Spelltrap was an arcane alteration and abjuration spell that could absorb spells cast upon the caster of spelltrap and then release them later at targets of the caster's choosing. Ironically, mages that specialized in transmutation or abjuration could not cast this spell.[1][2]


When cast, this spell created a silvery oblate orb that hovered above the caster's head for a number of minutes equal to the caster's level. During this interval, any spells or spell-like abilities cast directly on the wizard were absorbed into the spelltrap and became available for the wizard to send back to the attacker or another target of his or her choice. One stored spell could be released at a target every minute, until the spelltrap was empty or the duration of spelltrap was reached. Any spells the wizard cast on himself or herself were not absorbed by this spell.[1][2]

The hovering orb was immune to normal weapons, but if struck with a hand-held weapon it could discharge a stored spell at the attacker. A dispel magic cast at the orb also caused a retaliatory strike from the spells stored in the trap. These reactionary discharges were in addition to the ones willed by the caster of this spell, as long as there were still stored spells remaining. The number of spells that could be absorbed was determined by the cumulative level of the spells, up to a maximum related to the level of the caster of spelltrap.[note 1] If this limit was ever exceeded, the silver orb exploded instantly, greatly damaging all creatures within 20 ft (6.1 m) and possibly stunning them as well.[1][2]

The caster of this spell could not choose which spell to release, it was determined randomly from the spells stored in the trap. The caster also did not know the identity of the spells stored unless he or she observed and recognized them as they were cast by attackers or visibly sucked into the orb (such as magic missile). Only spells and spell-like abilities that directly targeted the caster or were delivered by touch could be absorbed; spells that targeted an area (such as fireball) were not absorbed. When released, the target of the stored spell had to be within 10 yd (9.1 m) per level of the caster of the orb or the spell was wasted. Even touch spells could be fired out to this range. The stored spells were discharged as if cast by the original caster.[1][2]

The orb disappeared harmlessly, along with any stored spells, if spelltrap expired, the caster was rendered unconscious, feebleminded, or slain. The orb followed the caster even through teleportation or planar travel.[1][2]


In addition to verbal and somatic components, this spell required a moonstone and a diamond fragment worth at least 2,000 gp, which were consumed in the casting. To discharge a stored spell, the caster pointed at a target and mentally summoned magical energy from the orb.[1][2]


This spell was recorded by Nezram in his book Unique Mageries, though it was not attributed to him. It has been proposed that this spell was created as a cruel joke on wizards because it could not be cast by those that specialized in the schools to which this spell belonged, and it was easily thwarted by overloading it with beneficial spells.[3] Spelltrap was later published in "Volo's Guide to All Things Magical" and became generally known to the magical community[4] although it was uncommon to find it.[5]



  1. Spell-like abilities that had a level equivalent to a divine or arcane spell level counted as that level. If no equivalent could be determined, it counted as a ninth level spell.
  • There is a non-canon paladin spell by the same name documented in Dragon #106 that allowed a paladin to set a spell as a trap on a small object.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), pp. 62–63. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), pp. 120–121. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  3. Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  4. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 44. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  5. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 153. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.