By Timothy Black
These free 5e puzzles will give your players something unique and interesting to do in your next game session. Feel free to customize these 5e puzzles to suit you and your players' playstyles.
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Get the Ball Rolling
In this brightly colored room, a series of buttons colored red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet are set in a neat row. A large metal sphere sits in the center of the room; the portals near it are the same color as the series of buttons. The door is shut with a portal shimmering in the many hues of the rainbow hovering over a pressure plate by the door.
If the characters interact with any buttons, the floor raises and puts the ball through the corresponding portal that is the same color as the button.
To solve this puzzle, the ball must go into the portals in the exact order of a rainbow, starting with red and ending with violet. (This is the same order as in the description above.)
Intelligence (Arcana) DC 13. Magic appears to be most intense around the red portal and weakest around the violet, with a smooth gradient in between.
Wisdom (Perception) DC 10. The walls and ceiling all repeat the pattern from red to violet across the whole room.
Customizing the Puzzle
If you’re running a whimsical adventure or dungeon, this would fit right in. However, if you are running a more gritty and dark adventure, you could change it to where it is a repeating pattern of animals or numbers throughout either the room or the dungeon.
Adjusting the Difficulty. To increase the difficulty of this puzzle, the dungeon master could spread out the colors in separate rooms that the players visit in sequence to make it harder or have it on a timer to where an encounter happens should the players take too long.
What’s in the Box?
Within this sparsely decorated room is a wall with a message on it; five busts with nameplates under them area set above five items in open front boxes.
Should the characters read the wall, it reads as follows:
Madame Conroy, Doctor Allen, Countess Redmund, Madam Muchanza, and Baroness Parr were at the dinner party. They each sat in a row, and all wore different colors and carried different items. Madame Conroy wore red and carried a ruby ring. Countess Redmund wore orange and sat by someone with a mug of ale and a ring. Doctor Allen had his glass vial and sat next to someone in purple and black. Madam Muchanza had a mug of ale and wore purple. Baroness Parr wore black and carried an umbrella. They each left their items at the table when they left, but the waiters could not remember who owned each item.
Who owned each item?
The busts have the names of each of the people at the dinner party. Each of the boxes also has the following items: a ruby ring, a glass vial, a gold coin, a mug of ale, and an umbrella.
Each bust has a specific item that goes in the box in front of it; each item starts in a different box than it belongs in. Players can put an item in a box, causing that box to shut if all the items are in the correct order.
Each item belongs to a different person. Madame Conroy had the ring, Doctor Allen had the glass vial, Countess Redmund had the gold coin, and Madam Muchanza had the mug of ale. Baroness Parr had the umbrella. Each item goes in the box relating to the person who had the item. Once all items are in the correct order and with the correct person, the door to the puzzle is solved.
Intelligence (Investigation) DC 15. The characters notice each box has a small indent in the shape of the item inside the box.
Wisdom (Perception) DC 15. Each box has a distinct look that corresponds to what the item is. The box for the ring is shining and red, for example.
Customizing the Puzzle
Names, items, and the order of placement can be altered to suit the campaign’s needs (for example, replacing one of the items with something the characters found during a previous adventure). Things can be partially hidden, so characters must look around for the lines of the riddle to learn the whole puzzle.
Adjusting the Difficulty. To make the puzzle easier, the game master could leave a few of the items in the correct boxes from a previous party that passed through the area. To make it harder, the game master could hide parts of the riddle or even the items for the party to find.
Weight and Sea
A large pool with a medium-sized ship surrounded by a large pool of water dominates the center of the room. Around the rest of the room, myriad weights and ropes of varying sizes are scattered about.
Under the ship is a recess in the pool that has the exact shape of the ship’s keel and hull. The goal is to use the various weights to sink the ship into that recess and complete the puzzle. The ship is also enchanted by a wizard that makes it harder to damage; it has an AC of 18 and is immune to psychic damage.
The puzzle can be solved by putting 300 pounds of weight onto the ship from the various weights around the room to sink the ship. The weights can be put on in any order. Damaging the ship by putting a hole in it will sink it. This requires a fair bit of precision, with the characters having to deal a total of 45 damage to the hull in a single attack or dealing over 150 damage total. However, should the ship take more than 50 damage in one attack, it cracks in half and breaks.
Intelligence (Investigation) DC 10. The characters notice the large recess in the bottom of the pool that the boat fits in.
Wisdom (Perception) DC 12. The characters notice that each of the weights is a different mass and that the boat has a number that decreases magically on its side when weight is put on it.
Intelligence (Arcana) DC 12. The boat is enchanted to where it is harder to damage to get it to sink. Perhaps there is another way.
Customizing the Puzzle
You can change the size and scale of the puzzle and even change it to where the players must find a way to sink the boat without any weights.
Adjusting the Difficulty. To make the puzzle harder, the game master could make the boat invulnerable to damage, and the characters must stand on the boat to sink it under their weight and the weight of their equipment.
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