Dungeons & Dragons Online

A quick word/cypher puzzle!

I crafted a quick, simple and easily edited or modified cypher puzzle! In my game the players said they like the puzzle I ran last game and want more. Because this is only the second puzzle and the first one that could cause harm I made is esay… (From a DMs perspective…)

In the centre of the room is a stone dais/platform or statue. at the base of the object is a set of buttons. Someone has marked the common alphabet onto them. Near the statue is the body of a long dead explorer in his right hand is a bit of parchment (The notes regarding the puzzle) in his other hand is a small wooden puck with serval holes.

The players need to move the puck over the notes until they get a word that they can enter into the buttons. the wrong word may trigger a trap or encounter!

Image from my VTT Set up for this puzzle: https://imgur.com/a/rZebt91

The word for this one is: STONE, The top centre hole of the puck aligns with the top left triangle.

Clues:

  • The notes may have scribbles or clue through out that point the the word. In this case the clues would be:
    • "A material of some kind?"
    • "A hard substance."
  • Environment clues! What is the common enemies in the dungeon, how do they relate to the word?
  • Is the puzzle to open a door to the madman's lair, perhaps he left a clue in case he forgot the word himself!
  • DM Clues! Remember the way you word and describe things can be clues in them self! However majority of players will not pick up on this.
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Changes for big brain players:

  • Perhaps the puck is damaged or even missing!
  • Perhaps the adventure before them did not write the common alphabet onto the buttons?
  • Change the cypher to something more complicated.
  • BIGGER WORDS!
  • In the note place more words or spell words wrong!

Changes for smooth brain players:

  • Smaller words.
  • More direct clues.
  • Perhaps the holes in the puck are numbered?
  • Perhaps the buttons are faded with use?

Safety nets:

In my opinion all puzzles should be possible to bypass if the players aren't in the mood. Some safety nets for this one are;

  • A longer or more dangerous path that bypasses the puzzle.
  • The buttons and door are mechanical a few rolls here and their and the player just *hacked* the puzzle, this might even let them change the word!
  • Locate the door, secret or otherwise and bash it down. Loud, but effective… and fun!
  • BE DYNAMIC! The players do the puzzle but find a different word somehow or they find a way you had no idea about sometimes is best to just give the players what they want regardless of your prep! Make them feel smart or heroic! BUT NEVER TELL THEM THIS WASN'T THE CORECT WAY!

Source: reddit.com

Read more:  My first 2 times as DM were 2 TPK's - How to get back in the saddle (mines of Phandelver spoilers)

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