Monday, October 1, 2018

Rules for Puzzles

These are not player puzzles. These are puzzles the characters are trying to solve.

Rules for Puzzles
Puzzles always come in the form of small boxes, orbs, mechanical toys, and similar easy-to-stow items that a character can pull out during downtime to tinker and try to solve it. While everyone else is busy repairing their armor, binding their wounds, preparing spells, and so on, you're busy playing with a little box in the middle of the dungeon. During downtime, it is presumed your character only gets three attempts to solve the puzzle between sessions unless a very long time has passed; your day job, important affairs, and time to blow all that ill gotten loot gets in the way.

Random Puzzle Difficulties
Roll 1d6
[1] Child's Puzzle – 3 Difficulty
[2] Simple Puzzle 5 Difficulty
[3] Challenging Puzzle – 7 Difficulty
[4] Hard Puzzle – 9 Difficulty; 25% chance of curse if cheated
[5] Bewildering Puzzle – 12 Difficulty; 50% chance of curse if cheated
[6] Confounding Puzzle 14 Difficulty; 100% chance of curse if cheated

The difficulty of a puzzle is how high on a 1d6 you have to roll in order to solve the puzzle using a single exploration turn. Add your Intelligence modifier to this roll whenever you do it. You can also try to figure out the mechanisms or mechanics of the puzzle through shaking the puzzle, tapping it, examining it closely, etc. Roll 2d6 + Wisdom modifier vs difficulty of puzzle. If you succeed on this roll, lower the puzzle's difficulty by -1 from now on. You can do this again, but at -2 to the roll each time, until you fail and can no longer gleam any information from your acute senses. Rogue characters get to add their Skill check bonus to the progress roll of a puzzle, and their stealth bonus to their wisdom modifier for the sake of figuring out the puzzle before trying to solve it.

If on your solving roll your result was 6 or higher, but you still did not solve the puzzle, then you get a +1 on your next solving roll, this is called progress. You have to roll another 6+ on the next solving roll without the progress bonus in order to get yet another +1 to the progress bonus for your next solving roll. If you fail to maintain progress, you lose it as you get stuck. When you finally roll high enough to solve the puzzle; it opens. Due to how this system operates, a dumb character may never be able to finish a puzzle of a higher difficulty on their own.

For puzzles cheating refers to characters using tools, magic, or brute strength to force open the puzzle.

Rewards for Finishing a Puzzle
Roll 1d8 when you open a puzzle that was at least Hard in difficulty.
[1] The inside of the puzzle is scrawled with a first level spell.
[2] There is a gold coin. Worth normal 1 GP, or 5 GP to a scholar who recognizes its markings.
[3] The puzzle was a real brain teaser; roll a d20. If you exceed the character's Int, gain +1 Int.
[4] One mechanism inside the puzzle can be removed and used as a lockpick with +1 to its rolls.
[5] Puzzle has a secret code word within. If used with a reaction check; grants +1 to mechanically inclined individuals or monsters who go around the dungeons and build/repair the traps.
[6] Tiny white moth flies out of the opened puzzle. The next time the character is lost or trapped, the moth will appear and lead the way or land on the secret brick that can open the cell door, etc.
[7] The puzzle contained several white marbles. By placing them in your mouth, you get +2 to the next reaction check. The creatures that you had the reaction check with become unfriendly as soon as the character with the marbles in his mouth speaks or casts a spell. Works only once.
[8] The opened puzzle gives off a constant pale blue mist. By swirling your finger, humming, or demanding a dance; the mist forms in the shape of an alluring female of the race of the puzzle maker. The phantasm does a slow, sultry dance and anyone who witnesses it will restore 1d4 Charisma damage. This effect only works on a person once.

Curses for Cheating a Puzzle
Roll 1d8 – You still receive the reward for finishing the puzzle in addition to the curse.
[1] Your fingers go numb and lock up; take 1d6 Dexterity damage.
[2] Venomous spider nesting in the device. Save vs poison or take 2d6 poison damage.
[3] Red hot branding iron shoots out from device; save or be branded with a 'cheater' rune on hand.
[4] Loud splitting noise echoes from device; make a wandering monster check. If outside of the dungeon; you get complaints from the neighbors and spooks horses.
[5] Some arcane mechanism activates; turning most of the puzzle into lead. It still functions as normal, but now weighs 2 load units despite its size.
[6] Your forehead slops forward, you grow hair, and you grunt a lot more. As if to insult your brutish ways; the box has cursed you to look like a caveman. It fades after 2d6 days.
[7] The box steals your voice. It gets one difficulty easier- but you have to open it to speak/cast spells. You can also just smash it open, but your voice “cracks” and you take -1d6 damage.
[8] The top 1d6 items of your inventory are suddenly bound and chained; locked with another puzzle! To use the items, you have to solve a Hard Puzzle per item to unlock it. If you try to cheat and get a curse for one of these; the item is obliterated instead.

Random Puzzle Generator
Roll 1d6 for a puzzle difficulty, then 1d20 for this list.

[1] Book & Papers. Shaped like a book, bound up with interior weights and little paper shackles. You can easily rip this apart with your bare hands if you wanted; but would count as cheating.

[2] Dwarven slide puzzle. Uses stone cylinders that slide according to an internal system. Trying to push the stones by hand is almost impossible unless you're very strong; you're encouraged to use hammers to push the cylinders.

[3] Elvish animal box. Little carved animal heads atop little carved trees. Have to “create a path for the lion” through the forest despite there not being a lion head visible when you start.

[4] Hiding dolls. Like Russian dolls within dolls; but each one can only be opened in a specific, convoluted way. Need tweezers or really small fingers to get the last one.

[5] Sword puzzle. Looks like a little metal sword with locks all down the flat of the blade; with little clicking levers down the edges and a knob for a handle you can turn. Specific combination separates blade from hollow handle. If used as a weapon, deals only 1 damage on a hit but has a 50% chance to reduce difficulty by -1 each time. Doesn't count as cheating, for some reason.

[6] Cloth bundle. Loops upon loops of knotted up fabric napkins, with a nice solid lump in the center where the prize is supposed to be. Requires untying many knots or just cutting it open to cheat.

[7] Cat puzzle. Shaped like a sitting housecat made of greenish metal, requires petting and scratching it in the right places- the tail acts as a level to open the compartment once it's finished. In addition to the prize, also drops a little toy mouse that magnetically attracts to the cat's mouth.

[8] Ancient steppe pyramid puzzle. Impossible to solve unless you know advanced algebra.

[9] Portrait puzzle. Manipulate knobs on the side of the “painting” to subtly change details. Depicts a Queen. The correct position is a quizzical smile, a silver choker around her neck, while stormclouds roll in. Reference to a famous historical figure.

[10] Orc bone puzzle. Have to shift a bone to a very specific position to let a ball bearing inside fall into the correct slot, then shake to open the chamber. No curse for breaking this, as long as you use your bare hands without tools, since strength is a reward by itself.

[11] Bell puzzle. Four bells of different sizes and sounds arranged in a cross shape; the sound of the bells means nothing. The actual mechanism is based on the knockers inside.

[12] Monument puzzle. Shaped like a large, famous monument within the setting's greatest and most historic city. The puzzle components within actually hint at the dungeon's layout beneath the great monument in the real world.

[13] The puzzle has a wind up switch and must be solved under a minute. Even if you know how to solve it, you need a Dexterity of +1 or better to move your hands quick enough. Blocking the turnkey to stop it from resetting the puzzle works, but counts as cheating.

[14] Prism puzzle. Requires direct sunlight, or a number of very bright torches, to align the crystal array that the puzzle uses- you can't finish this puzzle in a dark old dungeon or study.

[15] Chariot. This puzzle has mechnical parts inside the wheels and must be dragged across the ground at a certain speed on one of the puzzle's steps. The chariot can also be used as a wind up toy once opened along with its normal reward.

[16] Werewolf puzzle. Changes a roughly humanoid shaped figure into a wolf-shaped figure. Wolf head opens up to reveal prize.

[17] Four rings puzzle. Four rings bound together in a strange configuration; the method to unlocking them is quite special. The prize is conjured with a poof once the rings are separated.

[18] Maze box. The inside of this box has a maze like structure, part of the puzzle may be to figure out where to guide a tiny ball within to the right maze exit. This box can trap a spirit of up to 3 HD under the right ritual preperations, as the maze keeps it lost and unable to break free.

[19] Trickster God's puzzle. Inscribed with a name or symbol of a trickster God. Roll a saving throw when the puzzle is completed; if you fail, the puzzle starts back over with 0 progress as the final switch is actually a clever trick that resets the whole thing. You don't fall for it a second time.

[20] Crystal Cube. Cube made of carved crystal squares that rotate to solve the puzzle's mechanism. Each time you turn a side, it glows a little bit, and turning them faster increases the glow. You can sacrifice all of your progress to keep turning the cube and use the cube as a Light spell for one turn.

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