5e Puzzles

5e Puzzles

By Ghalan Smokescale

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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Equilibrium of Life and Death

Difficulty: Medium

In the center of a square room, the party comes across a large model of a merchant’s scale made of marble, seemingly hanging in midair. The scale's pans are large enough for a human adult to sit in. Right behind it, at the far end of the room, there is another wooden gate, an oaken door depicting a hooded specter wielding a scythe, and an angel bearing nothing but a shield.

Puzzle Features

If a character approaches the scale, they will see an inscription spanning the entire scale:

"Life and Death.

 In equilibrium, we find our way forward.

To achieve balance, a price must be paid."

If a character examines the exit gate, they will see that the scythe and shield can be removed.


The puzzle is solved by removing the specter's scythe and the angel's shield from the relief carving on the exit gate and placing them both on the scale, balancing life and death. To remove the scythe, blood must be spilled on it. A character must offer healing magic to remove the shield, such as a potion of healing or cure wounds spell.

Hint Checks

If the players are having difficulty solving the puzzle, their characters can make checks to receive hints:

Intelligence (Investigation) DC 10. The scythe and shield on the door stand out a little more as if they could be moved.

Wisdom (Perception) DC 10. Both the scythe and shield have stains on them. The stains on the scythe are much darker than those on the shield.

Wisdom (Perception) DC 15. The faint smell of blood lingers on the scythe while the shield gives off a light, flowery fragrance that makes a character feel energized

Customizing the Puzzle

Instead of a specter and an angel, the relief carving could depict a warrior and a healer, a dragon and a unicorn, or two deities representing life and death, each with a removable part equating to the scythe and shield.

Elemental Stars

Difficulty: Easy

Stairs lead down through a circular room with a marble-floored room, ending on a 10-foot platform in the middle of the chamber. Atop a small plinth sits a luxuriously crafted chest. At the top of the stairs, surrounding the drop, four silver braziers light each cardinal direction. The chest itself does not appear to have a lock. Lining the rim of the chest are four gemstones, each about the size of a human fist: a sapphire, a ruby, a diamond, and an obsidian. Checking the braziers reveal engravings of a wave on the north brazier, a flame on the south brazier, a cloud on the east, and a mountain on the west brazier. Around the elevation is a carving of the night sky revealing an unknown star constellation.

Puzzle Features

If a character examines the chest, they will notice that the gemstones fixed into the rim can be removed. Interacting with the chest will also reveal that, even though it doesn't have a visible lock, it can't be opened. Inspecting the braziers reveals sockets—the precise size of the gemstones. Once the proper gemstone is set into the brazier, the rune depicting the element will glow softly and can’t be removed from the socket until all gems are placed. Should the order be incorrect, or should the stones be removed from the room, they will disappear and reappear in their original placement on the chest after 1 minute.


The gemstones need to be set into the correct braziers: the sapphire into the north socket, the ruby into the south socket, the diamond into the east socket, and the obsidian into the west socket. Once all gemstones are set in the correct brazier, the engravings glow brighter, and the chest opens.

Hint Checks

If the players are having difficulty solving the puzzle, their characters can make checks to receive hints:

Intelligence (Arcana) DC 15. Touching the gemstones allows the character to briefly see an image of the corresponding element: sapphire for water, ruby for fire, diamond for wind, and obsidian for earth.

Customizing the Puzzle

The chest might contain a reward of gold or gemstones, an item the party needs to complete an optional area of the adventure, or the key to the door at the far side of the room.

Musician's Lost Muse

Difficulty: Medium

In the middle of a square room lit by a torch in each corner sits a chest-high pedestal on top of which rests a small wooden box. The lid of the box is engraved with a harp. The door to the exit is locked with no apparent keyholes. Along the walls runs a beautiful mural of two musicians surrounded by creatures of the forest: wolves, bears, and a white stag.

Puzzle Features

If a character approaches the pedestal, a ghostly voice rings out, relaying the following message:

"Merellien the bard with his flute bewitched the King of Beasts.

It was a feat like no other.

However, he lost his muse when he lost his beloved Avourel.

“No more! " he cried,

 “My flute shall be silent until the day I hear my beloved's harp once more!"


To solve this puzzle, a character needs to examine the mural on the wall and touch the harp held by one of the depicted musicians. This will cause the harp to play by itself for a few seconds and cause the box to break open, revealing a wooden flute. The flute needs to be inserted into the mural at the correct position, after which both instruments will play in tandem and cause the door to unlock.

Hint Checks

If the players are having difficulty solving the puzzle, their characters can make checks to receive hints:

Intelligence (Investigation) DC 10. The two musicians stand out a bit from the wall. The female figure is holding a harp, but the male figure is empty-handed.

Wisdom (Perception) DC 15. A faint, almost imperceptible glow emits from the male figure. The same glow can be seen faintly coming from the box on the pedestal.

Wisdom (Insight) DC 15. The male figure’s hands are positioned in a way that appears they are supposed to hold something.

Customizing the Puzzle

To increase the difficulty, the room can be blanketed in darkness instead of lit by torches but with a soft melody filling the air. To fully light the area, at least two characters need to follow the tune, either by humming or whistling.

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