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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Jul 2011
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    Netherlands
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    Default What do you think of my Puzzle-door encounter? [PEACH]

    Hey everyone!

    I wanted to share my door puzzle trap encounter with everyone on the board. Maybe I can get some tips from you or you just might want to steal the idea. Either way, here is my idea.

    Garaslix' door of doom

    Description
    A group of adventurers is about to stumble upon a closed doorway with two big metal double doors. When they first lay eyes upon it, they see that the door is in good shape. It's not old and corroded, yet it seems to be here for quite a while. It also does not have any handles. The doorway is rectangular in shape, like most normal doors. Connected to the top of the doorway is a flat semicircle plate, made out ot the same metal. It is just as wide as the doorway. Around the edge of the semicircle is an arch. The players can make an easy perception check to see the arch has seven recesses in it. Below the arc, in the middle of the semicircle is a shape that's actually the head of a creature. The players can make a suitable check (I would say it's arcana or history) to recognize the creature. If they succeed they would recognize an aboleth. There's three black eyes just below each other, staring at the players.

    Guardian
    To make it more interesting, a door guardian pops from the ceiling if the players touch the door or get very close to it. The guardian is a spectator. He is guarding the door for his master, the aboleth. He has instructions to keep nosy people out of the room that lies beyond the door. His solitude has made him a bit mad however. He will introduce himself and ask if they are followers of his master. If the players manage to fool him or convince him, he will give them five minutes to open the door. If they don't open it within those five minutes, he will attack. If it's clear that they are not supposed to be in there, the guardian will give them one warning to stay away, or he will attack.

    Details
    If a player succesfully investigates the door, he or she knows that the door is rigged with traps, that will go off if they do something wrong. Investigating this hallway reveals a false wall, where a small wooden box sits behind it. The box contains seven colored gems. A succesful check reveals what kind of gems they are, if a player wants to investigate them.
    The seven gems:
    Red gem (Ruby) DC 5 check
    Black gem (Onyx) DC 10 check
    Multi-colored gem (Yowah nut) DC 20 check
    Transparent gem (Goshenite) DC 15 check
    Yellow gem (Beryl) DC 10 check
    Blue gem (Iolite) DC 15 check
    Green gem (Variscite) DC 15 check

    The players might make a connection between the recesses in the arch, and the gems. The gems have to placed in those recesses in a specific order. If they make a mistake placing them, a trap will go off.
    The trap will fire a bolt of energy from the bottom eye of the aboleth face to the one fiddling with the gems. My players are currently level 4 and I'd like to make this trap dangerous. A DC 12 Dex save avoids half of the damage or the effects of bolt 6 and 7. The ray could be any of the following (roll 1d8):
    1. Red bolt, 2d10 fire damage
    2. Orange bolt, 2d10 acid damage
    3. Yellow bolt, 2d10 lightning damage
    4. Green bolt 2d10 poison damage
    5. Blue bolt, 2d10 cold damage
    6. Indigo bolt, on a failed save the creature is restrained and must make a con save at the end of each of it's turns. Three succesfully saves end the spell, but three failed saves petrify the creature.
    7. Violet bolt, on a failed save the creature is blinded. It has to make a wis save at the start of it's next turn. On a failed save, the creature is transported to the room beyond the door where he will have to face other challenges until the rest of the group figures out how to open the door.
    8. The target is struck by two bolts. Roll twice more, rerolling any 8.

    This is in fact a toned down version of prismatic ray, and that might give the players a clue on how to open the door if they don't figure it out and put gems in an incorrect order. The correct order should be in the order I have written above. The first letter of every name spells ROYGBIV (the colors of the rainbow). Having gems of a certain color that don't correspond with the colors of the rainbow might throw them off a bit.

    The players might try and fiddle with the bottom eye after a bolt may have been fired at them, making sure that it won't happen again, so they can try random orders of placing gems. When a player tampers with the eyes, the middle eye is actually porous (a hard or very hard check will reveal that) and spray aboleth mucus on top of that player. A succesful DC 12 Con save will negate the mucus, but a failed check will let the character only breathe water for 1d4 hours.
    When investigating the eyes in general a moderate investigation check (DC 15) will reveal the top eye is a crystal ball, placed in front of a black background. What the players don't know (or might figure out) that this crystal ball is a sensor for the aboleth so he can spy upon travelers who stumble upon his door. A succesful appraisal of the crystal ball (DC 15 intelligence check?) tells the player it's worth at least 1000 gp. If the player tries to remove the crystal ball, the aboleth will notice and will try to enslave that character through his crystal ball (rulewise it might not be possible, but I am the DM, so meh. It will make for interesting roleplay if the character fails the save). The character who tries to remove the crystal ball will have to roll against a DC 12 Wis save or be charmed by the aboleth. The consequences I will leave up to you if you decide to make use of this encounter.

    When the players figure out the right order and place the gems in the recesses the right way, the door will open. The guardian will congratulate them and let them through (if he's still alive).
    If the players take too long and the guardian is still alive, he will zap one of them with one of his ray spells (make it hit automatically without rolling). The ray is a confusion ray, and will give the player some insight on how to opening the door. (The confusion might be something you need to think outside the box). If that hint is enough to make the players find the answer relatively quickly, they might persuade or deceive the guardian to make him stand his ground (a difficult check, DC 15 or 20), because he or she finally remembers the correct order.

    I hope it's not too long of a read and I hope you have enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to see some constructive criticism that might help me fine-tune this encounter.

    Kind regards,

    Zoltro

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Canada
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    Default Re: What do you think of my Puzzle-door encounter? [PEACH]

    This might be too hard, borderline impossible to figure out.

    If the party fails even a couple of the Gem identifying checks, the chances of them solving the puzzle are poor, especially since the colours sometimes match, and other times don't. After taking a lot of damage they may just give up and take their frustrations out on the spectator.

    It also relies on the players' (and not the characters') knowledge of the colours of the spectrum, how to spell them, etc., which veers into meta gaming.

    It might work better and avoid those pitfalls if the spectator provided a riddle or some clues about the significance of a rainbow, perhaps in relation to how it is revealed in a droplet of water or some other water-aboleth themed clue. The spectator might also be tricked into revealing the names of some of the gems... perhaps he is prideful and can be conned into showing off his knowledge.

    Mind you, if the aboleth is actually behind the door, maybe the party doesn't actually want to open it.
    Part-time DM, part-time player in 5e. I aim to be reasonable.
    Homebrews on the stove (5e):

    Wizard School: Black Magic
    Druid Circle of the Many
    Druid Circle of the Silver Moon
    Bard College of the Chord

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Netherlands
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    Default Re: What do you think of my Puzzle-door encounter? [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Beechgnome View Post
    This might be too hard, borderline impossible to figure out.

    If the party fails even a couple of the Gem identifying checks, the chances of them solving the puzzle are poor, especially since the colours sometimes match, and other times don't. After taking a lot of damage they may just give up and take their frustrations out on the spectator.

    It also relies on the players' (and not the characters') knowledge of the colours of the spectrum, how to spell them, etc., which veers into meta gaming.

    It might work better and avoid those pitfalls if the spectator provided a riddle or some clues about the significance of a rainbow, perhaps in relation to how it is revealed in a droplet of water or some other water-aboleth themed clue. The spectator might also be tricked into revealing the names of some of the gems... perhaps he is prideful and can be conned into showing off his knowledge.

    Mind you, if the aboleth is actually behind the door, maybe the party doesn't actually want to open it.
    I should have included in the background that they are in a cave with Dwarven miners. One of which is very fond of gems. The players can talk to him if they don't get all the names.

    The spectator can be conned and/or asked nicely to reveal something. A rhyme of riddle sounds really cool.

    Also the aboleth is not behind the door, but the room behind it has a portal to it's lair.

    I agree it is a tough nut to crack, but I want to spark the players' creativity and will award that. If they come up with something really nice I'll make it work somehow.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default Re: What do you think of my Puzzle-door encounter? [PEACH]

    Given that the players are 4th level, what happens if someone gets petrified? They won't be able to deal with that until they're 9th level (assuming one is a Druid or Cleric). Is the petrified player just out of the game until the rest of the party decides to go find an NPC who can cast Greater Restoration?
    Last edited by Flashy; 2017-02-07 at 06:23 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: What do you think of my Puzzle-door encounter? [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashy View Post
    Given that the players are 4th level, what happens if someone gets petrified? They won't be able to deal with that until they're 9th level (assuming one is a Druid or Cleric). Is the petrified player just out of the game until the rest of the party decides to go find an NPC who can cast Greater Restoration?
    Good question. I am thinking yes, as there is a temple of Tempus fairly nearby. It's actually the nexr stop for the party. I think there should be potentially lethal encounters some times. If the party never feels that they mortal, but mostly invincible, the excitement of combat and traps can wear off.
    Also, most players have a positive constitution, that means they will have an easier/equally easy time saving than if they're unconscious and have to make 3 death saves.
    Let's say the party cleric has been knocked on his ass by orcs and fails his 3 saves. The party is still fighting and/or not in a position to stabilize him. Would the dead player then be out of the game until the party decides to resurrect him? I think yes.

    Edit: I could make a "statue" in the hallway as a hint.
    Last edited by Zoltro; 2017-02-08 at 01:59 AM.

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