The Blind Well
'One looks down on the Abyss, the others delve deep where no Light is. Matching the forms and symbols of yore, the truth shall rise and lead you out of the doors'
- Cyclopean Inscriptions on the Well
INTRODUCTION & OBJECTIVES
The Blind Well is a guidance puzzle, but is also a tool in the certain hands.
Its objective is to match any number of symbols inside a dungeon with its related seats on random places.
The dungeon is full black, magically, but impossible to be dispelled, and only some creatures - which are the symbol bearers (called Lightbearers) - emanates a light radius ('the others delve deep where no light is.')
To guide the adventurers one member shall stay in front of the Blind Well to see the dungeon map projection ('One looks down on the Abyss'). This player will be telepathically linked to the others inside and everything he speaks will be heard. But, as a setback, the Guide can only se the well and the map projection on it, being blind to the everything else around him.
Once the party had explored the room containing the well at its center, they will discover the doors are locked. As they investigate the well (which can have any shape/design/appearance) they will easily find a plate containing the inscriptions above.
To add drama: the inscriptions are in cyclopean alphabet, but immediately below each word there is a nail-carved translation to common with blood taints over it.
To add difficulty: the inscriptions are in cyclopean alphabet and must be translated!
After the inscriptions were read, immediately roll a 1dPCs (the number of the players in party) to determine which player will be the Guide. Below is what happen to him in its own vision:
'A creeping darkness slowly covers your eyes from outside to center, despair takes over you! The only thing you can now see is the well in front of you.
As you look at it in desperation for answers a map is draw by light below the water level. Staring astonished to the events, eight symbols faintly appears inside the map drawn by light'
To the rest of the party which were not selected describe:
'A cold breeze takes the room and chills you all. As you strangely perceive this event,
He/She slowly levitates toward the plaque where you found the Cyclopean inscription and stares to the center of the well.
As he/she reaches its position, you heard the doors clinking and opening simultaneously. The well thrums and emits a shockwave, which splits all the party through the doors.
The door behind you locks. Pitch black is the only thing you see!'
To add drama: As soon as the doors lock behind the party, they begin to hear the desperation of the guide.
To add difficulty: Let the party discover/realize what they have to do!
With the party split (by the numbers of door in the Well Room) the Guide must lead the teams up to the Lightbearers. The GM must choose which creature fits better to the dungeon purpose and the only characteristics they must have is the 30ft diameter light sphere they emit. Once it is killed, a soccer-sized sphere of lightning - The Arc Eye - will appear over its body and one team member - which succeeds in a Fortitude Saving Throw - must take it, becoming the Eye Bearer.
Now the Eye Bearer emits a 30ft diameter sphere of light while holding the Eye, as the same way as the Lightbearers.
By the time the Arc Eye is grab by the adventurer, the map will vanish from the eyes of the Guide and moments later a vision will flood his eyes. Describe something similar to this:
You see the temple as new and recognize it as being this place which you stand now.
You see dark, you see light, you see the Arc being moved between these two points.
You hear a thunder's roar and screams. In the map, the Eye stops.
Suddenly, the smell of burnt flesh reach your nostrils and you understand failure.
After the vision, the map slowly reappears in the well in front of the Guide, which now is able to proceed with the encounter.
This sphere contains any symbol the GM wants in its center and as soon it is picked up the, Guide will be able to see the same symbol glowing in red anywhere in the map and now he must lead the team to this place: The Light's Seating.
To add drama: The Arc Eye will imbue its bearer with almost unbearable visions from the Cyclopean Empire's downfall. This is a torment for the Eye's Bearer. Make him mentally suffer!
To add difficulty: By placing the Arc Eye in the Light's Seating, trap the Bearer within it until the next Eye is placed. Do a PC-lock rotation each time a Bearer places an Eye in its seat!
If the team takes too long to deliver the Arc Eye it will explode and act as a Chain Lightning spell casting. The GM must decide the Casting Level for this spell and the amount of time to the Eye explodes.
Once the Eye is properly seated, the light fades from the bearer and the Guide will see another Arc Eye emerging somewhere in the map.
The adventurer who took the last Arc Eye must not take another eye in sequence. If it happens, he/she'll fall unconscious for 1dCL (the same as the spell's Caster Level) rounds. Fortitude Saving throw will half the unconsciousness duration.
This procedure - except for the Guide's vision - must be repeated until all Arc Eyes are set in its seats.
Once all Eyes are set, the door will unlock, the darkness will fade and the Guide will be released from his trance.
The whole experience, visions and everything else will charge its price: the Guide must succeed in a Will saving throw to avoid being Unconscious.
To add drama: Make the visions haunt the Guide and the Bearer's for long time after this dungeon. Or even being triggered by any cyclopean remembrances.
THE WELL AS A TOOL
As aforesaid the 'gift' of the well (the darkness covering the Guide) can be used as tool since it grants the same effects of both True Seeing AND Analyze Dweomer. But there is a certain condition for this to work: the subject to be 'analyzed' by the Guide must stay inside the well.
This capability can give some interesting hooks for your campaign and the players themselves for using it to their favor! But don't forget: The well charges its price! Always!
Adapt it as you wish to contextualize to your adventure/campaign.
The 'To Add Drama/To Add Difficulty' parts are all optional, they are suggested only for its purposes;
This can be used standalone or together with another puzzle of mine: The Well Lock.
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? Responses (4)-4
Another fun puzzle. I like the teamwork ones and then when you add the challenges to the map seer, that is entertaining. Was visualizing how to do this in RL with the map seer turned so he wasn't facing the players. Would be tempted to remove the 'You are here' indicator and play it like the blindfold in the minefield game.
But some super fun ideas in there that are easy to adapt!
Pretty cool. I could see this being done where there aren't any monsters but traps throughout the room and the guide has to direct the party to find a series of items (like the eyes) and put them into a statue's head to open the doors or something.