Puzzles are hard. Or at least they can be. This is story of one particular puzzle that I made for my players that absolutely flummoxed them for way longer than it should have. It’s this experience that has led me to make sure that my puzzles going forward, are no harder than those children’s toys where you put the right shape in the right hole.
The party was on the trail of a werewolf that had been terrorizing the outskirts of the city, wreaking havoc on local farms as well as businesses in the city by destroying their shipments.
The party had some leads which led them to a local police force that was able to give them some information on a mostly uncharted area of the wilderness. With this information, the party headed to a clearing that led to the entrance of a collapsed mine. Above the mine was a large flat piece of land that they surmised might have an entrance to the cave below.
This is where things got tricky. See, there was a small cottage up there, something they were very hesitant to investigate. Inside of the cottage were a few things. In front of them was a series of 5 large levers jutting out from the wall, all in the bottom position. There was also, and I quote “a tall dresser, a bed, a coat rack, and a long coffee table in the room, but no sign of any life.” The “puzzle” as it were, was that from left to right, the position of the levers corresponded to the height of items in the room.
It took these fools 30 minutes to figure this out. One of my players basically checked out during it, admitting defeat to my very complex word games. It was astounding to me. Once they figured it out, the door locked and the floor opened up. They were now in the mine and ready to continue their pursuit of the werewolf.
What I came away with, is that even the simplest puzzle, can flabbergast anyone. So much for my next brilliant puzzle idea where one person tells the truth and the other always lies.