I have a concept for my game and haven't had much luck find anything saying that you can't have a magic trap on fabric.

I'm thinking a tapestry but wanted to confirm that here. The spell I would like to add to the tapestry as a magic trap is Crushing Despair.

For full context, the party enters a room where tapestries are hung around the room, with markings on them. One of the tapestries has a magic trap on it which is Crushing Despair. Removing that tapestry triggers a second Magic Trap on the wall, a Symbol of Scrying.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! What kind of magical trap? That is, is the question actually Can a tapestry have cast on it a symbol of death spell? or something like that? The site likes to give answers to specific questions, so go ahead and ask specifically! Have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thank you for the warm welcome! I have updated my question to hopefully provide the clarity necessary for helping the community to answer my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cakewok
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


You can use Glyph of Warding, but if you are the DM, you are not limited by printed spells

The most important thing to convey here: if you are the DM, you are in no way obligated to only use spells and mechanics that are available to players when it comes to magical effects. You can make up any effect you desire, from whole cloth.

If you are not experienced with the rules and mechanics, there is a risk that what you make up may be unbalanced or not work well with the other rules, in which case using the player-facing rules can help. Or you might just prefer to construct effects using the same tools that are available to the players.

Glyph of Warding

If that is the case: you cannot just have the fabric of the tapestry cast Crushing Despair, as Crushing Despair in and of itself is not a spell trap that hangs around to be triggered, it is a normal spell that you cast, and then it happens.

If you want to use it as a trap, you need an extra step: store it in a Greater Glyph of Warding (as it is 4th spell level, a normal Glyph of Warding will not do).

Glyph of warding can be cast on any object, so you also can cast it on a tapestry or other object made of fabric like a pillow. It can store another spell as payload to deliver magical effects, if conditions you define are met.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah Glyph of Warding! Thank you very much! This is the first time I've stepped into the world of Magic Traps and would like to stick as close to RAW as possible but definitely good to keep in mind that it's okay to stray away from them if necessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cakewok
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 15:03

You can

There are precedents from an official Paizo product for that. There is no reason you should not be able to do that.

(spoilers from Wrath of the Righteous)

In the book 2 of this campaign, in the citadel of Drezen, there is a very similar trap to the one you describe.

I am pretty sure this is not the only occurrence of a similar trap.

How to, according to the books

If you are not sure about how to "write" your trap, you can look at the SRD and take inspiration from what already exists.

Here it would be a trap that emulates a lvl 4 spell (Crushing Despair), so the Perception DC to find it would be 25+4=29. The Saving Throw DC would be 10+4*1.5=16 and a character with trapfinding could disarm it with a Disable Device of DC 29.

The spell Crushing Despair itself is not a trap (it is supposed to be a spell you cast directly on your foe, unlike, let's say, a Symbol of Scrying, so it would be a magic device trap. Alternatively you could say it is encapsulated into a Glyph of Warding, and in that case it would be a spell trap, not that it changes much)

You have to decide on a trigger (is standing in front of the tapestry enough to trigger it? or do you have to touch it? or to say a bad word? etc), a duration (does the frightening continue for a little while after the trap is triggered or does it immediately stops, affecting only those who were present at that moment?), whether and how it resets and its effect (for this last one it can be as simple as "cast Crushing Despair in the direction of whomever triggered it", or you may tweak it a bit, like making it affect the whole room and not only a cone, lasting longer...)

From the table in the end we can see that the base CR for a magical trap is 1, and we must add +4 to this since a magical spell of lvl 4 was used. We don't add anything for damages this this trap doesn't deal any. It leaves us with a CR 5 trap.

Remarks from this DM

Such a trap would only pose a threat if the PCs can't just wait a few minutes for the effect to wear off. Assuming it stands alone in a mostly empty part of the dungeon, counting that as a CR 5 encounter is very generous. I would only award it the full CR 5 if there was a high chance that the PCs have to roll a significant number of D20 in the few minutes that happen after the trap triggered (like if there was a nontrivial combat, or an intense chase).


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