Elder Scrolls

Trap (Skyrim)

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A Dwemer trap.

There are many different traps in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.[1] Many deal varying amounts of damage, some can have poison or carry a disease (such as Swinging blades or dart traps), while some have other specific effects, such as pushing the victim into a pit, etc. Different traps appear in different places, and some are unique to a single type of place; for example, the Dwarven piston is unique to Dwarven ruins, while mammoth skulls are unique to bandit camps. Some traps can be deadly, while others can be easily noticed and avoided. Traps are often more of a problem for followers, who won't avoid their triggers.

Types of trapsEdit

A list of trap types found throughout Skyrim.

Type Damage Threat Level Location Trigger
Bear Trap Medium Nuisance Bandit Camps, Outdoors, Ruins Stepping on
Battering Ram High High Nordic Ruins Pressure Plate
Bone Alarm None (Alerts enemies) Nuisance Camps, Tombs Walking into
Crossbow Mount 12 Medium Ruunvald (Dawnguard) Pressure plate - Can be reset by player
Dart Trap Very Low, but poison does high damage over time. Medium Nordic Ruins, Dwarven Ruins Pressure Plate
Dwarven Ballista High Low Dwarven Ruins Pressure Plate
Dwarven Pillar Medium Medium Dwarven Ruins Always Active
Dwarven Piston None Nuisance Dwarven Ruins Always Active
Dwarven Thresher Deadly High Dwarven Ruins Pressure Plate/ Getting Near
Explosive Gas Medium Low Nordic Ruins, Caves Tripwire, external fire source
Flail Trap Medium Medium Bandit Camps, Nordic ruins Tripwire, Pressure Plate, Opening Door
Flamethrower Medium Medium Dungeons Pressure Plate (Can be shot to activate. Plates with a dark center pattern are active, while plates with a light center are inactive.)
Hanging Caltrop Low Nuisance Vampire Lairs Walking into
Magic Caster Varies Varied Dungeons Line-of-sight
Mammoth Skull High Medium Bandit Camps Tripwire
Oil Lamp Medium, triggers Oil Pools Low Dungeons with Draugr, Ruins Tripwire (Can also be shot to activate)
Oil Pool High, damage over time Varied Dungeons, Basements External fire source
Poison Gas Medium Low Dwarven Ruins Pressure Plate
Rockfall Varies, but with high chance of missing the target. Low Bandit Camps Lever, Tripwire
Rune Medium High Dungeons with Mages (can be placed by the player) Proximity
Soul Gem Trap High High Nordic Ruins, Outdoors Proximity
Spear High Low

Bandit Camps, Nordic Ruins, Dwemer Ruins    Falmer Camps

Pressure Plate
Swinging Blades Deadly, with possible disease infection. High Dwarven Ruins Opening a door, Pressure Plate
Swinging Wall High High Nordic Ruins, Abandoned Forts Pressure Plate
Hinge Trap Medium Medium Falmer Caves Tripwire

Types of triggersEdit

Triggers are the means by which a trap is activated. With a little experience and caution, most traps can be avoided, or even used to the player's advantage by tricking an enemy into stumbling onto them.

  • Lever
    • Activated: By enemy
    • Located: Any, usually at a sentry point
  • Pressure Plate
    • Activated: Stepping on
    • Located: Any dungeon, used as a trigger for other traps.
  • Tripwire
    • Activated: Stepping on, disarming
    • Located: Outside bandit/Forsworn camps, dungeons
  • Runes
  • Wired Chest/Door
    • Activated: Opening the door or chest. Can be disarmed by lockpicking the visible trigger or firing an arrow at the mechanism.
    • Located: Any dungeon. Used as a trigger for other traps.


  • The perk Light Foot, unlockable with 40 Sneak, prevents the Dragonborn from setting off pressure plates.
  • Certain one-time traps, such as trip wires, will reset once the area has been left.
  • Pressure plates do not have to be stepped on to activate. They will trigger if objects fall on them, as well. This can be used to the player's advantage by triggering the trap with a dropped object or arrow to hurt an enemy.
  • Oil lamps can be knocked to the ground with projectile attacks, such as arrows, magic, or shouts. Throw Voice will work for this, and is a good way to trigger the traps while remaining stealthy. Oil lamps tend very often to be hung above oil pools, making this a particularly effective way of damaging undead, or any other enemy who happens to be standing near them.
    • The shout can also disarm magic casters when doing the same to the Soul Gems. These uses of the shout can be helpful when wanting to stay stealthy in enemy occupied areas.
  • Enemies are capable of activating traps, too. Luring enemies toward traps to set them off can be a good way to combat them, particularly for low-level characters who can't do as much damage as a trap does. Swinging Walls, Swinging Blades, and Dwarven Threshers are particularly well-suited for this role, as they may be triggered multiple times. Also, many are pressure-plate activated, allowing the player a degree of flexibility in how and when the trap is sprung (direct contact, arrow, etc.).
  • The player can use bear traps to their advantage, as the player can pick up and then reposition and reactivate the trap. This can be very useful as the trap can be used to damage enemies without being detected, as the bear trap does not count as an attack made by the player. In fact, a bear trap can be used to clear an entire dungeon without the player using any other weapons.
  • If you use Sparks on an Oil Lamp, instead of simply falling and exploding, it will shoot off randomly and then explode, often in a humorous manner. This can be used, with luck, to damage or kill enemies, such as during the Jagged Crown quest, where you must prevent an ambush, there are multiple Oil Lamps around the area.


This section contains bugs related to Trap (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , or  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  • The Swinging Blades trap can push NPC's into the wall beside the trap resulting in that NPC being trapped in the wall.


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