Dragon Peak: The Elements Puzzle

Puzzle Props

After solving the Trial of Moonlight, the illusion in the room fades. The entry arch disappears, making the room an empty 60 foot diameter cylinder with a 20 foot ceiling. Five channels or grooves run the circumference of the wall at about waist height for a human, and carvings appear in the wall where the exit arch should be. This final puzzle unlocks the door and allows access to the interior of Dragon Peak.

Five alchemical symbols appear etched in the wall, one above each channel. Each has a corresponding opening to allow access to the channel which exactly fits the five stones with elemental symbols that the characters earned by solving each prior trial. The word "Harmonize" in Draconic appears on the wall above the channels. Sharp-eyed characters will notice faint words corresponding with each symbol/channel pair, each appearing in the viewer's native tongue. The words are:

  • Moon: Thrive
  • Fire: Ice
  • Air: Bright
  • Water: Shade
  • Earth: Lost

The order of the elements corresponds with the physical height of each of the five trials: Earth was lowest, and Moonlight the highest. The faint words correspond to the last words of the first lines of the five couplets in the updated Breath of the Recurring Scale prophecy found in the Trial of Water, but they appear in reversed order. Reading the prophecy and moving up the stack of elements sets the order to rights.

Characters can insert their stones into the channels and take them out as needed, but only one stone will fit in each channel. Once all five stones are in their own channel, the puzzle checks the inserted symbols against the solution. If incorrect, the stones fly out and unerringly hit the person who solved the trial and earned the stone for 2d6 bludgeoning damage (succeeding on a Dexterity saving throw DC 14 will halve the damage), freeing the stones up to try again.

If correct, the stones will each fly around the channel faster and faster, forming five bands of intense light. The puzzle is solved, and the locked door opens. Everyone in the room will teleport up to the gate chamber in the main complex of Dragon Peak, some distance above this chamber. The Guardian of the Dragon Gate greets the party, and a discussion about continuing or breaking the Pact of Isolation with all involved parties gets under way.

(NOTE: I don't think I'll write this next adventure up because it's all exposition, social interaction, and negotiation. It's also happening in the next game, so I really don't want to post spoilers. The Trials of Dragon Peak are complete with this post.)

The Solution (Spoilers Ahead):

The word "Harmonize" provides a hint to solving the puzzle, as there's no word in Draconic that clearly translates to "Rhyme" in Common. Characters will eventually notice that the couplet's rhymes are "broken", with rhymes appearing in the second line of a different couplet (except for the Moonlight couplet, which already rhymes). The element containing the rhyming second line of the couplet should be inserted next to the element and the faint last word of the first line of the couplet. To spell out the solution:

  1. Moon requires Moon
  2. Fire requires Air
  3. Air requires Earth
  4. Water requires Fire
  5. Earth requires Water
Once the lock opens and the characters teleport away, the stones return to their respective trials for the next candidates, and the Trial of Moonlight resets after 5 minutes.

My original notes for this chamber:

Unlocking the Door: Place the 5 symbols in spaces labeled “Harmonize” to unlock.
☽ (Thrive) ☽
🜂 (Ice) 🜁
🜁 (Bright) 🜃
🜄 (Shade) 🜂
🜃 (Lost) 🜄

Things that evolved during play:

  • This is a "one solution" puzzle, which I typically don't like. If your characters aren't getting it, giving hints to get things moving is the way to go. Optionally, giving partial credit by having correct guesses glow might lead them along the path to a solution.
  • I had a friend of mine print out the five alchemical symbols as 1 inch tiles in both black and white, so my players would have something tactile to work with on this puzzle.
  • Adding an additional +1d6 damage after each failure might inspire the characters to really analyze what's happening.
  • My players read the prophecy couplets and immediately said "Hey, these don't rhyme!" I figured this would take a minute to figure out. They didn't actually notice the rhymes in other couplets, so it took 10 minutes, three tries, and a few hints to solve.

Part of T.W.Wombat's Lore 24 project, detailing the world around Fellport.
For all city posts, see the Fellport Index. For posts about the wider world, see the Beneterra Index.

No comments:

Post a Comment