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Trap Master

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"I know what's out there. It's why I've planted a mine field, shotguns, and explosives all the way on the road to my little boudoir here."
Dean Domino, Fallout: New Vegas

Oh, you think you escaped the villain's grasp? You think you've successfully broken into a defenseless child's house to rob them? Oh boy, are you in for a surprise!

Open that door, I dare you. It's definitely not rigged to some horrific Death Trap. Jump through that window — it's sure to not have rusty spikes waiting for you at the bottom. Thought you could turn the key into that closet did you? Well good news - a gun is about to go off in your face!


You have accidentally come across the most annoying and sadistic pre-planner of all time, known simply as "the trap master". Are the traps illegal? Are they in any way realistically functional? Is there any possible way that the trap master could have set them up in a way that doesn't warp space and time? None of that really matters because no matter what you touch chances are it activates a Booby Trap that will lead to your hilarious death.

People that fall for the traps are usually Too Dumb to Live and/or a Determinator and don't know when to quit during their pursuit of whatever they are trying to achieve. It is not unusual for the Trap Master role to be given to The Engineer or The Smart Guy of a group. A character that is Crazy-Prepared will inevitably expose that they have at least dipped their toes into this trope's pool at some point or another.


In a Fighting Game or similar media a Trap Master character is Difficult, but Awesome, depending on mind games and often not capable of matching other characters blow-for-blow without softening them up first with the traps. Even with this kind of gaming balance, it's not unusual for players who follow an Attack! Attack! Attack! gaming style to call for a Nerf because when they do fall into the traps, they are in for a world of pain.

Has nothing to do with the similarly-named specialists in the Skylanders series.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • The Straw Hat Pirates' mechanic Usopp fights via deception. A large part of this is to lure his enemies into becoming vulnerable for one of his attacks. Once he's caught someone in a trap, chances are that person will get caught in a number of subsequent traps until they lose consciousness. Even the protagonist of this series is not immune to such a spectacle.
    • One-time character Foxy the Silver Fox's power is the ability to slow down time in specific regions, which wear off exactly 30 seconds later. He mainly uses this power to cause projectile weapons, such as arrows and bombs, to float in midair and suddenly and unpredictably hurl themselves at his foes.
    • Definitely Largo, captain of the Amigo Pirates. His Devil Fruit allows him to create a basic "sticky net" from his hands, and he can make other varieties out of any material he's eaten. Heck, he can turn his own body into one.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure most of the cast (heroic and villainous) dabble in this, since charging at an enemy before you understand how their powers work is likely to get you killed instantly.
  • Early on in Project AR Ms, Ryo deals with a couple of opponents this way.
  • In Pokémon, the Team Rocket tries (and fails) to be this.
  • Kankuro from Naruto often uses his puppets this way.
    • Shikamaru has elements of this.
    • Genno from the Trap Master Arc (filler) also counts.
  • Satoko from Higurashi: When They Cry is an extreme example of this, to the point of taking out a large number of highly trained soldiers with traps that could only have been set up in a few days
  • Frenda of ITEM from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun is also one, although she specializes in setting up explosives.
  • Student Council Vice President Akira Himuro from Fujimura-kun Mates somehow was able to set up pitfall traps throughout the entire town without anyone's notice. She triggers them with the slightest provocation.
  • In Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, Mook Lieutenant Keto favors complex plans that involve 1) spying on the heroes, 2) feeding them false leads, and 3) setting snares for them when they follow through.
  • Tsumugu from Kill la Kill is an example of this, as he arranges gauntlets of traps while others chase him. As shown in episodes 5 and 12, his spatial-limit-defying trap armory consists of remote tracking machine guns/rocket launchers, gas grenades, proximity mines, remote explosives, falling irons, frag grenades and more. As the main character remarks while chasing him, "when did he have time to set up a trap like that?"
  • Reisuke Houjou from Future Diary uses his future diary to set up deadly traps for Yuki and Yuno to fall into that range from electrocuting Yuno in the bath to releasing poison gas when Yuki tried to open the envelope that contained his future diary.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, this is Rishid/Odion's specialty as a duelist. He was the first in the franchise to use Trap-Monsters, and uses powerful Counter Traps like Judgment of Anubis and Magic Jammer, along with the Field Spell Temple of Kings, which allows him to use them the turn they are set. (Video game adaptations take it further, his deck having such infamous Traps as Solemn Judgment, ring of Destruction, and Magic Cylinder.)
  • Giese the Spirit Hunter in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX professes to be one, so much that he was renamed "Trapper" in the dub.
  • In the climax of Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, this is Bernie's strategy. He's facing a mobile suit that is leagues better than his own, so he relies on traps and set-ups to get the upper hand.
  • Pretty much all sweepers have shades of this in City Hunter, but Umibozu has this as his main shtick, and his well-earned fame is enough that finding out you're in a kill zone set up by an apprentice of his is enough to cause cries of terror. Also, Kaori, who is Umibozu's apprentice mentioned above.
  • In Bleach:
    • Pernida has the ability to plant his nerve cells inside inanimate objects, allowing him to move and control them. He does such a thorough job of controlling the environment, he manages to surprise the normally Crazy-Prepared Mayuri Kurotsuchi a few times and incapacitates Kenpachi Zaraki after catching him once.
    • Szayel, one of Aizen's Espada, has a palace rigged up with fiendish devices that seal off Renji and Ishida's powers and keep them from escaping. He'd be a tough opponent anywhere, but on his home turf he's almost unbeatable. He makes mincemeat of them until Mayuri, who's been watching and is ready for Szayel's tricks, saves the day.
    • It's no accident that Mayuri was in both of the previous fights. He's a Trap Master who brings the traps to you — Kubo has to pit him against similarly tricky characters because no one else would last long enough. And while we've never seen Mayuri fight in his Squad 12 headquarters, we know they're incredibly hard to break into (though to be fair, we know this because Urahara keeps doing it anyway).
  • In Brave10, Benmaru joins the Braves after sending them through his Death Course which they escape by the skin of their teeth. He prefers to attack before the fight has even started as a rule.
  • In Black Clover, Zora specializes in magic traps. His preferred style is to explore the area his opponents are going to fight him in ahead of time and Booby Trap the place as thoroughly as he can. He is not a team player though—when he has to fight with allies, he will manipulate his allies into falling into his traps to use them as bait so his opponents fall into even worse traps. This approach frustrates Asta to no end, considering Asta keeps winding up as Zora's decoy.
  • Gin from Itsuwaribito relies heavily on traps, defeating his opponents with the most minimal effort.

    Comic Books 
  • Supervillain The Trapster from Marvel Comics is a Trap Master, naturally enough, but in a pinch will still fall back on his old glue gun.
  • A lot of Batman's enemies love their Death Traps, especially The Riddler, who practically relies on them.

    Fan Works 
  • In the First Try Series, Tetsuo-sensei turns Naruto into one, building off his pranking skills.
  • In A Drop of Poison, Naruto makes a trap course good enough that ANBU and an actual specialist are caught by it. It's noted that the only things truly missing are chakra sensitive traps (which he doesn't know how to make) and lethality since it was designed to test academy students.
  • Janine, Koga's daughter and heiress to the Fuchsia ninja clan, is this in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Aside from the fact that the Fuchsia Gym is full of traps (that change every day), during her battle with Ash she sets up a Stealth Rock to cripple most of the Pokémon he was liable to use against her (like Butterfree and Charizard), and latter adds Toxic Spikes to the mix.

  • Kevin McCallister, of Home Alone fame, would be the perfect example, booby-trapping his entire house and causing Amusing Injuries to the pair of thieves that tried to break into it; and, in the sequel, an abandoned building in New York. In fact, the whole series is based on a kid being this and outsmarting grown men.
  • Subverted with Jigsaw of the Saw films, who is less a master of traps, and more a master of Schmuck Bait. "Wanna play a game?"
  • Nancy in the first A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) taughts herself to be this for her final confrontation with Freddy Krueger. She sets series of traps for him, and he is caught in all of them.
  • The antagonist of the 2009 film The Collector.
  • Three Finger in Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, though he does occasionally get his hands dirty.
  • 3615 Code Pere Noel and The Aggression Scale are essentially horror equivalents of Home Alone.

  • Repairman Jack turns out to be one of these in Legacies, in which he'd revealed to keep an entire decoy house rigged with traps, ready to spring on anyone who comes after him for payback.
  • The serial-killer duo from Michael Slade's Ripper rig an isolated mansion with deathtraps, then invite a bunch of victims over for a murder-mystery dinner.
  • Darian from Heralds of Valdemar is the son of two trappers. When he needs to defend his home, he leads the enemy into trap after trap.
  • Malazan sappers in the Malazan Book of the Fallen are often deadly in their use of traps against the enemies of the Malazan Empire. It helps that they are one of the few factions with access to conventional explosives and have a well deserved reputation for insanity.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man 2 has Crash Man, whose only way to fight is to run around planting timed explosives on the floor and walls. It can be troublesome even when knowing about his gimmick because he puts so many up at once.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Trish fights mainly by planting portals on the ground and in midair. An opponent who gets too close to one will get hurt by things coming out of these portals.
    • Ultimate adds Rocket Raccoon who utilizes 4 different landmine traps (boulder, shrapnel, net and spring), ignitable oil slick bombs, over-sized bear traps, a log pendulum trap, and ditch traps which trap the opponent in the ground while Rocket calls in a napalm strike.
  • Tripwire mines in the original Half-Life could be used this way. If one was willing to cheat to replenish the supply (as opposed to only having 5 at any one time), entire levels could be rigged into hilariously complex chain-reaction traps.
  • In Half-Life 2 Father Gregori has dozens of traps littered around Ravenholm for the sole purpose of killing headcrab zombies.
  • Clockwork Gennai from Oboru-maru's Live A Live chapter is one of these, he is the one who placed all the traps on the castle.
  • The Deception series of video games (including PS2 side entry Trapt) has the player character in each game be anywhere from 'mostly harmless' and 'completely helpless' in direct combat, but they possess the ability to create powerful magical traps. Gameplay mostly consists of setting up a lethal series of traps, and then standing around looking vulnerable in the right spot to lure enemies into the line of fire.
  • The Demoman class in Team Fortress 2 and its predecessors is based around planting sticky bombs to ambush opponents (when its not being played as a melee class).
    • The Engineer may count as well, particularly after it became possible to move fully upgraded sentries around or use an alternative weapon which granted him a smaller, but much cheaper and quicker to put up "mini-sentry".
  • Rachel Alucard in BlazBlue fights with either slow moving projectiles (which she can use her special ability to blow into opponents) and by planting umbrellas in the ground to serve as a target for her Sword Ivis moves.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, this is The Emperor's' modus operandi. It's even the title of his fighting style. He conjures energy crests that can paralyze opponents or shoot projectiles at them, or releases magical mines from his staff that draw the opponent in and explode. His Flare attack is a slow but large homing projectile that keeps the opponent dodging, and his trademark Starfall would be all but impossible to use if it weren't for his traps pressuring the opponent and buying him time.
    • Kefka partially counts as well. Waggle-Wobble Firaga similarly pressures the opponent with its constant tracking and threat of paralyzing the opponent, and Trine ensnares opponents that can't get away in time, which is great for punishing campers and those too greedy with EX cores.
  • Then there are rangers in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, who are capable of laying (and disarming) traps.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins features "trap making" as a skill and an engine that doesn't transition between screens when a battle begins, allowing players to use doorways, blind corners, stairways, and the like on the map as choke points, making it very possible to play as this kind of character if you know when fights are coming. You can even get an achievement for being an insidious user of traps.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition introduces the new Artificer specialization for Rogues, which is built around this.
  • The Vanquisher class in Torchlight is one of these. Her abilities involve dropping static traps that damage nearby enemies, compared to the Alchemist class' minions and the straightforward combat used by the Warrior class.
  • Some people play Dwarf Fortress exactly like this, but with added lava. You can already call down some true hell on enemies with just the ones the game intended, like sawblade-stuffed weapon traps, cages, falling stones and Indiana Jones-style spears shooting out of walls. Add smashing drawbridges, lava pumps and heavy minecarts full of sharp stuff, and you can basically skimp on the military.
  • Minecraft sees a fair few automatic enemy-harvesting machines, too.
    • Not to mention TNT rooms... some players are themselves trap masters.
  • Dirty Duck from Metal Gear fights using traps and Human Shields.
  • Urien from Street Fighter III uses a shield which reflect projectiles and harms anyone who touches it. Typical mastery of his moveset involves pushing enemies to the corner and keeping them there with said shields.
  • Pokémon has the metal bagworm Forretress, capable of learning all the entry hazard moves (Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Stealth Rock). Gen V Expy Ferrothorn is also able to learn Spikes and Stealth Rock but not Toxic Spikes.
  • In the Fallout series, players can specialize in explosives and rely on mines and grenades to fight. Fallout 3 and New Vegas include the ability to craft customized mines and grenades for various utilities.
    • Certain NPC's, like Dr. Pinkerton in Fallout 3, have their domains littered with traps, including rigged shotguns and grenade bouquet tripwires.
    • Point Lookout has Kenny, a runaway kid residing in Herzog Mine who is surprisingly skillful at trap-setting for his age.
    • In the New Vegas add-on Honest Hearts, most of the late Randall Clark's stashes are well-guarded by various booby traps. The Dead Horses have also set numerous traps along the path to their camp to keep the White Legs at bay.
    • In the Dead Money add-on, Dean Domino became an Action Survivor being trapped in the Villa for 200 years with zombie-like monsters roaming about. He's littered the area with mines, bear traps, and shotguns and grenade bouquets tied to tripwires and pressure plates.
  • Testament of Guilty Gear, whose fighting style involves littering the battlefield with invisible webs in the air and planting demon trees on the ground that act like mines.
    • Bridget is a minor example as well. Opponents who don't keep track of where his yo-yo is set at any given moment are in for a world of hurt.
  • Chrono plays like this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games, releasing invisible Delayed Binds that would trigger and catch his opponent if they flew too close to them. He could either plant them in place or have them slowly follow his opponent.
  • Lock from Lock's Quest has traps amongst his arsenal, along with walls, turrets, and minions, to fend off the enemy, making him this trope, The Minion Master, AND The Turret Master. But not a Wallmaster. That's something else entirely.
  • Guild Wars allows rangers to plant a wide assortment of proximity traps, and its sequel is giving necromancers some remote-mine magical traps and exploding zombies.
  • LittleBigPlanet's extensive level editor gives players the ability to become this.
  • Lucas Baker from Resident Evil 7: biohazard.
  • From Sengoku Basara: Most of Motonari's movesets are about setting traps in some way or form. This includes a decoy that can be detonated or energy barriers that can bounce mooks between them for massive combos.
  • Aht from Radiant Historia is a powerful attack mage, but unlike other spellcasters instead of directly targeting her enemies, she lays "traps" of magical energy onto unoccupied spaces on the battlefield, relying on other characters (or herself) to push her enemies into them afterwards.
  • The Corruptor archetype in City Of Villains had a secondary set simply named "Traps" that was full of items like trip mines, poison gas mines, caltrops, sticky web grenades, an acid-grenade launching mortar, and a portable force field generator as superpowers. The set was designed to support the player and their team mostly by debuffing the enemy and causing additional damage over time.
    • The Blaster archetype in City Of Heroes had a similar secondary called devices that was less crowd control oriented and replaced some times like the portable force field generator with a personal cloaking device.
  • The obviously named Trap Master from Threads of Fate (also known as Dewprism in Japan). Boss fights against him becomes a chore of dodging his trapped platforms in a 3-by-3 grid boss fight space. Unsurprisingly, it's not his real name. His real name is Narcius, and he's one of Valen's living dolls, much like our protagonist Rue.
  • In Senko no Ronde, Sakurako Sanjo's attack patterns revolve around her placing strategically placed mines within the battle area. Her B.O.S.S. Form even has an attack that litters the entire arena with mines. On top of that, her mines can also function as impromptu shields as well.
  • In Orcs Must Die!, the Apprentice (and the Sorceress in the sequel) is a outstanding example. His direct combat skills, while impressive on their own right, are NOT enough to fight against the relentless orc's hordes that you'll be facing. Indeed, the gameplay's true core (and the hero's real strength) resides in the clever use and placement of a plethora of traps in order to create intricate Death Courses capable of taking down massive quantities of enemies.
    • In Orcs Must Die Unchained, while all characters can use traps, the original protagonists (now named Maximillian and Gabriella) have abilities that emphasize trap usage. The former has a passive 15% discount on the cost of traps while the latter can fire a wave that instantly triggers all traps, allowing for massive combo kills.
  • League of Legends has a few characters with trap-based abilities like Shaco and Caitlyn, but the only true trap master is Teemo. Teemo can place invisible mushrooms that explode on contact with an enemy, slowing their movement and doing damage over time. Teemo, similarly to Usopp mentioned above, is generally not very good in a straight-up fight, but can beat much stronger opponents by controlling the battlefield with his deadly traps as their opponent desperately tries to chase the aggravatingly adorable rodent
  • Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars also features Goblin Techies (just Techies in the sequel), whose entire gimmick involves placing down A LOT of mines in the map to the point of Crippling Overspecialization. Three out of four of their skills all involve mines; one that blows up if an enemy steps on it for too long and deals massive damage, another that roots enemies in a large area after a few seconds, and remote mines that are manually activated to explode. And unlike Teemo's, the damage from these mines can stack. Their only non-mine-based skill involves blowing themselves up half their chunk of health and blast into an area to damage and silence enemies (which replaced a skill where they straight-up explode and die). To add to this, their upgraded ultimate lets them create a danger sign that prevents nearby mines from being de-stealthed, if there are any nearby. While their extremely mine-centric skillset makes it extremely annoying for enemies to counter, their atrocious base stats and the delayed effects of their mines makes them very weak at direct combat.
  • Rift includes this as one of the souls available for the Rogue class. If you invest points into Saboteur, you'll often find yourself ending fights before the mobs even have a chance to aggro onto you.
  • One of the Archer-derived classes in Tree of Savior, Sapper, specializes in traps—pungi stakes, claymore mines, Spike Shooters, even explosive collars they can place on a hapless foe.
  • In Eternal Fighter Zero, we have Misuzu Kamio: Fighting style-wise, she´s pretty similar to Testament, as she places invisible traps in the ground and sticky traps in the air, as well as use tiered curses to drain her opponent's life bar (The difference is, while Testament uses his own blood, Misuzu uses juice).
  • This, combined with The Engineer, is the primary role of the Technician class in PAYDAY2. His skills lend themselves to the use and improvement of sentry turrets or sticky mines (or both, with the proper leveling). When the Technician isn't efficiently drilling open open doors and locked safes, (or simply blasting them open with shaped charges) he's using the aforementioned mines and turrets to keep waves of police at bay. There are few sounds more satisfying to a player than the sound of a distant explosion, followed by your character bragging about killing a Cloaker.
  • One of the serial killers you can play as in Dead by Daylight is the Trapper, whose play-style revolves around bear traps to ensnare survivors in as he chases them.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon has Minelayers, which are mainly used for deploying mines for enemies to run into, as they are not very good in a straight up fight. In addition to being used to plant mines, Minelayers are also useful for clearing enemy minefields, as they have the greatest amount of underside-mounted Light Lancers out of any ship.
  • Path of Exile has the Trap and Remote Mine support gems, which can be used to turn any spell or bow/wand attack skill into a trap or mine. Mines are placed at the user's feet and detonated on command, while traps are tossed to a target location and detonate when an enemy enters the trigger radius. The Shadow class is the resident trap specialist, with their starting position in the passive tree being quite near most of the trap passive skills, and the Saboteur Ascendancy giving a number of trap and mine skills.
  • On top of being a master hacker, Harumi Nakahara of The Secret World is surprisingly adept at setting up traps, having somehow managed to booby-trap every inch of the apartment complex she and her brother are sheltering in. Among other things, she's flooded and electrified the ground-floor corridor, set up automatic potato guns in one of the corridors, arranged swinging paint cans on the stairs, and scattered marbles and rakes throughout the halls - apparently just to add insult to injury. For good measure, she's also barricaded several staircases and blocked the elevator doors, forcing uninvited guests to walk through the traps in order to reach her apartment. As such, the complex is remarkably secure, the only monsters inside the building are those who were already tenants at the time.
  • Knuckles acted as this throughout Sonic the Hedgehog 3, starting with ambushing Super Sonic and stealing the Chaos Emeralds, then showing up at the end of levels to screw with Sonic and/or Tails in various ways. As with most traits indicative of intelligence or competence, this aspect of the character is largely ignored these days.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Grimtooth's Traps supplements are full of ever more fiendish traps, all hosted by a Troll named Grimtooth.
    • Some of D&D's most legendary classic adventures, including I6: Ravenloft and Tomb of Horrors, largely or entirely consist of a dungeon-crawl through the lair of a trap master.
    • In Pathfinder, there's a archtype(class variation) of the Ranger class called the Trapper, which gives up spellcasting in favor of learning how to quickly set up snares and other simple traps in combat. There's also a Rogue subclass called the Trapsmith, which specializes in disarming traps and building her own.
    • Tucker's Kobolds. What are they? Just a tribe of ordinary kobolds who leveraged their advantages ruthlessly to make invading their warren a nightmare. The adventuring party they were sprung on preferred to carve their way through demons than face them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • As much as the name suggests, the Trap Master is not this trope. (It is, in fact, an inversion: It destroys traps rather than building them).
    • The Traptrix archetype is built around this, as they let you add Trap Holesnote  to your hand to your deck, as well as playing them directly from your hand or reusing the ones in your graveyard. The monsters themselves are not extraordinarily strong, so you need to use their synergy with traps to win.


    Web Original 
  • Worm has the Endbringer Bohu who has the power to warp her surroundings into deadly traps.

    Western Animation 
  • This is what Fred from the Scooby-Doo franchise wants to be. Usually, however, his traps never work as intended, mostly because Scooby and Shaggy keep triggering them by mistake. In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Fred's affinity for traps is exaggerated into a borderline fetishistic obsession. However, in this series, he actually is this trope and most of his traps actually do work fantastically, so the obsession may have its good points.
    • One episode of Mystery Incorporated showcases the gang going up against a villainous trap master, with Fred treating him as a friendly nemesis.
      • The series actually provides a sad Freudian Excuse for his trap obsession. Fred never knew his mom, having been told that she left when he was a baby. Fred is drawn to traps out of a subconscious desire to keep people from going away.
  • Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineasand Ferb does this in almost every episode. Every time Perry the Platypus comes in, the first thing that always happens is that he gets caught in a trap, which is different every time. While he's trapped, Doofenshmirtz tells him his evil plan, but then Perry finds some way out of the trap and thwarts him. In one episode, in fact, he rigs an entire ship with them- only to fall victim to his own traps repeatly.
  • King Sombra in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic specializes in being Crazy-Prepared — to the point where he doesn't even have to be onscreen to invoke Near-Villain Victory. His flavors of traps include Mind Rape, Power Nullification, and even a little Reality Warping.

    Real Life 
  • Combat Engineers. Though they're trained in regular armed combat, they tend to gravitate towards Booby Trapping everything and anything before the enemy arrives.
    • Quite a bit of fortification is focused around forcing the enemy to enter a pre-determined "kill zone" to get through the defenses. Earthworks, barbed wire, mines, etc. can all be used to funnel an enemy into a crossfire or other nasty surprise.
  • The Viet Cong were very, very good at this, as any Shell-Shocked Veteran from that war can tell you.
  • Serial Killer H.H. Holmes and his "murder castle".


Example of: