weapon attacks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 19:56

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