Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

A Dwemer trap.

For other uses, see 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 swinging blades are unique to Nordic Tombs. Some traps can be deadly, while others can be easily noticed and avoided. Traps are often more of a problem for followers, who often do not avoid the traps' triggers.

Types of traps[]

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, opening doors
Bone Alarm None (Alerts enemies) Nuisance Camps, Tombs Walking into
Crossbow Mount 12 Medium Ruunvald, Dead Drop Falls (Dawnguard) Pressure plate - Can be reset by player
Dart Trap Very Low, but poison does high damage over time Medium Nordic Ruins, Dwarven Ruins, Cracked Tusk Keep Pressure plate, Tripwire
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, proximity, trip wire
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, Geirmund's Hall 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, Forts Lever, Tripwire
Rune Medium High Dungeons with Mages Proximity
Soul Gem Trap High High Nordic Ruins, Outdoors Proximity (Can be disabled by knocking the gem with a spell or shout, and the Soul Gem collected)
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 triggers[]

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
    • Activated: Stepping on, disarming (can be disarmed by using Unrelenting Force or any type of magic)
  • 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.


  • At least one trap can be utilized to reach a hidden area and chest. A swinging wall trap in Raldbthar, mounted to the ceiling rather than a wall or post.
  • The perk Light Foot, unlockable with 40 Sneak, prevents the Dragonborn from setting off pressure plates.
  • The perk Cushioned, unlocked at 50 Heavy Armor, reduces damage from some traps.
  • 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 cannot 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. Many are also 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 they can pick up and then reposition and reactivate it. The bear trap does not count as an attack made by the player, so it can be used to damage, or even kill enemies without being detected. A trap can be set off with only the first word of the Unrelenting Force shout. If one aims the shout right, it is also possible to set off multiple traps, making it easier to clear floors in dark areas.
  • 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 Traps (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • The Swinging Blades trap can push NPCs into the wall beside the trap resulting in that NPC being trapped in the wall.