I wanted to create a puzzle for my adventure. I found a very interesting book that has all sort of tips on how to create them: It´s called fourthcore alphabet. The puzzles there are very generically described, but it helps to give a initial idea.
One puzzle called my atention:
The crusaders enter a catacomb containing 666 numbered and decorated sarcophagi. The skeletal caretaker will not reveal which coffin is the puzzle’s solution. However, the crypt thing will truthfully answer three and only three ‘yes or no’ questions (ex. ‘Is the correct coffin marked with an even number?’). Opening an incorrect coffin harms the crusaders (Fourthcore Alphabet, page 40).
I would like to use this puzzle in my adventure, how ever I´m not sure how to implement it exactly. I would like to use doors instead of sarcophagi. I plan on trapping the players in a room with many numbered doors, where only one door is the exit.
Here are my questions, though:
- How many doors should I use?
- Which number should the puzzle`s solution be?
- Which other clues could the doors have?
- Any other ideas on how to improve this puzzle?
- What to do if the players fail to get the right answer?
I think 666 doors are too much, I though about having 50 doors and having the answer in the door number 2, for it is the only even prime number. So they would be able to get the right answer with two simple questions (Is it a even number? Is it a prime number?).
My main concerns are: 1) making a puzzle too difficult to be solved; 2) having the players trapped in a room with lots of doors and having to use a Deus Ex to free them.
More information about the quest:
- This will happen in a temple shaped like a dragon.
- A very import hero of the world has recently been killed while fighting a Demon, inside this temple the Players will find his remainings and possible resuscitate him.
- There is a demoniac theme to this story and also a Dragon theme.
- There could also be some oneiric elements to this story, so it must not necessarily be realistic.
- We are playing a D&D 4th edition campaign, although I thing this puzzle idea is pretty generic and can be applied to any system. Specific game play mechanics ideas would be very welcome!