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Comments: 9
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Rating: 3.4286
Condition: Normal
ID: 6098


August 27, 2010, 7:56 pm

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Painted Minotaur Room


Painted walls and a shadowy figure ... how can these insubstantial elements open that all-too-solid door?  A locked-room puzzle with multiple solutions!

The walls of this room are covered with paintings depicting pairs of standing minotaurs, approximately nine feet high, facing each other. One of the minotaurs is painted over a locked door, with a keyhole in its torso. The minotaur directly across from it has a small key, about two inches long, painted on its torso roughly in the location of the heart. Standing motionless in the center of the room is the shadowy form of an actual, insubstantial minotaur. A shadowy key floats inside the minotaur right where its heart would be.

Touching the insubstantial minotaur will cause it to solidify as a stone statue and attack.  Touching the painted minotaur with the key will have the same effect.  The first touch will activate it for one round, the second for two, and every touch thereafter for three rounds of combat.  Weapons cannot damage it, but can be used to turn it aside to prevent damage to others.  It will attack with blind fury and is incapable of speech, but it cannot pass the doors of the room.  If all persons leave the room at any time, the room will "reset" to its original configuration.

At the end of its turn on the last round of activation, the stone minotaur will freeze in whatever position it was in and return to insubstantiality. The painted minotaur with the key will also change its stance and position to match that of the shadow-minotaur.

Solution 1:  Touching just the painted key will cause the insubstantial key to solidify and drop to the floor.  However, PCs must be careful to take the solid key without touching the shadow-minotaur's feet!

Solution 2:  If the painted minotaur with the key is maneuvered around the room so that it crosses the painted minotaur with the lock, the door will unlock.

Solution 3:  The stone minotaur can be maneuvered to crash into the door and break it down.

Solution 4:  Use the shadow of a hand to take the shadow-key out of the insubstantial minotaur without activating the statue.  The shadow-key must then be solidified by touching it with something substantial, or by touching the painted key.

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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Drackler
August 9, 2010, 17:46
I never can get enough rooms and puzzles. This one has the simplicity that it needs to work, but I can see the heroes getting caught up for a long time, trying to get past the puzzle all the wrong ways.
I am curious: Did anyone in particular create this puzzle? Is it usually found in labyrinths, hence the minotaurs? Do the other painted minotaurs have any sort of abilities, or are they just for decoration?

Good job on your first submission, Cressida, and welcome again to the Citadel!
Voted Strolen
August 9, 2010, 19:04
Multiple solutions are excellent to have! I have a soft place for the classic puzzle rooms as well. Not sure if the shadow would need to come back once the door it is protecting is no longer a factor. Perhaps that freed him to attack at will. Good penalty for not doing it the "correct" way. ;)
August 10, 2010, 0:01

Thanks for the kind words!

In its original context, this was one of a series of trials that the PCs had to pass through in an alternate dimension in order to obtain a magical macguffin to be used in defeating the evil du jour. However, the room could easily be inserted into a labyrinth or other dungeon-like structure, with whatever background story/justification the GM wants to give it.

The other minotaurs are just for decoration and camouflage, though additional functions could certainly be added to them for a more complex version of the room. Maybe make touching any of them activate the shadow minotaur. Or maybe one could speak and offer hints to a party that's completely stumped.


Thank you for the kind words too!

Freeing the shadow would be a good alternative, especially if the GM wants the encounter to be more combat-oriented. Or maybe the shadow would be freed only if the characters choose to pick the lock or bash down the door--as you say, not doing it the "correct" way.
Voted Pieh
August 10, 2010, 0:54
Very nice submission. Solid and usable, with a spark of "I Wish I Thought of That." I would like to use this one some day.
Voted EchoMirage
August 10, 2010, 2:29
While simple on its own, it sparks some ideas of my own right away.
Thumbs up.
Voted Cheka Man
August 10, 2010, 20:03
A nice solid useful thing. You rock.
August 14, 2010, 10:24
Thanks, Pieh, EchoMirage, and Chekaman! (Chekaman: "solid," eh? No pun intended? *g*)

I ran this puzzle past another friend recently, and he suggested a fourth solution, which I've added above.
Voted valadaar
August 25, 2010, 10:51
I like this one Cressida - and great first post. I personally would drop #1 since #4 is much better. How would the normal occupants bypass this as simply as possible? The shadow hand is subtle but easily remembered by 'authorized' users.

Voted Psykie
March 19, 2012, 8:32

This is a really cool idea :)

My only suggestion would be to have written somewhere a riddle that tells the players to use their hands... I could see players floundering around for a while before they said anything like "I touch the painting", etc.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Raptyr

Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.

Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.

Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.

The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.

Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.

In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.

Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.

Ideas  ( Lifeforms ) | October 12, 2011 | View | UpVote 3xp

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