How to Build a Hidden Pitfall

Lethal tips excerpted from Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress!

For more build tips, you should have a flip through Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress. Check out the book here.

It can be hard to defend a castle under siege, especially if there are only a few friends in your clan. If you can’t cover every entrance and exit, you can add this trap instead. Using a series of sticky pistons and a simple tripwire mechanism to reveal a deep pit, you can capture or kill any invader, animal or angry skeleton that dares to trespass in your fortress.

Getting it Right

If created properly, the hidden pitfall is a deadly trap, but it relies on an intricate system to trigger different mechanisms at different times, including repeater delays and piston sequences. Follow these guidelines and your trap will be ready to send intruders plummeting to the bedrock layer.

Tripwire Mechanism

The tripwire mechanism consists of two tripwire hooks and string to connect them. In this trap, the hooks are hidden in recesses in the hallway, while the string itself is barely visible. When the tripwire is triggered, the current flows through the back part of the mechanism, turning off the redstone torch and deactivating the front part of the circuit. The tripwire will remain intact, so that the next intruder will set off the same trap.

Redstone Arrangement

The redstone circuit is split into two parts. The front part controls the pistons, and is powered by a redstone torch. The back part links to the tripwire mechanism above. The two sections are separated by the block that bears the redstone torch. The redstone torch acts as a mediator between the two sections, meaning that they are never activated at the same time.

Repeaters and Ticks

Redstone repeaters can be modified to delay the redstone signal in a circuit. When first placed, repeaters have a delay of 1 redstone “tick.” It’s possible to interact with them and amend the delay to up to 4 redstone ticks. In this circuit, the repeaters delay the current to various mechanisms so that they are deactivated at different times, enabling a more intricate system of pistons.

Sequenced Pistons

When an intruder sets the trap off, it stops the current to the pistons in the front part of the trap, and they retract. The repeater delays in the circuit cause the vertical pistons to drop first, bringing them and the four stone brick floor blocks in line with the horizontal pistons. Once they’ve been pulled down, the horizontal pistons deactivate, pulling the vertical pistons and floor blocks to one side, opening up the massive drop below. When the mechanism activates again, the process reverses, replacing the stone brick floor blocks.


Now the mechanism is built, it should be hidden. The mechanism is three blocks deep, ten blocks wide and eight blocks long, so will need to be placed in a ditch of this size under the hall or room that the trap is to be added to. The drop underneath the vertical pistons can be as deep as necessary and filled with lava or cacti to cause damage when intruders finally land.

You can download a prettier, printable version of this guide below!

Written by
Craig Jelley