D&D 5e

Monthly Encounter #8: The Wizard’s Seesaw Trap (lvls 11-16)

Thumbnail art from Shane Estanislao

Here at Tribality, we’ve decided to provide our readers with Encounters ready to be added to your table. I’ll be creating new ones monthly for you to have a big collection to look through when you run out of ideas for your game. If people end up liking them we may start releasing them in easy to print PDF format.

Don’t forget to comment feedback or possible variations for others to see and/or possibly implement when running this encounter. Without further ado, hope you enjoy it:

Setting: Agnostic
Location: Wizard’s Tower/dungeon/base
Lvls: 5-10

Encounter background

Your adventuring party is looking to face some evil Wizard for some reason. Once they enter one of the many chambers, they encounter this trapped room they must face to continue.

The Wizard’s Seesaw Trap

The first thing that catches your eye in this large room is the pit that is located in the middle of the room. In it, a metal slab with 5 different colors levitates at ground level connecting both sides. Under it, a 20ft fall culminates with a ground covered in spikes. Beyond the metal slab, a red iron door shows the only other exit.

Light. The room is dimly lit with torches that have the Continual Flame Spell cast on it
Doors. The iron door to enter the room automatically opens when it detects a creature within 30ft from it outside the room. The door closes when it stops detecting creatures within that range outside the room. A Wall of Force spell is cast where the door is when this happens to prevent creatures from exiting. The red iron door on the other side of the room has an Arcane Lock spell on it.
Dimensions and Terrain. The room dimensions are 85ft x  70ft. The ceiling is located 20ft from ground level. All walls are made out of iron.
Pit. The pit has a 20ft fall from ground level to the bottom, where several spikes await. If a creature falls in it, it takes 14 (4d6) piercing damage. If the creature remains conscious, it is instantly teleported to the pink section of the metal slab, in the Prone condition.

First metal slab. Full Resolution Link

When a player character first steps on one of the colors from the colored metal slab, a Mage Guardian (stat block for it on Additional Details section) is conjured on the yellow section (Y). It will try to kill all player characters going one at a time, trying to go for the weaker looking ones first. When possible, it will also use its second attack to shove the player character off the metal slab. A light blue magical barrier also projects itself preventing all projectiles and spells from entering the pit area if shot or cast from the northern or southern platforms.

At Initiative 20 from the third round of combat, a second colored metal slab is conjured from the ceiling, this one perpendicular to the other.

As the battle continues, a metalic sound is heard from the ceiling as a great shadow is cast on all characters on the pink section. A second multicolored metal slab appears from nowhere near the ceiling and starts falling on top of the other one.

After it falls, a second Mage Guardian is conjured on top of the new yellow section (Y). This one has a Necklace of Fireballs around its neck, that it can use as an action. Player characters standing on the pink section when this occurs must make a DC16 Dexterity Saving Throw to move out of the way. On a failure, the player character is restrained below the metal slab and suffers 16 (3d10) bludgeoning damage. In order to remove the condition and move out from there, the player character must use an action to do a DC16 Strength (Athletics) check, or a DC18 Strength (Athletics) check if a creature is stepping on the second slab. Take a look at the image below to know how the room should look now.

First metal slab. Full Resolution Link

As the first metal slab is levitating in order to work like a seesaw, the slab will tilt when creatures step on it. In order to know how tilted the metal slab will be at every given time, ask for each of the PCs weight and define their weight category using the table below:

Weight Category Table

Taking into account each Mage Guardian is Weight Category 4, you need to multiply the character’s weight category times the number that is listed above the section from the table below. After you have all the numbers, add them up. If the result is a negative number, the slab will tilt towards the Yellow side (Y). On the other hand, if the result is a positive number, the slab will tilt towards the Green side (G). This sum must be recalculated at the end of each turn, or at the end of each round if it becomes too burdensome. Take into account that when the second metal slab appears, you need to take into consideration how tilted this one is at the end of every turn/round as well. You can read an example in the Additional Details section.

Weight Category Tilt Table

If the tilt result is 1 or -1, all player characters must make a DC13 Dexterity Saving Throw, or slide 10ft towards the side that is tilted. If the tilt result is higher than 2 or lower than -2, the DC increases to 15.

Additional Details

The Mage Guardian uses the Shield Guardian stat block, with the following modifications:

  • The Bound trait is removed
  • It gets the Rocket Launcher attack:
    • Rocket Launcher. The Mage Guardian casts magic missiles. The spell attack bonus is +7
  • The Mage Guardian has the Magnetized Feet Trait
    • Magnetized Feet. The Mage Guardian’s feet are magnetized to metallic surfaces, negating all effects that would move it against its will when standing on metallic platforms.

Encounter example: At the end of the turn, the halfling with a weight category of 1 is located in Green (G), the dwarf with a weight category of 3 is located in Red (R) and the half-elf, with a weight category of 2 is located in Blue (B). The tiefling with a weight category of 2 is located on the second metal slab, so it is not taken into consideration for this slab’s sum. The Mage Guardian with a weight category of 4 is located in Yellow (Y). The sum is as follows:

1*2 + 3*(-1) + 2*1 + 4*(-2)
2 – 3 + 2 – 8 = -7

As the tilt result is -7, all player characters must make a DC15 Dexterity Saving Throw or slide 10 feet towards the Yellow (Y) side. This includes the tiefling character.

If you are looking for an Excel/Sheets file to simplify all this math juggling, I left the download link in this tweet.


The second Mage Guardian has inside it a note that says “Open Sesame”, as well as a Necklace of Fireballs around its neck.


If one player character says “Open Sesame”, a clicking noise sounds from the red door to indicate it is now open. The player characters may proceed.

Want more encounters?

If you liked this encounter and would like to see more consider reading one of the others I wrote!: