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2 Spooky Puzzle Encounters for your RPG session

Thumbnail art by David Harrington

We are not even close to Halloween (172 days away in fact) but WotC decided to give us a new horror-themed book, this time set in the Ravenloft setting. As my other article about puzzles keeps getting frequently visited, I decided to make a new one with two extra puzzles to surprise your players with. This time, however, they are going to be horror-themed so you can easily plug and play them in your Ravenloft games (or any other RPG with elements of horror).

The Readied Knight

Displayed on a copper frame hang vertically 3 different kinds of swords: a greatsword, a shortsword, and a longsword with their bladed sides pointing upwards. On each side of the frame stand 7ft statues of the armor of black knights, its section where their eyes should be shining with a red hue. Apart from that, the room has some purple and red tapestries on the walls and a brown pedestal with a copper chalice (valued in 30gp) on its top containing warm blood, but nothing else of importance. The plaque below the frame says the following:

“A knight must always have their sword at the ready to protect their lord”

“Choose wisely if you intend to proceed” – chants a voice that seems to come from all places inside the 10x15ft room as the PCs get close to see the swords.

  • Greatsword: Its hilt is adorned in red velvet with its pommel having a green round esmerald with a chiseled crown. Its blade has three carvings: one is the head of a dragon, the other the silhouette of a king knighting a heavily armored figure and lastly a shield with a symbol that seems to be a family crest.
  • Shortsword: Its blade has a shiny green line coming from the golden rain-guard and extending in a meandering path to its tip. Its leathered grip has the letters “CCV” woven to it (these letters are a red herring and don’t mean anything. You can alter them to better suit your story)
  • Longsword: Its iron blade is extremely shining clean, except the right side from the tip, where a droplet of blood lies. “Serve to protect” is carved in Elvish along its blade.

Both knights do have sheathed swords as well on their sides made out of the statue’s same material. These hang on their back and can’t be seen with a simple glance. Investigating the statues immediately locate them. A DC17 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the sword from the knight on the right only has its grip made out of the statue’s material while the blade is made out of iron. This sword can be easily removed from the statue. This is the answer to the riddle

Wielding a sword different to the one on the knight on the right has the statue on the left come to life. Failing a second time has the defeated one reconstruct itself and the other statue to come to life, both attacking the PCs. Wielding the correct sword opens a secret door behind the frame to continue delving through the dungeon or castle.

For the statues, use the animated armor stat block, replacing the slam attack for the statue on the right with a greatsword attack (+8 to hit, 2d6 + 2 slashing damage).

The Spinning Skeleton

A wooden wagon is located at the side of the room, each of its wheels wooden and triangular in shape. Tied to one of them is the skeleton of a halfling with a golden skull. On the wall next to it, there are three different doors, each with a plaque displaying a different drawing.


Wheel with halfling

Door 1

Door 2

Door 3

By spinning the triangular wheel with the skeleton along the floor, the skull makes the trajectory indicated in door 2. Opening door 1 has the door itself become a mimic and attack the characters. Opening door 2 leads to the following room out of the puzzle room. Door 3 if opened shows a pitch-black room from where a great number of shadows come out and attack.