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10 Enchanted D&D Traps and Puzzles for Your Next Dungeon Crawl

Updated: Nov 27, 2023





Introduction: 10 Enchanted D&D Traps and Puzzles for Your Next Dungeon Crawl


Dungeon Masters, we all know that every memorable dungeon crawl is a delicate balance of combat, exploration, and problem-solving.


Traps and puzzles are essential components of D&D, adding an extra layer of challenge and requiring players to rely on their characters' skills, wits, and teamwork. A well-placed trap or mind-bending puzzle can elevate your campaign, providing your players with challenges that force them to think creatively, engage with the story, and test their mettle.


Including traps and puzzles in your dungeon crawls not only enhances the gaming experience, but also helps create a more immersive and believable world. They encourage players to interact with the environment, be cautious, and think strategically – all while increasing tension and excitement.


In this article, we present 10 unique enchanted traps and puzzles that are sure to captivate your players and keep them on their toes. Each entry will include a description of the trap or puzzle, an explanation of how it works, and tips on incorporating it into your campaign. Here's a quick preview of the magical challenges you'll find within:




So, without further ado, let's delve into the dark corners of your dungeon and unveil these magical secrets!






Illusory Labyrinth


Description: The Illusory Labyrinth is a magical trap that transforms a seemingly straightforward section of a dungeon into an ever-changing, mind-bending maze. As your players navigate through the corridors, the trap uses powerful illusion magic to alter their perception of the dungeon, causing them to see walls where there are none, and passageways where there should be solid stone.


How it works: When the players enter the area affected by the Illusory Labyrinth, the magic is triggered, and they must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 15) to recognize the illusions. On a successful save, they can see through the false walls and passageways, while on a failed save, they become disoriented and lost within the maze. To further complicate matters, the labyrinth may periodically shift and change its layout, requiring additional saving throws to maintain a clear understanding of the true path.


To represent the shifting nature of the maze, you can use a grid of 10x10 squares, with each square representing a 10-foot section of the dungeon. Mark the entrance, exit, and any points of interest on the grid, then draw the initial layout of the labyrinth. At predetermined intervals (for example, every 5 minutes of in-game time) or after certain triggering events, the layout may change, forcing the players to adapt and find a new path.

Stats:

  • Illusion magic, covers an area of up to 100 feet by 100 feet

  • Wisdom saving throw (DC 15) to recognize the illusions

  • Periodic layout shifts (every 5 minutes of in-game time or after triggering events)

  • Optional: If players fail their saving throw by 5 or more, they might suffer from a short-term madness effect (see Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 259) as a result of the disorienting illusions.

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Illusory Labyrinth can be an excellent way to challenge your players' problem-solving skills, especially if combined with other obstacles or encounters within the maze, such as roaming monsters or hidden traps.

  • To further enhance the labyrinth's challenge, you can include riddles or clues that hint at the true path, or require players to find and activate a magical artefact to dispel the illusions.

  • The labyrinth can be tailored to fit any dungeon theme or setting, from ancient ruins filled with arcane secrets to a magical vault designed to protect a powerful artefact.

  • Consider providing a reward for navigating the labyrinth successfully, such as a hidden treasure room or crucial information about the dungeon's inhabitants or purpose.



Magical Weighted Pressure Plates


Description: Magical Weighted Pressure Plates is an enchanted puzzle that tests the players' ingenuity and resourcefulness. In a room scattered with pressure plates, the adventurers must figure out the correct weight and sequence to activate the plates, unlocking a hidden passage or revealing a valuable treasure.


How it works: When the players enter the room, they find an array of pressure plates, each marked with a mysterious symbol or inscription. To solve the puzzle, they must place objects or themselves on the plates, applying the correct weight to each one simultaneously. Once all the plates are activated in the correct order, the magic is triggered, and the desired outcome occurs.

You can design the puzzle with varying levels of complexity, depending on your players' experience and the importance of the reward. For example, the plates could require increasing weights, corresponding to the numbers 1 through 5, or they could be linked to a riddle that hints at the necessary weights and sequence.

Stats:

  • Enchantment magic, covers an area determined by the number of pressure plates

  • Investigation (DC 15) or Arcana (DC 20) checks to decipher the symbols or inscriptions

  • Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to place the weights correctly

  • Optional: A failed attempt to solve the puzzle could trigger a trap, such as a dart barrage or a magical barrier that temporarily seals the room

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Magical Weighted Pressure Plates puzzle can be used as a security measure in a wizard's tower, a trial to prove the worthiness of the adventurers in an ancient temple, or a clever safeguard protecting a valuable artefact.

  • You can increase the difficulty of the puzzle by adding time constraints, environmental hazards, or requiring the players to find and use specific items as weights (e.g., statues or enchanted stones).

  • To ensure the puzzle remains engaging and doesn't become frustrating, provide multiple avenues for the players to gather information or hints, such as through successful skill checks, consultation with knowledgeable NPCs, or the discovery of ancient texts or murals.

  • Consider incorporating a twist or surprise element into the puzzle, such as an additional hidden pressure plate that reveals a secret room or a plate that summons a helpful NPC or creature when activated correctly.




The Whispering Shadows


Description: The Whispering Shadows is an eerie, enchanted trap that preys on the fears and insecurities of the adventurers, causing them to question their sanity and the trustworthiness of their companions. As the players navigate the shadowy depths of the dungeon, they begin to hear whispers, taunts, and accusations, seemingly spoken by their allies, driving a wedge between the party members.


How it works: When the players enter the area affected by The Whispering Shadows, they become subject to a powerful enchantment that projects auditory illusions. These illusions manifest as whispered conversations, seemingly spoken by the players' own companions, that reveal dark secrets, spread malicious rumors, or incite conflict between party members. The whispers may also contain false information, leading the players astray or luring them into dangerous situations.


To resist the effects of The Whispering Shadows, the players must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 16). On a successful save, they recognize the whispers as illusions and can individually resist the trap.





The Enchanted Mirror of Reflection

Description: The Enchanted Mirror of Reflection is a mysterious and captivating trap that uses illusion magic to confront the adventurers with their deepest desires, fears, or memories. As the players gaze into the mirror's reflective surface, they become entranced by the vivid images and scenes that unfold before them, potentially distracting them from the dangers lurking in the dungeon.


How it works: When the players encounter the Enchanted Mirror of Reflection, they must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 14) to avoid being captivated by the mirror's magic. On a failed save, the affected character becomes entranced, unable to look away from the mirror as they are absorbed in the illusions it projects. These illusions can take many forms, such as a character's greatest fear, a long-lost loved one, or a vision of a possible future.


While entranced, the character is considered incapacitated, unable to move or take actions. The enchantment lasts for up to 10 minutes, but the character can attempt a new saving throw at the end of each of their turns. Additionally, other party members can attempt to break the enchantment by using an action to shake the affected character or by casting a spell like dispel magic or remove curse.


Stats:

  • Illusion magic, affects a single target within 30 feet of the mirror

  • Wisdom saving throw (DC 14) to avoid being captivated by the illusions

  • Enchantment duration: up to 10 minutes, with a new saving throw at the end of each turn

  • Optional: A character who fails their saving throw by 5 or more may suffer long-lasting psychological effects or become obsessed with the vision they witnessed, providing a potential story hook for future sessions

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Enchanted Mirror of Reflection can be placed in a location that heightens the tension or adds an element of danger, such as near a hidden trap or a monster's lair.

  • Use the mirror to reveal character backstories, foreshadow future plot developments, or explore the emotional and psychological aspects of your campaign.

  • The mirror can be a cursed artifact that the players must destroy or cleanse to lift its enchantment, or it can be a powerful magical item that offers valuable information or insights when used with caution.

  • Consider providing an additional challenge for the players by requiring them to solve a riddle or puzzle connected to the mirror, or by having the mirror's magic trigger other traps or enchantments within the dungeon.





The Riddle of the Sphinx Guardian

Description: The Riddle of the Sphinx Guardian is an intriguing and cerebral puzzle that requires the adventurers to use their intellect and creativity to solve a cryptic riddle posed by a mystical guardian. Blocking the entrance to a hidden chamber or treasure vault, the Sphinx Guardian challenges the players to answer its riddle correctly, or face the consequences of failure.


How it works: When the players approach the location guarded by the Sphinx Guardian, the creature materializes before them and poses its riddle. The players must then work together to decipher the riddle and provide the correct answer. If they succeed, the Sphinx Guardian grants them passage and may even bestow a reward, such as a helpful hint or a magical item.

However, if the players fail to solve the riddle or provide an incorrect answer, the Sphinx Guardian may become hostile, attacking the party, or it may trigger a trap, such as a cave-in or a magical barrier that seals the entrance.


Design a riddle that suits your campaign's theme and the interests of your players, ensuring that it is challenging but not impossible to solve. You may also provide clues or hints throughout the dungeon to help guide the players towards the correct answer.

Stats:

  • Enchantment magic, affects the area guarded by the Sphinx Guardian

  • Intelligence (Investigation) check (DC varies based on the complexity of the riddle) to solve the riddle

  • Optional: A failed attempt to solve the riddle may result in combat with the Sphinx Guardian or the triggering of a trap

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Riddle of the Sphinx Guardian can be used to protect a powerful artefact, a sacred location, or a hidden cache of treasure, adding an element of mystery and intellectual challenge to your dungeon crawl.

  • To increase the difficulty and intrigue of the puzzle, the Sphinx Guardian could pose a series of riddles, each one more challenging than the last, or require the players to answer a riddle within a certain time limit.

  • The Sphinx Guardian can serve as a recurring character or entity in your campaign, appearing at key moments to challenge the players or offer guidance and wisdom.

  • Consider incorporating additional challenges, such as environmental hazards, time constraints, or hostile creatures, to add tension and excitement to the encounter with the Sphinx Guardian.





The Phantom Doorway

Description: The Phantom Doorway is an illusory trap that toys with the adventurers' perception of reality, presenting them with a seemingly ordinary door that leads to unexpected destinations, potential danger, or endless confusion. This enchanted doorway challenges the players' ability to discern illusion from reality, forcing them to think carefully about their actions and the paths they choose to follow.


How it works: When the players encounter the Phantom Doorway, it appears to be a mundane door, indistinguishable from any other in the dungeon. However, when opened and entered, the doorway's magic is triggered, transporting the character to a location different from what they expected. This location could be another room within the dungeon, an extradimensional space, or even a completely separate plane of existence.


To detect the true nature of the Phantom Doorway, the players must make an Intelligence (Investigation) check (DC 16) or use a spell like detect magic or identify. If they successfully discern the door's illusory nature, they can attempt to dispel the enchantment or find an alternative means of bypassing the doorway.


Stats:

  • Illusion magic, affects a single doorway or entrance

  • Intelligence (Investigation) check (DC 16) to detect the door's true nature

  • Optional: A character who enters the Phantom Doorway without discerning its true nature may become lost, trapped, or exposed to danger, depending on the destination they are transported to

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Phantom Doorway can be used to protect a valuable treasure, a hidden chamber, or a dangerous enemy, adding an element of unpredictability and surprise to your dungeon crawl.

  • To increase the difficulty and complexity of the trap, the Phantom Doorway could lead to a series of interconnected rooms or dimensions, each one presenting its own challenges and puzzles.

  • The Phantom Doorway can serve as a gateway to new adventures or plot developments, transporting the players to an unexplored location or an unexpected encounter.

  • Consider providing clues or hints throughout the dungeon to help the players recognize and navigate the Phantom Doorway, such as symbols, writings, or the testimonies of captured or defeated enemies.




The Elemental Chessboard

Description: The Elemental Chessboard is an engaging and strategic puzzle that challenges the adventurers to participate in a magical game of chess, with the added twist of elemental powers at play. In order to proceed through the dungeon, the players must outwit their opponent and achieve victory on the enchanted chessboard, while simultaneously navigating the dynamic and dangerous elemental effects.


How it works: When the players enter the room containing the Elemental Chessboard, they find a life-sized chessboard with pieces representing the four classical elements: air, water, earth, and fire. Each player must choose a piece to represent and control during the game, with their movement and abilities determined by the corresponding chess piece and element.

As the game progresses, the elemental powers of the pieces come into play, affecting the board and the players in various ways. For example, a water piece may create slippery puddles, an earth piece could cause tremors, a fire piece might set squares ablaze, and an air piece could generate gusts of wind.


The players must not only outmanoeuvre their opponent on the chessboard but also contend with the dynamic and potentially hazardous elemental effects. If the players achieve victory, they are granted passage to the next area of the dungeon, along with any rewards or benefits associated with their success.


Stats:

  • Enchantment magic, affects the area containing the chessboard

  • Intelligence (Arcana) or Wisdom (Insight) check (DC varies based on the complexity of the puzzle) to decipher the rules and strategies of the game

  • Optional: A failed attempt to solve the puzzle or losing the game may result in combat, a triggered trap, or a penalty to the players' progress in the dungeon

Tips on how to incorporate it into your campaign:

  • The Elemental Chessboard can be used as a test of intellect and strategy in a wizard's tower, an ancient temple, or a magical vault, adding a unique and memorable challenge to your dungeon crawl.

  • To increase the difficulty and variety of the puzzle, the elemental effects could change or intensify as the game progresses, or the pieces could possess additional abilities, such as healing or buffing their allies.

  • The Elemental Chessboard can serve as an opportunity for roleplaying and character development, as the players interact with their chosen pieces and navigate the challenges of the magical game.

  • Consider incorporating additional challenges, such as time constraints, environmental hazards, or hostile creatures, to add tension and excitement to the encounter with the Elemental Chessboard.