Need help finishing up a puzzle

Hey! I am creating my first adventure for my party and I came upon a idea to create a "puzzle level" for my dungeon.

The setup is that they arrive in a huge room via a walkway. A small house-sized temple(greco/roman style) stands in the middle of this room and there are huge pillars at the edges of this room adorned with [insert creative description of something here]. The entrance to this temple is also through a walkway, but with high walls so you have the impression of walking in a maze. Behind the temple seem to be a row of smaller, low pillars(pillars for now, might change that)

When they attempt to go through the walkway and enter the temple(the door is shut, but not locked by any means), they find themselves back in the entrance of the huge room. Magic!

There are 3 riddles on each side of the temple, and on closer inspection, the smaller pillars are on this kind of...rail...for a lack of a better word.
Riddle #1: Always hungry - to survive it must be fed but never offered a drink.
Riddle #2: I'm your follower in light, yet invisible at night.
Riddle #3: The more you have it, the less you see it.

A1: Fire
A3: Darkness

I was thinking that the pillars have small braziers set so that they give light towards the north(up), shade towards the west, and shed no light southwards.
The key to enter the temple is the smaller pillars and the rail they're on. To dispel the door, they must push the correct pillars into their correct places. Like so.
The blue line is the rail, the coloured circles are the pillars(all in the last row of the rail - didn't want to make the picture too messy) and the coloured squares are the "correct places".

Now the problem is - since I'm reluctant to make this place a encounter area(unless someone gives me a great idea for that), I require some sort of incentive for my players to actually PHYSICALLY solve this puzzle, instead of a line of roleplay that goes like: "I threw a natural d20. We solve the puzzle."

But I'm not coming up with anything great. All help will be appreciated!

DemoMonkey
Joined Feb 2009
2845 Posts
Make solving the puzzle worth experience.

Then tell the players they only get experience for the encounter if they - the players, not their characters die rolls - solve it.
BloodMoon666
Joined Apr 2013
126 Posts
Thanks. Simple yet worth the while. How did I not come up with this

I might just do this.

If anyone has other ideas - be sure to let me know!

DemoMonkey
Joined Feb 2009
2845 Posts
The carrot is usually better than the stick when dealing with ornery mules and recalcitrant players. When possible, don't try to make them do anything; offer them a reward instead. And the best reward in D&D (better than treasure!) is experience.

alienux
Joined Jan 2013
934 Posts
Is the party able to progress if they don't solve the puzzle? If not, I would think that the need to solve the puzzle in order to move forward should be incentive to figure it out.

In my home brew adventures/campaigns, I often use puzzle elements that require the party to find the solution before getting to the next area. I've never really had any issues with anyone not wanting to figure out the solution. The reward for solving the puzzle is advancement to the are that they need to get to next (and XP if appropriate).

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brian ®

Guitars & Gaming

BloodMoon666
Joined Apr 2013
126 Posts
The puzzle will release the magical seal from the entrance to the next area(they can't advance without solving the puzzle), but I want the party to physically take part in solving the puzzle, rather than just having them throw, let's say, INT checks.

DemoMonkey
Joined Feb 2009
2845 Posts
alienux

Bloodmoon wants the players to solve the puzzle, rather than the characters.
alienux
Joined Jan 2013
934 Posts
The puzzle will release the magical seal from the entrance to the next area(they can't advance without solving the puzzle), but I want the party to physically take part in solving the puzzle, rather than just having them throw, let's say, INT checks.

In the instances in my adventures that I was referring to, none of the puzzle solving involved rolling any dice. There are clues scattered around that they have to find and then put together to do things like figure out what order to push a sequence of buttons in, or to be able to walk across a room using a certain pattern. But I never have them use dice to just say that they successfully do it, I have them actually tell me as a DM what buttons they push, or where they step, etc.

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brian ®

Guitars & Gaming

Fimbria
Joined Apr 2012
398 Posts
You already have a reward for solving the puzzle, so that's good.

If they make an Int check, give a hint rather than the complete answer. Limit the number of hints they can get, like allowing one Int check per person for the entire room.
simiard
Joined Mar 2011
10 Posts
When I do large multistep puzzles like this, I want the players (not the characters) to solve it as well. I will give hints or information based on intelligence or spot checks, etc.
arnwolf666
Joined Aug 2008
2832 Posts
When I do large multistep puzzles like this, I want the players (not the characters) to solve it as well. I will give hints or information based on intelligence or spot checks, etc.

I like player problem solving where extra hints are given for intelligence and skill checks.  But they should be solvable without the checks, unless they are not pertinent to completing the adventure.