In the GM book in the Pathfinder Beginner Box there are traps definitions, and some of them (for example the arrow trap) have a damage expressed like 1d8+1/×3. What's the meaning of “/×3” part?

My guess is that it does the damage 3 times possibly to multiple targets, but I'm not sure.


On a confirmed critical hit the arrow trap deals ×3 damage

The arrow trap makes an attack roll against one target by rolling 1d20 and adding to the die roll the arrow trap's attack bonus. Usually, the total is compared to the target's Armor Class (AC), and if the result's equal to higher than the target's AC, the target's dealt 1d8+1 points of damage.

Critical Hit!

However, on a natural 20, the attack roll is made a second time, and if that second result's equal to higher than the target's AC, the target's dealt 3d8+3 points of damage. If that second result is a miss, the target's dealt 1d8+1 points of damage instead. (Also see page 5 of the Game Master's Guide.)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Let me add: "against the target's Surprised AC". \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jan 3 '17 at 16:01

It means it does triple damage to what it hits on a critical hit

Many traps are designed as weapons that automatically attack. So they use the same rules and notation as weapons that characters and monsters wield. Weapon notation in creature and trap entries includes five things:

  • the base dice (the die or dice rolled on a successful hit to determine how much base damage is done; here, 1d8)
  • the damage modifier (derived from Strength, magic weapons, feats, and other modifiers; here, +1, like a Strength +1 composite bow)
  • any rider effects that trigger on a hit (such as poison, extra fire damage, and so on; here, there aren't any)
  • the critical threat range (the range of raw numbers shown on the attack d20 that can trigger a critical; here, the default of 20, as it's not mentioned), and
  • the critical multiplier (the total damage done on a confirmed critical hit; here, triple the normal).

When the trap activates, you roll a d20 to attack in the usual way; if the result of the d20 itself (before adding attack modifiers) is one of the numbers in the threat range (here, just 20), it's a critical threat, and you roll again to see if the second roll is a hit — if so, the original hit is a critical hit, otherwise it's just a regular hit. If it's confirmed as a critical, you roll the base dice and damage modifier more than once and add the totals together: here, three times, or 3d8+3. (You can also go the lazy route and just roll once and multiply by three, but that doesn't give exactly the same results.)

A critical hit doesn't attack any more creatures than would normally be possible, just does more damage to what it does hit.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ 3d8+3 is actually pretty substantially different from 3*(1d8+1). One of them has a 0.2% chance of hitting you for 27 (and a 1.8% chance of hitting you for more than 24), and the other one has a 12.5% chance of both of those. \$\endgroup\$
    – hobbs
    Jan 3 '17 at 7:57

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