"You fell into a pitfall! This was your first pitfall in the Schwarzwelt, wasn't it? How did it feel as you fell? Anyway You've been introduced to the typical cheap trap. Be very careful from this point on."A hole in the ground that's somehow covered up so as to blend in with the surrounding terrain. Sometimes it's hidden beneath a Trap Door. Related to but not to be confused with Bottomless Pit. If it's not hidden, it's not a pit trap. A standard subversion is where character A sets up a pitfall for character B, B walks straight over the covered pit and doesn't fall in, and then character A tries to cross (possibly preceded by tentative testing first) and does fall in, Wile E. Coyote-style. Platform Hell titles will have these, usually with no indication at all that it's a trap. Oftentimes it is a Conspicuously Light Patch. If there's an angry creature waiting at the bottom, you may have run into an Antlion Monster. May have something nasty at the bottom to do additional damage on impact, such as Spikes of Doom (possibly poisoned).
— Achievement description, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- A spike-filled one is one of the traps found in the grounds of the Iga ninja dogs in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. It is used by Hayato to kill one of the Koga dogs as well as himself, as he literally took the enemy with him.
- Team Rocket in the Pokémon anime use these so often that they're practically the Trope Codifiers. They often mess up a la the standard subversion.
- They were very effective in the episode "The Stolen Stones".
- Used against "the twerps" in the episode "Here's Looking At You".
- One is used in an attempt to capture a Rhydon in "Right on, Rhydon!" It captures Jessie's Wobuffet instead.
- In an episode of Higurashi: When They Cry Kai, Satoko sets these. Rika falls down one, though Satoko was trying to trap Keiichi.
- Used and lampshade-hung in the anime of Ranma ˝, in the episode that introduces Gosunkugi.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Used to no effect (unless you count it working on Natsu, Gray, and Erza) by Lucy in Fairy Tail.
- In Excel Saga, Il Palazzo has a Pit Trap under the Trap Door in his underground headquarters. Excel falls into it almost every time she sees Il Palazzo, and is aware of its existence, so it's not really a trap.
- The Touhou manga, Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth has this as Tewi's most common prank, with Reisen being the traps' most common victim. One of it actually managed to knock out the infamously powerful Yorihime.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters just loves this trope.
Films — Live-Action
- In Chang, the natives construct these to trap wildlife. When they catch a baby elephant, they fish it out and try to tame it so they can put it to work. When they catch a leopard, they shoot it.
- Seen as a plot twist in the comedy film ˇThree Amigos!. It took out three mooks.
- In Disney's Swiss Family Robinson Francis builds one of these and successfully catches a tiger.
- One forms a central part of the rather dark plot of Onibaba.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. Hidden under the sand, it takes out one of the War Rig's escort vehicles. Furiosa has to turn her Big Badass Rig sharply to avoid it.
- In Dragon Ball Evolution, Yamcha the Desert Bandit traps unsuspecting travelers this way, then offers to throw down a rope in exchange for them surrendering their valuables. While the hole is too deep for Goku to jump out, Master Roshi does it with ease.
- Used straight in The Most Dangerous Game.
- In the Kate Daniels book Magic Strikes, Kate arranges a blanket and pillow over a sunken cage to look like a makeshift bed. She then kicks a shapeshifter into the cage and slams it shut.
- In the Discworld, Granny Weatherwax triggers one of these. She drops into a pit in which there is already a disgruntled bear. The bear's day, already disrupted, is completely spoilt by this, and it tries to get as far away from the enraged witch as it can. The Dwarf hunters who set the trap consider filling it in would be the ideal solution, but are soon disabused of this notion.
- In Going Postal, those convicted criminals offered an Angel by Lord Vetinari are perfectly at liberty to refuse and can walk out of the room by that door over there.note .
- Identifying Common Traps is a specific course module at the Assassins' Guild School. It is presumed that anyone who cannot identify a pit trap in time is Failed from the course. One way or the other.
- In Tom Sharpe's satirical farce Riotous Assembly, the insane BOSS secret policeman Liutnant Verkramp falls foul of one of these, when out on a mission against a white houseowner paranoid against the possibility the blacks are about to rise in revolt, who has taken extreme precautions in defending his property.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventures uses them all the time in underground areas, often with Spikes of Doom on the bottom to impale victims.
- Magic: The Gathering has this as an artifact and a spell. Both are used to kill any attacking creature that couldn't fly.
- Rolemaster Arms Companion. Has a "spiked bottom" type similar to the Dungeons & Dragons example above.
- Call of Cthulhu. In Worlds of Cthulhu magazine #3, the adventure "The Golden Scorpion" has some (with Spikes of Doom) in the underground temple area.
- Warhammer 40,000. Catachan Devils are said to use these. Makes sense, since they're basically an army of Ramboes, and their planet is basically a sentient jungle that actively hates all non-indigenous life.
- Arduin RPG, The Compleat Arduin Book 2: Resources. Table 76: Random Traps - Floor has many of these, filled with a variety of contents: Spikes of Doom, monsters, pools of acid, a 1,000 foot drop (Splat!), mechanical grinders, molten lava, boiling mud, quicklime and dragon dung.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has the Trap Holenote archetype of trap cards, which are supported by the Traptrix monster archetype.
- Available as an item in Animal Crossing. Said item is also in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and is actually called the pitfall.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the 8th floor of the Temple of the Ocean King has a fake safe zone only distinguishable by the fact that all the other safe zones have animations, while this one is static. And by, you know, falling into it.
- One level in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has numerous pitfalls scattered across its first stretches. Some of them contain helpful items, but some contain nasty spikes. The trick is to trigger them and then jump very quickly.
- NetHack has them. Some of them contain spikes. And if those spikes are poisoned, it's a potential instadeath if you're not poison resistant.
- One of Pitfall's trademarks.
- At one point in Infocom's Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the player can construct one of these to stop a giant mobile Venus Flytrap.
- The Metal Gear series is full of these. They are apparently programmed so that only Snake can trigger them. And the enemies can even walk over them when they're open.
- Space Quest II has a partially concealed pit trap death early in the game, and an Acid Pool pit trap towards the end. Amusingly, if you use a command to look at the pit trap the narrator will call you paranoid.
- Discussed in Persona 3. This is what Elizabeth thinks a manhole is intended to be.
Elizabeth: A clever snare. It goes against the common notion that a pitfall must be hidden. Signs placed all around boldy proclaim "Do Not Enter." Humans frequently desire that which is forbidden to them.
- Some Super Mario World hacks do this, especially with reverse P-switches (coins are safe to walk on).
- These are present throughout the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series in the later dungeons. If the team's leader falls in one, they simply take a minimal amount of damage and move to the next floor. However, if anyone else on the team falls in one, they're removed from the party for the duration of the dungeon. This can be a large source of frustration if you're doing an Escort Mission or if you recruited a rare Pokemon.
- Usable by the player in Monster Hunter. While it takes quite long to set up, any monster that plunges into the trap will be helpless for a lengthy period as it struggles to escape. This allows players to heal up, get in a few free hits, or tranquilize the monster if it's been weakened enough. It does have a few Logical Weaknesses, however, such as being unusable in certain environments, and is also ineffective against most monsters that can rapidly burrow into the ground.
- Wily Stage 4 in Mega Man 2 has this. The first set only makes you go back, the second set is above Spikes of Doom. Hint: Use the Bubble Lead to see where the holes are.
- Tribulation mode in Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Box has, among its many screw-you's, lava pit traps. These tend to be very large and only some of them have visible markings on the ground where the terrain is actually solid.
- Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner. In "Stop! Look! And Hasten!" Wile. E. Coyote tries to capture the Roadrunner with one of these, which he makes from a book titled "How To Build A Burmese Tiger Trap." What he captures instead is a Burmese tiger (Surprisibus surprisibus).
- In another Looney Tunes example, Daffy makes a pit under his welcome mat leading to a tank full of crocodiles for the Delivery Stork. The stork (who is a little tipsy) sidesteps the mat, and an exasperated Daffy drags him back outside and falls into the pit himself.
- At the end of The Lion King 1½, Timon and Pumbaa actually defeat the hyenas by luring them all into a large pit they dug while Simba is still fighting Scar.
- The CMC pull this in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- In the Superman cartoon "Showdown", a mob tricks Superman into a Pit Trap through a Trap Door made of reinforced steel. The mobster and his henchman then place a heavy desk over the Trap Door. This... mildly inconveniences Superman.
- Percival McLeach actually does this to Cody at the very beginning of The Rescuers Down Under in order to force him to give up the eagle Marahute.
- In the 1980s ThunderCats (1985), Lion-O first meets the Berbils when he falls into one of their concealed pit traps. note Later, Safari Joe puts one just outside the Thundercat's front door, and Lion-O falls in. He wonders how in the world Safari Joe dug that hole without anyone noticing.
- Total Drama Island. Duncan and Owen use a pit trap to steal the survival gear off Gwen and Heather in "Are We There, Yeti?".
- Danger Mouse: The 'regulation pit traps' become a Running Gag in "Quark Games", with just about every character falling (or being knocked) into one at some point.
- The notorious pit-traps used in the Vietnamese jungle against American troops. Often with a courtesy detail of poisoned punji spikes at the bottom.