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.
I played this with a group of inexperience players and we loved it! I made some small changes. Here's what we came up with;
The PCs are stuck in a room (teleported in, woke up there, went through a one-way door, whatever). This room only has one apparent door and it's magically locked. Two walls of this room opposite each other are painted depicting a standing minotaur, each approximately nine feet high, facing one another. One of the minotaurs is painted over a locked door, with a keyhole in the middle of its forehead (about 9 feet up). The minotaur directly across from it has a small key, about two inches long, painted on its forehead. Standing motionless in the center of the room is the shadowy form of an actual, insubstantial minotaur, also 9 feet tall. A shadowy key floats inside the minotaur's head.
Touching the insubstantial minotaur will cause it to solidify into a golem of whatever touched it. Poke it with a wooden pole and it becomes a solid wood golem. Try to knock down the key with an iron sword and it becomes a solid iron golem. A bare hand creates a flesh golem. The first touch activates the golem for 1 minute, the second for 2 minutes, the third for 3, etc. 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 minotaur golem 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.
How to unlock the door?
Solution 1: Touching just the painted key will cause the insubstantial key to solidify (into whatever material touched it, just like the minotaur golem) and drop to the floor (hopefully between the minotaur's feet). However, PCs must be careful to take the solid key without touching the shadow-minotaur's feet! The timing rules of the golem apply to the key as well. One minute per touch. At the end of this time, it returns to the minotaur golem's head.
Solution 2: If the painted minotaur with the key is maneuvered around the room so that the painted key crosses the painted lock, the door will unlock.
Solution 3: Use magic to get the key (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.
Dispel Magic on the lock and have a rogue pick it. May have to stand on the fighter's shoulders to get that high.
Teleport/Gate/Dimension Door out.
Brute strength; bash the door down. DC:15 200hp
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? Responses (11)-11
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!
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. ;)
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.
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.
While simple on its own, it sparks some ideas of my own right away.
A nice solid useful thing. You rock.
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.
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.
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.
This will definitely be one of the puzzles my players will encounter!
Been looking for a simple, yet elegant, puzzle. I look forward to using this in my Halloween adventure!