[RPG] Why is there such a big cost difference between Trap Crafting and a simple Bear Trap


Trap crafting rules:

The cost of a mechanical trap is 1,000 gp × the trap's Challenge
Rating. If the trap uses spells in its trigger or reset, add those
costs separately. If the trap cannot be reset, divide the cost in
half. If the trap has an automatic reset, increase the cost by half
(+50%). Particularly simple traps, such as pit traps, might have a
greatly reduced cost, subject to GM discretion. Such traps might cost
as little as 250 gp × the trap's Challenge Rating.

So crafting cost even if you say its a simple trap is 250GP.

Advanced gear:

Hunting and Fishing Gear

Trap, bear: 2 gp

Bear Trap

CR 1

One of my players is thinking about going into trap making (mostly for setting up around the camp at night) but is rightly pointing out that they seem extremely expensive…and make no sense at all when you look at the given price of a Bear Trap to buy (2gp) or to craft (250gp).

Is there something we've missed?

Best Answer

Bear traps aren't really a trap

A bear trap is not the same as a trap created using the Craft: Trapmaking skill, in the same way that scattering some caltrops in a hallway doesn't count as a trap - both are ready-made items that anyone may purchase and use - and both are far less effective than an actual crafted trap.

In-fact, calculating all the CR modifiers of a bear trap yields either 0 or -1 (Disable Device DC for the trap is 20, which gives a 0 modifier, but the description specifies that it may also be safely disabled with a stick - so the DC is effectively lower, meaning a -1 modifier). The rules for planing a trap specifically state:

Mechanical Trap: The base CR for a mechanical trap is 0. If your final CR is 0 or lower, add features until you get a CR of 1 or higher.

So, such a bear trap wouldn't really count as a trap.

What you may be missing

  1. If your player wishes to protect the camp, than something simple such as a bell-net or a trip wire tied to some pots can do the trick, there's no real need to craft a special trap just for that...
  2. The bear traps are designed for hunting, and when well placed (by successfully using the Survival or Profession: Huntsman skills), may help you catch an animal for food or profit. But unless you literary surround the camp site with traps, there's no guaranty that an intruder will step into one. When used to hinder passage, these traps, like caltrops, are much more effective in narrow corridors than in the great outdoors.
  3. The Craft: Trapmaking skill is much more useful for protecting a permanent structure, and not a one-night camp. Your player can use the trap rules to craft traps with scything blades, poison dart shooters, or a huge rock which rolls after Indiana Jones - these are static emplacements, which may take weeks to construct (although some feats and spells can significantly shorten the duration), and will cost a lot. But, they are much more effective than mere hunting gear - they are hard to avoid, hard to detect, hard to disable and can be much more lethal.
  4. Note that your PC will not have to pay the whole 250 GP for a simple CR 1 trap - if he is crafting it himself, he only need to pay the raw materials cost which is 1/3 of the trap's cost - less than 84 GP, which isn't that high, really. In fact, if you insist on treating the 12 bear-traps as a CR 1 trap, it'll cost him a little less than 7 gp per trap (throw in some materials for hiding the traps and some stakes and chain to fix them in place, and it makes sense...)

Hope this helps.

As an anecdote, I'm quoting here the full description of the CR 1 encounter which is the source of the 12 bear-traps = CR 1 trap notion. In my opinion, this is just a CR 1 encounter, not a single CR 1 trap...

Breeg has placed dozens of bear traps across this area, and as the PCs explore this hex, there’s a cumulative 20% chance per hour of stumbling into one of the traps. If the PCs wish to attempt to locate and tag the locations of all the traps in this area, they can do so once the hex is explored by taking a day and making a DC 15 Perception check— failure by 5 or more indicates that the searching PC steps in one of the traps. During or afer this procedure, a PC can disarm all of the traps either by manually triggering them with a stick or by making a DC 20 Disable Device check.

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