## A magic puzzle

7 posts / 0 new
wolfshifter2006
Joined Sep 2011
119 Posts
I am building a dungeon puzzle for my game and thought I would see where it could be improved. It is basically a giant magic rubix cube that has a smaller representation of it inside. Once you step inside you have to find your way to the center of this maze puzzle to get the small replica and once you solve it the path is opened and exiting the cube becomes possible. I was considering maybe allowing the player who solves the puzzle to get a small copy that works as a portable house inside a demiplane(provided they try to keep the mini cube). I kinda got the idea after watching the cube movie and reading a article about Genre Savvy game events. So what could I do to make this work or even make it better if it could work reasonably well.
gelf
Joined May 2009
92 Posts
Cool idea. I love portable interdimensional spaces as rewards!

Some questions:

How do you intend the puzzle to work mechanically? Will the players have to physically solve a rubix cube? Will they roll dice and get a certain number of successes to solve the puzzle?

What happens if they fail?

What happens if they choose to bypass the puzzle and do something else? (Can they bypass the puzzle and continue this particular challange?)

wolfshifter2006
Joined Sep 2011
119 Posts
Cool idea. I love portable interdimensional spaces as rewards!

Some questions:

How do you intend the puzzle to work mechanically? Will the players have to physically solve a rubix cube? Will they roll dice and get a certain number of successes to solve the puzzle?

What happens if they fail?

What happens if they choose to bypass the puzzle and do something else? (Can they bypass the puzzle and continue this particular challange?)

Mechanically I was going to use dice checks to solve it, while I don't mind having something physical involved it is not what I was loooking for. I'm hoping I can get a idea of what the DC should be but I was thinking 3 or 4 DC 20 with a critical failure setting the cube back one attempt. If they bypass the puzzle altogether then they would be wondering from room to room until they figured out why all the path eventually lead back to the puzzle room. Other then that maybe some of the rooms in the large one have a few traps sread out through various rooms. Although I wonder if I should make it where failed attampts activate more traps because the hook is that they went into the cube(which looks like a pyramid with heavy moss growth on the outside concealing the colors) to find an object. The cube has very little in the way of defenders because it is an extremely good trap in itself(the object they are after is a bit of a gag being it is a bag of animated soldier toys for his kid).
Onikani
Joined Oct 2006
558 Posts
Personally, if i were stuck in a big magical trap, and the only way out was to keep rolling d20's untill i succeed or die, i'd get bored really fast.
And either way it would probably be our last game together.
But hey, that's me.

FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
wolfshifter2006
Joined Sep 2011
119 Posts
Personally, if i were stuck in a big magical trap, and the only way out was to keep rolling d20's untill i succeed or die, i'd get bored really fast.
And either way it would probably be our last game together.
But hey, that's me.

Hey I understand what your saying and that is why I asked for help with the idea. My intent is to create an interesting thing with some useful stuff inside. So how would you alter or improve this? I would like it to be fun and have a little comedy in it is the idea here.
Onikani
Joined Oct 2006
558 Posts
Personally, if i were stuck in a big magical trap, and the only way out was to keep rolling d20's untill i succeed or die, i'd get bored really fast.
And either way it would probably be our last game together.
But hey, that's me.

Hey I understand what your saying and that is why I asked for help with the idea. My intent is to create an interesting thing with some useful stuff inside. So how would you alter or improve this? I would like it to be fun and have a little comedy in it is the idea here.

I hear ya.
First up, i should say that jsut because i find it mind-numbingly unfun, does not mean that everyone will...your players may absolutely love this kind of thing, in which case my advice is just about the last thing you should listening to.
But you asked, so here's some random suggestions:

1) The players need to know what they are getting into.
This can mean they willingly went into it knowing that they were essentially jumping into a puzzle/trapfest. Or it could mean that they knew that ending up in here was the consequence of failure for some other thing they willingly chose. Or any of other similar options where you know that going in there is basically something they are prepared to deal with.

2) Multiple ways out (even if they are the same way out).
Ok, so you want the rubix cube to be the thing that gets them out. That's ok. But it needs to be more dynamic than roll a d20 until it works, cuz if that's all it takes, just assume they get out eventually and move on.
If you want it to be a bit tougher than that, than give them clues somewhere. Again, this assumes that the players like puzzles, but maybe clues to the solution are hidden in murals on the walls or the players can research it before going in. Go nuts, get crafty and make handouts. If the players can't solve it by themselves using your descriptions/clues/handouts then it's probably ok to use some skill checks as a last resort.

Lastly, (and this may be a campaign/level/edition specific thing) but the pc's need a way to get out in case absolutely everything fails. A teleport or something. Maybe put them on a clock, like they were teleported in and after 8 hours they get teleported out, win lose or draw. This will ratchet up the tension since there is a chance (even if it is percieved only) that they can fail by not solving it in time. But at the same time, it gives them the safety net that they can get out eventually either way.

3) Trap design.
I know you mentioned this is meant to be creatureless, which is fine. But again, make sure your players are interested in this kind of thing.
And if this place is all traps, they need to be AWESOME. They are the real centerpiece of this dungeon, they need to better than pit traps and poison darts. Maybe the players have to intentionally spring the traps to get the clues?

4) The delve (design) itself.
Again, make sure that you keep it interesting; don't just make it a square that they keep walking in 'circles' through. Different themes rooms (maybe one for each of the 6 colors), with unique challenges. Anything to keep it all interesting and help the players feel the passage from one room to the next. Let (help?) them map it if they ask. The orientation of the rooms withing the dungeon can even be one of the clues to eventually solve it...

I have to say, the more i think of this the more i am reminded of the movie SAW 2:
The characters are locked in a house that is slowly filling with poison gas.The doors will open the next day, but the posion will kill them before then. Meanwhile, there are antidote bottles scattered arround the house, and each character must put themself into a trap in order to have a chance at 1-2 vials of antidote. Most of them fail the trap, but that's a different story.
Also, there is a safe which contains several vials of antidote and the characters are given a clue that says something like to open the safe they need to look over the rainbow. Each character has one number drawn on the back of their neck in a differecnt color. Putting the numbers in RYOGBP order would open the safe, but the characters never figure that out...

Multiple ways out, themed and dangerous rooms requiring character buy-in, and a time challenge...
I think it's only missing comedy.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
wolfshifter2006
Joined Sep 2011
119 Posts
Thanks I think that will be a big help. I think ill describe some info about the dungeon in the quest intro. To be honest I planned to allow them to "cheat" to open the dungeon exit if nothing else in the same way that you cheat on a real rubix cube. So if it was looking like the party really was not going to get it soon it would be turned to roughly and "pop" apart allowing them to put it back together in the finished form. I am trying to decide what the cube should look like and kind of bouncing between making it look simple like a wooden box with paint or going really fancy and making it where it is a different colored gemstone for each color. But I guess how it looks does not matter so much.