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Media => Games => Topic started by: arthwollipot on October 20, 2015, 07:47:15 AM

Title: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 20, 2015, 07:47:15 AM
So I'm running an online D&D game, and I'd like to come up with a challenging puzzle for my players. I've got a couple of weeks before they get to the relevant encounter, so I thought I'd get some help with it, since I'm personally not that great with puzzles.

Here's the setup:

Wizard's tower. Players need to get to the top level to find the McGuffin. Lower three levels are connected in a loop - you go up from the Entrance Hall to the Ballroom, you go up from there and get to the Basement, you go up from there and you get to the Entrance Hall. I want a puzzle to escape the loop and open up the way to the upper levels of the tower.

There are two Bad Guys and a bunch of Mooks in the Ballroom, and I want them to be musing over the puzzle when the players arrive. Perhaps both have been given a different part of the solution, and both need to be read together, or put together with something that's already in the Ballroom, to open the way.

Any thoughts/ideas?
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Anders on October 20, 2015, 07:51:48 AM
Finding the amicable number (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amicable_numbers) partner to 220.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 20, 2015, 07:59:05 AM
Nice idea, but I don't want to preassume any level of mathematical knowledge on the part of the players. We're here to play a game, not to do maths. :)

I was thinking more of a logic puzzle, or something like trying to work out which three of the seven levers to pull.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: PANTS! on October 20, 2015, 11:00:16 AM
So I'm running an online D&D game, and I'd like to come up with a challenging puzzle for my players. I've got a couple of weeks before they get to the relevant encounter, so I thought I'd get some help with it, since I'm personally not that great with puzzles.

Here's the setup:

Wizard's tower. Players need to get to the top level to find the McGuffin. Lower three levels are connected in a loop - you go up from the Entrance Hall to the Ballroom, you go up from there and get to the Basement, you go up from there and you get to the Entrance Hall. I want a puzzle to escape the loop and open up the way to the upper levels of the tower.

There are two Bad Guys and a bunch of Mooks in the Ballroom, and I want them to be musing over the puzzle when the players arrive. Perhaps both have been given a different part of the solution, and both need to be read together, or put together with something that's already in the Ballroom, to open the way.

Any thoughts/ideas?

My mind went immediately to a towers of Hanoi problem.  So there is a once way door on the third from the top level.  Once you enter that level from the "ascending base" you can not go back down.  The goal would be to reassemble the top three levels on the descending base.  Maybe that base is just a logical construct that switched the direction of the door, or maybe the base is an actual physical location on the other side of the planet - or another dimension. 

So there would be a rune on the top level that allows you to move each level to a new base.  When they do so, the should get a definite indicator that they did something.  (ie they get dizzy, and the scenery outside the windows changes to that of the ethereal plane.)

You could even have a secret treasure room tied into the middle base!

Then - once they figured out the premise, it should be a gimme for the most intelligent party member to figure it out, or you can pull out the puzzle itself, and let the players have a go.

Clues to help figure this out (use skill checks or not, as you like):

Upon entering the third level someone should immediately notice that the door behind them is gone - This is to immediately signal that there is a puzzle to be solved.
The thief could notice the drag marks between the runes, where people have run their hands between the tower bases.
High wisdom might give clues that the wizard likes physical puzzles.  (Maybe there are a few in his lab?)
The wizard should sense the magical nature of each of the top three floors, and that it has to do with extra dimensional in nature.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Harry Black on October 20, 2015, 11:04:42 AM
Have you played the PT demo? Or watched the youtube playthrough?
The set up sounds very similar to what you describe, basically the player is stuck in a loop, exiting one door brings them back to the entrance with time having reset to when you entered in the first place. Everytime the player comes back into the loop, something small (or large) has changed and the player needs to figure out what has changed to move on to the next step in the loop.
If it sounds complicated its only because its hard to explain, I suggest checking out a video of the playthrough.
With the lights on.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on October 20, 2015, 04:36:16 PM
Is it a puzzle which only the worthy can pass, or is it meant to be a door lock?

If the latter, you could just have a floating stone sphere which the wizard performs a spell on as a kind of key.

If this were me, I'd have a stone sphere floating in an alcove next to the door.  It would be the only unusual thing in the area.  If tapped, the sphere sounds hollow.  It also looks like to be made a cheaper stone than everything else and has a lot of tool marks on it.  If smashed, it will reveal a smaller sphere inside which is perfectly smooth and devoid of chips or scratches or anything, it looks to be made of ceramic, if tapped it sounds solid and it can't seem to be moved at all.  If heavy weight is applied, the alcove itself starts to groan and creak.  The wizard, to unlock the gate, would perform a small temperature-increasing cantrip on the inner sphere with the outer sphere as merely a privacy shroud.  The adventurers could deduce from it being like a ceramic tile that it's meant to tolerate heat and put a torch under it (a rush of wind from the way forward their sign of success) or from other clues. 

Or they could smash it.  You can always break a door lock.  However, I'd make it really hard to break.  Someone goes to hit it, I do some rolls so they know it's possible, and I tell them, "No visible damage."  Maybe they'll come upon fire by accident, maybe they'll MacGyver a giant sphere-hitting contraption, who knows! 
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 20, 2015, 10:14:26 PM
Have you played the PT demo? Or watched the youtube playthrough?

Sorry, the what?
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Johnny Slick on October 20, 2015, 10:28:53 PM
Put a situation where the party has to choose to either kill one fat guy or several skinny people.... and then watch in horror as they managed to kill both the fat dude and the skinnies.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: SkeptiQueer on October 20, 2015, 10:41:37 PM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 21, 2015, 03:30:24 AM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?

Well, it's D&D, so there are non-combat skills. Trouble is, I don't want the entire campaign to be halted because of a bad die roll...
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 21, 2015, 03:31:41 AM
Put a situation where the party has to choose to either kill one fat guy or several skinny people.... and then watch in horror as they managed to kill both the fat dude and the skinnies.

Actual genuine quote from one of my other games:

"Every time we go someplace and try not to just murder everybody, it turns out to be easier to just murder everybody!"
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Anders on October 21, 2015, 03:58:25 AM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?

Well, it's D&D, so there are non-combat skills. Trouble is, I don't want the entire campaign to be halted because of a bad die roll...

That's why there should be a secondary way, although it should be costly or time-consuming. In a campaign I had, the characters had to find the match to an amulet they had in a heap of similar-looking amulets. The amulet they had was labeled 220 and read "find my friend". But if they couldn't do the math, they could search through the entire heap. It would cost them, but there was a way forward.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: PANTS! on October 21, 2015, 07:03:43 AM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?

Well, it's D&D, so there are non-combat skills. Trouble is, I don't want the entire campaign to be halted because of a bad die roll...

I take it this is not 5th ed?  Anyway, I just tell the character with the most relevant skill that they know this much of a hint.  But if they roll well tell them the same thing with more detail.  That way there is no failure, only super successes.....   >:D
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Zytheran on October 21, 2015, 08:59:01 AM
As teleports are a thing try this. Have three *identical* looking floors of each level with three ways up each time. 1A,1B,1C,2A,2B,2C,3A,3B,3C.
Red, green and blue spiral staircase between each floor. Each staircase leads to a different identical room of that level. If the party stays together they won't notice that each level 2 for example is the same. They go from level 1 to 2 using either staircase and it appears they get to the same place. But they don't.
The only way through is to go in a certain sequence, Start at floor 1, RGBBRGGBR. This will take them through each of the 9 rooms once and only once. Going up from the last room of the sequence takes you to the forth floor but only if you have done the sequence correctly. Now at some stage the party will work out that each 2nd floor isn't exactly the same by leaving a person or something behind, or leaving a marking. This is stage 1. The next stage is to work out the correct sequence out of the 186 ways (or something) of doing it. Trial and error could be used but will take a long time and there needs to be some penalty for doing it the hard way. The cleverer way is to find the correct pattern which is hidden in a tapestry on a wall. However there are 9 nearly identical tapestries, only 1 is correct and is the odd one out. The players need to take down the tapestries to get them together to compare. One will be fixed and this will be in Room 1A. Don't make *this* tapestry the correct solution. This is to allow them to work out (guess) that 1A is the starting room for the staircase sequence. Have the tapestries printed out so the players can look at them. They will find 4 pairs of exactly identical tapestries. The useful sequence is found on the odd one out. An example would be to have a pattern around the border in the RGB sequence required with the pair matched errors in a gigantic red herring picture in the main part of the tapestry. (so 4 pairs of tapestry, with wrong borders, one with correct border) Have the red herring part of the tapestry show pictures of the tower with secret doors that don't exist, invisible windows, hidden levers, ropes lowered from ceilings, people tunneling down from the bottom, people shriking. All sorts of crap that isn't there or just bad ideas that don't help. The actual solution is in the sequence of colours around the edge on the unique tapestry.
A benefit here is that you can give the players a tapestry as they enter each room. You take it off them as they leave if they leave it there. This way the red herrings can start causing mayhem straight away because the players will think the tower solution is what they have been primed for in the dodgy tapestries. They may well miss the importance of the tapestry edge colour for quite a while.
If you wanted to add another level of complexity you can add a lever panel on each floor that adjusts the colour of the staircases, only one combination leads to RGB, all others have a yellow or black option, which is wrong.
The players come across the creatures playing with the levers. They have no idea about the tapestries importance at that point until they even realise there are different identical rooms.
Enjoy. (Haven't played D&D for 20 years but I was a DM for 15 years)
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Anders on October 21, 2015, 09:10:08 AM
"You must taste the blood of the sea to pass."

There are four levers and this cryptic cue. Each lever has a stone attached to it. If the players examine the stones or know anything about such things, they realize that each stone has a different flavor - salt, sour, bitter, sweet. If they pull the lever with the salty stone (the blood of the sea), the door opens. Otherwise, something appropriately gruesome happens.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 21, 2015, 09:16:37 AM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?

Well, it's D&D, so there are non-combat skills. Trouble is, I don't want the entire campaign to be halted because of a bad die roll...

I take it this is not 5th ed?  Anyway, I just tell the character with the most relevant skill that they know this much of a hint.  But if they roll well tell them the same thing with more detail.  That way there is no failure, only super successes.....   >:D

Yeah, it's 5th. I don't really want it to come down to a die roll though.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 21, 2015, 09:24:01 AM
As teleports are a thing try this. Have three *identical* looking floors of each level with three ways up each time. 1A,1B,1C,2A,2B,2C,3A,3B,3C.
Red, green and blue spiral staircase between each floor. Each staircase leads to a different identical room of that level. If the party stays together they won't notice that each level 2 for example is the same. They go from level 1 to 2 using either staircase and it appears they get to the same place. But they don't.
The only way through is to go in a certain sequence, Start at floor 1, RGBBRGGBR. This will take them through each of the 9 rooms once and only once. Going up from the last room of the sequence takes you to the forth floor but only if you have done the sequence correctly. Now at some stage the party will work out that each 2nd floor isn't exactly the same by leaving a person or something behind, or leaving a marking. This is stage 1. The next stage is to work out the correct sequence out of the 186 ways (or something) of doing it. Trial and error could be used but will take a long time and there needs to be some penalty for doing it the hard way. The cleverer way is to find the correct pattern which is hidden in a tapestry on a wall. However there are 9 nearly identical tapestries, only 1 is correct and is the odd one out. The players need to take down the tapestries to get them together to compare. One will be fixed and this will be in Room 1A. Don't make *this* tapestry the correct solution. This is to allow them to work out (guess) that 1A is the starting room for the staircase sequence. Have the tapestries printed out so the players can look at them. They will find 4 pairs of exactly identical tapestries. The useful sequence is found on the odd one out. An example would be to have a pattern around the border in the RGB sequence required with the pair matched errors in a gigantic red herring picture in the main part of the tapestry. (so 4 pairs of tapestry, with wrong borders, one with correct border) Have the red herring part of the tapestry show pictures of the tower with secret doors that don't exist, invisible windows, hidden levers, ropes lowered from ceilings, people tunneling down from the bottom, people shriking. All sorts of crap that isn't there or just bad ideas that don't help. The actual solution is in the sequence of colours around the edge on the unique tapestry.
A benefit here is that you can give the players a tapestry as they enter each room. You take it off them as they leave if they leave it there. This way the red herrings can start causing mayhem straight away because the players will think the tower solution is what they have been primed for in the dodgy tapestries. They may well miss the importance of the tapestry edge colour for quite a while.
If you wanted to add another level of complexity you can add a lever panel on each floor that adjusts the colour of the staircases, only one combination leads to RGB, all others have a yellow or black option, which is wrong.
The players come across the creatures playing with the levers. They have no idea about the tapestries importance at that point until they even realise there are different identical rooms.
Enjoy. (Haven't played D&D for 20 years but I was a DM for 15 years)

That is... amazing. I might have to have another read of this, more carefully. I'd already mapped out the first three floors, but if I can get my head around this I may have to throw that out and start again.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 21, 2015, 09:24:49 AM
"You must taste the blood of the sea to pass."

There are four levers and this cryptic cue. Each lever has a stone attached to it. If the players examine the stones or know anything about such things, they realize that each stone has a different flavor - salt, sour, bitter, sweet. If they pull the lever with the salty stone (the blood of the sea), the door opens. Otherwise, something appropriately gruesome happens.

That's simple and elegant, and I suspect it'll take my players about fifteen seconds to solve. :D
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: SkeptiQueer on October 21, 2015, 09:25:48 AM
Do any of your party have non-combat skills that could be used to solve parts of a puzzle?

Well, it's D&D, so there are non-combat skills. Trouble is, I don't want the entire campaign to be halted because of a bad die roll...
Sorry, I meant tailoring a puzzle to your party's skills. One of my favorite puzzles from a 3.5e game required our bard to compose and recite a poem based on the history of the cave, conveniently informed by our wizard's knowledge-lore skill points.

If they have history or knowledge skills, include a riddle that tailors to that. Acrobatics or rope skills? Maybe someone has to climb up to a higher spot to find the lever.

Alternatively, or alongside, if someone has a light or illusion spell that can make light, dark rooms that look different under magical light are fun.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Anders on October 21, 2015, 03:24:54 PM
"You must taste the blood of the sea to pass."

There are four levers and this cryptic cue. Each lever has a stone attached to it. If the players examine the stones or know anything about such things, they realize that each stone has a different flavor - salt, sour, bitter, sweet. If they pull the lever with the salty stone (the blood of the sea), the door opens. Otherwise, something appropriately gruesome happens.

That's simple and elegant, and I suspect it'll take my players about fifteen seconds to solve. :D

Will they think of tasting the stones?
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Harry Black on October 21, 2015, 03:32:12 PM
Some brilliant suggestions here but fwiw this is the game I was referring to
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.T._(video_game)

Its a really short demo for Silent Hills that Konami made for PS4 and then pulled when the creator left.
The demo is hands down the scariest and most intriguing concept Ive ever played. Afaik there are still some videos of the play through on youtube, its quite short.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 22, 2015, 05:31:47 AM
"You must taste the blood of the sea to pass."

There are four levers and this cryptic cue. Each lever has a stone attached to it. If the players examine the stones or know anything about such things, they realize that each stone has a different flavor - salt, sour, bitter, sweet. If they pull the lever with the salty stone (the blood of the sea), the door opens. Otherwise, something appropriately gruesome happens.

That's simple and elegant, and I suspect it'll take my players about fifteen seconds to solve. :D

Will they think of tasting the stones?

Since it's mentioned in the clue, I think so.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 22, 2015, 05:35:38 AM
Some brilliant suggestions here but fwiw this is the game I was referring to
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.T._(video_game)

Its a really short demo for Silent Hills that Konami made for PS4 and then pulled when the creator left.
The demo is hands down the scariest and most intriguing concept Ive ever played. Afaik there are still some videos of the play through on youtube, its quite short.

Ah. Well, I don't play horror games, and the "jump scare" is the thing that is most likely to make me want to hurl a game into a garbage bin, pour seven different types of flammable liquid on it, jump up and down on it so that I make sure that the liquid splashes all over the room, leave, get in a helicopter, firebomb the entire house from a height of ten thousand feet, then firebomb the helicopter just to make sure.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: brilligtove on October 23, 2015, 01:56:23 AM
There is another way to go about this. Don't come up with the solution. At all. Just come up with a weird situation and let the players hash it out.

Here's how it works (and how I discovered this approach).

I set up a puzzle in a post apocalyptic game with ancient tech and modern magic. The players found their way into a NASA-style control centre and needed to unlock the computer to get information for the next stage of the adventure. Ancient knowledge long lost kind of thing.

I'm my notes I meticulously detailed the stuff before and after the puzzle room, but got distracted and totally forgot to come up with the actual puzzle. I found this out when we were an hour in to game night and I turned the page in my book. In faint pencil, my past self left a note saying, "puzzle here" and nothing else. I was screwed.

Since I had finished describing the interface before I turned the page, my players were already brain storming like mad. It was a holographic interface that popped up 60 balls of light that started disappearing once per second.

"Take a picture shut it off!" was the first thing they did. Done.

They toggled it on again to see if it would reset. "Sixty dots," I said, because I had to play for time.

They tossed out a whack if ideas, and I made then roll for all of them. If the roll was good I would try make the idea fit, but would reject anything inconsistent with the game world, plot, or my sense of continuity. Then one of them asked, "What pattern are the balls of light in?" I had no idea, but that was a tasty question.

He failed a roll, so I said "sort of spherical?" There was a general piling on of suggestions then, with attendant rolls. When someone said hypercube and made their roll, it turned out to be a hypersphere.

Off to the races again. They were braining up a storm. The cycle repeated five or six times, until I figured they had had enough. All told it took them the better part of an hour to unlock the computer. They had no idea they were inventing the puzzle as they solved it.

For years they described that as the best puzzle they ever encountered - the most fun, challenging and engaging. Not surprising, given the collective intelligence and imagination of that group far exceeded mine.

All that joy ended when I told them my secret method. They felt betrayed for a while, and I could never do another puzzle room again.

Instead I started to develop scenarios that were independent of the players. The people who built the dungeon had a motive to build it. What was it's purpose? Barriers and challenges and traps make more sense then, and skill rolls feel more satisfying. I started coming up with security systems, and they had to become hackers.

It is still very effective.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 23, 2015, 04:22:42 AM
I've done things like that before - not quite to that level of detail, but I agree it can be extremely effective. It gives the players the impression that you know what you're doing. :D

I consider such techniques as aft-shadowing and hidden retcon to be essential elements to a DM's toolbox - especially in a sandbox campaign. Aft-shadowing is when you introduce something and your players relate it to something that happened in a previous session, regardless of whether you intended it that way or not. Always accept the aft-shadowing when it happens, as it makes you look like a god. Hidden retconning is similar, though it relies on your players misremembering something that happened before. Usually they misremember it in a way that is better or more fun, because players' minds work like that. It is the art of applying the "ah, so that's why that happened before!". Again, it is almost always best to accept the hidden retcon rather than correct it, because it saves you having to later explain how it really happened.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: brilligtove on October 23, 2015, 07:16:02 AM
I didn't know parts of this had names. Cool.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Zytheran on October 23, 2015, 09:06:02 AM
As teleports are a thing try this. Have three *identical* looking floors of each level with three ways up each time. 1A,1B,1C,2A,2B,2C,3A,3B,3C.
Red, green and blue spiral staircase between each floor. Each staircase leads to a different identical room of that level. If the party stays together they won't notice that each level 2 for example is the same. They go from level 1 to 2 using either staircase and it appears they get to the same place. But they don't.
The only way through is to go in a certain sequence, Start at floor 1, RGBBRGGBR. This will take them through each of the 9 rooms once and only once. Going up from the last room of the sequence takes you to the forth floor but only if you have done the sequence correctly. Now at some stage the party will work out that each 2nd floor isn't exactly the same by leaving a person or something behind, or leaving a marking. This is stage 1. The next stage is to work out the correct sequence out of the 186 ways (or something) of doing it. Trial and error could be used but will take a long time and there needs to be some penalty for doing it the hard way. The cleverer way is to find the correct pattern which is hidden in a tapestry on a wall. However there are 9 nearly identical tapestries, only 1 is correct and is the odd one out. The players need to take down the tapestries to get them together to compare. One will be fixed and this will be in Room 1A. Don't make *this* tapestry the correct solution. This is to allow them to work out (guess) that 1A is the starting room for the staircase sequence. Have the tapestries printed out so the players can look at them. They will find 4 pairs of exactly identical tapestries. The useful sequence is found on the odd one out. An example would be to have a pattern around the border in the RGB sequence required with the pair matched errors in a gigantic red herring picture in the main part of the tapestry. (so 4 pairs of tapestry, with wrong borders, one with correct border) Have the red herring part of the tapestry show pictures of the tower with secret doors that don't exist, invisible windows, hidden levers, ropes lowered from ceilings, people tunneling down from the bottom, people shriking. All sorts of crap that isn't there or just bad ideas that don't help. The actual solution is in the sequence of colours around the edge on the unique tapestry.
A benefit here is that you can give the players a tapestry as they enter each room. You take it off them as they leave if they leave it there. This way the red herrings can start causing mayhem straight away because the players will think the tower solution is what they have been primed for in the dodgy tapestries. They may well miss the importance of the tapestry edge colour for quite a while.
If you wanted to add another level of complexity you can add a lever panel on each floor that adjusts the colour of the staircases, only one combination leads to RGB, all others have a yellow or black option, which is wrong.
The players come across the creatures playing with the levers. They have no idea about the tapestries importance at that point until they even realise there are different identical rooms.
Enjoy. (Haven't played D&D for 20 years but I was a DM for 15 years)

That is... amazing. I might have to have another read of this, more carefully. I'd already mapped out the first three floors, but if I can get my head around this I may have to throw that out and start again.

Clarifying points: There are three staircases in each up to each floor "above". For example if on level 2, red might take you to 3B, blue to 3A and green to 3C. If you went up each staircase in turn you would see level 3. You would not notice they are 3 identical rooms unless you left something behind in say room 3B and then went down and up the green staircase from level 2 again and saw it wasn't there... because you are in 3C.
Tapestries are V1,V2,W1,W2,X1,X2,Y1,Y2 and Z. Z being the odd one out with the corrected RGB pattern around edge.
One example layout would be
Room 1A: Red->2A; Green->2C; Blue->2B. Room 2A has tapestry W1, Room 2B has tapestry X2, Room 2C has tapestry Z.
Room 1B: Red->2C; Green->2A; Blue->2B.
Room 1C: Red->2A;Green->2B; Blue->2C.
and then something similar for other 6 rooms, remembering those on level 3 go to level 1.
You could have subtle differences in each of three rooms that can be found but mean nothing. (Apart from the subtle difference in the tapestries)

Lever explanation: L1,L2,L3,L4,L5. Up or down. L1U, L2D,L3D,L4D,L5U gives a red, black and yellow staircase,  L1D, L2D,L3U,L4D,L5U gives a red, green and green staircase. Use Excel or dice to generate all the fake combinations then pick one to give Red,Green, Blue. You can make it so is only combination of RGB but 2 or more of other combinations. Hint again is odd one out.

If players want hints, pre-work out some hints you can give them if those characters with high wisdom or int make the rolls. Tell the players that these rolls represent say 10 minutes of game time so they have to make the choice between running the clock out and having to think. Choose penalty for running clock out or players taking too long by using exhaustive search, maybe teleport in creature from local nest/swarm every x minutes/turns. Creature appears (teleports) in adjacent room and then enters via staircase. Creatures entrance is accompanied with door slamming, metal grate sounds, stone wall sliding sounds etc. Just a teleport side effect to mess with the players.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: brilligtove on October 23, 2015, 07:06:56 PM
Why does the puzzle exist? Is it like a spare key for the mage? Why are there clues? Should there be hints, or are there flaws in the security protocol that could be noticed? Perhaps a sound gets louder when you're getting closer to the right combo (analogous to tumblers) or a scent talk can be followed, or dust is a different flavor and the wizards have trodden...
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 24, 2015, 04:18:00 AM
Why does the puzzle exist? Is it like a spare key for the mage? Why are there clues? Should there be hints, or are there flaws in the security protocol that could be noticed? Perhaps a sound gets louder when you're getting closer to the right combo (analogous to tumblers) or a scent talk can be followed, or dust is a different flavor and the wizards have trodden...

It's not the mage's spare key, it's his key. It's how he gets (actually, got - he's long dead) into his tower while keeping others out.

The clues are the spare key, perhaps.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: arthwollipot on October 24, 2015, 04:23:12 AM
And Zyth - kudos for your idea, but if it's too complicated for me to understand, I can't hope to be able to run it for a party. Sorry. :(
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: Caffiene on October 24, 2015, 05:11:45 AM
And Zyth - kudos for your idea, but if it's too complicated for me to understand, I can't hope to be able to run it for a party. Sorry. :(

I think Zyth just explained it in a very technical way.

The basic idea is simply that each level has 3 different ways of getting to the next level, except really each of the three ways goes to a different version of the next level - there are really 9 floors, three identical versions times three levels.
Some sort of pattern of the way you pass through the different levels / versions lets you get through to the end area. An incorrect pattern leads back to one of the versions of the first level instead.

The stuff about colours, tapestries, levers etc is suggestions on how to present the clues of how to move through the levels, or complications to make it more difficult. But you could use any clues or concepts that make sense to you from the basic idea of identical areas.
Title: Re: D&D Puzzle Help
Post by: brilligtove on October 24, 2015, 12:05:57 PM
Why does the puzzle exist? Is it like a spare key for the mage? Why are there clues? Should there be hints, or are there flaws in the security protocol that could be noticed? Perhaps a sound gets louder when you're getting closer to the right combo (analogous to tumblers) or a scent talk can be followed, or dust is a different flavor and the wizards have trodden...

It's not the mage's spare key, it's his key. It's how he gets (actually, got - he's long dead) into his tower while keeping others out.

The clues are the spare key, perhaps.

That's what I'm getting at - the clues. Normally we don't leave clues to security systems laying about. Postits on the screen are not recommended. :) Why would the mage create a set of clues at all? If he's going to such great lengths to secure the place I'd think he wouldn't just leave something out there to figure out.

On the other hand, no security system is perfect. There will be flaws that can be exploited, even if the players can never find the original key. Is there a glitch in the teleporation effects that tells you when the floors are in the right order? Could the floors be actual tumblers in a massive safe, turning in orientation to one another as you pass through from floor to floor? And aligning them all opens a passage to the treasure room? There could be information leakage - wear patterns, fading of tapestries in the light, dust on the floor due to long slow accumulation, etc.

Riddles can be fun to figure out, of course. I just don't find them as satisfying as overcoming a solid security measure - like breaking into a server room by going under the raised floor, or reading data off a network by using a high speed camera and telephoto lens to catch the lights blinking on a router across the street. :)