Anyone have any good ideas for puzzles in dungeons? im thinking something that can be used in most settings, from a nitty-gritty dungeon crawl to a Riddle Bridge.
To help get your creative juices flowing (and to show you what i already have), there is one that i am particularly fond of:
A room is empty save for a pedestal, about waist height on a man, in the center. On top of the pedestal sit 4 statuettes: a Bulette, Kraken, Dragon, and Griffin. The only way out is through a closed ironbound door with no lock and no handle. At each corner of the door is an alcove, about the dimensions of the statuettes. Bordering the alcoves are the (Magical, Divine, Dwarven, etc) runes for Earth, Air, Water, and Fire (Each alcove is bordered by a different element).
The only way to unlock the door is to place the correct statuette in the corresponding alcove (Bulette-Earth, Griffin-Air, Kraken-Water, Dragon-Fire). If one is misplaced, the statuettes are magically teleported back to the pedestal.
The version of this puzzle i’m running in my game is instead using a “tier” structure, because i’m making it so that they fight the monsters they got wrong (or one of them, chosen via d4). Tier 1 consists of: Derro, Sprite, Fire Eel, and Salamander. Tier 2: Roper, Griffon, Maggot-Squid, and Djinn. Tier 3: Ankheg, Manticore, Crocodillian, and Dragon Whelp. (all of these are from the base book because i don’t want to come up with a bunch of custom monsters).
When they get the puzzle wrong, the figurines go back and the monster(s) come out. The figurines, however, change to the next tier up. They won’t have to defeat the monsters to be able to put the figurines into the alcoves, but if they still get it wrong then the new monster will appear in addition to the one still in the room.
I have also seen this done with 8 slots (4 Elements, Life, Death, Light, Dark) and more uncommon monsters.
Please let me know if you have any favorite puzzles to give your players, or any comments you have about mine.