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D&D 5E Cryptex

Actually, in real life, a cryptex only has as many letters as it has wheels, and there is no mechanism for breaking the acid vial apart from using brute force against it. So it's easy to open, given say an hour. It's a very low-tech piece of kit. Da Vinci Code is fantasy.

No reason you can't have something more sophisticated, but it's going to need to be magical, to stop a wizard just casting knock on it.
 
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MarkB

Legend
Solving something like this is always a lot more fun when there's actually something to solve, rather than just throwing dice at the problem. If it's just a skill challenge to unlock, the players aren't going to see a special kind of code that needs to be cracked - they're just going to see a lock that, for some reason, their DM wants them to make multiple checks to pick instead of just one.

For something in-game, concentrate on there being a clue of some kind to solve. Make obtaining the clue one challenge, deciphering it another, and gaining access to the cryptex a third, with each involving the players actually figuring things out, not just rolling checks.

Alternatively, you could take it out of game. One DM I know is a big fan of props, and on at least one occasion he's presented the players with a physical puzzle box that they had to figure out in order to obtain the item inside it.
 


Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Solving something like this is always a lot more fun when there's actually something to solve, rather than just throwing dice at the problem. If it's just a skill challenge to unlock, the players aren't going to see a special kind of code that needs to be cracked - they're just going to see a lock that, for some reason, their DM wants them to make multiple checks to pick instead of just one.

For something in-game, concentrate on there being a clue of some kind to solve. Make obtaining the clue one challenge, deciphering it another, and gaining access to the cryptex a third, with each involving the players actually figuring things out, not just rolling checks.

Alternatively, you could take it out of game. One DM I know is a big fan of props, and on at least one occasion he's presented the players with a physical puzzle box that they had to figure out in order to obtain the item inside it.
A puzzle could make it more fun along with Skill challenge so that success is not to completly overcome solely one way or another. For exemple making skills check to research lore and history of the Cryptex to find clues they can piece togheter to reveal the password to open it.

I'm a big fan of props so there will be one involved. Last one i made was some sudoku-inspired anagram with runes that was some keypad to a dwarven vault! Since this game is online, props will be digital in nature.

Since the party will find the Cryptex in a dungeon, i will need to find ways for the puzzle clues to get to them via either recollection or reseaches among books or NPC interactions with people that used to know the previous owner. Could be as obvious as a thief that engraved a cryptic message on it as as a reminder.
 

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