Please note that NONE of these things were created by myself. I only repost a few selected parts from dead webpages. All credits go therefore to their true creators.
(On a forgotten webpage, a long time ago, there were hosted the NetBooks of Traps - all editions - and a new one was worked on. Visitors were asked for new interesting traps, and they indeed posted many. Alas, that realm is gone and little remains of it. If anyone knows of more, let us know.)
It is a fine list; some may contain ancient statistics, some may be too high magic… but all can become a good inspiration for you. Oh and yes: some are very cruel… don’t do this at home, children.
Additional Ideas (41)
This trap is best placed before a treasure room or behind some altar or something. The thing is simple. An alcove about 1 foot deep is in the wall. Set in the alcove is a sword held up on supports (which are actually pressure plates). When the sword is raised off the pressure plates, blades swing down and chop off the hand (using a simple system of counterweights, the blades could travel really fast). This is a trap that is so obvious, that when it goes off you ask the player if he drools when he ties his shoes. It is best if the sword is worthless. Careful examination would show the slits in the walls where the blades would come from.
This trap is best used in Egyptian pyramids or other places made with big stone blocks. Basically, there is a long corridor that has a visible corner or turn. This will grab player's attention as they wonder what lies past that corner. So, they journey down the hall and probably step on one of the many pressure plates dotted along the hall. When they hit one of the pressure plates, a huge stone slab falls down closing off their entrance (and air supply). When the players check the corner, they find a dead end. I'm sure that this will probably kill off the entire party, so it is best used as GM muscle when the characters start acting irrational (raiding taboo temples for fun).
This trap is best used in some astrologer's study or something. In one room a telescope is sitting pointing to the wall (perhaps as an even greater clue, you could have no windows in the room). Anyway, when a force is pressed against the eye of the telescope, a spike shoots out into the eye. Mean as hell, but hey, it's an effective trap.
This is actually something that could be thrown into an adventure involving a really stupid race for fun. The inhabitants of the dungeon love to set traps, but they're not too bright. So, the result is a bunch of nonfunctional traps (a starved to death scorpion in a locked treasure room, a rope and log trap with the ropes too long or too weak, a trap that jams, a pit trap that has a bunch of dead, previously poisonous snakes, etc. etc. Good for a laugh I'm sure.)
I mentioned this trap before. Along a narrow hallway, a visible pit can be seen. It is actually an illusion of a pit that is not really there. Since the characters probably don't know that, they'll jump over it onto the illusionary floor hiding the real pit (right after the fake one). To make it effective, put big spikes at the bottom of the real pit.
I once designed a door trap consisting of a very large, very heavy door with the doorknob right in the center. It looked like the door was boarded shut; actually, the boards were not secure. Had anyone thought to check, they would have found that the door was hinged on the bottom. Instead, they just got the two strongest people to grab the handle and pull...and were crushed by the falling door.
This is a nice, simple trap that can be put in any corridor.
Two pits, spaced 10-ft. apart, bar the PCs' way. However, the pits themselves are only 6-8 feet across, and look like they can be crossed with a decent jump. What the PCs don't know of course, is that the 10 feet of corridor between pits is extremely slippery (oil, grease spell, zero-friction magic, etc.). Upon landing from the "easy" leap, the PC will slide right off into the second pit. The slippery "middle ground" will also increase the difficulty in getting to/retrieving the victim. How deep, or what's at the bottom of the pits, is left to the GM's imagination.
The PCs enter a very large, round room that is approximately 200' in diameter. The floor is covered with tiles and many of the tiles have runes on them. The runes are fake, but if detect magic is cast the runes will radiate slight magic. If the PCs attempt to read the runes they just barely fail their roles. The tiles that don't have runes appear to be a path to the door on the opposite side. The path is slightly difficult to walk on without stepping on a rune tile.
While the PCs are trying to figure out the tiles the room is slowly spinning. Magic within the room prevents the PCs from being able to detect the spinning. At the same time the 50' high ceiling is lowering 5' every round.
The ceiling is actually an illusion. As the "ceiling" lowers a rope ladder is lowering at the same rate and is 1' above the "ceiling".
Give the PCs extra XP if they discover the rope ladder before leaving by the door.
In the middle of a 20' wide corridor is a 10' wide pit. The pit is about 100' deep and several dark shapes can be seen moving around the bottom. On either side of the pit is a 5' wide walkway. When the PCs try to cross the walkway they discover that it's an illusion. The walkways are actually 50' deep pits. The walls of the pits are lined with poisoned spikes and acid is at the bottom of the pits. The original pit is an illusion that is safe to cross.
A wooden bridge spans a large pit. The first two or three PCs can safely cross the bridge without any problem. The next PC gets halfway across before hearing a scuttling sound. Two giant spiders, awaken by the footsteps of those who safely crossed the bridge, climb up and stand on either side of the bridge; cutting off any form of retreat. If any spells are cast at the spiders (i.e. fireball, lightning) there's a good chance the bridge will be destroyed, causing the trapped PC to fall into the pit of acid.
The setting can be in any long cavern or hallway. On the wall is a small opening, just large enough for a hand to fit through. Inside the hole is a pulsation blue stone. When the PC tries to get the stone out he finds that he can't get his hand back out while holding the stone. What happens is up to the DM. An example might be the floor and ceiling dropping down like an elevator with your hand stuck in the door.
The floor of a room is two feet below the level of the doors. Filling that space is flour, packed fairly tightly. As the party moves about, flour gets kicked up and floats about. The effect increases as movement increases.
(1) Visibility is shot.
(2) There is a small chance of a PC suffocating (asthma?)
(3) Any large amount of airborne particulate is flammable (as in grain elevators). If the party has any source of flame (torch, lantern, pipe), the air will ignite in an explosion that makes Fireballs look like matches.
An area of the dungeon is sealed off and a gelatinous cube roams the halls. The hall is dimly lit (if lit at all), making the cube nearly invisible. As the characters enter the room and proceed down the hall - an illusion starts behind them of hundreds of poisonous snakes (or whatever) pouring out of a trap door in the ceiling and coming in their direction. The players high tail it away from the snakes, only to splat into the gelatinous cube, who almost surely has surprised them.
This won't work too often but seems to work very well once if you place it right.
I placed a note on the ground that stated "THIS IS A TRAP" in front of a small chest. For flavor I dropped a decapitated body on one side of the chest as if the hapless adventurer had been opening the chest.
Of course, the note itself is the trap and the chest is just an empty chest.
In my case, I had the note sitting on top of a magical glyph that teleported the poor victim into the middle of several waiting monsters. Even assuming it was an obvious deception, they felt compelled to make sure they weren't leaving something behind. The note doesn't have to be magical in nature, it could easily be covering a trigger plate or spring-based trap in the floor. Or it could be coated in a contact poison. There are a lot of variations.
I usually use this trap in a dungeon crawl. It goes like this. The PCs are walking down a corridoor (sp?). They come to a door at the end of the hallway with a button next to it. An engraved plaque above the door says, "Push me". Now, most PCs will either push the button or sit there thinking what it does. By no means can it be picked or magically opened. How do you pass it?
If the button is pushed, have something nasty (of your choice) happen to them. I never put down damage in my traps b/c I want to leave it up to the DM. This trap can be used for all character levels.
SOLUTION: The answer is easy. Don't push the button. Instead, push the plaque which plainly tells you to do so. The plaque will depress into the wall and the door will open. However, the button resets and the door then closes after 10 minutes of being open. The PCs are then faced with another dilema. How do we get back out? Let them figure that out for themselves. Propping the door open is a simple solution. Or you could put the door near a room/hallway which has an alternate route out of the dungeon.
The trap for this room is deceptively easy. The room is a perfect ovid shape, with no sharp corners (reason below). In the center of the room is a large ruby, worth alot of money. The entrance to the room is a chute entering from above, with rounded edges. Here's the catch. The ruby is enchanted with a Geas spell. Anyone who touches the ruby may take no other action other than to find a corner in this room, and then the Geas is broken and the Ruby can be taken. Hence the ovid room. No corners to be found. For atmosphere, add a couple of bones, and perhaps a person or two who have been cought in the Geas for a bit...
I run a live action group and this was a particularly devious one that had everyone guessing until it was too late. Several of the players later told me they particularly enjoyed it.
Setup: A hallway entering into a dead-end room worked best.
The hallway had an ample dusting of a powdered contact poison along the floor. The poison can be as weak or strong as you want.
The room on the far end contained a magical glyph that would trigger a spell that destroyed the footwear of everyone within 10 feet.
Party walks through the hall, may or may not notice the poison. They are likely to investigate the room beyond anyhow since their skin is conveniently protected from the contact poison on the floor. They will probably explore the room beyond and, with one or more people inside, will trigger the glyph destroying their footwear. Most are annoyed by this but not highly alarmed. Its not until they find nothing of use and leave back through the hallway that they contract the poison and, not until they start to feel its effects do they realize something is truly amiss. Well armored fighters and powerful magic-weilders then fall victim to a trap that seems more a humiliation at first than a serious threat.
How I used this: I used a tunnel coming joining two outside areas so it was conveniently dim. It was more than light enough for the party to see that no creatures were in there and had no need for magical or torch light. They could see clear through to the other side. In this way, they quickly determined that any threat would be to either side of the door or concealed in the room and only did a cursory examination for trip wires or traps on the floor but could not readily see the powder mixed in with the sandy floor.
The party sent three people in to examine the room on the far side and I placed a bit of debris in there for them to explore so they didn't feel the room was overtly empty and, thus, a trick of some sort. When someone finally hit the glyph, destroying everyone's boots, they assumed it was simply to demean them and prevent them from outrunning someone in the area.
It took them 15 minutes before the first person started feeling really ill after coming out of the hallway before they saw how much trouble they were really in. I was kind enough to make it a weak poison that had a continual damage as it coursed through their system. Since they didn't have any antidotes with them it had the desired effect of slowly syphoning away their healers healing invocations without being an all at once death trap. The party walked away somewhat chastened and slightly humiliated for lack of decent footwear.
I particularly like that it didn't take super-powerful magics to accomplish. The poison was an herbal-based one that could have lasted for a while out in the open air. While it did take a fairly decent spell to destroy all the footwear in a radius, it makes more sense than destroying all footwear in a range, or even just the target if you're feeling generous, was an easier spell than destroying everything they owned or simply creating a lethal ball of fire that killed everyone in the room. If you wanted to make it simpler, you could even make it a small cantrip that simply unravels the seam in a leather boot causing the sole to fall out.
The party has just entered a large caveran/room that is dark in it's far reaches. The ceiling can not be seen. When the party nears the center of the room, a character steps on a trigger plate. Allow them to hear a "click" and then a few seconds later a soft 'rustle' comming from the dark ceiling above. Suddenly several sealed clay jugs shatter on the floor. There is a clear liquid that sprays from them. Tell your players that the liquids funmes stings both thier eyes and lungs, but not enough to cause them any harm or hindrance. Evidently the chemical has grown old and innefective as a weapon. Actually this chemical is Amonia. After the party see's that they are indeed alright, they should proceed across the chamber. Shorty there after, while still near the center, they will set off another trigger that drops more clay jugs. These jugs land next to the first ones and shatter in the same way, spraying a clear liquid. (chlorine (bleach)) When these liquids mix, a thick cloud instantly erupts. This happens at about 6 places in the cavern, essentially surrounding the party. These vapors will cause 6d6 damage (save vs. breath weapon for half) for every round. Now it sounds easy to get out in one round, but figure into the mix that these billowing clouds not only obscure vision, but also causes temporary blindness (1d12 turns) and will hinder the escape.
It is up to you to decide their chances of escape. Personally, I don't like killing off my players...just severly maiming them
10x10 (or larger) room with (tigh fitting) entrance and exit doors at opposite ends. Make sure the doors swing 'into' the room.
If both doors are shut, triggers in the center portion of the room are activated. Should a PC step on one, the ceiling drops rather quickly, but stops about 4-ft from the floor. The PCs' ears will "pop" as the air pressure builds up quickly (optionally causing damage/deafness) in the sealed room. The lowered ceiling partially covers the doors, blocking them from swinging open.
After a few turns (maybe an hour) the ceiling rises again and resets. However, those impatient PCs who decide to break the "still accessible" portion of the door, will create a 'releif valve' for all that air pressure (which is all that's holding up the ceiling at this point). Any hole will pretty much burst the door as the air escapes with great force.
If you want to be merciful, allow PC's adjacent to the door to be "blown out" with the air (before the, now unsupported, ceiling falls to the floor). Of course, being launched through a door and against a (corridor?) wall outside the room has its own hazards. Sadistic GM's could always have a retracting/concealed spike-wall positioned for just such an occasion.
This is a nasty little trick to play on someone. Simple, yet effective on a gullible or cheap party.
As part of a standard treasure, put a half dozen potions in the chest/sack/whatever. Label them all, but be sure to include at least two that are labelled "Cure Serious Wounds".
The potions should be labelled correctly, with one exception. One of the Cure Serious Wounds is actually Inflict Serious Wounds.
Now, if the party is careful, they will do a detect magic on the potions, or an identify to confirm that the labels are correct. If they aren't, well, needless to say the poor guy who gets the Inflict Serious Wounds is in for a bad time. Odds are he will use it during combat when he is short on hit points. It will probably kill him in that case.
In my game, the player in question used it after the battle. He made his saving throw, but fell to -9 as a result.
The party finds a door to room that they know they must go through. The door is not locked and when someone turns the knob or handle, a clearly audible 'click' in heard in the walls. Nothing appears to happen. When the door is opened, only a small part of the room can be seen. A large metal cage stands open. The door of the cage is attached to a rope that runs into the ceiling. The click was the sound of the mechanism pulling the rope and opening the cage. Whatever was in the cage is up to the DM, but there is something in that room they have to have, so they have to deal with the monster.
The party walks into a room and finds two goblins playing with dice. These dice are actually hp dice that raise the goblin's HPs. The longer the party sits and watches the goblins the higher their HPs become. So you can have each goblin have 20,30 + HPs. I find this great at higher levels when the party has really big egos. They come in and think that the monster is a real pushover, surprise. If the party defeats the goblins and tries to retrieve the dice, which is most likely, use your imagination on what you can do to make these dice a living nightmare for them.
A lich who spent a good deal of his spare time hassling the PCs had a particular taste for using cursed and unusual magic items. Some examples:
1. A pitfall, 20 feet deep. Center a Prismatic Sphere on the bottom. Cast a Permanency on the Sphere.
2. One PC found an item which made him immune to metal; anything made of metal would be insubtantial to him. The lich filled a 15-foot cube with solid steel set into the floor of a hallway. Every one else walked right over it with no problem. He fell in. No air, no spellcasting, no way to get a rope to him.
3. A wand is left on a table in a room with an earthen floor. When the party gets within 10', a Magic Mouth activates a Rock-to-Mud spell. (It is a Wand of Earth Alteration.) The party drops down into instant quicksand. If they do not remove the wand from the table in the same round, in the next, another Magic Mouth will activate the reverse-spell, Mud-to-Rock.
4. Stepping on the wrong spot in a hallway causes a brick to fall down from the ceiling. Attached to the brick by a wire designed to tear it open is a packet of Dust of Sneezing and Choking.
5. The group finds a Ring of Haste. The second time it is used, it will speed up time for the wearer at a 3600-1 ratio; he will experience an hour for every real second. It will also refuse to come off. The others will see him vanish. Everything around him seems as solid as steel, including friends, foes, and food. Doors are impossible to open. Unless he can cast a Remove Curse on himself, or arrange for someone else to cast one on him, he will die of thirst and starvation within 5 minutes (=300 hours).
6. The group finds an artifact, which renders one of them Anti-Magical. No magic works within 5' of him. Please NO MAGIC! It seems great (imagine bouncing Beholders like basketballs, etc.) until the PC is in need of Curing, magical Flight, or tries to go through a magic Portal. The funniest thing is, this Curse cannot be removed by normal means, since Remove Curse won't work either. If he's a front-line fighter, spell-casters are going to hate being behind him, since ALL magic spells and effects cease to function near him.
7. A Rope of Entanglement. The second time it is used, it ties up the user and his group.
You can see the trend here. This lich booby-traps items so that they seem useful, but boomerang on the PCs after a short while.
The PCs come down stone stairs to hallway that continues on for 15 ft and ends with a lever next to the end on right hand side of wall. My PCs know me and realized that this was a trap (but they did not know what type or how to disarm it). But one of them thought, "Perhaps it opens up a secret door..."
One brave soul (the mind mage) decided to stay down stairs and pull the lever. After checking all three walls and around the ceiling and floor he moved away from the lever. Standing next to the stairs he used his mental powers to lift the lever and sprung the trap.
Lever cuts rope, rope releases pin, pin frees spring board (like a diving board,) slapping 20 arrows and sending them out in a rush. They shot out of the small circular holes in the stairs hitting the mind mage square in the back d20 hit at random for d6 damage apiece.
The way this trap is constructed is that it starts as a normal corridor, then a wall is built in the middle of it and stones are taken out of the floor in the general area of the wall. (I.e. if the wall weren't there, it would be a pit trap. It should look like this-
_________________________ | ________________________________
Then a mage casts invisibility on the wall. All the PCs will see is an easily jumpable pit, but when they try, they're going to hit that wall and slide (comically) down into the pit.
This is a simple trap. This trap is composed of a section of floor, which contains hollow bricks. When the party reaches the center (a maximum load of 1000 lbs.), the trap triggers, having the floor disintegrate under the party. The best part is that the trap is completely undetectable by any means, as it looks like ordinary floor and is not magical! The same thing can be applied to the ceiling and walls, concealing a passage or unleashing a large load of stone when the party moves around too much or probes the walls or ceiling. This is useful in sealing off the party so they can't escape. Note that once one trap is sprung, all others in a 50 foot radius are also sprung.
A simple pit trap in the hall drops the character twenty feet onto an angled plate, which is forty feet long, constructed along the same principles as a cheese grater. It can be constructed of simple sharpened steel (for those leather clad thieves), or possibly some sort of enchanted tougher-than-steel design (for the plate-mail clad fighter). Since the "grater" is angled, the hapless victim tends to build up some horizontal momentum as they are sliced up. I usually put spikes on the opposite wall of a vertical shaft into which the character is launched into. Lastly, at the bottom of the vertical shaft ... salt water. Acid works too, but I think the salt adds an especially mean twist.
This trap starts out with the characters walking into a long passage maybe 100+ feet by about 10 feet. The PCs see four holes in the ceiling of the (Keep) with beams of light coming down through the holes. The first thing that they think is that breaking the beams sets off the trap. My adventurers threw a rock down the hall w/ a rope attached and dragged it back on the floor to break the light and press any unnoticed pressure plates, However this does nothing. (Note the holes are about 5' wide). So when the characters cannot think of any ideas so they cross the first beam of light, just walk on through. Whoever steps in the beam hears a crashing and a huge axe blade swings through a thin section on the side wall right into the character. Dex check to take half damage. I choose 1d10 but anything is fine. So the characters think they get smart and decide to use a very shiny shield to reflect the light. The next guy walks through the light and -- BAM! -- is hit just as the first axe. Now my adventurers were upset, so 2 of 4 bolted the rest of the room, luckily nothing happened. The other 2 did not want to risk it and levitated as to not touch the floor. As they levitated past the third light beam the axe swung through and hit the floating person. Now this is when they got pissed. The monk pulls out a short sword and throws it up through one of the holes in the ceiling just for the hell of it. There is a scream and in drops a Goblin with the sword in his chest from the hole in the ceiling. It seemed that there were Goblins manning switches on the roof of the keep and were looking through the holes to see the characters. Boy did they feel stupid. But they loved it!
This room has walls painted full of different colored and different sized balls (basic color of the walls is white). When at least two PCs enter the room, the door clangs shut and the colors begin to change... slowly at first, then faster and faster. All those who don't cover their eyes must resist or become hypnotized. Those who fail are under your control for a while. How long depends on the amount the roll was failed by. A few rounds should be enough. Note: those who covered their eyes will be surprised if those under your control attack them.
This trap is basically a bowling alley. Have your party enter a room or cave with a long, polished wooden floor, a set of wooden "clubs" at the far end of the floor...in short, describe it well but don't actually say "bowling alley". The players will, of course, know what it is, and will hopefully be delighted to test their bowling skill. A number of balls will be available for their use, but one of them is cursed: When the player sticks his thumb in the thumb hole, it instantly shrinks on him so that he can't get it out. Strength and grease won't help, and of course the ball itself is impervious to physical damage; you need to somehow remove the curse to get the ball off. (Chances are the PC will use his/her weapon hand to bowl with. Can you say "serious combat disadvantage?")
Whether or not the trolls arrive at this point is up to you.
The PC's come to a large chasm. There is a single bridge connecting the two sides, and somewhere nearby (on a wall or something) there are 2 levers. The first lever makes the bridge disappear, making it invisible. The other lever makes an illusionary bridge appear nearby. The result is the PC's assuming the second illusionary bridge is the real one. For added realism you might want to have an illusion of a creature or something appear to fall through the real bridge and another illusion of another creature walking across the illusionary bridge.
This trap is actually fairly simple. Throughout the dungeon, place various programmed illusions of a ghost. Do this several times until the players are confident that the next one isn't a ghost. Of course, they don't need to know that this time it really is...
A glowing green cube appears around a victim or group, it can be as big or small as the DM needs. The cube is like a cell or cage. The more force exerted on the walls, floor, and ceiling the stronger the cage gets. It starts with a mere 10 hps but it increases with the number of damage done to it. There are only two ways out of this trap, for someone on the outside to reach in and pull someone out or to attack and destroy the square from the outside. For added fun you can have the walls shrinking to get them to attack the walls.
A short corridor leads to a mirror positioned at 45 degrees, pointed at a hole in the ceiling. It thus appears that the passage leads out of the dungeon. When a PC walks into the mirror attempting to leave the dungeon, the mirror collapses, causing the PC to fall a DM-decided number of feet into a chamber of sinister bats, ice toads, or whatever is the most suitable for the occasion. There's generally no way out except by climbing, or the PC's adventuring companions to drop him down a rope.
The mirror drops the PC directly into one of the "All fall down. And down... and down..." traps.
The PCs encounter a normal door styled to the dungeon. The door is not locked but if the knob or whatever means of opening is used the door swings rapidly open until it hits something then closes just as fast. If it hits a PC's head or body it causes 1D4 damage and immobilizes them for one turn. a variant is that the real hinges to the door are on the same side as the knob. The result: the PC is sandwiched between the door and wall.
The PCs see a beautiful looking coral necklace on a plinth. The plinth itself as no traps, but the necklace is itsself a trap. It is made of fire coral and as soon as it is worn for any length of time it warms up with body heat and stings the wearer. Depending on how dangerous the trap is to be it can range from an itchy rash that won't get better if scratched, to one that causes death by poisoning or by coral that grows into the neck.
The PCs find themselves walking through knee-deep plaster of paris. Dusty but not dangerous. Until they tread on a pressure point that opens a hole in the wall and water spills out, and the plaster heats up rapidly to boiling point or beyond, causing either an agonizing death or at least, serious wounds.
Not all traps need be deadly. A magical spell is placed over an area, and when the PCs enter it causes music to follow them whereever they go. This alerts guards/monsters to where they are, makes it hard to sleep at night and over time gets horribly annoying.More so if it's something like Crazy Frog.
This breastplate seems solid enough, and a Detect Magic or Detect Evil spell will show no trace of magic or evil. But under the metal is sulphuric acid, seperated from the body of the wearer by a sheet of glass. A hit on the armour will crack the glass and sulphuric acid will pour over the wearer's chest.To make the PCs think this is not a trap, have it protected by something.
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids.
As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an ally NPC's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. You'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for natives gone restless, humanoids,and my personal favorite, country commoners (or bandits) - especially when players feel overconfident and unthreatened.
Place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an ally NPC's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. You'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.