Encounter, Trap

The Watcher

The Watcher

A Magical Trap


In a dark corner of this dusty chamber is a massive high-backed oaken chair of stout construction with a dull black finish. In it, the figure of a man sits upright, so still that he might be mistaken for a statue. Or a corpse.

His clothes, moth eaten and dusty, hang loosely on his bony frame. His gaunt face is gray and waxy. His thin, white hair does little to cover his head and chin. He doesn’t move or breathe, but his eyes are bright and alert and unblinking.

Watching you.


This ancient chair is evil and unholy, its origin is long forgotten. Any creature that sits in the chair when it is empty must make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is caught the chair’s grip, takes 2d4 necrotic damage, and is paralyzed.

The man sitting in the chair has been there for countless years, watching. He is all but dead. The chair sustains him in his vigil. He is paralyzed, but he can still move his eyes. Any creature who meets his gaze must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed.

After one turn, charmed characters must make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the character is caught in the trap. If more than one character fails the save on the same turn, the trap will choose the character with the most HP as its victim.

The victim of the trap instantaneously swaps places with the Watcher, takes 2d4 necrotic damage, and is paralyzed, sitting upright and gazing straight ahead with unblinking eyes.


The living corpse, now freed from the chair, utters a wordless wail and flees from the chair. He takes a few stumbling steps before collapsing to the floor, dead.

Slowly, the dull black chair begins to gleam as if newly polished.


For every 24 hours that the victim remains in the chair, he/she takes 1d4 necrotic damage, down to 1 hit point. For every 24 hours after that, the victim must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion, up to 5. The chair will sustain the victim at 1 hit point and 5 levels of exhaustion indefinitely.

A victim can only be removed from the chair in one of three ways:

  1. If another creature meets their gaze and falls victim to the trap as described above.
  2. If the victim is killed, the body can be removed from the chair.
  3. The chair can be attacked and destroyed (AC 15, HP 20), but the chair will steal a seated victim’s own hit points and use them as temporary hit points first before taking damage.

When freed from the chair, the victim must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion, even if they are unconscious (0 hp).


Credit for the trap idea goes to my friend, DM, and fellow blogger over at strangedice.com. He caught me with it many years ago when I was feeling particularly cocky at the gaming table.

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