Not every encounter need be life-threatening. Epic battles to fight, NPCs to influence, and traps to disarm are generally expected. But in the end, your fate is normally sealed with a roll of the die. Sometimes, a great puzzle can break up the norm and unshackle GMs and players alike from the tyranny of their dice.
Today, I bring you a puzzle with unlimited uses. The initial concept, ‘Don’t Follow Your Heart’ takes a simple room with directional markings on the floor and turns it into a giant puzzle and wall-less maze.
Rules: In this variation, players must walk over every tile in a correct pattern to get ti the door on the other side. An alarm will sound if the players try to fly to the other side. The alarm will also sound and the door lock should the PCs take an incorrect path. To find the correct path, Players must follow the directional arrow that corresponds to the tile they are standing on, UNLESS that tile would have them make a left turn from their current direction. If told to turn left, the PC should instead continue straight in the same direction they are facing. Make sure the players are given a warning to the workings of the puzzle so that they have a fair chance. Allow the players to have up to 1 minute of study and deliberation for every positive Intelligence modifier possessed in the party before having to traverse the room.
Success: If the players make it to the other side without the alarm sounding, then the enemies of the dungeon/lair will not be aware of their presence.
Failure: Should the players set off the alarm, no immediate harm comes to them; however, the denizens of the lair are fully aware of the party and can take special precautions.