Knowledge God's tests and trials - brainstorm (Fantasy RPG)


To gain access to the inner sanctum of an ancient temple of a God of Knowledge, the party must overcome a number of trials. Suggestions from the Hive Mind please. No essays required, simply a few lines.

I have a Sphinx in mind as one.

Thanks in advance.


Some sort of logic puzzle like in the movies Goonies. There was a treasure map with musical notes on the back that needed to be played to open a door. The organ was made out of bones and every time a wrong note was played a section of floor fell away. You can make this more a skill challenge where PCs can try to use Athletics to keep sections of the floor from falling or to assist in raising the door.


I have remembered a maze from the D&D 1e module "Pharoah" (early 80's I think) where the interconnecting "corridors" were filled with mists that befuddled the characters sense of direction. The maze was like celtic knotwork and corridors turned and entered rooms characters just exited by a different door.


Do you have puzzles that need just the player's knowledge to overcome, or do you have puzzles that uses character knowledge- some sort of skill check.

I tend to make puzzles and traps that try to use both. I let the players look at it for a while and have a skill check to allow more information that the player can use to solve.


I think it might depend on the god of "knowledge" as in accumulated facts or as in smarts/intelligence.

For the first, its gonna be trivia and quotes from the ancient wise ones or something. Similarly, arcana would be a hot topic for this guy, I would think.

For the second, puzzles especially logic puzzles. I would especially lean toward ones with physical representations that can be "universally" read or understood (i.e. not requiring language). I would think word-based puzzles fall more into the category of the first god, not the second. (How could a "smart" god not realize that languages will change over time?..if that happens in your gameworld.)


Keeping with the logic puzzles about a game of Mastermind?

You see a stone rack. On the rack are 7 stones, all the same size but with different symbols carved on them, each is also a different color/stone. Behind them is a stone pedestal with four holes in the top. It looks like the stones have been cut to fit in the holes. The huge iron doors have 4 large eyes in them, which appear to be made of glass. (The whole contruction radiates magic, if checked.)

What the? I pick up four stones and put them in the slots.

DM: (hands out seven tokens corresponding to the stones)
Show me which ones in which hole...the holes are in a row.

Fine. This one...this this.

The leftmost of the glass eyes glows white, and the third glows red. There is also a rumbling sound. The door behind you is replaced with an iron wall. Also, the ceiling appears to have lowered by a foot or so. You figure you might have 11 tries left.



If you are in a lore-heavy campaign world (such as Golarian or Forgotten Realms), give the players a Campaign World Guide. Ask them a few questions and time them as they find the answers. If they don't need the book, bonus points. The faster they are (the smarter the characters) the more obstacles dissipate before them.

Use a Maze or Guards and Wards spell in an area. Clerics or Paladins of the Knowledge God get advantage on their 'avoid getting lost' &c rolls.


I tend to ask the players lore questions. One puzzle I gave my players very recently, was one where the players see a row of statues representing the various gods of my campaign setting. Beneath each statue is a cryptic description of the god or goddess, along with a recess where a copper plate can be placed. I gave the players a pile of names (which I cut from cardboard), and asked them to match the names to the gods.

Clerics were allowed to use their knowledge of religion to identify a god they did not know, which required a roll. But of course as a matter of honor, the players tried to solve the puzzle without using their knowledge roll at all. Since I use my own campaign setting, with my own gods, this was a true test of how well the players knew the setting. I was surprised by how well they knew the answers. Below are the riddles I gave them:

"I am synonymous with the summer month. My light brings life and ends hunger. Who am I?"
(Answer: The summer goddess)

"All will eventually come to meet me. My book holds many names, including yours. Who am I?"
(Answer: The god of death)

"My anger is a deadly torrent. My wrath is a watery grave. Sailors seek to appease me. Who am I?"
(Answer: The storm god)

"I am the salvation of sailors. My domain is a Cathedral of Lights. Who am I?"
(Answer: The goddess of sailors)

"I am a stalward protector against evil. My followers are destroyers of demons. Who am I?"
(Answer: The god of protection)

"I am a revealer of truth. When traveling at night, let my lantern show the way. Who am I?"
(Answer: The moon god)

"Druids seek comfort in me. I am the embodiment of the forest and all that lives in it. Who am I?"
(Answer: The nature goddess)

"Many disapprove of my methods and tricks. One of your friends is my friend. Who am I?"
(Answer: The god of trickery)

"My cloak is a winter blanket. Many shield themselves from my cold embrace. Who am I?"
(Answer: The goddess of winter)

"I am on the breath of soldiers and heroes. My name is synonymous with victory and mercy. Who am I?"
(Answer: The god of war)
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